Mooseheads set 2019 Memorial Cup prices . . . Vees, Harbinson agree on extension . . . Americans sign top draft pick


MacBeth

F Kruise Reddick (Tri-City, 2006-11) signed a two-year contract extension with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). This season, he had 27 goals and 39 assists in 54 games. He led the Flames in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Sami Moilanen (Seattle, 2016-18) signed a two-year-plus-option contract with Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Seattle, he had 22 goals and 23 assists in 50 games. . . .

F Dylan Stanley (Tri-City, 2000-05) signed a two-year contract extension with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). He had 24 goals and 42 assists in 40 games, leading his team in goals, assists and points. He was second in the league in assists and points. . . . Next season will be fifth in Feldkirch.


ThisThat

The WHL lost in court last week when, as Rick Westhead of TSN tweeted, “The Court of Appeal of Alberta has dismissed the WHL’s request to overturn a decision certifying this minimum wage lawsuit as a class action. Case will no move forward.” . . . Ken Campbell of The Hockey News later weighed in with some thoughts on this situation. Campbell’s piece is right here.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads will be the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup. They have sent a letter to season-ticket holders detailing the price of ticket packages to the event, which result in some social media chatter. . . . One ticket package apparently will go for $320, plus taxes. . . . The Mooseheads haven’t yet detailed when ticket packages will be available to the general public. . . . The 2018 Memorial Cup begins today (Friday) in Regina.

The Memorial Cup schedule (all times local):

Game 1, Friday – Hamilton vs. Regina, 8 p.m.

Game 2, Saturday – Swift Current vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 2 p.m.

Game 3, Sunday – Regina vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 5 p.m.

Game 4, Monday – Swift Current vs. Hamilton, 6 p.m.

Game 5, Tuesday – Acadie-Bathurst vs. Hamilton, 8 p.m.

Game 6, Wednesday – Regina vs. Swift Current, 8 p.m.

Tiebreaker (if necessary) – Thursday, 6 p.m.

Semifinal – Friday, May 25, 8 p.m.

Final — Sunday, May 27, 5 p.m.


Surely it is a mere coincidence that neither Ken Hitchcock nor Don Hay, perhaps the two most-successful coaches in the history of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, aren’t employed as coaches today. . . . Both, however, remain in the employ of the teams they coached last season. . . . Hay is an advisor to hockey operations with the Blazers, having said last week that he has retired from them but still is interested in continuing his lengthy coaching career. . . . Hitchcock, the third-winningest coach in NHL regular-season history, spent this season as head coach of the Dallas Stars. He stepped aside after the season and now is a “consultant” with the team. . . . Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News has more on Hitchcock and his situation right here.

Marty Hastings, who covers the Blazers for Kamloops This Week, offers up his view of all that went on with Hay right here.


If you thought that Fred Harbinson might end up as a WHL general manager this off-season, you can forget about it. Harbinson is the president, general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. Coming out of 2017-18, he had one season remaining on his contract. The Vees announced Tuesday that he now has been extended through the 2023-24 season. Next season will be Harbinson’s 12th with Penticton. The Vees are 481-144-14-40 during that time. . . . Also on Tuesday, the Vees revealed that F Massimo Rizzo will be the team captain next season. Rizzo, who will turn 17 on June 13, just completed his first season with Penticton. The Kamloops Blazers selected him in the first round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft; his family informed the Blazers prior to the 2018 bantam draft that Rizzo wouldn’t be signing with them, choosing instead to pursue an NCAA scholarship.


JUST NOTES:

You can forget about Cam Russell as a WHL general manager. The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads have given him a four-year extension. The Halifax native and former NHL defenceman has been with the Mooseheads since 2000-01 and has been the GM through the past 10 seasons. . . .

The Tri-City Americans have signed D Marc Lajoie, who was a first-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. From St. Albert, Alta., the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder had 12 goals and 18 assists in 20 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team. . . . He is the son of Serge Lajoie, the head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears for the past three seasons. . . .

The 2020 World Junior Championship will be played in the Czech Republic cities of Ostrava and Trinec, running from Dec. 26, 2019, through Jan. 5, 2020. . . . The 2019 tournament is scheduled for Vancouver and Victoria, from Dec. 26, 2018, through Jan. 5, 2019. . . . The WJC last was held in Czech Republic in 2008 when Pardubice and Liberec shared it. . . .

Veteran coach Ted Nolan is looking for work after having been fired as the head coach of Poland’s national team. Poland was 1-4 at the IIHF World Championship (Division 1, Group A) in Budapest, and will be demoted to Division 1, Group B. . . .

The SJHL and the Humboldt Broncos are in the process of resolving that dispute over trademarks. Broncos president Kevin Garinger has said that the SJHL’s board of governors met and the trademarks will end up belonging to the team. . . . There is more right here.


Tweetoftheday

Hay may be retired from Blazers, but he’s not done . . . What next in Kamloops? . . . Little Montreal days a distant memory

Don Hay is many things . . . father . . . grandfather . . . runner . . . a man who works out regularly . . . proud Kamloopsian . . . an icon in the community . . .

One thing he isn’t is retired.

Oh, he may be done as the head coach of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, but it’s obvious he doesn’t feel that his coaching career is done.

That became evident Friday morning as Hay read a prepared statement and then answered questions from the media vultures outside the Blazers’ dressing room.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the WHL franchise, had

DonHay
Don Hay, as the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, talks with the media after a game earlier this season. (Photo: Gregg Drinnan)

announced that Hay had decided to retire. Gaglardi also said that once he learned of Hay’s decision — as incredible as it sounds, Gaglardi didn’t speak to Hay— the owners decided to move out general manager Stu MacGregor, lead assistant coach Mike Needham and Matt Recchi, the director of player personnel, as well.

Hay completed the fourth season of his second stint as the Blazers’ head coach in March. His first stint, with the Blazers’ then under  community ownership, included a couple of Memorial Cup titles. His second stint, under private ownership headed up by Gaglardi, didn’t go nearly as well.

In fact, the Blazers experienced two first-round playoff exits and two non-playoff seasons during Hay’s most-recent stop. This season, they lost their first nine games and weren’t able to dig out of that hole.

Between the end of the season, during which Hay never once indicated that he was the least bit interested in retirement, and Gaglardi’s announcement, Hay spent a month as the head coach of the Canadian under-18 team that played in the IIHF World Championship in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, Russia. Does that sound like something a career coach would do just before retiring?

