BCHL bans broadcaster after racist comment . . . Hall fills hat as Giants shock Silvertips . . . AJHL team talking with ex-WHL coach


The BCHL didn’t waste any time in dealing with a radio analyst who made a racial slur during the broadacast of a Friday night playoff game. . . . The league bchlannounced Friday night that Bruce MacDonald, a veteran member of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ broadcast crew, has been banned permanently from any broadcast involving a BCHL team. . . . “We have a zero tolerance for this type of behaviour and Mr. MacDonald is banned from any future broadcast involving the Bulldogs or any other BCHL team,” the league said in a statement in which it also apologized to Owen Kim of the Langley Rivermen, the player targeted by MacDonald. . . . David Michaud, the Bulldogs’ president and governor, later tweeted: “Tonight our game was overshadowed by an inexcusable comment on our broadcast. With the support of the BCHL, we removed the commentator immediately. On behalf of the Bulldogs, I’d like to apologize to Owen and the Kim family. Racism has no place in hockey.” . . .

The incident took place during the second period of the game in Port Alberni. Evan Hammond, the long-time radio voice of the Bulldogs, can be heard admonishing MacDonald as soon as the racist comment was made, but by then it was too late. . . . Tali Campbell, the vice-president and general manager of the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, tweeted: “Kudos to (Evan Hammond) for saying something right away. Being a bystander is easier, but he didn’t and that deserves a thank you.” . . . The Bulldogs won the game, 2-1, but trail the best-of-seven series, 3-2, going into Langley tonight.


The WHL playoffs hit high gear on Friday night with seven games. . . . The WHLEdmonton Oil Kings, the Eastern Conference’s second seed, had opened post-season play on Thursday night with a 4-1 victory over the visiting No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Things held mostly true to form last night, with only the Vancouver Giants upsetting the apple cart. In fact, as Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun tweeted: “Before Vancouver shocked Everett in overtime, the top seeds had outscored the bottom seeds 37-5 with three shutouts in the other seven” opening games of the WHL playoffs. . . . In the Western Conference last night, three starting goaltenders were yanked as the top four seeds outscored the other teams, 17-3, through two periods in each game. . . . There are eight games on tap tonight as each series heads into Game 2 in the same venues as the openers. . . .

Here’s a brief look at what transpired on Friday. . . .

Eastern Conference:

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice skated to a 3-1 victory over the No. 8 Prince Albert WinnipegIceRaiders, but may have lost F Matt Savoie in the process. . . . Savoie, who had 35 goals and 55 assists in the regular season, left in the third period. Winnipeg journalist Ken Wiebe tweeted that Savoie had “what appeared to be an injury to his left knee/leg.” . . .  Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press tweeted that Ice head coach James Patrick said “Savoie’s injury is lower body, the result of being hit with a puck.” Savoie will see medical staff today, so his immediate status isn’t yet known. . . . The Ice was 2-for-4 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-for-5. . . . F Jakin Smallwood, at 12:03 of the first period, and F Owen Pederson, at 9:34 of the second, on a PP, gave the home team a 2-0 lead. . . . The Raiders got their goal from F Reece Vitelli at 1:45 of the third period. . . . However, Ice F Connor McClennon got that one back, on a PP, just 1:08 later. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned the victory with 19 saves, eight fewer than the Raiders’ Tikhon Chaika. . . .

In Red Deer, G Chase Coward earned a shutout with an 18-save performance as RedDeerthe No. 3 Rebels bounced the No. 6 Brandon Wheat Kings, 5-0. . . . Coward, who also recorded an assist, had two shutouts in 35 regular-season appearances. This was his first playoff start. . . . The Rebels led 1-0 and 4-0 at the intermissions. . . . F Jace Isley got them started with a shorthanded score at 9:34 of the first period. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, who won the regular-season points derby, had one goal. . . . F Ben King, who topped the WHL in goals, picked up one assist. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the No. 4 Warriors outshot Saskatoon, 36-19, as they skated to a MooseJaw5-1 victory over the No. 5 Blades. . . . Moose Jaw took a 3-1 lead into the third period where it scored two more goals and held a 15-5 edge in shots. . . . F Atley Calvert and F Jagger Firkus gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead in the first period and they went from there. . . . Moose Jaw got 18 saves from G Carl Tetachuk. . . . Saskatoon starter Nolan Maier left at 8:54 of the third period after allowing five goals on 26 shots.

