Coyotes add to T-Birds’ arsenal; Canada’s Golden Boy on way to Seattle . . . Tigers move into playoff spot


OK . . . prior to Sunday you didn’t have the Seattle Thunderbirds as the favourites to win the WHL’s 2022-23 championship. You weren’t quite ready to go that far, were you?

But how about now that the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes have sent F Dylan Guenther Seattletheir way?

Yes, that’s the same Dylan Guenther who scored the golden goal at the 2023 World Junior Championship in Halifax just last month.

The Coyotes announced Sunday that Guenther, 19, has been assigned to the Thunderbirds, who had acquired his rights from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 10.

The Oil Kings, who beat Seattle in the 2021-22 championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, have spent the past few months unloading veteran player assets while loading up on draft picks to facilitate their rebuild. With an 8-37-3 record, they won’t make the playoffs this time around.

Edmonton had selected Guenther with the first overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft.

In order to land Guenther, F Jordan Ramsay, who turned 16 on Jan. 24, and an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft, the Thunderbirds gave up F Koji Gibson, who is to turn 16 on March 10, a first-round pick in 2026, a second in 2023, fourths in 2024, 2025 and 2026, a fifth in 2026 and a sixth in 2024.

Yes, the price was steep and now we will find out if it was worth it.

The Coyotes selected Guenther in the first round, ninth overall, of the NHL’s 2021 draft. He is the fifth first-round draft pick on the Seattle roster, joining D Kevin Korchinski (Chicago Blackhawks, seventh overall, 2022), D Nolan Allan (Chicago, 32, 2021), F Reid Schaefer (Edmonton Oilers, 32, 2022) and F Brad Lambert (Winnipeg, 30, 2022).

All told the Thunderirds now have 10 NHL draft picks on their roster, the others being F Jordan Gustafson (Vegas Golden Knights, 79, 2022), F Jared Davidson (Montreal Canadiens, 130, 2022), F Colton Dach (Chicago, 62, 2021), F Lucas Ciona (Calgary Flames, 173, 2021) and D Luke Prokop (Nashville Predators, 73, 2020).

The Thunderbirds acquired Allan from the Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 16 in a deal that included five draft picks — first in 2023 and 2024, a third in 2024, a sixth in 2025 and a second in 2026 and a conditional pick (sixth in 2026) going the other way.

Seattle had picked up Lambert’s rights from the Saskatoon Blades on June 30, giving up a 2023 first-rounder, a second in 2024, and fourth- and sixth-rounders in 2023.

In the other deal that had people sitting up and paying attention, Seattle acquired Prokop from the Oil Kings on Oct. 25 in exchange for a third in 2023 and two 2025 picks (first and third).

The Thundebirds also added Dach and a 2024 fifth-rounder from the Kelowna Rockets in a Jan. 7 deal that included three conditional picks going the other way — a first in 2024, fourth in 2023 and second in 2025. Dach, who had been the Rockets’ captain, was injured (shoulder) while playing for Canada at the World Junior Championship and has yet to return to action.

And let’s not forget that on Aug. 30, Seattle sent F Connor Roulette and a third in 2026 to the Saskatoon Blades for F Kyle Crnkovic, who has put up 54 points, including 25 goals, in 47 games.

Last season, Guenther had 91 points, including 45 goals, during Edmonton’s regular season, then added 21 points, 13 of them goals, in the playoffs. He suffered a knee injury — in the WHL final against Seattle — and missed the Memorial Cup.

So why did Arizona decide to assign him to Seattle at this particular point in time? He has 15 points, including six goals, four on the PP, in 33 NHL games this season, but has been on the roster for 38 games. Once a player hits 40 he accrues one season toward unrestricted free agency. By sending him to Seattle now, the Coyotes shove Guenther’s potential UFA eligibility a further year down the road.

Late last month, Craig Morgan, who covers the Coyotes for The Athletic, wrote: “The key for Guenther was to see how he would perform on a nightly basis in the lineup. Since his return (from the WJC), it has been a mixed bag. There have been nights where he has looked strong, driven offense and even scored goals. There have been nights where he looks like he is swimming in water above his head.”

In Halifax, you may recall, Guenther scored at 6:22 of three-on-three OT to give Canada a 3-2 victory over Czechia in the WJC’s championship final. He finished that tournament with seven goals and three assists in seven games.

The Thunderbirds are hoping he will bring some of that magic to their lineup.

After beating the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 3-1, on Sunday, the Thunderbirds are 36-9-2 and lead the Western Conference by one point over the Portland Winterhawks (35-10-3).

The Thunderbirds have 21 games remaining and six of them will be against the Winterhawks. The first of those will be Saturday in Portland. Seattle also has three games remaining with the Kamloops Blazers, who will finish atop the B.C.Division.

Before then, the Thunderbirds will entertain the Red Deer Rebels on Friday. That game could mark Guenther’s debut with his new club.


Bag


Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette, and he’s not wrong:

“Why is the Canadian Olympic Committee so cowardly in the face of Russian brutality and war crimes? Why is craven Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Shoemaker vowing to work with the IOC to help find a way for Russian athletes to compete at the Paris Olympics?

“Thugs like Vladimir Putin are always probing for weakness: If we invade Crimea and no one acts to stop us, then let’s take all of Ukraine. The IOC’s willingness to skirt the rules and let Russians compete despite systematic, state-sponsored doping helped give Putin the impression he can get away with anything, including mass murder. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. If Shoemaker won’t do it, find someone who will.”

——

Todd, again:

“As a measure of where the sports world is at any given time, Kyrie Irving will do as well as anyone.

“Spoiled, entitled, inclined to believe himself the centre of the universe and somehow able to convince team after team to throw tens of millions his way, World B. Flat is a symbol of everything that has gone wrong with the sports we love to watch.”

Todd’s complete column is right here.


Screwdriver


SUNDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

F Atley Calvert’s 30th goal snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Moose Jaw Warriors a 2-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . The winner came at 16:17 of the third period. . . . F Ryder Korczak (21) had Moose Jaw’s other goal and drew an assist on Calvert’s winner. . . . Calvert, who is from Moose Jaw, has 30 goals and 25 assists in 51 games, after totalling 15 goals and 25 helpers in 65 games last season. . . . G Connor Ungar stopped 35 shots to earn his 26th victory of the season. He is 26-7-3, 2.58, .925 this season. . . . Moose Jaw (32-16-3) has won two straight. It is fourth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Calgary (23-19-7) has lost six in a row (0-3-3); it is sixth in the conference, two points ahead of the Regina Pats. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips scored three times in the game’s second half and beat the Red Deer Rebels, 4-2. . . . D Aidan Sutter (4) got Everett into a 2-2 tie at 10:56 of the second period, and F Austin Roest (28) shot the home boys into the lead at 16:51. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (33) added the empty-netter at 18:39 of the third. . . . Red Deer F Ben King, who scored his 10th goal of the season, got tossed for a boarding major at 4:55 of the third. . . . Everett (25-22-2) is fifth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . Red Deer (34-11-4) is second in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Winnipeg Ice, which has four games in hand. . . .

The host Kamloops Blazers scored twice in the game’s final four minutes to beat the Victoria Royals, 4-3. . . . Kamloops, which clinched a playoff spot with the victory, trailed 3-1 midway through the game before tying it with two PP goals. . . . F Caedan Bankier (25) got the Blazers to within a goal at 14:23 of the second period, then tied it at 16:40 of the third. . . . D Olen Zellweger (16) won it at 19:37. He’s got 18 points, six of them goals, in 12 games since coming over from the Everett Silvertips at the trade deadline. . . . F Matthew Seminoff finished with three assists as he was in on each of the final three goals. . . . Kamloops outshot the visitors, 50-24. . . . The Blazers were without F Logan Stankoven, their scoring leader, as he served a one-game suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the host Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (31-10-6) has won four in a row. . . . Victoria (14-32-5) has lost four in a row and is four points from a playoff spot. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers shrugged off an early goal by F Connor Bedard and skated to a 5-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Bedard scored his WHL-leading 45th goal at 1:13 of the first period. . . . D Pavel Bocharov (11) got the Tigers even at 4:32 and D Kurtis Smythe (2) gave them their first lead at 14:44. . . . F Gavin McKenna, the first pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, had two assists for the Tigers. He now has played 11 games this season and has eight points, all assists. . . . The announced attendance was 6,178, the Tigers’ largest crowd in 7,000-seat Co-op Place. They had drawn 5,947 to their first game there, a 5-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Sept. 26, 2015. . . . With Sunday’s victory, the Tigers (21-21-8), with points in eight straight (6-0-2), moved past the Swift Current Broncos and into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Tigers now are one point behind Regina. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-2. . . . Saskatoon trailed 2-0 doing into the last two minutes of the second period. . . . D Charlie Wright (4) got the Blades started at 18:07 of the second period. . . . F Jordan Keller (8) pulled Saskatoon into a tie at 7:28 of the third, with Wright getting the primary assist. . . . The Blades took the lead at 11:58 on F Jake Chiasson’s 14th goal of the season, on a PP. Saskatoon had acquired Chiasson, who also had two assists, from the Wheat Kings at the trade deadline. . . . Keller added his ninth goal of the season at 13:41. . . . The Blades are 5-0-0 against the Wheat Kings this season. . . . Saskatoon (32-12-4) is third in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of Moose Jaw. . . . Brandon (19-22-7) now is five points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Jared Davidson drew three assists as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Spokane Chiefs, 3-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds scored one goal in each period — D Jeremy Hanzel (8) in the first, F Brad Lambert (4), on a PP, in the second, and F Kyle Crnkovic (25) in the third. . . . F Lucas Ciona was back in Seattle’s lineup after a two-game absence. He picked up one assist. . . . Seattle held a 52-21 edge in shots, including 26-3 in the second period, as Chiefs G Cooper Michaluk was kept hopping. . . . The Chiefs lost F Carter Streek to a spearing major at 1:21 of the second period. . . . Seattle (36-9-2) moved back atop the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Spokane slipped to 9-34-5. . . .