Also, do you really think that Hay, who turned 64 on Feb. 13, wants to go out on the kind of season his team had in 2017-18?

No. No. No . . . just no to everything.

At one point on Friday, Hay was asked: “Do you think cleaning house is the right way to go?”

Hay replied: “I don’t know if that is a good question to ask somebody who just got let go, so, you know . . . who just made the decision to move or go to a different role.”

Whether that was a slip of the tongue or a look into what really went on, Hay, who has more regular-season and playoff victories than any coach in WHL history, isn’t retired. OK?

What he is right now, more than anything, is confused. That is what showed through on Friday.

He appeared to be confused and hurt by the fact that his decision to walk away from the Blazers’ bench apparently resulted in ownership clearing out three other people.

It seems that Hay had conversations with Don Moores, the franchise’s president, COO and alternate governor. (Moores, once a shareholder in the community-owned team, spoke out against the sale of the franchise in 2006 and 2007, then joined the front office two summers ago.) Moores obviously reported to Gaglardi, one thing led to another, and Hay’s decision led to three other departures.

MacGregor is gone after having completed three seasons in his second turn as general manager. He replaced Craig Bonner six games into the 2015-16 season and now, like Bonner, has had a soft landing on the Dallas Stars’ scouting staff. The Stars, of course, are owned by Gaglardi.

The Blazers also dumped Needham, who had been on the coaching staff, in either a part-time or full-time role, since 2010. Needham — wink! wink! — has been told that he can apply for the head-coaching position or the assistant’s spot from which he was just deposed.

Recchi spent 10 seasons as the director of player personnel. He is the brother of Mark Recchi, who is one of the four ex-Blazers in Gaglardi’s ownership group, the others being Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Darryl Sydor.

Hay will remain with the Blazers as an advisor, which is the same thing they did with Guy Charron after his first go-round as head coach.

I would suggest that Hay likely saw some writing on the wall and chose to walk away from the Blazers’ bench. I’m sure he is aware that this is an ownership group that has been stumbling around like a thirsty man in the Serengeti for the better part of 11 years. I’m sure Hay knows that the Blazers haven’t drafted well and that there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel. At this stage of his career, he has to know that there are a lot of different places to coach if he wants to continue, and he does. He also knows that the ownership group’s dream of playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament is a pipe dream, so that didn’t figure in any part  of his decision.

In an interview with Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, Gaglardi said: “I think we have failed in all three facets. We haven’t coached well enough, we haven’t drafted well enough and we haven’t managed well enough . . . and I guess by extension, we haven’t owned well enough.”

No, they haven’t owned well enough. Not even close. And this is on ownership. All of it. The whole mess.

This goes back to when these guys bought the franchise. In 11 seasons under this ownership group, the Blazers have missed the playoffs four teams and lost out in the first round on five occasions. They have been beaten in the second round once and made it to the Western Conference final once.

This ownership group has burned through eight head coaches, nine if you count both of Charron’s turns. Dean Clark, Greg Hawgood, Barry Smith, Scott Ferguson, Charron, Dave Hunchak, Mark Ferner, Charron (again), and Hay. Hawgood, Ferguson and Ferner were interim head coaches, signalling midseason coaching changes.

None of those coaches has moved to a higher level. At least five of them, including Hay, aren’t even coaching, at least not now.

There has been a distinct lack of excitement around the organization, which didn’t even hold a news conference when Hay returned to Kamloops after a 10-season run as head coach of the Vancouver Giants.

What must happen now is that these owners have to find a general manager who has no loyalties to anyone in the organization, and who is prepared to make like he is taking over an expansion franchise. Yes, it’s time to start over, to rebuild this organization from the ground up.

How sad are things in Kamloops, whose WHL franchise once was so successful that the city was known in hockey circles as Little Montreal?

Had you visited the Blazers’ website on Friday evening, more than 24 hours after Gaglardi announced the purge, you would have discovered that Don Hay is the team’s head coach, and Stu MacGregor is the general manager, and Mike Needham is an assistant coach, and Matt Recchi is the director of player personnel.

Embarrassing? Yes. Sad? For sure. But that seems to be the way of the Kamloops Blazers these days.

Let’s help Hirsche leave his legacy . . . No playoffs so Blades fire Brockman . . . Second season next for WHL

Scattershooting

Scattershooting . . . following the end of another WHL regular season:

I don’t think there is a playoff format out there that would make everyone happy. But you are free to ask about the fairness of the format now being used by the WHL. Under it, eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. But the Saskatoon Blades, with the seventh-most points in the 12-team Eastern Conference, didn’t make it.


The Blades also finished with more victories (35) than two Eastern Conference teams that did qualify — the Prince Albert Raiders (32) and Red Deer Rebels (27). So what happened to the Blades? They got bit in the ass by the dreaded loser point. The Blades finished with four of them, while the Raiders and Rebels each finished 13.


The Blades, of course, fired head coach Dean Brockman on Sunday morning. You are free to discuss among yourselves if he lost his job because of the playoff format.


If the WHL playoff format called for the top eight teams in each conference to qualify, the Red Deer Rebels would have been on the outside, instead of preparing for a first-round set-to with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Had the Rebels missed, do you suppose the general manager would have fired the head coach? Hey, just asking.


Perhaps during the off-season the WHL pooh-bahs will take a look at a format that rewards losing in such a grand fashion. . . . Perhaps they also will take a serious look at banning fighting, because the time is long past for adults to stop allowing teenagers to punch each other in the face. There simply is too much evidence that cumulative blows to the head simply aren’t good for the brain. . . . And while they’re at it maybe they’ll get rid of that stupid trapezoid behind each goal and allow the goaltenders to get back to handling the puck.


Jayden Halbgewachs of the Moose Jaw Warriors is the WHL’s 2017-18 scoring champion, thanks to 129 points. The last time one of the Warriors won the WHL scoring title? Troy Brouwer, in 2005-06, with 102 points. Of course, Halbgewachs also led the WHL in goals, with 70. . . . In his past two seasons, Halbgewachs put up 230 points, 120 of them goals, in 143 games.


