Bedard adds four more points in OT victory . . . Rocha a rock for Broncos . . . Blazers, Thunderbirds clinch division titles


BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

THE BEDARD REPORT: Ho hum . . . Yes, it was another one of those nights for F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats. . . . On Friday, he had a goal and four assists as he led his guys back from a 3-0 deficit to a 5-3 victory over the visiting Winnipeg Ice, the CHL’s No. 1-ranked team. . . . On Saturday, Bedard scored once and added three assists as he and his pals overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 6-5 in OT. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (59), assists (64) and points (123). . . . In 124 regular-season games, he has 251 points — 122 goals and 129 assists. . . . He has put up 32 points, including 14 goals, over his past nine games. . . . Bedard now has played in 19 games since return from the World Junior Championship; he has 32 goals and 27 assists over that stretch. . . . Next up? The Saskatoon Blades are in Regina this afternoon for what will be a third game in fewer than 48 hours for both teams.


Mike Stothers, an assistant coach with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks who did a turn as head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, revealed on Saturday that he has been diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma of the lymph nodes. He is to begin treatment, which is to involve surgery, in the near future. . . . “If I could share one simple message to all,” Stothers, 61, said. “Listen to your body. If you notice something unusual, or don’t feel like yourself, consult a doctor immediately. Please do no wait. It could be the best decision you ever make.” . . . Stothers spent three seasons with the Warriors (2011-14). The Warriors got into the third round of the playoffs in his first season, but then missed the playoffs each of the next two seasons. . . . He ended up the head coach of the Manchester Monarchs in 2014-15 and guided them to the Calder Cup as AHL champions.


CANADA WEST UPDATE: F Josh Prokop’s goal in OT gave the visiting U of Alberta Golden Bears a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Dinos on Saturday night. . . . The Golden Bears won despite coughing up a 4-0 lead as the Dinos scored four times in the third period. . . . The best-of-three Canada West final is 1-1 with the deciding game scheduled for tonight in Calgary.



If the WHL playoffs started today:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Winnipeg (1) vs. Swift Current (8)

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

Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)

Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)

Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)

Portland (3) vs. Tri-City (6)

Prince George (4) vs. Everett (5)

——

SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
F Conor Geekie scored three times as the Winnipeg Ice wrapped up a 10-game road trip with an 8-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Ice, which had lost its previous two games, went 8-2-0 on the trip. . . . Geekie opened the scoring with his 30th goal, at 3:01 of the first period, scored again at 13:51 of the second for a 5-1 lead, and completed his hat trick at 16:37 to put the Ice ahead 7-1. . . . Geekie has three hat tricks this season, with two of them in his past five games. . . . F Connor McClennon (41) had a goal and two assists for the winners, and F Owen Pederson had three assists. . . . Winnipeg (49-9-1) leads the Eastern Conference by 12 points over Saskatoon. . . . Brandon (23-28-8) has lost two in a row and now is five points from a playoff spot. . . .

G Joey Rocha stopped 24 shots to post his first WHL shutout as the Swift Current Broncos beat the Oil Kings, 8-0, in Edmonton. . . . Rocha, who turned 18 on Jan. 22, is a freshman from Nanaimo, B.C. . . . F Connor Hvidston (19) had two goals and an assist, and D Owen Pickering drew three assists. . . . F Josh Filmon scored his 40th goal in his 54th game this season, and D Sam Ward got his first. . . . Filmon went into this season with 25 goals in 84 games. . . . Ward, a 17-year-old from Kamloops, scored in his 26th game this season. . . . The Broncos held a 50-24 edge in shots and were 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . Swift Current (28-27-3) has won three straight. It is eighth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Medicine Hat and three ahead of Calgary. . . . Edmonton (8-48-3) has lost 11 in a row and been outscored 70-14 in the process. . . . The Oil Kings have been blanked eight times this season. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the Warriors opened a 3-0 lead and went on to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-3. . . . F Jagger Firkus (32), shorthanded, and F Eric Alarie (18) gave the hosts a 2-0 first-period lead, and D Matthew Gallant, with his first of the season, on a PP, made it 3-0 at 6:26 of the second. . . . The Raiders weren’t able to catch up, although they did get to within a goal, at 4-3, when F Evan Herman (15) scored at 12:39 of the third period. . . . Warriors F Ryder Korczak (24) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . The Warriors got 34 stops from G Jackson Unger. . . . Moose Jaw (36-22-3) had lost its previous three games. It is settling into fourth spot in the Eastern Conference, 12 points behind Saskatoon and five ahead of Lethbridge. . . . Prince Albert (25-31-3) has lost two in a row and now is six points from a playoff spot. . . .