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Western Conference:

In Everett, F Adam Hall scored his third goal of the game in OT as the No. 8 VancouverVancouver Giants stunned the No. 1 Silvertips, 5-4. . . . Everett took a 2-0 lead into the second period, only to have Hall score on a PP at 3:18. . . . Everett F Jacob Wright got that one back at 19:02. . . . The Giants then scored four of the game’s last five goals. . . . After Vancouver F Colton Langkow and Everett F Niko Huuhtanen exchanged goals, Hall got the Giants to within one at 6:47. . . . D Alex Cotton, who had two assists, forced the extra time when he scored at 18:40. . . . Hall ended it at 9:47 of OT. . . . Vancouver F Fabian Lysell drew five assists. . . . Vancouver got three assists from F Zack Ostapchuk. . . . G Jesper Vikman stopped 34 shots for the Giants. He had been sidelined since March 4 with an undetermined injury. . . . The Silvertips had Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, back in the lineup after a two-game absence. However, 45-goal man Jackson Berezowski was scratched. . . .

In Kamloops, F Logan Stankoven scored three times and added two assists as Kamloopsthe No. 2 Blazers dropped the No. 7 Spokane Chiefs, 9-0. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 25 shots to record his first WHL playoff shutout in his fourth post-season appearance. He played 123 minutes in three appearances in 2019. . . . Stankoven scored 44 seconds into the first period, made it 4-0 just 52 seconds into the second period, and completed his hat trick at 12:17 of the third. . . . F Luke Toporowski, who came over the Chiefs in a mid-season deal, had two goals, one of the shorthanded, and an assist, with D Quinn Schmiemann adding three assists. . . . Spokane starter Mason Beaupit left early in the second period after being beaten five times on 17 shots. . . . F Grady Lane of the Chiefs was hit with a match penalty for attempt to injure at 7:08 of the third period. . . .

In Portland, the No. 3 Winterhawks scored two PP goals in the game’s first Portlandseven minutes en route to a 5-2 victory over the No. 6 Prince George Cougars. . . . F Aidan Like, at 1:55, and F James Stefan, at 6:02, gave Portland that early lead and F Cross Hanas made it 3-0 at 8:43. . . . The Cougars were chasing from the outset and couldn’t catch up. . . . G Taylor Gauthier, who was acquired by Portland from Prince George during the season, earned the victory with 32 saves. . . . The Cougars lifted starter Ty Young after he gave up three goals on 13 shots. . . . Cougars F Craig Armstrong was hit with a checking-to-the-head major at the end of the third period. . . . Portland D Clay Hanus didn’t finish the game. Mike Johnston, Portland’s GM and head coach, told Joshua Critzer of @pnwhockeytalk that Hanus “took a nasty hit in the first period and wasn’t feeling good in the third.” . . .

In Kent, Wash., G Thomas Milic blocked 21 shots to lead the No. 4 Seattle SeattleThunderbirds to a 6-0 victory over the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets. . . . Milic was making his first playoff appearance. . . . F Jared Davidson had two goals and an assist for Seattle, which held period leads of 3-0 and 5-0. . . . Seattle got three assists from D Kevin Korchinski. A Saskatoon native who will turn 18 on June 21, Korchinski is coming off a superb regular season in which he put up four goals and 61 assists in 67 games. . . . Kelowna starter Talyn Boyko left at 13:43 of the second period, having allowed five goals on 22 shots. . . . Seattle was 4-for-7 on the PP; the Rockets were 0-for-7.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: D Ryker Evans, who completed his junior eligibility this season with the Regina Pats, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. He was a second-round pick in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . There are numerous reports that former Spokane Chiefs head coach Bill Peters is close to signing on as the head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. Team president Murray Toews told Global News that Peters “hasn’t been selected yet.” He added that the Storm’s hiring committee hopes to have a coach in place in the next few days because it has a spring camp starting on Friday. Emily Mertz of Global News has more right here.



