Recovering Leonard could use some $$ help . . . Ice victory streak at 15 . . . Winterhawks are rolling, too

Seth Leonard played games in six WHL seasons (1998-2004), spending time with the Kelowna Rockets (133 games) and Prince Albert Raiders (166). In his final season, he struck for 50 goals and added 40 assists in 72 games with the Raiders.

Now he could use some help from the hockey world.

Gina Ratcliffe, a family friend, has started a GoFundMe after Leonard was in a car accident near his hometown of Nakusp, B.C.

Leonard, writes Ratcliffe, “was on his way to Nakusp to pick up his daughter when he was in an bad accident due to the road conditions.”

According to Ratcliffe, Leonard’s back was broken “in three different spots.” He was taken to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, where he underwent surgery. He now will be returning home to begin his recover.

Leonard’s girlfriend, Brittany, has taken time off work and there is no indication as to when Leonard will be able to return to work. Yes, they now find themselves in a financial pinch.

If you are able to help that GoFundMe is right here.


Headline at fark.com — Former FIFA boss says giving the World Cup to Qatar was a mistake. It sure took a long time for that check to clear.


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

F Evan Herman, the Prince Albert Raiders’ new captain, scored twice and added PrinceAlbertan assist in a 5-4 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Raiders (8-12-2) have won three straight. . . . The Tigers (6-10-5) had points in each of their previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Herman, who has four goals this season, was named captain after the Raiders dealt D Nolan Allan to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday. . . . F Sloan Stanick (6) also scored twice and had an assist for the winners. His second goal broke a 3-3 tie at 10:56 of the third period and Herman made it 5-3 at 16:53. . . . The Raiders were 2-11 on the PP; the Tigers were 1-5. . . .

G Connor Ungar turned aside 33 shots to lead the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors to WarriorsNewa 6-0 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Warriors (13-8-0) have won two in a row. They beat the Broncos 5-4 in Moose Jaw on Friday night. . . . Swift Current (9-11-0) has lost two straight. . . . Ungar, a 20-year-old from Calgary, posted his first shutout of this season and the third of his career. . . . F Brayden Yager’s 10th goal, a shorthanded effort at 3:25 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . F Jagger Firkus scored once as he ran his scoring streak to 14 games. He has 10 goals and 10 assist over that stretch. . . . The Warriors are carrying four 20-year-olds, and D Cole Jordan was the odd-man out for a second straight game. The Warriors had Ungar, F Ryder Korczak, who had two assists, and F Riley Ginnell, who had one helper, in the lineup. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings won their second straight game, beating the EdmontonHurricanes, 4-2, in Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton now is 4-17-1. . . . The Hurricanes (11-9-1) had points in their previous seven games (6-0-1). . . . Trailing 2-1 with fewer than seven minutes remaining in the third period, the Oil Kings scored three times in 6:05, with the winner coming from F Marshall Finnie (4) at 19:42. . . . Finnie is from Lethbridge. . . . F Carson Golder, who has seven goals, figured in Edmonton’s last three goals, scoring twice and assisting on Finnie’s score. . . . The Oil Kings are without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who is serving a seven-game suspension. . . .

F Ryan McCleary struck late in OT to give the host Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 Portlandvictory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Winterhawks (16-1-2) have points in 10 straight (9-0-1). . . . The Blazers (9-4-4) have points in four in a row (2-0-2). Kamloops is 0-3 in OT this season. . . . Portland is 3-0-0 against Kamloops this season, winning twice in OT. . . . Kamloops took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matthew Seminoff (7) and F Daylan Kuefler (9), the latter on a PP. . . . F Marcus Nguyen (8) scored for Portland, on a PP, at 19:41. . . . D Luca Cagnoni (8) got the home team even at 2:30 of the second period. . . . McCleary’s fourth goal ended it at 4:45 of OT. . . . G Michael Schnattinger made his first start for the Blazers since Oct. 22 and he was just fine, with 41 stops. . . . It was a battle of Czech goaltenders, with Jan Špunar stopping 32 shots for Portland. . . . Portland scratched F Kyle Chyzowski after he suffered an undisclosed injury late in Friday’s 4-1 victory over visiting Everett. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven drew an assist on the first goal as he ran his point streak to 13 games. He has 27 points, 12 of them goals, in that streak. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 Brandonvictory over the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . The Wheat Kings (8-13-2) went 1-4-0 on a five-game road trip. . . . Red Deer (16-4-2) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . Brandon erased a 2-1 deficit with the game’s last three goals. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (9) tied it at 16:48 of the second period, on a PP, and F Nate Danielson (11) scored the next two goals, at 11:29 and 18:44 of the third, the latter into an empty net. . . . Red Deer F Jace Isley, who scored his 13th goal, was ejected at 13:45 of the second period with a major penalty for interference on a goaltender. . . . The Wheat Kings got 40 saves from G Nick Jones, an 18-year-old from Calgary who recorded his first WHL victory and was chosen as the game’s first star. A fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 draft, he was 0-1-0 last season and began this season with five straight losses. . . . 

F Gracyn Sawchyn’s goal in OT gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 2-1 victory over Seattlethe Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (13-3-1) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . Everett (12-7-1) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . This was Everett’s first visit to Kent this season. In the other meeting between these teams, in Everett, the Thunderbirds rang up an 11-3 victory. . . . F Roan Woodward (2) gave Everett a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:52 of the second period. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (8) got Seattle even, on a PP, at 8:19 of the third. . . . Sawchyn’s fifth goal of the season won it at 2:04 of extra time. . . . The Thunderbirds had D Nolan Allan, who was acquired this week from the Prince Albert Raiders, and D Kevin Korchinski paired together and in the starting lineup. Both are first-round NHL draft selections of the Chicago Blackhawks and both are from Saskatoon. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen unleashed a 60-shot attack in skating to a 6-2 victory over Calgarythe host Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Hitmen (11-5-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). They went 3-1-1 on a U.S. Division swing. . . . The Chiefs (4-13-1) have lost two in a row. . . . Calgary held an 18-9 edge in shots in the first period and 29-8 in the second. . . . D Grayden Siepmann  (6) and F Carson Wetsch (4) each had a goal and two assists for the Hitmen. . . . G Dawson Cowan, a recent acquisition from the Winnipeg Ice, got his first start for Spokane. He went the distance, making 54 stops. . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice erased a 1-0 deficit with four second-period goals and WinnipegIcewent on to beat the Regina Pats, 5-2. . . . Winnipeg (20-1-0) has won 15 in a row. . . . Regina (9-11-2) has lost three straight. . . . The Pats are 0-3-0 on their 10-game road trip that picks up Friday in Langley, B.C., against the Vancouver Giants. . . . After F Connor McClennon (16), playing in his 200th regular-season game, got the Ice even at 1-1 at 2:51 of the second, F Zach Benson (13) scored twice for a two-goal lead. His first goal game while shorthanded; the second came via the PP. . . . Benson also had two assists for a four-point outing. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had two assists in extending his point streak to 21 games. He leads the WHL in goals (19), assists (29) and points (48). . . . G Mason Beaupit, acquired last week from the Spokane Chiefs, made his first start for the Ice. G Daniel Hauser, who is 14-0-0 this season, was scratched. . . . According to the online game sheet, the Ice didn’t dress a backup goaltender. . . . The Pats lost F Jaxsin Vaughan to a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:34 of the second period. . . .

