NBA season suspended . . . NHL pondering immediate future . . . Maybe all leagues should shut down?


The NBA has indefinitely suspended its season after a player with the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus.

With a number of NBA teams sharing facilities with NHL teams, it is hard to see how the NHL season will be allowed to continue. In fact, the NHL said Wednesday night that it “is continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options.”

The NHL said it expects “to have a further update (Thursday).”

With the NBA having suspended its season and if the NHL follows suit, you have to wonder what the WHL will do.

Maybe it’s time for all sports leagues to suspend operations indefinitely, just to cut down on large gatherings, and see where all of this goes.

We obviously have to do something, because this has to change before we are forced to go through many more days like Wednesday when nothing got touched more than refresh buttons.

And every time you hit refresh so much had changed.


If the WHL season continues, it could end up with an entire first-round playoff series being played without any fans in attendance.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington announced Wednesday morning that public gatherings of more than 250 people are being banned through the end of March as part of the fight against the COVID-19 virus.

The Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds then let it be known that they would complete the home portions of their regular-season schedules by playing in empty arenas.

The Silvertips are second in the Western Conference, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. Each team has five games remaining.

The Thunderbirds are destined to finish in eighth spot and will meet the first-place finisher in the opening round of the playoffs.

So if Everett was to get into that top spot and if the season continues . . .

If, if, if . . .

——

The first WHL game to be played in an arena without fans in attendance is scheduled for Saturday in Kent, Wash., with the host Seattle Thunderbirds meeting the Vancouver Giants.

The Thunderbirds also are scheduled to play at home against the Spokane Chiefs on March 17. That game, too, will be played without fans.

There had been speculation on Tuesday night in Spokane, as the Chiefs were beating the Kamloops Blazers, 3-0, that the March 17 game would be moved to Wenatchee, Wash.

Seattle’s final home game of the regular season, against the Winterhawks, is scheduled for March 21. Chances are that game, too, will be played without fans but a firm determination has yet to be announced.

The Silvertips’ final home game, against the Victoria Royals on March 20, will be closed to the general public.

The Silvertips will finish first or second in the Western Conference, so will open the playoffs with home games on March 27 and 28. Should that happen, and with no end to this crisis in sight, it would seem that those games would be closed to the public.

——

Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds are scheduled to visit the Giants at the Langley Events Centre on Friday. The Giants said they “will continue to welcome fans” to the LEC, but also said they are “continually monitoring the COVID-19 situation.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there had been 46 positive tests in B.C., almost all of them on the Lower Mainland. B.C. announced seven new cases on Wednesday, including the first on Vancouver Island.

In Alberta, the total of positives tests reached 19 on Wednesday — 11 in the Calgary Zone, seven in the Edmonton Zone and one in the Central Zone. All cases to date have been travel-related.


The IIHF men’s world U-18 championship is scheduled to be held in Plymouth, Mich., from April 16-26. But it’s hard to see that tournament being held after U.S. President Trump announced Wednesday night that some travel from Europe is being prohibited.


If the NHL season continues . . .

The San Jose Sharks will play their next three homes games without any fans in the SAP Center. The Montreal Canadiens are to play there on March 19, with the Boston Bruins there two days later and the Arizona Coyotes on March 29. . . . The Sharks’ AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda, also plays in the SAP Center and will play home games on March 17 and 22 without fans in attendance. . . .

In Ohio, the Columbus Blue Jackets will play their final five home games without fans. The Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to play in Columbus tonight (Thursday).


Daniele Rugani, a defender with the Italian soccer team Juventus, has tested positive for coronavirus, the team announced Wednesday. Rugani, 25, now is in isolation and all who have been in contact with him are being checked. . . . Play in the Italian Serie A had been suspended with the country all but shut down. . . .

The world figure skating championships that were to have been held in Montreal, from March 18 through March 22, were cancelled on Wednesday. . . .

The NCAA announced that March Madness, the annual men’s basketball championship tournament, will be played, but that fans won’t be allowed to attend any of the games. The NCAA said that only players, essential staff and family members will be allowed in the buildings. . . . NCAA president Mark Emmert also said that the Final Four is likely to be moved from the 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta to a smaller venue. It is scheduled for April 4 and April 6. . . .

The Big Ten, Big 12, American, ACC and Pac-12 announced that their men’s basketball tournaments, all of which start on Thursday, will be closed to fans. . . .

The U of Michigan has cancelled its annual spring football game that was scheduled for April 18 in Ann Arbor. The school also cancelled all events scheduled for any of its athletic facilities through April 21. . . . Ohio State cancelled its spring football game that was to have been played on April 11, while announcing that attendance at any intercollegiate events played host to by the school will be limited. . . .

USA Hockey has cancelled its national championships — high school, youth, girls, adult and sled — and its Disabled Hockey Festival. . . . The national tournaments were to being March 26 in various locations; the Festival was to be held in Pittsburgh (March 26-29, April 2-5).


If you are from Regina, this is big, big, big . . .