F Alexander Suzdalev’s OT goal gave the host Regina Pats a 6-5 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Suzdalev scored his 35th goal of the season 55 seconds into extra time off a pass from F Connor Bedard, who finished with a goal, his 59th, and three assists. . . . Red Deer led this one 3-1 halfway through the second period. . . . D Stanislav Svozil (10), at 10:13 and F Riley Ginnell (7), at 11:30, got Regina even. . . . F Ben King (17) got Red Deer back in front before the period ended. . . . The Pats took their first lead on two goals from F Borya Valis (20), at 13:34 and 15:02 of the third period. . . . Red Deer F Jayden Grubbe (16) forced OT at 19:08. . . . Svozil also had three assists for a four-point evening. . . . F Kai Uchacz (46) had a goal and two assists for Red Deer, which got three assists from D Mats Lindgren, who has eight points in two games. He had a goal and four assists in a 6-3 victory in Brandon on Friday. . . . Regina (31-24-3) has won six in a row. It is sixth in the Eastern Conference, five points behind Lethbridge and four ahead of Medicine Hat. . . . Red Deer (39-17-5) has points in two straight (1-0-1). . . .

In Saskatoon, the Blades scored the game’s first five goals en route to a 5-1 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . D Charlie Wright (6) gave the Blades a first-period lead and they broke it open with three second-period goals, from F Jake Chiasson (19), F Jayden Wiens (15) and F Egor Sidorov (38). . . . Saskatoon G Ethan Chadwick stopped 19 shots to record the victory over a Lethbridge side that included his brother, Noah. . . . Saskatoon (41-13-5) has points in nine straight (8-0-1). It looks like it will be the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed when the playoffs open. . . . Lethbridge (32-22-6) had won its previous two games. It is fifth in the conference, five points behind Moose Jaw and five ahead of Regina. . . .

G Thomas Milic stopped 32 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-0 victory over the Silvertips in Everett. . . . This was Milic’s fourth shutout this season and the eighth of his career. This season, he is 23-3-1, 2.06, .927. . . . F Nico Myatovic got Seattle a 2-0 lead with goals at 8:56 of the first period, via a PP, and 1:21 of the second. . . . Myatovic, an 18-year-old from Prince George, also had an assist. He has 25 goals in 58 games this season after scoring four times in 67 games last season. . . . F Reid Schaefer (26) also scored twice for Seattle. He has goals in five straight games. . . . Seattle (47-9-2) has won 12 straight games and has clinched first place in the U.S. Division for the first time since 2015-16. It also leads the Western Conference by 10 points over Kamloops. . . . Everett (30-25-3) had won its previous three games. It is tied with Tri-City for fifth in the conference, two points behind Prince George. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers clinched their fourth straight B.C. Division with a 7-2 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . The Blazers had beaten the Rockets, 8-1, in Kamloops on Friday. . . . Kamloops held a 109-50 edge in shots in the two games, including 56-28 last night. . . . The Blazers broke open a 1-1 game with six straight goals. . . . F Caedan Bankier (32) gave Kamloops a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 16:30 of the first period, and F Connor Levis (18) made it 3-1 just 2:17 later while shorthanded. F Ryan Hofer (38), on another PP, upped it to 4-1 at 15:41. . . . D Olen Zellweger (24), with his second of the game, gave Kamloops a 5-1 edge at 19:58. . . . The Blazers got three assists from F Logan Stankoven. . . . Hofer added two assists to his goal. . . . Kamloops (40-11-6) isn’t likely to catch Seattle atop the Western Conference so, as B.C. Division champ, will be the No. 2 seed when the playoffs open. . . . Kelowna (23-33-3) is eighth in the conference, six points behind Victoria and 12 ahead of Victoria. . . .