The Warriors acquired Halbgewachs from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 6, 2012. The Blazers had selected him 19th overall in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. They acquired D Joel Edmundson and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft for D Tyler Bell, then, 18, Halbgewachs, who was 15, and a first-round selection in the 2015 draft. . . . That first-rounder turned out to be the fourth-overall pick and the Warriors used it to take D Jett Woo, who might be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Kamloops later traded the fourth-round pick and a sixth in 2017 to Calgary for F Mike Winther, a 20-year-old who played 39 games with the Blazers before being dealt to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmundson played 34 regular-season and 15 playoff games with the Blazers, helping them to the Western Conference final where they lost in five games to the Portland Winterhawks.


Is it fair that Winnipeg is home to Canada’s best football play-by-play man — Bob Irving of CJOB — and a hockey play-by-play voice — TSN’s Dennis Beyak — who is at the top of his field, too?


Thank you to everyone who has stopped by here or at one of the earlier homes of Keeping Score. We have had a good time over the past few years and it’s been a great ride, but I have decided to step back.

I have been writing about the WHL for a long time and it’s time. There is no other reason for this decision than that — it simply is time.

I have been writing for 45 years, so I am sure that I will continue to post on this blog, but not in anything resembling a daily fashion. Nor will I be doing WHL roundups or reporting regularly on WHL-related news.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be behind the cover of a book. First up, it’s Roy MacGregor’s Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada, then Father Bauer and the Great Experiment, by Greg Oliver, and the just-published A Matter of Confidence: The Inside Story of the Political Battle for B.C., by journalists Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman.

And, of course, the baseball season is about upon us.

So . . . farewell, stay safe and, please, if you haven’t already, take a few minutes and think about signing on as an organ donor.


ThisThat

Two years ago, Brock Hirsche, the captain of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. That was one year after two other team members had been diagnosed with it. They both were able to beat it.

It looked like Hirsche had beaten it, too, but it wasn’t to be. The cancer is back and has spread. Treatment has been unsuccessful and Hirsche has been told his cancer is terminal.

Hirsche, 26, is from Lethbridge. He played four seasons (2009-13) with the Prince George Cougars, wearing an ‘A’ for two seasons and serving as captain in his final season. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 26 games over his last two seasons.

He moved on to the U of L and was the Proghorns’ captain in 2015-16, his third season there.

He didn’t play last season and, of course, didn’t play this season.

So what did he do after getting the latest diagnosis? He started a scholarship fund in his name.

“He wants to leave a legacy behind,” Pronghorns head coach Spiros Anastas tells Taking Note. “It’s a testament to the type of person he is. In one night we raised $11,000.”

If you would like to help, the link is right here. The U of Lethbridge will provide tax receipts.


The Saskatoon Blades announced Sunday morning that they had fired head coach Dean Brockman “effective immediately.”

The move came the morning after the Blades ended their season with a 5-4 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Brockman had two seasons left on a multi-year contract extension that was announced on Aug. 24.

The Blades finished 35-33-4, as they missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season, the last two under Brockman. He spent two seasons on the coaching staff as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach.

“While this was a difficult decision for us to make, we felt our performance over the last month of the season was very disappointing and the team did not meet the expectations we set out for them,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said in a news release. “We have been in a playoff position two years in a row coming down the stretch and just haven’t been able to take that next step, which ultimately led us to this decision.”

The news release didn’t make any mention of the status of assistant coaches Ryan Keller and Bryce Thoma, both of whom also are signed through 2019-20.

The Blades seemed to be comfortably in the conference’s second wild-card spot on Feb. 20, when they led the Raiders by eight points. The Raiders then went on a 9-0-2 rip, while the Blades were going 2-6-1. With everything decided, the Blades closed out the season by beating the Raiders twice.

The Blades were 63-68-13 over the past two seasons. Brockman is credited with 62 of those victories; he missed one while attending a funeral.

Priestner and Steve Hildebrand, the associate general manager, held exit interviews with the players on Sunday. Three players were provided to the media for interviews.

Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ veteran radio voice, reported at dubnetwork.ca that F Chase Wouters, when asked if he was surprised by the firing, “stammered” and said: “I actually can’t comment on that, sorry.”

According to Lazaruk, team captain Evan Fiala responded with: “Sorry, no comment on it.”

F Braylon Shymr said, “Yeah, definitely surprised.” But he quickly added: “No further comments other than that.”

Lazaruk’s story is right here.

Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at Priestner’s media availability and offered up this entry right here.


The U of Alberta Golden Bears, with a roster comprising former WHL players, won their 16th Canadian university men’s hockey championship Sunday, beating the St. Francis Xavier U X-Men, 4-2, in Fredericton, N.B. . . . D Will Tomchuk, who played in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Prince George Cougars (2012-15), scored his only goal of the season at 4:18 of the second period and it stood up as the winner. That goal snapped a 2-2 tie as the Golden Bears erased a 2-0 deficit. . . . Alberta’s other goals came from F Stephane Legault (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2009-13), F Luke Philp (Kootenay Ice, Red Deer Rebels, 2011-2016) and F Jamie Crooks (Saskatoon Blades, Chilliwack Bruins, Victoria Royals, 2008-13). . . . G Zach Sawchenko, who joined the Golden Bears rather than return for a 20-year-old season with the Warriors this season, earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Jason Hills of Postmedia has more right here.


The Kamloops Blazers’ season came to an end with a 6-5 shootout victory over the host Prince George Cougars on Saturday night.

The victory snapped a five-game skid for the Blazers and left head coach Don Hay with whl750 career regular-season victories. Earlier in the season, Hay broke the record of 741 that had been held by Ken Hodge since he retired after the 1992-93 season.

Unfortunately for Hay, after he broke Hodge’s record, the Blazers weren’t able to gain traction and they finished 7-14-2, which wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (following 2017-18):

1. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 750

2. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 720

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 468

9. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

11. Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

12. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 456

      Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 456

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 356

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326

23. Mike Johnston (Portland) 315

——

Victory totals of the remaining head coaches who finished the 2017-18 regular season:

John Paddock, Regina 165

Tim Hunter, Moose Jaw 145

Brent Kisio, Lethbridge 121

Steve Hamilton, Edmonton 110

Dan Lambert, Kelowna, Spokane 93

Jason Smith, Kelowna 88

Emanuel Viveiros, Swift Current 85

David Anning, Brandon, 79

Richard Matvichuk, Prince George 69

Dean Brockman, Saskatoon 62

Jason McKee, Vancouver 56

Dennis Williams, Everett 47

Dan Price, Victoria 39

Matt O’Dette, Seattle 33

James Patrick, Kootenay 27

Dallas Ferguson, Calgary 23



JUST NOTES . . .

