Wheat Kings’ Thornton released from hospital, now with family at home . . . Health of Rockets’ Dach a concern . . . WHL still has three unbeaten teams

F Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings was released from Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday afternoon and now is at home with his family in Chilliwack.

Thornton, an 18-year-old sophomore, was taken to hospital after absorbing a Brandonhard hit in a game with the Vancouver Giants at the Langley Events Centre on Friday night.

The Wheat Kings, who beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-2, tweeted on Saturday that all of “Ben’s CT scans came back clear.”

On Sunday evening, Erin Thornton, Ben’s father, told Taking Note that Ben is dealing with concussion-related issues — a bad headache and dizziness — and also has a “hip that needs attending to.”

It sounds as though Ben won’t be rejoining his team for at least a few days, and could know more after seeing a doctor today (Monday).

“We are extremely grateful the situation isn’t worse and that he will be back with the team in the near future,” added Erin, who played 52 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds over two seasons (1990-92). “The support from the team and messages from friends and family have been overwhelming.”

Vancouver F Kyle Bochek was given a charging major and game misconduct for the hit. The WHL suspended Bochek, with the length yet to be determined. At the same time, Brandon F Brett Hyland was given a TBD suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver D Mazden Leslie in Friday’s game.

The Wheat Kings, without Thornton and Hyland, surrendered the game’s last five goals in losing 5-3 to the Royals in Victoria on Saturday night. Brandon is to play the fifth game of an eight-game road swing in Kamloops against the Blazers on Tuesday.

Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen has taken a long look at the Cougars and their attendance woes. That includes a conversation with John Pateman, one of PrinceGeorgethe team’s six owners and the organization’s president.

At one point, Clarke wrote:

“Pateman doesn’t like to think about how much money the owners have lost since they bought the Cougars but it is substantial, and it’s getting more expensive to run a junior hockey team. Hotel rooms have doubled in price and hotel managers are refusing to cut hockey teams deals that used to allow them to check out after the pre-game nap. Restaurants are still trying to recoup their losses from the pandemic years and the higher cost of food is showing up on menus. Then there’s the price of diesel fuel for the bus, which only seems to go up.

“ ‘We’ve got to get more of the business community on board just as much as the fans,’ said Pateman. ‘In terms of dollars, we probably need 50 per cent more fans at the game and probably 50 per cent more sponsorship revenue. We think we have a playoff team and you never know what happens in the playoffs. We’d like to get to the stage of maybe breaking even in the season and then maybe getting a bit ahead of the game in the playoffs.’

“So where does that leave the Cougars? Despite their losses, there’s no indication ownership is going to move the team to greener pastures or sell it to somebody that might want to build a rink a rink in Nanaimo. The Cougars’ braintrust has faith the bleeding will stop eventually and a winning team on a lengthy playoff run would do wonders to make that happen. But it is up to the fans to show whether they want a WHL team to continue waving the P.G. flag.”

Clarke’s complete piece is right here.

Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Sportsnet apologizes for interrupting gambling commercial with hockey.

The sons of two former NHLers, both of whom own chunks of the Kamloops Blazers, scored newsworthy goals on Friday night. . . . F Tij Iginla, the 16-year-old son of Jarome, counted his first WHL goal as the Seattle Thunderbirds dumped the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-0. Iginla, the ninth overall pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft, scored the game’s final goal. . . . Meanwhile, in Tempe, Ariz., F Josh Doan, the son of Shane, scored the first goal in the school’s new hockey facility — Mullett Arena — and the Sun Devils went on to a 2-0 victory over the Colgate Raiders. Doan, ASU’s captain, scored on a breakaway at 19:15 of the first period, banging in his own rebound. “I couldn’t have made it harder on myself to put it in,” Doan told Jenna Ortiz of the Arizona Republic. “A great pass from (Lukas Sillinger) and it was a pretty special moment. You get an opportunity to score the first in this rink and that’s pretty special. That goes up to a lot of guys that played in the program before me.” . . . Doan, 20, was selected by Kamloops in the WHL’s 2017 draft, but chose the NCAA route. The Arizona Coyotes grabbed him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . BTW, Lukas Sillinger, 22, is the son of former WHL/NHL F Mike Sillinger.

Rick Bowness, the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, won’t be behind the bench COVIDtonight (Monday) when they visit his former club, the Dallas Stars. Bowness tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and missed that night’s home game, a 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers. The Jets are hopeful that Bowness will be available on Friday when they meet the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. . . . With Bowness sidelined, associate coach Scott Arniel is in charge.


You have to think the Kelowna Rockets are concerned about the health of their captain, Colton Dach, who took a high hit during a 5-4 loss to the Silvertips in KelownaEverett on Friday night. Dach, 19, needed help getting off the ice after a hit from D Dexter Whittle, who was given a major and game misconduct. On Saturday, he was hit with a three-game suspension.