F Adam Mechura’s PP goal in OT gave the visiting Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F James Stefan of the Winterhawks was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 19:45 of the third period for a hit on F Ethan Ernst. Mechura’s 21st goal of the season won the game at 2:35 of OT. . . . Tri-City F Jalen Luypen (12), who also had two assists, forced OT with a PP goal at 17:39 of the third period. . . . The Americans were 2-for-5 on the PP. Portland was 0-for-2. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic (15) had a goal and two assists for the winners. . . . Tri-City (28-24-7) had lost its previous three games. It is tied with Everett for fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind Prince George. . . . Portland (36-17-6) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2) and looks to be the conference’s No. 3 seed for the first round of the playoffs. . . .

F Chase Bertholet scored 28 seconds into OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . The Cougars had opened the weekend doubleheader with a 5-2 victory on Friday night. . . . F Berkly Catton, who had two goals and two assists, had tied the game, 4-4, with his 19th goal at 6:44 of the third period. . . . Catton, who turned 17 on Jan. 14, was the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft. He now has 46 points in 54 games. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft (41) had given the Cougars a 4-3 lead at 5:11 of the third. . . . D Mac Gross had three assists for the Chiefs. . . . The Cougars got a goal (16) and two assists from D Ethan Samson. . . . Spokane lost F Grady Lane to a charging major and game misconduct at 19:42 of the second period. . . . Spokane (14-38-7) had lost its previous two games. . . . Prince George (30-24-5) is fourth in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Everett and Tri-City. . . .

G Brett Mirwald turned aside 34 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . The Giants had doubled up on the Royals, 4-2, in Langley, B.C., on Friday. . . . Mirwald came up with 14 saves in the third period as his guys were outshot, 15-5. This season, the 19-year-old from Saskatoon is 6-8-5, 3.30, .907. . . . D Carson Haynes (3) had a goal, an empty-netter, and two assists for Vancouver. . . . The Giants won this one with three second-period goals. . . . F Skyler Bruce (12) tied it 1-1 just 56 seconds into the period. F Ty Thorpe (32) gave the Giants the lead at 13:24 and F Ty Halaburda (18) made it 3-1 at 14:46. . . . Vancouver (24-28-7) clinched a playoff spot with its third straight victory. It is seventh in the Western Conference and appears headed to a first-round meeting with Kamloops. . . . Victoria (15-39-7) has lost eight in a row (0-7-1) and is 12 points from a playoff spot with seven games remaining.


Eagles


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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Winterhawks lose Lucius, drop shootout decision at home . . . Chadwick blanks Oil Kings again . . . Baumgartner a Hall of Famer

F Chaz Lucius of the Portland Winterhawks underwent shoulder surgery on PortlandMonday and his season is over. The team made the announcement on Monday afternoon. . . . “Lucius surgery was successful and he is expected to make a full recovery,” the team said in a news release. . . . Lucius, 19, put up 15 points, including five goals, in six games with the Winterhawks after having been assigned to them by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. He had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose before joining Team USA at the World Junior Championship. . . . Lucius, a first-round pick by the Jets in the NHL’s 2021 draft, scored three goals, including the OT winner, in the third-place game at the WJC as Team USA beat Sweden, 8-7. . . . Lucius was the WHL’s player of the week for Jan. 23-29, then was injured in a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Jan. 29. Lucius had a goal and an assist, his goal at 19:43 of the third period forcing OT.


Here’s a look at the WHL draft picks traded away by the Seattle Thunderbirds in recent times . . .

2023: First (to Prince Albert), first (Saskatoon), second (Edmonton), third (Edmonton), fourth (Saskatoon), fourth (Kelowna, conditional), sixth (Saskatoon).