The visiting Prince George Cougars ran their winning streak to three games PrinceGeorgewith a 5-2 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Cougars now are 12-9-0. . . . The Royals (3-16-3) have lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . The Cougars had cruised to a 10-3 victory in Victoria on Friday night. . . . F Cole Reschny’s first WHL goal pulled Victoria into a 2-2 tie at 15:17 of the second period. . . . But the Cougars, who got two goals from F Cole Dubinsky (8), scored the next three goals — in a span of 2:48 before the period ended. . . . Things got a bit heated in the game’s final minute with the officials handing out 132 penalty minutes, including 12 fighting majors and six game misconducts. . . . Cougars F Koehn Ziemmer extended  his scoring streak to 13 games with an assist. He has 23 points, 10 of them goals, in that stretch. . . . Cougars D Hudson Thornton also had an assist and now is on a 13-game streak. He has five goals and 18 assists in that time. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Tri-KelownaCity Americans, 5-3. . . . Kelowna (8-8-1) has won two in a row. . . . The Americans are 8-12-0. . . . The Americans held a 3-1 lead early in the second period but couldn’t hold it. . . . D Jackson DeSouza’s second goal of the game — and second of the season — got the Rockets to within one at 3:47 of the second. They were shorthanded at the time. . . . F Adam Kydd (9) tied it at 9:57, and F Andrew Cristall (15) broke the tie at 7:18 of the third. . . . Kydd (10) added an empty-netter. . . . F Gabriel Szturc had three assists for Kelowna, as did Cristall. . . . The Americans got a goal and two assists from F Ethan Ernst, who was acquired from the Rockets early last season. He has career highs in goals (13), assists (14) and points (27) in just 19 games. . . . Tri-City D Lukas Dragicevic ran his point streak to 14 games with two assists. He has 22 points, 18 of them assists, in that streak. . . . The Rockets lost F Colton Dach, their captain, to a headshot major and game misconduct at 19:00 of the second period.


YardSale


IT’S NOT OVER — From The New York Times: “John Kerry, the United States special envoy for climate change, has tested positive for Covid-19, a State Department spokeswoman said, a development that will sideline him at a crucial moment in the waning hours of negotiations at United Nations climate talks. Mr. Kerry, 78, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday morning and worked from his hotel all day, said his spokeswoman, Whitney Smith, who described Mr. Kerry’s condition as ‘mild.’ ” . . . Kerry is at the COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt.


Moonshine


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Marty Williamson, the head coach of the Barrie Colts, picked up his 500th OHL regular-season victory on Saturday night, a 3-2 OT triumph over the visiting Sarnia Sting. . . . The retired Brian Kilrea is atop the victory list, with 1,194. . . .

Apologies to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. They have won so many games in a row to open this season that I am unable to keep up. Yes, I shortchanged them by one here on Friday night, when they actually extended that streak to 19 games. . . . And, on Saturday night, they made it 20 in a row with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . The Vees are 12-0-0 on home ice. . . . Next up for the Vees? The Salmon Arm Silverbacks (11-7-1) will be in town on Wednesday, then it’s off to visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (Friday) and Powell River Kings (Saturday). . . . If anyone knows the BCHL record for consecutive victories to open a season, please email me at greggdrinnan.gmail.com. Thank you! . . .

F Jadon Joseph of the U of Calgary Dinos set a Canada West record for fastest three goals in one game on Saturday in a 5-2 victory over the Trinity Western Spartans in Langley, B.C. . . . Joseph actually red-shirted with the Spartans last season before transferring to Calgary over the summer. . . . With Calgary leading 2-1 in the second period when Joseph struck at 13:29, 14”13 and 15:05. . . . Three goals in 1:36 smashed the previous record of 5:17 that had been held by F Connor Rankin of the Mount Royal U Cougars since 2016. . . . Joseph, 23, played four seasons in the WHL, spending time with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants, Moose Jaw Warriors, Kelowna Rockets and Tri-City Americans. . . . The Dinos have won nine games in a row.


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Fajita

Rebels still perfect, tie WHL record . . . Thunderbirds unbeaten, too . . . What happened in the JPHL?

The Red Deer Rebels ran their record to 12-0-0 with a 4-0 victory over the RedDeervisiting Vancouver Giants on Friday. . . . G Rhett Stoesser, a 17-year-old freshman from Carstairs, Alta., stopped 18 shots as he recorded his first WHL shutout in his fourth start. He is 4-0-0, 1.25, .938. . . . The Rebels have tied the WHL record for most victories to open a season. The 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos opened 12-0-0 before dropping a 2-1 decision to the Blades in Saskatoon on Oct. 30, 1988. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to visit the Edmonton Oil Kings (1-11-1) on Sunday. . . .

Meanwhile, in Prince George, the Seattle Thunderbirds stayed perfect (9-0-0) Seattlewith a 5-4 victory over the Cougars. They’ll play there again tonight and resume the triple-dip in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. . . . Last night, Seattle got two goals from each of Jared Davidson and Jordan Gustafson as they got out to a 5-2 lead. The Cougars scored twice in the game’s last two minutes.


The Brandon Wheat Kings drew their largest crowd (5,141) of the young season Brandonon Friday with the Winnipeg Ice in town. According to the Wheat Kings, it also was equipment manager Scott Hlady’s 500th game with the organization. . . . According to Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun, it was the first crowd of more than 5,000 “since 5,621 fans were in the building for a 5-4 shootout win over Moose Jaw on March 17, 2018.” . . . The Ice skated home with a 4-1 victory, ending its season-opening road schedule with a 12-1 record. The same two teams will meet in Winnipeg tonight as the Ice stages its home-opener.



Starbucks


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion) — Jose Altuve Still Can’t Get Over How Small He Looks Out There.


——

Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered addressing rumblings that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be in line for a coaching change, perhaps with Barry Trotz replacing Sheldon Keefe: “It’s interesting to note though, that (general manager) Kyle Dubas has been a GM for three teams in three leagues — the Soo Greyhounds (OHL), the Toronto Marlies (American Hockey League) and the Leafs. In all that time, he has hired only one person to coach his teams, and that’s Keefe.”
You are able to check out Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell right here.

——

One more from Campbell: “The (OHL’s) Mississauga Steelheads, who are off to a great start this season, are once again struggling to attract fans. Their lease with the city-run Paramount Foods Centre expires after this season. Steelheads president Elliott Kerr would prefer to stay, but it’s a situation that bears watching. When Kerr bought the team, he said he would give it three years and this is his 11th. He’s lost seven figures easily.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings are down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds after releasing F Cole Carrier on Friday. Carrier, who is from Strathcona, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2017 draft. He had four assists in seven gams with Edmonton after coming over from the Lethbridge Hurricanes early in the season. In 117 regular-season games, 101 of them with the Regina Pats, he totalled 19 goals and 21 assists. . . . That move leaves Edmonton with D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golder and F Jaxsen Wiebe as its 20-year-olds. Wiebe is serving a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline after going knee-on-knee with F Josh Pillar of the Saskatoon Blades on Oct. 23. The Blades say Pillar is out week-to-week. Wiebe was given a tripping minor on the play in question. . . . Later in the day, the Oil Kings were beaten, 5-0, by the visiting Calgary Hitmen, who got 18 saves from G Brayden Peters. The defending-champion Oil Kings now are 1-11-1. . . .

In Portland, the Kelowna Rockets lost D Noah Dorey to a slew-footing major and game misconduct at 9:41 of the first period. Chances are good that Dorey will miss Game 2 of the weekend double-dip tonight. . . . The Winterhawks weren’t able to score on the five-minute power play, and it came back to haunt them when F Andrew Cristall scored in OT to give the visitors a 4-3 victory. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s last three goals, with Cristall getting them within one at 16:46 of the third period and F Nolan Flamand tying it with 5.6 seconds left. . . .

