WHL’s winds of change: Coaches and scouts on the move . . . and more news, too

MacBeth

F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) signed a one-year contract with the GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). Last season, he had three goals and seven assists in 50 games with Kamloops (WHL). . . .

F James Wright (Vancouver, 2005-09) signed a one-year plus option contract with Linköping (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had two goals and six assists in 26 games with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), and three goals and two assists in 15 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL).


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Luke Pierce has signed on as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Pierce, 34, spent last season as an assistant coach with the Canadian men’s Paralympic sledge hockey team after working for two seasons as head coach of the Kootenay Ice. . . . He lost his job with the Ice when he got caught up in an ownership change. . . . Prior to that, he was the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials for five-plus seasons. . . .

In Edmonton, Pierce will work alongside head coach Brad Lauer, who is preparing for his first season in that role. Pierce replaces Ryan Marsh, who was fired on May 29, along with head coach Steve Hamilton, and has since joined the Saskatoon Blades as an assistant coach. Hamilton now is the head coach of the Calgary Hitmen.

Meanwhile, the Oil Kings also announced that Jamie Novakoski, their director of scouting, won’t be back. He had been with the Oil Kings since 2007, working as director of scouting for the past five seasons. . . . According to the Oil Kings, he “will assist with the transition to a new director of scouting before leaving to pursue an opportunity outside of hockey.”


The Prince Albert Raiders announced Monday that they have added Jeff Truitt, Dan Gendur and Mike Brodeur to their coaching staff. . . . Truitt, 53, fills the vacancy created when associate coach Dave Manson left to join the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Truitt and Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid know each other well, having worked together with the Kelowna Rockets from 2000-04. When Kelowna won the 2004 Memorial Cup, Habscheid was the Rockets’ head coach and Truitt was associate coach. Truitt spent the past six seasons as the associate coach with the Red Deer Rebels. He also has AHL coaching experience, having worked with the San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars. . . . Last season, Gendur, 31, was the head coach of the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. He joined the Raiders late in the WHL season and worked with them through the playoffs. He is a former WHL player, having played with the Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips (2004-08). . . . Brodeur, 35, is the Raiders’ new goaltending coach. He spent one season  (2003-04) playing with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. Last season, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. With the Raiders, Brodeur takes over from Kelly Guard, now an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.


Veteran coach Willie Desjardins has signed on to work with the Prairie Rose School Division in establishing a new hockey academy that will involve three schools in the Medicine Hat Area. The 61-year-old Desjardins, who was the head coach of Canada’s national men’s team last season, continues to live in Medicine Hat, where he coached the Tigers for eight seasons (2002-10). . . . Collin Gallant of the Medicine Hat News has more right here.



The Seattle Thunderbirds have added Craig Goebel and Jared Crooks to their scouting staff. . . . Goebel spent the past 10 seasons scouting for the Regina Pats. His main assignment will be pre-scouting Seattle’s opponents. . . . Crooks, who played four seasons at MacEwan U in Edmonton, is the head instructor at the Mount Carmel Hockey Academy in Edmonton. He will scout for the Thunderbirds in northern Alberta.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added Mark Sauer and Brennen York to their scouting staff. . . . Earlier this summer, the Wheat Kings lost veteran scout Mike Fraser when he left to sign on as the Everett Silvertips’ head scout. . . . Sauer, from Calgary, had been on the scouting staff at ISS for three years. . . . York is from Edmonton where he founded DraftGeek.


It’s official. The Vancouver Giants have added Jamie Heward to their coaching staff. The team announced Monday morning that Heward has been signed as the associate coach. . Vancouver. . He replaces Dean Chynoweth, who left after one season and has signed as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . As a player, Heward spent parts of nine seasons in the NHL, after playing four seasons (1987-91) with his hometown Regina Pats. . . . Heward, 47, spent the past six seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, as an assistant coach and the director of player development. . . . This means that the Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, have lost three coaches since the season ended. Head coach Manny Viveiros now is an assistant with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, while assistant coach Ryan Smith has joined the Medicine Hat Tigers.

During his playing days in Regina, Heward was a member of what was known as the PUP Line. Its other members also were Regina natives — Frank Kovacs and Mike Sillinger. All three played as 16-year-olds, thus the PUP moniker.

On Monday, while Heward was busy with the Giants, Kovacs was busy, too, as you can see from this tweet . . .


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Robbie Fromm-Delorme, who was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Richmond, B.C., Fromm-Delorme played last season in Byfield, Mass., at The Governor’s Academy in the USHS-Prep league. He had seven goals and 10 assists in 27 games. . . . He attended the Winterhawks’ training camp prior to the 2017-18 season.