Regan Bartel, the longtime radio voice of the Rockets, wrote at rocketfan.ca: “You hope Dach suffered nothing more than a neck injury on the play when he was struck by Whittle just outside the Tips’ blueline. The concern is the injury is worse.”

Dach recently returned to Kelowna after a stint in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. And it turns out that he missed time there after suffering a concussion during a prospects’ game with the Minnesota Wild on Sept. 16. He was placed in concussion protocol the next day.

Dach told Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune: “For me it’s still a mystery, I kind of just hit someone. Having just one shift I was going out there running around hitting some guys and came back to the bench and got a little headache.

“During intermission, it didn’t go away. I was going to try and just play through it but it kept getting worse and worse and never went away. (Those are the) kind of things you need to tell the training staff. . . . (It’s) pretty serious.”

As for symptoms, Dach told Thompson: “A lot of headaches, a lot of neck pain and dizziness, sensitive to the light a little bit. So everything was kind of normal. There (were) no weird things going on.”

The Rockets are scheduled to entertain the Brandon Wheat Kings on Wednesday and the Winnipeg Ice on Saturday, and then will be off until Oct. 28.

Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Phil Mickelson was in Saudi Arabia this week, singing the praises of that LIV Tour, and I was just happy to see Phil back with his people. Mickelson can’t play a lick any more, but he still can talk.”



The WHL goes into a new week with three undefeated teams . . . the same three that were unbeaten when the weekend games began. . . . The Red Deer Rebels, Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds all are 7-0-0. . . . The Rebels went on the road and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-2, on Friday and the Swift Current Broncos, 4-3, on Saturday. This is the second time in franchise history that the Rebels have opened with seven victories. They also did it in 2000-01, a season in which they won the Memorial Cup. Red Deer next is scheduled to play Wednesday against the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Winterhawks played once on the weekend; they beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 5-4, in a shootout. Portland erased a 4-1 deficit with three goals in the latter half of the second period. Kamloops had won its previous four games. The Winterhawks are scheduled to visit the Tri-City Americans on Saturday. . . . Seattle, meanwhile, dumped the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-0, on Friday and then went into Everett and thrashed the Silvertips, 11-3, on Saturday. The Thunderbirds got four goals and five assists from F Lucas Ciona in the two games. Next up for the Thunderbirds will be a visit by the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday. . . . BTW, TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits) points out that the Thunderbirds are the first visiting team ever to score 10 goals in Everett. The Chiefs had held the record, having scored nine in a 9-1 victory on Jan. 28, 2009. . . . It’s worth noting that the host Silvertips bounced back Sunday with a 7-3 victory over the Chiefs behind three goals from F Jackson Berezowski and three assists from F Austin Roest. . . .

The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline (whl.ca/discipline) has been busy of late. Including discipline handed down on Oct. 9, the league issued 13 games in suspensions through Sunday, with two other sentences yet to be determined. As well, the Regina Pats were fined $250 for a warmup violation against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 12; the Edmonton Oil Kings paid $500 for “instigator in last five minutes” of a game against the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Oct. 14. . . .

F Gabe Klassen of the Portland Winterhawks struck for seven goals in his first three games before suffering an undisclosed injury. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ veep/GM/head coach told Joshua Critzer, who covers the Winterhawks for @pnwhockeytalk, that Klassen is back skating and “I would expect he’ll play next week as long as he has a good week in practice.” Sounds like he could return Saturday in Kennewick, Wash., against the Tri-City Americans.


THE BEDARD UPDATE — F Connor Bedard scored twice on Friday — he had eight shots on goal — as the Pats beat the Broncos, 4-3, in Swift Current. Bedard, the likely No. 1 selection in the 2023 NHL draft, broke a 3-3 tie at 19:52 of the third period. The announced attendance was 1,922, the largest Swift Current crowd through four games this season. . . . On Sunday, Bedard ran his point streak to 10 games with one assist as the Pats, who erased a 3-0 deficit with three third-period goals, dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. Bedard drew the primary assist on F Tanner Howe’s tying goal at 9:34 of the third period. Announced attendance was 3,211, the second-largest crowd through five games in Regina this season. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (9) and points (20). F Austin Roest of the Everett Silvertips has 17 points; Roest, teammate Jackson Berezowski and F Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds each has eight goals. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in shots on goal, with 73, in 11 games. Berezowski has 43 in nine games.

Jon Runyan Jr., a guard with the Green Bay Packers, was fined US$5,215 by the NFL after leg-whipping an opponent during the 27-22 loss to the New York Giants in London on Oct. 9. The letter he got informing him of the fine read “further offenses will result in an escalation of disciplinary action, up to and including suspension.” . . . The letter was signed by Jon Runyan Sr. Yes, Junior’s father is the NFL’s vice-president of football operations. . . . “My dad and I always joked about this happening, but I never thought my style of play would ever warrant what he deemed to be unnecessary roughness, but it happened,” Junior told ESPN. “I thought since I left for college, I wouldn’t have to deal with him punishing me anymore, but I was wrong about that.”


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