Prior to meeting the visiting Spokane Chiefs last night, the Kamloops Blazers announced that they had release F Kobe Verbicky, 19. From Victoria, he was a second-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He had one assist in six games this season. In 64 career regular-season games, 38 with Kamloops, he scored three times and added five assists. . . . Later that night, the Blazers, who had lost three straight, scored four first-period goals while outshooting the Chiefs, 24-4, en route to a 5-1 victory. F Logan Stankoven had two goals for the Blazers, who finished with a 62-23 edge in shots. The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . Stankoven now has 17 points, including eight goals, in seven games since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades ran their winning streak to seven games as they beat the Tigers, 2-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . F Tyler Parr scored both of Saskatoon’s goals and they came via the PP. . . . Parr, a 17-year-old sophomore from La Salle, Man., has three goals in 12 games this season. Last season, he scored three times in 58 games. . . . The game was scoreless until Parr struck at 9:52 of the third period. . . .

The host Moose Jaw Warriors got 46 stops from G Connor Ungar in beating the Everett Silvertips, 4-1. F Jagger Firkus scored twice. . . . The Silvertips opened an East Division trip with the loss. . . . The Warriors have won four in a row. . . .

The Victoria Royals’ starting lineup featured five Saskatchewan-born skaters as they met the host Swift Current Broncos last night. The lone exception was G Logan Cunningham of Sherwood Park, Alta., who was making his WHL debut. The starting skaters were forwards Carter Briltz of Regina, Cole Reschny of Macklin and Anthony Wilson of Swift Current, along with defencemen Nate Misskey of Melfort and Kalem Parker of Clavet. Reschny, the Royals’ top pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, third overall, was playing his second WHL game. . . . Things didn’t go well for the Royals, though, as the Broncos struck for two shorthanded goals and one on the PP in a 6-1 victory. . . . F Raphael Pelletier scored twice for the Broncos. . . .

The Ottawa 67’s, the OHL’s last unbeaten team, dropped a 5-3 decision to the host Peterborough Petes on Friday night. The 67’s had opened with nine straight victories. The Petes now are 8-3-1. . . .

In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees now are 13-0-0 after scoring a 4-1 victory over the host West Kelowna Warriors. . . . Next up for the Vees? The Trail Smoke Eaters (6-5-1) are to visit Penticton tonight.


Paper


THINKING OUT LOUD — Now that was a terrific opener for the World Series. It would have been a whole lot better if Fox’s broadcast crew — Joe Davis and John Smoltz — stopped talking on occasion and just let the game breathe. Please, guys, why not allow the viewers to experience the atmosphere a bit. Baseball is a game that sometimes doesn’t need chatter. . . . Late in Game 1, writer Joe Posnanski tweeted: “Nobody in baseball can hit any reliever.” He’s not wrong. . . . What could be more fitting than having Shane Doan and his son, Josh, drop the ceremonial first puck as the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes played their first game at Arizona State U’s Mullett Arena last night? While Shane, who owns a chunk of the Kamloops Blazers, played for the Coyotes, Josh, 20, captains the ASU Sun Devils. . . . The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 28-2 at home over the last two CFL seasons. The Edmonton Elks have lost 17 straight home games. Hmmm.


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Drawer

CFL players back to practice fields as strike ends . . . WHL conference finals on tap . . . Two veteran goalies change teams

Thankfully (mercifully?), the CFL and the CFLPA moved out of the media spotlight earlier this week, went quietly in behind closed doors and emerged with a seven-year agreement.

The CFL’s nine teams were on their respective practice fields on Thursday, with CFLlogoplayers and the board of governors expected to ratify the agreement in the days to come.

The players, it seems, made what TSN’s Dave Naylor referred to as “significant gains” in this agreement. But that doesn’t mean it was one of those deals with winners and losers.

Yes, Virginia, these labour disputes can have winners and winners. At first glance, this looks to be one of those deals.

In this instance, a league that has long talked about having its players as partners may actually have taken giant steps in that direction.

For example, while we don’t have access to numbers, the deal is said to include a decent increase in the salary cap and, more importantly for the players, the inclusion of all revenues, including from the Grey Cup game, as football-related revenues. And, it’s said, the players will have access to the books so will be able to have them independently audited.

Players also will be able to have some guaranteed money if they sign for a third year with the same team. Football, of course, is famous for having contracts that don’t feature guaranteed money.

The guaranteed money is all part of an attempt to keep players with teams for more than a year or two. While this CBA doesn’t directly tinker with the ratio and all that goes into that — teams must have seven Canadian starters — but it does allow players who have been with one team for three years or five in the league to, as Naylor put it, “play as Canadians in some circumstances.”

On top of all that, the players will get improved medical benefits from teams that want more padded practices. There will be 12 such practices permitted this season.

While this is a seven-year agreement, there is a clause that could end it after five years, which is when the current TV deal with TSN is to expire. If you aren’t aware the TSN deal is the CFL’s meat and potatoes. Without it, the CFL would starve to death.

One other key part is that this agreement is to end 30 days before the start of training camp. Past deals, including the one that just expired, were up the day before training camps opened, something that meant players had all travelled to sites and then had to sit around and wait. In the future, those extra 30 days could prove most important to those same players.

The exhibition season was to have started on Monday with the defending-champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers to travel to Regina for a game with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That game now will be played on May 31.

The first exhibition games now will be played on Friday, with the Toronto Argonauts in Ottawa to face the Redblacks, and the Edmonton Eskimos in Winnipeg.

The regular season is scheduled to open on June 9 with the Montreal Alouettes visiting the Calgary Stampeders.

Naylor’s piece for TSN is right here.



F Kris Foucault, who spent four seasons (2007-11) in the WHL, ran and swam to the rescue on May 10 in Nassau, Bahamas, when a six-year-old girl found herself in trouble at a beach. . . . “As I got through the wave, I saw her lifeless body floating on the top about 50 feet in front of me,” he told Lauren Merola of nhl.com. “I actually thought I was just recovering a body.” . . . The little girl was alive, but in great danger, and you can credit Foucault with saving her life. . . . Foucault, 31, has played the past six seasons in the DEL, Germany’s top league. This season, he had 12 goals and 16 assists in 24 games and now is coming off shoulder surgery. . . . Merola’s story is right here.


Strait


The WHL’s conference finals open tonight in Winnipeg and Kamloops. The last WHLplayoffs2022four standing are the teams with the first-, second-, fourth- and seventh-best regular-season records. Yes, that’s comparing apples and oranges because teams didn’t play outside their conferences this season, but it does show the quality of the remaining teams. . . . In Winnipeg, the Ice, who finished atop the overall standings, will play host to the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings. The Ice are 8-2 in the playoffs; the Oil Kings are 8-0. . . . In Kamloops, the Blazers, the No. 2 team in the Western Conference, will entertain the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds. The Blazers are 8-2; the Thunderbirds are 8-4, with four of those victories coming on the road. . . . Each of the two series will continue Saturday with games in Winnipeg and Kamloops.


The WHL held its annual draft on Thursday and you are able to find all the WHLdetails at whl.ca. . . . There also were a couple of trades involving veteran goaltenders, who could be impact players next season.

The Moose Jaw Warriors acquired G Connor Ungar, G Justen Maric and a fourth-round pick in 2026 from the Red Deer Rebels for G Kyle Kelsey, a fourth-rounder in yesterday’s draft and a sixth in 2026. With that fourth-round pick, which originally belonged to the Victoria Royals, the Rebels took D Tate Dolinsky of Winnipeg.

