Cozens to have ‘procedure’ on thumb. . . . Hamblin’s knee injury not serious. . . . Saskatchewan all atwitter over new Gainer


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F Andrew Clark (Brandon, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract with Langenthal (Switzerland, Swiss League). Last season, in 52 games with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had 20 goals and 49 assists. He led the league in assists and was tied for the lead in points. . . .

D Juraj Valach (Tri-City, Vancouver, Regina, Red Deer, 2006-08) has signed a one-year contract with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in 44 games with with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and five assists. . . .

D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has signed a two-year contract with Färjestad Karlstad (Sweden, SHL). Last season, with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL), he had three goals and seven assists in 35 games. . . .

F Colton Gillies (Saskatoon, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he had one goal and four assists in 35 games. . . .

F Mark McNeill (Prince Albert, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in 56 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL), he had eight goals and 17 assists. . . .

F David Rutherford (Vancouver, Spokane, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract with Lyon (France, Ligue Magnus). Last season, with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite), he had 18 goals and 39 assists in 54 games.


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F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes suffered an injury to his left thumb during the Buffalo Sabres’ development camp on Saturday. He absorbed a hip check — it was a clean hit — and in trying to soften the landing, he put out his left hand, only to be injured when he landed awkwardly. . . . The above tweet from the Sabres came one day after Cozens was seen by a specialist. . . . While the thumb wasn’t broken in the mishap, it appears to have been dislocated, so he will undergo a ‘procedure’ today. . . . The Sabres selected Cozens with the seventh-overall pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft.


Guy Flaming, the owner, operator and host of The Pipeline Show (patreon.com/thepipelineshow), asked fans on Twitter the other day: “If there was ONE thing that you could change/add/remove from the Canadian Hockey League, what would it be and why?”

Some responses:

“I’d add another OA player to teams. Improves the overall hockey fans get to watch and puts a player who’s not quite ready for major junior back in midget. Improving the on-ice competition also improves development of all players.”

——

“More imports. With the U.S. and Euro junior leagues catching up to the CHL in quality, while also allowing players to keep NCAA eligibility, the CHL needs to cut into that. One way would be increasing imports to 4 or 5 up from 2. Cuts into European junior League talent.”

——

“A way better TV deal with regional and national broadcasts.”

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“An online streaming service, where fans across Canada pay $60 a year to get any regular-season game of any team and then $30 for the playoffs, regulate the streams so they are good quality and call it a day.”

——

“WHL should change the bantam draft age from 15 to 16. Makes the draft more entertaining for the average fan because there will be a chance for the players to play immediately, and it wouldn’t be as much of a crapshoot for the teams.”

——

“Fighting. There is no need for teenagers be fighting in the CHL. Too many are paying the price with their health both now and down the road.  Really can anyone give a valid reason as to why teens are fighting in the CHL? Everyone else is banning it; time for the CHL to get rid of it.”

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“Memorial Cup hosted by a U.S. team.”

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“I’d add a Canadian U-17 team that would play games in all three major junior leagues and be our team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. I love the USA hockey model in the USHL with U-18 and U-17 teams.”

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“Lighten the schedule a little. More time for skills development practice. More time for workouts and recovery. More time for personal time, mental health.”

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Flaming also tweeted that he is preparing to interview Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, for an upcoming show. Perhaps Flaming could ask the WHL commish about a regular-season schedule that has the Portland Winterhawks and Prince George Cougars playing each other four times in six days. Seriously! They will meet Dec. 3 and 4 in Portland, then head north and go at it in Prince George on Dec. 7 and 8. . . . The WHL schedule always seems to have its share of quirks, but methinks it will be tough to top this one.


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You may have read here about F James Hamblin of the Medicine Hat Tigers suffering a dislocated kneecap while attending the Toronto Maple Leafs’ development camp last week. . . . It turns out that the injury isn’t as bad as it originally appeared. . . . He told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News that “the pain was horrible.” . . . And then it was over. Just like that. . . . “Once they stretchered me off,” he told McCracken, “just as we got to the room we kind of hit a bump and it popped back in, and it was basically instant relief,” said Hamblin. “It went from an unbearable pain to nothing in an instant.” . . . Hamblin will undergo surgery, albeit minor, to remove a piece of cartilage that was revealed to be loose during an MRI. . . . Hamblin had 33 goals and 44 assists in 67 regular-season games last season. The Tigers’ captain each of the previous two seasons, Hamblin is prepping for his fifth season in Medicine Hat. . . . McCracken’s complete story is right here.


The gang at capfriendly.com reports that Day 1 of NHL free-agent frenzy resulted in the signings of 125 contracts covering 239 years with a total cap hit of $218,986,001. The total contract dollars involved were $704,499,000. . . . On Tuesday, which was Day 2, the totals were 10 signings covering 19 years, with a total cap hit of $8,509,167, and total dollars of $17,525,000. . . .

Meanwhile, the first day of NBA free agency was Sunday. Teams promptly committed more than $3 billion to 45 players.


Geoff Grimwood has filed a lawsuit in B.C. Provincial Court in Kelowna, claiming that the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors owe him $29,166, plus interest, after he was fired late last season. . . . You may remember that Grimwood was the team’s interim general manager and head coach when he was fired early in the season, only to be rehired when the players chose not to practice and went on a hike instead. Grimwood was rehired after the boycott, but was fired again on Jan. 28 by owner Kim Dobranski. . . . Wayne Moore of castanet.net has more right here. . . . Grimwood now is the GM/head coach of the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders.


Matt Samson, the general manager of the junior B North Vancouver Wolf Pack, also will be the head coach in 2019-20. Samson stepped in as an assistant coach during last season and helped the club win the Pacific Junior Hockey League championship. . . . Samson takes over from Bayne Koen, who left after five years and now is the head coach of the bantam prep White team at Delta Hockey Academy. He also is the director of player development with the PJHL’s White Rock Whalers.


ICYMI, the Saskatchewan Roughriders throttled the visiting Toronto Argonauts on Monday evening, improving their CFL record to 1-2. You would think that the Roughriders having won their home-opener would be cause for excitement in Saskatchewan, but you would be wrong. Instead, football fans are confused/angered/upset/dismayed/up in arms (pick one, or insert your own) over the new-look Gainer. It seems that Gainer spent a chunk of his off-season at the Gopher Spa and came back with a brand new look. . . . There’s more right here.


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Mooseheads celebrate loss, advance to Memorial Cup final. . . . Huskies, Storm in semifinal. . . . Thunderbirds sign first pick

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F David Hruška (Red Deer, 1995-96) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sokolov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). This season, he had 12 goals and 14 assists in 35 games. . . . Sokolov played in 2. Liga this season and won promotion to 1. Liga. . . .

D Tamás Láday (Spokane, Medicine Hat, 2014-16) has signed a one-year contract with SC Csíkszereda Miercurea-Ciuc (Romania, Erste Liga). This season with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga), he had two assists in 24 games. He also had six goals and 15 assists in 33 games with Fehérvári Titánok Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Liga). . . . Láday is spending this summer playing for the West Auckland Admirals (New Zealand, NIHL). He has two assists in two games. The NIHL regular season started on May 18, ends on July 28, and playoffs end no later than Aug. 18. . . .