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have signed Simon Ferguson to a two-year contract as head coach. Ferguson took over as interim head coach on Jan. 1 after the firing of Brandon West. . . . With Ferguson in control, the Warriors went 9-10-2 and earned a playoff berth. . . . They lost a first-round series to the Penticton Vees. . . .

The junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats have signed Nick Redding, their general manager and head coach, to a three-year contract. Redding, who is from Spokane, just completed his second season with Creston. . . . Before joining the Thunder Cats, he had been the hockey operations co-ordinator with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Royals add experience on back end . . . Cougars get some size up front . . . Warriors’ 50-50 draw way, way up there


MacBeth

D Petr Šenkeřík (Kootenay, Prince George, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after a successful tryout. Last season, Šenkeřík had three assists in 12 games with Vsetín (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); two goals and two assists in nine games with Slovan Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); and one goal and seven assists in 12 games with Karlovy Vary (1. Liga). Karlovy Vary won promotion to Extraliga for this season. . . .

F Radek Duda (Regina, Lethbridge, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Last season, with Freiburg (Germany, DEL2), he had 15 goals and 21 assists in 47 games.


 

The Victoria Royals have a acquired D Jameson Murray, 19, and a 10th-round selection in VictoriaRoyalsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips for a seventh-round pick in 2019. . . . From Kelowna, Murray was dealt by the Calgary Hitmen to the Silvertips last season for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft. . . . In 63 games over two seasons with Calgary, he had two goals and seven assists. He was pointless in seven games with Everett last season. . . . The Hitmen placed him on their protected list three years ago. . . . The deal allows Everett to get down to nine defencemen, although two of those — Jake Christiansen (Calgary Flames) and Wyatte Wylie (Philadelphia Flyers) — are with NHL teams. Still on the roster are three freshmen defenders — Alex Moar, 17, Ronan Seeley, 16, and Dylan Anderson, who turns 16 on Oct. 23.


The Prince George Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds got together on a deal on Monday afternoon. . . . The Cougars get F Mike MacLean, 20, D Sam Schoenfeld, 16, and an PrinceGeorgeundisclosed conditional 2021 bantam draft pick from the Thunderbirds for F Keegan Craik, 17, and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . MacLean, 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, obviously adds size to the Cougars’ roster. From Penticton, he had two goals and two assists in 38 games with Seattle last season. He also got into 24 games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats, putting up three goals and three assists. . . . Schoenfeld, like MacLean, is a list player. Last season, he had one goal and eight assists in 32 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Elite 15s. . . . Craik, from Brentwood Bay, B.C., was a fifth-round selection by the Cougars in the 2016 bantam draft. He got into two games with the Cougars last season, going pointless. In 27 games with the Delta Hockey Academy prep team, he had 13 goals and 16 assists. . . .

MacLean joins F Josh Curtis and D Joel Lakusta as the 20-year-olds on the Cougars’ roster. . . . Moving MacLean allows Seattle to get down to three 20-year-olds — F Zack Andrusiak, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan.


The Calgary Hitmen are down to three goaltenders after announcing late Monday Calgaryafternoon that they have “reassigned” Nick Sanders, 20, “to a team and league to be announced at a later date.” . . . Sanders, from Calgary, was a sixth-round selection by the Tri-City Americans in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . He made 29 appearances with the Americans before being dealt to the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 13, 2016, along with a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, for G Rylan Parenteau, 20. . . . Sanders got into 34 games with the Raiders in 2016-17 and four last season before bowing out due to hip problems. The Raiders sent him to Calgary on Jan. 8 for a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . The Hitmen still have goaltenders Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30, Carl Stankowski, 18, and freshman Jack McNaughton, who will hit 17 on Oct. 30, on their roster. . . . Stankowski was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Aug. 7. He was Seattle’s starting goaltender in the playoffs as the Thunderbirds made their run to the 2017 WHL championship, but hip and health issues kept him sidelined last season. . . .

Meanwhile, the Hitmen are left with two 20-year-olds on their roster — F Jake Kryski and F Luke Coleman — so have room to add one.


The buzz in junior A circles on Monday had to do with F Trevor Wong, a 15-year-old KelownaRocketsfrom Vancouver who is the only one of the WHL’s 22 first-round 2018 bantam draft selections who has yet to sign. . . . The Kelowna Rockets selected Wong with the 18th overall selection, knowing that he was looking at going the NCAA route. In November, he made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver, starting with the 2020-21 season. . . . On Monday, there were rumblings that Wong either has signed, or is on the verge of signing, with the Rockets. He attended their rookie camp late in August. . . . Last season, with the St. George’s School bantam varsity team, he had 141 points, including 64 goals, in 30 games.


SJHL

If you are an SJHL pass-holder and plan on visiting Humboldt for Wednesday’s game between the Broncos and Nipawin Hawks, you need to know that it won’t get you in the door.

This will be the Broncos’ home-opener, in Elgar Petersen Arena, which has a capacity of HumboldtBroncosaround 1,800. It will be the Broncos’ first home game since the bus accident on April 6 that claimed 16 lives.

