Hughes leaves Hurricanes, cites ‘personal reasons’; Tetachuk starter in Lethbridge . . . Philly writers honour Propp


ThisThat

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, in a heated race for the Central Division pennant, lost their Lethbridgestarting goaltender on Monday when Liam Hughes left the WHL team.

In a statement released by the team, Hughes, a 19-year-old from Kelowna, said:

“”At this time I have decided to leave hockey for personal reasons. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but for me, personally, it is the right time to step away from a game that I love.

“I want to thank all of my family, friends and fans for your support, as I pursued my hockey dreams. I leave with fond memories from the game and I am excited to start the next chapter in my life.”

In the same news release, the Hurricanes said they “respect the decision made by Liam and his family.”

The statement continued: “The entire organization wishes Liam the best moving forward. There will be no further comment from the hockey club.”

This leaves the Hurricanes with Lethbridge native Carl Tetachuk, who turned 18 on Jan. 8, as their starting goaltender. A list player, he moved up through the Lethbridge minor hockey ranks, playing bantam AA and AAA, and midget AA and AAA there.

This season, his first in the WHL, he is 10-5-0, 3.05, .903.

The Hurricanes have added G Bryan Thomson, a 16-year-old from Moose Jaw, to their roster for the remainder of this season. A second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, Thomson had been playing with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. With the Hounds, Thomson was 6-9-0, 2.94, .890.

Hughes was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

On Sept. 18, 2017, the Oil Kings dealt Hughes to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes acquired Hughes and an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft from Seattle on Jan. 1 in exchange for veteran F Keltie Jeri-Leon, F Michael Horon and a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He has since played one game with the Thunderbirds.

This season, Hughes was 2-3-1, 3.44, .892 in six appearances with the Hurricanes. He had started six of their last eight game. In 29 games with Seattle, he had been 10-16-3, 3.67, .899.

In 78 career regular-season games, Hughes is 29-35-12, 3.38, .903.

Prior to acquiring Hughes, the Hurricanes had been going with Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old sophomore from Cloverdale, B.C., and Tetachuk as their goaltenders. The day after the trade for Hughes, the Hurricanes dealt Klassen to the Spokane Chiefs for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes (24-13-8) and Medicine Hat Tigers (26-16-4) are tied for third in the Central Division, two points behind the first-place Oil Kings (25-14-8) and one behind the Red Deer Rebels (27-14-3).

The Hurricanes are next to play on Friday when they meet the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash.


There’s more right here on former Brandon Wheat Kings’ star Brian Propp, this award and all that he has been through of late.


D Egor Zamula of the Calgary Hitmen has been suspended for one game after being hit with a headshot major and game misconduct during a 4-1 loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Sunday. . . . Zamula was tossed for a hit on Red Deer F Oleg Zaytsev at 3:47 of the third period. . . . Zamula won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars.


The Calgary Hitmen have returned G Brayden Peters and F Sean Tschigerl to their midget AAA teams. . . . Tschigerl, 15, is from Whitecourt, Alta., and was the fourth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in one game with the Hitmen, and now is back with the prep team at OHA Edmonton. . . . Peters, a 17-year-old from Taber, Alta., was brought in to back up starter Jack McNaughton with Carl Stankowski (ankle) out of action. Peters didn’t see any playing time, and now is back with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hitmen selected Peters in the fifth round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Kootenay Ice has returned D Carson Lambos to the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Lambos, 15, was the second-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Lambos, who is from Winnipeg, now has played five games with the Ice. He scored his first WHL goal on Saturday night in a 7-5 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon. Interestingly, he scored the goal while his brother, Jonny, a freshman defenceman with Brandon, was in the penalty box.


Tweetoftheday

Advertisements

Great Scott! Leafs sign goaltender . . . Hitmen run win streak to five . . . Silvertips win battle of division leaders

On the third day of our annual Christmas countdown, here’s two classics from the great Darlene Love. . . . From David Letterman’s show in 2014, Christmas (Baby Please Come) is right here. . . . Another favourite, All Alone for Christmas, is right here.


MacBeth

F Yegor Babenko (Lethbridge, 2015-17) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL) after Severstal bought his rights from Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). With Tyumen, he had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games. . . . Babenko was pointless in a three-game trial with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL) earlier this season. Dynamo offered him a contract after the trial but Babenko didn’t like the role Dynamo had planned for him and rejected the offer. . . .