F Max Brandl (Prince Albert, Portland, 2007-09) has signed a two-year contract with Landshut (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2), he had five goals and 17 assists in 52 games. He was the team captain. . . .

F Colin Long (Kelowna, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract with Lustenau (Austria, Alps HL). This season, with Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL), he had 12 goals and 24 assists in 39 games. He was second on the team in goals, assists and points.


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The Prince Albert Raiders arrived back home on Wednesday afternoon, where they were greeted by appreciative supporters.

In Halifax, the host Mooseheads lost the last game of the round-robin portion of the 2019MCMemorial Cup and they celebrated.

Seriously!

As one WHL observer wrote in a note to Taking Note: “The fact that Halifax celebrates like that after losing against a huge rival is another example of why the Memorial Cup is stupid.

“I’m sorry. I have all the respect in the world for that trophy and its history, but that tournament is just completely pointless and dumb.”

It’s hard to disagree with that kind of logic, especially after last night’s circus in Halifax.

The QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies scored with 54 seconds left in the third period to beat the Mooseheads, 4-3, last night.

The Huskies beat the Mooseheads in six games in the QMJHL’s championship final, meaning that Rouyn-Noranda has beaten Halifax in five of their past seven meetings.

But it’s the Mooseheads who have advanced to Sunday’s Memorial Cup final. The Huskies and the OHL-champion Guelph Storm will meet in Friday’s semifinal game. The Raiders went 0-3 and were eliminated on Tuesday.

Here is how Kyle Cicerella of The Canadian Press described the silliness:

“Any one of Halifax, Rouyn-Noranda or Guelph could have earned a berth in Sunday’s tournament final based on Wednesday’s outcome. All three clubs finished with 2-1 records, but the Mooseheads got the tiebreaker through a drawn-out mathematical formula.

“All Halifax needed to do to advance was win outright or lose by one goal up to 4-3. Rouyn-Noranda had to win 4-0, or by five or more goals to move on, while the Storm still had a chance if the game finished by any other score.”

Here’s Halifax head coach Eric Veilleux: “Knowing what everybody knows, obviously I hope I never have to go through that again. It’s really not easy.”

Perhaps Halifax defenceman Patrick Kyte summed it all up with this: “Even though we didn’t win, we got the job done.”

(Cicerella’s game story is right here.)

Of course, this is the risk you run with any kind of round-robin situation, and the CHL’s four-team format, including a host team, isn’t going away anytime soon.

As the afore-quoted WHL observer put it: “(It’s a) cash grab in the second-ugliest form in junior hockey . . . the highest-ugliest form being World Juniors.”

Meanwhile, in Prince Albert, they will celebrate the Raiders’ season with a party at the Art Hauser Centre tonight. A good time will be had by all.


Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was in Prince Albert when the Raiders arrived on Wednesday. His blog post is right here.


By now you will be well aware that the last four WHL champions to play in the Memorial Cup tournament are a combined 0-12. The Brandon Wheat Kings (2016), Seattle whlThunderbirds (2017), Swift Current Broncos (2018) and the Raiders all failed to win even one game at the CHL’s championship tournament.

So, you’re wondering, what’s going on?

Here’s Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News: “Different years, different teams, different situations. Logically, this is just a screwy numbers thing, like the fact a Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993 (Montreal), or that a franchise with a predominantly blue jersey hasn’t won the Cup since 1994 (New York Rangers).”

In the overall scheme of things, there likely isn’t any rhyme or reason to it.

But the one thing I don’t feel can be discounted is the travel factor. Because of the WHL’s geography, the championship final is almost always going to feature some killer travel.

In 2016, it was Brandon and Seattle in the final. The next year, Seattle and the Regina Pats met in the final. A year ago, it was Swift Current and the Everett Silvertips. This season, it was the Raiders and the Vancouver Giants, and they went seven games. They played on a Friday in Langley, B.C., then finished the series in Prince Albert with games on Sunday and Monday. The Raiders travelled to Halifax — three time zones to the east — on the Wednesday and played their first game on Friday.

The travel almost invariably leads to injuries, and by the time a team leaves for the Memorial Cup it is banged up and emotionally drained. And, in a four-team round-robin, you are up against it if you lose that first game.

One WHL fan suggested to Taking Note that the WHL needs to “eliminate the killer travel schedule, which is possibly going to get worse for many Eastern Conference teams. And, of course, save $$$ for smaller Eastern Conference franchises.”

The only way the “killer travel schedule” is eliminated is for the WHL to revamp its regular-season schedule and keep teams playing only in their own conferences. That isn’t likely to happen.

One solution — and it’s only a pipe dream — would be to split the WHL into two leagues, with the B.C. and U.S. teams in one league, and the East and Central division teams in another. There wouldn’t be any interlocking play; these would be two separate leagues.

Each league would hold its playoffs, with the two winners meeting in a western final. Meanwhile, the OHL and QMJHL winners also would go into a best-of-seven final.

The Memorial Cup final, then, would go back to being a true East vs. West best-of-seven series.

Of course, that won’t ever happen because the present format — with a host team as part of a four-team round-robin — is great for the host city and it helps fill the coffers for the host league and its teams.

The present tournament format allows for a celebration of major junior hockey for 10 days every May. It’s time to accept it for what it is, and if the WHL champion never wins another game, so be it.

It could be that Guy Flaming (@TPS_Guy) hit the nail on the head earlier in the week when he tweeted: “It’s more impressive to me to outplay and outlast 15 other teams to win your own league. The Memorial Cup is like dessert after a great meal — not for everyone and it never replaces the meal.”


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The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Jordan Gustafson to a WHL contract. The SeattleThunderbirds selected him with the eighth-overall pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . From Ardrossan, Alta., Gustafson had 31 goals and 39 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers this season. . . .

Gustafson is the third of the WHL’s 22 first-round selections from the May 2 bantam draft to sign contracts. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Caleb Reimer, the 18th selection, while the Prince Albert Raiders signed F Niall Crocker, who was taken with the 22nd pick.

IceDogs’ situation looks awfully messy. . . . Pats, Hurricanes make a trade. . . . WHL final resumes tonight in Langley

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An Ontario Superior Court judge in Hamilton ruled last month that documents related to ohlthe OHL’s Niagara IceDogs and unauthorized contracts with players would be unsealed on Friday. They were, and TSN’s Rick Westhead has gone over those documents.

According to Westhead:

“The Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs agreed to unauthorized side contracts with the families of two players — one of whom is still in the OHL — and likely had similarly secret and unsanctioned deals with a number of European players, according to an investigation into the team’s recruiting practices.”

Westhead provides a lot of details in this piece, which is particularly damning because the OHL, as he puts it, “is embroiled in a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of current and former players demanding they be paid minimum wage.”

The IceDogs are owned by Denise and Bill Burke.

Westhead continues:

“In connection with that case, Denise Burke testified in a Nov. 14, 2015, affidavit that while her OHL team brought in an average of $2.7 million, it still lost money.

“Seven months before the IceDogs purportedly signed a secret deal with the (Liam) Ham family, Denise Burke said that it would be ‘catastrophic’ if the IceDogs had to pay players.”