Ungar, a 20-year-old Calgarian, was acquired by Red Deer from the Brandon Wheat Kings prior to this season. He went 21-9-1, 2.43, .911 with the Rebels. . . . Maric, 18, is from Edmonton, and played this season with the U18 AAA CAC Canadians. The Rebels selected him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft. . . . Kelsey, 18, is from Maple Ridge, B.C. He was 14-12-0, 2.83, .913 with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies this season. The Warriors had picked him in the fifth round of the 2019 draft.

Ungar joins F Calder Anderson, D Daemon Hunt, D Cole Jordan and F Ryder Korczak as the 2002-born players on Moose Jaw’s roster.

As things now sit, the Rebels have Chase Coward, 19, and Kelsey atop their goaltending depth chart, with Chase Wutzke, who turns 16 on July 26, in the third slot. Coward was 22-10-2, 2.51, .906 in 35 games this season.

The Rebels still have six 2002-born players on their roster — D Blake Gustafson, F Jace Isley, F Ben King, F Dallon Melin, D Christoffer Sedoff and D Joel Sexsmith.

In the other  deal involving a veteran goaltender, the Regina Pats got Koen MacInnes from the Everett Silvertips for two draft picks — a sixth yesterday (130) and a conditional seventh in 2024. . . . MacInnes, 20, is from Burnaby, B.C. He played with the Saskatoon Blades in 2019-20 and the 2021 development season. This season, with Everett, he went 21-7-5, 2.60, .909. . . . The Pats were lacking in experience in the goaltending department this season and are hoping MacInnes will solve that problem for 2022-23. . . . The Silvertips used that sixth-round pick to take F Lukas Kaplan of Spruce Grove, Alta.

In the only other draft-day trade the involved a player as opposed to picks, the Prince George Cougars got F Noah Boyko from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-round pick yesterday. . . . The Blades had acquired Boyko, 20, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in late December. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he totalled 30 points, 16 of them goals, in 47 games. . . . Boyko and D Aiden Reeves are the lone 2002-born players on Prince George’s roster. . . . Saskatoon used that fourth-round pick to take F Maxx Hamelin of Winnipeg. . . . Boyko’s departure leaves the Blades with four 2002-born players on their roster — F Kyle Crnkovic, D Aidan De La Gorgendiere, F Josh Paulhus and F Josh Pillar.



From Wednesday’s New York Times: Federal health officials warned on COVIDWednesday that a third of Americans live in areas where the threat of Covid-19 is now so high that they should consider wearing a mask in indoor public settings. They cited new data showing a substantial jump in both the spread of the coronavirus and hospitalizations over the past week. . . . Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the seven-day average of hospital admissions from Covid rose 19 percent over the previous week. About 3,000 people a day were being admitted with Covid, she said, although death rates, a lagging indicator, remained low.

One more from The New York Times: More than 70 New York City judges descended on a Long Island resort last week to enjoy an annual three-night retreat. In the days after, 20 tested positive for the coronavirus. . . . Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for New York’s courts, confirmed Wednesday that the judges had tested positive. He said that, to his knowledge, none of the judges were seriously ill, and that those who were symptomatic had not reported to work.


Decisions


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Penticton Vees completed a BCHL championship series sweep of the host Nanaimo Clippers with an 8-2 victory on Wednesday night. Penticton lost its first game of this spring’s playoffs, then won 16 straight. . . . The Vees held a 58-23 edge in shots, including 21-1 in the third period. . . . F Bradly Nadeau, a Penticton native, led the Vees with three goals and an assist. Nadeau, who turned 17 on May 5, is committed to the U of Maine. His brother, Josh, who also is headed for Maine, added a goal and two assists. . . . The announced attendance was 2,069. . . . While the 10-team national junior A championship for the Centennial Cup opened Thursday in Estevan, Sask., the Vees weren’t there. You will recall that the BCHL pulled out of the CJHL, which oversees junior A hockey in Canada, prior to the start of this season. . . .

The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs have signed former WHLer Wacey Rabbit to a two-year contract extension as assistant coach. He just completed his first season as an assistant alongside Joe Martin, the general manager and head coach. . . . Rabbit, 35, played five seasons (2002-07) in the WHL, enjoying stints with the Saskatoon Blades and Vancouver Giants. He finished his pro career with three seasons (2018-21) with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen. . . .

Jake Grimes, who stepped down as head coach of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles during this season, is joining the U of Waterloo Warriors as an associate coach. Grimes also has worked in junior hockey with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls, Peterborough Petes and Guelph Storm. With the Warriors, he will be working alongside head coach Brian Bourque, who was a minor hockey teammate in Nova Scotia back in the day. . . .

The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials have added Sam Waterfield and Tyler Steel to their coaching staff. Waterfield, who had been with the Cowichan Valley Capitals, will be the assistant general manager and associate coach, while Steel, a former Centennials goaltender, is the new goaltending coach.


Masher


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Wine

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how noisy things will be tomorrow (PM Justin Trudeau is in town) . . .

Scattershooting2

The National League wild-card game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals took four hours 15 minutes to play. The teams combined to use nine relief pitchers as the Dodgers won, 3-1. . . . Meanwhile, regular-season MLB games averaged three hours 10 minutes, the longest in history.

Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, offers up the perfect explanation as to why games are taking so long and when something might be done about it:

“Yes, much of the problem is the time between innings when the TV networks insert a profusion of advertisements. Having acknowledged that, let us come to the realization that it is those ads that drive major numbers of dollars into the league coffers and thereby to the owners. Those ads are not going away. So, the only meaningful way for MLB to address this is to stop all the time-wasting activities on the field. We know what they are; they have been chronicled in hundreds of places; the fact that there have not been changes to address them in any meaningful way can only mean that MLB does not see this as a problem worthy of resolving.

“So . . . I have abandoned any idea that the execs in MLB and/or the MLBPA care at all about this issue. This is the vector heading for MLB now and into the foreseeable future. Only when ratings drop enough for the TV networks to refuse to pay more for television rights will there be any real action to effect change.”

Bingo!


——

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News, writing about the Kyrie Irving situation: “The Nets should look into getting rid of him sooner or later, seeing if there is possibly a taker for him, with all of his baggage, old and new, perhaps from one of the teams from the dumber states when it comes to COVID, and that means we’re talking about you Florida and Texas.”


The four women in the above tweet worked Sunday afternoon’s BCHL game between the Langley Rivermen and the host Surrey Eagles, who won 4-3 in a shootout. Grace Barlow and Megan Howes were the referees, with Melissa Brunn and Colleen Geddes on the lines. . . . For more, there is a BCHL news release right here.

Meanwhile, Katie Guay, an on-ice official since 2006, became the first woman to referee an AHL game on Saturday night when she was on the ice alongside Brandon Schrader as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins beat the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms, 2-1. . . . On Sunday, Kelly Cooke became the second woman to referee an AHL game when she worked with Beau Halkidis as the host Utica Comets beat the Rochester Americans, 6-2.


Pigeons


There were nine games played in the NHL on Thursday night, the second night of the regular season. My satellite TV package includes six TSN channels. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators were playing on four of them, but all were blacked out. I have access to nine Sportsnet channels — the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers were on three of them. . . . Sorry, NHL, but if you can’t do better than that you’re not going to attract new eyeballs. . . . As for me, I watched the NFL game (Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles until the MLB playoff game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants started.


Headline at fark.com: Australian cricket player suffers 10th concussion, says he’s ready to try out for the NHL.


“Cleveland Browns sack-master Myles Garrett has decorated his front yard for Halloween with tombstones featuring the names and jersey numbers of opposing quarterbacks,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “What’s he handing out this year, Nestle Crunch?”

