Taking Note’s pick as sportsmen of the year . . . Come on, folks, mask up . . . Rockets, Giants stung by WJC injuries

As another old year gives way to a new one, numerous organizations hand out end-of-year awards. That doesn’t happen at Taking Note, but if it did I would Brandonbe quick to salute Calder Anderson, Jake Chiasson, Nolan Ritchie and Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings as this site’s sportsmen of the year. . . . In case you missed it, in the words of the Brandon Sun’s Perry Bergson, they “successfully interceded to help a distressed man who was contemplating suicide on the First Street Bridge” on the evening of Nov. 29. . . . “We’re very happy that we were able to save him and get him some help,” Thornton told Bergson, who added: “They also learned another lesson when 30 or 40 vehicles drove by without stopping in the short span they were trying to help the man. Yet they never considered leaving until the man was safe.” . . . Gentlemen, I salute you. . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.


Let’s be honest. We are part of a society that is putting together an absolutely Covidabysmal record unless being selfish and uncaring is the objective. Really, had you told me four years ago that the time was coming when our children would by dying, when our children would be unable to get much-needed surgical procedures, when our hospital’s emergency rooms would be over-run and that society would refuse to help by doing something as simple as masking up, well, I would have told you that you were crazy. . . . But, well, here we are.

——

After avoiding COVID-19 for almost three years, it caught up with me almost five weeks ago. Ironically, I tested positive on a day when I was to have visited a pharmacy for my fifth shot. Thankfully, the boosters did what they were supposed to, leaving me with a bit of a cough and some fatigue. The strangest thing is that there have been good days followed by bad. Just when you think you’re over the rough road, it reappears. Kind of like city streets, if you know what I mean. . . . As for that fifth shot, well, it’ll have to wait until May. . . . In the meantime, I will be here as fatigue’s curtain allows.

——

André Picard wrote this in The Globe and Mail last week:

“In some ways, these more recent viral challenges have distracted us from the main event: COVID-19. While we largely returned to ‘pre-pandemic’ normalcy this year, this has actually been the deadliest year yet for COVID-19; in 2022, Canada will surpass 17,000 deaths, more than the 14,642 deaths we recorded in 2020 or the 16,489 in 2021. A fifth wave of Omicron is just beginning.

“We still don’t know if SARS-CoV-2 will mutate further. We do not know if it will become seasonal, like most respiratory viruses. And we definitely do not yet have a handle on what it will mean if we suffer repeated COVID-19 infections — but it certainly won’t be good news.

“Viruses are ubiquitous, and will continue to pose new threats. We can’t live a virus-free existence, nor can we place our children and seniors in a protective bubble.

“But we also cannot hang them out to dry on a viral firing range, without any protection. We need to use the mitigation tools (vaccinations and masks) we have while we develop new ones. That’s what ‘living with COVID’ really needs to mean, moving ahead into a new year.”

——

The Angus Reid Institute released results of an online survey early in December that showed of 5,013 participants 54 per cent would be prepared to mask up if it was made mandatory if COVID-19 levels increase. But only 31 per cent are wearing masks more than half the time when they are in indoor public places. Sheesh, people, that just doesn’t make any sense.

Get vaccinated and wear a mask when appropriate, like when shopping or anywhere in a crowded area. . . . Just because the politicians and health officers won’t do their part by mandating masks doesn’t mean you can’t do the right thing and be part of the solution.



Look, F Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is not the greatest goal scorer nhl2in NHL history. So stop trying to tell me that he is. He’s still 88 behind Wayne Gretzky. Have people already forgotten just how great Gretzky was? . . . Allow me to point out that Gretzky also scored 92 goals in the WHA, which was a better league than many of those same people seem to recall. As for Gordie Howe, well he scored 801 NHL goals and another 174 in the WHA. . . . But when Ovechkin puts in No. 895, then you can call him the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. OK?

——

While some hockey fans celebrate Ovechkin’s scoring accomplishments, there are those who don’t and never will go that way. Why? Because of Ovechkin’s long-time support of Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, who, of course, is responsible for the ongoing war on Ukraine. Luke Fox of Sportsnet took a look at the Ovechkin-Putin situation the other day and it really is an interesting read. That piece is right here.

——

BTW, did Gretzky really have to throw mud on his legacy by jumping on the gambling gravy train?


It is every general manager’s worst nightmare . . . a top player leaves for an international assignment and then suffers a serious injury. . . . That is what has happened with the Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver Giants, each team having had a player seriously injured at the 2023 World Junior Championship. Those injuries may well have an impact on the WHL’s Western Conference playoff race from which eight teams will qualify. . . .

F Colton Dach, the Rockets’ captain, initiated a hit during a Saturday game — KelownaCanada beat Sweden, 5-1 — and left the game in obvious discomfort thanks to an injury to his right shoulder area. Dach, who turns 20 on Wednesday, has 17 points, nine of them goals, in 14 games with the Rockets this season. Earlier, he missed some time with a concussion. . . . The Rockets (12-18-3), who have lost five in a row, are eighth in the conference, seven points ahead of the Victoria Royals (8-24-4). . . .

Meanwhile, freshman F Samuel Honzek, the Vancouver Giants’ leading scorer, Vancouversuffered a skate cut to the back of his left leg on Wednesday as his Slovakian side beat the U.S., 6-3. The 18-year-old Honzek, who is expected to be out as long as six weeks, leads the Giants in assists (26) and points (43) in 31 games. . . . Vancouver (14-16-6) is tied for fourth in the conference with the Tri-City Americans, who hold two games in hand. They are one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . .

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Jan. 10.


The Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals swapped 19-year-old goaltenders on Dec. 28. Tyler Palmer, who had left the Royals for what the team said was WHLpersonal reasons, was dealt to Everett in exchange for Braden Holt. . . . Palmer, from Fernie, B.C., was in his second season with Victoria. He left the Royals sometime after a 7-4 loss to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 12. . . . Holt, from Bozeman, Mont., was in his fourth season with Everett. In his first start with Victoria, he stopped 35 shots in a 3-0 victory over the host Vancouver Giants. . . . Having acquired Holt, the Royals then traded G Logan Cunningham, a 17-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., to the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fifth-round pick in the 2025 WHL draft. . . . After adding Cunningham to their roster, the Oil Kings dropped G Ronin Geraghty, 18. From Burnaby, B.C., he was 0-5-0, 6.48, .819 in seven games with Edmonton. . . .

Still with goaltending, the Swift Current Broncos lost starter Gage Alexander on Dec. 30 when the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks signed him to an entry-level deal and assigned him to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. Alexander, 20, had played in 15 games for the Broncos this season, two more than Reid Dyck. Alexander was 8-5-1, 3.47, .898. . . . The Ducks had selected Alexander in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Broncos had acquired him from the Winnipeg Ice on July 28, giving up a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft in the exchange. . . . The move left the Broncos with Dyck, an 18-year-old from Winkler, Man., and Joey Rocha, 17, from Nanaimo, B.C., as their goaltenders. . . . Dyck, in his third season, was 4-10-0, 4.07, .880 at the time of the deal; Rocha, a freshman, had been in four games. . . .

And while we’re on the subject of goaltending, how about the run Scott Ratzlaff is on with the Seattle Thunderbirds while starter Thomas Milic is with Team Canada at the WJC? Thom Beuning, the veteran radio voice of the Thunderbirds, points out that Ratzlaff’s December looked like this: 8-0-1, 1.65, .941, with two shutouts. . . . Ratzlaff, 17, is from Irma, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 draft. This season, the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder is 14-2-1, 2.04, .925. In 42 career appearances, he is 32-4-2, 2.31, .912. . . .

And let’s not forget about Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice. An 18-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., Hauser recorded his 20th victory of the season the other night. This season, in 22 games, he is 20-2-0, 2.36, .912. He has made 70 regular-season appearances over three seasons, going 61-5-2, 2.24, .911. Not at all shabby, eh?


The junior B Nelson Leafs and the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the kijhlKootenay International Junior Hockey League took time out from chasing a puck to exchange Happy New Year greetings as they began the second period on Saturday evening. . . . The Leafs are the team in white in the above video, and the video evidence would seem to indicate that they were first off the mark. . . . The puck now has been passed to Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner. . . . Happy New Year, Mr. Dubois.


MyWay


THINKING OUT LOUD — The best part of the World Junior Championship? That’s easy. Having the opportunity to listen to Dennis Beyak do play-by-play again. It says here that he is the best in his field even if he is semi-retired. . . . The other day, the choice was Beyak calling Slovakia and Switzerland from the WJC on TSN or Jack Edwards handling the Buffalo Sabres against his beloved Boston Bruins on Sportsnet. Sorry, Sportsnet. . . . The most annoying commercial on TV these days (pick one) — Clay Matthews for Tide, Rogers’ Wrapped in Red spots, the Subway ads featuring the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes, or the Sobeys’ family of four. . . . If you enjoy your time on this site, and even if you don’t, you may want to consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right side. Thanks in advance. . . . Dan Russell, the now-retired host of the long-running Vancouver-based radio show Sportstalk, release his memoir — Pleasant Good Evening: A Memoir — My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportsnet — in 2022 and now is thinking of spinning off a podcast. “My plans,” he writes on his blog, “now are to add more content to this site, especially in the audio vault. And I will update this blog from time to time. I’m also considering a podcast as my 2023 project. One that will combine what is happening today with the large archive of Sportstalk audio I have saved over the years.” If you haven’t seen his blog, it’s right here.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after the final game in soccer’s World Cup: “If you watched this game and came away from it with the idea that it was not a good expenditure of your time, then you simply do not like soccer and should make a note to yourself not to waste any more time trying to appreciate the sport.” . . . Hey, he is correct!


How many WHLers do you know of, past or present, who have put together and released an album? Yes, an album of their own music. . . . F London Hoilett of the Calgary Hitmen is quite a story, having made the team prior to this season despite never having been drafted. He also is something of a musician and has his first album — Can’t Sit Still — ready for release on Jan. 10. . . . Cami Kepke of Global Calgary has more right here.