F Alec Baer, who played out his 20-year-old season with the Kootenay Ice, will be joining the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. Baer, who is from St. Louis Park, Minn., finished this season with 30 goals and 31 assists in 72 games. . . . He played 342 regular-season games — he also skated with the Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes — and finished with 187 points, including 86 goals. . . .

Everett’s last goal of the regular season, in an 8-1 victory over the host Victoria Royals on Saturday, was scored by F Matt Fonteyne, with assists to F Patrick Bajkov and D Kevin Davis. They are the club’s three 20-year-old players. . . .

Not to be outdone, the Seattle Thunderbirds got one goal from each of their 20-year-olds — D Austin Strand, D Turner Ottenbreit and F Donovan Neuls — in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. . . .

A tweet from Caden Fanshaw (@cfanner4) of Prince George’s front office, points out that Cougars F Jared Bethune “has only missed one regular-season game in the past three seasons, and played every playoff game possible in his career. That’s a combined 230 of 231 possible games.” . . .

Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald points out that the Silvertips won their third U.S. Division title in the last four years “and sixth in the franchise’s 15-year history, but the first without Kevin Constantine as head coach.” . . .

F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon, made his WHL debut with the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night. Yes, he had family in attandance. In fact, according to a tweet from Jeff Helperl, Saleski’s father went home with a cool $53,250 in his jeans after winning the 50/50 draw.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Calgary, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored five PP goals in the first period en route to a 7-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Neither Edmonton (22-42-8) nor Calgary (24-37-11) EdmontonOilKingsqualified for the playoffs. . . . Calgary went 3-2-1 in the season series; Edmonton was 3-3-0. . . . F Riley Stotts (19) gave the Hitmen the lead just 49 seconds into the first period. . . . It didn’t last long. . . . F Tomas Soustal got Edmonton’s first PP goal, at 5:47, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (32) put the Oil Kings ahead at 10:00. . . . Soustal (22) added a second goal at 12:41, and F Brett Kemp (17) made it 4-1 at 13:04. . . . D Matthew Robertson upped it to 5-1 at 17:54. . . . F Cael Zimmerman (7) got the Hitmen to within three goals, on a PP, at 19:38. . . . Robertson’s second goal of the game, and seventh of the season, put Edmonton ahead 6-2 at 16:34 of the second period. . . . Calgary D Egor Zamula (2) struck on a PP at 0:17 of the third period, before Edmonton F Colton Kehler (32) closed out the scoring on, yes, another PP, at 7:57. . . . The Oil Kings got two assists from each of F Jake Neighbours and Kemp, with one each going to Soustal, Robertson, Kehler and Fix-Wolansky. . . . Neighbours, the fourth overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, recorded four assists in 11 games with the Oil Kings. . . . Stotts added an assist to his goal for Calgary. . . . Edmonton finished 6-7 on the PP; Calgary was 2-6. . . . The WHL record for PP goals by one team in a single game is 10. The Tri-City Americans set that mark on Sept. 30, 1990, in a 16-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Cougars. . . . The Oil Kings got 34 stops from G Todd Scott, while Nick Schneider blocked 19 for the Hitmen. . . . Announced attendance: 13,075.


At Portland, F Riley McKay scored the only goal of a four-round shootout to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Spokane (41-25-6) finished third SpokaneChiefsin the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland (44-23-5). . . . The Winterhawks won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . These teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, starting Saturday in Portland. . . . McKay opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, at 9:46 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks scored the next four goals, the first three coming in the second period from F Mason Mannek (10), at 2:48; F Kieffer Bellows (41), at 12:15; and F Skyler McKenzie (47), at 16:07. . . . F Ryan Hughes (17) upped the lead to 4-1 at 2:11 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs got three goals in the last nine minutes of the period. . . . F Jake McGrew (19) scored, on a PP, at 11:43, and F Milos Fafrak (9) moved the visitors to within a goal at 12:20. . . . D Nolan Reid (14) tied it, 4-4, on a PP, at 19:39. . . . McGrew also had an assist. . . . Spokane was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 0-3. . . . G Donovan Buskey earned the victory with 33 saves, 14 more than Portland’s Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Lukus MacKenzie, who is injured, along with F Alex Overhardt and D Brendan De Jong. . . . Among Spokane’s scratches were F Kailer Yamamoto, who missed his third straight game, G Dawson Weatherill, F Zach Fischer (undisclosed injury), D Ty Smith, F Hudson Elynuik and D Dalton Hamaliuk. . . . With all the scratches, the Chiefs had 11 freshmen in their lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 8,170.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin each scored twice to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Tri-City (38-25-TriCity309) is the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will open the playoffs in Kelowna on Thursday, against the Rockets, who finished atop the B.C. Division. . . . Seattle (34-28-10) will meet the U.S. Division-winning Everett Silvertips. That seres starts Friday in Everett. . . . Tri-City finished 6-3-1 in the season series with Seattle, which was 4-4-2. . . . On Sunday, Yaremko gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 3:55 of the first period, only to have Seattle F Zack Andrusiak (36) tie it at 5:06. . . . The Americans went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from D Jake Bean (12), at 13:41, and Yaremko (22), at 19:51. . . . Seattle got to within a goal when F Dillon Hamaliuk (15) scored, shorthanded, at 7:13 of the third period. . . . AuCoin iced it with two PP goals, at 7:57 and 15:10. He finished with 19 goals. . . . The Americans got two assists from D Juuso Valimaki, and one each from Bean and Yaremko. . . . Tri-City was 2-8 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . G Patrick Dea started for the Americans and stopped nine of 10 shots in 31:26. Beck Warm finished up by allowing one goal on 10 shots in 28:33. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 37 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . F Michael Rasmussen, F Max James and D Dylan Coghlan were among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Seattle scratched D Turner Ottenbreit, F Noah Philp, who left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury, F Donovan Neuls, F Tyler Carpendale and F Nolan Volcan, along with F Blake Bargar (undisclosed injury). . . . Announced attendance: 3,708.


END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY

Pats, Warriors rivalry heating up . . . An interview with the Babe . . . Tendeck, Giants blank Blazers

MacBeth

F Brock Nixon (Kamloops, Calgary, 2003-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) after being released by mutual agreement by the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had seven goals and 17 assists in 46 games. Last season, he was Esbjerg’s captain when he had 20 goals and 27 assists in 45 games.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Just when we thought the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds were providing fans with the WHL’s most-heated rivalry, along come the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina MooseJawWarriorsPats getting back in the game.

