Hauser sharp as Ice opens final with victory . . . Game 2 tonight in Winnipeg . . . Rebels, Rockets deal

J.T. Barnett played five seasons (2008-13) in the WHL, making stops with the Vancouver Giants, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Kelowna Rockets. He went on to play in the ECHL and in Europe before calling at a career after the 2017-18 season. He was 26. . . . So what’s he up to now? . . . Well, he has more than one million followers on social media, including more than 300,000 on TikTok. “I think I had potential in hockey,” he told Postmedia’s Steve Ewen. “I think I was a good player. I didn’t think I had a superstar’s attributes as a player. I think I’m a superstar at marketing.” . . . Ewen’s story is right here.


The WHL’s championship series got started on Friday night, as the Winnipeg Ice got past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2, at the Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg. The announced attendance was 5,531, a few more than could have been accommodated in the Ice’s home facility, the Wayne Fleming Arena on the U of Manitoba campus. It has room for about 1,700 fans. . . . They are to play Game 2 there tonight. . . .

F Connor McClennon scored Winnipeg’s first goal in Game 1, his 14th of the playoffs. He and Seattle F Dylan Guenther lead the playoffs, each with 14. . . . D Ben Zloty of the Ice picked up one assist to run his point streak to eight games. He has one goal and 11 assists over that stretch. Zloty leads the WHL with 21 assists. . . . F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers is No. 1 in points, with 30. Kamloops D Olen Zellweger is one point back, while Winnipeg F Matt Savoie, who had a seven-game point streak snapped, has 27. . . .

Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow), prior to Game 1 of the WHL final: “The first game has not been lucky as of late in the championship series as the last three have been taken by the eventual losing team as have half of the last 14 dating back to 2007. In 41 championships since 1980, 25 have been won by winner of Game 1.” . . .

Two players in the series are chasing their second straight Ed Chynoweth Cup. D Luke Prokop and F Dylan Guenther were with the Edmonton Oil Kings a year ago when they beat the Thunderbirds in six games in the final series.



Seattle (2) at Winnipeg (1) — The Winnipeg Ice scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 1 of the WHL’s best-of-seven final. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Winnipeg. . . . Games 3 and 4 are to be played in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Seattle had last played on Monday, when it beat the host Kamloops Blazers, 4-2, to take the Western Conference final, 4-2. . . . The Ice hadn’t played since May 3 when it went into Saskatoon and beat the Blades, 3-2, to complete a sweep of the Eastern Conference final. . . . F Connor McClennon (14) got the scoring started, on a PP, at 9:13 of the first period. . . . F Evan Friesen (5), one of three Winnipeggers on the Ice roster, made it 2-0 at 15:22, and F Carson Latimer (2) pushed it to 3-0 at 7:02 of the second period. . . . F Reid Schaefer (7) got Seattle’s goal 28 seconds into the third period. . . . D Kevin Korchinski (2) got Seattle to within a goal at 18:18 with G Thomas Milic on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Seattle hit two posts and a crossbar in the third period, the latter off the stick of F Jared Davidson coming with time running out. . . . F Owen Pederson had the primary assist on each of Winnipeg’s last two goals. . . . Winnipeg was 1-for-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-2. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned the victory with 27 saves, two more than Milic. . . . Seattle F Jordan Gustafson, who turned 19 on Jan. 20, was scratched again. He hasn’t played since April 30 in Game 2 of the Western Conference final with the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Ice remains without D Wyatt Wilson, 19, who last played on April 22 in Game 5 of a second-round series with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . BTW, the other two Winnipeggers on the Ice roster are D Carson Lambos and D Jonas Woo.


The Quebec Remparts opened the QMJHL’s championship final with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Halifax Mooseheads on Friday night. The announced attendance was 18,259, a single-game QMJHL record. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Quebec City tonight. . . . F Justin Robidas (9) scored twice for Halifax, with F Pier-Olivier Roy (4) and F Theo Rochette (3) each adding a goal and two assists. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels have acquired D Elias Carmichael, 20, from the Kelowna Rockets for a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2024 draft. Carmichael, from Langley, B.C., has played four seasons with the Rockets. In 192 regular-season games, he has 13 goals and 47 assists. This season, he had six goals and 23 assists in 62 games. Carmichael was a second-round pick by the Rockets in the 2018 draft. . . . The Rockets also have D Jackson DeSouza, 20, on their roster. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees scored three second-period goals as they beat the visiting Alberni Valley Bulldogs, 4-3, in Game 1 of the championship final. . . . The announced attendance was 3,217. . . . The second game is to be played tonight in Penticton.


