Latest on minimum-wage lawsuit front. . . . Battles of B.C., Saskatchewan open tonight. . . . Other two series begin Saturday

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There was news on the minimum-wage battleground between former major junior players and the OHL on Thursday.

“The Ontario Hockey League will be forced to defend allegations of conspiracy, ohlnegligence and breach of contract after a three-judge panel in Ontario reinstated those claims against the league in its legal battle against former players over minimum wage,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN. “The judgment, released late Wednesday by three Ontario Divisional Court judges, comes after an Ontario Superior Court judge dismissed those claims against the OHL in April, 2017. Lawyers for the former players appealed that decision.

“The judges on Wednesday also rejected an OHL appeal that asked for the case to be stripped of class-action status. As a class action, current and former players going back to the 2012-13 season automatically become plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Players will now have the option to opt out of the litigation.

“The judges also ordered the OHL to immediately pay roughly $500,000 worth of legal fees to the plaintiffs, in addition to another $700,000 in legal fees that must be paid if the OHL loses the lawsuit.”

Westhead’s complete story is right here.


F Nick Henry and F Jake Leschyshyn, both of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, have moved on Lethbridgeto pro teams. . . . Henry, who will turn 20 on July 4, has joined the Colorado Eagles, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, while Leschyshyn now is with the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . . Henry, a fourth-round pick in the NHL’s 2017 draft, has signed with the Avalanche. He had 29 goals and 65 assists in 69 games this season. . . . Leschyshyn, who turned 20 on March 10, was a second-round pick by Vegas in the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has signed an NHL contract. This season, he had 40 goals and 41 assists in 68 games. . . . The Hurricanes acquired Henry and Leschyshyn from the Regina Pats in an early-season trade.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Blake Swetlikoff to a WHL contract. The 15-year-old from Regina was a third-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft after putting up 32 goals and 40 assists in 31 games with the bantam AA Regina Monarchs. . . . This season, he had 10 goals and 19 assists in 40 games for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians.


Whenever someone writes a WHL-related newspaper column that includes a mention of Bobby (The Brain) Heeney, well, you just know it has to be a good read. Ed Willes of Postmedia has that column right here and, while it’s more to do with Michael Dyck and Jamie Heard of the Vancouver Giants, there is a mention of Heeney. Oh, and Kelly Handy, a football player who once played for the Regina Pats, gets a mention too. Enjoy!


The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League made it official on Thursday . . . Dean Maynard is their general manager and head coach. Maynard had been interim head coach since the firing of Mark Chase in January. . . . Maynard will be joined by assistant coaches Brandon Watson and David Gordon, while Tyler Liebel is on board doing work on skills instruction player development and video. Mitch Fritz will be involved with player selection and development.



The SJHL’s Melville Millionaires have signed Kyle Adams to a two-year contract as general manager and head coach. Adams signed on as an assistant coach prior to this season, then was named interim GM and head coach following the firing of Devin Windle on Nov. 29.


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The WHL playoffs resume tonight with second-round series beginning on two fronts. . . . The other two series will open on Saturday night. . . . In each instance, if the outcome of the season series means anything, these all should be short series. . . . But, hey, it’s the playoffs and it’s junior hockey. . . .

The Battle of Saskatchewan opens in Prince Albert as the Raiders meet the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Raiders (54-10-4) won the Scotty Munro Trophy as the WHL’s regular-season champions. . . . The Blades were second to the Raiders in the East Division at 45-15-8. . . . Prince Albert was 6-2-0 in the season series; Saskatoon was 2-5-1. . . . They have only met twice since the trade deadline. The Blades won, 3-2, at home on March 15; the Raiders on, 3-1 in Prince Albert the next night. . . . Saskatoon is in the playoffs for the first time since the spring of 2013. . . . The first three games of this series will be televised by Sportsnet, with host Rob Faulds, play caller RJ Broadhead and analyst Sam Cosentino. . . .

Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, played for the Blades back in the day. This season, he recorded his 500th regular-season coaching victory. He also understands that he is in the entertainment business as much as he is in the hockey business. That’s one of the reasons he says things like this:

“They embellish. That’s what they do. They led the league in drawing minors. It’s known around (the league) that they do that. Hopefully, that stops because it’s not a good thing. You look at a guy like Kirby Dach. He’s a good player. I met the young man at the Prospects game. A great kid, awesome kid and really great player. He doesn’t need to embellish. He’s better than that. He’s a good enough player. He doesn’t need to that.”

