Scattershooting on a Wednesday night while watching Shohei Ohtani weave his magic . . .

scattershooting

A lot of junior hockey teams have signed assistant coaches during my 50-plus years around the game. But I can’t recall an announcement like the one the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades made on Monday.

The Blades welcomed back Wacey Rabbit, this time as an assistant coach, but they also brought his wife, Ashley Callingbull, into their organization as an ambassador.

From a Blades’ news release: “Ashley is a Cree First Nations woman from the Enoch Cree Nation on Treaty Six territory in Alberta. Ashley has many passions that include dance, and she is professionally trained in jazz, ballet, pointe and tap. She also has developed a career in acting, starring in many commercials and television shows.”

These days, she also can be found in Edmonton where she is the in-game host at Commonwealth Stadium for games involving the CFL’s Elks.

But she is making her biggest mark working with First Nations people and in these days of reconciliation the Sask Entertainment Group, which owns the Blades and lacrosse’s Saskatchewan Rush, has done well be bringing her aboard.

“I work with a lot of women and children around the communities and within Saskatoon so I am here quite often and now it will be easier for me to be more accessible to these communities,” she said in that news release.

Her position with the Blades and Rush will allow her a large platform to continue her work in the Saskatoon area and in Saskatchewan.

“I’m hoping to create more programs for not only the youth but indigenous peoples,” she said. “I can’t wait so I will be at every game.”

Sorry, Wacey, but I think your wife’s inclusion in this deal has overshadowed your return.

——

With the Blades, Wacey Rabbit, 35, fills the vacancy created when associate Saskatooncoach Ryan Marsh left after four seasons to join the DEL’s Schwenninger Wild Wings in Germany as an assistant coach. . . . Rabbit, who is from the Kainai First Nation in Alberta, played four seasons (2002-06) with the Blades and 30 games with the Vancouver Giants in 2006-07. He ended his pro career by playing three seasons (2018-21) with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen, while also playing in Czechi and Romania. . . . In 2021-22, he was an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . From a Blades’ news release: Rabbit “will join head coach Brennan Sonne, assistant coach Dan DaSilva, goaltending coach Jeff Harvey, video coach Karter Parisloff and assistant Jerome Engele on the staff.”


Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Has the reputation of one organization taken a beating in recent days and weeks as much as Hockey Canada’s has? (It) should never get another cent of government money, which won’t begin to undo anything close to all that’s gone wrong here.”

He’s not wrong.


The good folks of Imperial, Sask., got it right. Well done, folks!


Giraffe


THINKING OUT LOUD: I learned a few days ago that Johnny Rivers isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. . . . It’s also wrong, wrong, wrong that Leo Cahill isn’t in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. . . . And while we’re on the subject, it’s embarrassing that Paul Henderson isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame. . . . Is there a better race track in B.C. than the highway between Vernon and Kelowna? If you haven’t been on it, it’s one of those tracks where the speed limit seems to be whatever you want it to be. . . . Look, 3-on-3 overtime is fine for a hockey league’s regular-season games. But in the Memorial Cup? How embarrassing to see the CHL decide meaningful games in this fashion. . . . There was news the other day of thieves breaking into the Atlanta home of former NBA star Vince Carter and making off with about $100,000 in cash. So I asked my wife: “How much cash do we have in our home?” We stopped counting at $70. . . . Hope you feel at home here despite the absence of gambling ads.


Have to wonder if any junior hockey teams might try this in an attempt to attract fans and keep them coming back?



With all that is going on in our world these days, you may have missed this story, from The Associated Press:

“ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Happy the elephant may be intelligent and deserving of compassion, but she cannot be considered a person being illegally confined to the Bronx Zoo, New York’s top court ruled Tuesday.

“The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals comes in a closely watched case that tested the boundaries of applying human rights to animals.”

The complete story is right here.