The host Warriors beat the Pats, 3-2, on Saturday night in the final game of their season series, which Moose won, 6-2-0. (Regina was ???.)

One weekend earlier, the Pats had put up two victories over their Trans-Canada Highway rivals, and apparently their was some strutting going on.

“We read a bunch of stuff from their players,” Moose Jaw he’d coach Tim Hunter told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post.“If they’re that confident that they feel they beat us two games, we won the series clearly after tonight’s win. We had already won the ReginaPats100season series before tonight’s game.

“It’s a long season. There’s lots that goes on. They’ve cobbled their team together, trying to get guys to comply and be good teammates over there. Our team has been together for a long time. These guys grew up together and they’re a very close team.”

With the playoffs on the horizon, we could be in for a series between these teams in the first, second or third round. With that in mind, Hunter was asked if he feels confident about a potential series against Regina.

His response: “No question. We’re a better team. That’s why we’re 20 points ahead of them.”

Harder’s complete story is right here.


Someone waved a magic wand and made a bunch of game misconducts disappear from whlthe Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets. There was a kerfuffle at the end of the Rockets’ 6-5 home-ice victory on Saturday night and referees Ryan Benbow and Colin Watt responded by handing out a handful of game misconducts. But those penalties became misconducts on Monday. . . . The WHL also hit Kelowna D Cal Foote with a one-game suspension for “actions at conclusion of game.” That means he won’t play tonight (Tuesday) against the host Prince George Cougars, but will be eligible to play in Wednesday’s rematch. Foote took a double roughing minor and a misconduct at the end of Saturday’s game.


Here’s a real treat for sports fans . . .

From WBUR.org:

“Seventy years after Babe Ruth’s death, a long-lost radio interview with the baseball legend has turned up in the archives of Cheshire Academy, a private school in Connecticut. It’s part of a collection of interviews donated two decades ago by sports announcer Joe Hasel, an alumnus of the school.

“The 13-minute recording was made during World War II, part of a series of Hasel’s sports interviews broadcast by the Armed Forces Radio Service.”

There’s more on that interview right here, including a story, a transcript and a link to a portion of it. It’s tremendous stuff and it really is amazing to hear the Babe’s voice in such high quality.


If you like what you see here, please consider clicking on the DONATE button over there to the right and helping the cause. You may even want to consider a monthly donation, an option that is available there.

If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.

And don’t forget that the domain name here is greggdrinnan.com.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

MONDAY:

At Langley, B.C., G David Tendeck stopped 24 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Vancouver (32-21-8) had lost its previous three Vancouvergames. It is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria with two games in hand. . . . Kamloops (27-32-5) has lost three in a row. With eight games remaining, the Blazers are six points out of a playoff spot. Seattle, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, has three games in hand. . . . The Giants lead the season series with the Blazers, 3-2-0. They will meet each other three more times. . . . Tendeck has three shutouts in his career, all of them this season. . . . Vancouver had all four of the game’s PP opportunities, and scored on the fourth one when F Jared Dmytriw (14) found the mark at 13:50 of the second period. . . . F Tyler Benson (21) added an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third period. . . . The Blazers got 24 saves from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . D Dylan Plouffe and F Milos Roman, both of whom are injured, and F Owen Hardy (ill) were among Vancouver’s scratches. . . . The Blazers remain without F Luke Zazula. . . . F Justin Sourdif, the third selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, played his fourth game for the Giants. He plays for the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . The Giants took time before the game to recognize Don Hay of the Blazers, who became the winningest coach in WHL regular-season history on Jan. 28. Hay won 401 games in 10 seasons as the Giants’ head coach. He now has 747 victories to his credit. . . . Announced attendance: 2,631.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Swift Current at Calgary, 11 a.m.

Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 11:30 a.m.

Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Blazers honour winningest coach . . . Van Dorp a Hall of Famer . . . Pats into third in division . . . Seattle coach unhappy

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history, was honoured in Kamloops on Friday night, prior to the Blazers’ game against the Kelowna Rockets.

Hay moved into No. 1 on the all-time regular-season coaching list on Jan. 27 when the Kamloops1Blazers beat the host Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. That left Hay with 743 victories, one more than Ken Hodge, who retired from the Winterhawks after the 1992-93 season.

Hay’s Blazers dropped a 2-1 decision to the Rockets, leaving him at 746 victories.

Hay also holds the WHL record for most career playoff victories (108).

(Interestingly, Hay is No. 2 on the Blazers’ list of regular-season coaching victories. He has (281) victories with Kamloops, second to Ken Hitchcock’s 287.)

On Thursday, the Blazers posted a letter from Hay on their website. In that letter, Hay wrote that he is “honoured to have had the opportunity to become the winningest coach in the history of the WHL.”

He continued: “I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the Western Hockey League as a player back in 1972. At the time, I would not have expected it to lead me where it has.”

That complete letter is right here. It includes most of what Hay had to say as he greeted his family, those gathered to honour him and the fans.

Among those on hand to honour Hay in what was a terrific ceremony were family members, along with Fred Seymour, the chief of the Tk’emlups Indian Band; Ken Christian, the mayor of Kamloops; Don Moores, the Blazers’ president and CEO; and Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner.

Among those featured in video tributes were Hitchcock, Tom Renney, Ryan Huska, Jarome Iginla, Mike Johnston, Brendan Gallagher, Ron Toigo, Tom Gaglardi, Ken Hodge and Bob Brown.

None of the Blazers five owners was in attendance, although Gaglardi and Iginla were on the big screen in video tributes.

The last time Robison was in Kamloops to honour a member of the Blazers organization? That was on March 7, 2012, when he presented Spike Wallace with a Distinguished Service Award. The next morning, the Blazers announced that “by mutual agreement Spike will be leaving the team to pursue other initiatives.” Wallace now is a cashier at a local grocery story.

Somehow I doubt that Hay will be bagging groceries anytime soon.