The Vancouver Giants celebrated a Grammy victory by part-owner Michael Bublé with a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Langley, B.C. . . . F Ethan Semeniuk (10) scored while shorthanded to break a 1-1 tie at 14:23 of the second period. . . . The Thorpe boys took it from there. D Tyler Thorpe (3) added insurance at 14:41 of the second and F Ty Thorpe (26) added the empty-netter at 18:44. . . . Vancouver G Jesper Vikman, who is from Sweden, stopped 24 shots. . . . Tri-City G Tomas Suchanek lost for the first time in 13 decisions. He last tasted defeat on Nov. 23 when the visiting Kamloops Blazers dumped the Americans, 6-1. . . . The Giants lost F Kyle Bochek to a checking-from-behind major at 18:38 of the second period. . . . Vancouver (19-24-6) is seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind the Prince George Cougars, who have three games in hand. . . . Tri-City (25-18-5) is fourth, three points ahead of Everett.


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.


Jogging

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

Lazaruk’s WHL tour makes 40th stop . . . Lies and Bell both out of hospital . . . Ice, Winterhawks win first-place battles


The Saskatoon Blades visited the Calgary Hitmen for a Saturday matinee that was played in the Tsuu’tina Seven Chiefs Sportsplex. . . . I would hope the in-house DJ, if there was one, played some I’ve Been Everywhere, perhaps by Johnny Cash, in honour of Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Blades. . . . Before the game, he tweeted: “By my foggy memory count, (it’s) the 40th building I’ve called WHL regular-season and/or playoff games from.” . . . When I asked him which building was first, he said: “Agridome in Regina.” The date! Sept. 23, 1994. . . . He has provided a list that shows Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre and the 39 others, from east to west:

Three in Winnipeg

Brandon

Regina

Two in Moose Jaw

Prince Albert

Swift Current

Two in Medicine Hat

Lethbridge

Two in Calgary

Red Deer

Three in Edmonton

Two in Cranbrook

Two in Prince George

Kamloops

Two in Kelowna

Chilliwack

Two in Vancouver

Victoria

Two in Spokane

Tri-City

Everett

Three in Seattle

Tacoma

Two in Portland

And how many other people can say that they have been in each of those hockey facilities?

The time has come for the WHL to present Lazaruk with the Bob Ridley Award and for the folks in Saskatoon to name the SaskTel Centre’s broadcast booth in his honour.


So . . . you want to be a hockey player, do you? Well, you best buy some good luggage. . . . Let’s take a look at the career of F Lane Pederson, a Saskatoon native who spent three seasons (2014-17) in the WHL. . . . The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks recalled Pederson a few weeks ago from their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. They placed him on waivers on Friday, and he played in Vancouver’s 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets later that evening. On Saturday, those same Blue Jackets claimed him off waivers. . . . Despite being only 25 years of age, Columbus will be Pederson’s 11th team since he first played in the WHL. He played with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Red Deer Rebels and Swift Current Broncos in the WHL, then made AHL stops with the Tucson Roadrunners, San Jose Barracuda, Chicago Wolves and Abbotsford. In the NHL, he now has belonged to the Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver and Columbus. . . . This season alone, he has been with the Wolves, Abbotsford, Vancouver and now Columbus. And there still is lots of season to be played.



F Justin Lies of the Saskatoon Blades, who left a Friday game against the host WHLRed Deer Rebels on a stretcher, was released from hospital early Saturday and rejoined his teammates in Calgary where they were playing the Hitmen. He was on the bus for the trip home after the game and is expected to be out a couple of weeks. . . Lies, 19, was injured at 5:29 of the second period. Red Deer F Carson Birnie was given an interference major and game misconduct on the play. . . . Birnie wasn’t suspended on Saturday and was in the lineup as the Rebels dropped a 5-1 decision to the visiting Winnipeg Ice. . . .

F Parker Bell of the Tri-City Americans also was released from hospital after being injured during a Friday night game with the visiting Everett Silvertips. Bell, 19, took a hit from Everett F Andrew Petruk, who was given a charging major and game misconduct. . . . On Saturday, the Americans tweeted that Bell “was taken to the hospital last night and released after undergoing testing. He is at home resting.” . . . Petruk has been suspended for three games. He began serving that suspension as the Americans played host to the Spokane Chiefs last night.


G Cody Creasy of the junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International KamStormnewJunior Hockey League saw a goaltender’s dream come to fruition on Friday night. Yes, he scored a goal. . . . Creasy, a 19-year-old from Brandon, hit the empty neat with two seconds left in the third period, icing a 5-2 victory over the visiting Summerland Steam. . . . Check out the second tweet below because there can’t be anything better than a goaltender’s Mom tweeting about her son having scored a goal. . . . One other note about Creasy’s night in the crease. Larry Read, a well-known Kamloopsian, is the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association’s communications manager by day and usually handles the Storm play-by-play for home games. But he wasn’t able to attend Friday’s game. As he told Taking Note: “I miss one game and the goalie scores. Just my luck! Haha. . . .” In Read’s absence, Kris Armstrong, who usually is the colour guy, handled the play-by-play and he flew solo. You can bet that he won’t forget this one. . . . BTW, this is the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Creasy’s second season with the Storm. Last season, he was 9-3-0, 1.45, .938 in 15 appearances. This season, in 20 games, he is 10-6-0, 2.16, .915.


Debt


SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The top two teams in the Eastern Conference met in Red Deer and the Winnipeg Ice dropped the Rebels, 5-1. . . . The victory allowed the Ice (34-6-1) to move back into first place, one point ahead of the Rebels (32-10-4). Winnipeg still holds five games in hand. . . . D Carson Lambos drew four assists for the winners, who opened up a 4-0 lead in the second period. . . . D Karter Prosofsky’s first goal of the season and his fourth in 112 career games stood up as the winner. . . .

The Western Conference’s top two teams met in Kent, Wash., where the Portland Winterhawks dumped the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-2. . . . The Winterhawks (33-8-3) now lead the conference by one point over the Thunderbirds (33-8-2). Seattle has one game in hand. . . . F Chaz Lucius had a goal and two assists for Portland, picking up three points for a third straight game. He has played five games with the Winterhawks since being assigned to them by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets — he had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose — and has at least two points in each outing. All told, he now has four goals and nine assists. . . . D Luca Cagnoni (12) scored twice for Portland. . . . Each team took two minor penalties and went 0-for-2 on the PP. . . . The Winterhawks got 36 saves from D Dante Giannuzzi, who now is 20-5-2, 2.97, .904. . . .

F Egor Sidorov’s OT goal gave the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the host Calgary Hitmen. . . . Sidorov scored his 27th goal at 2:30 of extra time. . . . F Carter Yakemchuk (6) had pulled the Hitmen into a tie at 18:52 of the third period with his second goal of the game. . . . The Blades held a 45-26 edge in shots, including 7-1 in OT. . . . Saskatoon (29-11-4) is fourth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

F Jagger Firkus scored 40 seconds into OT to give the host Moose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Firkus, whose winner came via the PP, has 24 goals this season. . . . The Warriors were 2-for-3 on the PP. The Tigers were 0-for-6. . . . Moose Jaw F Martin Rysavy (4) tied the score 2-2 at 15:45 of the third period. . . . G Connor Ungar of the Warriors ran his record to 25-6-3, 2.61, .924 with 34 saves. . . . The Warriors (30-15-3) are third in the Eastern Conference, six points out of first place. . . .