Bill Reddick will chair the committee that will prepare the bid by the Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes and the City of Lethbridge for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . Terry Huisman, the Hurricanes’ general manager of business operations, will be the co-chair. . . . Reddick is a partner with Mercer Wilde Group Chartered Accountants in Lethbridge and has long been involved with minor hockey in that city. . . . Huisman has been the general manager of business operations since 2012 and has played an integral role in leading the franchise out of the financial mess it was in not that long ago. . . . The Hurricanes, Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals all are preparing bids for the 2020 Memorial Cup. They are scheduled to present those bids at a meeting of the WHL’s board of governors in Calgary on Oct. 3. A host city is expected to be named at the conclusion of that meeting.


The AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs have added Alex Mandolidis, Josh Watson and Richie Hubbell to a coaching staff this is headed up by GM/head coach Tyler Drader. . . . Mandolidis has spent the past five seasons with either the midget AAA Calgary Flames or midget AAA Calgary Northstars, while Watson has worked with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Hubbell has been the goaltending coach with the women’s team at Olds College.


Tweetoftheday

Hawks’ Arnold burning it up . . . Saints stay alive at home . . . Raiders adding Gendur to staff?

MacBeth

G Marek Schwarz (Vancouver, 2004-05) signed a two-year contract with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, in 47 games with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga), he was 3.00, .894, with five shutouts. . . .

F Dylan Wruck (Edmonton, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). This season, with Cologne Haie (Germany, DEL), he had two assists in 35 games. Wruck has dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

F Brandon McMillan (Kelowna, 2006-10) signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). In 51 games, he had 14 goals and eight assists while averaging 18:42 time on ice. He was second on his team in goals and points. . . .

D Jonathan Harty (Everett, 2004-08) signed a one-year contract extension with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). He had two goals and 12 assists in 32 games.


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The AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints beat the BCHL-champion Wenatchee Wild, 4-2, in Spruce Grove on Wednesday in Game 4 of the best-of-seven Doyle Cup series. The Wild leads the series, 3-1, with Game 5 scheduled for Friday in Spruce Grove. . . . F Austin Parmiter scored two goals and added an assist for the Saints, who scored the game’s first three goals. . . .

Meanwhile, the best-of-seven ANAVET Cup is 2-2 after the SJHL-champion Nipawins Hawks, playing at home, beat the MJHL-champion Steinbach Pistons, 5-2, on Wednesday. They will clash again Friday in Nipawin, before returning to Steinbach for Game 6 on Monday and, if needed, Game 7 on Tuesday. . . . F Brandan Arnold had two goals and two assists in Game 4, meaning that he has been in on 10 of the 12 goals the Hawks have scored in the series. Arnold, who turned 21 on April 5, has five goals and five assists in the four games.


If you’re looking for the WHL award winners, you’ll find them at whl.ca. You will be able to follow Thursday’s bantam draft there, too.


Scattershooting

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times points out: “A 1952 Mantle baseball card has sold for US$2.88 million — or 384 times the $7,500 he was paid to play that season.”


Here’s Perry, again: “Two former cheerleaders who recently filed discrimination claims against the NFL said they’d settle them for $1 each if Commissioner Roger Goodell would agree to meet with them. Or, as their lawyers officially spelled it out: 2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a dollar.”


I haven’t noticed an announcement of any sort from the Prince Albert Raiders, but it would seem from the above tweet that former WHL F Dan Gendur is joining their organization. . . . Gendur, 30, had been the head coach of the midget AAA CFR Chemicals Bisons, who play out of Airdrie, Alta. He played in the WHL with the Victoria/Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips (2003-08). . . . Dustin Taylor, who had been the Bisons’ associate coach, is the Bisons’ new head coach.


With the summer driving season almost upon us, a couple of reminders for anyone planning on stopping in Kamloops for a day or two, or even just passing through. . . . 1. Turn-signals are optional. . . . 2. The numbers on speed-limit signs are only guidelines. The actual speed limit? It’s whatever you want it to be.


“Winnipeg’s two NHL franchises have not combined for a glorious history,” RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com writes. “This might be the first year the Jets store didn’t offer shopping bags with eye holes.”


Why do so many people feel a need to let all of us in the restaurant in on their phone conversations? Why do so many drivers think that other people feel a desire to hear their music? Have you noticed how much quieter winter is than summer?


After Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants had a record 21-pitch at-bat recently, Janie Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com noted: “Lasted longer than some celebrity marriages.”


Hough also wondered: “When’s the duet coming out with Kanye West and Shania Twain?”


Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen claimed that during Belt’s lengthy at-bat, Pittsburgh Penguins forward “Jake Guentzel scored four goals.”


If you haven’t already read it, Roy MacGregor’s latest — Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada — is well worth it. It tells the story of a number of Canada’s great waterways as only MacGregor can write it, and he is one of this country’s best. There is a lot of history packed between the covers, along with a humdinger of a warning shot about the way we have been treating some of our main sources of water.


Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express, on the soap opera that is the Toronto Maple Leafs: “If this is true, Auston Matthews better get his act together quickly. NHL analyst Nick Kypreos says Mike Babcock has ‘lost’ Matthews. The young forward better find himself quickly because Babcock isn’t going anywhere.”