D Tomáš Kudělka (Lethbridge, 2005-07) has been released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga) for financial reasons. He had two goals and four assists in 24 games. . . . Medveščak also released five other players for the same reason on Friday. Medveščak is in financial difficulties since losing its main sponsor last week. It has had to release 12 players as a result. The Austrian-based Erste Bank Liga has granted the club permission to replace these players but the replacements must have Croatian citizenship. . . . The Croatian Ice Hockey Federation and the City of Zagreb have promised support for the club so it may complete the season.


ThisThat

G Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders has signed a three-year entry-level contract with Torontothe Toronto Maple Leafs, who selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . The announcement was made with Scott in Victoria in the selection camp of Canada’s national junior team. . . . Scott, from Calgary, is 23-2-1, 1.61, .943 with the Raiders this season. He has put up four shutouts. . . . Scott’s season also includes a goal, as he fired the puck the length of the ice and into an empty net in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Nov. 16. . . . In 152 regular-season appearances, all with the Raiders, Scott is 72-58-12, 3.03, .903.


The Prince Albert Raiders are without D Brayden Pachal, their captain, as they conclude whlthe pre-Christmas part of their schedule by going home-and-home with the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The WHL revealed on Friday that it has suspended Pachal for two games “under supplemental discipline” for something that happened in a 6-5 OT victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday. . . . The WHL didn’t reveal what happened to warrant the suspension; however, Pachal was hit with a triple minor at 17:02 of the first period (double high-sticking and roughing) after a hit on Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky, so perhaps it had something to do with it. . . . Pachal sat out last night’s game in Swift Current and won’t play in tonight’s rematch in Prince Albert. . . . He will be eligible to return on Dec. 27 when the Raiders visit the Saskatoon Blades.


F Kent Johnson of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters has committed to attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines, starting in 2020-21. . . . Johnson, a 16-year-old from North Vancouver, was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the 10th round of the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . This season, he has 11 goals and 12 assists in 35 games with Trail.


With the WHL heading into the Christmas break after Sunday games, don’t forget that there also will be a trade moratorium in place. There won’t be any trades announced between Saturday at 12:01 a.m., and Dec. 27 at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 13.

Players: 29.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 5.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

D Steven Zonneveld broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and the host Regina Pats went on Patsto a 2-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Regina (9-23-1) snapped a nine-game losing skid (0-8-1). . . . Moose Jaw (16-8-5) has dropped two in a row. . . . The game’s three goals all came in the second period. . . . F Kaeden Taphorn (3) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:00, and Regina F Riley Krane (6) tied it at 13:48. . . . Zonneveld, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, scored his first career goal at 18:47. It came in his 15th game. . . . The Warriors held a 27-18 edge in shots. . . . Regina G Dean McNabb stopped 26 shots. . . . F Eric Alarie, who was picked in the first round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, made his debut with the Warriors. Alarie, 15, plays for the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Head coach Tim Hunter of the Warriors and D Josh Brook are at the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp in Victoria. . . . Regina is without F Sebastian Streu, who is with Germany at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany.