At that time, Denise Burke testified: “We knew that we wouldn’t become rich owning a team, but seeing as this is our only business, we have always hoped that we would at least be able to break even and at least make more money than we spend, otherwise sooner or later the ‘Bank of Burke’ will run dry.”

Westhead’s complete story is right here.


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The Regina Pats have acquired F Drew Englot, 16, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a Patsfourth-round selection in the 2022 WHL bantam draft. Englot, who is from Candiac, Sask., was picked by the Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 2017 bantam draft. . . . He has played the past two seasons with  the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds, who have won back-to-back league titles. This season he had 21 goals and 20 assists in 43 regular-season games.


Two former WHL coaches were fired by the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers on Monday as they juggled their staff after the hiring of Alain Vigneault as head coach. . . . Kris Knoblauch and Rick Wilson both were dismissed. . . . Knoblauch, 40, had been with the Flyers for two seasons. He began his coaching career as an assistant with the Prince Albert Raiders in 2006-07. He then spent five seasons with the Kootenay Ice, the last two as head coach. He also spent four-plus seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters. . . . Wilson, 68, joined the Flyers this season, on Dec. 4. He has been an NHL coach, mostly as an assistant since 1988-89. He spent eight seasons (1980-88) on Prince Albert’s staff, the last two as head coach.


Dave Andrews will retire after spending one more season as the president and CEO of the American Hockey League. Andrews, a former head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Cougars, told the AHL’s board of governors on Monday that he is going to retire as of June 30, 2020. He is completing his 25th season as AHL president. . . . Andrews was the Cougars’ head coach for all of 1982-83 and part of 1983-84, when he was replaced by Les Calder. He later spent seven seasons as the director of hockey operations with the Nova Scotia/Cape Breton Oilers, then the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate.


The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s had their 14-game playoff winning streak come to an end on Monday as they were beaten 7-2 by the Storm in Guelph. The 67’s, who were outshot 36-20, lead the OHL championship series, 2-1. . . . They’ll play Game 4 in Guelph on Wednesday. . . . The 67’s had swept their first three series and then opened the final with two victories. . . . Ottawa G Mikey DiPietro, who suffered what is believed to have been a high ankle sprain in Game 2, wasn’t in uniform for this one. . . .

In the QMJHL, the visiting Rouyn-Noranda Huskies dumped the Halifax Mooseheads, 5-2, to take a 2-1 lead in the championship final. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Halifax. . . . Both teams will play in the Memorial Cup because the Mooseheads are the host team. The tournament is to run from May 17 through May 26.


Mike Reagan has signed a new contract as general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers. This deal will take him through the 2020-21 season. . . . Reagan has been with the Bombers for 12 seasons, winning at least 30 games in six of them. The Bombers have been in the playoffs in each of those 12 seasons. . . . There is a news release right here.


Cam Basarab is the new head coach of the Trail-based Kootenay Ice of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He started this season as an assistant coach with the junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He was moved up to head coach in November and then replaced on Jan. 23. . . . Basarab also was a video coach with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes for the previous two seasons. . . . Basarab takes over from Kris Boyce, the head coach for the past three seasons.


F Liam Stewart, who played four seasons (2011-15) with the Spokane Chiefs, has signed on with the SkyCity Stampede of the New Zealand Hockey League. Stewart, born in Great Britain, has a New Zealand passport through his mother, ex-model Rachel Hunter, so won’t be classified as an import. . . . The Stampede, which plays out of Queenstown, is to open the season on May 31 against the Dunedin Thunder. . . . He was to have played this season with the Sheffield Steelers of the Elite Ice Hockey League in Great Britain, but was sidelined by a concussion. . . . Stewart’s father is rock musician Rod Stewart.


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NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup resumes tonight (Tuesday) with the  Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Gains meeting at the Langley, B.C., Events Centre. . . . The series is tied, 1-1. . . . They’ll play again Wednesday and Friday in Langley. . . . The $64,000 question going into Game 3 is whether Prince Albert D Max Martin will play. He left Game 2 in the second period after falling awkwardly into the end boards and appearing to injure a shoulder. . . . Martin is key part of the Raiders’ back end. He had 41 points, including 35 assists, in 59 regular-season games, and has seven assists in 18 playoff games. . . . Here’s Darren Steinke of Stanks’ Sermon explaining the Raiders’ options: “If (Martin) doesn’t play that will likely shake up the Raiders normally locked-in defensive pairings of Martin with Sergei Sapego, captain Brayden Pachal with Zack Hayes, and Jeremy Masella with Kaiden Guhle.” . . . If Martin doesn’t dress, the Raiders likely will insert D Loeden Schaufler into what will be his fifth game of these playoffs.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a look right here at Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, who has learned to change with the times.


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Rockets looking for trade partner. . . . Raiders one win from WHL final. . . . Giants into championship series


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F Dan DaSilva (Portland, 2002-05) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He led his club in scoring this season, putting up 47 points, 22 of them goals, in 52 games. . . .

D Drydn Dow (Tri-City, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite) and will receive a scholarship from the University of Dundee. In 58 games, he had nine goals and 29 assists. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

F Reid Gardiner (Prince Albert, Kelowna, 2012-17) has signed a one-year contract with Düsseldorf (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Utica Comets (AHL), he had two goals and one assist in 21 games, and 26 goals and 27 assists in 36 games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). He led Kalamazoo in plus/minus at +26. . . .

F Garry Nunn (Vancouver, Edmonton, 2007-10) has signed a one-year plus option contract with Olten (Switzerland, Swiss League). This season, with AIK Stockholm (Sweden, Allsvenskan), he had 15 goals and 15 assists in 37 games.


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With the WHL’s bantam draft scheduled for Thursday in Red Deer, the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketsare open for business. . . . The Rockets didn’t qualify for the playoffs this season. They are the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. If you’re a hockey fan, you know that’s not a good combination. . . . Therefore, Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, knows he has some work to do to put together a roster that will be capable of competing for a championship. . . . With that in mind, he has said he is more than willing to trade away the fifth-overall selection in the bantam draft. . . . “I want at least one high-end guy for that pick,” Hamilton told Wayne Moore of castanet.net earlier this week, “and probably more than one.” . . . The WHL features 22 teams. The Rockets were 19th in goals for this season and 18th in goals against. So there is ample room for improvement. . . . Hamilton also served up something of a warning to the WHL’s other 21 teams, telling Moore that “if someone wants to deal with us, they’re going to have to start dealing with us this weekend. Once we hit (Thursday) morning, we won’t be making the trade if it hasn’t happened by then. Strategically, teams would love to catch us on the morning of the draft and get us to make a decision that’s in haste.” That, Hamilton said, isn’t going to happen. . . . Moore’s story is right here.