Mitts


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

A few things of note that popped up while I was away from here . . .

D Ethan Samson, the captain of the Prince George Cougars, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, who selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. Samson, 19, is from Delta, B.C. He had two goals and an assist as the Cougars beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 10-6, on Saturday night. This season, Samson has 11 goals and 16 assists in 28 games. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have added former player Curtis Hamilton, 31, to their front office as assistant general manager. Yes, his father, Bruce, is the Rockets’ owner, president and general manager. There is a news release right here. . . .

Gilles Courteau, who took over as the QMJHL’s president during the 1985-86 season, will retire at the end of this season. A replacement is expected to be named in May, with Courteau staying on into 2024 to help with the transition. . . . The league has changed the name of its championship trophy from the President’s Cup to the Gilles Courteau Trophy. . . . Courteau first worked in the QMJHL office in 1977 as a statistician. . . .

The junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced that they will ice a team for the 2023-24 season. The Braves have sat out the past two KIJHL seasons for reasons related to the pandemic. . . .

Another high-end WHL forward changed teams on Dec. 31 when the Winnipeg Ice acquired Carson Latimer, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for F Aiden Quiring, 17, and third-round selections in the 2024 and 2025 WHL drafts. . . . Latimer, a fourth-round selection by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL’s 2021 draft, had 22 goals and 38 assists in 75 regular-season games with the Raiders. This season, he had 10 goals and 18 assists in 31 games when he was dealt. . . . Quiring, a freshman who was a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL draft, had five goals and three assists in 26 games at the time of the trade. . . .

The Tri-City Americans revealed on Dec. 30 that D Ben Feenan “has left the team for personal reasons and will join the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.” . . . Feenan, 18, is from Surrey, B.C. He had three assists in 22 games this season, after recording six helpers in 48 games in 2021-22. . . . The Americans selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. . . .

The Americans got past the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 7-6 in OT, on New Year’s Eve. And wouldn’t you know it . . . Americans D Lukas Dragicevic didn’t pick up so much as one point, thus ending his 27-game point streak. He put up seven goals and 30 assists during that stretch.


Grinch


Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press recently wrote a piece in a newsletter about things he would change if he ruled the hockey world for a day. Here’s one item with which I completely agree:

“Severely limit betting/gambling advertisements. Heck, I might just consider an outright ban. I could tolerate them when they first began, in small doses. But it’s to the point now of being completely obnoxious. Seemingly every second commercial is for some website, and now even hosts such as Ron MacLean are routinely shilling for these services. To be clear, I’ve got absolutely nothing against gambling. If you have the means and can do it responsibly, knock your socks off. It’s the idea of having it shoved down my throat everywhere I turn that I find so offensive.”


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.


Dinner

Ice freezes out streaking Rebels . . . Thunderbirds add Prokop to roster . . . Dreger: Everett’s Williams to be Canada’s head coach at WJC

Two WHL teams on lengthy winning streaks clashed at the Wayne Fleming Arena in Winnipeg on Tuesday night. . . . When it was all over, the Winnipeg Ice WinnipegIcehad beaten Red Deer, 3-1, halting the Rebels’ 15-game season-opening winning streak. . . . While the Rebels broke the franchise record for longest winning streak — the 2001-02 club won 14 in a row in mid-season — they fell short of the WHL record for longest winning streak to open a season. The 1967-68 Estevan Bruins opened with 22 straight victories. . . . The Ice (16-1-0) now has won 11 in a row. . . . D Ben Zloty gave the Ice a 1-0 lead, on the PP, at 8:21 of the first period. . . . F Skyler Bruce upped it to 2-0 at 13:50 of the second period, and F Matthew Savoie scored shorthanded for a 3-0 lead 13 seconds into the third period. . . . F Carson Birnie got Red Deer’s goal, at 12:52 of the third. . . . The Ice had a 29-21 edge in shots. . . . Winnipeg was 1-7 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-6. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 20 shots for the Ice. He is 12-0-0 (2.24, .922) this season, and 53-3-2 (2.20, .913) for his career. . . . The announced attendance was 1,411. . . . The same two teams are to meet again tonight in Winnipeg. . . .

D Max Wanner had two goals and two assists to lead the host Moose Jaw Warriors to a 7-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Wanner had missed the Warriors’ previous two games. . . . The Warriors improved to 10-6-0, while the Oil Kings now are 2-13-1. . . . F Atley Calvert helped the winners with a goal and two assists. . . . F Jaxsen Wiebe, who is from Moose Jaw, had both Edmonton goals. . . .

F Hayden Pakkala broke a 1-1 tie with a PP goal at 15:35 of the third period and the visiting Prince Albert Raiders went on to a 3-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Raiders got a goal and two assists from F Sloan Stanick and two assists from F Niall Crocker. . . . F Carson Latimer put it away with an empty-netter. . . . The Raiders (5-11-2) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Tigers (4-9-3) have lost six in a row (0-4-2).


ID


D Luke Prokop is back in the WHL for his 20-year-old season. The Seattle Thunderbirds announced on Tuesday that Prokop has been added to their roster Seattleafter being sent to them by the NHL’s Nashville Predators. . . . “This is a huge addition for our team,” Bill La Forge, Seattle’s general manager, said in a news release. “Luke’s combination of size and talent greatly boosts our defensive core. Acquiring his rights was important to us and we will be thrilled to see him in a Thunderbirds jersey soon.” . . . The Thunderbirds are scheduled to visit the Kamloops Blazers tonight. The Thunderbirds didn’t indicate whether Prokop would in the lineup. . . . A third-round pick by Nashville in the NHL’s 2020 draft, Prokop had been with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals. He had one goal in eight ECHL games. . . . Last season, the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder put up 10 goals and 23 assists in 55 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings, then had four goals and 12 assists in a 19-game run to a WHL title. . . . He began his WHL career with the Calgary Hitmen, playing 153 games with them, scoring eight goals and adding 35 assists. . . . The Thunderbirds acquired his WHL rights from the Oil Kings on Oct. 25, giving up three draft picks in the exchange — a 2025 first-rounder and third-rounders in 2023 and 2025. According to a Seattle news release at the time, “All draft picks are conditional on Prokop returning to the WHL.” . . . The Thunderbirds are 10-3-0, having lost two in a row. They are in the U.S. Division chase, trailing the Portland Winterhawks (11-1-2) and Everett Silvertips (11-5-0).



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

You will recall reading here earlier about the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders having been in a multi-vehicle accident near Ponoka on Saturday as they were en route to a game in Blackfalds. . . . The Crusaders were singing the praises of their bus driver. . . . It turns out his name is Robert Gingrich. “He did a tremendous job keeping us safe,” Evan McFeeters, the Crusaders’ associate general manager and head coach, told Taking Note on Tuesday. “We will be forever grateful for him.” . . . Great job, Robert. Thanks for all you and the other bussies do in these days of nasty and often quickly changing weather. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels have signed 2006-born D Derek Thurston to a WHL contract. He was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft. Thurston, from Delta, B.C., is playing this season with the U18AAA Delta Academy team. . . . His father, Brent, played with the Victoria Cougars and Spokane Chiefs. He was with the Chiefs when they won the 1991 Memorial Cup. . . . Brent has another son, Trevor, who has played with the Kamloops Blazers, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders. Trevor, a 20-year-old defenceman, now is with the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Eagles. . . .

With the Portland Winterhawks at 11-1-2, Andy Kemper, their historian, notes that it is the eighth time in franchise history they have put up 11 victories through 14 games. “But,” he adds, “it is the most games played with only one regulation loss — previous was 11 GP in 1982-83 and 1985-86).” . . . Kemper also notes that Portland’s 24 points is the most in team history through 14 games played. . . .

There is ample speculation as to whether the Regina Pats will trade F Connor Bedard and, if they are to do that, just how much of a bounty will they get in return. I don’t think he’ll be on the move, only because I don’t know how the Pats would sell it to their fans. . . . But if a deal is going to happen this season, it means that Bedard may have only two home games remaining in his Pats career — tonight against the Edmonton Oil Kings and Saturday against the Red Deer Rebels. . . . After playing the Rebels, the Pats hit the road for 10 straight, including a five-game SRO tour of the B.C. Division. . . . Regina won’t play at home again until Dec. 10, by which time Bedard will be in camp with Canada’s national junior team as it prepares for the 2023 World Junior Championship. . . . The WJC wraps up on Jan. 5; the WHL trade deadline arrives on Jan. 10. . . . BTW, the Canadian team’s coaching staff is expected to be announced this morning. Darren Dreger of TSN reported last night that Dennis Williams of the Everett Silvertips will be Canada’s head coach.


Notme


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.


TheTalk

Crusaders, Rebels loving their bus drivers . . . Red Deer, Winnipeg set for Manitoba doubleheader . . . Winterhawks, Chiefs share 15 goals

Players and personnel with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders are crediting their bus driver with keeping them out of harm’s way when they were involved SherwoodParkin a multi-vehicle accident on Saturday afternoon.

The Crusaders had played in Olds on Friday night and were en route to Blackfalds for a Saturday night date with the Bulldogs.

The Crusaders didn’t make it as they ended up among numerous vehicles involved in accidents on No. 2 Highway south of Edmonton.

Things were fine until visibly turned sour south of Ponoka and the road iced up.

“We rolled up on a massive pile-up where our bus driver just told everyone to hold on,” Evan McFeeters, the Crusaders’ associate general manager and head coach, told Adam Lachacz of CTV News Edmonton. “He did an incredible job of keeping us safe and upright, weaving through the mayhem in front of us.

“We saw it all . . . cars doing 360s smashing into each other, semis jackknifing, but our bus driver is the hero of the day for us.

“Keeping us upright when we hit the ditch and avoiding collisions along the way till we finally came to a stop.”

(Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to learn the bus driver’s name, just that his first name is Robert. So, Robert, well done!)

There weren’t any injuries to anyone on the Crusaders’ bus.

