Bedard’s legend grows and grows . . . Silvertips rout Winterhawks . . . Thunderbirds run winning streak to 11


THE BEDARD REPORT: So . . . what do you think? Is F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats one of those athletes who rises to the occasion, or what? . . . On Friday night, in a game being televised by TSN and with the highly touted F Zach Benson on the other side, Bedard scored four times and added an assist as the host Pats overcame a 3-0 deficit and posted a 5-3 victory. . . . Bedard has seven hat tricks this season — five three-goal outings and two four-goal games. . . . It was his second four-goal game this season and the third of his career. Last season, he had one three-goal game and one four-goal outing. . . . Bedard’s nine career hat tricks breaks the Pats’ record that he shared with F Jordan Eberle, who played four seasons. . . . Bedard now has 16 multi-goal games this season. . . . In his past eight games, he has 13 goals and 15 assists. . . . In 18 games since returning to the Pats from the World Junior Championship, where he led Canada to gold, Bedard has put up 31 goals and 24 assists. . . . In 123 career regular-season games, he now has 121 goals and 126 assists. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (58) and points (119). And allow me to remind you once again that he won’t turn 18 until July 17. . . . Benson had two assists last night, giving him 61 this season. He is tied with Bedard and Ice D Ben Zloty for the league lead. . . . Next up for Bedard and the Pats? The Red Deer Rebels will be in Regina today with the Saskatoon Blades to visit on Sunday. . . .

And there’s more. . . . Chalk up at least two more sellouts to the Travellin’ Bedards. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes have said that their March 10 game against the Pats is sold out. . . . The Pats will go on to Medicine Hat the following night and the Tigers said Thursday that “a limited number of overflow tickets . . . are available now.” Overflow tickets? According to the tickets, overflow tickets “provide access into the venue but have no assigned seat or location.”


According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Saskatoon Blades’ average Saskatoonannounced attendance last season was 3,390. This season, through 28 home games, that average was at 3,876. . . . That number is going to go up simply because F Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats have two games left to play in Saskatoon. . . . Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix talked with Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, about how things have gone this season. . . . That story is right here.


The U of Calgary Dinos scored a 3-2 OT victory over the Alberta Golden Bears in Game 1 of Canada West’s best-of-three men’s hockey championship on Friday. . . . F Josh Maser, who played four seasons (2016-20) with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, scored the winner at 5:41 of OT. . . . They are scheduled to play the second game tonight in Calgary. . . .

F Jaxsen Wiebe of the Prince George Cougars has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Wiebe was an undrafted free agent. . . . The contract calls for an NHL salary of US$775,000, with $80,000 in the minors. There also are signing bonuses of $80,000, $77,500 and $75,000. . . . Wiebe, 20, is from Moose Jaw. The Cougars acquired him from the Edmonton Oil Kings early in this season. He has 28 points, 11 of them goals, in 29 games with the Cougars. In six games with Edmonton, which he helped to a WHL title last season, he had three goals and an assist in six games. . . . In 159 career games — he also played 73 games with the Red Deer Rebels — he has 88 points, including 33 goals. The Rebels selected him in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2017 draft. . . .

D Christoffer Sedoff of the Red Deer Rebels has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Sedoff, a 21-year-old from Helsinki, Finland, was an undrafted free agent. . . . The contract calls for a salary of US$870,000 in the NHL and $82,500 in the minors, with three $95,000 signing bonuses. . . . He is in his third season with the Rebels. This season, he has four goals and 42 assists in 54 games. Last season, he put up seven goals and 54 assists in 65 games. . . .

Brennan McConaghy has joined the Regina Pats as their interim athletic therapist. McConaghy, 29, has worked with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves and the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . He takes over from Greg Mayer, who had been with the Pats for 19 years before joining the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders as their lead athletic therapist last week.


If the WHL playoffs started today:


Winnipeg (1) vs. Swift Current (8)

Red Deer (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)

Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)

Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)



Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)

Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)

Portland (3) vs. Tri-City (6)

Prince George (4) vs. Everett (5)


The Red Deer Rebels broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals, the first two via the PP, en route to a 6-3 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . F Ben King (16) scored both PP goals, at 6:43 and 8:26. . . . D Mats Lindgren helped out with a goal (10) and four assists for Red Deer. His first career five-point game has him at 27 points in 55 games. Lindgren, who came over from Kamloops prior to the season, had had six three-point games, but had never reached four. . . . F Nate Danielson scored his 30th goal of the season for Brandon. . . . D Christian Sedoff, who signed with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, was back in Red Deer’s lineup after serving a four-game suspension. . . . Red Deer (39-17-4) had lost its previous two games. The Rebels are headed to a Central Division title. . . . Brandon (23-27-8) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, three points from a playoff spot. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips scored six times in the second period en route to a 10-3 victory over the Potland Winterhawks. . . . F Gabe Klassen (32), who had two Portland goals, got the Winterhawks to within one, at 2-1, at 9:53 of the first period. . . . Everett scored the next eight goals. . . . F Matthew Paszkiewicz scored his first goal for Everett and it proved to be the winner. A 17-year-old from Calgary, he scored in his 43rd game. . . . F Austin Roest (32) led Everett with a goal and three assists. D Dexter Whittle and F Ben Hammering each had three assists and F Raphael Pelletier (15) and F Caden Zaplitny (12) each scored twice. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored his 40th of the season for the winners. . . . Everett (30-24-3) has won three in a row. It is fifth in the Western Conference, one point behind Prince George and two ahead of Tri-City. . . . Portland (36-17-5) has lost eight straight (0-7-1) and is headed to a second-place finish in the U.S. Division. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers unleashed a 53-shot attack in beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 8-1. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . . F Logan Stankoven’s 30th goal of the season, on a PP, got Kamloops started at 4:57 of the first period. The Blazers took a 4-0 lead into the second period, their fourth goal, at 14:17, off the stick of F Jakub Demek (1). . . . F Connor Levis (17) had a goal and two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Caedan Bankier (31) and F Ryan Hofer (37), both of whom signed NHL contracts this week, both scored for the Blazers. . . . F Ethan Neutens, a 17-year-old from Cochrane, Alta., scored his first WHL goal in his 53rd game for Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (39-11-6) will finish atop the B.C. Division. . . . Kelowna (23-32-3) had won its previous two games. It is eighth in the Western Conference, four points behind Vancouver and 12 ahead of Victoria. . . . The same two teams will do it again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers built up a 5-0 second-period lead en route to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers scored four times in the first period, two of them coming from F Brendan Lee (27). . . . F Tyler MacKenzie (17) had a goal and two assists in that outburst. . . . Edmonton D Rhys Pederson, a 16-year-old from Stettler, Alta., scored his first WHL goal; it came in his 28th game. . . . Medicine Hat (25-25-9) has won two straight. It is seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Regina and four ahead of Swift Current. . . . Edmonton (8-47-3) has lost 10 in a row. . . .

G Bryan Thomson blocked 31 shots to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3-0 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Thomson has three shutouts this season and five in his career. He missed a lot of the early season due to injury, but now has made 16 appearances. He is 9-4-2, 2.14, .933. . . . The Hurricanes took control with second-period goals from F Tyson Laventure (20) and F Brayden Edwards (8). . . . Duane Bartley worked his 1,500 game as the Raiders’ athletic trainer/equipment manager. . . . Lethbridge (32-21-6) has won two in a row and has closed to within three points of fourth-place Moose Jaw in the Eastern Conference. . . . Prince Albert (25-30-3) is 11th, four points from a playoff spot. . . .

D Hudson Thornton scored twice to help the Prince George Cougars to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Thornton, who has 20 goals this season, gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 3:43 of the first period and then snapped a 2-2 tie at 17:27 of the second. . . . Thornton is one of two defencemen with at least 20 goals; Olen Zellweger (22) of Kamloops is the other. . . . The Cougars scored once on the PP and twice while shorthanded. . . . F Carter Streek (15) had a goal and an assist for Spokane. . . . Prince George (30-24-4) is fourth in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Everett. . . . Spokane (13-38-7) has lost two in a row. . . . They’ll complete the doubleheader tonight in Prince George. . . .