That was Habscheid chatting with Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. The complete story is right here.

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The Battle of B.C. begins in Langley, B.C., with the Vancouver Giants playing host to the Victoria Royals. . . . Vancouver (48-15-5) finished atop the Western Conference. . . . Victoria (34-30-4) was second in the B.C. Division, 29 points behind the Giants. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 6-2-2; Victoria was 4-4-2. . . . They played each other four times after the trade deadline. Vancouver won at home, 3-2 and 4-0, on Jan. 13 and Feb. 22. Victoria won, 5-4 in a shootout, at home on Feb. 23, then lost 2-1 on Feb. 24. Yes, they played each other three times in as many days. . . .

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The Battle of Alberta will open on Saturday with the Calgary Hitmen in Edmonton to meet the Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton (42-18-8) finished atop the Central Division, with Calgary (36-26-6) 14 points in arrears. . . . The Oil Kings won the season series, 7-0-1; the Hitmen were 1-6-1. . . . They have met four times since the trade deadline, with Edmonton winning all four of them — 3-2 and 6-1 in Edmonton, 5-1 and 3-1 in Calgary. . . . Edmonton G Dylan Myskiw went 6-0-0, 2.00, .935 in six games against Calgary. . . . Steve Hamilton, Calgary’s head coach, was fired by the Oil Kings after last season. He spent eight seasons in Edmonton, the last four as head coach.

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The Battle of Washington also gets started on Saturday as the Everett Silvertips play host to the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (47-16-5) finished second in the Western Conference and first in the U.S. Division, 12 points ahead of Spokane (40-21-7). . . . Everett won the season series, 6-0-2; Spokane was 2-5-1. . . . However, they have played only once since the Jan. 10 trade deadline. The Silvertips skated to a 3-1 victory in Spokane on March 5. . . . If the Chiefs are to win, they are going to have to solve Everett G Dustin Wolf, who went 6-0-1, 1.75, .929 against them.

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NOTES: F Logan Barlage of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has been given a two-game suspension after taking a slashing major and game misconduct at the end of a first-round playoff game against the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Barlage slashed Calgary F Carson Focht right off a faceoff as the Hitmen closed out a 4-2 victory in Game 7. Barlage will have to sit out the first two games of the 2019-20 regular season. . . .

Focht, who scored twice in Calgary’s Game 7 victory, fell to the ice after the slash, clutching an arm. We won’t know whether he is injured until lineups are posted prior to Game 1 in Edmonton on Saturday. . . .

D Bowen Byram, who missed a couple of Vancouver practices this week, is expected to be in the Giants’ lineup tonight for Game 1 with the visiting Victoria Royals.


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Habscheid questions penalty call to Leason. . . . QMJHL game goes to fourth OT period. . . . Oil Kings pull even with Tigers


MacBeth

F Antonín Honejsek (Moose Jaw, 2009-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had six goals and 12 assists in 40 games.


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As of Sunday night, the WHL’s Department of Discipline hadn’t suspended F Brett Leason PrinceAlbertof the Prince Albert Raiders after he was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a second-period hit on F Cam Hausinger of the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . “It was amazing how (Hausinger) recovered quickly and was back out there the next shift,” Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Daily Herald quoted Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid as saying after the game. “There are two good officials (Adam Bloski and Adam Byblow) out there, but they fell for the embellishment, which is too bad as we lost a really good player.” . . . The Raiders won the game, 6-4, to take a 2-0 lead in the series, which continues Tuesday night in Red Deer.


The QMJHL experienced the third-longest game in its history on Saturday as the qmjhlRimouski Oceanic beat the visiting Chicoutimi Sagueneens, 3-2, in the fourth OT period. . . . F D’Artagnan Joly scored the winner at 9:15 of the fourth extra period, meaning the goal came after 129 minutes 15 seconds of hockey. . . . Rimouski had forced OT with a goal at 18:56 of the third period. . . . The Oceanic leads the first-round series, 2-0, with Game 3 in Chicoutimi on Tuesday. . . . The longest game in QMJHL history lasted 146:31 when the host Hull Olympiques beat the Victoriaville Tigres, 3-2, on March 19, 1999. . . . The second-longest game (132:57) featured the visiting Cape Breton Screaming Eagles beating the Quebec Remparts, 3-2, on April 3, 2009. . . . The longest game in CHL history occurred on April 2, 2017, when the visiting Everett Silvertips beat the Victoria Royals 3-2 in a game that went 151:36. F Cal Babych scored the winner at 11:36 of the fifth OT period. That was Game 6 of a first-round series, and Everett won it, 4-2, on Babych’s goal.