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

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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.


Lawn

Lowry returns to WHL. . . . Broncos sign Finnish defender. . . . Tri-City adds ex-player to scouting staff


MacBeth

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2013-16) has been traded by Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) to Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Russia, KHL) for the KHL rights to Mikko Rantanen. Last season, with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL), Fazleyev had two assists in 15 games. In 16 games with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had two goals and five assists.


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The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed Dave Lowry as their new head coach. He replaces BrandonWKregularDavid Anning, whose contract wasn’t renewed after three seasons. . . . No terms of Lowry’s contract with the Wheat Kings were released. . . . Lowry, 54, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He wasn’t retained when Todd McLellan took over as the Kings’ head coach. . . . Before that, Lowry was the head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Royals for five seasons (2012-17), going 209-124-27. . . . After his playing career ended — he split 1,084 regular-season NHL games with five teams — he started his coaching career with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. He was an assistant coach for two seasons (2005-07), the associate coach for one and the head coach for one. He then worked for three seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, before signing with Victoria. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed Finnish D Kasper Puutio, who was the first SCBroncosoverall selection in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. Puutio, 17, had a goal and three assists in 31 games with Kärpät’s U-20 team last season, and also had four goals and eight assists in 10 games with the U-18 side. He got into 13 games with Finland’s U-17 team, scoring once and adding eight assists, and had two assists in five games with the U-18 team. . . . He joins F Joona Kiviniemi, who also is from Finland, as the Broncos’ two import players. Kiviniemi, who will turn 18 on Dec. 17, also played for Kärpät before joining the Broncos. Last season, as a freshman with Swift Current, he had 16 goals and nine assists in 62 games.


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JUST NOTES:

Mason Wilgosh is back with the Tri-City Americans, this time as a scout. The Winnipeg native will work as a regional scout in Manitoba. . . . Wilgosh, 28, played five seasons (2007-12) with the Americans, then went on to spend four seasons at the U of Prince Edward Island. . . . The Americans’ news release is right here. . . .

The ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen have signed Jason Christie, their vice-president of hockey operations and head coach, to a multi-year contract extension. The length of the extension wasn’t revealed. . . . Christie, 50, has been the team’s head coach since June 6, 2017. He has spent 16 seasons coaching in the ECHL and holds the league record for most regular-season victories (609). . . . From Gibbons, Alta., Christie played four seasons (1986-90) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . .

Keycorp Sports and Entertainment, led by Victoria businessman Jim Hartshorne, has purchased majority ownership in the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Also in the ownership group are Ron Coutre of Victoria; Tim MacLean, Dennis See and Stefanie Weber of Port Alberni; and the Port Alberni Jr. Hockey Society. . . . David Michaud, the president of Keycorp Sports and Entertainment, now is the Bulldogs’ president. He will oversee the organization’s business and hockey operations. . . . A news release on the sale is right here. . . .

Brent Polischuk is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Saanich Braves, who play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. From a news release: “Brent has extensive experience in coaching, player development, player evaluation and scouting. As a certified High Performance 1 coach, Brent has coached at all levels of competitive hockey and served in many roles in the BC Hockey and Hockey Canada Program of Excellence. These include Team Pacific Director of Operations, Vancouver Island District Evaluator, BC Hockey coach mentor and coach evaluator and most recently worked as Team USA host in the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship.” . . . Polischuk replaces Sam Waterfield, who left after two seasons. He now is an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express.


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Silvertips add to defence corps . . . Giants and Hitmen swap veteran forwards . . . Ice trims two from roster


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The Everett Silvertips, it’s safe to say, are all in this season. Any doubt one may have had about that was erased on Wednesday when the Silvertips acquired Russian D Artyom EverettMinulin, 20, from the Swift Current Broncos.