In Regina, the Pats erased a 3-0 second-period deficit and beat the Winnipeg Ice, 5-3. . . . D Carson Lambos (11) gave Winnipeg a 3-0 lead at 6:29 of the second period. . . . F Connor Bedard got Regina to within a goal with scores at 7:12 and 12:07 of the second, and F Tanner Howe, who also had two assists, tied it with his 30th goal at 18:43. . . . Bedard gave his guys the lead at 1:35 of the third and added the empty-netter at 19:38. . . . D Stanislav Svozil had three assists for the winners. . . . F Zach Benson of the Ice, who is second to Bedard in the scoring race, had two assists. . . . According to Rob Vanstone, who used to cover the Pats for the Regina Leader-Post, the Pats last beat the Ice on Feb. 20, 2019. Back then the Ice was playing out of Cranbrook. Regina had been 0-18-2 against the Ice since the franchise moved to Winnipeg. . . . Regina (30-24-3) has won five in a row and is sixth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Medicine Hat. . . . Winnipeg (48-9-1), which leads the Eastern Conference and the East Division, will wrap up a 10-game road swing with a game in Brandon tonight.  The trek started with seven straight victories, but the Ice now has lost two in a row. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades got to 40 victories for the 19th time in franchise history by beating the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-1. . . . F Egor Sidorov scored twice for Saskatoon, giving him 37 this season. . . . Saskatoon F Conner Roulette picked up one assist, the 100th of his career. It came in his 181st game, the first 131 of which were played with Seattle. . . . Saskatoon (40-13-5) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). It is second in the East Division, 10 points behind Winnipeg. . . . Moose Jaw (35-22-3) has lost three in a row. It is fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of Lethbridge. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Gracyn Sawchyn (18) broke a 1-1 tie at 15:09 of the second period and F Lucas Ciona (26) added insurance at 17:55 of the third. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic had a goal (28) and an assist, running his career points total to 280 in 266 games, the first 210 with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Americans had D Jackson Smith, 15, the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft, in their lineup for the third time this season. He plays for the U18 prep team at the Edge School in Calgary. . . . Seattle (46-9-2) has won 11 straight and leads the Western Conference by 10 points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (27-24-7) has lost three in a row. It is sixth in the conference, two points behind Everett. . . .

The Vancouver Giants scored two goals 57 seconds apart early in the second period and went on to a 4-2 victory over the Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll finish their two-game weekend series tonight in Victoria. . . . F Karen Gronick (4) opened the scoring at 1:31 of the second period and F Ty Halaburda (17) made it 2-0 at 2:28. . . . Victoria twice came to within a goal but couldn’t equalize. . . . F Samuel Honzek (21) had Vancovuer’s other two goals. . . . Vancouver was without F Kyle Bochek, who drew a five-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct he incurred on Wednesday night in Prince George. He also is a repeat offender; this is his third suspension totalling 12 games this season. . . . Vancouver (23-28-7) has won two straight. It is seventh in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Kelowna. . . . Victoria (15-38-7) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). It is 12 points from a playoff spot with eight games to play.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.



Bedard inks another chapter . . . Fonteynes are great hockey story . . . Blazers run streak to 10 games

THE BEDARD REPORT: F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats enjoyed his second six-point night of this season on Wednesday in a 6-3 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Bedard finished the night with a goal and five assists. . . . He leads the WHL in goals (52), assists (59) and points (111), all in 43 games. He holds a 26-point lead over F Zach Benson of the Winnipeg Ice in the points derby. . . . Bedard, who won’t turn 18 until July 17, is on the verge of averaging two points per game for his career. He now has 239 points in 120 regular-season games. . . . This was Bedard’s first five-assist game of his career. . . . Since having a 35-game point streak come to an end on Feb. 3, Bedard has 21 points, including 13 assists, in six games. . . . Next up for Bedard and the Pats? A visit to Brandon for a Friday night game with the Wheat Kings.


When I was a youngster, I had an aunt and uncle who every Christmas would buy me a subscription to The Hockey News. That is how I came to be interested in the career of Val Fonteyne, who played 820 regular-season NHL games and another 149 in the WHA. . . . The amazing thing is that Fonteyne, a native of Wetaskiwin, Alta., who now is 89 years young, totalled 30 penalty minutes in all those games. Seriously! He never had more than four PiMs in any one season. However, somehow, in 1957-58, while with the WHL’s Seattle Americans, he actually ended up with 11 PiMs. I would love to know what he did to incur a major penalty that season.

I mention him today because it seems his grandson, Matt, is cut from the same cloth. Matt, who also is from Wetaskiwin, played with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips and now is with the U of Alberta Golden Bears. On Wednesday, Canada West handed out some post-season awards and the 25-year-old was named the winner of the Sportsmanship and Ability Award.

In five seasons (2013-18) in Everett, Fonteyne’s season-high in penalty minutes was 28. In 48 games over two seasons with the Golden Bears, he has 10 penalty minutes. This season, the team captain has 12 goals and 20 assists in 28 games, and four PiMs. . . .

Four other former WHL players were honoured by Canada West.

F Riley Sawchuk (Tri-City Americans, Edmonton Oil Kings) of the Mount Royal U Cougars was named the player of the year. He signed a pro contract with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins earlier this week. . . . Connor Hobbs (Medicine Hat Tigers, Regina Pats) of the U of Saskatchewan Huskies got top defenceman honours, with Carl Tetachuk (Lethbridge Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors) of the U of Calgary Dinos the top goaltender. . . . F Jakin Smallwood (Winnipeg Ice) of the Golden Bears was saluted as rookie of the year. . . .

Mark Howell of the U of Calgary was named coach of the year. He played in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds and Medicine Hat Tigers, and later was an assistant coach with the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Howell’s Dinos will play a best-of-three semifinal series with Saskatchewan this weekend. The Dinos are on a 23-game winning streak.


If the WHL playoffs started today:


Winnipeg (1) vs. Medicine Hat (8)

Red Deer (2) vs. Calgary (7)

Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)

Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)



Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)

Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)

Portland (3) vs. Prince George (6)

Tri-City (4) vs. Everett (5)



F Zach Benson scored once and added three assists as the Winnipeg Ice skated to a 5-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Benson opened the scoring with his 30th goal at 8:25 of the first period. . . . F Matt Savoie (28) added two goals for the Ice, the first one a shorthanded effort, and F Connor McClennon (38) also scored twice. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned his 30th victory of the season with 24 saves, including a first-period stop on a penalty-shot attempt by F Sean Tschigerl. . . . Hauser is 30-3-1, 2.43, .911 this season. In 82 career regular-season appearances, he is 71-6-3, 2.29, .911. . . . Winnipeg (45-7-1) has won eight in a row and now leads the Eastern Conference by 13 points. . . . Calgary (24-25-7) and Medicine Hat are tied for seventh, two points behind Regina and two ahead of Swift Current. . . .

F Connor Bedard had a goal and five assists and wasn’t even the first star as the host Regina Pats beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . F Tanner Howe was selected as the No. 1 star after scoring twice and adding two assists. . . . While playing in Bedard’s shadow, Howe, who turned 17 on Nov. 28, is having quite a season. He now has 68 points, including 28 goals, in 53 games. Last season, he finished with 69 points, 27 of them goals, in 64 games. . . . Last night, it likely was Howe’s second goal that stung the Tigers the most. He scored seven seconds into the third period to gave the Pats a 4-1 lead. . . . Regina D Stanislav Svozil had three assists and that pushed him over the 100-point mark for his career. He now has 101 points, including 84 assists, in 101 games. . . . Regina (27-24-3) has won two in a row and now is sixth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Calgary and Medicine Hat (23-23-9), which is 6-2-3 in its past 11 games. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers are on a 10-game winning streak after beating the Broncos, 6-3, in Swift Current. . . . The Blazers have won four in a row on this tour of the Central Division that continues in Lethbridge on Friday and Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . Last night, the Blazers got two goals from each of F Ryan Hofer (36) and Connor Levis (16). . . . Hofer’s second goal gave the Blazers a 5-0 lead at 15:01 of the second period. . . . The Broncos opened the third period with three goals, but Levis put it away at 16:31. . . . F Josh Filmon got No. 34 for the Broncos, with F Connor Hvidston (17) adding a goal and an assist. . . . Kamloops held a 53-29 edge in shots, including 24-9 in the first period. . . . Kamloops (37-10-6) is second in the Western Conference, eight points behind Seattle. . . . Swift Current (25-26-3) has lost four in a row. It is ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Calgary and Medicine Hat. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 6-2 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . F Adam Mechura (20) and F Jalen Luypen (9) each had two goals and an assist for the winners. . . . F Ben Hemmerling scored his 20th of the season for Everett. . . . This may have been a playoff preview. . . . Tri-City (27-21-7) is fourth in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Everett (27-24-3) and five up on Prince George.


The SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers announced on Wednesday that they and Ken Plaquin, their general manager and head coach, “have agreed to part ways.” Plaquin was in his third season with the Klippers. . . . Tyler Traptow, who had been an assistant coach, will serve as the interim GM/head coach for the remainder of this season. . . . The Klippers, who lost 5-4 to the visiting Yorkton Terriers on Wednesday night, are 11-30-7, which is the poorest record in the 12-team SJHL.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.