F Gary Haden scored in the dying seconds to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (21-10-3) has won four straight. . . . Brandon (14-10-6) has lost three in a row. . . . This was the first of six meetings between these teams. . . . The Blades took a 2-1 lead into the second period, goals by F Brandon Machado (2) and F Josh Paterson (10) following one by Brandon F Ridly Greig (7). . . . F Linden McCorrister (11) scored, shorthanded, to get the Wheat Kings into a 2-2 tie at 17:19 of the second period. . . . Haden scored his 13th goal of the season with 4.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . The Blades got 33 saves from G Nolan Maier, 18 of them in the third period. . . . With G Jiri Patera having left to attend the selection camp of the Czech Republic’s national junior team, the Wheat Kings started Ethan Kruger, who stopped 19 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings were without five injured players — F Jonny Hooker, D Vinny Iorio, D Jonny Lambos, F Lynden McCallum and D Braden Schneider. . . . D Jack Zayat, who signed a WHL deal on Thursday, made his Brandon debut. . . . Saskatoon is without F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, who is with Norway at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home for this one and posted his piece right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders opened up a 5-1 lead en route to a 6-4 victory over the Broncos PrinceAlbertin Swift Current. . . . The Raiders (30-2-1) have won two in a row, and are the first team in the CHL this season to reach 30 victories. . . . Swift Current slipped to 6-24-2. . . . These teams will play again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . . Prince Albert took a 3-0 lead on goals from F Carson Miller (10), F Noah Gregor (17) and F Eric Pearce (4). . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (8) got the Broncos on the scoreboard at 12:41 of the second period, on a PP. . . . F Sean Montgomery made it 4-1, shorthanded, at 17:32, and F Spence Moe (6) added another shorthanded score, at 9:46 of the third. . . . The Broncos made it interesting with late goals from F Alec Zawatsky (10), F Connor Horning (3) and F Matthew Culling (3), with Montgomery (15) adding an empty-netter for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders now have scored 17 shorthanded goals; they have allowed only 16 PP goals. . . . The Red Deer Rebels are second with eight shorthanded snipes. . . . Montgomery also had an assist for a three-point night. He has career highs in goals, assists (19) and points (34), all in 33 games. . . . The Raiders were 2-7 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-2. . . . The Broncos lost D Garrett Sambrook at 10:59 of the second period after he took a high hit from Raiders F Parker Kelly, who was given a headshot minor. Sambrook left and didn’t return. . . . The Raiders were without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, who are in camp with Canada’s national junior team; F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego, both of whom are with Belarus at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany; and D Brayden Pachal, who served Game 1 of a two-game suspension. . . . Leason left in the third period of a game between Canada and a USports side after taking a shot on one hand. After the game, Mark Masters (@markhmasters) of TSN tweeted that Team Canada head coach “Tim Hunter says he just shook hands with Leason and Brett is a little sore but it didn’t seem overly serious.”


F Jake Kryski snapped a 1-1 tie at 17:26 of the first period and the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarywent on to a 5-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Hitmen (15-14-3) have won five in a row. . . . The Rockets (15-17-2) have lost two straight. . . . Kelowna is 1-2-0 on a Central Division trip that wraps up tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . D Egor Zamula (8) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:51 of the first period. . . . F Kyle Crosbie (5) got Kelowna into a 1-1 tie at 8:00. . . . Kryski broke the tie at 17:26. . . . F Riley Stotts (9) made it 3-1 at 2:01. . . . Kryski added his 16th goal, on a PP, at 13:30 and F Ryder Korczak (5), who was playing against his brother Kaedan, wrapped up the scoring at 19:23. . . . Kryski has tied his single-season career high in goals in 32 games; he had 16 in 71 games last season. . . . Zamula also had two assists. A Russian sophomore, he has eight goals and 19 assists in 32 games. Last season, in 70 games — 38 with Regina and 31 with Calgary — he totalled two goals and 16 assists. . . . Calgary won 35 of 58 faceoffs. . . . The Hitmen are missing D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who also is with Belarus in Fussen.


The Kootenay Ice erased an early 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to a 5-3 Kootenaynewvictory over the Kamloops Blazers in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (8-21-6) had lost its previous 12 games (0-9-3). . . . The Blazers (12-15-3) have dropped five in a row (0-4-1), all on a six-game trek through the Central Division that concludes tonight in Lethbridge. . . . F Connor Zary (8) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead 43 seconds into the first period. . . . Kootenay snapped right back to take a 2-1 lead on goals by F Davis Murray (5) at 2:23 — it was a Teddy Bear goal — and F Peyton Krebs (13), on a PP, at 4:37. . . . F Jakin Smallwood (3), on a PP, and F Jaeger White (13) added second-period goals for the Ice for a 4-1 lead. . . . The Blazers got to within a goal on two scores from D Quinn Schmiemann, at 11:37 of the second and 3:57 of the third. He’s got five goals. . . . F River Fahey (1) iced it for the Ice at 17:04. . . . Kootenay got 37 saves from G Jesse Makaj. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen completed a three-game WHL suspension by sitting out this one.


F Josh Williams scored two goals and drew two assists, while G Mads Søgaard blocked 49 Tigers Logo Officialshots as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Rebels, 4-1, in Red Deer. . . . Medicine Hat (17-14-3) has won four straight. . . . Red Deer (20-10-2) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). . . . The Tigers now are 4-0-0 versus the Rebels this season. . . . The Rebels lead the Central Division, and are five points ahead of the fourth-place Tigers. . . . Williams enjoyed the first four-point night of his WHL career. . . . The Tigers erased a 1-0 deficit with the game’s last four goals, the first three on the PP. D Linus Nassen earned an assist on each of the PP scores. . . . F Chris Douglas (10) gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the first period. . . . Williams tied it at 14:28, and F James Hamblin (16) put the visitors ahead at 10:00 of the second period. . . . Williams (8) added insurance at 16:22 and F Bryan Lockner (9) iced it at 19:17 of the third. . . . Medicine Hat is 8-15 on the PP in the four victories over Red Deer. . . . The Rebels held a 50-38 edge in shots, including 19-10 in the third period. . . . Søgaard and Williams were named to the Top Prospects Game on Thursday. . . . Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev was in the lineup after visiting hospital following a hit in a Tuesday night game against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. He leaves today to join the Russian national junior team in Victoria.