Dean Maynard is the new general manager and head coach of the junior Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Maynard had been the Coyotes’ interim head coach since Mark Chase was fired on Jan. 14. . . . Maynard had been an assistant coach on Chase’s staff.


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NOTES: There was only one playoff game on Sunday, with the Medicine Hat Tigers visiting the Edmonton Oil Kings for Game 2 of their series. The Oil Kings won that game to pull even, 1-1, in that series. . . . The WHL will be dark today (Monday), before a seven-game Tuesday. Only the Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans won’t play on Tuesday; they resume Wednesday in Kennewick, Wash. . . . After Sunday’s game, home teams now are 12-4. . . . When Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson skated onto the ice in Victoria for the Blazers’ game with the Royals on Saturday night, it was the first playoff experience of his WHL career. Ferguson, 20, made 156 regular-season appearances, all with the Blazers. Ferguson, from Lantzville, B.C., which is 125 km northwest of Victoria, was the game’s first star as the Blazers beat the Royals, 4-3, in OT to even the series, 1-1. . . . The Blazers went into Saturday’s game having lost nine straight games in Victoria.

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the only two goals of the third period to beat the visiting EdmontonOilKingsMedicine Hat Tigers, 4-3. . . . The series is tied, 1-1, as the teams head to Medicine Hat for games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . F Liam Keeler (1) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 2:26 of the first period, but the Tigers took a 2-1 lead before the period ended on a pair of goals from D Linus Nassen. The first, on a PP, came at 11:36. He broke the tie at 14:39. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (1) scored, on a PP, to get the Oil Kings into a 2-2 tie at 12:49 of the second period. . . . Medicine Hat went back on top at 18:42 when F Brett Kemp (1) scored, on a PP. . . . The Oil Kings moved back into a tie at 7:25 of the third period as F Carter Souch (1) scored. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (1) won it with a goal at 17:04. . . . Nassen also had an assist, giving him a three-point outing. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-3 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-2. . . . Edmonton G Dylan Myskiw recorded the victory with 18 saves. . . . Mads Søgaard of the Tigers, who had made 49 saves in a 2-1 victory on Saturday night, blocked 37 shots in this one. . . . Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News points out that the Tigers have yet to beat the Oil Kings twice in the same playoff series. In two previous meetings, Edmonton swept Medicine in 2013 and won in five games in 2014.


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Record isn’t Stankoven’s just yet . . . Makaj, Ice freeze out Broncos . . . Almeida sparks Warriors past Blazers

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MacBeth

G Brett Jaeger (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Saskatoon, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Bayreuth Tigers (Germany, DEL2). This season, in 22 games, he is 10-10-0, 3.72, .892.

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Whoops!

It seems that F Logan Stankoven doesn’t own the major midget Thompson Blazers’ thompsonblazerssingle-season points record. At least, not yet.

The Kamloops-based Blazers, who play in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, sent out a tweet on Monday that indicated Stankoven, now with 63 points, had broken the record of 59 that had been set by F Riley Nash in 2005-06.

Except it seems that F Alex Rodgers finished that season with more points than did Nash, and it seems that Nash actually finished with 60.

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week asked a few questions and got a response from Nash, who now plays for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Nash told Hastings that Rodgers “actually holds the scoring record.”

Hastings got in touch with Rodgers “who thinks he had 67 in 2005-06.”

Or as a laughing Rodgers told Hastings: “Who is this kid coming after my record? Just write down 87 to keep him motivated.”

So, for now, the record doesn’t belong to Stankoven. But it will in time.

While Stankoven keeps piling up the points, the search for evidence of Rodgers’ 67-point season will continue.

Hastings’ story is right here.