No Ridley, no victories for Tigers . . . Benton back with ‘Tips for two . . . WHL, Raiders backtrack on alternate sweaters

The Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos completed a season-Tigersopening home-and-home series on Saturday night. The Broncos won the opener, 2-0, at home on Friday, then completed the sweep with a 3-2 victory in Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . However, you can bet that the participants recognized that something was missing. Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Tigers, wasn’t there; he’s in Lethbridge undergoing radiation treatments. . . . Darren Steinke, who keeps track of such things, notes that Ridley has done the play-by-play on 4,021 of the 4,022 games the Tigers have played since entering the WHL for the 1970-71 season. That includes regular-season games, one tiebreaker, playoff games and Memorial Cup games. . . . And let’s not forget that Ridley drove the Tigers’ bus for a lot of those seasons. You don’t even want to think about how much coffee he drank back in those days. . . . In Ridley’s absence, Scott Roblin of CHAT in Medicine Hat is calling the games.

The Everett Silvertips will play their season-opener tonight (Sunday) when Everettthey face the Chiefs in Spokane. The Silvertips won’t play again until Friday when they hold their home-opener, this time against the Portland Winterhawks. . . . With Mike Benton, the Silvertips’ radio voice for the previous six seasons, having left to join Seattle radio station KJR, you are wondering who will be doing the play-by-play for Everett now, aren’t you? . . . Well, a little birdie has told me that Benton will handle the first two games as the Silvertips work to get a new voice into place. . . . With KJR, Benton is handling the pre-game, intermission and post-game shows for Seattle Kraken games.

The WHL issued a statement late Saturday after the Prince Albert Raiders had unveiled a third sweater that included a controversial logo from their past. Yes, this qualifies as one of those ‘Yikes, what were they thinking?’ moments. . . . Jeff D’Andrea of has more right here.

Meanwhile, on the ice in the WHL on Saturday . . .

If you’re on Twitter, there are some interesting noise-related comments on the thread here . . .

In Regina, the Pats scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-2. F Sloan Stanick scored twice and added an assist for the Pats in a game that was televised nationally by CBC with Victor Findlay calling the play and Sam Cosentino providing the analysis. . . . If you’re on the Connor Bedard watch, he was interviewed during CBC’s pre-game show and again in the second intermission. Oh, he also scored the game’s last goal, his third in two games. . . . Regina had won, 3-1, in Prince Albert on Friday night. While the Pats rode the iron lung home after the game, the Raiders got some shut-eye in their own beds before heading south Saturday at 6:15 a.m. . . . Rob Vanstone has more on Saturday’s game right here. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice completed a home-and-home sweep of the Brandon Wheat Kings, winning 7-1 in the Manitoba capital. F Connor McClennon had two goals for the Ice, with D Carson Lambos adding a goal and two assists. . . . The Ice had won, 10-2, in Brandon on Friday. . . .

The visiting Swift Current Broncos opened up a 3-0 first-period lead en route to a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . G Isaac Poulter stopped 29 shots for his second victory in two nights. . . . The Broncos had beaten the Tigers, 2-0, in Swift Current on Friday. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored the game-winner and added an assist on the insurance goal as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-2. . . . The Warriors had dumped the Blades, 7-1, in Moose Jaw on Friday. . . .

The host Red Deer Rebels skated to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings, scoring the game’s last three goals, the final two into an empty net. . . . The Rebels earned a split in their season-opening home-and-home series, having lost 4-1 in Edmonton on Friday. . . . Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate noted that Saturday’s victory was “just the second time the Rebels have beat Edmonton since December 2018, a span of 20 games.” . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last three goals, the first two early in the second period and both from F Matthew Rempe, as they beat the Winterhawks, 3-1, in Portland. . . .

F Connor Levis broke a 4-4 tie with a PP goal at 15:09 of the third period as the Kamloops Blazers beat the Cougars, 5-4, in Prince George. The Cougars had come back from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits but weren’t ever able to grab a lead. . . . D Hudson Thornton had a goal and two assists for Prince George. . . .

G Jesper Vikman, a 19-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden, stopped 16 shots in his WHL debut as the Vancouver Giants defeated the host Victoria Royals, 5-0. . . . The game wasn’t as kind to Victoria G Sebastian Wraneschitz, who is from Vienna, Austria. He gave up three goals on six shots and left 7:24 into the game. . . . Vancouver F Connor Horning scored once and added an assist in his 200th regular-season WHL game. . . . The Giants were without head coach Michael Dyck, as he served a one-game suspension after his team was involved in a “multiple-fight situation” against Prince George on Sept. 24. Associate coach Keith McCambridge took over in Dyck’s absence. . . .

In Spokane, the Tri-City Americans erased a 3-2 deficit with three third-period goals as they scored a 5-3 victory over the Chiefs. . . . F Parker Bell’s goal at 15:13 of the third period broke a 3-3 tie and stood up as the winner.

It doesn’t happen often, but a veteran of the QMJHL wars has made his way to Royalsthe WHL. F Bailey Peach, 20, has been added to the Victoria Royals’ roster and was in the lineup on Saturday night. . . . From Falmouth, N.S., he cleared QMJHL waivers after being released by the Charlottetown Islanders. He played three seasons (2017-20) plus five games last season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix before moving on to the Islanders last season. In 184 regular-season QMJHL games, he put up 40 goals and 67 assists. He added one goal and five assists in 26 playoff games. . . . Peach joins F Tarun Fizer and F Graeme Bryks as the Royals’ 20-year-olds.

G Robin Lehner of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights hit the send button on the above tweet on Saturday evening. He has more than 107,000 followers. You can bet that we are going to be hearing a lot about this over the next few days.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.


WHL heads into season’s final night . . . Winterhawks, Giants finish with victories . . . Happy birthday to the guy traded for a bus — Tom Martin!

On May 1, Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, won the Kentucky Derby.

On Sunday, it was revealed that Medina Spirit had failed a drug test and that Baffert had been suspended indefinitely from Churchill Downs in Kentucky, the site of the Derby.

The horse tested positive for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory.

Baffert, who has had five horses test positive in the past year, called the situation “disturbing” and added that it was “the biggest gut punch in racing for something I didn’t do.”

We now await the outcome of a second round of testing on Medina Spirit.

In the meantime . . .

On Monday, Baffert told ESPN: “I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I know everybody is not out to get me, but there’s definitely something wrong. . . . There’s problems in racing. But it’s not Bob Baffert.”

Also on Monday, Baffert was blaming “cancel culture” and saying that Medina Spirit “has never been treated with” betamethasone.

Sheesh, he even talked about the possibility of a groom taking cough medicine, urinating in the horse’s stall and the horse eating some of the tainted hay.

By Tuesday, Baffert was admitting that the horse had been treated with an anti-fungal ointment that contains betamethasone.

Talk about a new take on “the dog ate my homework . . . or did he?”

Anyway . . . the Preakness Stakes is scheduled for Saturday. Medina Spirit will come out of the three-hole in the field of 10.


Fernando Tatis Jr., the San Diego Padres’ most watchable shortstop, and at least two coaches with the New York Yankees have tested positive. . . . The Padres put Tatis Jr., who was asymptomatic, and teammates Jorge Mateo and Jurickson Profar, who were close contacts, on the injured list. . . . The Padres are in Denver where they beat the Colorado Rockies, 8-1, on Tuesday night. . . . Phil Nevin, the Yankees’ third-base coach, and first-base coach Reggie Willits tested positive despite having been fully vaccinated. An unidentified member of the team’s support staff also tested positive after having been fully vaccinated. . . . As of last night, the team was awaiting test results for other coaches and support staff. . . . The Yankees are in Tampa Bay where they beat the Rays, 3-1, on Tuesday. They are planning to play again today as scheduled. . . . Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reported that a source had said the game was allowed to proceed because contact tracing and the high rate of vaccinations among Yankees personnel indicated there was no significant additional risk.


Three more WHL teams concluded their seasons on Tuesday, with the last four set to do the same tonight (Wednesday) with the Prince George Cougars meeting the Blazers in Kamloops and the Victoria Royals facing the Rockets in Kelowna. . . .