Wayne Van Dorp, who played two seasons with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, will be among the inductees into the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 22. He played one season (1978-79) with the BCJHL’s Bellingham Blazers, before spending the next two with the Thunderbirds. He had 30 goals, 43 assists and 437 penalty minutes in 131 games. . . . Van Dorp went on to a pro career that included 125 NHL games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1987. . . . Among the items available in a silent auction that night will be a Carey Price-autographed Montreal Canadiens sweater. . . . The banquet is to be held at the Burnaby Firefighters’ banquet hall, Metrotown.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, the Regina Pats broke a 2-2 tie with three goals early in the third period and went on to beat the Warriors, 5-3. . . . Regina (30-24-6) has moved into third place in ReginaPats100the East Division, one point ahead of Brandon, which has three games in hand. . . . Moose Jaw (43-10-3) had won its previous three games. It now leads the overall standings by one point over Swift Current, with the Warriors having three games in hand. . . . The Warriors beat the host Pats, 6-3, on Wednesday night; they’ll meet again Sunday in Regina, too, when the Pats will retire the No. 15 in honour of Jock Callander. . . . Moose Jaw leads the season series, 5-1-0; Regina is 1-4-1. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 54th goal, at 15:06 of the first period. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Nick Henry (10), on a PP, at 0:57, and F Jesse Gabrielle (10), at 11:21. . . . Moose Jaw tied it at 19:55 when F Vince Loschiavo (16) scored, on a PP. . . . Regina took control with three quick goals to start the third period. . . . F Emil Oksanen (14) broke the tie, on a PP, at 3:59. . . . D Josh Mahura, who has 21 goals, then scored twice, at 6:12 and 7:34. . . . F Justin Almeida (31) got Moose Jaw’s final goal, on a PP, at 19:49. . . . Regina got two assists from F Sam Steel, with Mahura adding one. . . . F Brett Howden had three assists for the Warriors, with D Kale Clague getting two. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-3 on the PP; Regina was 2-4. . . . G Max Paddock recorded the victory with 25 saves, six fewer than Moose Jaw’s Brody Willms. . . . Regina G Ryan Kubic has missed four straight games and the Regina Leader-Post reports that he “may be suffering from a concussion.” . . . The Pats had F Koby Morriseau back after a 14-game absence. . . . D Jett Woo was back with the Warriors, after missing eight games. As well, F Barrett Sheen returned after completing a five-game suspension. . . . F Brayden Burke, who is second in the WHL scoring race, was among Moose Jaw’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 4,613.


At Prince Albert, the Raiders got out to an early 2-0 lead and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Prince Albert (23-23-11) had lost its previous three games. PrinceAlbertIt is four points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Brandon (30-22-5) has lost three in a row and has slipped out of third place in the East Division. It now has the conference’s first wild-card spot, one point behind Regina and four ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert is 2-1-1 in the season series; Brandon is 2-2-0. . . . F Brett Leason (10) got the Raiders going at 2:04, and F Regan Nagy (23) made it 2-0 at 6:47. . . . D Schael Higson (3) got Brandon on the scoreboard at 15:54. . . . After a scoreless second period, D Zack Hayes (3) restored the Raiders’ two-goal lead at 3:01 of the third period. . . . F Ty Lewis (31) got the Wheat Kings back to within a goal at 3:24. . . . D Vojtech Budik (9) gave the Raiders a 4-2 lead at 6:54, and F Kody McDonald (29) added another goal, at 15:44. . . . F Parker Kelly had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Brandon was 0-2 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-4. . . . G Curtis Meger stopped 18 shots for the Raiders, while Brandon’s Logan Thompson turned aside 34 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 1,903.


At Swift Current, the Broncos scored four times in the first period and went on to a 6-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Swift Current (42-13-4) has won six in a row. It SCBroncosclinched a playoff berth with this victory. The Broncos also pulled to within one point of Moose Jaw, which leads the overall standings. The Warriors still hold three games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (28-24-7) has lost two straight. It leads the Central Division by three points over Lethbridge, which has two games in hand. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen (41) got the Broncos started at 10:00. F Giorgio Estephan (26) followed at 14:43, with F Beck Malenstyn scoring, on a PP, ta 15:35. . . . Broncos F Glenn Gawdin made it 4-0 at 17:19, on a PP, with his 50th goal of the season. F Aleksi Heponiemi earned an assist on the goal, his third of the period, giving him 100 points. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (36) and Malenstyn (10) upped the lead to 6-0 in the second period. . . . The Tigers got third-period goals from F Ryan Jevne (14) and F Henry Rybinski (2). . . . Heponiemi finished with four assists, with D Artyom Minulin and Esterphan each getting two. Gawdin and Steenbergen each had one. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race, with 109 points, seven more than Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke and eight more than Heponiemi. . . . Swift Current was 2-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-3. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 37 shots for the Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat starter Michael Bullion was beaten six times on 15 shots in 32:24. Kaeden Lane, 16, finished up, stopping all 18 shots he faced in 27:36. . . . With G Jordan Hollett injured, the Tigers have added Lane, 16, to their roster. Lane is 16-1-0, 1.44, .946 with the Burnaby Winter Club prep team in the CSSHL. . . . The Tigers scratched three defencemen — Joel Craven, Kristians Rubins and Linus Nassen — then lost D Dylan MccPherson to injury during the game. . . . Medicine Hat also was without F Hayden Ostir, F Baxter Anderson and F Mason Shaw. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes struck four times in the first period en route to a 5-4 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Letbridge (27-24-6) is second in the Central LethbridgeDivision, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon (29-27-3) had won its previous three games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . The Hurricanes started 18 seconds into this one when F Jordy Bellerive (39) scored. . . . F Dylan Cozens made it 2-0 just 61 seconds later. . . . D Matthew Stanley and D Calen Addison (8) added goals before the game was six minutes old. . . . Saskatoon got two goals before the first period ended, from D Logan Christensen (4), at 11:19, and D Evan Fiala (6), at 13:49. . . . F Eric Florchuk (12) got Saskatoon to within one at 0:47 of the third period. . . . Stanley, playing in his 109th game, got his second career goal and second of the game at 5:37, restoring Lethbridge’s two-goal edge. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (28) got Saskatoon back to within a goal at 19:54. . . . Stanley and Cozens each added an assist for Lethbridge. . . . The Blades got two assists from each of Fiala and F Michael Darren, with Shmyr and Florchuk adding one apiece. . . . Saskatoon was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . G Logan Flodell blocked 35 shots to earn the victory. . . . Saskatoon starter Tyler Brown gave up four goals on eight shots in 5:02. Nolan Maier came on to finish up and was beaten once on 10 shots in 54:58. . . . Lethbridge F Jadon Joseph left the game in the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 4,918.