——

Perry, again: “The Mississippi state auditor has ordered ex-QB Brett Favre — who was paid $141 million over his 20-year NFL career — to return $828,000 in welfare money he was paid for speeches he never gave. The word for that is . . . speechless.”


Auto


The WHL’s Victoria Royals had 15 skaters dressed, three below the maximum WHLallowed, when they met the Cougars in Prince George on Saturday night. When the teams played again on Sunday afternoon, the Royals, playing their fourth game in six days, were down to 13 skaters, including only eight forwards. . . . You are free to wonder at what point this becomes a safety issue for the players who are in the lineup. . . .

That was one of three WHL games played on Sunday. Some highlights . . .

In Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Victoria Royals, 4-2. . . . F Craig Armstrong (3) had two goals — the last two — and an assist. He broke a 2-2 tie at 5:45 of the third period. . . . F Riley Gannon (3) had a goal and an assist for the Royals (1-6-0). . . . The Cougars (2-3-0) now will travel to Victoria for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader as these teams face each other in six straight games. The series is to conclude in Prince George on Oct. 26 and 27. . . .

In Edmonton, G Connor Ungar stopped 29 shots to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 2-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . The Rebels (4-3-1) erased a 1-0 deficit with second-period goals from F Jace Weir (3) and F Ben King (3), the latter via the PP. . . . The Oil Kings now are 4-2-1. . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice ran its season-opening winning streak to seven games with a 3-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Ice (7-0-0) held a 46-20 edge in shots. . . . F Connor McClennon (6) snapped a 1-1 tie 17 seconds into the third period. . . . The Broncos (2-5-0) have lost five in a row.

——

There were nine WHL games on Saturday. Some highlights . . .

In Everett, G Koen MacInnes stopped 31 shots to help the Silvertips to a 3-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . That was his first shutout this season and the fourth of his career. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (5) scored twice as Everett improved to 4-0-0. . . . Seattle (2-2-1) was without F Lucas Ciona, who drew a two-game sentence after taking a charging major for running into G Braden Holt on Friday night when visiting Everett won 5-4 in OT. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3. . . . F Dawson Pasternak (1) pulled the Winterhawks even at 14:41 of the third period and F Marek Alscher (1) broke the tie at 17:05. . . . Portland improved to 3-2-1; the Americans are 2-3-0. . . .

In Prince George, the Cougars scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Victoria Royals, 3-1. . . . The Cougars (1-3-0) won for the first time this season, while the Royals fell to 1-5-0. . . . F Riley Heidt (2) broke a 1-1 tie at 15:52 of the third period. . . .

In Langley, B.C., G Dylan Garand blocked 23 shots as the Kamloops Blazes skated to a 5-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Garand, a candidate to be Canada’s starting goaltender at the 2022 World Junior Championship, has one shutout this season and nine in his career. . . . Kamloops (5-1-0) was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . The Blazers went 3-1-0 in playing four road games in five nights. . . . The Giants are 2-1-0. . . .

In Brandon, D Chad Nychuk’s fifth goal of the season, at 3:41 of OT, gave the Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . This was the Broncos’ first game since general manager/head coach Dean Brockman announced his resignation on Thursday. . . . F Ridly Greig (4) pulled Brandon (4-3-0) into a 3-3 tie at 11:03 of the third period. . . . The Broncos, who have lost four in a row, are 2-4-0. . . . With G Ethan Kruger still injured, the Wheat Kings again started Carson Bjarnason, a 16-year-old from Carberry, Man., who now is 3-0-0, 3.84, .895. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Brandon played a third straight game without having a backup goaltender in uniform. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Tristen Robins had a goal and an assist — his fifth straight multi-point game — as the Saskatoon Blades edged the Warriors, 4-3. . . . F Cade Hayes (3) pulled the Warriors (3-3-0) into a 3-3 tie at 12:59 of the third period. . . . F Egor Sidorov (2) won it for the Blades (4-1-1) at 14:30. . . . Saskatoon was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . Blades G Ethan Chadwick, a 17-year-old from Saskatoon, stopped 25 shots to earn the victory in his first career start. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders scored the only two goals of a shootout to beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-2. . . . D Kaiden Guhle and F Reece Vitelli had the shootout goals as the Raiders improved to 2-5-0. . . . The Tigers (2-3-1) forced OT when F Noah Danielson (1) scored while shorthanded at 4:08 of the third period. . . .

In Red Deer, G Brayden Peters stopped 25 shots for his first shutout of the season and second of his career as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Rebels, 2-0. . . . The Rebels (3-3-1) had won 8-1 in Calgary on Friday night. . . . The Hitmen (2-3-0) got a goal and an assist from D Keagan Slaney (1), who had been acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings earlier in the week. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Matt Savoie scored twice and added an assist as the Ice ran its record to 6-0-0 with a 6-3 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . The Ice has outscored its opponents 40-10 in the six games it has played. . . . Savoie scored his second and third goals on a team-high six shots. . . . The Pats are 2-5-0.


——


G Dawson Green came out of a Saturday MJHL assignment with two pucks — one for the shutout and one for the goal. . . . Green, a 20-year-old from Brandon, is in his first season with the Winnipeg Blues after playing two seasons with Neepawa. . . . On Saturday, before 112 fans at the RINK Training Centre in Winnipeg, he stopped 23 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Selkirk Steelers, and he put it away with an empty-net goal at 19:44 of the third period. . . . This season, Green is 9-0-0, 1.46, .944, with one goal.



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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


SocialMedia

Wickenheiser, Goyette teammates again . . . Another Hextall headed to The Show . . . Rebels’ Sutter wheeling, dealing

Hopefully the day is right around the corner when the promoting and hiring of women in hockey’s workplace won’t be headline news. But we’re not there yet, although Monday’s happenings certainly have us going in the right direction. . . .

ICYMI, the Toronto Maple Leafs promoted Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser to senior director of player development, and also hired Danielle Goyette as director of player development, a position that also will cover the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. . . . Goyette and Wickenheiser, both Hockey Hall of Famers, were long-time teammates on Canada’s national women’s team; they won two Olympic golds and six world championships together. . . . Goyette has been the head coach of the U of Calgary Dinos women’s team for 14 years, or since she retired from the national team in 2007. . . . Dr. Wickenheiser got her MD’s licence last week and is starting a residency at a hospital in Toronto. . . .

Meanwhile, ESPN, which is putting together broadcast crews after signing a deal with the NHL that starts next season, has hired Leah Hextall. As Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported: “While the exact number of games she will broadcast is not yet know, she will be the first woman play-by-player to be a regular part of a national NHL TV package.” . . . She did one NHL game this season on Sportsnet, but gained more fame for calling an NCAA playoff game between Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota that went into a fifth OT period. . . . If you were to let Google be your friend, you would learn that Hextall has more than paid her dues for a lot of years, so she has earned this opportunity. . . . She is a cousin to former WHL/NHL G Ron Hextall, who now is the Pittsburgh Penguins’ general manager. Two uncles, Bryan Jr. and Dennis, are former NHLers. Her grandfather, the late Bryan Sr., is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bryan Sr. led the NHL in goals in 1939-40 with the New York Rangers and scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in OT of Game 6 to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs. . . . Leah’s father, Randy, was in the Brandon Wheat Kings’ training camp in the late 1960s — and I may have spent a shift or two on a line with him — and later played for the MJHL’s Portage Terriers, a team that once was coached by Bryan Sr. Randy, who won a Canadian junior A title (Centennial Cup) with the 1972-73 Terriers, passed away on July 12, 2019.