As one might expect, the national media, likely even some international media, has descended on the community again, coming in like grasshoppers during a red-hot growing season.

All of this resulted in the SJHL sending out the release pictured above on Saturday. Bill Chow, the SJHL president, tells Taking Note that was done after “Humboldt sent out a media accreditation request about 7-10 days ago.”

It could be that not everyone received, or paid attention to, the accreditation notice from Humboldt. One observer who works in the media told Taking Note on Monday morning that “I’ve been told that the SJHL has informed all the local media from around the province that their league media passes won’t be honoured Wednesday and they won’t be allowed in to cover the game as there is no space due to national media.”

Perhaps there are people on the SJHL beat who simply assumed that their SJHL pass would get them in the door. That, however, may not be the case.

You have to feel for the SJHL for the position in which it finds itself — a small arena with minimal press facilities being home to an event such as this. With so many media people wanting in, and with TSN no doubt having a number of employees onsite to handle the national telecast, the SJHL no doubt finds itself in a no-win situation.



Craig Button, TSN’s director of scouting, released his first Craig’s List on Monday, his rankings of players eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft. F Jack Hughes of the U.S. National Team Development Program is No. 1, ahead of F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . In fact, there are four WHLers in Button’s Top 10. The list runs 40 deep and is right here.


D Jarret Tyszka, who spent the past three seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds, is in concussion protocol after being injured during a Sunday game while playing with the SeattleMontreal Canadiens’ prospects team.

Tyszka, 19, was released from a Montreal hospital on Monday after being stretchered off the ice. He was playing for the Canadiens against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was hit from behind into the boards by F Hudson Elynuik, who played out his junior eligibility last season with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Elynuik was given a match penalty for cross-checking. . . . Tyszka was a fifth-round pick by the Canadiens in the NHL’s 2017 draft. Elynuik is with the Leafs as a free-agent invitee.

Joël Bouchard, the head coach of Montreal’s AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket, was behind the Canadiens’ bench. He wasn’t happy with his team’s response, or lack of same.

Google translation: “This is unacceptable. We play as a team, we play as a team. We warned them that it had to change. The guys on the ice that time did not play for the rest of the time.”

Google translation: “Even though it’s a rookie camp, they’re wearing a Canadiens jersey. I do not advocate violence, but I ask them to stand up. We protect each other every time we have the same colour of sweater. It’s like that in any league in the world.”


A Facebook post from Randy Palmer of the Moose Jaw Express:

“Okay, this is something that has been brewing and has been the kind of thing that flies MooseJawWarriorsunder the radar until you think about it.

I can guarantee you what you are about to read is going to utterly blow your mind.

The 50-50 for the Moose Jaw Warriors’ home-opener is starting . . . STARTING . . . at over $166,000.

The winner of the massive monster 50-50 from last season never claimed his/her prize. So it rolled into the first 50-50 of the next season.

That means, from the second the 50-50 booth opens at Mosaic Place on opening night, the winner of that night’s 50-50 is guaranteed at least $83,000.

I predict the take home will be around $150,000 before the night is over.

Marc Smith of CHAB says well over $200,000. And, honestly, he’s probably right.

The best thing?

You have to be in the building that night to collect the prize.

Capacity is 4,500.

Gonna bet they’re going to stretch that a bit.”

The Warriors home-opener, against the Brandon Wheat Kings, is scheduled for Sept. 22.


If you’re a regular here, you will have seen a few paragraphs the other day relating to how junior-aged players are able to attend WHL training camps and maintain their NCAA eligibility.

That post elicited an offer from Ross Beebe, the educational advisor to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and the NCAA policy advisor for Global Sports Camps.

“This is year 24 for me so I am very familiar with the ‘ins/outs’ of the NCAA,” Beebe writes. “Should any of your readers wish/require more NCAA information on amateurism or academic standards, I would be more that happy to share my knowledge. This is a volunteer position for me so there would be no cost.”

If you are looking for answers, you may reach Beebe at roscolangleyrivermen@shaw.ca


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to help her get to $3,000 in donations you are able to do so right here.


Nick Redding is the new head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Redding, 26, is from Spokane. He played four seasons with the KIJHL’s Spokane Braves, before going on to Eastern Washington U. Last season, he was the general manager and assistant coach with the Braves. Earlier this summer, Redding had signed with the Seattle Thunderbirds as the hockey operations co-ordinator. . . . The Thunder Cats had been looking for a head coach since late in August when GM/head coach Brad Tobin left to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as assistant GM and associate head coach.


Liz Thunstrom turned 80 recently and on Friday received a belated birthday present that thrilled her no end. It was a ride in the Fanboni during a Vancouver Giants game at the Langley Events Centre. . . . The Langley Times has more right here.


Tweetoftheday

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

Scattershooting

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



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



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



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

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


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


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



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


MacBeth

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

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


ThisThat

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

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

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

Here are the particulars from a Petes news release:

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

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

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

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

——

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

——

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Van Diest’s complete story is right here.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



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


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


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

Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


Tweetoftheday