Dan Kordic’s stint as an assistant coach with the Kamloops Blazers is over after one Kamloops1season. The team issued a two-sentence news release on Friday morning stating that Kordic “has decided not to return to the hockey club for the 2019-20 season.” . . . Kordic, 48, is from Edmonton. He played four seasons (1987-91) with the Medicine Hat Tigers before going on to a pro career that included 197 regular-season NHL games, all with the Philadelphia Flyers. . . . He spent two seasons on the coaching staff of the U of Alberta Golden Bears, working with head coach Serge Lajoie. . . . When Lajoie signed on as the Blazers’ head coach last summer, Kordic accompanied him. . . . The Blazers and Lajoie went their separate ways on April 11, so one supposes that it’s no surprise that Kordic also has moved on. . . . Earlier this week, Lajoie was named the head coach of the midget prep team at OHA Edmonton.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed F Jaxon Dube, who was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From St. Albert, Alta., he turned 16 on April 24. . . . This season, he had five goals and seven assists in 30 games with the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders.


I should have known better than to trust the number on the news release that announced Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was to be inducted into the Western Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. . . . That news release claimed that Ridley had called 3,931 games in which the Tigers have played. . . . It turns out that number is 3,935. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, has been chronicling Ridley’s broadcasting feats for a number of years now, going back to his days in the sports department at the Medicine Hat News. Steinke says the number is 3,935, and that’s more than good enough for me. . . . By the way, kudos to Steinke for continuing to follow the WHL playoffs on his own hook. He lives in Saskatoon but that hasn’t stopped him from being a regular visitor to other cities for playoff action. He was in Prince Albert last night, so now has been there in person for all five games in the WHL’s Eastern Conference final. . . . You are able to check out his stuff at his blog, Stanks’ Sermon, that is right here.


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NOTES: The Prince Albert Raiders are one victory away from advancing to the WHL final for the first time since the spring of 1985 when they went on to win the Memorial Cup. . . . The Raiders, playing at home on Friday night, dumped the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-0, to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final. . . . They’ll play Game 6 in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. . . . How big is this in Prince Albert? The Raiders last appeared in the conference final in 2005. In the 13 seasons between then and now, they lost six times in the first round and missed the playoffs in the other seven seasons. . . . Since the turn of the century, the Raiders, prior to this season, had missed the playoffs 10 times, were ousted in the first round on eight occasions and lost in the conference final once. . . .

Meanwhile, in Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants beat the Spokane Chiefs, 3-2, to win the Western Conference final, 4-1. . . . That moves the Giants into the WHL final. The Giants last appeared in the championship series in 2007 when they lost Game 7 to the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Memorial Cup was played in Vancouver that year and the Giants won it as the host team, beating the Tigers, 3-1, in the final.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Aliaksei Protas scored three goals and set up another to lead the Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertto a 4-0 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Raiders hold a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final. They’ll play Game 6 in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. . . . Game 7, if needed, would be played in Prince Albert on Tuesday. . . . Protas, a freshman from Vitebsk, Belarus, who turned 18 on Jan. 6, had 11 goals and 29 assists in 61 regular-season games. He now has eight goals and four assists in 15 playoff outings. . . . Protas never once scored two or more goals in a game during the regular season; he has done it twice in the playoffs. . . . Protas scored his first goal, on a PP, at 11:31, then made it 2-0 at 17:03. . . . F Brett Leason (5) gave his guys a 3-0 lead at 5:22 of the third period. . . . Portas completed his hat trick at 19:35, one second after the expiration of an Edmonton minor penaltys. . . . D Sergei Sapego and D Kaiden Guhle each had two assists, while Leason added one to his goal. . . . The Raiders were 1-3 on the PP; the Oil Kings didn’t have even one opportunity. . . . G Ian Scott earned the shutout, his third of these playoffs, with 24 saves. . . . In these playoffs, Scott now is 11-4, 1.83, .929. He finished the regular season at 38-8-3, 1.83, .932. . . . The Oil Kings got 26 stops from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . The Oil Kings inserted F Carter Souch into the lineup and took out F Zach Russell. . . . Edmonton has lost back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 4 and 6 when they lost at home to the Victoria Royals (3-2) and Lethbridge Hurricanes (5-2).


The Vancouver Giants advanced to the WHL final with a 3-2 victory over the Spokane VancouverChiefs in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants won the series, 4-1, and will meet either the Edmonton Oil Kings or Prince Albert Raiders in the series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. The Raiders lead that series, 3-2. . . . The Giants were shorthanded when D Bowen Byram (7) gave them a 1-0 lead at 16:42 of the first period. . . . F Justin Sourdif (2) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 19:22. . . . The Chiefs halved the deficit at 4:22 of the third period when F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (5) scored, on a PP. . . . But the Giants got that one back just 21 seconds later on a goal from F Brayden Watts (5). . . . F Ethan McIndoe (6) pulled the Chiefs to within one at 18:13 with G Bailey Brkin on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Sourdif and Byram added an assist apiece, while F Eli Zummack had two helpers for Spokane. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 27 shots for the Giants. In the playoffs, he is 7-2, 2.04, .925. He went the distance in all five games with Spokane. . . . The Chiefs got 27 saves from Brkin. . . . The Chiefs again scratched two veterans — F Luc Smith, who didn’t play after being injured a couple of minutes into Game 1, and D Filip Kral, who has missed two straight games. . . . The key to Vancouver’s series victory may have come in its holding Anderson-Dolan to two goals and an assist, and D Ty Smith to one assist in the five games.


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Who would you start in goal? . . . Hurricanes, Hitmen going to Game 7. . . . Oil Kings take care of Tigers in 6

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G Leland Irving (Everett, 2003-08) signed a one-year extension with Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga). This season, in 45 games, he was 2.50 and .921. He was third in the league in GAA and second in save percentage.


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The Victoria Royals are in Kamloops tonight with a chance to wrap up their first-round series with the Blazers. A 6-3 victory in Victoria on Saturday left the Royals with a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series.

According to Blazers broadcaster Jon Keen, this will be the eighth time the Blazers will Kamloops1have been one loss from having either their playoff hopes or their season come to an end.

So . . . if you’re Kamloops head coach Serge Lajoie who do you start in goal tonight? Your choices are Dylan Ferguson 20, who started but didn’t finish on Saturday, or Dylan Garand, 16.

In this series, Ferguson is 2-2, 3.56, .876 in four appearances, all starts. He has turned aside 92 of 105 shots.

Garand is 0-1, 2.18, .933 — he has stopped 42 of 45 shots — in two appearances.

In the regular season, Ferguson, who has signed with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, was the unquestioned starter, finishing 17-24-5, 3.01, .908 in 49 appearances. However, he was injured on March 6 and Garand — he went 11-7-3, 2.94, .902 in 27 regular-season appearances — was spectacular as the go-to down the stretch.

In the last six regular-season games, with Ferguson unable to even dress as the backup, when a regulation loss would have ended the Blazers’ playoff hopes, Garand went 5-0-1, 1.63, .939.

Garand also went the distance in the tiebreaker, stopping 27 shots as the Blazers beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, to get into the first round.

So . . . if you’re Kamloops head coach Serge Lajoie who do you tap on the shoulder tonight?

As an aside, the Blazers have added G Rayce Ramsay to their roster. He has been with the team previously, most recently as Garand’s backup for part of the time while Ferguson was injured. Ramsay spent this season with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, whose season ended with a Game 7 loss to the host Estevan Bruins on Tuesday.


If was a year ago when Kelly Sowatsky took a sign with her to a Pittsburgh Penguins’ home game. She was in desperate need of a kidney transplant and had decided it might not hurt to get her message out there. . . . In the end, the sign paid off, and how it all came about is quite a story. . . . Ryan McGee, a senior writer at ESPN, has it all right here.