Eventually, school buses were sent from Ponoka and the team ended up spending the night in the Ponoka Centennial Centre. They returned to Sherwood Park on a different bus on Sunday afternoon.

Lachacz’s complete story is right here.


Inclement weather resulting in horrendous driving conditions prevented two WHL teams from getting home following Saturday night games. . . . The Saskatoon Blades beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-1, and then headed for home along the Trans-Canada Highway. They got as far as Moosomin, before pulling in for the night. The Blades finally arrived home on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

At the same time, the Swift Current Broncos, who had beaten the Pats, 5-2, in Regina, chose not to even try to get home after the game, hunkering down in a local hotel instead.


Boss


The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey CastlegarLeague were in the middle of it all, too, because driving conditions in B.C.’s Interior have been horrendous for a few days now. After playing in Kamloops on Friday night and 100 Mile House on Saturday night, the Rebels arrived home on Sunday and tweeted: “Special thanks to our bus driver Craig Luke for his great work in snowy road conditions.”


How poor were driving conditions in the Regina area. Kevin Gallant made the 45-minute drive from Regina to Moose Jaw for the Saturday night game between the Warriors and Red Deer Rebels. His son, Matthew, is a sophomore defenceman with the Warriors.

When Kevin arrived home after the game, here’s what he wrote on Facebook:

“Made it home, drove 40 kilometres an hour sometimes 30 kilometres an hour. About a 90-minute drive. . . . I will never do another drive like that again, not used to it. Got behind a vehicle and did the slow drive, sometimes no visibility, looked like a few cars in ditch.”

Been there, done that! But I only did it once. When I was with the Regina Leader-Post, I once headed for Moose Jaw for a Saturday night game. Things were fine on the way there. But it was ugly going back with snow and more snow and wind and more wind. I was fortunate to tuck in behind a big rig and follow the taillights all the way to Regina.

Yes, that was a lesson learned.


Bass


Meanwhile, in Kamloops and area, we had a dump of snow late Thursday and into Friday. But it didn’t stick around too long. Then it snowed some more and, yes, there is more in the forecast. People here like to giggle about what goes on in Vancouver on the odd occasion when it snows there. But, truth be told, things are no better in Kamloops on the occasion of that first snowfall. The Sahali and Aberdeen areas have some steep hills that always seem to turn messy when things get slippery. And this time it wasn’t any different. Then, of course, there is the Coquihalla Highway that always seems to end up being shut down a time or three in one or both directions. Such has been the case for the past two or three days, and we now are left to see what Monday brings.

This weekend, however, seems to have brought some ugliness with it.

There is a twitter account — Kamscan (@Kamscan) — whose operator monitors road conditions. On Sunday, the account featured these tweets:

“And the entitled are showing their colours . . . just passed a plow truck on the right and gave the operator the finger.”

“Operator was mentioning vehicles were right on his ass. Guess some can lose the time and deductible on their windshields.”

“And a second one just passed him and probably touched the tip of the plow.”

“Yesterday a plow operator had stuff thrown at him as he was passing a trucker who had hit the ditch.”


ProduceBag


The WHL has eight mid-week games on its upcoming schedule and two stand WHLout among all the rest. Those two games will feature the Red Deer Rebels in Winnipeg to face the Ice on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . The Rebels are on a franchise-record 15-game winning streak. Yes, they have won their first 15 games — the WHL record of 22 is held by the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins. . . . Meanwhile, all the Ice, which has won 10 straight, has done is go 15-1-0, despite opening with 13 consecutive road games. . . . Red Deer’s freshman goaltenders have some pretty fine numbers — Rhett Stoesser is 5-0-0, 1.40, .934, while Kyle Kelsey is 10-0-0, 1.80, .935. . . . Veteran Daniel Hauser of the Ice goes into the doubleheader at 11-0-0, 2.35, .920. His running mate, freshman Dawson Cowan, is 3-1-0, 2.52, .901.


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

The Portland Winterhawks opened an early 4-0 lead — thanks to three PP goals — and then had to go to a shootout to beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 8-7. . . . PortlandF Jack O’Brien’s second goal of the game gave Portland that 4-0 lead at 13:28 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Ty Cheveldayoff tied it, 7-7, at 19:25 of the third period. It was his third goal of the game and seventh of the season. It also was the second multi-goal game of his 92-game WHL career; he had a two-goal outing last season. . . . Portland got shootout goals from F Marcus Nguyen and D Luca Cagnoni, with F Raegan Wiles counting for Spokane. . . . F Gabe Klassen had a goal and three assists for Portland. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and two assists from Wiles and a goal and three helpers from F Blake Swetlikoff. . . . The Winterhawks (11-1-2) moved into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Everett Silvertips (11-5-0). Portland has points in six straight games (4-0-2). . . . The Chiefs (3-10-1) have lost eight in a row (0-7-1).


THINKING OUT LOUD — If you were watching the CFL game from Vancouver on Sunday, were you wondering how much pride Dave Dickenson, the Calgary Stampeders’ head coach, had to swallow before getting QB Bo Levi Mitchell into the game? And if Dickenson was going to send him in to open the fourth quarter, why didn’t he make the change at halftime? . . . One other thing about Mitchell: How do you think he’ll look in Saskatchewan Roughriders’ colours? . . . The Boston Bruins tried to right a wrong on Sunday night. We are left to wonder how long it will be before the stink goes away and they are able to patch the giant hole that has been left in their credibility. . . . The Prince George Cougars (9-7-0) have won three in a row and woke up Sunday morning atop the B.C. Division. They will visit the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday, then head home for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Vancouver Giants. Have to wonder if this early success will create some interest in Cougartown?


Call


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.


Fish

Benson lifts Ice past Silvertips . . . Crnkovic, Schaefer rolling with Thunderbirds . . . Bucks, Donald agree to six-year deal

F Zach Benson’s eighth goal, at 13:31 of the third period, broke a 4-4 tie as the host Winnipeg Ice beat the Everett Silvertips, 5-4, on Tuesday night. . . . F WinnipegIceConnor McLennon had two goals — he’s got 10 — and two assists for Winnipeg. . . . F Austin Roest scored his 11th for the visitors. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 37 shots for the Ice as he posted his 11th straight victory. His career regular-season record now is 52-3-2. . . . Everett has two Winnipeggers on its roster — F Ryan Hofer and F Caden Zaplitny — and they each scored once. . . . The Ice (14-1-0) has won nine in a row, with its next eight games on home ice where it is 2-0. . . . F Connor Geekie and D Graham Sward, who was acquired on the weekend from the Spokane Chiefs, were among Winnipeg’s scratches. Geekie was serving a one-game suspension after being penalized for slew-footing in a game against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday. . . .

F Jaden Lipinski’s OT goal gave the Vancouver Giants a 3-2 victory over the VancouverTigers in Medicine Hat. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, the Giants’ captain, pulled his guys into a 2-2 with 5.4 seconds left in the third period. . . . Lipinski won it at 3:28 of OT. . . . F Gavin McKenna, 14, the first pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, played his second game with the Tigers. He was in the lineup on Sept. 24 and had four assists in a 9-1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. He was held off the scoresheet last night. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders coughed up a 4-0 lead before beating the Tri-City PrinceAlbertAmericans, 5-4. . . . F Landon Kosior broke a 4-4 tie on a PP at 1:09 of the third period. . . . Kosior finished with two goals and two assists. F Carson Latimer had three assists for the winners. . . . F Luke Moroz, a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft, made his debut with the Raiders. He was added to the roster after F Cole Peardon and F Ryder Ritchie headed to Langley, B.C., and the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that is to begin on Thursday. Moroz, 15, is playing with the Regina Pat Canadians of the SMAAAHL. . . . The Raiders began the game with nine forwards, then lost F Zach Wilson after a couple of scraps 12 minutes into the first period. . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds led 2-0 at 1:11 of the first period en Seattleroute to a 5-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Thunderbirds, now 10-1-0, got a goal and two assists from F Kyle Crnkovic, who has points in 11 straight games. Yes, he has a point in every game this season. . . . F Reid Schaefer had his second three-goal game this season for Seattle, giving him 13. He is tied for the WHL lead with F Connor Bedard of the idle Regina Pats. . . . F Kevin Korchinski added three assists for Seattle. . . . This completed a tripleheader between these teams. They split on Friday and Saturday in Prince George, with the Thunderbirds winning 5-4 and the Cougars winning 4-1. . . . Seattle F Jared Davidson had two assists but his five-game goal streak was halted. . . .

D Nolan Bentham scored two goals to help the host Lethbridge Hurricanes to a Lethbridge5-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Hurricanes scored the game’s last four goals. . . . F Deegan Kinniburgh, who is from Taber, Alta., made his WHL debut with the Royals. Kinniburgh, who plays for the U18AAA Hurricanes, was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft.


Myth


A long-time WHL fan from the Portland area has what he says is a “pet peeve” that he asked me to pass along . . .

“Dear WHL announcers based in Canada:

“Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash., are NOT part of Canada . . . they are NOT part of the nation of Canada.

“Yes, their WHL teams both are ranked in the Top 10 of the CHL poll . . . but that does NOT make them the ‘nation’s third-ranked’ team or ‘the nation’s seventh-ranked’ team, etc., etc.

“Thank you for your understanding.”


Space


Before Everett played the Pats in Regina on Sunday, Casey Bryant, the radio voice of the Silvertips, walked fans from the bottom level of the Brandt Centre to the press box. Yes, it’s quite a hike. It’s interesting that the Brandt Centre crew didn’t show him to the freight elevator, though.

BTW, just kidding about the freight elevator.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

D Corbin Vaughan of the Regina Pats has been suspended for four games after he was hit with a headshot major and game misconduct against the visiting Tri-City Americans on Sunday. He was playing his second game after having served a four-game suspension that was a issued under supplemental discipline after a game against the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 12. . . .

The BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks and Ryan Donald, their general manager and head coach, have agreed on a six-year contract extension. The Bucks are 39-41-7 since Donald was named head coach in March 2020. He is the only coach the team has known since it entered the BCHL. . . . The news release didn’t indicate when the extension would expire, but Donald signed a four-year contract on March 24, 2020. That deal started with the beginning of the 2020-21 season, so would have gone through 2023-24. Six seasons on top of that would take the Bucks and Donald through 2029-30. . . . If you were wondering, hockeydb.com shows the Bucks’ announced average attendance at 2,341, third-best in the BCHL. The Penticton Vees (2,710) and Chilliwack Chiefs (2,585) are ahead of them.


Cornea


THINKING OUT LOUD — The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets won a game on Monday, improving to 2-5, and head coach Steve Nash was gone the next morning. Gotta think Nash is relieved about no longer having to deal with Dr. Kyrie Irving on a daily basis. . . . The Nets dropped a 108-99 decision to the visiting Chicago Bulls last night. . . . The NFL’s trade deadline came and went on Monday. Perhaps the most interesting deal had the Atlanta Falcons trade WR Calvin Ridley to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Uhh, Ridley is serving an indefinite suspension — he can apply for reinstatement in February — for betting on games. At one point last season, he bet on the Falcons to beat the Jaguars. . . . Houston Astros 0 at Philadelphia Phillies 7. The Phillies lead 2-1 and are in a position to win the World Series at home. Five homers in each of the next two games will do it.



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.


Body

All Ice’s Hauser does is win games . . . Thunderbirds, Oil Kings make deal involving Prokop . . . Hall doors swing open for Russell

G Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice posted his 50th regular-season WHL victory on Saturday night, stopping 33 shots as the Ice beat the host Kelowna Rockets, 5-4.

The Ice, which has yet to play a home game, has a WHL-leading record of 11-1.

Hauser, an 18-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., is 9-0-0, 2.09, .927 this season.

The red-hot start to his season follows an off-season incident that resulted in a broken ankle.

“I was running and I just stumbled on it and rolled it up pretty bad but I didn’t think much of it,” Hauser told Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press during training camp.“And so a few days afterwards, it started swelling pretty badly and started hurting quite a bit and I got it looked at, got some X-rays and (they) found a break.”

He underwent surgery and spent some time in an air boot before getting back to walWinnipegIceking and skating.

Hauser now has played in 57 regular-season games over three seasons with the Ice, going 50-3-2, 2.17, .914.

That’s right . . . he is 50-3-2. He actually won his first 19 decisions and was 20-0-2 when he suffered his first regulation-time loss.

He went 7-0-1 in the 2020-21 development season, then was 34-3-1 last season.

That 2020-21 loss came in Regina when the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Ice, 5-4 in OT, on a goal by D Braden Schneider at 1:56.

Hauser’s first regulation-time setback occurred in Saskatoon on Jan. 22 when the Blades posted a 7-2 victory, scoring seven times on 24 shots. On Feb. 21, he was in goal for a 6-3 loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton. And he and the Ice were beaten, 3-1, by the host Moose Jaw Warriors on April 2. The Warriors won that one with two goals in the third period’s final 30 seconds.

Hauser, whose first 19 career decisions all were victories, also was the goaltender of record in a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 28.

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Hauser was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 draft. He was eligible for the NHL’s 2022 draft but wasn’t selected.

You might think an NHL team might take a chance on him at some point in the 2023 draft. Wouldn’t it be worth using a mid- or late-round selection on Hauser? After all, it seems that all he does is win.

The Ice concludes its season-opening road trip on Friday in Brandon, then plays its home-opener on Saturday against, yes, those same Wheat Kings.


The Edmonton Oil Kings won the WHL championship last spring, beating the Seattle Thunderbirds in six games in the final. On Tuesday, the two teams got Seattletogether on a trade that had the playing rights to D Luke Prokop, 20, move from Edmonton to Seattle. . . . In return, the Oil Kings got three conditional draft picks — a third-rounder in 2023, and first- and third-rounders in 2025. According to a news release from the Thunderbirds, “All draft picks are conditional on Prokop returning to the WHL.” . . . The Oil Kings acquired Prokop, 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, from the Calgary Hitmen early last season and played a big role in the championship season, putting up 35 points, 11 of them goals, in 58 games with Edmonton. He added four goals and 12 assists in 19 playoff games. . . . The Nashville Predators selected Prokop in the third round of the NHL’s 2020 draft and have signed him. At present, he is with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals with whom he is pointless (and minus-5) in three games. . . . The Thunderbirds are carrying two 20-year-olds on their roster — F Jared Davidson and F Kyle Crnkovic — so wouldn’t have to make a move should Nashville choose to send Prokop back to the WHL. . . . The Thunderbirds already are seen as a title contender, so Prokop definitely would fit right in there. They are 8-0-0 to this point in the season as they head into Prince George for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the Cougars.


Peppers


Dan Russell, the former voice of the WHL on Shaw-TV, is among the 2023 inductees to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. Russell is best-known as the host of Sportstalk, a nightly radio show that held listeners throughout B.C. for 30 years. The inductees will enter the hall during an induction gala in June, with a specific date yet to be announced. . . . At one point in his career, Russell was the radio voice of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. He also called the play of WHL games on Shaw TV. . . . He has written a book — Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sporstalk. . . . Yes, there are a number of WHL-related anecdotes told between the covers. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on that story right here.


IT’S STILL HERE — You may recall that Rick Bowness, in his first season as COVIDhead coach of the Winnipeg Jets, missed four road games last week after testing positive for COVID-19. He returned for the Jets’ home-opener, a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, and had planned on being behind the bench for a Monday night visit by the St. Louis Blues. But he took ill early in the day, as he was experiencing dizzy spells, so was at home resting as the Jets, with associate coach Scott Arniel running the bench, beat the Blues, 3-0. . . . The Jets leave Wednesday on a three-game road swing and it will be interesting to see if Bowness is well enough to go along.

Ted Wyman, in the Winnipeg Sun: “Bowness tried to get through his media availability on Monday but appeared to be having difficulty, at one point stopping, mid-sentence to try to shake something off.”



Beef


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Ben King of the Red Rebels, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, suffered an undisclosed injury in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. The Rebels announced on Tuesday that King, 20, will be out “for approximately six to eight weeks.” . . . King, who attended training camp with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, has five goals and five assists in five games this season. . . .

F Dallyn Peekeekoot has left the Prince Albert Raiders. The team announced Monday that he left “to pursue education endeavours.” Peekeekoot, an 18-year-old from Saskatchewan’s Ahtahkakoop First Nation, had two assists in 11 games. Last season, he finished with four goals and two assists in 62 games, the same numbers he had put up in 15 games in the 2020-21 development season. . . . The Raiders played three games in fewer than 48 hours on the weekend. He didn’t play in a 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday, was pointless in a 3-0 loss to the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday and then was scratched again on Sunday as the Raiders dropped a 6-2 decision to the Calgary Hitmen. . . .

The Tri-City Americans acquired D Nicco Camazzola, 19, from the Vancouver Giants on Monday, sending a 2024 fifth-round WHL draft pick the other way. He had one assist in games with the Giants this season. In 91 games over four seasons, all with the Giants, had put up nine points, including three goals. . . . His father, Tony, and uncle Jim, both are former WHL players. Tony, a defenceman, played 130 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings over three seasons (1979-82). Jim, a forward, spent three seasons (1982-85) in the WHL, spending time with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Seattle Breakers and New Westminster Bruins. . . .

G Nicholas Cristiano, 18, who began the season with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, has signed with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. The Rockets released Cristiano after G Talyn Boyko, 20, was returned by the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . The Warriors followed the signing by placing G Cayden Hamming, 18, on injured reserve.



THINKING OUT LOUD — Who is taking things better on social media these days, fans of the Vancouver Canucks or followers of the New York Yankees? . . . On Monday night, when F Phil Kessel of the Vegas Golden Knights tied an NHL record by playing in his 989th consecutive game, the attendance in Las Vegas was 17,989. Hmmm. . . . Kessel now owns the record by himself after playing against the host San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. . . . If you were wondering, the World Series doesn’t open until Friday in Houston. By waiting until Friday, MLB and TV can push the series between the Astros and Philadelphia Phillies over two weekends should it go seven games.


Amazon


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.


Recipe

Ice takes out Warriors; Oil Kings next up . . . Ostapchuk key as Giants stay alive against Blazers. . . . Hanas fills hat for Winterhawks

And then there were six . . .

The Winnipeg Ice, the WHL’s best regular-season team, finished off the visiting WHLplayoffs2022Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday night, taking the Eastern Conference semifinal in five games. The No. 1 Ice will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. That series, which will follow a 2-3-2 format for travel reasons, is scheduled to open in Winnipeg with games on May 20 and 21. . . .

Meanwhile, it’ll be a quiet Saturday night in the WHL — with the exception of Portland, of course. Six teams with championship dreams still are alive, but only the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds will be on the ice tonight. . . . They played Friday night in Kent, Wash., with the Winterhawks posting a 5-1 victory. That means they lead the Western Conference semifinal, 3-1, going into tonight’s game in Portland. . . .

The other Western Conference semifinal is to resume Sunday in Langley, B.C. The Vancouver Giants stayed alive last night with a 5-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops, which now leads that series, 3-2.

——

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice erased a 2-0 first-period deficit and went on to beat WinnipegIcethe No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-3. . . . The Ice won the conference semifinal, 4-1, and will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the final. The No. 2 Oil Kings are 8-0 in the playoffs, having made short work of the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice now is 8-2 and will play host to Edmonton for Games 1 and 2 on May 20 and 21. . . . Last night, the Warriors took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ryder Korczak (3), at 0:46, and F Thomas Tien (2), at 15:52, in the first period. . . . The Ice scored the next four goals. F Zachary Benson (8) cut the deficit to one at 17:04, before Winnipeg took control with three second-period goals — F Matt Savoie (5) tied it at 1:39; F Cole Muir (2) made it 3-2 at 11:12; and F Conor Geekie (3) upped it to 4-2 at 15:04. . . . F Atley Calvert (3) got the Warriors to within one, on a PP, at 17:04, but that was it for the visitors. . . . Savoie (6) added his second goal at 4:03 and F Mikey Milne (9), who also had two assists, scored a shorthanded empty-netter at 18:28. . . . The Ice got 23 saves from G Daniel Hauser, while G Carl Tetachuk stopped 22 shots for the Warriors. . . .The Warriors had D Daemon Hunt, their captain, back in the lineup. Hunt, who is to turn 20 on Sunday, last played on March 19. . . .