Bears


The Red Deer Rebels don’t have a head coach at the moment, but that didn’t RedDeerstop the previous one from making a couple of trades on Monday. Of course, Brent Sutter, that former coach, also is the franchise’s owner and general manager so if he’s going to make a trade, well, he can do just that. . . . On Monday, he started by doing a deal with the Brandon Wheat Kings that involved a pair of 19-year-olds. . . . The Rebels get G Connor Ungar in exchange for D Mason Ward. . . . Ward, 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, has 19 points in 83 games with the Rebels over the past two seasons. He is the son of former Rebels BrandonD Lance Ward. Obviously, the Wheat Kings are looking for someone to bring some size and a physical game to their back end. . . . Ungar was 5-2-1, 2.87, .904 for the Wheat Kings in the Regina hub this season. In 15 career regular-season appearances, he is 6-4-1, 2.92, .905. . . . The Wheat Kings are left with Ethan Kruger, 20, and Nick Jones, 16, as the goaltenders on their roster now. Jones, from Calgary, was a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and has signed a WHL contract. . . . At this moment, the Rebels will be looking at keeping two of Ungar, Byron Fancy, 20, and Chase Coward, 18, on their roster. . . . “We just felt we had lots of depth, that we were working from (a position of) strength,” Sutter told Troy Gillard of rdnewsNOW. “They wanted Mason and we wanted the goaltender, so it made sense to do a one-for-one deal.” . . . (Gillard’s story is right here.) . . . Later in the day, Sutter Edmontondealt F Jaxsen Wiebe, 19, to the Edmonton Oil Kings for F Liam Keeler, 20. Keeler, who is from Edmonton, was the 22nd overall pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. In 214 regular-season games with the Oil Kings, he had 26 goals and 48 assists. Wiebe, a seventh-round selection in 2017, had nine goals and 11 assists in 73 games with Red Deer. . . . As of now, the Rebels have four 20-year-olds to choose from — Fancy, Keeler, F Arshdeep Bains and F Zak Smith. . . . The Oil Kings have three 20-year-olds on their roster — D Matthew Robertson, F Carter Souch and F Josh Williams. That number would grow to four should D Simon Kubicek report to training camp. Kubicek was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Jan. 25. After playing two seasons (2018-20) with Seattle, he spent 2020-21 in Czech Republic where he played 21 games with Motor Deske Budejovice in the Czech ELH. He also got into games with HC Stadion Litomerice in Czech2 and his country’s U20 side. Of course, should he earn a spot with the Oil Kings out of camp, he would be a two-spotter — a 20-year-old and an import.


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Longhairs

Three more organ donation games on tap . . . Ungar, Peters have nights to remember . . . Byram lifts Giants past Blazers . . . Rybinski wins it for Thunderbirds

 

MacBeth

D Dustin Friesen (Swift Current, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). He has five assists in 43 games. The team captain, this is his fifth season with Ingolstadt.

F David Stieler (Swift Current, 2006-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Augsburg (Germany, DEL). Stieler, who holds dual German-Czech citizenship, had five goals and 16 assists in 42 games.

F Chad Bassen (Regina, Vancouver, Medicine Hat, Everett, 2000-04) has  signed a one-year contract extension with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). He has six goals and 14 assists in 41 games. Bassen holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. This is his 15th season in the DEL.

F Peter Mueller (Everett, 2005-07) has signed a three-year contract extension with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He has 21 goals and 20 assists in 38 games. He leads his team in goals, and is second in points. He is fourth in the league’s scoring race, and is tied for the league lead in goals.


ThisThat

There are three more WHL games in support of organ donation scheduled for this weekend — in Kamloops and Moose Jaw on Friday, and in Prince Albert on Saturday.

The actual promotion carries this title — RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation. Each of the WHL’s 17 Canadian teams plays host to one of these games. The home team wears Don Cherry-inspired uniforms with the sweaters available via silent auction.

Most importantly, this is a fund-raiser for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

If you happen to be at the game in Kamloops on Friday night, look for the gang from the Kamloops chapter of the B.C. and Yukon branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Stop by and say hello!

Here are the remaining special nights:

Fri. Feb. 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors

Sat., Feb. 2 – Prince Albert Raiders

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.


The WHL issued a pair of TBD suspensions on Wednesday, one to D Braydyn Chizen of whlthe Brandon Wheat Kings and the other to F Cole Dubinsky of the Regina Pats.

Chizen was given a headshot major and a game misconduct during Brandon’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Tuesday night.

Chizen wasn’t in Brandon’s lineup last night as they beat the Rebels, 4-0, in Red Deer.

Also on Tuesday, Dubinsky was hit with a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Calgary F Hunter Campbell during the Pats’ 5-2 loss to the Hitmen.

The Pats next are scheduled to play on Friday when they entertain the Saskatoon Blades.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F James Malm scored two goals and added an assist to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 6-2 Calgaryvictory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Calgary (25-19-4) has won four in a row. The Hitmen are fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third. They also hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Swift Current (10-35-3) holds the 22-team league’s poorest record, five points behind the Kootenay Ice (10-32-8). The Broncos hold two games in hand. . . . The Hitmen had an 18-7 edge in first-period shots as they skated to a 4-1 lead. . . . F Cael Zimmerman gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:29. . . . The Broncos tied it at 11:22 on a goal from F Ethan O’Rourke (9), who now is on a five-game goal-scoring streak. . . . The Hitmen went up 4-1 on goals from D Layne Toder (2), at 13:38; Malm, at 13:56; and F Luke Coleman (15), on a PP, at 19:25. . . . F Ian Briscoe (2) got the Broncos to within two at 17:39 of the second period. . . . The Hitmen put it away in the third as Malm scored his 20th goal, at 5:18, and former Broncos F Kaden Elder got his 19th, on a PP, at 10:11. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton was on the bench for this one after he had started the club’s previous 23 games. He watched as Brayden Peters made his first WHL appearance a winning one with 30 saves. . . . That included stopping Briscoe on a second-period penalty shot. . . . From Taber, Alta., Peters, 16, was a fifth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Peters plays for the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Hitmen are missing G Carl Stankowski (ankle).


G Connor Ungar stopped 34 shots to earn his first WHL victory and record his first BrandonWKregularshutout as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Rebels, 4-0, in Red Deer. . . . Brandon (21-19-7) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is five points out of a playoff spot. . . . Red Deer (28-16-3) is second in the Central Division, three points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Ungar was making his second WHL start for the Wheat Kings. He is on their roster because starter Jiri Patera is out with a leg injury. . . . Ungar, who turned 17 on Jan. 12, was with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers before joining the Wheat Kings. . . . Ungar’s night included 20 saves in the third period with friends and family members in the audience. . . . Brandon F Ty Thorpe got the scoring started at 11:06 of the first period. Thorpe, who is from Brandon, scored his first WHL goal in his 37th game. . . . D Braden Schneider (7) made it 2-0 at 10:35 of the second period. . . . The Wheat Kings put it away with two late third-period goals, from F Luka Burzan (28), on a PP, at 17:00, and F Caiden Daley (3), a shorthanded empty-netter, at 19:38. . . . The Rebels remain without D Alex Alexeyev.