F Cam Recchi and F Coalson Walford each had a goal and an assist as the Notre Dame Hounds won the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League championship with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Hounds won the best-of-five final, 3-1. . . . Recchi, 17, is the son of former WHL star Mark Recchi, who is a Hockey Hall of Famer and also a part-owner of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Hounds will join the Brandon Wheat Kings, Thunder Bay Kings and the host Tisdale Trojans in the Telus Cup’s western regional tournament starting Thursday.


Matt Hughes is the new head coach of the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s female prep team. He spent the past two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.


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NOTES: There is one WHL game on the playoff schedule tonight, with the Victoria Royals in Kamloops to face the Blazers. The Royals won, 6-3, in Victoria on Saturday night to move into a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. . . . Game 7, if needed, would be played in Victoria on Wednesday night. . . . The winner of this series will face the Vancouver Giants in the second round. That series is to open in Langley, B.C., on Friday. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen and Lethbridge Hurricanes are going to a Game 7. The Hurricanes skated to a 7-6 OT victory in Calgary on Sunday in a game that featured six third-period goals, including one with 33 seconds left in regulation time. . . .

In Sunday’s other game, the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Tigers, 4-3 in OT, in Medicine Hat to win that series, 4-2. . . . The Oil Kings now await the winner of the series between Calgary and Lethbridge. . . . This was the third spring in a row that the Tigers’ season was ended by an OT goal. . . . Last season, F Linden McCorrister’s goal at 10:37 of OT gave the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Tigers in Game 6 of a first-round series. . . . In 2017, F Tyler Wong’s shorthanded goal at 3:03 of OT gave the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Tigers in Game 7 of a second-round series. . . .

Darren Steinke, who worked at the Medicine Hat News not that long ago, tweets that Bob Ridley, the voice of the Tigers, called his 3,935th game on Sunday. . . . With road teams winning twice on Sunday, the home teams now are 21-20 in the first round. . . .

F Phillip Schultz scored three times for the host Victoria Royals in Saturday’s 6-3 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. A freshman from Germany, he is the first import in Royals history to enjoy a playoff hat trick. . . . He also is the fourth Royals player with a playoff hat trick, after F Tyler Soy (2018), F Brandon Magee (2015) and F Jamie Crooks (2012). . . .

The dates for one second-round Western Conference series have been announced. . . . Everett and Spokane Chiefs will use a 2-3-2 format because Cirque du Soleil will take over the Silvertips’ home arena for a few days. The series will open in Everett on Saturday and Sunday, then move to Spokane for games on April 10 and 12 and, if necessary, April 13. The last two games, if needed, would be played in Everett on April 15 and 17. . . . Everett finished on top of the U.S. Division, at 47-16-5, with Spokane second, at 40-21-7. The Silvertips won the season series, 6-0-2; the Chiefs were 2-5-1. . . . They have met once since the Jan. 10 trade deadline — Everett won, 3-1, in Spokane on March 5. . . .

Meanwhile, the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades are looking on with interest after sweeping their first-round series. They’ll being the second round with games in Prince Albert on Friday and Sunday, with Games 3 and 4 in Saskatoon on April 9 and 10. If needed, Game 5 would be played in Prince Albert on April 12, with Game 6 in Saskatoon on April 14, and Game 7 back in Prince Albert on April 16. . . . Prince Albert went 54-10-4 to finish atop the overall standings; Saskatoon was second in the East Division, at 45-15-8. . . . The Raiders were 6-2-0 in the season series; the Blades were 2-5-1. . . . They have met twice since the trade deadline — Saskatoon won, 3-2, at home on March 15; the Raiders won, 3-1, at home the next night.

——

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who were 33 seconds from having their season end, got a Lethbridgegoal from F Taylor Ross at 3:57 of OT to earn a wild 7-6 victory over the host Calgary Hitmen. . . . The series is tied, 3-3, with Game 7 set for the Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge on Tuesday night. You will recall that the world men’s curling championship is being decided in the Enmax Centre, so the Hurricanes are playing home games in the arena that is home to the U of L Pronghorns women’s and men’s teams. . . . On Sunday, the Hurricanes jumped out to an early 3-1 lead but weren’t able to hold it. . . . F Kaden Elder (1) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 1:00 of the first period. . . . Lethbridge responded with three quick goals from F Zachary Cox (1), at 2:08; F Dylan Cozens (4), at 3:08; and F Jordy Bellerive (2), on a PP, at 6:32. . . . Calgary pulled even on goals from F Cael Zimmerman (2), on a PP, at 12:53, and D Devan Klassen (2), at 5:42 of the second period. . . . F Nick Henry (4) put Lethbridge back in front, on a PP, at 2:57 of the third period. . . . Calgary tied it when F Ryder Korczak (2) scored at 11:12. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (6) gave Lethbridge a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 11:47. . . . Calgary went ahead 6-5 on goals from F James Malm (2), at 13:05, and F Mark Kastelic (4), at 17:37. . . . With the Hitmen seemingly on the verge of winning the series, Lethbridge D Calen Addison, who also had three assists, scored his second goal of the series at 19:27. . . . Ross, a 34-goal man in the regular season, won it with his first goal of the series. . . . Leschyshyn also had three assists, with Zimmerman chipping in two. . . . Lethbridge was 3-4 on the PP; Calgary was 1-4. . . . The Hurricanes got 27 stops from G Carl Tetachuk, while G Jack McNaughton stopped 34 shots for Calgary. . . . Calgary had a 3-2 edge in OT shots.


F Vince Loschiavo scored at 2:43 of OT as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Tigers, 4-3, in EdmontonOilKingsMedicine Hat. . . . Edmonton won the series, 4-2, and will play either the Calgary Hitmen or Lethbridge Hurricanes in the second round. That series likely will open on Friday night in Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings won on Sunday by scoring the game’s last three goals. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (3) put Edmonton out front at 4:09 of the first period. . . . The Tigers took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Corson Hopwo (1), at 5:54 of the first; F James Hamblin (4), at 7:14 of the second; and Hamblin (5), on a PP, at 7:41. . . . D Wyatt McLeod (1) scored at 8:06 to get the Oil Kings to within a goal, and D Conner McDonald (1) tied it 31 seconds into the third period. . . . Loschiavo’s fourth goal of the series, off a pass from Fix-Wolansky, won it at 2:43 of extra time. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-1. . . . Edmonton held a 37-29 edge in shots, including 10-5 in the third period and 3-1 in OT. . . . The Oil Kings got 26 saves from G Todd Scott, while G Mads Søgaard stopped 33 shots for the Tigers.


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Five key days for Blazers’ playoff hopes. . . . Oil Kings romp to win in Hockey Hooky game. . . . Rebels snap losing skid in Moose Jaw


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The Kamloops Blazers have 11 games remaining in their regular season, eight of them at home. They’ll play four games, three of them at home, over the next five days.

When Sunday evening arrives, the Blazers may well know whether they’ll be in the Kamloops1playoffs.

The Blazers (22-29-6) are five points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (24-28-7), who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Kelowna Rockets (26-29-5).