2024: First (Kelowna, conditional), second (Saskatoon), third (Prince Albert), fourth (Edmonton), sixth (Edmonton).

2025: First (Edmonton), second (Kelowna, conditional), third (Edmonton), Fourth (Edmonton), sixth (Prince Albert).

2026: First (Edmonton), second (Prince Albert), third (Saskatoon), fourth (Edmonton), fifth (Edmonton), sixth (Prince Albert, conditional).

Of course, the Thunderbirds acquired F Dylan Guenther, D Nolan Allan, F Brad Lambert, D Luke Prokop, F Colton Dach and F Kyle Crnkovic in the deals that included those picks.


Green


TUESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ethan Chadwick blocked 21 shots to lead the host Saskatoon Blades to a 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . It was Chadwick’s second shutout this season and the second of his two-season career. This season, he is 16-7-2, 2.53, .902. . . . Chadwick also shut out the Oil Kings on Nov. 12, making 21 saves in a 5-0 victory. . . . The Oil Kings have been blanked six times this season. . . . F Brandon Lisowsky (27) scored the game’s first goal and that’s all Chadwick needed. . . . F Egor Sidorov’s 30th goal, at 18:09 of the second, gave the Blades a 3-0 lead. He has 53 points in 38 games this season, after finishing last season with 35, including 23 goals, in 58 games. . . . F Conner Roulette returned to Saskatoon’s lineup after a four-game absence and drew two assists. . . . The Blades swept the four-game season series from the Oil Kings, outscoring them 19-2 in the process. . . . Saskatoon (33-12-4), which is third in the Eastern Conference, has won three in a row. . . . The Blades are to begin a tour of the B.C. Division in Kamloops on Friday night. . . .

It’s worth noting that the Oil Kings need four victories in their remaining games to avoid setting one of those records that you’d rather not be anywhere near. . . . Last season, the Oil Kings went 50-14-4 in the regular season before going on to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup as playoff champions. This season, they are 8-38-3 and are perilously close to establishing a record for the fewest victories by the defending champions. That mark belongs to the Swift Current Broncos who won the 2017-18 WHL championship and followed that up by going 11-51-6 in 2018-19. . . . The Oil Kings have 19 games remaining in their season. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels scored on their first two shootout attempts to beat the Winterhawks, 5-4, in Portland. . . . Red Deer is 2-1-0 in the U.S. Division on this trip. . . . The Winterhawks scored twice in the last four minutes of the third period to get it to OT. . . . F Kai Uchacz and F Ben King had the shootout goals. . . . Earlier, King notched his 11th and 12th goals this season; the first one was the 100th regular-season goal of his career. King, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, scored the first five with the Swift Current Broncos and the rest with the Rebels. . . . King’s first goal tied it, 2-2, at 11:45 of the second period. His second goal, at 10:10 of the third period, gave the visitors a 4-2 lead. . . . F Josh Zakreski (8) got the Winterhawks to within a goal at 16:08, and F Kyle Chyzowski (13) tied it at 18:59 with G Dante Giannuzzi on the bench for an extra attacker. . . . F Jack O’Brien drew three assists for Portland. . . . Red Deer (35-11-4) closed to within one point of the Eastern Conference-leading Winnipeg Ice, which holds five games in hand. . . . Portland (35-10-4) is tied with the Seattle Thunderbirds atop the Western Conference. . . .

With his mother in the stands, F Ondrej Becher scored twice and added an assist as the Prince George Cougars got past the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1. . . . Becher, an 18-year-old freshman from Czechia, has nine goals and 16 assists in 44 games. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft recorded three assists. . . . The Cougars scored the game’s last five goals. . . . Prince George (22-21-4) has won three in a row. It is sixth in the Western Conference, four points behind the Everett Silvertips with two games in hand. . . . Kelowna (17-27-3) had won its previous three games. It is eighth in the conference, seven points behind the Vancouver Giants and four ahead of the Victoria Royals. . . . The Cougars and Rockets will play again tonight in Prince George and make it three in a row on Friday in Kelowna.