F Kishaun Gervais broke a 2-2 tie at 4:10 of the third period and the Portland PortlandAlternateWinterhawks went on to a 5-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . This was the final game of the season for both teams. . . . Portland finished 13-8-3 by winning its last four games. . . . Tri-City (7-12-0) lost four in a row. . . . Portland got out to a 2-0 lead on goals from D Nick Cicek (5), at 12:06 of the first period, and D Clay Hanus (1), on a PP, at 2:47 of the second. . . . The Americans, who were beaten, 9-1, by the visiting Winterhawks on Sunday night, tied it on second-period goals by F Jake Sloan (4), at 3:13, and F Booker Daniel (4), at 16:57. . . . Gervais broke the tie with his first goal of the season, and F Gabe Klassen (8) made it 4-2, on a PP, at 10:03. . . . F Nick Bowman (5) pulled the Americans to within a goal, on a PP, at 15:23, but F Jaydon Dureau (10) put it away with the empty-netter. . . . Cicek also had two assists as he closed out his major junior career with a three-point outing. . . . Portland was 2-for-2 on the PP; Tri-City was 1-for-3. . . . The Winterhawks held a 43-20 edge in shots, including 16-1 in the first period. . . . From the WHL: “After 60 days and 55 games, the 2020-21 WHL U.S. Division schedule came to a successful conclusion on Tuesday.” The five U.S. teams went through 4,103 tests for COVID-19 with only two of those turning up positive. . . .

F Tristen Nielsen, playing the final junior game of his career, drew four primary Vancouverassists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 6-1 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kamloops. . . . The Giants finished their season at 12-10-0. . . . The Royals, with one game remaining, are 3-16-2. . . . Nielsen, who turned 21 on Feb. 23, finished the season with 32 points, 15 of them goals, in 22 games. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (7) scored shorthanded at 11:03 of the first period and D Marko Stacha (1) scored at 12:13 to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead. . . . Stacha, a freshman from Ilava, Slovakia, scored his first WHL goal in his 22nd game. He also has five assists. . . . F Keanu Derungs (5) scored for the Cougars, on a PP, at 19:29. . . . But the Giants closed it out with one second-period goal — from F Justin Sourdif (11) — and three in the third. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (7), on a PP, F Justin Lies (3) and F Bryce Bader (5), on a PP, finished the scoring. . . . D Tanner Brown had three assists, with Sourdif adding two helpers to his goal. . . . Last season, Brown had one goal and one assist in 57 games. This season, he finished with two goals and eight assist in 22 games. . . . The Giants outshot the Royals, 37-13, including 20-2 in the second period. . . .

Meanwhile, on Monday night, a pair of 16-year-olds — F Connor Levis and F KamloopsFraser Minten — had five-point outings as the Kamloops Blazers whipped the host Kelowna Rockets, 10-2. . . . That lifted the Blazers’ record to 17-4-0, with the Rockets slipping to 9-5-1. . . . Levis scored three times — his second hat trick of the season — and drew two assists, with Minten scoring once and adding four assists. . . . F Caedan Bankier (11) and F Josh Pillar (10) each chipped in a goal and three assists. . . . Levis, the 20th selection in the 2019 bantam draft, has nine goals and five assists in 21 games, while Minten, a fourth-round pick in that same draft, has three goals and 15 assists in 19 games. . . . The Blazers also got two goals from F Matthew Seminoff (12) and singles from D Inaki Baragano (5) and F Orrin Centazzo (6). . . . F Alex Swetlikoff (5) and F Dillon Hamaliuk (6) replied for the Rockets, their goals coming early in the third period to cut the deficit to 6-2. . . . The Blazers got 24 saves from G Dylan Ernst. . . . Kamloops, which held a 44-26 edge in shots, scored four times in each of the second and third periods as it went 5-for-7 on the PP. Kelowna was 0-for-2. . . .


The WHL’s department of justice came down on the Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs after their starting goaltenders got into a scrap late in the third period of Sunday’s game. Each team was fined $500.

Prince Albert is another step closer to a new arena, one that would be home to the WHL’s Raiders, as city council has voted to award design-related contracts for an estimate $3.2 million to firms from Saskatoon and Toronto. . . . Interestingly, the vote was 6-3 with one councillor, Tony Head, upset that local companies didn’t receive more consideration from the city’s administration. . . . Jason Kerr has that story right here.


ICYMI, the Priestner Sports Corporation, which owns the Saskatoon Blades, has purchased the National Lacrosse League’s Saskatchewan Rush from Bruce Urban. Urban moved the franchise from Edmonton to Saskatoon in 2016. . . . Both teams play out of Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre. . . . The PSC is headed up by Mike Priestner, who also owns Go Auto, which controls 47 Canadian dealerships. . . . Colin Priestner will be the Rush’s governor and president while continuing on as the Blades’ president and general manager. . . . Derek Keenan will stay on as the Rush’s GM.

Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.


OHL season over before it begins . . . Tri-City has two more games postponed . . . Four! Blazers’ Levis burns Rockets

Unable to play even one game, the OHL cancelled its 2020-21 season on Tuesday morning.

According to the OHL, it actually had reached an agreement with the Ontario OHLgovernment on a return-to-play protocol early in April. But with COVID-19 numbers running wild in Ontario, the government implemented a stay-at-home order along with various other restrictions. So the OHL decided that its season just wasn’t going to happen in any way, shape or form.

“We owe it to our players and their families to be definitive,” David Branch, the OHL’s long-time commissioner, said. “We were committed to return and play this season, but our hopes and desires have been dashed by the cruel realities of COVID-19.”

Later, in a virtual session with media, Branch said: “Let me clearly state that if the opportunity had presented itself weeks or months ago, we would’ve taken it. I have no misgivings about how it was handled.”

A tip of the cap to Dale DeGray, the general manager of the Owen Sound Attack for addressing the elephant in the room.

“I think one thing the league looked at is the repercussions of someone being sick,” DeGray told Greg Cowan of the Owen Sound Sun Times. “Nobody knows what that’s going to be like in a year, two years, or five years from now. If we move the clock five years ahead maybe we can look back and say this was the best thing, but right now it does sting.”

Cowan’s complete story is right here.

The AHL’s Toronto Marlies continue to be on hold due to issues with COVID-19 protocol. On Tuesday, the AHL postponed the club’s games through April 28. The Marlies had three games scheduled for that time period.


With the Tri-City Americans having had a player test positive last week, their Americansteam activities remain on hold. That’s why the WHL announced Tuesday that it has postponed two more of their games — Saturday against the host Everett Silvertips and Sunday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Americans now have had five games postponed. They have seven remaining on their schedule, starting with an April 28 game in Spokane.

Meanwhile, there were two WHL games played Tuesday night . . .

F Carson Denomie broke a 2-2 tie at 17:24 of the second period and the Regina PatsPats went on to a 4-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in the Regina hub. . . . The game’s first five goals all were scored in the second period. . . . F Caiden Daley (7) put the Blades out front just 38 seconds into the period. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Carter Chorney (4), shorthanded, at 4:11, and D Layton Feist (4), at 8:30. . . . F Brandon Lisowsky (7) got Saskatoon into a tie at 13:51. . . . Denomie’s 13th goal stood up as the winner. . . . F Kyle Walker (1) got the empty-netter. . . . The Pats (8-9-3) have won two in a row. . . . The Blades (14-3-3) had points in each of their previous seven games (5-0-2). . . . Regina D Ryker Evans ran his point streak to 10 games with two assists. He had two goals and 12 assists over that stretch. . . .

F Connor Levis scored four times, all via the PP, to lead the host Kamloops KamloopsBlazers to a 6-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The 20th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft, Levis was playing in his 10th WHL game. He went into the game with two goals and an assist in his first nine outings. . . . Kamloops (8-2-0) was 5-for-7 on the PP; Kelowna (3-2-0) was 0-for-5. . . . D Montana Onyebuchi (2) got Kamloops started at 1:45 of the first period. . . . The Blazers made it 4-0 before period’s end on two goals from Levis and a PP score by D Inaki Baragano (3). . . . F David Kope (2) got Kelowna’s first goal, at 3:42 of the second period. . . . Levis scored  again at 13:55 of the third period. . . . F Mark Liwiski (4) scored while shorthanded for the Rockets at 14:45, before Levis wrapped up the scoring at 15:42. . . . The Blazers are without two of their top scorers with F Logan Stankoven with Canada’s U18 team and F Orrin Centazzo shelved with an undisclosed injury.


Jared Dumba, a former WHLer, now is vice-president of VIGR Life Cannabis VLCInc., and Tuesday was a big day for him and his partners. As Gillian Francis of the Regina Leader-Post reported: “The company, which is the first micro-grower in Regina, will be introducing a line of buds and pre-rolls that will be available at local dispensaries starting (Tuesday).” . . . Dumba told Francis: “Our plan is to bring things that maybe the market hasn’t seen yet.” . . . Dumba, now 41, played 61 games for the Saskatoon Blades in 1996-97. He went on to play eight plus seasons in the now-defunct Central and International leagues. . . . That story is right here.