The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you are interested in helping, like maybe pushing her past $4,000, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.

Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Tapping through Shoppers Drug Mart self-checkout screen enters third day.


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.



Cranbrook says ‘no’ to KIJHL team. . . . It’s official! Willie’s back in The Hat. . . . Scooter scoots into retirement. . . . Ice, Wheaties sign first-round picks


D Linden Springer (Prince George, Portland, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Glasgow Clan (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite), he had four goals and nine assists in 51 games. . . .

D Jason Fram (Spokane, 2011-16) has signed a two-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, in 28 games with the U of Alberta (USports, Canada West), he had nine goals and 21 assists. . . .

F Justin Maylan (Moose Jaw, Prince George, Prince Albert, 2007-12) has  signed a one-year contract with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had two goals and three assists in seven games. He didn’t sign with Villach until Feb. 9. . . .

F Carter Ashton (Lethbridge, Regina, Tri-City, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). This season, with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL), he had nine goals and five assists in 36 games.


A hearty welcome to all the new readers who have found us here over the past day or two. . . . Hope you enjoy what you find here and that you will spread the word. . . . Enjoy!

It would seem that the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League won’t be setting up kijhlshop in Cranbrook, at least not in time for the 2019-20 season. . . . Taking Note was told on Thursday that a group of 10 investors had reached a deal in principle to purchase the junior B Kelowna Chiefs and move the franchise to Cranbrook. . . . The team would have played out of Western Financial Place, which had been home to the WHL’s Kootenay Ice until that franchise moved to Winnipeg after its 2018-19 season ended. . . . The Ice’s lease with the City of Cranbrook runs through the 2022-23 season and a settlement hasn’t yet been negotiated. So the group had cut a deal with the Ice to sublease and, according to a source, the deal “guaranteed the city WHL rent for the next four years.” . . . However, the city rejected the sublease proposal late Thursday night, meaning the arena is one step close to not having a primary tenant for the 2019-20 season. . . .

“Our deadline for any relocation is May 31,” KIJHL president Larry Martel told Jeff Johnson of The Drive FM in Cranbrook. “Because of the medical situation in Kelowna, we’re still looking at a possibility, but we need to get our scheduling done so the league is moving on as of (Friday).”

Grant Sheridan, the Chiefs’ president and general manager, was admitted to hospital late in March after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis.

As for a KIJHL team moving into Cranbrook, Martel said that isn’t likely to happen in the near future.

“There’s an existing rink deal with the former team, the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice,” he said. “So until that’s been negotiated and cleared up, no other junior team will be moving into Cranbrook as far as I’ve been told. But I have not been involved with any talk with the City of Cranbrook or anybody involved with that.”

Johnson’s story, along with a statement from The Chiefs, is all right here.

As expected, the Medicine Hat Tigers introduced Willie Desjardins as their new general manager and head coach on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after announcing that Tigers Logo Officialthey had parted company with Shaun Clouston. . . . Clouston, 51, had been with the Tigers since 2003-04, working as an assistant coach and associate coach before succeeding Desjardins as head coach prior to the 2010-11 season. Clouston had been GM and head coach since 2012-13. . . . Desjardins’ contract terms weren’t revealed but you get the feeling that he has the job for as long as he wants. . . .

Desjardins, 62, spent three seasons (2002-05) as the Tigers’ head coach and five (2005-10) as GM/head coach. With Desjardins running things, the Tigers won WHL championships in 2004 and 2007. They also won four straight Central Division titles, two Eastern Conference championships and one Scotty Munro Trophy as the top regular-season team. . . . After leaving the Tigers, Desjardins spent two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Dallas Stars, two as head coach of the AHL’s Texas Stars, three as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, and one with Team Canada. This season, he took over as the interim head coach of the Los Angeles Kings in November, but was released at season’s end. . . .

One of Desjardins’ responsibilities may be to stop the bleeding at the gate. When the Tigers played in The Arena, regular-season games were sold out (4,006) for a number of seasons. The Tigers moved into the 7,100-seat Canalta Centre in time for the 2015-16 season. They average 4,248 fans for that season, but in subsequent seasons the attendance declined to 3,586, 3,295 and 3,121.

This season, the Tigers had announced attendances of fewer than 3,000 for 16 of their 34 homes games.