Dad


Former WHL D Nolan Baumgartner was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame this week. Now an assistant coach with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, Baumgartner twice was named WHL defenceman of the year while with the Kamloops Blazers (1992-96). He also was selected as the CHL’s top defenceman for 1994-95, and helped Kamloops with two Memorial Cup titles. . . . He played in the AHL with the Portland Pirates, Norfolk Admirals, Manitoba, Philadelphia Phantoms, Iowa Stars and Chicago Wolves. He has been as assistant coach with Chicago, the Utica Comets and the Moose.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s will be moving to Gatineau for a handful of playoff games. With The Arena at TD Place, their normal home, busy with the World men’s curling championship, from April 1-9, the 67’s will play as many as three first-round playoff games at the Slush Puppie Centre in Gatineau, Que. The 6,700-seat Slush Puppy Centre is the home of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques. . . . Interestingly, the 67’s and Olympiques are to play a home-and-home series this week, opening Thursday in Ottawa and concluding Saturday in Gatineau.


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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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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Judge quashes class-action bid, but story not over . . . Saturday in WHL includes two 1-0 games . . . Stankoven keeps streak going

If you are one of those folks who believe that the pandemic is over, you should know a few things:

CovidAs of Saturday, 9 p.m. PT, the Coronavirus Resource Centre at Johns Hopkins University reports that 3,894 people died from COVID-19 in the U.S. in the past week, including 629 in the past day. . . . The total number of deaths in the U.S. is 1,111,485. . . .

In Canada, there were 201 deaths from COVID-19 in the past week, with 15 of those in the past day. That brought the total number of deaths in Canada to 50,704.

Over? Uhh, maybe not.


Rick Westhead of TSN reported on Saturday:

“Rather than approving a request from several former Canadian Hockey League CHLplayers to certify a hazing, bullying and abuse lawsuit filed three years ago against the CHL, its three major junior hockey leagues, and its teams as a class action, an Ontario judge has proposed an alternate potential path to justice.

“In a 103-page decision released late Friday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell applauded the bravery of former CHL players, including Dan Carcillo, Garrett Taylor and Stephen Quirk, for sharing their stories in a public forum but said the case was not suitable to proceed as a class-action lawsuit. . . .

“An abused hockey player has only individual causes of action against his own team and his own leagues . . .”

According to Westhead, Perell also wrote that “bullying, harassment, hazing, and criminal conduct is pervasive amongst the teams of the WHL, the teams of the OHL, the teams of the QMJHL, and the teams of the CHL. . . . Discrete wrongdoing by the defendants was pervasive, and to the shame of the perpetrators and their enablers discrete wrongdoing has been pervasive for decades.”

The judge also wrote: “The evidence establishes that some unknown number of . . . players in the WHL, OHL, or QMJHL were hazed, bullied, assaulted, threatened, stigmatized, mocked, demeaned, derided, ridiculed, slandered, and humiliated by their teammates team staff, agents, employees, and servants of the WHL, OHL, or QMJHL.”

Westhead’s complete story is right here.


Smokey1

Smokey2There is more on the late Don (Smokey) McLeod, the WHA/NHLer from Trail, B.C., who was among the first goaltenders to use a curved stick. . . . Back in the day, Doug Soetaert, the former general manager of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, was tending goal for the Edmonton Oil Kings, At the same time, he recalls, the WHA’s Edmonton Oilers were playing out of the Edmonton Gardens. . . . McLeod would have been playing with the Houston Aeros or Vancouver Blazers at the time. . . . “I would go over after practice and help WHA visitors as stick boy,” Soetaert tells Taking Note. “He gave me one for helping him out.” . . . Soetaert sent me photos of that particular stick. You have to admit that’s some kind of curve. . . . Soetaert played four seasons (1971-75) with the Oil Kings before going on to a pro career that included 284 regular-season NHL games.


Headline from The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Financial advisors recommend buying grocery stock instead of groceries.