As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, put it: “I guess I should be happy in these days of hyper-political correctness that the NY State Court of Appeals ruled that an elephant is not a person and that an elephant in the Bronx Zoo cannot be released under habeus corpus. . . . However, before I get too carried away in my euphoria, let me point out that the vote of the judges was only 5-2.  Two judges wanted the elephant released via habeus corpus.” 


Stupid


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held its annual general meeting recently, the details of which are included in the link in the above tweet. I’m disappointed that the news release didn’t include anything about the part of the gathering in which the commissioner was kind enough to give me some free publicity. . . . BTW, the Canadian government has extended pandemic-related border restrictions at least through Sept. 19. I’m told, Mr. Commissioner, that this means the Spokane Braves will be sitting out another KIJHL season. They last played in 2019-20.



THE COACHING GAME:

I’ve been coasting for the last couple of weeks, recharging the batteries, making certain that the mask supply is up to date, and watching to see if the quicksand completely envelops Hockey Canada before the Hlinka Gretzky Cup opens in Red Deer on July 31. So a lot of what follows is a bit dated . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have removed the ‘interim’ from Ryan Smith’s title and Spokanesigned him to “a multi-year contract” as head coach. The precise length of the deal wasn’t revealed. . . . Smith was in his second season as the WHL team’s associate coach when head coach Adam Maglio was fired on Feb. 10. Smith was named interim head coach and guided the Chiefs into the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Smith spent two seasons on the Medicine Hat Tigers’ coaching staff and was with the Swift Current Broncos for three seasons. . . . The Chiefs also signed Dustin Donaghy as an assistant coach for 2022-23. A part-time assistant when last season began, he assumed a full-time role when Maglio was fired. As a player, Donaghy, now 33, helped the Chiefs to the 2008 Memorial Cup title. . . . Of course, the Chiefs’ decision to stay with Smith throws a wet blanket on the speculation that the job would be going to Kyle Gustafson, who spent 18 years with the Portland Winterhawks but now is a free agent after being released by the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . .

The MJHL’s Portage Terriers have signed Blake Spiller, their general manager and head coach, to another contract. The Terriers, who do things right, revealed that it is a three-year deal. . . . Spiller has been with the Terriers since 2001 and has been head coach since 2006. . . . The Terriers will be the host team for the 2023 Centennial Cup tournament. . . . From a news release: “Spiller won the CJHL coach-of-the-year award in 2015, 2016 and 2019. He holds the MJHL record for league championships (8) and ANAVET Cups (2). He also won the RBC Cup in 2015. Spiller holds all Terriers coaching records, and has 604 career wins. He is 67 regular-season victories away from breaking Doug Stokes’ all-time MJHL record.” . . .

Scott Burt, a former WHL player and coach, now is the general manager and head coach of the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. He signed on as the Rush’s head coach and director of hockey operations in July 2021, then got the club into the second round of the playoffs. Burt was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs for six seasons (2013-19). As a player, he split four seasons (1994-98) between the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels. . . .

The BCHL has announced the sale of the Nanaimo Clippers to Northern Lights bchlHockey Canada, “an investment group headed by Brad Kwong, a Western Canadian-born investment professional with a long history in the sport of hockey as a player, executive and team owner,” according to a news release. . . . That news release is right here. Interestingly, it doesn’t mention from whom Kwong and Co. purchased the franchise. . . .

Darren Naylor is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . You may recall that Naylor, then the general manager and head coach of the Nanaimo Clippers, was placed on administrative leave by the BCHL in February due to what the league said was “allegations of code of conduct breaches.” At the time, the BCHL said that Naylor would remain on administrative leave until at least May 31. At the time, Naylor was under contract to the Clippers through the 2022-23 season. . . . The BCHL said at the time that it had appointed an independent investigator to look into the allegations, but it has never updated Naylor’s status. . . . Colin Birkas, the Clippers’ associate coach at the time, also was placed on administrative leave when Naylor was, but shortly after was reinstated. On May 24, Birkas was named the Clippers’ general manager and head coach. . . . With the Blizzard, Naylor replaces Billy Keane, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the 2021-22 season. . . .

Barret Kropf has chosen to leave the Trinity Western Spartans of the BCIHL. He had been the head coach since 2013, but is moving on to the Moose Jaw-based Prairie Hockey Academy as general manager and U15 prep head coach. Kropf is from Estevan. A three-time coach of the year, he led the Spartans to BCIHL titles in 2018 and 2019, then led them into Canada West in 2020. . . .

Eric Thurston has signed on as head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. He spent the past four seasons as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. There had been speculation a few weeks ago that Bill Peters, a former NHL, KHL and WHL coach, was going to sign with the Storm.


Wifi


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Petr Moravec, 19, has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract with his hometown team, Hradec Králove of the Czechia, Extraliga, as reported by the MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport). Moravec put up 16 goals and 19 assists 68 games in 2021-22, his only WHL season. Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told me that he wasn’t surprised that Moravec wouldn’t be back. “He’s a good kid,” Tory said. “This is a good opportunity for him.” Tory was pleased to have a decision before the CHL’s 2022 import draft that is scheduled for Friday. . . . The Americans expect to make one pick, what with Czech G Tomas Suchanek, 19, back for a second season. As a freshman, he was 12-24-4, 3.87, .901 in 42 games for a non-playoff team. . . . Don’t forget that the CHL won’t permit the selection of Russian or Belarusian players in this year’s import draft. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have promoted Mike Fraser to assistant general manager — he had been director of player personnel — and signed him to a multi-year contract extension. The exact length of the extension wasn’t revealed. Fraser has been with Everett through four seasons — three as head scout and one as director of player personnel. He is a veteran WHL scout, having also worked with the Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Silvertips also have added veteran scout Brian Leavold to their staff as a senior scout. He has worked for the Broncos (1999-2018) and Saskatoon Blades (2018-22). . . .

Dan O’Connor announced via Twitter recently that he is moving on from the Vancouver Giants. O’Connor will be joining the U of British Columbia as a sports information co-ordinator. O’Connor spent the past 11 seasons doing WHL play-by-play — six with the Prince George Cougars and five with the Giants.


Elevator


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


KidDraw

Chiefs make coaching change as Smith replaces Maglio . . . Americans take game outside . . . Ice gets rare taste of home cooking


The Spokane Chiefs became the second of the WHL’s 22 teams to undergo a Spokanemid-season coaching change when they fired Adam Maglio on Thursday. . . . Ryan Smith has moved up from associate coach as the interim head coach and is to finish the season in that position, with part-time assistant Dustin Donaghy now on board as a full-timer. . . . Maglio had been the Chiefs’ head coach since Aug. 27, 2020, when he took over from Manny Viveiros, who had left for the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights. Maglio had been the associate coach under Viveiros. . . . Spokane was 6-10-5 under Maglio in the 2021 development season. . . . This season, the Chiefs (12-26-4) are last in the 10-team Western Conference. . . .

The Chiefs are two games into a five-game series with the Portland Winterhawks, who won the first two, 7-3 and 9-0. Portland scored five first-period goals and added four more in the second in Wednesday’s victory, which turned out to be Maglio’s last game behind the Spokane bench. . . . They’ll conclude the five-game series with three games in Spokane, starting tonight (Friday). . . . Earlier in the season, the Chiefs traded away two of their top forwards — Jack Finley and Luke Toporowski — in obvious moves to spark a rebuild. . . . Smith has been with the Chiefs since September 2020. He has WHL coaching experience as an assistant with the Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos. He was on the Broncos’ staff under Viveiros when they won the WHL’s 2017-18 championship. . . .

