KIJHL teams experience ammonia scare; will finish game today . . . Ice winning streak at 13 . . . Big night for Giants’ captain

The Kamloops Storm and Columbia Valley Rockies were nearing the end of the kijhlthird period in a Kootenay International Junior Hockey League game in the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena in Invermere, B.C., on Friday night when an ammonia alarm sounded. The junior B game was halted — it was 1-1 with about one minute remaining in the third period — and the arena evacuated. The Kamloops players ended up back on their bus, only this time wearing their equipment. They ended up spending the night, before journeying on to Creston for a Saturday game in which they beat the Thunder Cats, 5-4 in OT.

And now they will have to head back to Invermere to complete the suspended game today. It is to resume at 1:40 p.m. Pacific time.

Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL’s commissioner, confirmed to Taking Note last night that the league will pay the Storm’s expenses incurred as they spend an extra night on the road.

As for the ammonia alarm, according to, “It was determined there was a small leak contained within the heat floor component inside the refrigeration plant.”

Repairs were made on Saturday in time for the Rockies to entertain the Kimberley Dynamiters last night. The Dynamiters won, 4-1.



The Medicine Hat Tigers snapped a seven-game winless drought by going into MedicineHatMoose Jaw and beating the Warriors, 5-1. . . . The Tigers (5-9-4) had been 0-4-3 in their previous seven games. . . . The Warriors (11-7-0) had won their previous two games. . . . F Brayden Yager (9) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead at 2:56 of the first period; the Tigers scored the next five goals, getting two each from F Brendan Lee (8) and F Brayden Boehm (6). . . . F Gavin McKenna, the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft, had an assist for the Tigers. McKenna, who will turn 15 on Dec. 20, now has six assists in seven games. . . . Warriors F Jagger Firkus drew an assist and now is on an 11-game points streak. . . . Yager’s goal pushed his point streak to 10 games. . . . The Warriors had beaten the Tigers, 5-4 in OT, in Medicine Hat on Friday. . . .

In Regina, the Pats broke a 1-1 tie with five straight goals en route to a 6-2 Reginavictory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Regina (9-8-2) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Rebels have followed up that 15-game season-opening win streak with four straight losses (0-3-1). . . . Red Deer was playing its fourth game in five nights, while Regina was in its third outing in four nights. And the Pats will play again this afternoon, this time in Saskatoon. . . . The Pats got two goals and two assists from F Tanner Howe (9), while F Borya Valis scored his ninth goal — he has six goals over his past six games — and added two assists. . . . As for Pats F Connor Bedard, well, he had a goal and an assist to run his point streak to 18 games. He leads the WHL in goals (17), assists (24) and points (41). . . . Regina was 3-3 on the PP. . . Red Deer held a 38-20 edge in shots, but Pats G Matthew Kieper was the game’s first star. . . . The Pats will play their next 10 games on the road. . . .

G Ethan Chadwick stopped 21 shots to record his first WHL shutout and lead the Saskatoonhost Saskatoon Blades to a 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Blades (13-4-0) have won two straight; the Oil Kings (2-16-1) have lost four in a row. . . . Chadwick, an 18-year-old from Saskatoon, is in his second season with the Blades. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 draft. This season, he is 6-3-0, 1.90, .926. . . . The shutout came in Chadwick’s 21st appearance, nine of which have come this season. . . . Saskatoon F Egor Sidorov scored his eighth goal and added three assists. . . . The Oil Kings were 0-3 on the PP, meaning the Blades now have killed off 21 straight penalties. . . . The Blades without F Conner Roulette and F Josh Pillar. . . . Edmonton F Jaxsen Wiebe got tossed 33 seconds into the second period after taking a checking-from-behind major. He already has served a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline for a knee-on-knee hit that took out Pillar on Oct. 23. . . . The Blades are expecting their largest crowd of this season today as F Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats come calling at 4 p.m. . . . Saskatoon’s largest crowd this season is 6,302 on opening night. . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last two goals to beat the visiting LethbridgeSwift Current Broncos, 2-1. . . . Lethbridge (10-8-1) has points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . Swift Current (8-9-0) had won its previous two games. . . . F Logan Wormald (6) got Lethbridge into a tie at 17:37 of the second period, on a PP. . . . D Nolan Bentham (4) broke the tie at 12:32 of the third. . . . The announced attendance of 3,435 was Lethbridge’s second-largest this season, behind only the 4,193 on opening night. . . .