F Jake McGrew scored three times and added an assist to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Spokane (18-11-4) has won two in a row. . . . Seattle slipped to 11-15-3. . . . F Nolan Volcan gave Seattle a 1-0 lead, shorthanded, at 10:40 of the first period. . . . McGrew gave the Chiefs a 2-1 lead with goals, the first on the PP, at 19:00 of the first and 1:35 of the second. . . . Volcan (12) tied it at 8:15. . . . F Adam Beckman (15) put the Chiefs back in front at 9:36. He leads all WHL freshmen in goals. . . . F Payton Mount (3) pulled Seattle back into a tie at 17:32. . . . F Eli Zummack (10) broke the tie at 19:45. . . . McGrew, who has 11 goals, completed his second career hat trick into an empty net at 19:31 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs are without D Ty Smith, who is with Canada’s national junior team, and D Filip Kral, who is with the Czech Republic’s team. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who hasn’t played since Oct. 27 because of a broken wrist, also is with Canada but has yet to take part in a full practice. He has been skating and lightly shooting but hasn’t been cleared for contact.


F Bryce Kindopp scored twice and the penalty-killers were perfect in leading the Everett EverettSilvertips to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Everett (26-7-2) has points in each of its past 13 games (11-0-2). . . . Vancouver (21-7-2) had won its previous seven games. . . . Everett leads the U.S. Divison; Vancouver is atop the B.C. Division. The Silvertips lead the Western Conference by 10 points over the Giants. Everett also leads the U.S. Division, by 14 points over the Portland Winterhawks and Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Silvertips broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals. . . . Kindopp got it started, while shorthanded, at 10:36. . . . F Dawson Butt (6) made it 2-0 at 12:50, and F Reece Vitelli (4) upped it to 3-0 at 16:32. . . . Kindopp, who has 16 goals, seven of them over his past six games, made it 4-0 at 17:23. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 37 shots for Everett, losing his shutout bit at 17:44 of the third period when F Owen Hardy (6) scored. . . . Vancouver, which was 0-5 on the PP, held a 13-3 edge in shots in the third period. . . . Wolf also picked up an assist, his fourth of the season, on Everett’s third goal. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas was back in Everett’s lineup after a three-game absence. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk, a 15-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., made his debut with the Giants. Ostapchuk, who plays with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last five goals and beat the visiting Prince George VictoriaRoyalsCougars, 5-1. . . . Victoria improved to 15-13-1. . . . Prince George (11-18-3) has lost four in a row. . . . The Cougars are four games into an 11-game road trip that will continue Sunday in Langley, B.C., against the Vancouver Giants, and then pick up after Christmas. The Cougars won’t play at home again until Jan. 11. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (3) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 12:27 of the first period. . . . That lead held up until F Dino Kambeitz (5) tied it at 14:25 of the second, and F Tarun Fizer (8) put the Royals ahead, on a PP, just 1:14 later. . . . The Royals put it away with third-period goals from F Kaid Oliver (15), F Brandon Cutler (7) and F Phillip Schultz (6). . . . Victoria got 34 saves from freshman G Brock Gould, making a rare start in place of Griffen Outhouse. In nine appearances, Gould is 3-4-0, 3.35, .865.


Tweetoftheday

Scattershooting on a Sunday with thoughts of Lennon and Breslin . . . Maier, Blades stop Leason and Raiders . . . Wolf howls against Chiefs

Scattershooting

The Edmonton Oilers’ roster may include the player some observers consider to be the best in the world, Connor McDavid, but they still are offensively challenged. When the visiting Calgary Flames beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 9-6, on Tuesday, they scored as many goals in one game as the Oilers had scored in their previous five outings. . . . Of course, the Oilers beat the visiting Flames, 1-0, on Sunday night. If you don’t give up any goals, chances are you’ll win every time.



While it’s great to see Seattle be awarded an NHL franchise — yes, for US $650 million — you really have to wonder why the NHL won’t go into Quebec City, don’t you?


John Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980. If you haven’t read the column written by the late Jimmy Breslin, you have cheated yourself. It’s a classic and it’s right here.


F Tyler Steenbergen scored the Teddy Bear goal for the Swift Current Broncos last season, then later scored the goal that won gold for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championship. This season, he’s with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. He scored their Teddy Bear goal on Saturday night.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Should the NFL prohibit players from appearing in hotel security footage?



“The U.S. Postal Service, in honor of former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, suspended regular mail deliveries Wednesday,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Pistons apparently forgot and mailed it in anyway, getting outscored in every quarter in a 115-92 loss to the Bucks.”


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Head coach Jay Gruden said exiled QB Colin Kaepernick wasn’t a good option for Washington. I’ll say! The poster boy for minority injustice in America playing for a team called the Redskins?”


Here’s a groaner from Currie: “Barbara Streisand’s two Coton de Tulear pooches are both clones of her previous pet, Samantha. If Elvis were alive, he’d say “You ain’t nothing but a cloned dog.”


ThisThat.

Maybe F Brett Leason and the Prince Albert Raiders are human after all.

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots on Sunday to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 1-0 victory PrinceAlbertover the visiting Raiders, handing Prince Albert, the CHL’s top-ranked team, its first regulation-time loss of this season.

The Raiders (28-2-1) went into the game with one other regulation loss; they were beaten 4-3 by the Rebels in Red Deer on Oct. 6. They also suffered a 3-2 shootout setback at the hands of the Broncos in Swift Current on Dec. 4.

When Sunday’s game ended, the Raiders still led the East Division by 16 points over the Blades. Still, the Saskatoon players had reason to like their performance.

 “This is huge,” Maier told blogger Darren Steinke. “We were talking about it before in the room saying that this was a statement game to be heard around the whole league.

The 17-year-old goaltender also helped bring an end to Leason’s 30-game point streak. Yes, Leason had recorded at least one point in each of his club’s first 30 games. He put up 28 goals — he leads the league in goals — and 36 assists during that stretch, and his 64 points have him atop the WHL scoring race, by two points over F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Leason’s lead isn’t likely to last, though, as he now is on his way to Victoria and the selection camp for Canada’s national junior team. Should he earn a spot on that team, he would miss at least nine of the Raiders’ games.


You can’t accuse the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club of not thinking big.

The club already is planning for the 2020-21 season when all signs point towards it Portlandmaking the East Division swing with its favourite team.

How avid are club members? Even with barely any planning done, the bus was already two-thirds full.

No, fans aren’t going to ride a bus all the way to the Prairies. Rather, they will fly to Regina, stay in the Saskatchewan capital and take a bus from there to games in other cities.

“The cost is estimated to be $2,400 to $3,500, including flight, bus, game ticket(s) and hotel,” Stuart Kemp, the club’s president, told Taking Note in an email. “There is no other WHL booster club that can do this . . .

“So far, enough have committed to go on the swing based on current costs, that the planning for the trip is in full-swing mode. Currently, we are close to having a waiting list as the trip is nearly sold out!”


“It was a sham all along,” writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun. “That’s the bitter conclusion supporters of the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice have come to as the Kootenaynewjunior franchise is poised to move to Winnipeg.

“At first, John Hudak wanted to believe in Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the Ice a year and a half ago.

“But Hudak, a retired RCMP officer who spearheaded a local drive to save the team, says it turns out he was banging his head against the wall.”

Friesen’s complete column — it carries the headline: WHL move to Winnipeg ‘a done deal’ — is right here.

——

Meanwhile, Ian Cobb, the owner/editor of e-KNOW.ca, has provided an overview of things from the perspective of a hockey fan in the Kootenays. He suggests that it’s time for the fans in the area to start attending games in large numbers. . . . Cobb’s piece is right here.


Let’s be honest. The WHL’s playoff format stinks to high heaven. So, too, does the NHL’s, which is identical.

Here’s Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

“Imagine Wimbledon every year matching up the top two seeds in each half of the draw in the second round. Imagine the World Cup placing the four most powerful squads in the same group. Imagine March Madness placing the top four seeds in the country in the same region.

While you’re at it, you may as well imagine there’s no heaven, because it’s easy if you try to imagine the NHL cutting off its own knees by matching up its best teams in the first or second round of the playoffs in a made-for-marketing scheme, because that is exactly what Sixth Avenue and its band of clueless co-conspirators on the Board do year after year after year.”