D Bowen Byram scored 33 seconds into OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 3-2 victory Vancouverover the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (32-12-3) has points in 10 straight (9-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division by 17 points over the Victoria Royals. The Giants also are five points behind the Everett Silvertips, who lead the Western Conference. Vancouver has two games in hand. . . . Kamloops (19-25-4) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is fourth in the B.C. Division, three points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers also are two points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Giants are 4-0-0 in the season series; Kamloops is 0-2-2. . . . This was Game 47 for the Giants but it was their first trip to Kamloops. These teams will play four more times, with three of them in Kamloops, before season’s end. . . . Last night’s game was scoreless going to the third period. . . . Vancouver grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals from F Lukas Svejkovsky (5), on a PP, at 1:59, and F Davis Koch (20), at 8:32. . . . Koch was playing in his 300th regular-season game — 75 with Vancouver after 225 with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He has 228 points, including 83 goals. . . . F Zane Franklin (24) got the Blazers to within a goal, at 13:37, and F Orrin Centazzo (12) tied it, on a PP, at 15:00. . . . In the OT, Byram shook off Kamloops F Connor Zary and was able to get the puck past G Dylan Ferguson and an inch or two over the goal line for his 19th goal of the season and his second OT score. Ten of Byram’s goals came in the month of January. . . . In a chippy game with some dislike in it, Vancouver was 1-5 on the PP and Kamloops was 1-4. . . .    The Giants got 29 stops from G Trent Miner, while Ferguson finished with 18 saves. . . . Kamloops lost D Jeff Faith to a kneeing major and a game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver F Tristen Nielsen at 1:52 of the first period. Faith served a five-game suspension earlier this month for an infraction against the host Victoria Royals on Jan. 9. . . . The Blazers had D Luke Zazula back after a seven-game absence, but D Quinn Schmiemann remains out. . . . F Logan Stankoven, who is burning up the B.C. Major Midget League with the Thompson Blazers, played in his third game with Kamloops. He was the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. No, he doesn’t look out of place at this level.


F Henry Rybinski scored in OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the SeattleRockets in Kelowna. . . . Seattle (19-22-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Kelowna (20-24-5) has points in two straight (1-0-1). The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Victoria Royals, who hold three games in hand, and three points ahead of Kamloops. . . . F Mark Liwiski (5) put Kelowna out front at 8:03 of the first period, with Seattle F Matthew Wedman (22) tying it at 19:06. . . . The Rockets went back in front at 15:02 of the second period when F Kyle Crosbie (6) scored while shorthanded. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it at 19:15 on D Tyrel Bauer’s second goal of the season at 19:15. . . . Bauer, a 16-year-old freshman from Cochrane, Alta., went 43 games without a goal and now has scored in two straight outings. . . . Rybinski won it at 2:38 of OT with his second goal of the season. He had a goal and four assists in 14 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers when he asked for a trade. Since arriving in Seattle, he has a goal and 12 assists in 12 games. . . . With F Liam Kindree and F Ted Brennan injured, F Trevor Wong, 15, was in Kelowna’s lineup. Wong, from Vancouver, was the 18th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He plays for the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, and got into one game with the Rockets earlier in the season. . . . Kelowna G Roman Basran stopped 35 shots, nine more than Seattle’s Roddy Ross.


F Riley Woods scored once and added four assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 7-2 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Spokane (25-17-5) had lost its previous five games (0-4-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, two points ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (30-14-5) had won its past three games. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane and Portland each have won twice in the season series. . . . Woods, who enjoyed his first career five-point game, gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead with his 25th goal at 5:03 of the first period. . . . F Josh Paterson (18) pulled Portland even at 17:50. . . . The Chiefs blew it open with the game’s next six goals. . . . F Luc Smith scored twice, giving him 22 goals, with singles coming from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (5), F Jake McGrew (20), F Ethan McIndoe (10) and F Jack Finley (6). . . . F Lane Gilliss (11) scored Portland’s other goal. . . . Anderson-Dolan also had two assists, while Smith had one. . . . The Chiefs, who held a 47-21 edge in shots, were 3-7 on the PP; the Winterhawks were 0-3. . . . The Winterhawks had D John Ludvig back in their lineup after a three-game absence, but they are without F Cody Glass, who suffered a knee injury on Saturday and now has missed two games. He travelled with the team to Spokane, but won’t play for a while.


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Ice situation should be addressed today; news conference scheduled for Cranbrook . . . Brandon adds goalie, forward


MacBeth

F Dominic Zwerger (Spokane, Everett, 2013-17) signed a contract extension with Ambrì-Piotta (Switzerland, NL A) through the 2021-22 season. The contract extension has an NHL exit clause after the 2020-21 season. This season, an alternate captain, he has 16 goals and 20 assists in 38 games.


ThisThat

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, and the owners of the Kootenay Ice are to address the media in Cranbrook this morning at 10:30.

The news conference, which will include Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, is to be held at the team’s office in Western Financial Place.

At the same time, the Winnipeg Free Press has reported that the Ice’s owners “have Kootenaynewscheduled a Tuesday afternoon news conference to announce they are moving their franchise to Winnipeg after the 2018-19 season . . .”

The Free Press didn’t indicate a time or a site for that news conference, but Tuesday is expected to be the coldest day of this winter in Winnipeg, with a high of -29 C.

The news conferences are being held on Day 41 of the Kootenay Kountdown — it has been 41 days since Robison appeared with Dean Millard on Edmonton radio station TSN 1260 and said there would be an announcement regarding the Ice “very soon.”

The Ice, at 10-32-8, has the WHL’s second-poorest record and won’t be in the playoffs for a second straight season under the ownership of Fettes and Cockell, who purchased the franchise from the Chynoweth family prior to the 2017-18 season. This will be the fifth straight season out of the playoffs for the Ice.

Last season, the Ice finished 27-38-7, missing a playoff spot by 16 points.

The Ice began life in 1996 as the Edmonton Ice, but left the Alberta capital for Cranbrook after two seasons. In its 21 seasons in Cranbrook, the Ice won three WHL championships (2011, 2002, 2000) and one Memorial Cup, that in 2002.

The Ice will be first franchise to have won a Memorial Cup to relocate since the QMJHL’s Granby Predateurs. They won the 1996 Memorial Cup and moved to Sydney, N.S., in 1997 where they now are the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

The last WHL relocation occurred following the 2010-11 season when the Chilliwack Bruins moved to Victoria where they now operate as the Royals.

This season, the Ice has the lowest announced average attendance in the 22-team WHL, at 2,218. The Ice has nine home games remaining, starting Friday against the Swift Current Broncos, the only team in the WHL with a poorer record.

Last season, the average for 36 home games was 2,442, up from 1,754 in 2016-17, the final season under the ownership of the Chynoweth family.

The Ice has been playing in 4,264-seat Western Financial Place, which opened in 2001. In its first two seasons in Cranbrook, the Ice played in that city’s Memorial Arena.

In its first season in the new arena, the Ice’s announced average attendance was 3,635, which remains the single-season high.

That was one of seven seasons in which that figure was north of 3,000, somewhere it hasn’t been since 2008-09 (3,071).

The relocated Ice is expected to spend a couple of seasons playing in the 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena at the U of Manitoba while it waits for its permanent home to be built. It is expected that some work will be done to freshen up that facility and that some seats will be added.

If you click right here and scroll down to the last two photos, you will see a couple of pictures from the interior of the Wayne Fleming Arena as it now stands.

The expected relocation announcement comes just days before WHL governors and general managers travel to Las Vegas, as they do every year on Super Bowl weekend, for meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

It’s too bad that they couldn’t have moved those meetings to Cranbrook this time . . . you know, just to thank the businesses and fans of the area for 21 seasons of support.


With G Jiri Patera (leg) on the shelf, the Brandon Wheat Kings have added G Connor BrandonWKregularUngar, who turned 17 on Jan. 12, to their roster. He had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . Ungar will back up freshman Ethan Kruger, who is 5-6-2, 3.45, .893. . . . Ungar, who began the season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, made two earlier appearances with the Wheat Kings, going 0-1-0, 3.09, .892 in 78 minutes. . . . The Wheat Kings open a four-game trip into the Central Division tonight in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. . . .