The Silvertips gave up D Alex Moar, 17, in the exchange, while also getting back an eight-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft.

The Silvertips had room on their roster for a 20-year-old and an import, so Minulin fills both of those spots. The import spot was available because F Peter Melcher, a freshman from Slovakian, is, as general manager Garry Davidson put it, “currently unavailable to play.” Melcher was listed on this week’s WHL roster report as being out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Minulin has yet to play this season after having had off-season shoulder surgery. The Broncos’ roster report listed him as day-to-day.

In 206 career regular-season games, all with the Broncos, Minulin put up 126 points. Last season, he had 13 goals and 30 assists in 64 regular-season games, then added a goal and seven assists in 20 playoff games as the Broncos won the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

“Artyom Minulin is a special talent who elevates the play of his teammates,” Davidson said in a news release. “The role he’s excelled in as a high-impact defenceman played a big piece in helping Swift Current win the WHL championship last season . . .

“He carries a tremendous reputation as a defenceman with an extremely hard shot, deft touch with the puck, and acumen to excel in all three zones.”

F Sean Richards and D Sahvan Khaira, a teammate of Minulin’s for the previous two seasons with the Broncos, are Everett’s other 20s. The other import on Everett’s roster is sophomore F Martin Fasko-Rudas, a Slovakian.

Moar was pointless in four games with the Silvertips. From Prince Albert, he was a fifth-round selection by the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft.

Last season, with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, Moar had six goals and 23 assists.

The defending-champion Broncos, who have the 22-team WHL’s poorest record (1-14-1), SCBroncosstill are carrying nine defencemen. They are next scheduled to play Friday against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Silvertips (10-5-0) lead the U.S. Division, by one point over the Spokane Chiefs (8-4-3) and two on the Tri-City Americans (9-4-0). Everett entertains Tri-City on Friday, but Minulin isn’t expect to play until sometime next week, once immigration issues get sorted out.

Meanwhile, G Max Palaga, 18, who was acquired by the Silvertips from the Kamloops Blazers earlier in the week, has arrived in Everett and practised with his new team on Wednesday. He joins Dustin Wolf as healthy goaltenders on the Silvertips’ roster.


The Calgary Hitmen and Vancouver Giants got together on Wednesday and swapped a Calgarypair of disgruntled forwards.

The Hitmen acquired F James Malm, 19, and an undisclosed conditional selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in exchange for F Tristen Nielsen, 18.

Malm, from Langley, B.C., led the Giants in goals (9) and points (15) in 13 games. He hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury in a game against the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 20. The Giants’ weekly roster report lists Malm as being out day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

On Sunday, however, Malm asked Vancouver general manager Barclay Parneta to trade him.

A fourth-round selection by the Giants in the 2014 bantam draft, he has 134 points, including 48 goals, in 179 career regular-season games.

Malm could make his Calgary debut on Friday against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

Nielsen, from Fort St. John, B.C., was selected by Calgary in the first round of the 2015 Vancouverbantam draft. He was in third season with the Hitmen when he chose to leave the team and ask for a trade.

This season, he was pointless in five games; he didn’t play in seven games after asking to be moved. Last season, he put up 19 goals and 16 assists in 49 games in a season that was partially derailed by a wrist injury. In 2016-17, as a freshman, he had three goals and four assists in seven games.

Nielsen arrived in Ladner, B.C., on Wednesday afternoon and is to practise with his new team today.

Nielsen is expected to be in Vancouver’s lineup on Saturday when they meet the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has speculated that the Giants, under new head coach Michael Dyck, are playing a more structured game, one that Malm felt didn’t suit his game. . . . Ewen has more right here on this trade.