As you read this, just substitute NHL with WHL and go from there.

The complete column is right here.


G Kyle Dumba got his first taste of junior hockey in 2013-14 when he played one game with each of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers.

Since then he has had stints with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs, the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats, and the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and Victoria Grizzlies.

The 20-year-old Calgarian made his 106th junior appearance on Saturday night and recorded his first shutout. He’s with the Grizzlies now, sparked by his 43 saves, they beat one of his former teams, Salmon Arm, 2-0.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Sunday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots and F Tristen Robins scored the game’s only goal as the Saskatoonhost Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 1-0. . . . The Blades (19-10-3) have won two straight. . . . The Raiders (28-2-1) had been 21-0-1 in their previous 22 games. This was their first regulation loss this season. . . . This was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both of these teams and each went 2-1-0. . . . The Raiders had won the first two meetings with the Blades — 4-1 in Prince Albert and 6-2 in Saskatoon on Sept. 30 and Oct. 14, respectively. . . . Maier posted his second shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. This season, he is 15-8-2, 2.70, .912. . . . Robins’ goal, his fifth of the season, came at 5:14 of the second period and also was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason had his 30-game point streak come to an end, despite having five shots on goal. . . . Leason and G Ian Scott, who stopped 26 shots, will be on the ice in Victoria on Tuesday as the selection camp opens for Canada’s national junior team. . . . When the Raiders next play, on Wednesday against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, they will be missing Scott, Leason, F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego. The latter two are with the Belarus national junior team at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home Sunday for his third game in fewer than 48 hours, too, and his post is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen broke a 2-2 second-period tie with four goals in a span of 4:02 en Calgaryroute to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Calgary (14-14-3) has won four straight. . . . The Blazers (12-12-3) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . Kamloops now is 0-1-1 on a six-game Central Division trek. . . . Calgary went ahead 1-0 at 4:18 of the first period when F Kaden Elder (12) scored the Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Martin Lang (6), who also had two assists, pulled Kamloops even at 1:42 of the second period, but F Jake Kryski (14) got that one back, on a PP, at 4:11. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (4) got the Blazers back into a tie, on a PP, at 10:31. . . . It was all Calgary after that, with F James Malm (15) counting at 10:47, F Tye Carriere (3) at 11:13, and D Egor Zamula scoring twice, at 12:34 and 13:49. . . . Zamula, who has seven goals, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his WHL career. . . . Kamloops F Zane Franklin (17) closed out the scoring at 13:55 of the third period. . . . Zamula, who also had an assist, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his career. . . . Calgary F Riley Stotts had three assists. He’s got a goal and seven assists over his past three games. . . . The Blazers were without F Jermaine Loewen and F Kobe Mohr, both of whom were suspended by the WHL earlier in the day. Loewen drew a TBD suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a 3-2 OT loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Saturday, while Mohr got one game under supplemental discipline from the same game.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots to help the host Everett Silvertips to a 2-0 victory over the EverettSpokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (25-7-1) now has points in 11 straight (10-0-1). . . . Spokane (16-11-4) had won its previous two games. . . . Everett leads the Western Conference by seven points over the idle Vancouver Giants (21-6-2), who have four games in hand. . . . Everett is atop the U.S. Division by 13 points over the Portland Winterhawks (18-10-2), who hold three games in hand. . . . This season, Wolf, a 17-year-old sophomore, is 23-7-1, 1.84, .928. He has three shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . The shutout yesterday lowered his career GAA to 1.99 in 51 appearances, 31 of them this season. . . . F Bryce Kindopp scored both goals, at 14:34 and 19:48 of the third period. The second one was into an empty net. He’s got 13 goals. . . . Spokane got 38 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . The Chiefs were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 2-1-0. They also were in their fourth game in five nights. They were 2-2-0 in those four games, with the other loss also at the hands of the Silvertips, 4-2 in Everett on Wednesday. . . . The Silvertips were without F Sean Richards, who drew a TBA suspension after he took a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Richards hit D Loeden Schaufler at 10:10 of the second period; Schaufler left the game and didn’t return. . . . The Silvertips also were without F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who has missed two straight games.

Three high-profile players kept off ice on eve of trade deadline . . . Giants keep winning on road . . . Ferguson carries Blazers to victory

A LITTLE OF THIS …

With the WHL’s trading deadline arriving this afternoon, a couple of veteran forwards and a high-profile defenceman were kept off the ice by their teams on Wednesday.