The Wheat Kings also have added F Jake Chiasson, 15, to their roster. He has been playing at the Yale Hockey Academy in his hometown of Abbotsford, B.C. Chiasson was the 15th overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, with Yale’s prep team, he has 22 goals and 36 assists in 29 games.


The OHL’s Owen Sound Attack fired head coach Todd Gill on Monday. Dale DeGray, the Attack’s general manager, announced that assistant coach Alan Letang has taken over as interim head coach, with Jordan Hill now the lone assistant coach. . . . The Attack was 61-42-12 under Gill, who was in his second season as head coach. . . . This season, the Attack is 23-20-4, and in fifth place in the 10-team Western Conference.


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors fired head coach Geoff Grimwood on Monday and WestKelownanamed Brandon West as their general manager and head coach. . . . You may recall that this is the second time this season that Warriors owner Kim Dobranski has fired Grimwood. . . . Grimwood was named interim head coach iafter Rylan Ferster, the veteran GM and head coach, suddenly resigned on Aug. 21. . . . Three weeks later, Dobranski fired Grimwood, but reinstated him after the players rebelled, leaving the ice during one practice and going for a hike, rather than practise, the next day. . . . Grimwood had been hired on July 3 as associate coach and assistant GM. . . . West, who is from Kelowna, is a veteran BCHL coach. He was in his third season as head coach of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks when he was fired on Nov. 9, 2016. He spent last season as the head coach of the Surrey Eagles, but that ended in August through one of those mutual parting of the ways. This season, he had been with the Penticton Vees, as an assistant coach, since Oct. 15. . . . The Warriors are 25-21-1 and in fourth place in the Interior Division. They have clinched a playoff spot.


The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have fired assistant coach Gavin Brandl and replaced him with Devin Windle, a former general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . Windle was in his third season as the Millionaires’ GM and head coach when he was fired on Nov. 29. He spent two seasons (2014-16) as an assistant coach in Nipawin, working with Doug Johnson, the Hawks’ general manager and head coach. . . . Brandl was in his first season with Nipawin.


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Silence not golden in Cranbrook . . . Royals get d-man from Blades . . . Farewell to a great Canadian

MacBeth

D Logan Pyett (Regina, 2003-08) signed a contract for the rest of this season with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga). This season, he had one assist in 10 games with the Hershey Bears (AHL). He was released by Hershey on Friday.


ThisThat

The silence emanating from Cranbrook, B.C., the home, at least for now, of the Kootenay Ice has gone beyond deafening to embarrassing for the WHL.

If it wasn’t already, Gregory Strong, a writer with The Canadian Press, turned this into a Kootenaynewnational story on Monday by filing a story that was written after speaking with Vancouver-based Tom Mayenknecht, who is described as “a marketing communications executive and sport business commentator,” and Richard Powers, a sports marketing specialist who is an associate professor at the U of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

The story deals with whether a relocated WHL franchise would be able to make a go of it in the Manitoba capital, which also is home to NHL and AHL franchises.

Powers offers the opinion that “I just don’t see how it can be financially viable,” while Mayenknecht seems to think that hard work and a sound marking strategy just might make it work.

“They’ll have to be very aggressive with their pricing in terms of really making it a family entertainment opportunity and price it a heck of a lot lower than the Jets and even the Moose,” Mayenknecht told Strong.

When Strong approached the WHL for comment, he got the same spiel that the league first issued in October, one that includes this sentence: “The WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay Ice continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook.”

Strong also pointed out that “a message left with team president and general manager Matt Cockell wasn’t immediately returned.”

Strong’s complete story is right here.

In Cranbrook, meanwhile, the folks would like someone to say something . . . anything.


The Victoria Royals have acquired D Jake Kustra, 19, and a seventh-round selection in the VictoriaRoyalsWHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-rounder in 2019.

The seventh-round pick is being returned to its original owner. The Blades had acquired it from the Royals in exchange for F Tyler Lees, 18, on July 19.

Kustra, 19, has been on the shelf since Oct. 14 and has played in only 10 games this season. But he apparently is close to a return, which would have left the Blades with nine healthy defencemen.

This season, the native of Yorkton, Sask., has one assist in 10 games. In 169 career regular-season games, all with the Blades, he has six goals and 25 assists. He was a second-round pick by Saskatoon in the 2014 bantam draft.

Kustra now becomes one of eight defencemen on Victoria’s roster.

The Royals are at home to the Portland Winterhawks tonight and Wednesday. . . . The Blades are to entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight.

——

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired G Eric Ward, 17, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Ward is 5-4-3, 3.42, .907 with the midget AAA Edmonton CAC Canadians this season. . . . Ward, who wasn’t selected in the bantam draft, is from Edmonton and will remain with the Canadians.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Monday’s action:

No. of trades: 2.

Players: 2.

Bantam draft picks: 3.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 12.

Players: 33.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added G Connor Ungar, 16, to their roster with starter Jiri Patera in the selection camp of the Czech Republic’s national junior team. . . . Ungar, from Calgary, plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team (2.24, .916). . . . With Patera away, freshman Ethan Kruger, 17, will take over the Wheat Kings’ starter’s role. In six appearances this season, he is 3-1-2, 2.95, .910.


As you no doubt are aware, F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders had his season-opening point streak snapped at 30 games in a 1-0 loss to the Blades in Saskatoon on Sunday.

In the tweet above, you will find a list of CHL point streaks, starting with the 1997-98 season.

The top three point streaks in WHL history are right here . . .

56 — Jeff Nelson, Prince Albert, Oct. 24, 1990 through March 6, 1991 (108 points).

47 — Jock Callander, Regina Pats, Oct. 30, 1981 through Feb. 23, 1982 (141 points).

     — Wally Schreiber, Regina Pats, Oct. 20, 1981 through Feb. 23, 1982 (99 points).

45 — Jim Benning, Portland Winter Hawks, Dec. 4, 1980 through March 25, 1981 (95 points).

The longest current streak in the WHL is a 16-gamer by F Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks. However, he is going to have to wait before attempting to extend it as he is in camp with Canada’s national junior team in Victoria.


It used to be that the champion of junior hockey in Western Canada was presented with the Abbott Cup following the conclusion of a best-of-seven series. Over time, however, we found ourselves with junior A and major junior leagues; the Abbott Cup, which was named in honour of war hero Lyman (Hick) Abbott, was relegated to the junior A ranks and soon went to the winner of a single game. (Every year, around Nov. 11, I post a feature-length story here that details the heroics of Hick Abbott and how a Regina-born gentleman Lyman Potts came to be named after him.)

One day, during my 12-year stint as the sports editor at the Regina Leader-Post, I received a letter from Potts, who was concerned that the Abbott Cup wasn’t being treated with the respect its namesake warranted, and suggested that he would like to see the trophy retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Thus began a campaign that could involve Potts, former Leader-Post sports editor Tom (Scotty) Melville and me. . . . It didn’t happen overnight but, in time, the Abbott Cup was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame and, later on, Abbott would be inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

As I would come to find out, Potts was a giant himself; in fact, as The Globe and Mail pointed out on Monday, he “was a founding father of Canada’s music industry.” He was, for example, the push behind Gordon Lightfoot’s first recording session. Potts also was a giant of the Canadian radio industry.

My friend Lyman Potts died on Sunday. He was 102.

If you would like to know more about this great Canadian, Fred Langan has the story right here.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


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