The Blazers are at home to the Tri-City Americans (33-22-3) tonight, the Thunderbirds on Friday and the Vancouver Giants (41-14-4) on Saturday. On Sunday, the Blazers will meet the Giants in Langley, B.C., in a game that is to start at 4 p.m.

This will be the third time in less than two weeks that the Blazers and Americans have met. On Feb. 15, the host Americans posted a 5-3 victory. The Blazers, playing at home, dumped the Americans, 3-1, on Feb. 18.

Kamloops missed the playoffs last season and, in fact, has been on the outside looking in for three of the past five post-seasons.

This the 20th season since the Blazers last appeared in a WHL final — they lost the 1999 championship series to the Calgary Hitmen in five games.

Since then, the Blazers have missed the playoffs five times, been eliminated in the first round on 12 occasions, and been ousted in the second round once. One season, 2012-13, they lost to the Portland Winterhawks, in five games, in the Western Conference final.

While the Blazers are playing four times in five days, the Thunderbirds will spend their weekend skating three times in fewer than 48 hours. After visiting Kamloops on Friday, they will scurry to home to meet the host Everett Silvertips on Saturday, then will entertain the Tri-City Americans on Sunday.

As for Kelowna, the Rockets also will play three times in fewer than 48 hours on the weekend. They will meet the Giants in Langley, B.C., on Friday, then return home for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Winterhawks.

It will be interesting to see if the water is clearer — or muddier — come Sunday evening.


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed F Evan Herman to a WHL contract. Herman, 16, PrinceAlbertwas a third-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. From The Pas, Man., Herman is expected to make his WHL debut tonight against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The 5-foot-9, 145-pound Herman is playing for the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy’s prep team, and has 13 goals and 13 assists in 30 games. He also has five goals and two assists in seven games with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard, and three goals and an assist in three games with the Rink Academy’s 18U side.


The Spokane Chiefs announced on Monday that general manager Scott Carter had been signed to a contract extension that runs through the 2021-22 season.

On Tuesday, the Chiefs issued a correction. The extension actually is two years in length, running through the 2020-21 season.

Carter is in his third season with the Chiefs after taking over from Tim Speltz on Sept. 8, 2016. Speltz, who had been the general manager for 26 years, now is the head amateur scout with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.


Ray Wareham has decided to step aside as head coach of the Moose Jaw Generals of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Wareham has been the Generals’ head coach for 17 seasons. . . . He will be staying on as the club’s general manager. . . . “I think I’m going to step down from coaching and, hopefully, just manage the team and get fresh faces in here and see what happens,” Wareham told Blaise Wozniak of discovermoosejaw.com. “I’ve got some other irons in the fire . . . it’s been a long time here. I’m looking forward to the new adventures ahead. My plan is to stay on as manager and to help the new guys that come in the next couple of years and then go from there.” . . . The Generals (17-24-3) missed the playoffs for a second straight season.


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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings erased an early 1-0 deficit with 11 straight goals as they dumped EdmontonOilKingsthe visiting Swift Current Broncos, 11-1. . . . Edmonton (34-18-8) has won four in a row and leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Oil Kings have won more games than in any single season since 2013-14; this is the fourth-highest victory total in the franchise’s modern history. The Oil Kings won at least 50 games in three straight seasons (2011-14). . . . The Oil Kings last hit double figures in goals on Feb. 17, 2014, when they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 12-0, behind a goal and four assists from F Reid Petryk. . . . Swift Current (10-42-5) has lost 11 in a row (0-9-2). . . . F Tanner Nagel (12) gave the Broncos the lead at 3:14 of the first period. . . . Edmonton F David Kope tied it, on a PP, at 6:20, and F Andrew Fyten put the home side ahead at 13:10. . . . F Jake Neighbours (9) upped the lead to 3-1 at 13:48, and it was all Oil Kings from there to the end. . . . Fyten, who was acquired from the Broncos on Dec. 13 for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft, had two goals and two assists, his first career four-point outing. . . . Fyten, 20, had eight goals and nine assists in 27 games with Swift Current; he has nine goals and 11 assists in 27 games with Edmonton. . . . Kope had two goals for Edmonton, giving him 13, with F Scott Atkinson also scoring twice, giving him 12. Singles came from F Vladimir Alistrov (11), F Josh Williams (13), who returned after sitting while ill, F Vince Loschiavo (29) and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (31). . . . D Conner McDonald had three assists. Alistrov and Fix-Wolansky added two assists each, with Kope adding one to his two goals. . . . Fix-Wolansky has 31 goals and 61 assists in 58 games. He has reached career highs in assists and points, and his one shy of the 32 goals he scored last season. In 199 career games, he has 235 points, including 87 goals. . . . McDonald now has a career-high 43 points, in 61 games; last season, he finished with 42 in 71. . . . Edmonton, which was 3-5 on the PP, held a 38-17 edge in shots. . . . This game started at 11 a.m., as it was the Oil Kings’ annual Hockey Hooky game. The announced attendance was 13,186. . . . The Broncos are back on the ice early today as they meet the host Calgary Hitmen in their third annual Be Brave Anti-Bullying game. Game time is noon MT.


F Brandon Hagel scored two goals and added three assists to lead the Red Deer Rebels to MooseJawWarriorsa 7-3 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Red Deer (30-24-5) had lost its previous five games, scoring 10 goals in the process. Red Deer and Brandon are tied for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Moose Jaw (34-17-8) had won three in a row. It is a comfortable third in the East Division. . . . Hagel now has three games of at least five points in his WHL career — that’s two five-pointers and a six-pointer. . . . The Rebels jumped out to a 3-0 first-period leads on goals from F Reese Johnson (22), at 10:28; Hagel, at 11:50; and F Chris Douglas, at 12:28. . . . Moose Jaw cut into the lead as D Jett Woo (12) scored, on a PP, at 3:59 of the second period. . . . However, Red Deer scored the next three goals, all in the second period, by F Josh Tarzwell (8), at 6:58; Douglas (15), at 9:20; and D Alex Alexeyev (9), on a PP, at 13:29. . . . F Luke Ormsby (7) scored, shorthanded, for Moose Jaw at 14:32. . . . Hagel (36) added an empty-netter at 11:32 of the third period, before F Carson Denomie (5) scored for the Warriors at 16:09. . . . G Ethan Anders earned the victory with 28 saves. . . . This was the start of a four-game East Division swing for the Rebels.