F Cam Hebig didn’t practise with the Blades in Saskatoon. GM Colin Priestner admitted whlthat four teams had inquired about Hebig and the Blades didn’t want to risk an injury in case something could be worked out. Hebig missed all of last season with an injury.

This season, Hebig, who is to turn 21 on Jan. 21, has 30 goals and 28 assists in 40 games. From Saskatoon, he has 193 points, 87 of them goals, in 238 career games, all with the Blades. They picked him in the third round of the 2012 WHL bantam draft.

If Hebig isn’t dealt, he is expected to play tonight against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

Meanwhile, in Brandon, F Davis Koch didn’t play as the Edmonton Oil Kings met the Wheat Kings. Koch, 19, is from Surrey, B.C. This season, he has 18 goals and 21 assists in 40 games.

In 224 regular-season games, he has 59 goals and 99 assists. The Oil Kings selected him in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft.

In Prince George, D Dennis Cholowski, the team captain, didn’t play for the Cougars as they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Vancouver Giants. After the game, Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk admitted that Cholowski, 19, was scratched in order to keep him healthy just in case.

Cholowski, a first-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2016 NHL draft, has signed an NHL deal. In his first WHL season, he has 13 goals and 26 assists in 37 games.


The Calgary Hitmen claimed D Egor Zamula off waivers from the Regina Pats on Tuesday. Zamula, 17, is from Chelyabinsk, Russia. A freshman, he had seven assists in 38 games with the Pats, who had to drop an import player after acquiring D Libor Hajek from the Saskatoon Blades on Monday. . . . The Hitmen had an opening for an import after they sent F Andrei Grishakov to the Victoria Royals for a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft on Jan. 4. . . . Calgary’s other import is sophomore D Vladislav Yeryomenko, 18, who is from Belarus.


The Everett Silvertips have returned two players — D Dylan Anderson and F Gage Goncalves — to the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . Anderson, 15, was pointless in one game with the Silvertips. He was a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Goncalves, a list player, also was pointless in one game with Everett.


Scoreboard

TUESDAY:

At Brandon, F Brett Kemp scored in OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton (11-24-6) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). It is 4-EdmontonOilKings3-3 in its last 10. . . . Brandon (27-12-2) had won its last two outings. The Wheat Kings are third in the overall standings, five points behind Swift Current. . . . F Ty Lewis (24) gave the Wheat Kings a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 16:03 of the first period. . . . D Jayden Platz (1) pulled the visitors even at 2:26 of the second period. . . . Brandon went back out front when F Baron Thompson (12) scored at 11:38 of the third period. . . . F Scott Atkinson (2) tied it for Edmonton at 14:53. . . . Kemp won it with his 10th goal at 2:06 of OT. . . . D Brayden Gorda had an assist and was plus-2 in his first game back with the Oil Kings. He returned to the Oil Kings last week after missing the first half of the season for personal reasons. . . . Brandon was 1-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . G Josh Dechaine earned the victory with 34 saves, 12 more than Brandon’s Dylan Myskiw. . . . Brandon D Kale Clague has yet to return to the lineup after playing for Canada at the WJC. . . . Announced attendance: 3,225.


At Lethbridge, F Logan Barlage, acquired earlier in the day in the rather large trade, scored in the sixth round of a shootout to give the Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Red LethbridgeDeer Rebels. . . . The Hurricanes (18-19-3) had lost their previous two games. They moved into a second-place tie with Kootenay in the Central Division, eight points in arrears of Medicine Hat. . . . The Rebels (10-22-10) have lost nine in a row (0-4-5). . . . G Logan Flodell, who came over with Barlage in that swap with the Swift Current Broncos, got the victory with 29 saves through OT. He also stopped the last five Red Deer shooters in the shootout. . . . F Brad Morrison, acquired earlier from the Vancouver Giants, scored Lethbridge’s first two goals, both on the PP, at 6:26 and 17:53 of the first period. He’s got 13 goals. . . . In between, Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev (5) got his guys on the scoreboard. . . . F B Brendan Stafford (1) gave Lethbridge a 3-1 lead at 3:17 of the second period. . . . Red Deer took the lead on three second-period goals, two PP scores from Reese Johnson, who has 15 goals, at 7:16 and 8:52, and a goal from F Mason McCarty (20), at 10:19. . . . F Dylan Cozens (12) tied it again at 15:22. . . . The third period was scoreless. . . . Lethbridge got two assists from each of F Jordy Bellerive and F Taylor Ross, with Cozens adding one. . . . F Kristian Reichel and Alexeyev each had two assists for Red Deer, and McCarty had one. . . . Lethbridge was 2-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 2-4. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders allowed four goals on 27 shots through two periods. Riley Lamb came on for the third period and OT, stopping all 14 shots he faced. . . . Lethbridge acquired four players from Swift Current in the morning and all four played last night — Flodell, Barlage, D Matthew Stanley and F Owen Blocker. . . . F Jacob Boucher, a ninth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Hurricanes. He’s from St. Albert, Alta. . . . After the game, Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt played host to a town hall as he explained to fans the deal he made with the Swift Current Broncos earlier in the day. . . . Announced attendance: 2,696.