F Ben Hemmerling scored his third OT winner of the month as the host Everett Silvertips got past the Swift Current Broncos, 4-3. . . . Hemmerling, who has 16 goals, also had two assists. . . . His winner came at 1:10 of OT. . . . F Austin Roest (16) also had a goal and two helpers for the winners. . . . F Jackson Berezowski, Everett’s 20-year-old captain, scored his 29th goal of this season in his 250th career regular-season game. He has 205 points, including 111 goals. . . . The Broncos are 0-1-1 in their five-game tour of the U.S. Division. . . . The Silvertips (23-21-1) are fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Broncos (22-19-3) are seventh in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the idle Regina Pats, who are at home to Medicine Hat today. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders opened a trek through the B.C. Division with a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Raiders scored the game’s last four goals, the final two from F Evan Herman (9). . . . G Max Hildebrand blocked 28 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Cougars (19-21-4) are tied with the Vancouver Giants for sixth place in the Western Conference. . . .

G Braden Holt turned aside 35 shots to lead the Victoria Royals to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The visitors had posted a 7-4 victory on Friday night. . . . Holt is 7-2-2, 2.89, .913 since the Royals acquired him from the Everett Silvertips. . . . He had 13 victories with Everett, so this one was No. 20 on the season. . . . F Jake Poole (26) gave the Royals a 3-1 lead at 7:03 of the third period. He also had an assist. . . . Victoria F Teydon Trembecky (6) ran his goal streak to four games. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven had one assist, running his point streak to 29 games. Yes, he has at least a point in every game in which he has played this season. He has 65 points, including 25 goals, in that stretch. . . .  Kamloops (27-10-6) is third in the Western Conference, but leads the B.C. Division by 18 points so is all but certain to be the conference’s No. 2 seed when the playoffs start. . . . Victoria (14-28-5) is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for the conference’s eight and final playoff spot. One of those two teams is going to be left on the outside of the postseason tournament. . . .

The Tri-City Americans took a 5-0 lead into the second period and went to post a 6-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City was 3-for-4 on the PP and also had a shorthanded goal. . . . Lukas Dragicevic of the Americans, who leads all WHL defencemen in goals and points (55), had two goals (13) and an assist. Dragicevic and Denton Mateychuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors lead all defencemen in assists (42). . . . Tri-City (22-16-5) is fourth in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Everett. . . .

F Gabriel Szturc, Kelowna’s new captain, had a goal and two assists to lead the host Rockets to a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . One night earlier, in Langley, B.C., the Giants had beaten the Rockets, 3-1. . . . Szturc’s 12th goal, at 8:21 of the second period, broke a 1-1 tie. . . . F Carson Golder (19) finished Kelowna’s scoring with three third-period goals. He also had one assist. . . . Kelowna (15-26-3) is tied with Victoria for eighth in the Western Conference. They are nine points behind Vancouver and Prince George.


Taxes


JUST NOTES:

G Matt Berlin, who played in the WHL (2015-18) with the Spokane Chiefs, Seattle Thunderbirds and Kootenay Ice, made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. Berlin was backing up starter Jack Campbell and head coach Jay Woodcroft, in a wonderful moment, sent him in for the final 2:26 of a 7-3 victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. . . . The Oilers had signed Berlin to an amateur tryout because Stuart Skinner was ailing and unable to play. Berlin, 25, now is with the U of Alberta Golden Bears. He is 4-0-1, 2.57, .892. . . . BTW, Berlin stopped the only shot he faced. . . .

Carl Stankowski, another former WHL goaltender, stopped 25 shots on Saturday as the U of Calgary Dinos beat the Mount Royal Cougars, 4-0. . . . The Dinos ran their Canada West-record winning streak to 19 games. They had set the record on Friday night.


StarWars


Dave Albright, a key member of the 1989 Grey Cup-winning Saskatchewan Roughriders, died Thursday in Redondo Beach, Calif., one day after his 63rd birthday. . . . The Roughriders were 9-9 in the CFL’s 1989 regular season and, after beating the Calgary Stampeders, advanced to meet the Edmonton Eskimos in the West Division final. Early in the second quarter, Albright returned a fumble 62 yards for a touchdown, a play that sparked the Roughriders to a 32-21 victory over the 16-2 Eskimos. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has more on Albright right here.


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.


Moon

Remembering the night Oil Kings’ owner coached Calgary team . . . Hodgson finally gets hockey card . . . Dinos tie Canada West record

In going through some files the other night, I stumbled on a few interesting episodes from the WHL’s past, back when there were a whole lot of colourful characters who called it home. Here is one tale from the past. . . .

It was November of 1966 and the WHL, then called the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League, was in its first season when one team’s owner and general manger ended up coaching another team, a team on whose board of directors he happened to sit.

BillHunter
BILL HUNTER

Yes, the gentleman in question was Bill Hunter, who was the Edmonton Oil Kings’ owner, president, chief executive offer, general manager and coach whenever he wanted to be. He also sat on the board of directors of the Calgary Buffaloes. Oh, he also was the chairman of the CMJHL’s board of governors.

The Buffaloes, under coach John Kell, were struggling at 1-9-0. As October turned into November, Kell stepped down amidst rumours that Hunter would put his Oil Kings’ stock in trust and move south to run the Buffs. Hunter, naturally, denied all of that, although he was in Calgary on Oct. 31 to run the Buffaloes through a practice session. With Hunter back in Edmonton, Jim Finney handled practices for the next four days.

On Nov. 4, Hunter and CMJHL commissioner Frank Boucher actually held separate news conferences on the same day in different cities during all of this. Hunter, speaking in Calgary, told the gathered newshounds that the Buffs would sign a coach “in three or four days” and then added that he couldn’t reveal the name just yet. Meanwhile, down the highway in Regina, Boucher was announcing that Alf Pike would coach the Buffaloes but that Pike wouldn’t be available for a few days.

The very next night the Buffaloes met the Regina Pats in Calgary. And guess who was behind the Calgary bench? Yes, it was Wild Bill Hunter, live and in person. The Pats ruined it all by winning, 3-1.

“I’m more convinced than ever the Buffs have the makings of a fine junior club,” Hunter said after the game. “When Alf gets here and implements a system, they’ll start winning their share of games.”

The Buffaloes, who were 1-11-0 after Hunter’s one game behind the bench, finished the season at 4-47-5.


Bored


When the subject turns to the greatest WHL players of all-time, the name Dan PrinceAlbertHodgson isn’t mentioned nearly enough. Hodgson played three seasons (1982-85) with the Prince Albert Raiders, putting up 493 points, including 305 assists, in 202 games. He also played two games with the Spokane Flyers in 1980-81 but didn’t record any points. . . . Hodgson won a Memorial Cup (1985) with the Raiders and played for Canada at two Wold Junior Championships. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL’s 1983 draft. . . . Hodgson, now 57, went on to play 114 games over four NHL seasons, picking up 29 goals and 45 assists. He then went on to a lengthy career in Europe. . . . And through it all he never once had a hockey card. But, as Abdulhamid Ibrahim of The Canadian Press points out, that has all changed with Upper Deck having issued its First Peoples Rookie Cards set. . . . This is a great story and it’s all right here.


ICYMI, Jan. 20 was the 20th anniversary of one of the great moments in NHL history. . . .


JUST NOTES:

The Regina Pats, aka the Travelling Bedards, are to face the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Feb. 24. The Wheat Kings announced on Friday morning that only standing room tickets are available for that one. . . . Those tickets were to go on sale later in the morning, so the SOLD OUT sign may well be up by now. . . .

The U of Calgary Dinos tied a Canada West record on Friday night as they ran their winnings streak to 17 games with an 8-2 victory over the Cougars in Regina. The Dinos now share the record with the1978-79 Albrerta Golden Bears. F Jake Gricius had a goal and two assists for Calgary, giving him six points in a two-game sweep of the Cougars. G Carl Tetachuk stopped 20 shots to post his CW-leading 14th victory.


Sewing


FRIDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Swift Current Broncos scored three times in the last seven minutes of the third period and beat the Regina Pats, 4-2. . . . F Drew Englot’s first goal with the Broncos since being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers at the trade deadline, at 13:18 of the third, stood up as the winner. Englot, 20, began is WHL career with the Pats. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard gave his guys a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 37th goal at 8:57 of the first period. It was his 100th career regular-season goal and ran his point streak to 31 games. . . . Announced attendance was 2,890 in a building that has a listed capacity of 2,879. . . . The Broncos are scheduled to visit Regina tonight. . . . The Broncos and Pats are tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but Swift Current has three games in hand. . . .

F Misha Volotovskii scored twice to lead the Saskatoon Blades — there were the Saskatoon Bananas in a second annual promotion — dumped the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 6-1. . . . Volotofskii, a 17-year-old sophomore from Saskatoon, has three goals in 38 games. Last season, he scored twice in 53 games. . . . The Blades are 5-0-0 against the Raiders this season, having outscored them 24-5. . . . D Landon Kosior was back in the Raiders’ lineup for the first time since Jan. 4. . . . They’ll do it all over again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . .

F Nolan Flamand had a goal (6) and two assists to help the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . D Quinn Mantei (2) broke a 2-2 tie at 17:10 of the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings, who are four points out of a playoff spot, welcomed back two injured players. D Andrei Malyavin last played on Dec. 18, while F Caleb Hadland had been out since Oct. 29. . . .

F Kyle Chyzowski scored at 2:30 of OT to give the host Portland Winterhawks a wild 7-6 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Jake Poole’s 23rd goal, at 14:20 of the third period, had given the visitors a 6-4 lead. . . . F Gabe Klassen (24) got Portland to within one at 16:50 and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (23) tied it at 18:41, both with G Dante Giannuzzi on the bench for an extra attacker. Chyzowski won it with his 11th goal. . . . Klassen and Fromm-Delorme each scored twice, as did teammate James Stefan (15). . . . F Chaz Lucius made his Portland debut on a line with fellow Americans Jack O’Brien and Stefan, who scored 13 seconds into the first period. . . . O’Brien had three assists, Stefan two goals and an assist, and Lucius two assists. . . . The game included only four minor penalties, the last one to the Royals at 2:30 of OT. . . . The Royals are 0-2 on a three-game swing into the U.S. Division that ends tonight Spokane. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels scored four third-period goals and beat the Prince George Cougars, 8-5. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored twice (36) and added three assists for the winners, giving him his first career five-point game. . . . The Rebels were 5-for-7 on the PP. . . . F Ben King, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, scored once (6) as he returned to the Rebels lineup for the first time since Oct. 22. . . . The victory lifted the Rebels into first place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the idle Winnipeg Ice, which holds five games in hand. . . .

Kelowna F Carson Golder, playing after a four-game absence, scored on his first shift back and later added a second goal to lead the Rockets to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Rockets had lost their previous six road games. . . . Golder has 16 goals. . . . The Giants were 0-for-8 on the PP. . . . The Twitter account New Westminster Bruins (@NewWestBruins) pointed out Friday afternoon that the Giants played the Rockets “just once in their first 41 games and now play EIGHT times in their final 27.” . . . Kelowna F Andrew Cristall, who has 62 points in 36 games, missed his fourth straight game. . . . These same teams are to meet again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . . The eighth-place Rockets are seven points behind the Giants with two games in hand. . . .

F Parker Bell enjoyed his first three-goal game to spark the Tri-City Americans to an 8-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Bell, who scored all three goals on the PP, now has 21 goals. . . . The Americans, who trailed 2-1 after a period, were 4-for-4 on the PP. . . . Interestingly, Tri-City’s Lukas Dragicevic, who leads WHL defencemen in points, only had one assist, while D Marc Lajoie drew four helpers. . . . Tri-City G Tomas Suchanek finished up with 48 stops. . . . With the Americans leading 6-2 in the third period, Kamloops G Dylan Ernst stopped his older brother, Ethan, on a penalty shot. . . . The same teams will play again tonight in Kamloops. . . .

F Reid Schaefer counted on a penalty shot in OT as the Seattle Thunderbirds got past the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 3-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Hurricanes were in OT for the fourth time in five games. They have won one of those games. . . . Schaefer, who has 18 goals, won it at 1:18 of extra time after tying the score, 2-2, at 6:58 of the third period. . . . Lethbridge is 0-0-2 on its three-game U.S. Division trek that concludes tonight in Portland. . . .

G Tyler Palmer turned aside 25 shots to help the host Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Spokane led 2-1 after the first period, but Everett scored the game’s last four goals. . . . The comeback was sparked by F Kyan Grouette’s first goal of the season in his 30th game. Grouette, who turned 18 on Jan. 7, is from Dauphin, Man. He tied the score, 2-2, at 6:22 of the second period.



Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered:

“By my count there are 14 Russian Orthodox churches in Philadelphia and another 10 in Cherry Hill, N.J., where most of the Philadelphia Flyers live. I wonder how many of them Ivan Provorov has attended since he started playing for the Flyers six-plus years ago. I really want to believe that hockey doesn’t hate the LGTBQ+ community. I really do. But then I see that Provorov’s sweater (not a jersey) sold out after he opted out of the warm-up on the Flyers’ Pride Night and it depresses me.”


THINKING OUT LOUD: It has to be awfully hard to be a fan of the Vancouver Canucks these days what with the way ownership/management is treating head coach Bruce Boudreau. . . . The QMJHL’s 2022-23 Media Guide was available for download when the season got started. I’m told the OHL’s was ready sometime in November. The WHL’s isn’t available and the regular season is half over. Too bad, because its arrival once was a highlight of the season. . . . If you missed it, Boudreau, at the close of his post-game media availablity, said: “See you tomorrow . . . I hope.” The Canucks are at home to the Edmonton Oilers tonight, so this saga will get more play, this time on Hockey Night in Canada’s national stage. Unless a change is made early today. Oh, and the game will bring a conclusion to Hockey Day in Canada. . . . Bruce, there it is!


Lost


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.


Homeless

A look back at Sobchuk’s 10-point night . . . Broncos put up sold-out sign for Bedard visit . . . Lucius set for Portland debut


Here are the first two paragraphs of something I wrote more than 36 years ago . . .

“It was Friday, Jan. 19, 1973. Across the pond in jolly old England, Prince Charles narrowly escaped a head-on crash while driving his Aston Martin through the fog-enshrouded countryside southwest of London.

“Meanwhile, at Regina’s Exhibition Stadium, a nautical mile or two from the old country, a prince of a hockey player was having a jolly good night.”

Thanks to a tweet from Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner), the go-to guy for all things Regina Pats, the memories came flashing back on Thursday night.

DennisSobchukYes, it was 50 years ago — Jan. 19, 1973 — when F Dennis Sobchuk had one of the greatest offensive nights in WHL history. That night, Sobchuk struck for 10 points, six of them goals, in an 11-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings before 2,284 fans at Regina’s Exhibition Stadium.

It’s worth noting that the Wheat Kings were without F Ron Chipperfield (throat infection), who was leading the league with 53 goals.

Sobchuk’s line finished with 20 points — Mike Wanchuk had a goal and five assists; Clarke Gillies had a goal and three assists. Gillies also spent some time in the penalty box, thanks to a pair of fights with Brandon D Rick Piche.

The 18-year-old Sobchuk was in his second season with the Pats. That night, his fourth goal was his 100th regular-season score. Yes, he had 100 goals in fewer than two full seasons.

“Some nights they go in easy. Other nights they don’t go in at all. Tonight, well, it was one of those real good nights,” Sobchuk told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post. “And I should have had a couple of more, especially in the third period. But I guess a guy can’t be greedy.”

The outburst came just two days after head coach Bob Turner had talked with his three top forwards, telling them “to shoot more, that’s all. Each of them has a great shot but they just don’t shoot enough. Tonight, they were really rifling them and look what happened.”

The six goals allowed Sobchuk to tie the WCHL record — the WHL then was the Western Canada Hockey League — for goals in a game that had been set two seasons previous by F Danny Spring of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Sobchuk’s 10-point night also got him a piece of the single-game record for points, one that had been established by F Gerry Pinder of the Saskatoon Blades on March 12, 1967, and tied by F Tom Lysiak of the Medicine Hat Tigers on Dec. 30, 1971. While Pinder also had six goals and four assists in his big game, Lysiak did it with four goals and six helpers.

Sobchuk also tied the WCHL record for goals in one period — he scored five times in the second period.

Sobchuk’s night also pushed him into the WCHL scoring lead with 92 points, including 46 goals. At that point, he had two more points than Lysiak, who would go on to win his second straight scoring title, with 154 points, seven more than Sobchuk.

In his freshman season (1971-72), Sobchuk totalled 123 points, including 56 goals, in 68 games, and was named the WCHL’s rookie of the year.

He would play one more season with the Pats (1973-74), putting up 146 points, including 68 goals, in 66 game and helping Regina to a Memorial Cup title.

In three seasons with the Pats, he finished with 416 points, 191 of them goals, in 190 regular-season games. He placed fifth, second and second in the scoring race.

Sobchuk had won the Saskatchewan Amateur Junior Hockey League’s scoring title in 1970-71 when he finished with 96 points, including 56 goals, in 36 games with the Weyburn Red Wings. At that time, his WCHL rights belonged to the Estevan Bruins, who were about to move to New Westminster.

On July 7, 1971, Del Wilson, the Pats’ president and general manager, acquired Sobchuk from New Westminster, sending F Emile DeMoissac, F Wayne Dye, D Bob Hess, F Doug Lindskog and F Vic Mercredi the other way.

DeMoissac, Hess and Mercredi would be key performers for the Bruins, although all had moved on before their four-season run (1974-78) as WHL champions.

By November 1986, Sobchuk was the Pats’ assistant GM and assistant coach. One night, he and I chatted about his 10-point outing.