Shapes


SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

F Luca Hauf scored twice and added two assists to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . The Oil Kings (8-37-3) had lost their previous two games. . . . Calgary (23-18-7) has lost five in a row (0-2-3). . . . Hauf, from Krefeld, Germany, turned 19 on Jan. 11. A freshman, he has 21 points, including five goals, in 40 games. This was his first four-point game and first multi-goal outing. . . . D Jacob Hoffrogge, who went into the game with two goals and two assists, all with the Everett Silvertips, this season, had three assists for Edmonton. It was his ninth game with the Oil Kings. . . . Attendance at the afternoon game in the Saddledome was announced at 9,843, meaning the Hitmen has played in front of 27,066 in its past two home games. . . . Calgary is sixth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Regina Pats. . . .

G Tyler Palmer stopped 35 shots and F Beau Courtney scored the only goal as the host Everett Silvertips got past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 1-0. . . . It was Palmer’s fourth career shutout; the first three came with the Victoria Royals. This was his 16th appearance since being acquired by Everett. . . . Courtney’s seventh goal of the season came at 18:04 of the first period. . . . Seattle was without D Jordan Gustafson and F Lucas Ciona, both with undisclosed injuries. . . . Seattle had beaten the Silvertips, 6-5 in OT, in Kent, Wash., on Friday. . . . The announced attendance of 8,249 was the Silvertips’ largest this season. . . . Everett (24-22-2) is fifth in the Western Conference, five points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . Seattle (35-9-2) slipped back to second, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . .

G Talyn Boyko stopped 51 shots to lead the host Kelowna Rockets to a 4-0 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Boyko stopped 17, 13 and 21 shots by period. He has four career shutouts, two this season. . . . D Elias Carmichael scored Kelowna’s last two goals. Carmichael, a 19-year-old from Langley, B.C., has five goals in 40 games this season. He went into the season with seven goals in 130 games. . . . With five players out with undisclosed injuries, the Rockets dressed 10 forwards and five defencemen. . . . The injured Rockets: D John Babcock, F Andrew Cristall, F Max Graham, F Ty Hurley and D Marek Rocak. . . . The Rockets (17-26-3) have won three in a row for the first time this season. They are eighth in the Western Conference, four points ahead of the Victoria Royals. . . . The Raiders (19-27-3) went 3-2-0 on their B.C. Division trek. They go home eight points out of a playoff spot. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers erased a 2-0 first-period deficit as they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . F Oasiz Wiesblatt (19) scored twice for theTigers, getting them on the scoreboard at 15:24 of the first period and breaking a 2-2 tie at 2:46 of the second. . . . The teams combined for five goals in the game’s first 22:46, then didn’t score again until F Tyler MacKenzie (13) got an empty-netter at 19:16 of the third. . . . The Tigers got 35 stops from G Evan May, who posted his second WHL victory in his 16th appearance. . . . The announced attendance was 2,276. They are expecting about 7,000 fans today for a visit by F Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats. . . . Medicine Hat (20-21-8) has points in seven straight games (5-0-2) and has closed to within one point of the eighth-place Swift Current Broncos in the Eastern Conference. . . . Lethbridge (27-18-5) is fifth in the conference. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last three goals to beat the visiting Tri-City Americans, 4-1. . . . It was a bounce-back victory of the Winterhawks, who had been beaten, 6-1, by the Americans in Kennewick, Wash., on Friday night. . . . G Gabe Klassen (28) snapped a 1-1 tie at 13:30 of the second period and F Aidan Litke (12) added insurance at 19:16. . . . G Dante Giannuzzi stopped 25 shots in running his numbers this season to 22-6-2, 2.94, .905. . . .  The Winterhawks remain without F Chaz Lucius and also scratched F Robbie Fromm-Delorme, both with undisclosed injuries. . . . Portland (35-10-3), which has clinched a playoff spot, had lost its previous two games. This victory moved it back atop the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Americans (25-17-5) hadn’t lost in regulation time since dropping a 2-1 decision to the Chiefs in Spokane on Dec. 30. The Americans went on a 10-0-3 run after that loss. . . . Tri-City is fourth in the Western Conference. . . .