F Ryan Hughes scored two goals and added two assists to lead the host Saskatoon Blades Saskatoonto a 6-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Saskatoon (39-14-8) has won two in a row and is second in the East Division 10 points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Lethbridge (32-18-10) had won its previous three games. It is second in the East Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and six ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . This was the fourth time in his career that Hughes has scored at least four points in a game. He has nine goals and 14 assists in 18 games with the Blades, who acquired him from the Portland Winterhawks earlier in the season. He had 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games with Portland. . . . F Nick Henry (24) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:20 of the first period. . . . The Blades took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Kyle Crnkovic (10), at 3:31; F Gary Haden (29), on a PP, at 1:14 of the second period; and F Chase Wouters (15), on another PP, at 12:19. . . . Lethbridge pulled into a 3-3 tie as F Jake Elmer (32) scored at 8:26 of the third period and F Logan Barlage (14) counted at 11:23. . . . Elmer has goals in nine straight games, the longest such streak in the WHL this season. He has 12 goals over that stretch. In a 10-game point streak, he has 12 goals and seven assists. . . . Elmer finished last season with 18 goals and 19 assists in 70 games; this season, he has 32 goals and 33 assists in 60 games. . . . Hughes broke the tie at 11:42, and F Kirby Dach (23) made it 5-3 at 13:52. . . . Lethbridge got back to within a goal when F Taylor Ross (31) scored at 16:03. . . . Hughes finished it when he scored his 26th goal, into an empty net, at 18:29. . . . Dach also had two assists. He now has 23 goals and 41 assists in 55 games. . . . There were a number of NHL scouts in the house, presumably to watch Dach go against Lethbridge F Dylan Cozens, both of whom are seen as early picks in the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . Cozens, who had one assists, now has 28 goals and 44 assists in 60 games. . . . G Nolan Maier picked up the victory with 35 saves. He is 31-10-6, 2.77, .907 this season. . . . Darren Steinke was at the game and post this piece right here to his blog.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the SpokaneChiefsCougars in Prince George. . . . Spokane (32-19-7) has points in three straight games (2-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Portland Winterhawks and two ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Prince George (17-36-8) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). The Cougars are 13 points from a playoff spot with seven games remaining. . . . The visitors took a 1-0 lead when F Jake McGrew (24) scored at 8:27 of the first period. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Cougars went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Jackson Leppard (10), at 3:47, and D Rhett Rhinehart (4), on a PP, at 7:53. . . . The Chiefs then went ahead 3-2 on goals from D Egor Arbuzov (4), at 11:38, and D Filip Kral (7), at 16:36. . . . The Cougars forced OT when F Josh Maser (25) scored at 18:47. . . . Anderson-Dolan won it with his 10th goal of the season, at 3:58, snapping home a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot. . . . Spokane F Eli Zummack had one assist to run his point streak to 14 games. He has 20 points, including 17 assists, in that stretch. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Reece Klassen, while G Taylor Gauthier stopped 30 shots for the Cougars. . . . The Chiefs are without F Erik Atchison and F Ethan McIndoe, both of whom are out week-to-week. . . . The Cougars are without D Cole Moberg, who is listed as week-to-week. . . . The same teams will play again tonight in Prince George.


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KIBIHT award in memory of Herold . . . Farkas, Hofer pitch shutouts . . . Centazzo beats Rockets with late penalty shot

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The Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament wraps up today in Kamloops.

In 2016, Adam Herold, then of the Balgonie, Sask., Prairie Storm, was the tournament’s top defenceman and a first-team all-star. Later that year, he was selected by the Prince Albert Raiders in the second round of the WHL bantam draft.

Herold spent last season with the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians — he was the team captain — then was added to the roster of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos in the playoffs.

Herold was one of those killed on April 6 in the bus crash involving the Broncos. He was six days from his 17th birthday.

On Saturday night, prior to a WHL game between the Kelowna Rockets and host Kamloops Blazers, KIBIHT introduced an award in Herold’s honour. The award is to go annually to a player who overcomes adversity with leadership and dedication to the game of hockey.

The first recipient, Rylan Davis of the NorthEast BC Bantam Zone Trackers, was presented with the award and took part in a ceremonial faceoff.


The U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team held its 11th annual Play for a Cure game on Friday night as they played host to the Calgary Dinos. . . . G Jessica Vance stopped 11 shots in posting her 13th career shutout as the Huskies won, 3-0. . . . But this one was special . . . really special. . . . You see, the Huskies were honouring Jessica’s mother, Liane, who is taking treatment for cancer. . . . Liane, of course, is married to Bruce Vance, who also is a cancer survivor. Bruce, one of the good guys, worked for the Prince Albert Raiders for a few years not that long ago. . . . Darren Steinke was there on Friday night and posted this piece right here on his blog.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Kye Buchanan, 17, to a WHL contract and SCBroncosimmediately added him to their roster for the remainder of this season. Buchanan is fresh off helping the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders to a championship at the Mac’s tournament in Calgary. . . . From Lethbridge, Buchanan had seven goals and four assists in 16 games with the Raiders. He also had one assist in four games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . The Broncos acquired him from the Spokane Chiefs on Dec. 4, along with F Carter Chorney and D Devin Aubin. Going the other way were D Noah King, G Matthew Davis and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2021 WHL bantam draft.


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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen erased a 2-1 second-period deficit en route to a 4-3 victory over the Calgaryvisiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Calgary (19-16-4) has won four straight, all on home ice. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of the idle Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (22-16-3) had won its previous five games. It is tied for third in the Central Division with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Tigers and Hitmen both played Friday night, then were back on the ice for this one, which started at 1:30 p.m. MT, as it was televised by Sportsnet. . . . F Jake Kryski (19) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 4:12 of the first period. . . . The Tigers took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Logan Christensen (4), at 7:52 of the first, and F Tyler Preziuso (16), at 6:40 of the second. . . . The Hitmen took over with three straight goals, from F Bryce  Bader (4), at 12:34; F Luke Coleman (11), at 12:45; and F Carson Focht (10), at 11:02 of the third. . . . F Ryan Jevne (20) got the Tigers to within a goal at 18:45. . . . Jevne has 20 goals in 41 games this season; last season, he totalled 20 goals in 69 games. . . . Calgary got 33 stops from G Jack McNaughton, who now is 13-9-2, 3.24, .889. The 17-year-old freshman has won his last four starts and nine of his past 12. . . . Medicine Hat F James Hamblin had two assists as he ran his point streak to 11 games. He has 10 goals and seven assists over that stretch. . . . The Tigers lost F Ryan Chyzowski to an undisclosed injury in the first period. They already were without F Bryan Lockner (concussion) and F Hayden Ostir (knee). . . . Earlier in the day, the Tigers added F Nick McCarry to their roster as an AP. He was in the lineup for this one. McCarry, 17, is a list player from Calgary who was pointless in two games with the Tigers last season. This season, he has seven goals and seven assists in 30 games with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons.


G Shane Farkas stopped 23 shots to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 6-0 victory over Portlandthe Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Portland (23-11-5) has points in eight straight (5-0-3) and is second in the U.S. Division, three points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Winterhawks are 2-0-0 on their East Division swing. . . . Moose Jaw (21-9-6) had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, five points behind Saskatoon but with five games in hand on the Blades. . . . The Warriors were blanked for the first time this season. . . . Portland held a 38-23 edge in shots. . . . Portland took control with four first-period goals, from F Reece Newkirk (18), who is from Moose Jaw, F Jake Gricius (17), F Lane Gilliss (9) and D Clay Hanus (4). . . . F Seth Jarvis (9) and F Joachim Blichfeld (36) also scored for Portland. . . . Blichfeld leads the WHL in goals and points (75). . . . The Winterhawks got three assists from D Nick Cicek. . . . Farkas has three shutouts this season and six in his career. . . . The Warriors lost D Matthew Benson to a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Portland F Ryan Hughes at 6:46 of the second period. . . . G Evan Fradette was on Portland’s bench, backing up Farkas. Fradette was added to the roster earlier in the week from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley, who served Game 3 of a four-game suspension; D Brendan De Jong (concussion); and F Cody Glass, who has yet to return after playing for Canada at the WJC. . . . Glass is expected to play Tuesday when the Winterhawks are in Brandon. . . . F Ryan Poehling of Team USA was named the WJC’s most valuable player even though his side dropped a 3-2 decision to Finland in Saturday’s final in Vancouver. Poehling, who turned 20 on Thursday, attends St. Cloud State and is on Portland’s protected list. He was a first-round selection by the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL’s 2017 draft.