“Funny thing,” he recalled. “I didn’t realize it but they had a guy shadowing me that night. When the people clapped for me at the end of the game, Brandon — I talked to a few of the players in later years — they were going to push the guy who was supposed to be the shadow out there to take a bow with me.

“But it was just one of those nights. Whenever you shot the puck it went in. It was a crazy night.”

I asked Sobchuk just how big a thrill it was.

“I still have the stick,” he replied.

Two nights later, the Pats and Wheat Kings met in Brandon, with Regina skating away with a 5-4 victory. F Rick Uhrich had three goals. Sobchuk had one assist.


Number


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Swift Current Broncos announced on Thursday that tonight’s game against the visiting Regina Pats, aka the Travelling Bedards, is sold out. . . .

F Chaz Lucius, 19, has joined the Portland Winterhawks and is expected to make his WHL debut tonight against the visiting Victoria Royals. Lucius, who starred with Team USA at the recent World Junior Championship, had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets assigned him to Portland after the WJC. . . .

F Gabriel Szturc, a 19-year-old from Cesky Tesin, Czechia, was named the 28th captain of the Kelowna Rockets on Thursday, replacing Colton Dach, who was traded to the Seattle Thunderbirds earlier this month. Szturc is the first European-born captain in the Rockets’ franchise history. Four of Szturc’s first five games as captain will be against the Vancouver Giants, starting tonight in Langley, B.C., and Saturday in Kelowna. . . .

F Ben King of the Red Deer Rebels, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, has 10 points, five of them goals, in five games this season. But he hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury on Oct. 22. It seems that he may return tonight against the visiting Prince George Cougars or Saturday with the Brandon Wheat Kings in town.



WEDNESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

D Max Wanner’s eighth goal at 0:45 of OT gave the Moose Jaw Warriors a 5-4 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon and a sweep of their home-and-home series. The Warriors had won, 3-1, at home on Tuesday. . . . The victory allowed the Warriors (28-14-2) to move into a third-place tie with the Blades (27-9-4) in the Eastern Conference. The Blades hold four games in hand. . . . F Atley Calvert led the Warriors with two goals and two assists. He has 25 goals and 25 assists in 44 games after finishing last season with 15 and 25 in 65. He went into last night’s game with 98 career points and came out with 102, all in 146 games. . . . Last night, the Blades outshot the visitors, 43-17, including 16-2 in the third period. . . . The Warriors trail Eastern Conference-leading Winnipeg (31-5-1) by five points and visit the Ice tonight and Saturday. However, the Ice holds seven — count ’em, SEVEN — games in hand. . . .

F Connor McClennon and F Zach Benson each had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Ice lit up the Raiders, 8-1, in Prince Albert. . . . Benson has 24 goals; McClennon has 21. . . . Ice F Connor Geekie scored his 20th goal of the season. . . . The Ice held a 39-16 edge in shots. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers scored three times in a six-round shootout and beat the Broncos, 5-4, in Swift Current. . . . Three second-period goals had given the Tigers a 4-2 lead, but the Broncos pulled even on third-period scores from F Josh Filmon (28) and F Connor Hvidston (9). . . . Hvidston also had two assists, and Filmon finished with two goals and a helper. . . . Latvian D Bogdans Hodass scored twice for the Tigers, giving him seven this season. . . . The Tigers (17-21-6) closed to within two points of the Broncos (20-17-2), who hold down the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. Those two teams are to play in Medicine Hat on Sunday. That will be the Broncos’ third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . .

The Prince George Cougars came from behind four times before finally beating the host Calgary Hitmen, 6-5. . . . With the NHL’s Flames playing host to the Colorado Avalanche in the Saddledome, the WHL game was played at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex. . . . Prince George scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period. F Jaxsen Wiebe (7) got the winner at 14:42, his second of the game. F Koehn Ziemmer (22) also scored twice for the winners. . . . The Cougars, who fired 21 shots in each of the last two periods, outshot the Hitmen, 51-35. . . .

F Ben Hemmerling scored twice, including in OT, and added two assists as the host Everett Silvertips beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Hemmerling’s 14th goal came at 3:36 of extra time. . . . Hemmerling, who now has had two four-point games in his WHL career, has three goals and six assists in his past four games. . . . The Tri-City Americans erased a 4-0 first-period deficit and beat the Victoria Royals, 5-4, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Ethan Ernst (21) scored twice for the Americans, his second goal, at 13:54 of the third period, breaking a 4-4 tie. . . . F Matthew Hodson (13) scored twice for Victoria. . . . The Americans (19-16-4) are fifth in the Western Conference, one point behind the Everett Silverips (21-19-1).


Electrician


THINKING OUT LOUD: I yearn for the days when I could look at NHL highlights and recognize teams by their uniforms. . . . David Adelman is the acting head coach of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets these days. That’s because head coach Michael Malone is away because of health and safety protocols. Yes, COVID-19 has reared its ugly head, again. Three Denver players — Bones Hyland, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray — have spent time in protocol this season, too. And you thought the pandemic was over, didn’t you? Mask up!


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.


Test

Bedard, Pats keep on rolling . . . Rockets face interesting schedule . . . Look back at WHL’s weekend


BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

THE LEGEND CONTINUES TO GROW: F Connor Bedard scored Regina’s last two goals as the Pats beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-3, on Saturday night. . . . Bedard has 36 goals this season and is on a 30-game point streak. . . . The Pats have won three in a row since Bedard returned from his dominating performance with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. In those three victories, Bedard has nine goals and four assists — a six-point game, a five-pointer and Saturday’s deuce. . . . Despite missing 11 games while at the WJC, Bedard leads the WHL in goals (36), assists (41) and points (77). He holds a 15-point lead over F Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets in the points derby. Cristall has missed Kelowna’s last three games with an undisclosed injury. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post tells us that Bedard’s 30-game point streak is “17 short of the team record, set by Jock Callander and Wally Schreiber during the 1981-82 season.” . . . Vanstone also informs us that Bedard “is on pace to become the first Pat to score 50 goals in 50 or fewer games since Dale Derkatch in 1983-84.” Derkatch scored Nos. 50 and 51 in his 49th game that season. . . . The Pats are off until the weekend when they go home-and-home with the Swift Current Broncos, playing Friday on the road and Saturday in Regina. . . . The Broncos (20-17-1) are eighth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Regina. The Broncos hold four games in hand.


From the Department of Read It and Weep, a piece that hits the nail squarely on the head . . .


The Kelowna Rockets, who are fighting for their playoff lives, are two games into an eight-game stretch during which they will play only two teams — the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants.

Going into this week, it really is looking as though one of the Rockets or Royals Kelownawill finish eighth in the Western Conference, with the other team left out of the playoffs. The Rockets (13-23-3) are eighth now, one point ahead of the Royals (12-25-4). The Prince George Cougars (17-18-4) and the Giants (16-19-6) are tied for sixth, nine points ahead of the Rockets.

Five of the Rockets’ next eight games are against the Giants, so one would have to think Kelowna needs to beat Vancouver at least four times to have a chance at moving up in the standings.

As for the Royals, well, they are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games after sweeping a weekend series from the visiting Rockets, winning 4-0 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday.

Next up for the Rockets is a home-and-home with the Giants, playing Friday in Langley, B.C., and Saturday in Kelowna. The Royals, who are to play the Winterhawks in Portland on Friday and the Chiefs in Spokane on Saturday, will be in Kelowna on Sunday as each team plays its third game in fewer than 48 hours.

The Rockets and Giants then will play three in a row — Jan. 27 in Langley, and Jan. 28 and Feb. 3 in Kelowna.

One positive for the Rockets is that they won’t play any mid-week games during that stretch, so head coach Kris Mallette and his staff will have lots of practice time, something coaches really treasure.


THEDAD


Jack Todd in the Montreal Gazette, with a few words on the Montreal Canadiens’ baby blues:

“Supposedly a nod to the late, great Montreal Expos, the reverse-retro jerseys are a bland, boring, soulless cash grab, a blue-on-blue nightmare that is more reminiscent of the Toronto Argonauts than Nos Amours. Canadiens fans agree on something once a century, and this is it: everyone hates those kiddie pyjamas.”

Todd also points out that the Canadiens have worn the baby blues four times and are 0-4, so perhaps they won’t last long. They are next scheduled to be worn on Thursday for a visit by the Florida Panthers.

——

Here’s Todd, again, with something that I can get behind: “We’re 100 per cent behind Connor McDavid. The shootout is a farce, while 3-on-3 overtime is the most exciting thing since skate sharpeners. Ten minutes of 3-on-3, then in the unlikely event no one has scored, it’s a tie.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Jack Bakker, whose WHL rights moved from Kamloops to the Everett Silvertips in the Jan. 8 deal in which D Olen Zellweger and F Ryan Hofer went to the Blazers, has committed to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for 2023-24. Bakker, 15, is from White Rock, B.C., and plays on the U18 prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy. Kamloops selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . .

F Ozzy Wiesblatt, 20, played for the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda on Saturday night, meaning he won’t be joining the Portland Winterhawks, who had acquired his rights from the Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, explained to Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) that Wiesblatt could only end up in Portland if he didn’t play another AHL game after Jan. 10. . . . Wiesblatt was a first-round selection by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . . Had Wiesblatt ended up in Portland, the Raiders would have receive three draft picks from the Winterhawks — a first in 2025 and two seconds in 2026. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their home record to 16-0-0 on Saturday with a 5-3 victory over the Cowichan Valley Capitals before an announced crowd of 3,628. . . . Also on Saturday, the Wenatchee Wild drew an announced crowd of 3,521 as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . .

The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars suffered their first regulation-time loss of the season on Saturday night as they were beaten, 5-0, by the Bruins in Estevan. That left the North Stars’ record at 33-1-3. . . . G Jackson Miller stopped 30 shots to earn the shutout, while F Keagon Little scored twice.


Callback


SUNDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

F Cole Shepard scored two goals 70 seconds apart in the first period to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Lethbridge was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours; it picked up five points by going 2-0-1 in those games. . . . Shepard, who sat out Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels with a one-game suspension, has 15 goals. . . . G Bryan Thomson blocked 38 shots to earn the victory. Thomson, who made 50 appearances last season, was playing in his fifth game this season. The start of his season was delayed by surgery to repair an undisclosed injury. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first seven goals, five of them in the second period, en route to a 7-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . F Jalen Luypen had a goal (4) and two assists for the Americans. . . . G Tomas Suchanek stopped 18 shots in his first appearance with the Americans since returning from the World Junior Championship where he backstopped Czechia to a silver medal.

——

SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored four second-period goals and got 39 saves from G Connor Ungar as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-3. Ungar is 21-5-2, 2.64, .924 this season. . . . In Edmonton, D Terrell Goldsmith’s third goal of the season, at 2:16 of OT, gave the Prince Albert Raiders a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. The offensively challenged Oil Kings were held to three, six, five and two shots, by period. . . .

F Jackson Berezowski had two goals and an assist as the hometown Everett Silvertips got past the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in OT. . . . F Austin Roest’s 25th goal, at 1:39 of extra time won it. . . . Roest has three goals and seven assists over his past three games. . . . Berezowski, the team captain, has 28 goals. In his past three games, he has put up eight goals and four assists, surpassing the 200-point career mark in the process. He now has 204 points, 110 of them goals, in 245 regular-season games. . . . D Hunter Mayo (14) scored at 4:55 of OT to give the Red Deer Rebels a 2-1 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .

F Alexander Suzdalev scored once (23) and added an assist as the Regina Pats beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-3. . . . Portland finished its East Division swing at 2-4-0. . . . Suzdalev has 53 points in 40 games. . . . Could it be that Regina and area has caught Bedard Fever? The Pats have drawn their three largest crowds of the season to their past three games — 4,761, 5,651 and 5,403. In 20 home games, only one other crowd has been more than 4,000, and that was 4,336 on opening night. . . . The Winterhawks thought they had tied the game late in the third period, but the goal was disallowed by the on-ice officials. Portland fans were upset that the play didn’t go to video review, but goaltender interference isn’t something that can go upstairs for review in the WHL. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “With (G Dante) Giannuzzi pulled for an extra attacker, Portland appeared to score the game-tying goal with 17 seconds left. But, after lengthy deliberations, the goal was disallowed when the ruling was made that Portland’s Kyle Chyzowski interfered with Pats netminder Drew Sim. Chyzowski received at least a nudge from Pats defenceman Luke Bateman before colliding with Sim, but the goal was waved off.”

F Egor Sidorov scored three times and linemate Trevor Wong had a goal and two assists as the Saskatoon Blades beat the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-2. Sidorov, a sophomore from Belarus, has four career hat-tricks, three of them this season. He has 22 goals; Wong has 15. . . . Seattle went 3-3-0 on its East Division swing. . . . G Reid Dyck stopped 29 shots, including a third-period penalty shot, to help the Broncos to a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Swift Current. . . .

F Matthew Hodson scored twice and added an assist as the host Victoria Royals doubled the Kelowna Rockets, 6-3, to sweep their weekend series. The Royals had won, 4-0, on Friday. The Rockets have lost six in a row on the road. Hodson, who scored three goals in 39 games last season, has 11 in 38 outings this season. . . . The Royals scratched D Gannon Laroque, who played Friday, and F Brayden Schuurman, who left Friday’s game after the first period. F Alex Thacker, who last played on Dec. 17, took the warmup but didn’t dress. . . . The sweep allowed the ninth-place Royals (12-25-4) to close to within one point of the Rockets (13-23-3), who hold down the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Connor McClennon scored three times, giving him 19, to lead the Ice to an 8-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. The visitors led 2-0 before the game was five minutes old. . . . F Ryan Hofer scored twice (26) and F Logan Stankoven drew three assists as the Kamloops Blazers beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 5-2. Hofer has three goals in two games with the Blazers since being acquired from Everett. G Matthew Kieper stopped 22 shots in his first appearance for Kamloops since being acquired from Regina on Jan. 3.



THINKING OUT LOUD: Just a reminder that Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) is a must follow on Twitter for major junior hockey fans. . . . You watch QB Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers and you realize how important it can be to be in the right place at the right time to find success. . . . It wasn’t long after the Los Angeles Chargers had coughed up a 27-0 lead and lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday that their fans had Sean Payton replacing Brandon Staley as head coach. And how many jobs will Payton be rumoured for before he finally picks one? . . . There is a lot of chatter that has the Vancouver Canucks on the verge of firing head coach Bruce Boudreau and replacing him with Rick Tocchet. Just a thought, but maybe the Canucks should try doing things right for a change — let Boudreau finish out the season and then see who’s available. And maybe, just maybe, think about handing a blank cheque to Barry Krotz. Or maybe call Sean Payton. . . . ICYMI, QB Nathan Rourke, who lit up the CFL with the B.C. Lions before suffering a foot injury last season, says he is going to sign with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. What an exciting time this must be for him as he gets the opportunity to live out his dream . . . You don’t like Tom Brady and you despise the Dallas Cowboys. So what are you going to do tonight?


COVID


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.


Missing

Will this trade deadline change WHL’s direction? . . . Johnston sheds light on Wiesblatt situation . . . Berezowski sparks Everett explosion

We are going to have to wait a few seasons to find out, but it could be that the WHL entered into a new era in the past few days.

There always have been buyers and sellers at the trade deadline, with the top WHLteams buying and the bottom ones selling. But never have we seen the buyers so willing to part with rather large packages of draft picks.

If this is to continue, it could set up a cycle that the WHL hasn’t experienced.

For years, the theory has been that major junior hockey is cyclical — a team scouted and drafted well, made the odd trade, mostly to add depth, and would be a championship contender every three or four years. Then another rebuild would being. At least, that was the theory.

A few years ago, the word ‘rebuild’ was replaced by ‘reload.’ It was then that some of the trades started to get bigger and involved better and better players.

But it wasn’t until this trade deadline that the league saw trades involving eight and nine draft picks. There was a time when teams treated draft picks like nuggets of gold rather than confetti.

Those days appear to have left us, at least for a few teams.

It will be worth watching now to see if the teams that traded away voluminous draft picks this year will be moving out players to recoup draft picks at the next deadline.

And then will it be rinse and repeat . . . rinse and repeat.

The thing to remember, too, is that when the WHL playoffs come to an end only one team will be holding the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

As well, one of the Kamloops Blazers or Seattle Thunderbirds, two of this deadline’s biggest spenders, won’t even get out of the Western Division come playoff time.


In a conversation with Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) of @pnwhockeytalk, Mike Johnston, the vice-president, general manager and head coach of the Portland PortlandWinterhawks, weighed in with some thoughts on what went down at the trade deadline and in which direction things may be moving:

“It is concerning, but every organization has the right to build their organization how they want to build it. They have to take the risks if they will win or lose and then rebuild. Certainly, that has never been our philosophy on how we do it. We try to be a contender every year, but not unload and not load up.

“What happened (in 2017-18) when Swift Current traded a lot of their young guys, the league put in the rule that you couldn’t trade 16-year-olds, so this year you are starting to see the effect of that rule. You can’t trade a signed 16-year-old now, so what else are other teams going to ask for? They are gong to ask for a lot of picks since you can’t acquire a good, young guy.

“I agree with not trading 16-year-olds, but I hope it doesn’t get to the point where in order to be a playoff team, or (have) a chance to win the league, you have to give up a lot of first-round picks. I hope it doesn’t move too far in that direction.”

——

You will recall that the Winterhawks acquired the rights to F Ozzy Wiesblatt from the Prince Albert Raiders just before Tuesday’s deadline. Portland gave up three conditional WHL draft picks in the exchange.

Critzer asked Johnston about the chances of Wiesblatt, a first-round draft pick of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, who is with their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda, reporting to Portland:

“It was presented to us to obtain his rights, and I thought it made sense for the risk. Whether we get him or not, that will be determined by (the Sharks). He can’t play another game in the American League or the deal is done.

It isn’t a number of games but rather a Jan. 10 deadline. That is the deadline for all of hockey except the NHL players. So if a player is playing in the NHL like Seattle traded for Dylan Guenther, he can be sent back later. If (Wiesblatt) plays beyond Jan. 10 in the American League, he can’t be sent back to our league.”

While the Winterhawks were beating the Blades, 3-1, in Saskatoon on Wednesday night, Wiesblatt was scratched by the Barracuda. Wiesblatt has a goal and four assists in 17 games with the Barracuda, but he now has sat out three straight games. The Barracuda is next scheduled to play on Saturday and Sunday against the visiting Abbotsford Canucks.

Wiesblatt is a 20-year-old, but the Winterhawks are only carrying two — G Dante Giannuzzi and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme — so have room for him.


The OHL deal in which F Shane Wright, who had just captained Team Canada to OHLgold at the World Junior Championship in Halifax, moved from the Kingston Frontenacs to the Windsor Spitfires may well be a sign of things to come to the WHL. . . . The Spitfires surrendered two players, five draft picks and two conditional picks in that exchange. The interesting thing is that not one of those seven draft picks originated with Windsor.


Here is part of what Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered wrote about the trade deadlines that passed us by on Tuesday:

“. . . one thing is for sure, the numbers are crazy. With the trade deadlines having expired in all three of Canada’s major junior hockey leagues, the sheer number of deals and players involved is staggering. And while the days of a teenager showing up at the rink for practice and being told to pack his hockey bag and jump on a bus to Sault Ste. Marie are long gone, the reality is players who opt to chase their NHL dreams through junior hockey are exposing themselves to the possibility that they’ll be traded at some point in their careers.

“It should be pointed out that all three junior leagues are far more sensitive to players’ needs now than they’ve ever been, with the exception of the need to make minimum wage, of course. A good number of deals that happen in major junior hockey these days are either at the request of the player or are done to give him a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere. First-round picks generally have no-trade clauses, which essentially means they have control over their destination. Players in high school cannot be dealt without their approval. And there are a good number of junior executives who will simply not trade a player to another team without his consent, whether he has a no-trade clause or not.

“But even with those restrictions, GMs in junior hockey are wheeling and dealing at a level that would put a used car salesman to shame.”

According to Campbell, 108 players have changed teams in the OHL since Sept. 5, either by waivers or trades. There also were 217 draft picks on the move. In the same stretch, the WHL had 97 players moved and the QMJHL had 80.

Campbell continued: “Trades have been part of junior hockey for decades, so this is nothing new. And while players are no longer uprooted from school and compromising their academic careers, they are required to adapt to a whole new set of teammates and billet families when they get traded. And the fact that it happens to literally hundreds of players in the Canadian Hockey League every season should be a concern.”

You are able to check out Campbell’s work at kencampbell.substack.com. A subscription is well worth it, too.


BlueWhale


If you visited this site looking for trade rumours involving junior hockey players, well, I’m sorry but you came to the wrong place.

Yes, there was a time back in the day when I trafficked in such rumours, but that bad habit came to an end more than a few years ago.

Let me tell you about it . . .

If was early in the WHL’s 2007-08 regular season when two teams cut a two-player deal. I was the sports editor at the late Kamloops Daily News and had learned about the trade well after the next day’s paper had been put to bed.

So I drove home and, assuming that both players had been made aware of the deal, sat down at my computer and posted a short story on my blog. If memory serves all these years later it was about 1 a.m.

Shortly after hitting the publish button, the phone rang.

Yes, it was one of the players who was involved in the trade.

“Is it true?” he asked.

I knew then that he hadn’t been told about the deal.

I assured him that it was.

“Are you sure?” he said, and by now it was apparent that he was in tears.

He had been selected in the WHL draft by the team that now was trading him away. He would go on to be a first-round NHL draft pick and go on to play a few seasons in the big league.

But this was the first time he had been traded.

He was sobbing as he hung up the phone.

I remember taking a long time to fall asleep that night, the sound of his weeping walking through my mind. It was then that it really hit home . . . these are young men, the vast majority of them teenagers and away from home, and while junior hockey operators might treat them like chattel, I decided then that I no longer would fall into that trap.

And that’s why you won’t find any such rumours or speculation on this site.

——

And then there’s the other side of junior hockey trade deadlines. . . . Here are three tweets on that subject. . . .

“WHL and CJHL trade deadline tomorrow. Understand teams trying to get better.  But trades impact a lot of people … players, teammates, families, billet families.”

“So hard — just hope the teams have someone the kids can talk to . . . some have been friends — family members and teammates for 3+ years.”

“January 10th . . . awful day for players . . . very mentally draining for them . .  same for billet families that love the billet kids as (if) they are family . . . it sucks!”


Here’s Elliotte Friedman in his latest 32 Thoughts: “No issues with (Connor) Bedard staying in WHL Regina, even if they aren’t a huge postseason favourite. If that’s his wish, that’s his wish. Depending on how the Pats do in the playoffs, curious to see if he plays at the World Championship.”

The IIHF’s 2023 World Championship is scheduled for May 12-28 in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia. 


Facebook


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Tri-City Americans have added former WHL goaltender Ty Rimmer to their staff as the goaltending coach. Rimmer, who played with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Prince George Cougars, Tri-City and the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 2009-13, replaces Eli Wilson who, according to the Americans, “has professional responsibilities that necessitate he move on.” According to Kelowna’s website, Wilson remains on staff as the Rockets’ goaltending coach. . . . The Americans also have brought Vanessa Hettinger on board as power-skating coach.


WEDNESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS: F Nico Myatovic (15) scored at 3:26 of OT to give the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Ice in the only regular-season meeting between two of the biggest buyers leading up to the trade deadline. . . . The Kamloops Blazers, one of the other big spenders, got a goal (19) and four assists from F Logan Stankoven and a goal (21) and three assists from F Caedan Bankier in a 6-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. D Olen Zellweger, acquired from the Everett Silvertips on Sunday, scored an empty-netter for Kamloops. F Ryan Hofer, who moved to Kamloops with Zellweger, sat out a one-game suspension. . . .

F Jackson Berezowski (24) struck four times and added an assist as the Everett Silvertips beat the Chiefs, 9-3, in Spokane. . . . F Blake Swetlikoff scored his second goal in as many games since being acquired from the Chiefs to help the host Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 5-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos, whose seven-game winning streak was snapped. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored his WHL-leading 34th goal in the first period then added the winning in a shootout as the Rebels beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3, in Red Deer. . . . F Braeden Jockims, playing in his hometown, scored his first WHL goal in his second game and it stood up as the winner as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Blades, 3-1, in Saskatoon.


Password


THINKING OUT LOUD: If someone were to add up the number of major junior, junior A and junior B hockey players who changed teams in the past two weeks, I’m betting the number would be somewhere around 500. . . . Hey, Clay Matthews, if I haven’t bought that Tide stuff by now, I won’t be making the leap. So you can leave my TV screen any day now. . . . The value of SS Carlos Correa’s contract went from US$350 million (San Francisco Giants) to $315 million (New York Mets) to $200 million (Minnesota Twins). Such a sad, sad story.


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.


TVcords

Another WHL trade deadline here and gone . . . Seattle gets golden boy’s rights . . . Blades grab Chiasson


The WHL’s trade deadline arrived on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 48.

No. of players traded — 83.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 81.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 29.

Teams involved in trades — 11: Edmonton; 6: Everett, Kamloops, Kelowna, Seattle, Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Brandon, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina, Tri-City; 4: Portland, Prince Albert; 3: Red Deer, Spokane, Swift Current; 2: Moose Jaw; Saskatoon, Vancouver; 1: Calgary; 0: Medicine Hat.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.


Late Tuesday afternoon, just before the trade deadline whizzed past, the Edmonton Oil Kings announced that they had acquired the rights to F Koji SeattleGibson, 15, six conditional WHL draft picks and a fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft from the Seattle Thunderbirds for the rights to F Dylan Guenther, 19, the rights to F Jordan Ramsay, who will turn 16 on Jan. 24, and a 2023 eighth-round pick. . . . The conditional picks — a second in 2023, sixth in 2024, fourth in 2025, and first, fourth and fifth in 2026 — all hinge on the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes assigning Guenther to Seattle. . . . Guenther, a first-round pick by the Coyotes in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has three goals and eight assists in 22 games with Arizona this season. . . . He scored the OT goal on Thursday as Team Canada beat Czechia, 3-2, in the World Junior Championship final in Halifax. . . . The Oil Kings selected Guenther with the first overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 draft. He helped the Oil Kings to the WHL championship last season as they beat the Thunderbirds in the championship final. . . .