At Cranbrook, B.C., the Kootenay Ice scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . Kootenay (25-31-3) had lost its previous three games. It is third in Kootenaynewthe Central Division, seven points behind Lethbridge. . . Tri-City (29-20-8) had won two in a row. It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the U. S. Division, a point behind Spokane. . . . F Morgan Geekie gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:42 of the first period. . . . The home team went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Gillian Kohler (4), at 16:51 of the first, and F Kaeden Taphorn (5), at 6:44 of the second. . . . Geekie (23) tied it at 9:38. . . . Ice F Cameron Hausinger (17) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 11:20 of the second period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (16) added insurance, at 4:44 of the third period, and F Brett Davis (22) finished the scoring at 16:21. . . . Krebs and Davis each had an assist. . . . F Jordan Topping and F Michael Rasmussen each had two assists in the loss. . . . Kootenay was 1-3 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-3. . . . The Ice got 19 saves from G Duncan McGovern. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm blocked 32 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 2,577.


At Kamloops, F Dillon Dube scored twice to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Kelowna (35-18-5) leads the B.C. Division by two points over Victoria. KelownaRockets. . . Kamloops (26-28-4) has lost three in a row, and is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . Dube, who has 27 goals, opened the scoring at 4:15 of the first period. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi (4) tied it at 6:48. . . . Dude snapped the tie at 12:02 of the second period. . . . D Cal Foote had two assists for the Rockets. . . . Kelowna was 1-2 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-4. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 28 shots for Kelowna, while Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers stopped 25. . . . These teams hadn’t met since Dec. 29. . . . Kelowna leads the season series, 5-0-0, with three games left; the Blazers are 0-4-1. . . . F Liam Kindree returned to Kelowna’s lineup after sitting out 20 games. . . . Kamloops was without D Luke Zazula and F Luc Smith for a third straight game. . . . The Rockets remain without F Kole Lind and F Nolan Foote. . . . The Blazers are at home to the Prince George Cougars tonight, then have to get to Everett for a Sunday afternoon date with the Silvertips. . . . Announced attendance: 4,113.


At Victoria, F Chris Douglas broke a 3-3 tie at 12:41 of the third period as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Royals, 4-3. . . . Red Deer (20-26-13) has won three in a row. It remains tied Red Deerwith Kootenay for third in the Central Division. . . . Victoria (34-21-5) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, two points behind Kelowna. . . . F Matthew Phillips (44) gave Victoria a 1-0 lead at 14:14 of the first period. . . . The Rebels scored the next three goals. . . . F Kristian Reichel (25) struck, on a PP, at 18:43. . . . F Mason McCarty (31) made it 2-1 at 9:56 of the second period and F Brandon Cutler (3) stretched the lead at 11:30. . . . D Kade Jensen (6) got the Royals to within one at 19:52, and F Lane Zablocki (13) tied it, on a PP, at 5:16 of the third. . . . Douglas won it with his sixth goal of the season. . . . Phillips ran his franchise-record point streak to 20 games, during which time he has 37 points. . . . Victoria was 1-3 on the PP; Red Deer was 1-4. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 33 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Royals got 23 saves from Dean McNabb. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse for a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,217.


At Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants got out to an early 2-0 lead and went on to beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 2-1. . . . Vancouver (31-18-8) has won two in a row. The Giants are Vancouverthird in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . Edmonton (17-33-7) had won its previous three games. . . . F Tyler Benson (20) got the home team out to a 1-0 lead 14 seconds into the game. . . . F Brayden Watts (14) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 3:02. . . . The Oil Kings cut the deficit to one goal when F Brett Kemp (14) scored at 1:05 of the second period. . . . Benson also had an assist. . . . Vancouver was 1-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-2. . . . The Giants got 30 saves from G David Tendeck, while G Josh Dechaine stopped 21 shots for Edmonton. . . . The Giants again scratched D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis, D Darian Skeoch and D Alex Kannok Leipert, all of whom are hurt, and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . Announced attendance: 3,484.


At Kent, Wash., F Bryce Kindopp’s OT goal gave the Everett Silvertips a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (37-17-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It leads Everettthe Western Conference by four points over Portland. . . . Seattle (27-20-9) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Tri-City. . . . Each team is 3-2-1 in the season series. . . . Everett grabbed a 2-0 first-period leads on goals from F Garrett Pilon, on a PP, at 2:35, and D Kevin Davis (8), at 14:10. . . . F Matthew Wedman (14) got Seattle’s first goal, at 18:59. . . . Pilon (28) restored Everett’s two-goal edge at 2:57 of the second period. . . . Seattle tied it on third-period goals from D Austin Strand (18), on a PP, at 1:12, and D Turner Ottenbreit (8), at 10:06. . . . Kindopp (17) won it at 1:56 of extra time. . . . Everett got two assists from Riley Sutter and one from Davis. . . . Ottenbreit and Strand had an assist each for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-2 on the PP; the Silvertips were 1-5. . . . G Carter Hart recorded the victory with 30 saves. He now has 108 regular-season victories, which is an Everett franchise record, one more than Leland Irving (2003-08). . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 38 shots for Seattle. . . . Everett F Sean Richards took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 16:46 of the second period for a hit on Seattle D Jarret Tyszka. The ensuing brouhaha resulted in 79 penalty minutes being doled out. . . . Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette wasn’t impressed with the work of referees Sean Raphael and Mike Langin. “They had no idea who got the 10s,” O’Dette told Andy Eide of ESPN radio in Seattle. “We lost all our guys that were on the ice and somehow (Patrick) Bajkov and (Matt) Fonteyne, two of their best players, managed to stay on the ice, which is ridiculous. We ended up with four 10s, they ended with one and I don’t understand how that can possibly happen. In the heat of the moment they had no idea what was going on, who had the 10s and who didn’t. We had a key power play and we didn’t have a whole unit and they had their top penalty-killers because they somehow got to stay in the game.” . . . Eide’s complete story is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 6,409.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Prince Albert at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Kootenay at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Everett, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Blazers, fans to celebrate with Hay . . . T-Birds assistant coach looks back, ahead

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Kamloops Blazers will honour head coach Don Hay in a pregame ceremony on Feb. 16 with the Kelowna Rockets in the house.