At Kamloops, G Dylan Ferguson stopped 47 shots to lead the Blazers to a 2-1 victory over Kamloops1the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kamloops (18-20-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is six points behind Spokane, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Spokane (21-17-3) has lost two in a row. . . . The Blazers got first-period goals from F Quinn Benjafield (12), at 2:49, and F Luc Smith (9), at 19:09. . . . F Riley Woods (18) got the Chiefs to within a goal at 1:10 of the third period. . . . D Joe Gatenby had two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Orrin Centazzo, acquired Sunday from Everett, had an assist in his Kamloops debut. D Montana Onyebuchi, who also came over in that deal, sat out with the flu. . . . Kamloops was 0-3 on the PP; Spokane was 0-7. . . . G Donovan Buskey stopped 26 shots for the Chiefs. . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto, who played for the U.S. at the WJC, sat out, and he won’t play tonight in Kelowna against the Rockets, either. . . . Announced attendance: 3,289.


At Prince George, the Vancouver Giants ran their road winning streak to seven games with a 5-1 victory over the Cougars. . . . Vancouver (24-14-5) is 6-0-1 in its past seven Vancouvergames. The victory lifted the Giants into a tie with Kelowna for the Western Conference lead. However, Kelowna has three games in hand. . . . Prince George (15-19-7) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Vancouver took a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from F Dawson Holt (7), at 7:27, F James Malm (16), at 9:00, and D Matt Barberis (4), on a PP, at 16:04. . . . The Cougars’ goal came from F Jared Bethune (14), at 16:17. . . . D Kaleb Bulych (1) added more insurance for the Giants at 2:21 of the second period and F Jared Dmytriw (12) finished the scoring at 12:04. . . . The third period was scoreless. . . . Malm and Holt added two assists each. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck made 21 saves for the Giants. . . . Cougars starter Tavin Grant allowed five goals on 21 shots in 32:04. Taylor Gauthier finished up by stopping all 10 shots he faced in 27:56. . . . D Brennan Riddle made his Vancouver debut after being acquired Monday from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Cougars had recent acquisitions D Austin Crossley and F Ethan Browne in the lineup for the first time. . . . The same teams will meet in Prince George again tonight. . . . Announced attendance: 2,477.


At Kent, Wash., F Ryan Hughes scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (24-13-3) has won Portlandtwo in a row and is back on top of the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Everett with two games in hand. . . . Seattle (20-14-6) has points in nine straight games (7-0-2) and holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. Seattle also is three points behind third-place Tri-City in the U.S. Division. . . . Portland had taken a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Skyler McKenzie (29), who was playing in his 250th game, at 1:31 and F Alex Overheard (9) at 19:58. . . . Seattle got second-period goals from F Sami Moilanen (17), at 0:57, and D Reece Harsch (9), on a PP, at 11:48. Hirsch left the game after two periods with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Thunderbirds were 1-5 on the PP; the Winterhawks weren’t given even one opportunity. . . . G Cole Kehler blocked 33 shots for Portland, seven more than Seattle’s Liam Hughes. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls, in his fourth full season there, had an assist to give him 42 points this season. He now has 29 assists, two more than he had last season, and 42 points, also a career high after he had 41 in 2016-17. . . . The Winterhawks are without three regulars who played in the WJC — F Kieffer Bellows (U.S.), D Henri Jokiharju (Finland) and F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark). Blichfeld was injured in a late tournament game and he hasn’t yet been checked out by Portland’s medical staff. . . . Announced attendance: 5,020.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Regina, 7 p.m.

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

Vancouver at Prince George, 7 p.m.

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

Spokane at Kelowna 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY