Broncos, Warriors clash postponed . . . Basha, Tigers bash Pats . . . T-Birds, Blazers rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

The Vancouver Giants were without F Samuel Honzek on Saturday night as they Vancouverlost 6-0 to the Blazers in Kamloops. Honzek, who has 42 points, including 21 goals, in 40 games, was injured in Friday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . F Carson Golder was ejected with a headshot major for the hit on Honzek. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported late Friday that Honzek was returning to Giants’ headquarters in Ladner, B.C., “for evaluation” as the team went on to Kamloops. Ewen also reported “there have been 13 players receive suspensions this season resulting from checking-to-head majors.” . . . Honzek was playing in his ninth game since returning from a badly cut leg that he incurred while playing for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship. . . . He is expected to be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2023 draft.

The Swift Current Broncos were to have met the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Saturday night. However, some nasty weather stormed across southern Saskatchewan and forced the game’s postponement. It is hoped that the teams will be able to play today in Moose Jaw. . . . On Friday night, in Swift Current, the Warriors erased a 3-0 deficit in beating the Broncos, 4-3 in a shootout. . . . The Warriors (37-22-3) go into tonight’s rematch having won two straight. . . . The Broncos (28-29-4) have lost three in a row (0-2-1) and are scrapping for a playoff spot.


If the WHL playoffs started today:


Winnipeg (1) vs. Swift Current/Calgary/Brandon (8)

Red Deer (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)

Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)

Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)



Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)

Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)

Portland (3) vs. Everett (6)

Prince George (4) vs. Tri-City (5)



The Brandon Wheat Kings scored the game’s last six goals to skate away with a 10-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . F Noah Boyko (16) got Edmonton to within two, at 4-2, at 3:19 of the third period. . . . But the Wheat Kings scored two quick goals, from F Dawson Pasternak (14), at 3:51, and F Rylen Roersma (18), at 5:30, and school was out. . . . Pasternak and Roersma each scored twice and added an assist. . . . F Joby Baumuller, the 12th overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft, scored his first WHL goal for Brandon. A 15-year-old from Wilcox, Sask., he was playing in his fifth game. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Dawson Seitz, who drew a TBD suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct on Friday in Winnipeg. . . . Brandon (26-28-8) has won three in a row and is tied with Swift Current and Calgary for the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. . . . Edmonton now is 9-49-4. . . .

F Andrew Basha scored four goals and G Beckett Langkow recorded the shutout as the host Medicine Hat Tigers dumped the Regina Pats, 7-0. . . . Langkow stopped 17 shots, including just one in the second period, as he posted his first career shutout in his 78th appearance. . . . Medicine Hat outshot Regina, 40-17, including 18-1 in the second period. . . . Basha, who has 19 goals, went into the game with a pair of two-goal games in 108 career games. Last season, the 17-year-old sophomore from Calgary, had five goals and nine assists in 48 games. This season, he has 55 points in 61 games. . . . The Tigers had a 1-0 lead going into the second period, and Basha scored the next three goals. He finished his four-goal night at 19:05 of the third period. . . . D Bogdans Hodass had three assists. . . . F Gavin McKenna, the first selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft, scored his first goal with the Tigers. He has a goal and eight assists in 12 games. . . . Medicine Hat (27-26-9) had lost its previous two games. It is seventh in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Regina and three ahead of Swift Current, Calgary and Brandon. . . . Regina (31-27-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . .

F Jhett Larson scored three times to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 9-0 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Larson ran his goal total to 18 with his first career hat trick. . . . G Kyle Kelsey stopped 25 shots to record the third shutout of his freshman season. Kelsey, who turned 19 on Jan. 22, is 19-11-5, 2.76, .904. . . . The Rebels, who held a 57-25 edge in shots, scored four times in the first period and five in the second. . . . Red Deer was 5-for-7 on the PP. . . . D Mats Lindgren added a goal (11) and two assists. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored his 49th at 3:34 of the first period and it stood up as the winner. . . . Red Deer (41-17-6) has points in five straight (3-0-2). It has clinched the Central Division title. . . . Calgary (26-27-8) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). It is tied with Swift Current and Brandon for eight in the Eastern Conference. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds won their 50th game, the second time they have accomplished that in franchise history, beating the Everett Silvertips, 5-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle also reached the 50-victory plateau in 1989-90 when it finished 52-17-3 — that would be three ties, of course. . . . D Jeremy Hanzel (12) scored twice for Seattle, the first one, on a PP at 6:12 of the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie. . . . Hanzel also had an assist. . . . F Dylan Guenther (7) and F Brad Lambert (14) each had a goal and an assist. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (43) had Everett’s goal, a shorthanded tally. . . . Seattle G Thomas Milic earned the victory with 14 saves. He’s 24-3-2, 2.02, .928 this season. . . . Seattle held a 47-15 edge in shots. . . . Seattle (50-9-3) has points in 16 straight games (15-0-1). It also is tied with idle Winnipeg atop the overall standings, each with 103 points. . . . Everett (30-29-3) has lost five in a row. It is sixth in the Western Conference, two points behind Tri-City. . . .

G Matthew Kieper recorded the shutout as the host Kamloops Blazers dumped the Vancouver Giants, 6-0. . . . Kieper, who was acquired from Regina earlier this season, finished with 25 saves for his first shutout this season and the second of his career. . . . The game included two second-period penalty shots. Vancouver F Ethan Semeniuk came up short at 10:08. Kamloops F Connor Levis ran his goal streak to six games when he scored at 13:44 for a 4-0 lead. . . . Levis later scored again, giving him 23 this season. He also is riding a six-game goal-scoring streak, with seven goals in that time. . . . F Emmitt Finnie had a goal (6) and two assists. A 17-year-old from Lethbridge, he had six assists in 48 games last season. This season, he’s got 25 points in 57 games. . . . Kamloops held a 44-26 edge in shots, including 25-4 in the first period. . . . Kamloops (44-11-6) has won six in a row and 17 of 18. It has wrapped up the B.C. Division title. . . . Vancouver (24-29-8) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). The Giants are seventh in the Western Conference, three points ahead of Kelowna. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets scored a PP goal in OT to beat the Chiefs, 5-4, in Spokane. . . . F Cade Hayes emerged from a scuffle at the end of the third period with the only major penalty and game misconduct. Kelowna F Gabriel Szturc (21) won the game at 2:24 of OT. . . . Before that, the Rockets had coughed up a 4-0 lead as the Chiefs forced extra time when F Berkly Catton (20) scored at 17:58 of the third period. . . . Szturc, the Rockets’ captain, finished with two goals and two assists. . . . The Rockets were without F Carson Golder, who has been hit with a TBD suspension after he took a headshot major and game misconduct against visiting Vancouver on Friday night. . . . Kelowna (25-34-3) has won two in a row and clinched a playoff spot in the process. It is eighth in the Western Conference, three points behind Vancouver. . . Spokane (14-39-8) has lost two straight. . . .

F Reece Belton’s penalty shot goal gave the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 OT victory over the Portland Winterhawks in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans thought they had won seconds earlier, only to have the goal disallowed. As Pucklandia’s Chad Balcom (@hawkeyblog) tweeted: “Never seen that one before — the Winterhawks were down the tunnel & in the room, LONG huddle of refs, no replay, & the OT winner was overturned. We play on in Kennewick.” . . . According to Nick Marek, Portland’s play-by-play voice, the goal was disallowed because of a quick whistle. “The accidental whistle is what disallowed the initial goal by (Adam) Mechura. The ref whistle killed the play.” . . . Belton, who had been slashed from behind while on a breakaway, then won it with his 14th goal of the season at 1:08 of OT. . . . Tri-City had taken a 2-0 lead into the third period on goals from Belton, on a PP, and Mechura (23). D Lukas Dragicevic assisted on both goals. . . . Portland tied it on third-period goals from F Marcus Nguyen (22), shorthanded at 10:47, and F Luke Schelter (6), at 14:48. . . . The Americans got 47 saves from G Tomas Suchanek. . . . Tri-City (29-26-7) had lost its previous two games. It moved into fourth in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Everett. . . . Portland (38-17-7) has points in four straight (2-0-2) and will be the conference’s No. 3 seed when the playoffs begin. . . .

F Koehn Ziemmer and F Carlin Dezainde each scored twice as the Prince George Cougars doubled the Royals, 6-3, in Victoria. . . . The Cougars swept the doubleheader, having won 8-3 on Friday. . . . Ziemmer, who has 35 goals, got the Cougars started at 5:44 of the first period, and F Chase Wheatcroft (44) made it 2-0 at 11:48. . . . The Royals got a goal from F Riley Gannon (17) at 13:06, but the Cougars scored the next four. . . . Dezainde has seven goals this season. . . . Wheatcroft, 20, also had two assists. He is up to 96 points in 62 games. He went into this season with 82 points, including 31 goals, in 137 games split between Lethbridge and Winnipeg. . . . F Alex Thacker had a goal (8) and two assists for Victoria. . . . Prince George (33-24-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is fourth in the Western Conference. . . . Victoria (15-41-7) has lost 10 in a row (0-9-1).


THINKING OUT LOUD: Has anyone been able to figure out what Hyundai is trying to accomplish with that WAH advertising campaign? And isn’t it about time for it to be retired? . . . Sheesh, Sportsnet, I hope NESN is paying you for the TV time those Bruins’ telecasts take up on your networks. I mean, if you’re paying for them, they’re stealing your money. . . . Would you like some good news? Old friend Roy MacGregor has a new book coming out on Aug. 1 — Paper Trails: From the Backwoods to the Front Page, a Life in Stories. I, for one, can’t wait. . . . If you’re like me, you’re wondering if F Connor Bedard of the Regina finally is running on empty. For all that he has accomplished this season, he won’t turn 18 until July 17.


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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.



Scattershooting on a Thursday evening while wondering if NHL teams are moving back to dump-and-chase game . . .


Not in the Christmas spirit? Watch this . . .

In his weekly compilation, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times included an obit of the week for football fan John J. Ford, 86, from the Minneapolis Star Tribune: ”Passed away surrounded by family on December 2nd after the Vikings allowed 17 unanswered points . . .”


“A Las Vegas hospital billed the parents $2,659 to pull a tiny doll’s shoe from their child’s nostril,” Perry reported. “Imagine what it would cost to extract Antonio Brown’s foot from his mouth.”


Congratulations and best wishes to Innes Mackie, who has been around the WHL since the Christmas Wish Book was used for shin pads, or maybe even earlier. . . .

And congrats, too, to Dan O’Connor, the play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Giants. While Mackie, the Tri-City Americans’ equipment guru, was working Game No. 3,200, O’Connor was calling No. 600.

ICYMI, Part 1: D Nikita Zadorov of the visiting Colorado Avalanche recently took out Montreal Canadiens F Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was left with a brain injury. There wasn’t a penalty; there wasn’t a suspension. “So how could Zadorov get away with it?” Jack Todd writes in the Montreal Gazette. “Blame hockey’s pervasive knucklehead culture, which has survived well into the 21st century. The loudest of the braying donkeys in the barn may have been shuffled off to the Podcast Porch — but the brutal culture Don Cherry helped foster lives on.” . . . The complete column is right here.


ICYMI, Part 2: Hockey Canada trimmed a bunch of players from the selection camp for its national junior team on Thursday. Yes, it has to be done. But why make these teenagers walk the media gauntlet after they’ve been chopped from the roster? Come on, Hockey Canada, be better than that.