If you’re wondering, Winnipeg and Edmonton met four times during the regular season, with the Oil Kings winning three times. However, three of the games were played in 2021. Edmonton won at home, 3-1, on Oct. 29, and 3-2 in Winnipeg on Dec. 8. . . . The Ice won, 5-2, at home on Dec. 11 on a night when four of Edmonton’s top players — G Sebastian Cossa, F Dylan Guenther, D Kaiden Guhle and F Jake Neighbours, each of them an NHL first-round draft pick — were with Canada’s national junior team. . . . In the most-recent clash, the Oil Kings won, 6-3, on Feb. 21.

——

Western Conference

In Kamloops, the No. 8 Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals, all Kamloopsin the third period, and beat the No. 2 Blazers, 5-2. . . . Kamloops leads the series, 3-2, with Game 5 scheduled for Sunday in Langley, B.C. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, the WHL’s leading playoff scorer, had two goals and two assists for Vancouver. He has 23 points, two more than linemate Fabian Lysell. . . . The Blazers led this one 2-1 after two periods as F Luke Toporowski (7) and F Matthew Seminoff (3) sandwiched a Vancouver goal by F Adam Hall (9). . . . F Ty Thorpe (3) got the Giants into a 2-2 tie at 1:33 of the third period and Ostapchuk (6) put them out front at 2:32. . . . Hall (10), who also had an assist, and Ostapchuk (7) later added empty-netters. Hall leads the WHL playoffs in goals. . . . G Jesper Vikman had a big night for the Giants, stopping 35 shots, 14 more than G Dylan Garand of the Blazers. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Cross Hanas scored three times and added an assist to lead the PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland leads the series, 3-1. . . . They’ll meet again tonight, this time back in Portland. . . . The Winterhawks had lost Game 3, 5-0, at home on Wednesday night. . . . Portland’s PP went into the game with three goals in its past 23 opportunities. Last night, it was 3-for-4. . . . Hanas (2) got his guys started at 7:09 of the first period and F Tyson Kozak (2) made it 2-0 at 14:35. . . . Seattle F Lukas Svejkovsky (6) scored a PP goal at 4:56 of the second period. . . . Portland got second-period goals from Hanas (3), at 11:42, and F Jack O’Brien (2), at 17:44, both via the PP. . . . Hanas (4) finished the scoring with a shorthanded empty-netter at 19:41. . . . F Kyle Chyzowki had a big night with three assists. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 31 shots for Portland, including a late second-period penalty-shot attempt by F Reid Schaefer with Portland leading 4-1. . . . Seattle got 17 stops from G Thomas Milic. . . . According to Winterhawks historian Andy Kemper, Hanas’s hat trick was Portland’s first in the playoffs since F Nic Petan turned the trick in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on April 23, 2014.

——

We can’t leave the Kamloops-Vancouver series without a look back to the post-game scene after Game 4, which the visiting Blazers won, 4-2, after F Logan Stankoven broke a 2-2 tie with a late PP goal.

It was then when Michael Dyck, the Giants’ head coach, told us without telling us that he wasn’t impressed with the officiating.

“With the price of gas these days, I can’t waste money on fines,” he said when asked about the men in stripes, who were booed off the ice at game’s end.

“The fans have a pretty good idea what’s going on,” he said in complimenting the home crowd.

Shortly after Stankoven’s goal, the Giants were hit with a minor penalty for too many men on the ice.

“The too-many-men . . . you’d have to ask their bench,” Dyck said. “They called it. We didn’t.”

And what did Stankoven, who added an empty-netter on the late PP, think of the officiating?

“I think it was very fair,” he said.

(The quotes here were lifted from a story by Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. That story is right here.)


Organic


From The Canadian Press: A Canadian warship has been hit with an outbreak of COVIDCOVID-19 while preparing for an overseas deployment in the Pacific. HMCS Winnipeg is back home in Esquimalt, B.C., after seven sailors tested positive, only weeks before the ship is due to participate in a major training exercise and two overseas missions. . . .

The Vancouver Whitecaps will be without at least two players — Ryan Gauld and Tosaint Ricketts — when they meet the San Jose Earthquakes in MLS action today. Both are in health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. . . .

From The New York Times: New coronavirus cases surged in most counties in New York State this week, putting them on “high” alert under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and triggering recommendations for indoor masking, including inside schools. The state refrained from imposing an indoor mask mandate, but health officials on Friday afternoon did urge residents living in counties that have been placed on “medium” or “high” alert to wear masks in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. . . . As of Thursday, the average of new cases stood at more than 10,000 a day, according to a New York Times database. New cases have increased 47 percent over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations have increased 28 percent over that time period, to an average of more than 2,600 a day.

Also from The New York Times: Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand who led the island nation through the pandemic, has tested positive for the coronavirus, her office said.


Goals


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Tri-City Americans announced Friday that Bryan Collier won’t be back as the club’s equipment manager. Collier had joined the Americans on June 1, 2021, after working with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. Prior to that, he worked with the Seattle Thunderbirds where his father, Brent, has been the equipment manager since 1994. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, who trailed 2-0 in the best-of-five first-round series, beat the Halifax Mooseheads, 2-1, in Game 5 on Friday night. The game had been scheduled for Thursday night but was moved after the teams played into a third OT in Game 4 on Wednesday.


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 feel so inclined you are able to sponsor her 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.


Horse

Ice, Oil Kings continue to dominate in WHL’s east with shutouts . . . Blazers get past Giants . . . Winterhawks open with victory

There was a full slate of WHL playoff games on Saturday night, meaning all WHLplayoffs2022eight surviving teams were in on the action. When the smoke cleared, three teams, all playing at home, held 2-0 leads in the best-of-seven conference semifinal series. . . . In the other series, the Portland Winterhawks opened with a 4-2 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. They will resume that series today in Portland. This series has a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format. It wasn’t able to open with two in Portland because the Winterhawks’ home arena was busy with grad ceremonies. . . .

At this point, it would seem that if you are looking for close games, you best pay attention to the Western Conference. In the Eastern Conference, through four games, the winners hold a 22-1 edge in goals scored, including 12-0 last night.

——

THE WHL ON SATURDAY:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, F Jack Finley scored the game’s first two goals and G Daniel WinnipegIceHauser recorded the shutout as the No. 1 Ice steamrolled the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, 7-0, in Game 2 of their semifinal. . . . The Ice had won the opener, 6-1, on Friday night. . . . The teams now head for Moose Jaw and Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Finley, who has four goals in these playoffs, struck at 2:49 and 3:35 of the first period. . . . F Connor McClennon (5) made it 3-0, on a PP, at 9:01 and the Ice was off to the races. . . . F Matt Savoie (3), F Mikey Milne (7), F Zach Benson (6) and F Chase Wheatcroft (1) also scored. . . . Savoie and Benson, who also had three assists, scored while shorthanded; Milne struck on a PP.  . . . The Ice was 2-for-5 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-for-3. . . . Hauser finished with 27 saves in earning his first playoff shutout after putting up eight in the regular season. In seven playoff games, he is 6-1, 1.29, .936. . . . The Warriors are playing without D Daemon Hunt, their captain, who is out with an undisclosed injury. He hasn’t played since being injured on March 19, missing the Warriors’ final eight regular-season games and their seven playoff games to date. . . .

In Edmonton, F Jaxsen Wiebe scored his first two playoff goals as the No. 2 Oil EdmontonKings held serve on home ice with a 5-0 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series will resume in Red Deer with games on Monday and Wednesday, and with the Rebels still looking for their first goal. They were beaten 4-0 in Thursday’s opener. . . . Wiebe, who played the previous two seasons with Red Deer, opened the scoring with his first playoff goal at 11:45 of the second period. . . . F Dylan Guenther (6) upped the lead to 2-0 at 17:02. . . . F Justin Sourdif (1) counted Edmonton’s third goal on a penalty shot at 2:56 of the third period. . . . F Jakub Demek (2), on a PP, at 7:10, and Wiebe, while shorthanded, at 9:22, completed the scoring. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 26 shots in posting his second straight shutout. In these playoffs, he is 6-0, 1.00, .957, with three shutouts.

——

Western Conference

In Kamloops, the No. 2 Blazers got past the No. 8 Vancouver Giants, 4-3, to take Kamloopsa 2-0 lead in their semifinal. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Langley, B.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . F Drew Englot (2) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 11:04 of the first period, but the Giants took a 2-1 lead into the second on goals from D Alex Cotton (5), at 12:49, and D Evan Toth (2), while shorthanded at 19:53. . . . Kamloops responded with three straight second-period goals, from F Connor Levis (2), at 1:21, F Caedan Bankier (3), at 6:41, and F Daylan Kuefler (3), on a PP, at 14:21. . . . Kuefler’s goal turned into the winner after F Ethan Semeniuk (2) pulled the Giants to within one at 15:53. . . . Bankier’s goal ran his point streak to 16 games — 10 to close out the regular season and six playoff games. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 23 shots for Kamloops, 12 fewer than Vancouver’s Jesper Vikman. . . . Kamloops was 1-for-9 on the PP, with five of those coming in the third period. . . . Vancouver was 0-for-5 after going 0-for-3 in Game 1. When they eliminated the No. 1 Everett Silvertips in six games, Vancouver was 12-for-32 on the PP. . . . The Blazers were missing F Luke Toporowski, who left in the first period of Game 1 with an apparent shoulder injury. . . . The Giants lost D Mazden Leslie and F Colton Langkow to undisclosed injuries in Game 1. Vancouver already was without forwards Payton Mount, Cole Shepard and Jacob Boucher, none of whom travelled to Kamloops. . . .