Hay became the winningest regular-season coach in WHL history on Saturday when he Kamloops1got No. 743 as the Blazers beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. He had tied the record one night earlier when his guys beat the visiting Winterhawks, 5-2.

The record had been held since 1993 by former Portland head coach Ken Hodge, who retired after the 1992-93 season.

Hay also holds the WHL coaching record for most career playoff victories (108). Hodge (101) is No. 2 on that list, too.

On Feb. 16, the first 4,000 fans will receive commemorative pucks. There also will be a banner raising as part of the celebration.

It likely is safe to assume there will be representation from the WHL office, too, although that isn’t mentioned in the news release.


Kyle Hagel is in his first season as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Seattle SeattleThunderbirds; in fact, he’s in the first season of what he hopes will be a long and fruitful coaching career. He admits that it wasn’t easy to leave his playing career behind, but he also admits that his playing career wasn’t easy. . . . Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator has a piece right here on Hagel, who looks back at his career as a middleweight enforcer and wonders what’s ahead.


The CHL’s Top Prospects Game will be played in Red Deer next season. The 24th annual game is scheduled for Jan. 23. This season’s game was played in Guelph, home of the OHL’s Storm, on Jan. 25. . . . The game was last played in a WHL city in 2014 when it was held in Calgary. It also has been played in Calgary in 1999 and 2001, Edmonton in 2008, Saskatoon in 2002, Vancouver in 2005 and 2016, and in Kelowna in 2012.

Meanwhile, the WHL has scheduled its annual awards show and the 2018 bantam for Red Deer. The awards luncheon is scheduled for May 2, with the bantam draft on May 3.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Alex Thacker to a WHL contract. Thacker, a sixth-round selection by the Broncos in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, plays for the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. He told Lindsay Morey of the Fort Saskatchewan Record that he signed on Jan. 23. . . . With the Rangers, he has 13 goals and 17 assists in 30 games.


The junior B Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have a new general manager. Jamie Cominotta, the assistant GM for three years, has moved up to the GM’s position. Terry Jones, a former WHL player, had been GM and head coach; he now will focus on his head-coaching duties. He has been the head coach since 1997. . . . “Over time we’ve been looking at the process of our entire coaching staff and we’ve worked hard to delegate all the duties,” Jones told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times.“We’re doing this all largely as a hobby, so with all of us breaking down our duties it makes the job more manageable, and it also creates a team approach to building a hockey team.” . . . Jones played two seasons (1982-84) with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Bailey’s story is right here.


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Enjoy!


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Red Deer at Moose Jay, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Swift Current at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Spokane vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Everett at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Calgary vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Hay takes over as No. 1 as Blazers win . . . He’s tops in playoff wins, too . . . He’s third all-time in CHL

Hay743-1
Don Hay of the Kamloops Blazers acknowledges the crowd on Saturday after becoming the WHL’s winningest regular-season head coach. (Photo: Allen Dougas/Kamloops This week)

Don Hay moved to the top of the WHL’s regular-season coaching ladder on Saturday as his Kamloops Blazers beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-2.

Hay now has 743 regular-season coaching victories, split between the Blazers (275), Vancouver Giants (401) and Tri-City Americans (67).

He had tied Ken Hodge’s record on Friday when the Blazers beat the Winterhawks, 5-2.

Hodge was the head coach of the original Edmonton Oil Kings for three seasons (1973-

Hay743-2
Colin Robinson, the Kamloops Blazers’ athletic therapist, congratulates head coach Don Hay with a bear hug, while assistant coaches Mike Needham (left) and Chris Murray await their turns. (Photo: Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)

76). The franchise relocated to Portland after that season, and Hodge was the coach there for 17 seasons. He retired from coaching after the 1992-93 season.

A native of Kamloops, Hay, who will turn 64 on Feb. 13, is in his second go-round with the Blazers. The first time, he was the head coach for three seasons (1992-95). He later coached the Americans for two seasons (1998-2000) and the Giants for 10 (2004-14).

He is in his fourth season in this stint with the Blazers.

Hay already was No. 1 in WHL playoff victories as a head coach, with 108, seven more than Hodge and 21 more than Kelly McCrimmon, who won that many postseason games with the Brandon Wheat Kings. McCrimmon now is an assistant general manager with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

Put it altogether and Hay has 851 WHL coaching victories.

He also has been part of four Memorial Cup champions, three of them with the Blazers. He was an assistant coach when the Blazers won the 1992 title, and was the head coach for championships in 1994 and 1995. He was the Giants’ head coach when they won in 2006.

With the Blazers having swept the doubleheader from the Winterhawks in Kamloops, it left Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, general manager and head coach, stalled at 299 regular-season victories. He gets his next chance to become the 23rd coach in WHL history with 300 victories when the Winterhawks play host to the Blazers later today.

Meanwhile, Hay is third in Canadian Hockey League regular-season coaching history with his 743 victories. The leader is Brian Kilrea, who won 1,193 games with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. Second on the list is Bert Templeton, who put up 907 victories with six different OHL franchises. Kilrea and Templeton are retired.


Here’s a look at the 22 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories:

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 743

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 558

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

10. Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

11. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 456

12. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 453

      Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

14. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 444

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

19. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 346

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


Here are the OHL’s top five winningest regular-season head coaches:

1,193 — Brian Kilrea (Ottawa)

907 — Bert Templeton (Hamilton, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, North Bay, Barrie, Sudbury)

687 — Dale Hunter (London)

672 — Stan Butler (Oshawa, Brampton, North Bay)

637 — George Burnett (Niagara Falls, Guelph, Oshawa, Belleville, Hamilton)

Hunter, Butler and Burnett are still active. Their totals are through Saturday’s games. . . . Butler also spent one season (1996-97) with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, winning 28 games.


Here are the QMJHL’s top five winningest regular-season head coaches:

589 — Richard Martel (Chicoutimi, St-Hyacinthe, Val-d’Or, Baie-Comeau)

569 — Guy Chouinard (Longueuil, Victoriaville, Verdun, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Laval, Quebec, PEI)

541 — Real Paiement (Granby, Chicoutimi, Moncton, Acadie-Bathurst, St. John’s)

500 — Mario Durocher (Sherbrooke, Victoriaville, Sherbrooke, Lewiston, Acadie-Bathurst, Cape Breton, Val-d’Or)

467 — Benoit Groulx (Hull, Gatineau)

Yanick Jean, now with the Victoriaville Tigers, is No. 1 among active coaches, with 402.