The Broncos were the first team to change coaches this season when they announced on Oct. 14 that general manager/head coach Dean Brockman was resigning. Assistant coach Devan Praught took over as interim head coach. The Broncos were 2-3-0 at the time; they are 14-20-5 under Praught. . . . The Chiefs also are looking for a general manager after Scott Carter, citing health and family reasons, announced on Jan. 27 that he will be leaving the organization at season’s end. He has said he will help the team find his replacement. . . . In a story in the Spokane Spokesman-Review, Dan Thompson quoted team president Mark Miles as saying that the team is “getting close” to ending its search. Taking Note was told by a source on Thursday that Matt Bardsley, now an amateur scout with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers after leaving his position as general manager of the Kamloops Blazers on May 24, is “in the mix.” . . .

The Chiefs’ news release is right here.


Morale


On the day that Major League Baseball announced the DH is coming to the National League this year, Buster Olney of ESPN summed up the state of MLB in one 22-word tweet . . .


If you’re the Tri-City Americans and you’re in Kamloops for a Wednesday-AmericansFriday double-dip, what do you do on your off-day? You head about 45 minutes north of Kamloops to Sun Peaks Resort and get in some shinny on an outdoor rink. . . . On Wednesday night, the Americans scored three third-period goals and beat the Blazers, 4-3. This was one of those games where an empty-net goal turned into the game-winner. F Connor Bouchard broke a 2-2 tie with a PP goal at 12:27 of the third period then added the empty-netter at 18:54. F Daylan Kuefler got the home side to within a goal, on a PP, at 19:59. . . . The Americans (13-25-4) had lost their previous six games; the Blazers (31-12-1) had a nine-game winning streak snapped. . . . They’ll play again tonight (Friday) at the Sandman Centre, although there was speculation that the Americans tried to get the game moved to that outdoor rink at Sun Peaks. . . . Kamloops D Quinn Schmiemann won’t play in the rematch as he serves a one-game suspension for what the WHL terms a “one-man fight.” He was in stir when Bouchard scored his first goal.


In Thursday night’s lone WHL game, the Winnipeg Ice beat the visiting WinnipegIceBrandon Wheat Kings, 6-2, behind three goals from F Connor McClennon. It was Winnipeg’s first home game since Dec. 18. . . . McClennon ran his goal total to 31 as the Ice won its 30th game of the season. . . . Despite not having played at home for more than month, the Ice has gotten in 20 home games. It is 16-3-1 in the Wayne Fleming Arena. . . . The Ice and the Wheat Kings both had a number of home games postponed after government-implemented restrictions limited capacity to 250 fans. That restriction now is 50 per cent, with the Ice announcing an attendance of 1,000 last night. Earlier this month, the U of Manitoba established capacity in the Wayne Fleming Arena at 2,000.


Beatles


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dog

Craven, Moar done for this season. . . . Silvertips stretch Cougars’ skid to 17. . . . Oliver leads Royals to victory


MacBeth

F Jordan Hickmott (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Edmonton, 2005-11)  signed a contract for the rest of this season on Friday with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany DEL2) after obtaining his release from the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He was pointless in 10 games with the Black Wings. . . . Hickmott hasn’t played a game since Oct. 14 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He returned to practice the “past few weeks” with Linz. The club told Hickman last week there was no place in the lineup for him and that he was free to move to another club if he wanted. . . . Last Friday (Feb. 15) was the signing/transfer deadline for all European leagues except the KHL, whose trade deadline this season was Dec. 27.


ThisThat

A few notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen continue to list F Jake Kryski as indefinite. Kryski, 20, was having the whlbest of his five WHL seasons, with 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games when he was injured. . . .