In Kent, Wash., D Clay Hanus struck for a PP goal late in the third period, Portlandbreaking a 2-2 tie and sending the Portland Winterhawks on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for today in Portland, with a third game to be played there on Wednesday. . . . F Jared Davidson (4) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 9:28 of the first period. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Marcus Nguyen (1), at 8:44 of the second period, and F James Stefan (3), at 14:44. . . . F Matthew Rempe (4) pulled Seattle even at 19:00. . . . OT was on the horizon when Hanus scored his first goal of these playoffs, at 16:21 of the third period, on Portland’s fourth PP opportunity. The Winterhawks finished 1-for-4; Seattle was 0-for-1. . . . Portland F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (1) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 23 shots for Portland, three more than Seattle’s Thomas Milic.


Informer


JUST NOTES: F Niko Huuhtanen of the Everett Silvertips has joined the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch for the remainder of the season. Huuhtanen, who will turn 19 on June 26, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. From Finland, he had 37 goals and 40 assists in 65 regular-season games with the Silvertips. He added 10 points, including five goals, in five playoff games. . . .

F Jake Chiasson of the Brandon Wheat Kings now is with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Chiasson, who will turn 19 on May 25, was a fourth-round pick by the Oilers in the 2021 NHL draft. He was limited to 20 games this season by shoulder surgery, and finished with six goals and 12 assists. . . .

The Brooks Bandits won the AJHL championship on Saturday night, beating the visiting Spruce Grove Saints, 2-0, to win the best-of-seven final, 4-1. . . . G Ethan Barwick recorded a 21-save shutout. . . . The Bandits now move on to the Centennial Cup tournament in Estevan, Sask., that is to run from May 18-29. . . .

The Niverville Nighthawks, an MJHL expansion team, have signed Ethan Maertens-Poole as an assistant coach to work alongside head coach Kelvin Cech. Maertens-Poole spent the 2021-22 season as an associate coach with the junior B Golden Rockets of the KIJHL.


Cereal


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.


Bengay

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if spring finally has arrived (sorry, Brandon and area) . . .

scattershooting

F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats will be on the roster when Hockey Canada announces the roster of the team that will play in the IIHF U-18 world HockeyCanadachampionship in Germany later this month. . . . That means he will be reunited with David Struch, who was fired as the Pats’ head coach on Nov. 18 and will be an assistant coach with Team Canada. . . . Bedard and his Pats closed out their WHL regular season on Sunday with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Bedard put up five points — two goals and three assists — to finish the season with 100 points, including 51 goals, in 62 games. . . . Bedard, who will turn 17 on July 17, is the third 16-year-old in WHL history to score 50 times in one season. F Glen Goodall of the Seattle Thunderbirds scored 63 times in 1986-87, which was his third season in the WHL, while F Dan Lucas of the Victoria Cougars struck 57 times in 1974-75. . . . The U-18 tournament is to run from April 23 through May 1 in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany. . . . I believe that Bedard also is eligible to play in the 2022 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup early in August in Red Deer and the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is scheduled for Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton. . . . As for his future in the WHL, well, there already are rumblings in the hockey world that he could end up with the Blazers if Kamloops wins the right to play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup. Now that would be a trade for the ages!


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

In Regina, F Connor Bedard ended his season with a flourish, putting up five points as the Pats beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 7-4. . . . Included in Bedard’s effort were his 50th goal and 100th point of the season. He finished with 51 goals. . . . F Tanner Howe (27) snapped a 4-4 tie, on a PP, at 7:15 of the third period. Bedard followed with No. 50, on another PP, at 13:50, then got No. 51 into an empty net at 19:36. . . . Howe’s season shouldn’t be overlooked in all the Bedard hype. Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28, finished with 69 points, including 42 assists, in 64 games. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (20) added two goals and an assist for the winners. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (13) score twice for Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors will meet the Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the playoffs; the Pats didn’t qualify. . . . Regina ended up tied for ninth with the Swift Current Broncos and Calgary Hitmen, each with 59 points, two shy of a playoff spot. . . .

In Calgary, F Alex Thacker’s OT goal gave the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Thacker’s 14th goal came just 19 seconds into extra time. . . . The Hurricanes led this one 2-0 before the first period was 12 minutes old. . . . Calgary F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (28) tied it, on a PP, at 18:27 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the opening round. . . . The Hitmen didn’t qualify.


Osprey
The osprey have arrived back on the South Thompson River east of Kamloops. This happy couple have started rebuilding their nest, while also looking for food. The latter won’t be an issue with lots of fish in the river.

SOME NUMBERS: F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels won the Bob Clarke Trophy as the WHL scoring king with 112 points. He was one of four players with at least 100 points, the others being linemate Ben King (105), F Logan Stankoven (104) of the Kamloops Blazers and F Connor Bedard (100) of the Regina Pats. . . . King led in goals (52), one more than Bedard. . . . Bains was tops in assists (69), five more than D Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips. . . . King finished with 15 game-winning goals, one off the WHL record that was set by F Brian Propp of the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1978-79. . . . G Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice had the best GAA, at 2.00, while G Taylor Gauthier, who was acquired by the Portland Winterhawks from the Prince George Cougars during the season, was tops in save percentage (.928). . . . Hauser and Dylan Garand of Kamloops led in victories, each with 34. . . . Hauser had a WHL-high eight shutouts. . . .

According to numbers compiled by the WHL, the average attendance for 748 games was 3,203. That’s down from 4,154 for 694 games in 2019-20 and from 4,361 for 748 games in 2018-19. Of course, this season’s numbers are skewed because of pandemic-related restrictions in the early going.


THINKING OUT LOUD: Nothing sums up the end of the race for playoff spots in the WHL’s Western Conference like the Prince George Cougars starting Saturday in seventh place, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Rockets in Kelowna that night, and, despite the loss, moving up to sixth place in the final standings. . . . The Winnipeg Ice won the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s top regular-season team. If the Ice goes on a deep playoff run, will it play all of its home game in what is the smallest arena in the 60-team CHL? The most frequently announced attendance in the Wayne Fleming Arena is 1,621. . . . The playoffs open on Thursday with the Lethbridge Hurricanes visiting the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Because of a Paul McCartney concert in Spokane on April 28, the Chiefs and Kamloops Blazers will open with three games in Kamloops, and then have a break between Game 3 (April 25) and Game 4 (April 29). This is the first stop on the tour, so they will start setting up and staging on April 24. Perhaps the Chiefs can get Sir Paul to hang around and do the anthems before Game 4. Hey, why not? After April 28, he’s off until May 2 in Seattle.


Insomnia


If you’re a baseball fan, you no doubt were disappointed on Wednesday when Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts yanked left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who was throwing a perfect game through seven innings. Kershaw had thrown 80 pitches and the Dodgers held a 7-0 lead over the host Minnesota Twins at the time.

There was a whole lot of indignation on social media, with Roberts getting mostly roasted.

But the best take I saw came from Joe Posnanski, who wrote in part:

“There was no chance in the world that Clayton Kershaw was pitching nine innings on Wednesday in Minnesota. We all knew it. We might not have liked it, might have wished for something else, but I mean, when that game started, if someone had asked you, “What are the chances that Clayton Kershaw throws a nine-inning complete game today?” you would have said: Zero percent.

“Not 1%. Not 0.5%. No: 0.000000000000000%.”

Posnanski went on to point out that Kershaw “finished last season with his elbow barely intact . . . he only began throwing again in January . . . in a shortened spring training, he threw a grand total of 101 pitches . . .” Posnanski also mentioned that Kershaw hadn’t thrown a complete game in almost five years and it was “like 30 degrees with a howling wind at Target Field.”

Posnanski’s complete take is right here.


Google is your friend if you aren’t aware of Tom House and his accomplishments in the world of baseball.


Bacon


Joe Maddon, the manager of the Los Angeles Angeles, ordered up a bases-loaded walk in a Friday game.

How did that work out?

Here’s Joe Posnanski: “Here’s something funny about managing a baseball game: You could do the absolute right thing from a percentage and logic standpoint and have it blow up in your face. And you could do the dumbest thing imaginable for the dumbest reason imaginable and have it work out perfectly.”

His complete take on Maddon’s move is right here, and it’s a great read.



From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Kiara Thomas was arrested and charged with assault in Laurel, Mississippi, for punching an umpire at a 12-year-old girls softball game, WLBT-TV reported. The capper? In her mugshot, Thomas rocks a ‘Mother of the Year’ t-shirt.”

——

Perry, again: “LSU outfielder Gavin Dugas was hit by a pitch 13 times in his first 103 plate appearances this season. Twins scouts love him, saying he’d be a perfect for Target Field.”


Dennys


The Athletic’s Chris Branch reports: “MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gifted every major leaguer a shiny new pair of Bose headphones on Opening Day as a way of saying, ‘I’m sorry for trying to withhold as much money from you as possible’ after a lockout that got particularly nasty at points. At least those pregame playlists will sound crisp now.”

——

One more note from Branch: “Jrue Holiday started Milwaukee’s 133-115 loss to Cleveland on (April 10), his 67th game this season, but didn’t stick around for long. Seconds after the opening tip, Holiday intentionally fouled Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, exited the game and never came back. Why? Holiday’s game total triggered a $306,000 bonus in his contract. That’s $38,250 per second of play. Not bad.”

The aforementioned Dwight Perry chimed in with: “Which pencils out to a tidy $136.8 million an hour.”


Headline at The Beaverton — Canada to distribute remaining vaccines through “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest.

One more from The Beaverton — Study finds cycling healthiest way to get hit by a car.


Headline at TheOnion.com — Climate report finds Antarctica could support multiple golf courses by 2050.


It was just a week ago when I mentioned in this space that OF Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins was capable of having an MVP-type season if only he could stay healthy. . . . Well, he went down in the Twins’ 8-4 victory over the Red Sox in Boston on Friday afternoon. He left the game in the first inning with soreness in his right knee, and now is likely to miss at least a week.