F Koehn Ziemmer scored twice and F Chase Wheatcroft set a club record as the host Prince George Cougars beat the Victoria Royals, 4-2. . . . The Cougars had won 8-1 in the first game of the weekend doubleheader on Friday night. . . . Ziemmer, who has 29 goals, gave his guys a 3-1 lead at 5:14 of the third period, then made it 4-2 at 19:50 with the empty-netter. . . . Wheatcroft scored his 30th goal of the season for a 1-0 lead at 5:13 of the first period. It was his 19th on the PP and that’s a club single-season record. He had shared the record with F Berkeley Buchko (2000-01). . . . Prince George (21-21-4) is sixth in the Western Conference, four points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Victoria (14-31-5) is ninth, four points behind the eighth-place Kelowna Rockets. . . . In Friday’s game, the Royals lost F Jamie Poole, their leading scorer, and F Matthew Hodson with undisclosed injuries. They already were without D  Gannon Laroque, F Brayden Schuurman and D Austin Zemlak. . . . Things don’t get any easier for the Royals as they are to play their third game in fewer than 48 hours in Kamloops today. . . .

G Ethan Chadwick stopped 34 shots to lead the host Saskatoon Blades to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . Chadwick, who turned 19 on Jan. 27, is from Saskatoon. He is 14-7-2, 2.67, .898 in his sophomore season. . . . F Jake Chiasson (13) broke a 2-2 tie at 3:21 of the third period. . . . F Connor McClennon scored both Winnipeg goals, giving him 30 this season. He has 250 career points, including 122 goals, in 220 regular-season games. . . . Saskatoon was 2-for-2 on the PP; Winnipeg was 1-for-2. . . . The Blades scratched G Austin Elliott, F Justin Liens, F Tyler Parr, F Josh Pillar, F Conner Roulette and F Jayden Wiens, all with undisclosed injuries, and D Blake Gustafson, who was ill. . . . Saskatoon plays at home today (Brandon) and Tuesday (Edmonton) before heading out on a B.C. Division tour that begins Friday in Kamloops. . . . The Blades (31-12-4) are third in the Eastern Conference, nine points behind Winnipeg (37-7-1), which had won four in a row, and four points behind the Red Deer Rebels. . . .

F Ben King scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Red Deer Rebels a 1-0 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . It was the first game in the Rebels’ U.S. Division tour. . . . The Rebels got 26 saves from G Kyle Kelsey. . . . G Dawson Cowan stopped 45 shots at the other end. . . . Red Deer (34-10-4) leads the Central Division and is three points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Chiefs now are 9-33-5 and have lost six in a row (0-4-2). . . .

F Logan Stankoven had a goal and two assists in running his point streak to 32 games as the Kamloops Blazers skated past the Vancouver Giants, 4-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . Stankoven was late in starting this WHL season because he was in camp with the NHL’s Dallas Stars, and he later missed some games while winning gold with Canada at the World Junior Championship. He has played in 32 games now, and has at least one point in each of them. He has 71 points, including 27 goals, in what now is the WHL’s longest active point streak. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (19) scored twice for the Blazers. . . . F Ryan Hofer got his 31st goal and added an assist for Kamloops, giving him six points in two games. He had three goals and an assist on Friday in a 6-4 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Kamloops (30-10-6) has won three in a row. The Blazers will finish atop the B.C. Division. . . . Vancouver (18-24-6) has lost four in a row. It is seventh in the conference, five points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets.


Flatearthers


The U of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team extended its Canada West-record winning streak to 21 games with a 5-3 victory over the visiting Manitoba Bisons on Saturday. . . . The Dinos had beaten the Bisons, 5-1, on Friday.


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Soup

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 e-know.ca, “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.


Sandals


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

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.

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


HouseHunters


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

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.



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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Tree

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

MacBeth

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.


ThisThat

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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