The Vancouver Giants got a goal and four assists from F Zack Ostapchuk, their Vancouvercaptain, as they beat the Cougars, 5-4, in Prince George. . . . The Giants (7-7-4) have points in four straight (3-0-1), all on the road. . . . The Cougars (9-9-0) have lost two in a row. . . . The game drew an announced crowd of 4,463, the first time this season (nine games) that it topped 3,000 in Prince George. . . . They’ll play again in Prince George this afternoon. Yes, a day game after a night game. . . . F Ty Thorpe (9) broke the tie at 18:55 of the second period and F Jaden Lipinski (7) got what turned out to be the winner, on a PP, at 1:42 of the third. . . . Vancouver scored three PP goals. . . . F Samuel Honzek (11) had two goals and two assists for the Giants. . . . Ostapchuk has six goals and 12 assists in 12 games this season. He has nine points over his past four games. . . . D Hudson Thornton had two assists for the Cougars to run his point streak to 10 games. Thornton has two assists in each his last five games. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer had a goal and an assist, and also is on a 10-game streak for the Cougars. He has five goals and three assists over his past four games. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen opened a U.S. Division trip with a 2-1 OT victory over the CalgarySeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . F Oliver Tulk (8) ended it at 1:57 of extra time. . . . Calgary (9-4-2) has won six in a row. . . . Seattle (12-3-1) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . F Luke Prokop (1) had Seattle’s goal, his first with the Thunderbirds. He began his WHL career with the Hitmen, who dealt him to the Edmonton Oil Kings early last season. The Thunderbirds acquired him from the Oil Kings last month, and the NHL’s Nashville Predators assigned him to Seattle last week. . . . F Jared Davidson earned an assist for Seattle to run his point streak to 10 games. . . . Calgary’s penalty-killers were 8-8, including 2-2 in the last four minutes of the third period and early in OT. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks have points in eight straight games after dumping Portlandthe host Victoria Royals, 7-4. . . . The Winterhawks (13-1-2) are 6-0-2 in their past eight games. . . . The Royals (3-14-3) have lost five straight (0-4-1). . . .  The Winterhawks had won, 4-1, in Victoria on Friday. . . . F Aidan Litke had a goal (4) and three assists for Portland, with F Robbie Fromm-Delorme adding a goal (10) and two assists. . . . Portland F Gabe Klassen scored his 14th goal in his 12th game. . . . The Royals got two goals from F Riley Gannon (5). . . . The announced attendance was 3,462, the second-largest crowd in Victoria’s nine home games this season, behind only the 3,837 from opening night. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice ran its winning streak to 13 with an 8-3 victory over the WinnipegIcevisiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Ice now is 18-1-0, with that one loss having been by a 4-1 count to the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Oct. 8. . . . Brandon now is 7-10-2. . . . Last night, the Ice broke a 2-2 tie with the only three goals of the second period, then added three more early in the third. . . . F Zach Benson (10) had two of Winnipeg’s goals, the first coming while shorthanded, and an assist. . . . Ice F Matthew Savoie added a goal (7) and two assists. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 32 shots to earn the victory. This season, he is 14-0-0, 2.42, .915. In his 62-game career, he is 55-3-2, 2.24, .912. . . . G Mason Beaupit, acquired by Winnipeg from the Spokane Chiefs earlier this week, was on the bench. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers struck four times in the first period en route to a 6-1 Kamloopsvictory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kamloops (8-4-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Kelowna (6-8-1) had won its past two outings. . . . Kamloops held a 15-3 edge in shots in that first period. . . . Blazers F Logan Stankoven had a goal (11) and an assist as he ran his point streak to 11 games. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ernst stopped 19 shots. He is 7-4-2, 2.60, .913 this season. . . . F Shea Van Olm, acquired this week from the Edmonton Oil Kings, had one assist in his Kamloops debut. . . . The announced attendance was 5,361, the Blazers’ largest crowd this season. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs ended a nine-game losing skid with a 7-3 victory over the Spokanevisiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (4-11-1) was 0-8-1 in its past nine games. . . . Tri-City (7-11-0) has lost three in a row. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and two assists from F Cade Hayes (5), while F Chase Bertholet (7) added a goal and two assists. . . . Americans D Lukas Dragicevic (6) ran his point streak to 12 games with a first-period goal and an assist. He has two points in each of his past four games. . . . The announced attendance was 6,115, the third-largest crowd through Spokane’s first 10 home games.


For even more WHL info and numbers, go to Twitter and follow Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). You won’t be disappointed.



Bruce Luebke, a former longtime radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings, will be appointed acting deputy mayor when Brandon city council meets on Monday. It will be the new council’s first regular meeting since last month’s civic election, and councillors will receive various appointments and committee positions. Luebke, who is beginning his second term on council, was acclaimed this time. . . . Luebke had been the play-by-play voice of the Wheat Kings since 1993 when he left before the 2016-17 season. . . .

Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator reported Saturday that the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs are going to have to find a new home for most of two seasons (2023-25) as their home arena undergoes renovations. . . . “Right now I’m so pissed off,” Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer told Radley. “We won a championship for the city and I’ve just been kicked out by the city.” . . . Radley’s complete story is right here. . . .

In a Saturday night OHL trade, the Peterborough Petes acquired F Brennan Othmann from the Flint Firebirds for D Artem Guryev and three draft picks — a second-rounder in 2024 that originated with the Hamilton Bulldogs, a third-rounder in 2023 and a third-rounder in 2026. The latter two both belonged to the Petes. . . . Othmann, 19, was the New York Rangers’ first-round selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft. He is second in the OHL points derby, with 24, including 11 goals, in 16 games. . . . Guryev, 19, is a Russian who was a fifth-round pick by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

The Penticton Vees ran their season-opening winning streak to 18 games on Saturday, beating the Smoke Eaters (7-8-2), 2-1 in a shootout, in Trail . . . The Vees next are scheduled to play on Friday and Saturday when they entertain the West Kelowna Warriors and Prince George Spruce Kings (10-5-2). . . . The Warriors also are off to a terrific start (12-3-2), but still trail the Vees by 10 points in the Interior Division.

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WHL asks players to opt out of lawsuit. . . . Yes, Matvichuk wants to keep coaching. . . . Blades sign three 2019 draft picks


D Nick Ross (Regina, Kamloops, Vancouver, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had nine goals and 31 assists in 52 games. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

F Dalibor Bortňák (Kamloops, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and 21 assists in 54 games. . . .

F Parker Bowles (Tri-City, 2011-16) has signed a one-year contract with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Lillehammer (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had 20 goals and 25 assists in 48 games. . . .

F Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, 2002-06) has signed a two-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL), he had seven goals and 15 assists in 30 games. . . .

D Clint Filbrandt (Tri-City, Kootenay, 2012-14) has signed a one-year contract with DEAC Debrecen (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with U of Lethbridge (USports, Canada West), he had two goals and five assists in 25 games. . . .

F Calder Brooks (Calgary, Prince Albert, Spokane, 2011-15) has signed a one-year contract with Lyon (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with St. Mary’s U (USports, Atlantic University Sport), he had six goals and 15 assists in 29 games. He also had three goals and one assist in three games with the Wichita Thunder (ECHL). . . .

F Danis Zaripov (Swift Current, 1998-99) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). This season, he had nine goals and 23 assists in 48 games. He was third on his team in points. . . .

F Milan Jurík (Prince Albert, 2006-07) has signed a one-year contract extension with Mulhouse (France, Ligue Magnus). An alternate captain, he had six goals and 17 assists in 42 games this season. . . .

F Brendan Shinnimin (Tri-City, 2007-12) has signed a two-year contract extension with Växjö Lakers (Sweden, SHL). This season, he had 17 goals and 16 assists in 47 games. He tied for the team lead in goals and points. . . .

F Marek Kalus (Spokane, Brandon, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga), he had 20 goals and 30 assists in 50 games. He led the team in goals and points.


Rick Westhead, TSN’s senior correspondent, reported Tuesday that the WHL “is asking current and former players to opt out of a class-action minimum-wage lawsuit against the league, suggesting that the future of amateur sports in Canada is at risk. The WHL shared its message in an e-bulletin that was sent Tuesday by email to a distribution list that includes current and former players. The group email was obtained by TSN.” . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.

It began with a report in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that had Richard Matvichuk, the former head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, as a candidate for the head-coaching position with the ECHL’s Komets.

Matvichuk wasn’t the favourite, reported Justin A. Cohn, but he was believed to be in the chase.

Then came a rumour that, no, Matvichuk didn’t want to coach, and that he would stay in Prince George and get involved with minor hockey.

Well, it turns out that Matvichuk, a 46-year-old native of Edmonton, isn’t through with coaching. At least, he hopes he isn’t.

As he told Taking Note: “Yes, I want to coach.”

And why shouldn’t he?

A defenceman, Matvichuk played three seasons (1989-92) with the Saskatoon Blades before going on to a professional career that included 796 regular-season NHL games and another 123 in the playoffs. His name is on the Stanley Cup (Dallas Stars, 1998-99).

His coaching career includes two seasons as assistant GM/assistant coach with the Texas-based Allen Americans, who then were in the CHL. He then spent two seasons (2014-16) as director of hockey operations and head coach of the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks. He was the ECHL’s coach of the year in the second of those seasons.

Matvichuk brought that track record to the Cougars, and he guided them to first place in the B.C. Division with a franchise-record 45 victories in his first season. That marked the first time the franchise had won a WHL banner.