Manure


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to be on her team by sponsoring her, you are able to do that 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.


Feta

Sorting through WHL tiebreaking procedure to set up playoff matchups . . . Chiefs, Cougars, Giants, Raiders get in . . . Voice of Wheat Kings calls last game

So . . . right here, from the WHL’s own website, is an explanation of how it is to deal with a three-team tie in its final standings . . .

“In the event three (3) or more clubs finish tied in total points in WHL WHLstandings, the edge goes to the club with the most victories. Should the clubs have won the same number of games, then the higher position shall be awarded to the club having the greatest ratio when taking goals for and subtracting goals against in regular schedule play.”

What the WHL forgot to tell us is that there is another step in the procedure, as you shall see if you read on . . .

After Saturday’s games, the Prince George Cougars, Spokane Chiefs and Vancouver Giants all had 24 victories and 53 points. They were tied for sixth place in the Western Conference.

So under the above tiebreaking procedure, I had thought you would take the goals-for and goals-against for each team, subtract, and go from there. That would have put the Cougars (-63) in sixth, the Giants (-69) in seventh, and the Chiefs (-101) eighth.

But it seems that there is a step missing, one that would have provided some clarity, from that tiebreaking procedure as it is spelled out on the WHL website.

You see, in this instance, you only use that tiebreaking procedure to decide the sixth-place team. In this case, that would be the Cougars.

With the Cougars out of the way, the WHL went to a two-team tiebreaker to decide between the Giants and Chiefs. And goals-for and goals-against isn’t used for that one. Instead, because the teams finished with the same number of victories, the edge goes “to the club with the most points in games between the two during the regular season.” The Chiefs won the season series, 3-1-0, so they get seventh place.

That leaves the Giants in eighth.

(Confusing? As I write this, the standings on the WHL website have the Chiefs in sixth, followed by the Giants and then the Cougars.)

What we do know for sure is that the Royals, with 52 points, fell one point shy of that logjam. We also know that each of the first-round series will feature a U.S. team against one from B.C.

In the Eastern Conference, the Prince Albert Raiders wrapped up eighth place, and the last playoff spot, while the Swift Current Broncos, Calgary Hitmen and Regina Pats were eliminated.


Happy


There are two games remaining in the WHL’s regular season but neither one will have any bearing on playoff positions. . . . Today, the Lethbridge Hurricanes are to visit the Calgary Hitmen, with the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina to play the Pats. . . . Here’s how things wound down last night (GR — games remaining). . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Will finish atop the U.S. Division and the conference. One point ahead of Kamloops and Portland. . . . Everett will play Vancouver in the first round. Each team was 2-2-0 in the season series. . . . GR (0).
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Won B.C. Division. . . . Also finished with one more victory than Portland, 48-47. . . . Will meet Spokane in first round. Series will have a 3-3-1 format with the first three games in Kamloops and next three in Spokane. . . . Kamloops won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . GR (0).
  3. Portland Winterhawks — One point behind Everett, tied with Kamloops. As third seed draws Prince George in first round. Portland swept the season series, 4-0-0. . . . GR (0).
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Finished fourth so have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . Seattle finished 3-1-0 in the season series; Kelowna was 1-2-1. . . . GR (0).
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Finish fifth and draw Seattle in first round. . . . GR (0).
  6. Prince George Cougars — Placed sixth through tiebreaking process. . . . Will be riding the bus to Portland to open there on Friday. . . . GR (0).
  7. Spokane Chiefs — Slipped into seventh by sweeping weekend series in Victoria. . . . Gets Kamloops in the first round. . . . GR (0).
  8. Vancouver Giants — Wound up eighth through the tiebreaking procedure. . . . Will open against Everett. . . . GR (0).
  9. Victoria Royals — Not this season.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season either.

——

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Winnipeg Ice — Wins the East Division, Eastern Conference and WHL regular-season pennants. . . . Will meet Prince Albert in first round. Winnipeg was 5-1-2 in the season series; Prince Albert was 3-4-1. . . . GR (0).
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Finished second and open against Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 6-2-0; Lethbridge was 2-5-1. . . . GR (0).
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Wound up third and meet Brandon in the first round. . . . Each team was 2-2-0 in the season series. . . . GR (0).
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Ended up fourth and have home-ice advantage in first-round series with Saskatoon. . . . GR (1): at Regina today.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Will finish fifth and meet Moose Jaw in first round. . . . Saskatoon won the season series, 6-2-0; Moose Jaw was 2-5-1. . . . GR (0).
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Will finish sixth and meet Red Deer in the first round. . . . GR (0).
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Calgary today.
  8. Prince Albert — Woke up in 11th spot on Friday and clinched the conference’s eighth and final playoff spot with a victory in Swift Current on Friday and another over visiting Brandon last night. Will meet the Winnipeg Ice in the first round. . . . GR (0).
  9. Swift Current Broncos — Will finish ninth and out of the playoffs. . . . GR (0).
  10. Calgary Hitmen — No playoffs here either. . . . GR (1): at home to Lethbridge today.
  11. Regina Pats — In 11th spot after losing 6-4 to the Winnipeg Ice last night. The Ice were the home team for Friday and Saturday games in Regina and swept the Pats. . . . GR (1): at home to Moose Jaw today.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.

Stars


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Keaton Sorensen and F Evan Herman each scored twice to help the host Prince Albert Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The victory allowed the Raiders to grab the conference’s last playoff spot. They’ll be in Winnipeg to play the Ice in a first-round opener on Friday. . . . The Raiders go into the playoffs as defending champions. They won it all in 2018-19; the pandemic took care of playoffs the past two seasons. . . . Herman, who has 28 goals, scored the game’s first two goals. . . . Sorensen has 12 goals. . . .

In Regina, the Pats’ playoff hopes ended with a 6-4 loss to the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Ice played in Regina as the home team on Friday and Saturday nights in games moved from Winnipeg because of a Prairie blizzard that had hit the area. The Ice, with the WHL’s best record this regular season, won both games. . . . The Pats never led in this one, but got to within one, at 5-4, when F Easton Armstrong (6) scored at 8:22 of the third period. . . . Ice F Matt Savoie (35) got the empty-netter at 19:22. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 25 shots to earn the victory. He finished this season 34-3-1, 2.00, .914. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had two assists. He has 95 points, including 49 goals, in 62 games. . . . Announced attendance was 1,481. . . .

In Red Deer, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . F Jake Neighbours (17) gave the visitors a 3-0 lead at 7:53 of the second period. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, who will win the WHL scoring title, got the Rebels to within a goal at 3-2 at 11:56 of the third period. But they weren’t able to equalize. . . . Bains, who also had an assist, unofficially leads the WHL in assists (69) and points (112). . . . The teams combined to take 22 minor penalties. Edmonton was 1-for-9 on the PP; Red Deer was 1-for-8. . . . Rogan Dean, the Oil Kings’ equipment manager, worked his 1,000th game with them.

——

Western Conference:

G Mason Beaupit stopped 35 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-2 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . The outcome clinched a playoff spot for the Chiefs and eliminated the Royals. . . . Tied 1-1, the Chiefs scored two goals in the second half of the first period to take control. . . . The winners got a goal and an assist from each of F Ty Cheveldayoff (10) and F Cade Hayes (9). . . .

The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first three goals and went on to beat the Everett Silvertips, 4-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Sasha Mutala, who played 266 games over five-plus seasons with the Americans, scored the game’s last goal and also had two assists. He finished with 19 goals. . . . Everett wins the U.S. Division and Western Conference pennants, with 100 points, but have fewer victories than the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks, both of whom finished with 99 points. While Everett won 45 games, Kamloops got to 48 and Portland 47. However, Everett ended up with 10 loser points; Portland got five and Kamloops three. . . .

F Andrew Cristall scored twice and added an assist to lead the host Kelowna Rockets to a 3-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Cristall’s second goal, his 28th of the season, gave the Rockets a 3-0 lead at 14:19 of the third period. . . . F Colton Dach drew three assists. . . . Cristall, who turned 17 on Feb. 5, finished with 69 points in 61 games. He tied the franchise record for most points by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Shane McColgan put up 69 points in 2009-10. . . .

F Logan Stankoven scored his 45th goal and added an assist to help the host Kamloops Blazers to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Stankoven finished with 104 points in 59 games as he led the league in points-per-game, at 1.76.


The Saskatoon Blades honoured former general manager/head coach Lorne Molleken prior to and during their 2-1 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday night. . . . I only hope the music man played ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man at least once in Lorne’s honour.

Darren Steinke, the travelling blogger, was on hand and he posted this piece right here.


Brad Meier, a former WHL referee, worked his final game as an NHL referee on Saturday night. . . . Cory Wolfe is a former sports writer at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, which is in Meier’s hometown. . . .


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Branden Crowe, the radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings for six seasons, called his final game last night. He is moving on to work for Hockey Canada. He also has been the Wheat Kings’ director of strategic marketing and social sales. According to a news release: “An interim play-by-play voice for the upcoming playoffs will be named in the coming days Long-time colour commentator Pete Gerlinger will remain on the broadcast team.” The Wheat Kings are scheduled to open a first-round playoff series against the Rebels in Red Deer on Friday.


Begun


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation here, primarily because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation 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.