If the Kelowna Rockets continue to unload premium bantam draft picks and perhaps a prospect or two in the hunt for a Memorial Cup title in the spring, when they will be the tournament’s host team, you have to wonder if their aftermath will be more like the Prince Albert Raiders, Regina Pats or Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Raiders are 19-7-4 and atop the East Division after making a deal or three — but not selling out — that helped them win the WHL’s 2018-19 championship. The Pats are 7-18-3 after selling out as the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup. The Broncos are 6-20-3 while still trying to recover after emptying the cupboard as they successfully chased the WHL’s 2017-18 title. . . . Over the past one season-plus, the Pats are 26-63-7 and the Broncos are 17-71-9. Neither team made the playoffs last spring and they won’t be there in 2020.

If you are wanting to attend the 2021 World Junior Championship, with games in Edmonton and Red Deer, you may want to see your banker about a loan. . . . Considering the political/labour situation in Alberta at the moment, it will be interesting to see how tickets sales play out. . . .

The New York Yankees signed P Gerrit Cole to a nine-year deal valued at US$324 million. . . . The Los Angeles Angels got 3B Anthony Rendon for US$245 million over seven seasons. . . . F Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has hockey’s richest deal — US$124 million over 13 years. That was signed in January 2008. . . . According to an entry at Wikipedia, Ovechkin’s contract, the richest in NHL history, is tied for the 79th richest in sports history. . . . That’s what having a hard salary cap does for you.

I didn’t finish Michael Connelly’s latest book — The Night Fire — in time to get it into my Bookshelf series that was posted here earlier in the week. But if you’re a fan of Connelly’s Harry Bosch series, you’ll enjoy this one. It features the retired-but-not-retired Bosch and LAPD Det. Renée Ballard doing their thing on the streets of L.A. and area. Good fun, unless you’re the bad guys.

The Kelowna Rockets were in Prince Albert to play the Raiders a week ago. Hear from both coaches — Marc Habscheid of the Raiders and Adam Foote of the Rockets — after the game, and then decide who won . . .

Habscheid: “I don’t blame referees or anything, but there were three soft calls and they talked to (Foote) all night. I don’t know if they wanted to get his autograph, because he was a Stanley Cup champion or what, but it didn’t look good. They talked to him all night, (and Foote) ran line changes. He did whatever he wanted, and he slowed the game down, and they just let him do it. I don’t know if they wanted his autograph or what the deal was.”

Foote: “The refs were pretty good all night . . .”

Thanks to Darren Steinke for the quotes. His complete blog post is right here.


One night later, the Rockets visited the Blades in Saskatoon. The Rockets tied the game, 3-3, late in the third period and won it in a shootout, much to the chagrin of at least one Blades fan.

That fan was on social media bemoaning — you guessed it! — the officiating. Someone else asked: “Who were the refs?”

I laughed out loud when I saw the response: “Hamilton and Foote.” That, of course, was in reference to Kelowna owner/president/general manager Bruce Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, and Adam Foote, the Rockets’ head coach.


JUST NOTES: Judging by video clips from the Wayne Fleming Arena, there certainly seems to be a lot of room available on the benches for Winnipeg Ice home games. I realize that a lot of people choose to stand during the games, but you have to wonder how the empty seat-look sits with the WHL’s board of governors. . . . And, hey, if anyone has any photos of the Ice’s future home under construction feel free to send them along to . . . Was anyone watching Monday Night Football and not pulling for Eli Manning? . . . With the Giants on MNF and the Jets on Thursday night, was it enough to make you feel sorry for the football fans of New York City? . . . A tip of the hat to the Seattle Thunderbirds and Saskatoon Blades for a deal involving F Alex Morozoff. A native of Saskatoon, Morozoff was traded for a sixth-round pick in the 2023 bantam draft. “Alex and his family are currently dealing with a family medical issue,” Seattle GM Bil LaForge said in explaining the deal in a news release. “We have made this trade to help get Alex closer to his family in Saskatoon.”

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