The Kootenay Ice apparently has released two veteran players. According to the WHL’s Kootenaynewweekly roster report, D Sam Huston and F Brendan Semchuk no longer are with the team, and both have been dropped from the team’s official roster. . . . Huston, 19, is from Brandon. He was in his third season with the Ice, and had scored once in 12 games. In two previous seasons, he totalled three goals and 13 assists in 107 games. The Ice selected him in the ninth round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft. . . . Semchuk, from Kamloops, was the 10th overall selection by the Vancouver Giants in the 2014 bantam draft. They later dealt him to Edmonton and the Ice acquired him from the Oil Kings on Sept 27, giving up a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Semchuk, 19, had two goals and three assists in 14 games with the Ice. In 159 career regular-regular-season games, he has 23 goals and 30 assists. . . . Huston last played on Friday, while Semchuk is shown on the scoresheet as having played Tuesday night against the Broncos in Swift Current. Interstingly, that game will have been played well after the weekly roster report was posted on the WHL’s website.


Patti Dawn Swanson covered WHL teams in Winnipeg for the Tribune back in the day, and now blogs at pattitherivercityrenegade.wordpress.com.

On Thursday, she offered up these thoughts on a possible move by the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg . . .

I have fond memories of riding the iron lung with Gerry Brisson, Muzz MacPherson and the Winnipeg Clubs/Monarchs in the 1970s, so the prospect of the Western Hockey League returning to Good Ol’ Hometown is intriguing.

I’m skeptical about it working, though.

If you missed it, Mike Sawatzky reported in the Winnipeg Free Press that the Kootenay Ice are having a rough go of it in Cranbrook, B.C. Average attendance is 2,307, lowest in the WHL, and the town’s mayor, Lee Pratt, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman this: “With the fan support they are getting right now it’s not a viable operation.”

The Green Bay Committee held a town hall meeting in support of the Ice (on Oct. 24), and they’ll gather again tomorrow night (Thursday) in the hope they can corral 500-600 new season-ticket subscribers to save the franchise. Failing that, team owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell might be inclined to pull up stakes and head east.

That begs questions, though. To wit:

Would they be better off in River City?
Would a WHL franchise operating out of the University of Manitoba attract 2,000 or more customers?
If an average head count of 2,307 can’t work in Cranbrook, how can it possibly work in Winnipeg?
Would the arrival of a WHL outfit strike the death knell for Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League?

Remove the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and I’d say Fettes and Cockell might have a chance in Good Ol’ Hometown. As it is, I don’t see it happening. But I hope I’m wrong.


David Michaud, who has been a familiar face in B.C. arenas for a number of years, has been named president of Keycorp Sports and Entertainment Ltd., the owners of lacrosse’s legendary Victoria Shamrocks. . . . According to a news release, Michaud will be “responsible for growing the division of the Keycorp group of companies by working with new and existing sports teams, entertainment venues, concert promoters, and more to bring professional-level promotion, ticketing, and event-day production to Victoria, and across British Columbia. He also will be working with the Victoria Shamrocks to continue the excellence in promotion and entertainment that the club has provided in the Greater Victoria area for the last 70 years.” . . . Prior to this move, Michaud spent three years with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as director of corporate partnerships. He also was the team’s alternate governor. He also has worked with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and with the major midget Okanagan Rockets. . . . Michaud won’t be too far removed from the BCHL in his new position. The Shamrocks play out of the Q Centre in Colwood, which has a capacity of 2,780 and also is home to the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies.


The Fort Sask Chiefs, a senior AAA men’s hockey team that played out of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., has folded, at least for the remainder of this season. . . . According to a team-issued news release: “Various factors led to the tough decision that it would no longer be sustainable for our organization to continue to operate this year. With that being said, we are hopeful our hockey club be back playing senior again in the coming years.” . . . The Chiefs were 0-6-1 and in last place in the five-team Allan Cup Hockey West. Their demise leaves the league with teams in Rosetown, Sask., and the Alberta communities of Stony Plain, Lacombe and Innisfail.


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Stephen Peat was as tough as they come during a four-season career in the WHL (Red Deer, Tri-City Calgary, 1996-2000), and he maintained that reputation in a pro career that included 130 NHL games. Now he’s living in his truck or couch surfing with friends on the Lower Mainland of B.C. Jeremy Allingham of CBC News has more right here.


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