The Everett Silvertips list F Dawson Butt and F Riley Sutter as week-to-week. Besides being a point-a-game player (41 in 38), Sutter is one of the league’s top face-off men, at 54.0 per cent. . . . Butt has seven goals and seven assists in 14 games, but it’s his grinding style of play that the Silvertips miss. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets list D Matt Barberis, 20, as being out for six to eight weeks. He has one assist in 11 games since being picked up from the Vancouver Giants, but  his experience is missing from Kelowna’s back end. Of course, with less than four weeks left in the regular season, his season — and his WHL career — might be over. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have shut down D Joel Craven for the season with an undisclosed injury. Craven, 18, finishes his sophomore season with three goals and an assist in 32 games. He missed half of October and all of November with concussion-like symptoms. . . . Meanwhile, the Tigers are showing one of their top forwards, Ryan Jevne, as being out week-to-week. Jevne is their second-leading scorer, with 55 points, including 26 goals, in 57 games. . . .

D Matt Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks is shown as being out week-to-week, while it would appear that D Alex Moar of the Swift Current Broncos had his season come to an end on Monday afternoon in Brandon when he left a 3-2 OT loss to the Wheat Kings clutching a wrist. . . .

The Vancouver Giants list two key forwards — Dawson Holt and Brayden Watts — as being out week-to-week. Watts, who had one arm in a sling on Monday, has 33 points, including 12 goals, in 52 games, while Hardy has nine goals and 12 assists in 56 games.


The soon-to-be Winnipeg Ice has signed F Chase Bertholet to a WHL contract. Bertholet, from Thompson, Man., was a fifth-round pick by the Red Deer Rebels in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Ice acquired him from the Rebels on Nov. 30 in a deal that had F Brett Davis and F Cam Hausinger go to Red Deer for four players, four bantam draft picks and one conditional selection. . . . Bertholet, 15, has 13 goals and 29 assists in 42 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.


The Calgary Hitmen have released D Andrew Viggars from their roster and he is returning to the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Viggars, who turned 19 on Jan. 3, was pointless in two games with the Hitmen. . . . Last season, he had five assists in 39 games with Calgary. . . . This season, he has a goal and nine assists in 41 games with the Warriors. . . . The Hitmen selected him in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.


“Fighting isn’t what it used to be in the WHL,” writes Dan Thompson in a story that has appeared in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He’s got some quotes and anecdotes here from the likes of Dustin Donaghy and Kerry Toporowski, the latter once having skated his way to 505 minutes in penalties. . . . It’s all right here and it’s a good read.


The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers announced Monday that they have “mutually parted ways” Winklerwith general manager Ken Pearson. . . . He had been the Flyers’ general manager and head coach for seven seasons (2011-18), before stepping aside as head coach prior to this season. . . . Jeff Jeanson has been named the interim general manager. . . . Steve Mullin took over as the Flyers’ head coach after working as Pearson’s assistant coach. . . . When Pearson stepped aside as the Flyers’ head coach, he had more regular-season victories (519) than any coach in MJHL history. Blake Spiller of the Portage Terriers passed Pearson earlier this season. . . . Winkler (22-29-5) is ninth in the 11-team league, four points out of a playoff spot with four games remaining.


While you’re here, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Cougars, 4-1, in EverettPrince George. . . . The Silvertips had beaten the host Cougars by that same score on Monday. . . . Everett (41-14-3) has won two straight. It leads the Western Conference by four points over the Vancouver Giants, who hold two games in hand, and leads the West Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Prince George (16-35-7) now has lost 17 in a row (0-13-4). . . . F Ethan Browne (9) gave the Cougars the lead at 5:56 of the first period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (36) pulled Everett even at 17:29 of the second period, and F Bryce Kindopp (34) broke the tie at 3:46 of the third. . . . The Silvertips put it away on two goals from Reece Vitelli, at 17:36 and 18:28 of the third. Vitelli, who has nine goals, put the second one into an empty net. . . . The Cougars were 1-3 on the PP; the Silvertips never had even one opportunity. . . . Everett held a 37-17 edge in shots, including 14-5 and 16-5 in the first and second periods, respectively. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the decision over G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Everett was without F Connor Dewar (ill) for a second straight game. . . . D Sahvan Khaira was back in Everett’s lineup after serving a one-game suspension. He played in his 302nd career regular-season game.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 3-1 deficit with five third-period goals en route to a 6-3 tri-cityvictory over the Red Deer Rebels in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (32-21-3) move into third place in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Red Deer (29-22-5) has lost three in a row. It holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Americans hustled home for this one after losing 3-1 in Kamloops on Monday afternoon. The Rebels hadn’t played since Saturday, so were well-rested. . . . The Rebels finished their U.S. Division swing at 1-3-1. . . . F Brandon Hagel (33) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the first period. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin tied it, on a PP, at 5:18. . . . The Rebels went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Chris Douglas (13), at 13:43 of the first period, and F Brett Davis (18), on a PP, at 1:12 of the third period. . . . The Americans pulled even on goals from F Riley Sawchuk (17), at 4:17, and F Sasha Mutala (16), at 5:17. . . . AuCoin (35) scored on a PP at 6:43 for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Kyle Olson (21), at 16:42, and F Krystof Hrabik (15), into an empty net, at 18:20 put it away. . . . Olson also had two assists. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 36 shots to earn the victory.


F Kaid Oliver scored twice and added two assists to help the host Victoria Royals to a 6-2 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kelowna won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . Victoria (30-24-3) is second in the B.C. Division, 10 points ahead of Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (24-29-5) are third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Blazers and Rockets have three games remaining in their season series. Kamloops is 4-2-1; Kelowna is 3-3-1. . . . On Monday, the Rockets opened the doubleheader on Vancouver Island by dumping the Royals, 5-2. . . . Last night, Victoria took control with three goals, two of them from Oliver, before the game was eight minutes old. . . . F Logan Doust (5) got the Royals started 44 seconds into the game. . . . Oliver made it 2-0 at 4:31 and 3-0, on a PP, at 7:52. . . . Two early second-period goals put the home boys ahead 5-0. F Phillip Schultz (14) scored, on a PP, 23 seconds in, and F Tarun Fizer (12) scored at 5:21. . . . Oliver assisted on both second-period goals, giving him his second career four-point game. . . . F Leif Mattson (20), at 11:22, and F Nolan Foote (29), on a PP, at 16:41, counted for the Rockets. . . . Victoria’s final goal came from F Kody McDonald (17) at 11:39 of the third period. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 34 shots for the Royals as he earned his 111th career regular-season victory. . . . The WHL record for most career regular-season victories by a goaltender is 120, and is shared by Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92) and Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09). The Royals have only 11 games remaining, so Outhouse, 20, is running out of time if he hopes to get to 120 victories. . . . The Rockets welcomed back F Liam Kindree (broken nose) after a nine-game absence, but they remain without F Ted Brennan and D Matt Barberis. . . . The Royals were without D Jake Kustra, who sat out a one-game suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in Monday’s game.


Tweetoftheday

Broncos sign 2016 first-rounder … Honour for Ice’s new logo … Ex-WHL coach out in Nanaimo shakeup

MacBeth

F Kris Foucault (Swift Current, Kootenay, Calgary, 2006-11) has signed a one-year extension with the Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). In 32 games, he has 16 goals and 13 assists, and he leads the team in goals and points. He is tied for third in the league in goals. . . .

F Zdeněk Bahenský (Saskatoon, 2004-06) has been released by Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Alps HL) by mutual agreement due to a shoulder injury suffered on Dec. 16. He had seven goals and 13 assists in 23 games. He is expected to return to Prague for treatment. . . .

F Peter Quenneville (Brandon, 2013-15) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He played for Aalborg last season, putting up 30 goals and 19 assists in 45 games. He led the league in goals and was fourth in the points race. . . . This season, with Dynamo Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two goals and an assist in 12 games, and he had three goals and an assist in nine games with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). He was released from a tryout contract with SaiPa on Dec. 12.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . . SOME OF THAT . . .

The Swift Current Broncos have signed D Jacson Alexander, 16, who was one of their two first-round selections in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Alexander, from Victoria, was taken with the 16th overall pick.

Alexander, who will turn 17 on Feb. 1, was in his first season with the BCHL’s Victoria SCBroncosGrizzlies — he put up three goals and seven assists in 29 games — but will join the Broncos after Christmas.

He committed to the U of Denver on Dec. 7, 2016, for the 2019-20 season, while playing for the Shawnigan Lake, B.C., School prep team in the CSSHL.

This season, the 5-foot-10 Alexander also played for Hockey Canada’s Team Black at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge last month in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. He had one assist in five games.

Alexander could make his WHL debut on Dec. 27 when the Broncos return to play against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

Alexander’s arrival will give the Broncos seven defencemen and may take some of the pressure off Manny Viveiros, the director of player personnel and head coach, with the trade deadline approaching on Jan. 10. Observers were watching closely to see if Viveiros would go to the marketplace to land a seventh defenceman, something that may not be necessary now.

BTW, in that 2016 bantam draft, the Broncos used the fourth overall selection to take F Logan Barlage, who was playing for the bantam AA Humboldt, Sask., Broncos. This season, the 6-foot-4 Barlage, a freshman, has a goal and six assists in 30 games with the Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have the WHL rights to the only unsigned first-round selection from the 2017 bantam draft. They took D Joel Sexsmith of Edmonton with the ninth overall pick. He now is playing at the Edge School in Calgary.

Meanwhile, F Massimo Rizzo now is the lone first-round selection from the 2016 bantam draft not to have committed to the WHL.

The Kamloops Blazers selected Rizzo with the 15th overall pick, but he chose to sign with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.

From Burnaby, B.C., Rizzo has six goals and 11 assists in 28 games with the Vees this season. He had a goal and three assists in five games as a teammate of Alexander’s on Team Black at the U-17 WHC.

Rizzo has yet to make an NCAA commitment, nor has he told the Blazers that he definitely won’t sign with them at some point.


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When it comes to sports logos, Chris Creamer is the man. You are able to find him at sportslogos.net, or on Twitter at @sportslogosnet.

On Friday, he announced the 2017 Creamer Award winners for best new sports logos.

KootenaynewThe 14-person judging panel considered logos that “made their in-game debut in 2017.”

The WHL’s Kootenay Ice placed third in the Primary Logo of the Year Award, behind baseball’s Memphis Redbirds and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

Of the Ice’s new logo, which is pictured on the left, Creamer wrote: “Love the hidden ICE in this logo, designed by Bill Frederick’s team at Fanbrandz, who gave this junior hockey team the identity update it so desperately needed. Well done!”

The top 50 in that category and whole lot more, including a mention of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ 50th anniversary logo, can be found right here.


Less than a week after staging a father/son trip with his BCHL team, Mike Vandekamp is out of work.

Wes Mussio, a Vancouver-based lawyer who is the majority owner of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, revealed on Thursday, at 11:43 p.m., via Twitter that he had fired Vandekamp, the team’s general manager and head coach, “due to irreconcilable differences with the management team.”

Vandekamp’s contract would have expired at season’s end.

Late Friday night, the Clippers’ website continued to list Dustin Donaghy as the team’s

Clippers
On Nov. 10, Penny and Wes Mussio (second and third from left) were introduced as the new majority owners of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Darren Naylor (left) was named director of hockey operations, while team president David LeNeveu (fourth from left) retained five per cent. Mike Vandekamp (far right), then the general manager and head coach, was fired Thursday night and replaced by Naylor. (Photo: Greg Sakaki/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

head coach. However, a BCHL insider told Taking Note that Donaghy had been “fired by the Clippers.” Donaghy, from Cranbrook, played three seasons in the WHL (Spokane, Lethbridge, 2007-10).

Darren Naylor, who was part of that management team as the director of hockey operations, is the new GM and head coach.

Mussio and his wife, Penny, purchased 95 per cent of the Clippers last month and installed Naylor as director of hockey ops. Naylor also has been working as GM/head coach of the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, who are 26-2-1 in the Pacific Junior Hockey League. Mussio had been the majority owner of the Ice Hawks but is believed to have sold his shares when he purchased the Clippers.

On Friday, Mussio told Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin that he and Naylor were tired of butting heads with Vandekamp. (Sakaki’s complete story is right here.)

“The previous owner gave Mike a carte-blanche ability to do anything he wants and I wanted some input and I wanted Darren Naylor to have some input and sadly that didn’t seem like something Mr. Vandekamp was prepared to accept,” Mussio told Sakaki.

Mussio added: “We brought in a few key players and they were hit with resistance and we also tried to bring on some (affiliate players) and that was hit with resistance. So in order to move forward to the next (season), we need to have a look at players and recruit. Without any support from the coach, it’s pretty hard to do.”

Mussio also told Sakaki that Vandekamp had been given until Dec. 22 to commit to the new situation.

“He didn’t think it was in his personality . . . to do so, so that the end of it,” Mussio said.

Vandekamp, who has yet to comment, is a veteran junior coach who was in his seventh season with the Clippers. This season, the Clippers are 18-13-3-2 (that’s two ties), leaving them one point behind the Powell River Kings (18-10-3-3), who lead the BCHL’s Island Division.

The Clippers’ next game is Dec. 29 when they are scheduled to visit Powell River.

Vandekamp’s resume includes a season and a half as head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. In the BCHL, he also has worked with the Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers. He joined the Clippers after four seasons with the AJHL’s Grand Prairie Storm.

As for the father/son trip . . . the Clippers beat the Trail Smoke Eaters, 7-2, on Friday, then got past the Penticton Vees, 4-2, on Saturday. Nanaimo ended the trip by dropping a 4-2 decision to the Merritt Centennials on Sunday afternoon.

Dominic Abassi is the news director for Island Radio and @NanaimoNewsNOW.


It was rather interesting on Friday when F Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who has missed his NHL team’s past six games, discussed with reporters why he has been out of the lineup.

Matthews practised for the first time in almost two weeks and later talked about having symptoms of a concussion after colliding with Toronto D Morgan Reilly during a game against the host Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 9.

While Matthews didn’t go into great detail on the symptoms, he did say that he “went MapleLeafsthrough all that return to play, and all the protocols and everything and obviously, you know, they take it pretty seriously and they deemed me out so I went through all that stuff and I feel great now.”

Toronto next is scheduled to play today (Saturday) in New York against the Rangers, but it’s not yet known if Matthews will play.

Matthews’ conversation with reporters on Friday just may be another sign that NHL teams are loosening up when it comes to detailing injuries.

A couple of weeks ago, head coach Ken Hitchcock of the Dallas Stars explained why he no longer plays the “upper-body or lower-body” game.

“I think we collectively hate playing that game,” said Hitchcock, who posted his 800th victory as an NHL head coach on Thursday. “What I mean by that is we say upper-body, then you go on the phone, and then you look up things or you go to the doctors, find out what part of the upper body . . . We try to make your work easier, quite frankly, and so we just don’t like going through the dance.

“It’s easy to tell you what it is and let’s move forward. It’s just the whole game. It’s an injury and within two hours after we tell you it’s upper-body you know exactly what it is, so why not just tell you? And the players don’t go out and say: ‘He has a broken left pinkie and we’re going to go after that pinkie.’ Nobody thinks like that.

“Our feeling is just tell them what the injury is and move it forward and let’s stop the dance.”

But, then again, it could be that the Toronto braintrust wasn’t at all pleased with the way Matthews handled things on Friday. David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail takes a look at the situation right here.


Scoreboard

Dec. 18-Dec. 26:

No Games Scheduled.


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