The Tigers finished 35-27-6 in what turned out to be Clouston’s final season as head coach. They made the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card team and lost a first-round series, 4-2, to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

In the previous three seasons in the Canalta Centre, the Tigers went 30-37-5, 51-20-1 and 36-28-8. They missed the playoffs in 2015-16, lost in the second round in 2016-17, and were ousted in the first round in 2017-18.

Dean (Scooter) Vrooman ended his 32-year career with the Portland Winterhawks on Friday by strolling off into retirement. . . . Vrooman joined the team in 1982 as its play-Portlandby-play voice and primary sponsorship salesperson, roles he held for 25 years. He left the organization briefly in 2007 to work in the banking industry. He returned to the Winterhawks in 2012 as the director of corporate sponsorships. . . . As the voice of the Winterhawks, Vrooman handled more than 2,000 games, including the 1982-83 and 1997-98 Memorial Cup championship seasons. . . . Of course, retirement doesn’t mean Vrooman won’t be somewhere near the Winterhawks at times. As he put it in a news release: “Overall, I have been a part of the organization for 32 years and I am going to be 66 years old in December so I thought this was the right time to move out of the realm of working full time in corporate sponsorships. I absolutely love the team and the WHL and will still be coming to a lot of games, perhaps helping out with some broadcasting occasionally, and working with the Winterhawks alumni and other isolated projects as they arise. I am so fortunate to have worked with so many great people, players, sponsors and fans for so many years.  It has been a lot of work, but it has also been a lot of fun.”

The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers released two assistant coaches on Friday, both of them former WHL players and coaches. . . . Manny Viveiros spent one season with the Oilers Oilersafter working for two seasons as the Swift Current Broncos director of player personnel and head coach. He helped lead the Broncos the WHL championship a year ago. Viveiros played four seasons (1982-86) with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Trent Yawney, a veteran coach, also spent just one season with the Oilers, after working as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks for four seasons. There is speculation that he could be joining the Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach. Todd McLellan, who was fired by the Oilers early this season, is the Kings’ new head coach. . . . Yawney played three seasons (1982-85) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Glen Gulutzan will be staying with the Oilers as an assistant under new head coach Dave Tippett. Gulutzan has completed one season with the Oilers and working as the Calgary Flames’ head coach for two seasons. As a player, he skated for two seasons (1989-91) with the Brandon Wheat Kings and one (1991-92) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . There is speculation that Jim Playfair will be joining the Oilers’ staff as an assistant coach. Playfair worked with Tippett for six seasons (2011-17) when the latter was the head coach of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes.

The Regina Pats have signed Dale McMullin, their director of scouting, to an extension. The length of the contract wasn’t revealed, other than to report that it is a “multi-year extension.” . . . McMullin has been the Pats’ director of scouting for eight seasons. . . . Before joining the Pats, McMullin was part of the Red Deer Rebels’ scouting staff for nine seasons. . . . McMullin is a former WHL player, having put up 418 points, including 168 goals, in 309 games (1971-76) with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Winnipeg Ice has signed F Conor Geekie to a WHL contract. Geekie, from Strathclair, Man., was the second-overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had 49 goals and 37 assists in 31 regular-season games with the bantam AAA Yellowhead Chiefs. . . . His older brother Morgan played three seasons (2015-18) with the Tri-City Americans and now is in the AHL’s Calder Cup final with the Charlotte Checkers. Their father, Craig, played two seasons (1991-93) with the Brandon Wheat Kings and one (1993-94) with the Spokane Chiefs.


The Brandon Wheat Kings owned three first-round selections in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft that was held in Red Deer on May 2. On Friday, the Wheat Kings announced the signings of all three players — F Nate Danielson, who was the fifth-overall pick, F Tyson Zimmer, who went sixth, and F Rylen Roersma, who was No. 16. . . . Danielson, from Red Deer, had 26 goals and 33 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels and was named the Alberta league’s top forward and MVP. . . . Zimmer, from Russell, Man., played for the OHA bantam prep team in Penticton, putting up 22 goals and 30 assists in 26 games. . . . Roersma, from Raymond, Alta., had 23 goals and 21 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Lethbridge Golden Hawks.


With the signings announced Friday by the Winnipeg Ice and Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL teams have signed 12 of the 22 first-round selections from the 2019 bantam draft. Here’s a look at who has signed and who hasn’t . . .


1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth



2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker

The Kelowna Rockets have signed D Elias Carmichael to a WHL contract. From Langley, B.C., Carmichael was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had three goals and 11 assists in 27 regular-season games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.

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