F Noah Gregor scored twice and added an assist as the Prince Albert Raiders beat the PrinceAlbertvisiting Saskatoon Blades, 5-2. . . . Prince Albert (35-4-1) had lost its previous two home games. It now is 18-2-0 on home ice. . . . The Raiders lead the East Division by 18 points over Saskatoon (24-12-5), which had a three-game winning streak halted. . . . F Cole Fonstad (14) and F Justin Nachbaur (10) gave the Raiders a 2-0 lead before the first period was eight minutes old. . . . F Gary Haden (15) got the Blades on the scoreboard at 4:27 of the second period. . . . The Raiders stretched their lead to 4-1 on goals from Gregor, on a PP, at 12:25 of the second, and F Parker Kelly (18), at 11:55 of the third. . . . D Dawson Davidson (8) got Saskatoon to within two goals at 17:28. . . . Gregor (26) iced it at 18:28. He now has 56 points, including 30 assists, in 35 games. . . . Fonstad added two assists to his goal. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 19 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Blades scratched F Kirby Dach and D Nolan Kneen with undisclosed injuries.


G Joel Hofer came up with 46 saves to lead the host Swift Current Broncos to a 1-0 victory SCBroncosover the Regina Pats. . . . Swift Current (8-28-3) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . Regina (12-26-2) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . The Broncos have had the WHL’s poorest record from the get-go. They now are four points behind the Kootenay Ice and seven in back of Regina and the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . F Carter Chorney (10) scored the game’s lone goal, finding the mark at 10:31 of the first period, on a PP. . . . Despite his won-loss record (6-21-3), Hofer is having a tremendous season with a 4.02 GAA and a .904 save percentage. . . . Hofer, who has two career shutouts, has faced 1,257 shots this season, and that’s 150 more than any other WHL goaltender. . . . The St. Louis Blues have to love what they’re seeing from Hofer this season. They selected the 18-year-old Winnipegger in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL draft. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 23 shots for Regina. . . . The Broncos finished the game with nine forwards after Tanner Nagel and Ben King left with undisclosed injuries.


F Kody McDonald’s shootout goal gave the Victoria Royals a 3-2 victory over the Rebels in VictoriaRoyalsRed Deer. . . . Victoria (20-15-1) has won two in a row. It went 4-2-0 on its Central Division trip. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Vancouver Giants and three ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Red Deer (22-13-3) has lost two in a row and is tied for third with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Central Division. . . . The Rebels took a 1-0 lead into the second period on a goal from F Oleg Zaytsev (7), at 14:13. . . . The Royals got second-period goals from F Jameson Murray (1), at 7:12, and F Kaid Oliver (18), shorthanded, at 9:56, to take a 2-1 lead. . . . F Brett Davis (12) got Red Deer into a 2-2 tie just 19 seconds into the third period. . . . F Igor Martynov gave Victoria a 1-0 lead in the first round of the shootout, with F Brandon Hagel tying it in the second round. McDonald, who was acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders in a trade on Thursday, won it in the fifth round. . . . The Royals got 32 saves from G Griffen Outhouse, while Byron Fancy stopped 34 for Red Deer. . . . Veteran D Ralph Jarratt was back in Victoria’s lineup and played in his 250th regular-season game. After not playing since Nov. 2, he got into games on Dec. 7 and 11, but hadn’t played since then. He now has played 14 games this season.


D Ty Smith drew four assists as the Spokane Chiefs skated to an 8-4 victory over the SpokaneChiefsKootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Spokane (22-13-4) has won two straight and remains third in the U.S. Division, three points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kootenay (8-26-7) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . The Chiefs took a 2-0 lead on goals from D Noah King (4), at 7:02 of the first period, and F Luke Toporowski (13), at 8:24. . . . The Ice cut the deficit in half when F Cole Muir (10) scored at 14:50. . . . The Chiefs put it away by scoring the next four goals — by F Jake McGrew, F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (3), F Ethan McIndoe (9) and F Luc Smith (6). . . . Smith was in on four the Chiefs’ first five goals. . . . F Graham Sward, the 17th overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal in his first game for Spokane. . . . McGrew added a second goal, his 16th. . . . F Peyton Krebs (14), F Owen Pederson (3) and D Zach Patrick (2) also scored for the Ice, who got to within 7-4 late in the third period. . . . F Riley Woods, who had an assist in a 4-1 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers on Friday night, was among the Chiefs’ scratches.


F Orrin Centazzo scored on a penalty shot with 1:20 left in the third period to give the Kamloops1Kamloops Blazers a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kamloops (15-18-3) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five point behind Kelowna but with three games in hand. . . . Kelowna (17-18-4) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Centazzo was hooked on a breakaway, so was awarded a penalty shot. . . . It was his second goal of the game. . . . The Rockets held leads of 1-0 and 3-2 but weren’t able to put it away. They were 2-6 on the PP, including two 5-on-3s; Kamloops was 2-4. . . . F Kyle Topping (15) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead 47 seconds after the opening faceoff. . . . Centazzo, at 19:37, and F Martin Lang (7), on a PP at 2:26 of the second period, gave Kamloops a 2-1 lead. . . . The Rockets went in front on goals from F Nolan Foote (20), at 8:55, on a PP, and F Leif Mattson (17), at 17:42. . . . Blazers F Josh Pillar (5) tied it at 10:07 of the third period, on a PP, and Centazzo won it with his 11th goal of the season, going forehand-backhand and upstairs to beat G Roman Basran, who was stellar with 28 saves, five more than Dylan Ferguson of Kamloops. . . . Kelowna now is 13-1-2 when leading after two periods. . . . The Blazers, who lost 4-1 in Spokane on Friday night, left immediately after the game for Everett, where they are to meet the Silvertips today in a game that is to start at 4 p.m.


The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last three goals to beat the visiting Tri-City EverettAmericans, 4-1. . . . Everett (30-8-2), which has won 10 straight at home, leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Tri-City (20-14-2) had won its previous two games. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Spokane Chiefs. The Americans hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, nine points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . F Jalen Price (4) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 5:46 of the first period. . . . Tri-City pulled even at 4:13 of the second period when F Sasha Mutala (9) scored. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar (27) snapped the tie at 18:11, and F Max Patterson (11) added insurance at 8:35 of the third period. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (19) rounded out the scoring at 19:19 with an empty-netter while on a PP. . . . F Justyn Gurney, who was added to Everett’s roster from the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles earlier in the week, had two assists. He now has three of them in three games. . . . Everett outshot the Americans, 39-22, including 18-4 in the first period.


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