Locks

Canada’s U-18 staff has WHL flavour . . . Blades salute former GM/head coach . . . WHL playoff spots undecided with nine games remaining

Nolan Baumgartner, a former WHL player and most recently an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, and David Struch, also a former WHL HockeyCanadaplayer who started the season as the Regina Pats’ head coach, have been named to the coaching staff of the Canadian team that will play in the IIHF U-18 world championship. . . . That tournament is to be held in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany, from April 23 through May 1. . . . Team Canada’s coaching staff also includes Kori Cheverie, who will be the first female to coach one of the country’s national men’s teams. She spent five seasons (2016-21) as an assistant with Ryerson U’s men’s team and this season worked with the Canadian women’s Olympic team. . . . Baumgartner was a defenceman with the Kamloops Blazers when they won the 1994 and 1995 Memorial Cup titles. He had been part of the Vancouver Canucks organization since 2012 until he was let go in a regime change this season. He was with the Canadian men’s Olympic team at the Winter Games in Beijing earlier this year. . . . Struch spent nine seasons with the Regina Pats before being fired as head coach earlier this season. He played four seasons (1988-92) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The U-18 team’s coach staff also includes assistant coach Todd Miller, who is a former head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and was an assistant coach with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2020-21, and goaltending consultant Brad Kirkwood, who works with the Calgary Hitmen and the U of Calgary women’s and men’s teams. . . . The complete news release is right here.


Courage


The WHL’s 22 teams are into the final two days of their 68-game regular seasons. There are nine games remaining, with seven of them scheduled for tonight. . . . Here’s a look at where things are in terms of playoff opponents (GR — games remaining) . . .

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Everett Silvertips — Will finish atop the U.S. Division and the conference. One point ahead of Portland, which is out of games. . . . Will be without Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, until at least the start of the playoffs. . . . GR (1): at Tri-City tonight.
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Actually third in the conference, two points behind Portland, but are second seed as B.C. Division winners. . . . GR (1): at home to Vancouver tonight.
  3. Portland Winterhawks — One point behind Everett, two ahead of Kamloops. . . . GR (0).
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . GR (0).
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Will finish fifth and meet Seattle in first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Prince George tonight.
  6. Vancouver Giants — Tied with Prince George for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two up on Spokane. Each of the four has one game remaining. . . . GR (1): at Kamloops tonight.
  7. Prince George Cougars — Tied with Vancouver for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two ahead of Spokane. . . . GR (1): at Kelowna tonight.
  8. Victoria Royals — Two points behind Vancouver and Prince George, one ahead of Spokane. Beat visiting Spokane last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Spokane tonight.
  9. Spokane Chiefs — Slipped to ninth spot as they lost while Victoria and Prince George won on Friday night. . . . One point out of a playoff spot. . . . GR (1): at Victoria tonight.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE

  1. Winnipeg Ice — Will finish atop the overall standings so is assured of home ice through the playoffs. First-round opponent has yet to be decided. . . . GR (1): Ice will be designated as home team in Regina tonight.
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Will finish second and open against Lethbridge. . . . GR (1): at Red Deer tonight.
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Will finish third and meet Brandon in the first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Edmonton tonight.
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage in first-round series with Saskatoon. . . . GR (1): at Regina on Sunday.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Will finish fifth and meet Moose Jaw in first round. . . . GR (0).
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Will finish sixth and meet Red Deer in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Prince Albert tonight.
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Calgary on Sunday.
  8. Prince Albert — Moved from 11th place into eighth with a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Brandon tonight.
  9. Swift Current Broncos — Actually tied for eighth with Prince Albert but have run out of games. . . . One point ahead of Calgary, two ahead of Regina. . . . GR (0).
  10. Calgary Hitmen — One point behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one in front of Regina. . . . GR (1): at home to Lethbridge on Sunday.
  11. Regina Pats — In 11th place, two points behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one behind Calgary. . . . GR (2): at home to Winnipeg tonight in what is an Ice home game, at home to Moose Jaw on Sunday.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.

FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

F Kyle Crnkovic broke a 1-1 tie at 11:56 of the second period as the host Saskatoon Blades edged the Brandon Wheat Kings, 2-1. . . . That was his 39th goal this season. . . . Nolan Maier, the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL history, stopped 35 shots for the Blades. He earned his 122nd career victory in his eighth straight start and his 60th appearance of the season. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Broncos, 4-1, in Swift Current. . . . F Carson Latimer (17), who also had two assists, snapped a 1-1 tie at 4:27 of the second period, with F Vladislav Shiloh (9) adding insurance, on a PP, at 13:16. . . . The winners got 32 saves from G Tikhon Chaika. . . .

In a game that was moved from Winnipeg to Regina due to inclement weather and poor driving conditions in the Manitoba capital, the Ice scored five times in the first period and beat the Pats, 6-1. . . . Pregame chatter about the Pats, fighting for their playoff lives, maybe taking advantage of home cooking turned out to be much ado about nothing. . . . In fact, the Ice, the WHL’s best team in this regular season, led this one 5-0 at the 11:09 mark of the first period. . . . The Ice had 14 players get at least one point, but only two — F Jakin Smallwood (25) and F Conor Geekie (25) — had two. Each had a goal and an assist. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 21 shots to record the victory. This season, he is 33-3-1, 1.94, .916. . . . The announced attendance, for what was a Winnipeg home game, was 2,799. . . . Oh, yes. The Pats had advertised this as Guaranteed Win Night. The meant each fan in attendance received a coupon good for a regular-season game in 2022-23. . . .

F Yegor Klavdiev scored his second goal of the game in OT to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Klavdiev, who also had one assist, notched his 21st goal at 1:00 of extra time. . . . F Brayden Edwards (9) also scored twice for Lethbridge. . . . D Cole Jordan (3) had given the Warriors a 4-3 lead at 16:20 of the third period, only to have F Alex Thacker (13) pull the Hurricanes even at 19:05. . . .

Ridley
Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was back where he belongs on Friday night. (Photo: Scott Roblin/CHAT-TV)

G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-0 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Cossa put up his sixth shutout of this season and the 14th of his career. This season, he is 33-9-3, 2.28, .913. . . . The Oil Kings scored once in each period, with all three goals coming from freshmen — F Cole Miller (9), F Dawson Seitz (7) and F Shea Van Olm (8), who also had two assists. . . . The Oil Kings were 7-0-1 in the season series. . . . Bob Ridley, the only radio voice the Tigers had known prior to the start of this season, returned to the microphone for their final game of this season. Health issues had kept him on the sidelines to this point. . . .

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Western Conference:

The host Victoria Royals struck four times in the first period and went on to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 7-3. . . . The Royals jumped into a 4-0 lead at 10:31 of the opening period. . . . F Marcus Almquist scored two of those early goals, giving him seven. Almquist, from Denmark, enjoyed his first career two-goal lead. He has scored six of his even goals in his past eight games. . . . F Tarun Fizer, the Royals’ captain, had a goal, his 16th, and two assists. . . . F Chase Bertholet had a goal, his 24th, and two assists for Spokane. . . .

F Jonny Hooker snapped a 2-2 tie at 7:57 of the third period as the Prince George Cougars went into Kamloops and beat the Blazers, 4-2. . . . The Cougars led 2-0 early in the second period, only to have the Blazers tie it early in the third. F Reese Belton (14) pulled the home side even at 4:42, with Hooker’s 17th goal putting the visitors back in front just 3:15 later. . . . The winners got 43 stops from G Ty Young. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds got three goals from F Jared Davidson as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-4, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Davidson, who has 42 goals, has put up hat tricks in two straight games. He went into this season with 39 points, including 19 goals, in 130 games. This season, he has 89 points in 64 games. . . . Seattle got three assists from D Jeremy Hanzel. . . . F Jake Sloan scored twice, giving him 17, and added an assist for the Americans, with F Parker Bell (18) adding a goal and two helpers. . . .  F Samuel Huo got No. 30 for Tri-City. . . . Seattle’s three 20-year-olds — F Henrik Rybinski, F Lukas Svejkovsky and D Ryan Gottfried — were given the night off. . . .

F Colton Dach’s OT goal gave the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Dach scored his 29th goal at 1:12 of extra time. . . . F Adam Kidd (18) pulled Kelowna into a 2-2 with a PP goal at 12:27 of the third period. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (25) had given the Giants a 2-1 lead, on a PP, just 39 seconds into the third. . . .

F Jaydon Dureau scored twice to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . F Michal Gut (17) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 3:45 of the second period. . . . The Winterhawks then rolled their way to five straight goals. . . . Portland was 3-for-5 on the PP, with Dureau’s second goal, and 24th of the season, coming after Everett F Jonny Lambos was tossed with a kneeing major. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 24 shots for Portland. He is 24-4-0, 2.16, .931 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Silvertips got 44 saves from G Koen MacInnes.


Lettuce


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders fired Jeff Woywitka, their head coach and assistant general manager, on Friday. Woywitka started as associate coach in 2006-07 and was named head coach in November, after the firing of Adam Manah. The Crusaders were 16-16-3 under Woywitka, and grabbed the Viterra North Division’s last playoff spot. The Fort McMurray Oil Barons beat the Crusaders, 4-1, in a first-round best-of-seven playoff series. . . .

The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced on Thursday that head coach Carter Rigby will be back for a second season. “Rigby . . . took the Coyotes from dead last in the 2019-20 pre-COVID season (21 points) to top of the KIJHL (72 points) in his first full season as head coach, earning him the top coach award in the Bill Ohlhausen Division,” reads the team’s news release. Rigby, 28, played five seasons in the WHL (Kelowna, Swift Current, 2011-15). . . .

F Michael Misa of the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s Mississauga Senators U16 AAA team has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada and is expected to be the first overall selection in the OHL’s draft, which is scheduled for April 29. Misa is the sixth player to have been granted exceptional status in order to play in the OHL as a 15-year-old, the others being F Shane Wright, D Sean Day, F Connor McDavid, D Aaron Ekblad and F John Tavares. . . .

The junior B Aldergrove Kodiaks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League have hired Ron Johnson as their head coach. He replaces Chris Price, who had been head coach for two-plus seasons. Price has joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs as assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach. . . .

D Keith McInnis has signed a tender with the USHL’s Waterloo BlackHawks. McInnis, who turned 16 on Jan. 8, is from Red Deer and was selected by the Rebels in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2021 draft. He played this season at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C.


Sucks


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation here, primarily because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here. . . . You should know that Dorothy was all smiles on Friday morning when an NHL team’s head coach joined her team with a donation. Talk about an ear-to-ear smile!


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

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Comcast

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