Meanwhile, Stankoven played his second career WHL game on Tuesday night. His hometown Kamloops Blazers selected him fifth overall in the 2018 bantam draft. He had one assist in his first WHL game. Last night, he played his second game as the Blazers dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

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Notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report:

F Jake Kryski of the Calgary Hitmen is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Kryski, 20, is in his fifth WHL season and this one was shaping up as the best of them all. He has 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games. His goal total is one off his single-season high from 2016-17. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have dropped F Bronson Sharp from their roster. Sharp, who turned 19 on Dec. 29, is from Mission, B.C. He was pointless in seven games with Everett, but hadn’t played since Oct. 13 because of a concussion. . . . His junior A rights were traded on Thursday, going from the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials to the Langley Rivermen. . . .

The Regina Pats are showing G Max Paddock as being out indefinitely with an illness. With him out, G Matt Pesenti, 17, has been backing up Dean McNabb. . . . Pesenti, from Saskatoon, plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . .

F Eli Zummack of the Spokane Chiefs is out week-to-week with a lower-lower-body injury. Zummack, 18, is in his third WHL season and already has single-season career highs in assists (33) and points (45), in 41 games. . . . He had a goal and an assist in an 8-3 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Jan. 12.

The weekly roster report is right here.

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The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have signed Nigel Dube, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract. Dube, 30, joined the Bobcats in mid-November, replacing the fired Travis Clayton, who was in his third season in Lloydminster. . . . At the time he joined the Bobcats, Dube was in his second season as the associate coach with the aJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . The Bobcats are 8-33-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North.

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The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that assistant coach Dean Maynard has been named interim head coach. . . . He replaces Mark Chase, who was fired on Monday.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Jesse Makaj stopped 16 shots to help the Kootenay Ice to a 2-0 victory over the Broncos Kootenaynewin Swift Current. . . . Kootenay (9-29-7) had lost its previous nine games (0-8-1). . . . The Broncos (9-31-3) now trail the Ice by four points in the race to stay out of the WHL’s cellar. . . . Makaj, who will turn 18 on Jan. 27, posted his first career WHL shutout by making 16 saves. It came in his 27th appearance, 26 of them this season. . . . The Broncos got 32 stops from G Isaac Poulter. . . . F Jaeger White (17) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 0:51 of the second period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (16) added insurance, on a PP, at 4:55 of the third period. . . . F Alex Thacker made his WHL debut with the Broncos. Thacker, 16, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., and was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is in his second season with the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. . . . Thacker is the 37th player to have suited up for the Broncos this season. . . . The Ice has had 43 players dress for at least one game.

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F Justin Almeida scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors MooseJawWarriorsto a 5-2 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . Moose Jaw (22-11-7) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). The Warriors, who began a seven-game road trip with this one, are 13-3-1 on the road. They are third in the East Division, seven points behind Saskatoon but with five games in hand on the Blades. . . . Kamloops (15-23-3) has lost five in a row, and remains two points away from the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff berth. . . . F Tristin Langan (33) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:26 of the first period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (13) tied it at 6:40. . . . Moose Jaw took a 3-1 lead before the period ended on goals from Almeida, on a PP, at 9:59, and F Daniil Stepanov (4), at 16:01. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (15) got the Blazers to within a goal at 12:03 of the second period. . . . The Blazers hung around but weren’t able to get the equalizer past Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff, who finished with 34 saves. . . . Moose Jaw put it away with two late third-period goals from Almeida (13), at 15:27, and D Dalton Hamaliuk (3), on a PP, at 17:55. . . . Moose Jaw had either D Josh Brook or D Jett Woo, or both of them, on the ice for every shift in the third period until the score was 5-2. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson allowed three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Dylan Garand played the last two periods, stopping 17 of 19 shots. . . . Almeida enjoyed his third four-point game this season. He has 55 points, including 42 assists, in 36 games this season. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft, played his second game with the Blazers. . . . F Carson Denomie, who was acquired Thursday by the Warriors, played his third game with his new teammates and his first against his ex-teammates. Yes, head coach Tim Hunter had him in the starting lineup. . . . Blazers F Jeff Faith sat out the third game of a five-game WHL suspension. . . . With Faith, who can also play on the back end, and the injured Quinn Schmiemann out, the Blazers dressed five defencemen. . . . The Warriors are without D Daemon Hunt, who is listed as being out week-to-week. . . . According to the Warriors’ Twitter account, this road trip will involve playing seven games in 14 days, and spending 51 hours on the bus to travel 4,629 km.

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