But the Cougars went all-in that season, then were upset in six games by the Portland Winterhawks in the first round of the playoffs.

The Cougars spent the past two seasons trying to get back on track, as often happens to teams that try to seize the moment by going all-in.

General manager Mark Lamb, who was nearing the end of his first season with the Cougars, fired Matvichuk with 16 games remaining this season. Matvichuk’s three-year contract was to have expired following the season.

At the time, the Cougars were 16-30-6 and on an 11-game losing skid. Lamb stepped in as head coach and the slump reached a franchise-record 17 games before it finally ended. The Cougars went 3-11-2 under Lamb to finish at 19-41-8 and out of the playoffs.

During the season, the Cougars’ ownership, having surveyed the damage, reached the conclusion that it would never again go all-in, that the price to be paid just isn’t worth it because, as they found out, there aren’t any guarantees.

It also has to be pointed out that the Cougars’ 2018-19 season, at least in terms of grabbing a playoff spot, was done in by perhaps the worst stretch of scheduling in WHL history.

The Cougars were 11-14-3 in December when they headed into an absolutely bizarre 11-game road trip that was broken up by the Christmas break and included three separate treks into the U.S. Division.

Here’s a bit of what I wrote in February:
“If you’re wondering why things went south in Prince George this season, it may have had something to do with the schedule. As bad as 16-30-6 may sound now, the Cougars were 11-14-3 as they began an insane 11-game road trip that was interrupted by the Christmas break and included three separate jaunts into the U.S. Division. They went 3-8-0 on that trip, came home and beat Kelowna twice, and are 0-8-3 since those victories.

“Team management has since gone on the record as saying it will never again accept such goofy scheduling.”

The Cougars split with the visiting Victoria Royals on Dec. 1 and 2, then didn’t play at home again until Jan. 11 and 12 when they swept Kelowna.

It’s no wonder that Matvichuk doesn’t feel that he is done with coaching.

The WHL will have three of its coaches working benches during the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in November. . . . Michael Dyck, the head coach of the Vancouver Giants, has been named by Hockey Canada as head coach of Team Canada White. . . . Ryan Marsh, the associate coach with the Saskatoon Blades, will be an assistant coach alongside Dyck. . . . Steve O’Rourke, an assistant coach with the Prince George Cougars, is to be an assistant coach on Team Canada Red. . . . The tournament is to be held in Medicine Hat and Swift Current, Nov. 2-9.

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The Saskatoon Blades have signed three 2019 bantam draft selections to WHL contracts. . . . F Brandon Lisowsky, from Coquitlam, B.C., was taken in the first round, ninth overall. He is the eighth of the 22 first-round selections to sign a WHL contract. This season, Lisowsky had 61 goals and 48 assists in 53 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. . . . F Hayden Smith, from Kamloops, was selected in the second round. He had 24 goals and 23 assists in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team. . . . G Ethan Chadwick, from Saskatoon, was a third-round pick. He had a 2.83 GAA and a .920 save percentage in 22 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Stallions.


The Regina Pats have signed D Layton Feist to a WHL contract. Feist, from Coldstream, B.C., was selected in the first round, 17th overall, of the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. This season, he had eight goals and 14 assists in 20 games with the OMAHA (Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association) North Zone Kings. . . . His older brother, Tyson, is a defenceman with the Pats.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Brayden Boehm to a WHL contract.  He was a second-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . From Nanaimo, he had 16 goals and 24 in 30 games with the Delta Hockey Academy’s prep green team this season.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Caleb Wyrostok to a WHL contract. From Medicine Hat, he was a ninth-round selection by the Broncos in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Wyrostok, 16, played this season for the Northern Alberta X-Treme elite 15 team, putting up 20 goals and 15 assists in 30 games.

The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders have signed Geoff Grimwood as their new general manager and head coach. Grimwood, from Victoria, spent 2018-19 as the GM and head coach of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Prior to that, he was the GM and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers for three seasons.

Bob Beatty, a veteran junior A coach, has signed on with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons as an associate coach. For the past two seasons, Beatty has been the head coach of the bantam prep team at the Shawnigan Lake, B.C., School. In Fort McMurray, Beatty will be working alongside Dave Dupas, who is preparing for his first season as general manager and head coach.

Pierre-Paul Lamoureux is the new head coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force. A native of Grand Forks, N.D., he played three seasons (2004-07) with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels and worked as their associate coach in 2016-17. Lamoureux was the Force’s associate head coach for the past two seasons. . . . Lamoureux, 31, will be the youngest head coach in the league. He takes over from Cary Eades, who stays on as general manager and president of hockey operations.


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