Alec Dillon is the new head coach of the U of Victoria Vikes men’s hockey team. Dillon, 24, takes over from Harry Schamhart, who has stepped aside after 16 seasons but remains on staff as the team’s acting general manager. . . . Dillon has been an assistant coach there for the past two seasons. . . . The Vikes won four B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League titles under Schamhart. . . . Dillon, a goaltender, played with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings in 2015-16. He also played two seasons with the Vikes. . . . A fifth-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL’s 2014 draft, Dillon battled hip issues during his playing career. He underwent surgery at one point and sat out the 2016-17 season.

The San Francisco Giants are going to be opening up vaccination-only sections at home games at Oracle Park on Friday. . . . Here’s Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Vaccination-only sections will not be the only option for those fully vaccinated, but they will be an option for additional seating because social distancing will not be required in those areas. Children 16 and under would need negative test results for the vaccine-only sections and those age 2 and under do not have any requirements. . . . The team will continue to require fans to be prepared to show proof of full vaccination or negative coronavirus test results received within 72 hours of the event, and fans must continue to wear face coverings and, in non-vaccinated areas, social distancing still must be observed.”


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Paddy in Disguise (With Glasses) . . . QMJHL aiming for Oct. 1 . . . Goodall talks Bedard

The headline in the Victoria Times-Colonist read: Paddy (The Phantom) Ginnell back in town.

It was Sept. 15, 1985, and the New Westminster Bruins were in Victoria for an exhibition WHL game with the Cougars.

Ginnell, a former owner, general manager and head coach of the Cougars, now was the Bruins’ GM/head coach. While he wasn’t behind the bench for this one because he was serving Game 1 of a five-game suspension, he actually was in the arena. At least for a few minutes.

Dave Senick of the Times-Colonist covered the game and wrote that Ginnell “had a false moustache pasted on his upper lip, a pair of sunglasses perched on his nose and a floppy cap pulled well down his forehead. A frumpy lumber jacket completed the outfit.”

It seems that Ginnell had planned on taking in the game in person, but after being recognized — gee, you think! — Senick reported that the veteran coach “stood by the Bruins’ bus and spent the afternoon chatting with those he knew from a past coaching job with the Cougars.”

Why was Ginnell suspended (and fined $500)?

It seems the Bruins and Seattle Thunderbirds had become involved in a bench-clearing brawl on Sept. 11 in Chilliwack, and Ginnell’s guys were deemed the first to leave the bench.

Bench-clearing brawls. Coaches in disguise. Yes, those were the days, weren’t they?

BTW, the above photo of Ginnell, in disguise, was taken by Ian McKain of the Times-Colonist.

The QMJHL, which unveiled a new logo on Monday, plans to begin its 2020-21 regular season on Oct. 1 with a schedule calling for each team to play its usual 68 games. Commissioner Gilles Courteau told a video conference on Tuesday that his league expects to have “a certain percentage of spectators” attending games. . . . The QMJHL opened its 2019-20 regular season on Sept. 19. The 18-team league has teams in four provinces — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. . . . Courteau said the league is working on a return-to-play program and that it will continue to work through all of this with public health officials. . . . Later, some teams, including the Halifax Mooseheads, issued statements. “Although this is a positive announcement for all of us . . . we fully understand that there are still a number of factors to be determined and approved by our Provincial Government and public health authorities before we can begin selling ticket packages,” the Mooseheads said. “We are currently working closely with the QMJHL on a Return to Play protocol for the 2020-21 season in order to ensure a safe return for our players, staff and fans, that will be in compliance with public health guidelines.” . . . So, while the QMJHL is aiming for Oct. 1, it still is faced with a lot of unknowns, meaning the league is no different than anyone else.

Don’t shoot the messenger. OK?

Bartley Kives of CBC News wrote an interesting piece that was posted on the Corp.’s website on Sunday morning.

Here’s the headline: Never mind 2020 — It could be years before pro sports fans are back in the stands.

That is something I have been wondering about for a while now. Faced with an aggressive virus, no vaccine, and with governments, at least in Canada, who are reluctant to allow large gatherings in their jurisdictions, where exactly does the sports world go from here.

That sports world would include pro sports and, yes, junior hockey.

While the NHL, NBA and MLB likely could survive in the short term without fans in the stands, it’s doubtful that the CFL could make it. And there is no chance — Zero! Nil! Nada! — that junior hockey at any level could make it.

The CFL, like all leagues, is wanting badly to have some sort of season in 2020.

As Kives points out, “. . . the CFL may not be able to afford a year of failing to engage its audience. The CFL desperately needs real fans to buy tickets to games, merchandise, food and beer.

“The league could be holding out faint hope public health authorities will allow fans to gather in large groups this season.

“That is quite unlikely, given the highly communicable nature of COVID-19 and the potential for infection when thousands of people are gathered in a confined space such as a stadium concourse.

“It’s hard enough for public health employees to trace the contacts of a single infected patient who works at a Winnipeg Walmart or a Brandon trucking company.

“Imagine the complexity — if not outright impossibility — of trying to figure out who came in contact with one infected person among a crowd of tens of thousands at a stadium such as I.G. Field in Winnipeg or Mosaic Stadium in Regina.”

Kives spoke with Dan Chateau, an assistant professor of community health sciences at the U of Manitoba.

“Think about the Roughriders,” Chateau said. “They get people from all over Saskatchewan, and the Blue Bombers get people from all over Manitoba and from all over the City of Winnipeg, which is three quarters of a million (people) itself.

“You don’t want those people to go back to their communities and eventually spread COVID-19 again through each of their individual spheres of social contact.”

Kives followed that by writing this:

“This would not just be a problem this fall. It will be a problem for the CFL, NHL and any professional league as long as COVID-19 continues to circulate among the population and no vaccine treatment is available.

“This, unfortunately, means there may be no fans in the stands for CFL and NHL games in 2021, 2022 or beyond.”

As for a vaccine, well, you can read all about it right here, which is where you will find Kives’ complete story.

Just remember . . . please don’t shoot the messenger.

When you talk about the most under-rated players in WHL history, Rick Blight’s name has to be near the top of the list. Playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings, he put up 31 goals and 62 assists in his freshman season (1972-73). The next season, he totalled 130 points, including 49 goals, in 67 games. In 1974-75, Blight scored 60 goals and added 52 assists. . . . He finished his major junior career with 336 points, including 141 goals, in 201 assists. . . . Blight committed suicide in April 2005. . . . Ed Willes of Postmedia has more on Blight’s story right here.

The Kamloops Blazers have signed F Connor Levis, a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft who had committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines. Levis was the 20th overall selection in that draft. . . . He and D Mats Lindgren, who was taken seventh overall by the Blazers, had both committed to Michigan. Lindgren also has signed with the Blazers. . . . Levis, at 15, had 12 goals and 14 assist in 33 games for the St. George’s School prep team last season.

Glen Goodall holds one WHL record that won’t ever be broken. Over six WHL seasons, Goodall, now 50, played in 399 regular-season games. At 14, he was a regular with the Seattle Breakers in 1984-85. He played the next five seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Having played at 14, he can relate to what F Connor Bedard is faced with as he prepares to join the Regina Pats at 15. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post chatted with Goodall and the results are right here.

USA Hockey has cancelled boys’ and girls’ player development camps for this summer. From a news release: “USA Hockey cancelled the Boys Select 15, Girls 15, and Girls 16/17 camps on March 20 and on Monday cancelled the remaining camps that had been listed as tentative, including the Boys Select 16, Boys Select 17 and Girls Under-18 Select camps.”

Holt everything! Giants strike first. . . . Two late second-period goals key to Game 1 victory. . . . Might so many commits work against NCAA schools?


F Matt Fraser (Red Deer, Kootenay, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Augsburger Panther (Germany, DEL). This season, he had 18 goals and 16 assists in 52 games. The was second on the team in goals and third in points. . . .

D Troy Rutkowski (Portland, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste bank Liga). This season, he had nine goals and 18 assists in 52 games. . . .

D David Němeček (Saskatoon, 2013-14) has signed a one-year plus option contract with Lukko Rauma (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and three assists in 46 games. . . .

D Lassi Thomson (Kelowna, 2018-19) has signed a two-year plus option contract with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Kelowna (WHL), he had 17 goals and 24 assists in 63 games. . . .

G Alexander Pechursky (Tri-City, 2009-11) has signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Novokuznetsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan, Vysshaya Liga), he was 13-16-2, 2.36, .917, with one assist, in 32 games.


You could make an argument that the most surprising part of Thursday’s WHL bantam draft was the decision by the Kamloops Blazers to use both of their first-round selections on players who have made verbal commitments to the U of Michigan Wolverines.

Kamloops used the seventh-overall selection on D Mats Lindgren of the Burnaby Winter Club, then took F Connor Levis of St. George’s Academy in Vancouver with the 20th pick.

Both players have made verbal commitments to the Wolverines for the 2022-23 season.

So . . . you’re wondering why the Blazers, a team that had a mediocre season while in what was the WHL’s weakest division in 2018-19, would take two NCAA commits in the first round?

Well, Jess Myers of has written an excellent piece that details the changes to NCAA hockey and its recruiting process, all of which came into effect on May 1.

In that story, Myers writes:

“The new system may also reduce the high numbers of committed players that many colleges have now. The list of college commitments that is maintained by College Hockey, Inc., shows that in the Big Ten, Michigan has 37 players who have given verbal commitments to play for the Wolverines in the future, and presumably have been given a scholarship offer of some amount. The (Minnesota) Gophers and Wisconsin (Badgers) each has 31 commitments listed.”

I wasn’t able to find the list of 37 potential future Wolverines, but, then, I’m hardly a computer genius. I did find a list of 24 commits, but it doesn’t include any players committed for 2022-23. Another list, this one at, shows Michigan with 33 commitments but it doesn’t include 2022-23, either.

However, I would suggest that somewhere there is a list that shows 37 commits for Michigan.

Still, the point is that Michigan and many other schools have a whole host of commits potentially on the way.

That being the case, it’s got to give Kamloops general manager Matt Bardsley a terrific starting point when he begins his serious recruiting pitch with Lindgren, Levis and their families.

Myers’ story is right here.

CORRECTION: D Sean Comrie, whose rights moved from the Brandon Wheat Kings to the Kelowna Rockets on Thursday, just finished his first season with the U of Denver Pioneers. The Edmonton native had one assists in 18 games, after spending two seasons with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. Brandon selected him in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft.


MORE DRAFT BLOODLINES: The Calgary Hitmen selected F Jadon Kwiatkowski of Sammamish, Wash., in the 11th round. A reader tells me that he is from Lake Stevens, Wash., and that he played for the U-14 Everett Jr. Silvertips. His father, Jason, played three seasons (1990-93) in the WHL, with the Prince Albert Raiders and Tacoma Rockets, while an uncle, Joel, split four WHL seasons (1994-98) between Tacoma, the Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars. . . .

In the sixth round, the Hitmen selected D Matthew Sutter, who had seven goals and 13 assists in 31 games with the bantam AAA Spruce Grove PAC Saints. He isn’t related to the Sutters of Viking, Alta.


Here’s a look, in alphabetical order, at teams that had four or more players selected in the bantam draft:

Anchorage North Stars (4)

BWC H.A. Bntm Prep (8)

Calgary CBHA Bisons BAAA (6)

Colorado Thunderbirds 14U (6)

Dallas Stars Elite 14U (5)

Delta H.A. Bntm Prep Green (12)

Eastman Selects B1AAA (4)

Edge School Bntm Prep (11)

Fort Sask. Rangers BAAA (5)

Lloydminster Bobcats BAAA (4)

Martensville Marauders BAA (4)

North Zone Kings BAA (4)

Northern Alberta Xtreme Bntm Prep (6)

OHA Edmonton Bntm Prep (7)

Okanagan H.A. Bntm Prep (7)

Okotoks Oilers BAAA (4)

Red Deer Rebels BAAA (8)

Rink H.A. Nationals Bntm Prep (9)

Sherwood Park Flyers BAAA (4)

St. George’s School Bntm Prep (4)

Warman Wildcats BAA (4)

Yale H.A. Bntm Prep (11)

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Ryan Marushak is remaining with the junior B Delisle Chiefs of the Prairie Junior Hockey DelisleChiefsLeague. The former general manager will be the team’s director of player personnel in what will be his eighth season with the organization. . . . Eric Ditto was named the team’s general manager and head coach on Thursday. . . . If you weren’t aware, Delisle was home to the late Max Bentley, an NHL star who had one of the great nicknames in sports history — the Dipsy Doodle Dandy from Delisle.

Tyler Drader is the new head coach of the Calgary-based SAIT Trojans, who play in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. He spent the previous two seasons as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs. . . . Drader takes over from Brent Devost, who resigned after one season with the Trojans. . . . There is a news release right here.


NOTES: First, please allow me to point out that this is the WHL final. It isn’t the WHL finals or the WHL Finals or the WHL FINALS. There is only one series, only one final, thus it is the WHL final. Thank you . . .

With that out of the way, the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup got started on Friday night in Prince Albert with the Vancouver Giants beating the Raiders, 5-4. They’ll play Game 2 in the Art Hauser Centre tonight, then head for Langley, B.C., and games on Tuesday, Wednesday and, if necessary, Friday in the Langley Events Centre. . . .

While there isn’t a player on either team who has played in a WHL final, there are coaches who have been there. . . . Jamie Heward, in his first season as the Giants’ associate coach, is in his second straight final. Last season, he helped guide the Swift Current Broncos to a championship. . . . Jeff Battah, an assistant coach with the Giants, was an assistant with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2008 when they got to the final under then-head coach Michael Dyck. Dyck, of course, now is the Giants’ head coach. . . . Raiders assistant coach Jeff Truitt was an assistant under Marc Habscheid, now the head coach in Prince Albert, when the Kelowna Rockets won the 2003 title. Truitt was the head coach two seasons later when the Rockets won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia pointed out before Game 1 that Vancouver D Bowen Byram’s father, Shawn, played 116 games from 1986-88 with the Prince Albert Raiders, putting up 39 goals, 85 points and 300 PIMs. . . . Shawn began his WHL career by playing 62 games with the Regina Pats (1984-87). . . .


The Vancouver Giants broke a 3-3 tie with two goals in the final minute of the second period and then hung on for a 5-4 victory over the host Prince Albert Raiders in Game 1 Vancouverof the WHL’s championship series. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert tonight. . . . Vancouver D Dylan Plouffe (5) opened the scoring from the right faceoff dot at 4:20 of the first period, one-timing a pass from D Bowen Byram while enjoying a two-man PP advantage. . . . F Dawson Holt (6) upped the lead to 2-0 at 6:06 as he pounced on a rebound off the end boards and rifled it home just 10 seconds after Vancouver’s second PP expired. . . . The Raiders cut the deficit in half when F Brett Leason (6) scored on a PP at 3:20 of the second period, beating G David Tendeck through the legs. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (8), the Giants’ captain, restored the two-goal lead at 5:13 as his shot from the top of the circles got past G Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders quickly got that one back as F Noah Gregor (8) made it 3-2 at 6:17 as he split the defencemen at the top of the Giants’ zone, took a pass and scored from 12 feet out. . . . The home team pulled into a tie when F Dante Hannoun (10), a sniper who didn’t score in the six-game semifinal victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings, found the range off a rebound at 16:45 of the second period. . . . Vancouver went back out front with 30.9 seconds left in the period as F Yannik Valenti (2) whipped home a one-timer from high in the slot on a PP. . . . Holt (7), who is from Saskatoon, made it 5-3 with his second goal of the game, this one from a bad angle, with 16.5 seconds left in the period. . . . D Jeremy Massella (1) pulled the Raiders back to within a goal at 2:50 of the third period when he drove to the net from the right side and stuffed the puck past Tendeck. . . . Holt had six goals in 53 regular-season games; he’s got seven in 16 playoff games. . . . F Owen Hardy, Dmytriw, who is from Craven, Sask., and Byram each had two assists for the Giants. Byram leads all playoff scorers with 20 points. . . . F Parker Kelly had two assists for the Raiders, with Hannoun adding one to his goal. . . . Vancouver was 2-4 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-3. . . . Tendeck finished with 25 stops, four more than Scott. . . . F Aidan Barfoot was among the Giants’ scratches. He hasn’t played since suffering a suspected concussion in Game 4 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The referees were Jeff Ingram and Brett Iverson, with Sean Dufour and Tarrington Wyonzek on the lines.

(NOTE: Scoring changes after the game gave Byram two more assists, while taking one away from Hardy. That left Byram with a WHL-leading 22 points.)

Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Daily Herald has a game story right here.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a gamer right here.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Savoie says he’s going to Denver; top bantam prospect tweets about his decision. . . . Calgary captain leaves finale early


F Matt Savoie, the No. 1 prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, announced via Twitter on Monday evening that he plans on attending the U of Denver and playing for whlthe Pioneers, starting with the 2021-22 season.

Savoie and his family applied to Hockey Canada for exceptional status, a move that if granted would have allowed him to play full-time in the WHL as a 15-year-old in 2019-20. Under WHL rules, a 15-year-old is permitted to play only five games before his club team has its season come to an end.

Hockey Canada has yet to announce its decision, although Savoie’s decision might indicate a ruling is imminent.

Earlier this month,, citing what it called “multiple WHL sources,” reported that Savoie had been denied exceptional status. However, has yet to confirm that report with Hockey Canada or the Savoie family, and hasn’t followed up on its story.

Savoie turned 15 on Jan. 1. Had he been born one day earlier, he would have been selected in the 2018 bantam and would be eligible to play full-time in the WHL next season.

From St. Albert, Alta., he played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, totalling 31 goals and 40 assists in 31 games, and was named the CSSHL’s most valuable player.

Savoie’s brother, Carter, 17, also has committed to Denver. Carter played this season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. It could be that the plan is for Matt to play in the AJHL, too, until he joins the Pioneers.

Of course, there is a lot of hockey to be played between then and now, and a whole lot can happen, including the changing of minds.

The WHL will hold its annual draft lottery on Wednesday to determine the order of selection for the draft that is scheduled for Red Deer on May 2. The six non-playoff teams will be in the lottery, with teams allowed to move up only two spots. Thus, the three teams with the poorest regular-season records are in the running for the first pick.

The Swift Current Broncos finished with the poorest record, following by the Winnipeg Ice and Regina Pats. However, the Prince George Cougars hold Swift Current’s pick from an earlier trade, and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s selection.

It’s worth noting, too, that two other top prospects announced NCAA commitments earlier this season.

D Mats Lindgren, son of the former NHLer of the same name, won’t turn 15 until Aug. 26 but already has said he will attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines, starting in 2022-23. Lindgren is from North Vancouver, B.C., and had four goals and 22 assists in 27 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep A team.

F Connor Levis, who will turn 15 on Oct 5, also has committed to Michigan for 2022-23. Levis is from Vancouver. This season, he had 24 goals and 38 assists in 26 games with  the St. George’s School bantam prep team.

There were, of course, four teams in the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament that took place in Regina. Of those four teams, only one will appear in this season’s playoffs. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan won the 2018 Memorial Cup, beating the WHL’s Regina Pats, in the tournament as the host team, in the final. Also there were the WHL-champion Swift Current Broncos and the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . The Titan concluded its regular season on Saturday, finishing with an 8-54-6 record, including a 1-29-4 mark on home ice. . . . Regina wound up 19-45-4, while Swift Current, at 11-51-6, finished with the WHL’s poorest record. . . . Hamilton, at 29-34-5, finished eighth in the 10-team Eastern Conference and will meet the first-place Ottawa 67’s (49-12-5) in the first round of the OHL’s playoffs. . . . Obviously, the cost of winning a championship in major junior hockey can be a steep price to pay. So can being the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament.

With the playoffs about to start, it will be worth watching the status of F Mark Kastelic, Calgarythe captain of the Calgary Hitmen.

Here’s Zach Laing of Postmedia, after the Hitmen lost, 3-1, to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday:

“With just under four minutes (left in the third period), Kastelic was tracking a loose puck near the Oil Kings bench when Edmonton left-winger Jake Neighbours finished a body-check resulting in Kastelic being slammed face first into the hard plexiglass stanchion.

“Wobbling to the bench, Kastelic had to be initially held up by teammates as he went directly to the locker room with Neighbours heading to the penalty box.”

Kastelic didn’t return to the game, but Laing reported seeing him walking around after the game “looking no worse for wear.”

Kastelic led the Hitmen in goals (47) and was tied with F James Malm for the lead in points, each with 77.

The Hitmen open the first round on Friday against the host Lethbridge Hurricanes.

F Trey Fechko of Eden Prairie, Minn., has committed to Arizona State U and says he will join the Sun Devils for the 2022-23 season. Fechko, who will turn 16 on Oct. 16, played this season for Holy Family Catholic High School, totalling 37 points, including 15 goals, in 24 games. . . . He was selected by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

Trevor Weisgerber, a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, is the new head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . Weisgerber takes over from Ray Wareham, who has left the post after 17 seasons. . . . Weisgerber was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Warriors for two seasons (2010-12). . . . Marc Smith of has more right here.


Oil Kings a hurtin’ bunch . . . Youngster commits to Michigan . . . Chiefs’ Smith lights up Cougars


The Edmonton Oil Kings started one of those weekends — three games in fewer than 48 hours — on Friday night, and they went in with nine injured players, according to the EdmontonOilKingsWHL’s weekly roster report. That report also fails to include G Travis Child and F Andrei Pavlenko, neither of whom will play again this season. . . . Of the nine players listed, all are shown as being out at least one week, although G Boston Bilous, who is listed as being out a week due to illness, backed up Friday night. . . . As a result, the Oil Kings have added F Matthew Culling, F Raphael Pelletier and D Logan Dowhaniuk to their roster. . . . Culling, 16, is from Regina and was a 10th-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, and got into four earlier games with the Oil Kings. . . . Pelletier, from St. Albert, Alta., plays for the Northern Alberta Elite 15s. He was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Pelletier got into two games with the Oil Kings earlier this season. . . . Dowhaniuk, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, and got into two WHL games earlier in the season. He plays for the OHA Edmonton prep team.

F Connor Levis of Vancouver has committed to the U of Michigan, where he will play for the Wolverines starting in 2022-23. Levis, 5-foot-10 and 140 pounds, plays for the bantam varsity team at St. George’s School in Vancouver. This season, Levis has 42 goals and 46 assists in 29 games. . . . Levis is 13 years of age — he will turn 14 on Oct. 5 — so hasn’t yet been through a WHL bantam draft.

If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.



Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge



Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


At Calgary, F Jake Kryski scored twice to lead the Hitmen to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Calgary (19-33-7) has won two in a row. It is 11th in the Central CalgaryDivision, one point ahead of Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings (18-34-8) had points in their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . F Carson Focht (10) gave Calgary at 1-0 lead at 11:56 of the first period. . . . Kryski made it 2-0, on a PP, at 1:22 of the second period. . . . F Tomas Soustal (17) scored for Edmonton at 4:29. . . . Kryski (13) got that one back at 6:02. . . . F Jakob Stukel (29), who also had two assists, got Calgary’s final goal, at 17:03. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from F Riley Stotts, while Kryski also added an assist. . . . Calgary was 1-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-4. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 14 shots for the Hitmen. . . . At the other end, G Josh Dechaine turned aside 22 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 8,984.

At Cranbrook, B.C., the Medicine Hat Tigers scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Medicine Hat (31-24-7) has won three in a row. It leads the Central Tigers Logo OfficialDivision by three points over Lethbridge. . . . Kootenay (25-35-3) has lost four in a row. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points behind Red Deer. . . . F Gary Haden (15) gave  the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 1:53 of the first period. . . . The Ice took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Alec Baer (25), at 10:24 of the first period, and F Brad Ginnell (8), on a PP, at 17:18 of the second period. . . . D Cole Clayton (2) pulled the Tigers even at 18:23. . . . D David Quenneville (25) broke the tie, on a PP, at 9:00 of the third period. . . . F Jaeger White had two assists for the winners. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-3 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-6 on the PP. . . . The Tigers got 32 saves from G Michael Bullion. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 33 shots for the Ice. . . . The game’s start was delayed more than 90 minutes after the Tigers were late getting to Cranbrook. Their trip was delayed more than two hours by an accident in the Crowsnest Pass. . . . F Connor McClennon played in his fourth game with the Ice. He was the second overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . The Tigers again were without G Jordan Hollett, D Joel Craven, D Kristians Rubins, D Linus Nassen, F Hayden Ostir and F Mason Shaw. They also scratched F Dawson Heathcote. . . . Announced attendance: 2,279.

At Lethbridge, F Jordy Bellerive had a goal and two assists to help the Hurricanes to a 7-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lethbridge (30-25-6) is second in the Central LethbridgeDivision, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Brandon (31-24-5) has lost two in a row. It is fourth in the East Division, five points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . F Brad Morrison gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 10:34 of the first period, and F Dylan Cozens (19) made it 2-0 at 12:39. Both goals came via the PP. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (17) got Brandon on the scoreboard at 2:20 of the second period. . . . Lethbridge scored the next five goals. . . . F Logan Barlage (6) and Morrison (25) struck on the PP, with other goals coming from Bellerive (43), F Egor Zudilov (6) and F Taylor Ross (17). . . . F Rylan Bettens (6) had Brandon’s other goal, on a PP. . . . D Calen Addison drew three assists for the winners, with F Jake Elmer and F Jadon Joseph getting two each, and Barlage one. . . . Lethbridge was 4-4 on the PP; Brandon was 1-5. . . . The Hurricanes got 29 stops from G Logan Flodell. . . . The Wheat Kings started G Logan Thompson, who was beaten five times on 32 shots through two periods. Dylan Myskiw finished up, stopping six of eight shots in the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Ty Lewis, but had D Daniel Bukac and D Chase Hartje back in the lineup. They also added F Ridly Greig to their roster, allowing him to play in his hometown. He was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 3,436.

At Red Deer, F Brett Leason broke a 2-2 tie at 19:16 of the second period and the Prince Albert Raiders went on to a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . Prince Albert (25-25-11) has PrinceAlbertwon two in a row. It is four points out of a playoff spot. . . . Red Deer (21-28-13) has lost two straight. It is third in the Central Division, two points ahead of Kootenay. . . . The Raiders took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Kody McDonald (31), at 0:14, and F Jordy Stallard (39), at 17:02. . . . The Rebels pulled even on second-period goals from F Alex Morozoff (5), at 3:02, and F Josh Tarzwell (9), on a PP, at 17:38. . . . Leason’s 14th goal stood up as the winner and ran his goal-scoring streak to five games. . . . D Vojtech Budik had two assists for the Raiders, with McDonald adding one. . . . Red Deer was 1-8 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-1. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 29 saves. . . . Ethan Anders stopped 20 shots for Red Deer. . . . F Jordan Borysiuk made his WHL debut with the Rebels. Borysiuk, 16, was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He is from Mannville, Alta., and plays for the midget AAA Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Announced attendance: 4,428.

At Kelowna, F Kole Lind broke a 4-4 tie late in the third period to give the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna (37-18-6) has points in four straight KelownaRockets(3-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division by five points over Victoria. . . . Seattle (28-23-9) has lost three in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points behind Tri-City and six ahead of Kamloops. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Donovan Neuls (20), at 7:26, and F Dillon Hamaliuk (14), at 11:35. . . . The Rockets scored the next four goals. . . . D Cal Foote (16) started it 19 seconds into the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube (30) tied the score at 2:13. . . . F Leif Mattson (19) gave Kelowna the lead, on a PP, at 2:46 of the third period, and D Kaedan Korczak (3) made it 4-2 at 7:13. . . . Seattle tied it on goals 29 seconds apart from F Matthew Wedman (15), at 14:46, and F Zack Andrusiak (24), at 15:15. . . . Lind, in his first game since Feb. 12, won it with his 32nd goal, at 18:39. . . . Mattson added two assists to his goal, with Dube and Korczak getting one each. . . . F Nolan Volcan and Hamaliuk each had two assists for Seattle, with Wedman adding one. . . . Kelowna was 2-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-4. . . . The Rockets got 23 saves from G Brodan Salmond. . . . Seattle G Dorrin Luding stopped 24 shots. . . . D Reece Harsch returned to Seattle’s lineup after a 19-game absence. . . . Announced attendance: 4,859.

At Spokane, D Ty Smith, who is likely to be the first WHLer selected in the NHL’s 2018 draft, had two goals and five assists as the Chiefs whipped the Prince George Cougars, 9-SpokaneChiefs2. . . . Spokane (34-21-5) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Prince George (20-32-8) has lost two in a row. . . . Spokane scored the game’s first six goals — two in the first period and four in the second. . . . Smith, who has 12 goals, scored 12 seconds into the second period and again at 4:02, giving the Chiefs leads of 3-0 and 4-0. . . . F Kailer Yamamoto (17), F Milos Fafrak (7), F Luke Toporowski (9), D Dalton Hamaliuk (3), F Carter Chorney (2), F Ethan McIndoe (19) and D Jeff Faith (5) also scored for Spokane. . . . The Chiefs got three assists from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, two each from McIndoe and Yamamoto, and one apiece from Hamaliuk, Fafrak and Toporowski. . . . F Brogan O’Brien (11) and F Aaron Boyd (10) scored for the Cougars, who got two assists from F Josh Maser. . . . Spokane was 0-1 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs got 32 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . The Cougars started G Tavin Grant, who was beaten six times on 28 shots through two periods. Isaiah DiLaura played the third period, allowing three goals on six shots. . . . Announced attendance: 7,906.

At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans got out to a 2-0 lead and went on to a 4-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Tri-City (31-21-8) has won two straight. It is fourth TriCity30in the U.S. Divison, three points behind Spokane. . . . Kamloops (27-30-5) is six points from a playoff spot. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (24) opened the scoring at 16:16 of the first period, and F Nolan Yaremko (19) upped it to 2-0 at 3:51 of the second. . . . F Nick Chyzowski (18) got the Blazers to within a goal, on a PP, at 1:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki (8) restored the two-goal lead at 1:54. . . . F Brodi Stuart (14) pulled Kamloops back to within a goal at 17:04, only to have F Parker AuCoin (16) get the empty-netter at 18:55. . . . Rasmussen also had an assist. . . . The Blazers got two assists from F Quinn Benjafield. . . . Kamloops was 1-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-2. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 31 shots for the Americans, five fewer than Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers. . . . The Americans remain without D Roman Kalinichenko and F Kyle Olson. . . . Kamloops continues to play without D Luke Zazula and F Luc Smith. . . . Announced attendance: 3,168.

At Saskatoon, the Regina Pats erased a 4-0 deficit and went on to beat the Blades, 7-5. . . . Regina (33-24-6) has won four in a row. It is third in the East Division, five points ahead ReginaPats100of Brandon. . . . Saskatoon (31-28-3) had won its previous two games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Brandon and four ahead of Prince Albert. . . . F Kirby Dach (6) gave the Blades a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:37 of the first period. . . . D Seth Bafaro (3) made it 2-0 at 16:49, and F Eric Florchuk (13) upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 17:43. . . . The Blades took a 4-0 lead at 7:47 of the second period as F Gage Ramsay got his fifth goal. . . . The Pats tied it with four quick goals. . . . F Cam Hebig (40) got it started, on a PP, at 16:33, with F Koby Morrisseau (3) making it 4-2 at 18:08. . . . F Robbie Holmes (14) got Regina to within a goal 58 seconds into the third period, and F Matt Bradley tied it at 3:43. . . . F Chase Wouters (17) gave the Blades a 5-4 lead at 4:08, but the Pats scored the last three goals. . . . F Sam Steel (24) tied it at 7:23 and F Jared Legien (21) gave the Pat their first lead at 17:26. . . . Bradley (37) added the empty-netter at 19:43. . . . The Pats got two assists from each of F Emil Oskanen, Steel and Hebig, with Bradley getting one. . . . Steel had three points in his 250th regular-season game. He now has 325 points, including 211 assists. . . . F Max Gerlach had two assists for Saskatoon, with Dach and Bafaro each getting one. . . . Saskatoon was 2-5 on the PP; Regina was 1-5. . . . G Jacob Wasserman made his first WHL start for Regina and finished with 23 stops. . . . The Blades got 29 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . Saskatoon was without D Dawson Davidson, who is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Regina was without F Jesse Gabrielle, who completed a two-game suspension, and D Liam Schioler, who served the first of a two-game suspension. . . . With Schioler out, the Pats have added D Marco Creta to their roster from the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. . . . Announced attendance: 3,982.

At Victoria, G Shane Farkas stopped 29 shots to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Royals. . . . Portland (36-20-4) had lost its previous two games. It is second Portlandin the U.S. Division, three points ahead of Spokane. . . . Victoria (35-22-5) is second in the B.C. Divison, five points behind Kelowna. . . . The Winterhawks got second-period goals from F Alex Overheard (14), at 13:43, and F Kieffer Bellows (30), at 18:44. . . . F Noah Gregor (23) scored the Royals’ goal, on a PP, at 18:10 of the third period. . . . Royals F Matthew Phillips picked up an assist to reach 100 points, including 44 goals. He is the first skater in Royals history to enjoy a 100-point season. . . . He also ran his point streak to 22 games. . . . Victoria was 1-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-4. . . . The Royals got 35 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Victoria D Chaz Reddekopp, who hasn’t played since Jan. 13, took the warmup but then was scratched. . . . Announced attendance: 5,527.

At Langley, B.C., F Martin Fasko-Rudas broke a 1-1 tie at 12:16 of the second period and the Everett Silvertips went on to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Everett (40-Everett17-5) has points in 10 straight (8-0-2). It leads the Western Conference by five points over Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (31-21-8) has lost three in a row. It is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Victoria. . . . F Connor Dewar (31) scored, on a PP, to give Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:54 of the second period. . . . Vancouver F Davis Koch (21) tied it at 10:54. . . . Fasko-Rudas won it with his sixth goal of the season, at 12:16. . . . Everett got two assists from each of F Matt Fonteyne and F Garrett Pilon. . . . Everett was 1-1 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-4. . . . The Silvertips got 29 saves from G Carter Hart. The game’s first star, Hart now is 25-4-4, 1.55, .951. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck blocked 26 shots. . . . The Giants scratched D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis and F Milos Roman, who are injured, and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . Announced attendance: 2,536.

SATURDAY (all times local):

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Prince George vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Portland at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops at Kelowna 7:05 p.m.

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


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