Gibson, from North Vancouver, plays for the U18 prep team at the Burnaby Winter Club. Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . . Ramsay, from Victoria, is with the U18 prep team at the Pacific Coast Academy. He was an eighth-round pick by the Oil Kings in the 2022 draft.


The Saskatoon Blades, perhaps the most under-appreciated team in all of the SaskatoonCHL at the moment, acquired F Jake Chiasson, 19, from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a first-round WHL draft pick in 2023, a second-rounder in 2025 and a conditional second in 2026. . . . Chiasson, from Abbotsford, B.C., was a fourth-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s 2021 draft. The Wheat Kings selected him in the first round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . He was in his fourth season with Brandon, having put up 30 goals and 41 assists in 141 regular-season games. . . . This season, he has 10 goals and 18 assists in 37 games. . . . From the Saskatoon news release: “Chiasson made international news earlier this winter as he and three teammates, who were driving over a bridge in Brandon, helped save the life of a distressed man.” . . . The 2023 first-round pick was Saskatoon’s and not the one the Blades acquired from Seattle in the deal that had F Brad Lambert’s rights move to the Thunderbirds. . . .

The Blades (26-6-3) are rather quietly putting together a solid season. In fact, their points percentage of .786 trails only the Winnipeg Ice (.853) and Seattle Thunderbirds (.806). . . . BTW, the Thunderbirds and Ice are to meet tonight (Wednesday) in Winnipeg.

——

In a second deal, Brandon acquired F Dawson Pasternak, 19, and a conditional fourth-round pick in an undisclosed WHL draft from the Portland Winterhawks for the rights to F Colin Frank, a sixth-rounder in 2025 and a second in 2026. . . . Pasternak, from Winnipeg, was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft. This season, he has 17 points, five of them goals, in 28 games. Last season, as a freshman, he had five goals and nine assists in 34 games. . . . Pasternak had an assist on Brandon’s first goal Tuesday night as the Wheat Kings beat the visiting Thunderbirds, 4-2. . . . Frank, from Ladera Ranch, Calif., will turn 17 on March 3. He was taken by Brandon in the 2021 U.S. prospects draft. He plays for the U16 AAA Anaheim Jr. Ducks and has 34 goals and 39 assists in 45 games.

——

In a third deal, the Wheat Kings acquired F Nolan Flamand, who will turn 19 on Thursday, from the Kelowna Rockets for F Trae Johnson, 17, and two picks — a third-rounder in the 2023 WHL draft and a fifth in 2024. . . . Flamand, from Saskatoon, had four goals and 12 assists in 35 games with Kelowna this season. He was a second-round pick by Kelowna in the 2019 draft. . . . Johnson, from Martensville, Sask., had two goals and four assists in 37 games with Brandon this season. He was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft.


Just before the deadline, the Winterhawks acquired the rights to F Ozzy PortlandWiesblatt, 20, from the Prince Albert Raiders for three conditional draft picks — a first in 2025 and two seconds in 2026. . . . The picks — one of the second-round picks was acquired from Brandon earlier on Tuesday —  are conditional on Wiesblatt being assigned to Portland by the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Wiesblatt, a first-round pick by the Sharks in 2020, is with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda with whom he has a goal and four assists in 17 games. . . . Prince Albert picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2017 draft. He put up 179 points, including 58 goals, in 195 regular-season games with the Raiders. . . .

The Winterhawks also dealt G Donavan Bodnar and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft to the Everett Silvertips for a fourth-rounder in 2024. . . . Bodnar, from West St. Paul, Man., won’t turn 18 until Nov. 22. He was a seventh-round pick by Portland in the 2020 draft. . . . Bodnar now is playing for the Seven Oaks Raiders in the Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League. . . . Earlier this season, the Portage Terriers acquired Bodnar’s rights from the Selkirk Steelers for D Jacob Ziegler, 18. . . .

In another move, the Winterhawks traded D Nicholas Andrusiak, 18, to the Red Deer Rebels for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft. . . . Andrusiak, from Tisdale, Sask., is with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires, and has two goals and an assist in 20 games. He got into two games with Portland early this season.


The Prince George Cougars announced their presence on Deadline Day by PrinceGeorgeacquiring F Zac Funk, 19, from the Calgary Hitmen for F Carter MacAdams, 18, and three WHL draft picks — second-rounders in 2023 and 2024, and a fourth in 2024. . . . Funk, from Coldstream, B.C., had 13 goals and 19 assists in 33 games with the Hitmen this season. In 129 career games, he has 78 points, 39 of them goals. . . . He was a second-round pick by Calgary in the 2018 draft. . . . MacAdams, from South Surrey, B.C., was picked by the Cougars in the fourth round of the 2019 WHL draft. He has 18 goals and 30 assists in 117 regular-season games over three seasons with Prince George. This season, he has six goals and 15 assists in 36 games.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes reacquired G Jared Picklyk, 19, from the Tri-City Americans for a 10th-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. The Hurricanes had traded him to the Americans for a 2024 sixth-round pick on Nov. 17, but he got into only two games with Tri-City. . . . Before that deal, he was 4-5-0, 3.50, .877 with Lethbridge this season. . . . Picklyk, from Kelowna, will report to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos.


The Kelowna Rockets acquired D Landon Cowper, 16, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a conditional fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. Cowper, from Whitehorse, was a fourth-round pick by the Raiders in the 2021 draft. . . . He is playing for the U18 team at the RINK Hockey Academy in Kelowna, and has one goal and 15 assists in 18 games.


The Kamloops Blazers picked up the rights to D Daylan Weigel, 19, from the KamloopsSwift Current Broncos for a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. Weigel, from Warman, Sask., is with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and, according to the Blazers, “will remain with the Broncos for the 2022-23 season and become an affiliate player.” . . . He has six goals and 18 assists in 31 games with Humboldt this season. . . . Weigel has played in 25 WHL games — one with the Regina Pats and 24 with Swift Current. He has six assists in those games. . . . Regina picked him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft.


The Vancouver Giants have acquired the rights to D Ben Feenan, 18, from the Tri-City Americans for a seventh-round pick in the 2026 WHL draft. . . . Feenan, a sixth-round pick by the Americans in the 2019 draft, is from Surrey, B.C. He had three assists in 22 games this season when he left the team and joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.


In the final trade before the deadline, announced more than three hours after it Reginahad passed, the Regina Pats acquired F Steel Quiring, 19, from the Everett Silvertips for a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. Quiring, from Vernon, B.C., had three goals and three assists in 30 games with Everett. He also has played for the Kelowna Rockets and Calgary Hitmen. The Silvertips acquired him from the Hitmen on Sept. 30. . . . The Rockets selected him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. . . . Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) pointed out on Twitter that “the Pats are Quiring’s 4th WHL team in the last  year and five days.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Edmonton Oil Kings have claimed F Loick Daigle, 20, off CHL waivers from the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. In 108 QMJHL regular-season games, he has 24 goals and 26 assists. . . . F Brad Lambert wasn’t in Seattle’s lineup on Tuesday night in Brandon, nor was F Chaz Lucius with Portland in Prince Albert. . . . The junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that Briar McNaney has signed on as their interim head coach. . . . The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder have announced that Sean Brown, its general manager and head coach, has stepped down for “family reasons.” Corey Bricknell, who had been assistant GM and associate coach, has stepped in as interim GM/head coach. The Thunder (11-27-2) is eighth in the eight-team North 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.


Phone

A quieter Monday in the WHL . . . Six more deals as deadline nears . . . Portland, Seattle add AHL assignees

As Monday disappeared over the horizon, there had been nothing in the way of WHLSunday’s craziness and with the WHL’s deadline now only hours away.

One supposes that some teams took time to count their remaining draft picks after what had transpired on Sunday.

Still, there were a handful of trades made on Monday, one of which involved a player who had been part of one of those Sunday blockbusters.

And two U.S. Division teams had players who began the season in the AHL assigned to them by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.

Read on . . .

——

The Swift Current Broncos were involved in a couple of trades. . . .

First, they and the Brandon Wheat Kings swapped a pair of defencemen, with SwiftCurrentMason Ward, 20, moving to the Broncos for Kayden Sadhra-Kang, 19. . . . The Wheat Kings acquired Ward from the Red Deer Rebels prior to the 2021-22 season. From Lloydminster, the 6-foot-5 Ward had four goals and six assists in 38 games with Brandon this season. . . . The 6-foot-4 Sakhra-Kang, from Richmond, B.C., was acquired by Swift Current from the Lethbridge Hurricanes early last season. In 90 games with the Broncos, he had four goals and 19 assists. . . .

The Broncos also made a deal with Everett, getting F Drew Englot, 20, from the Silvertips for F Raphael Pelletier, 20, and a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 draft. . . . This was the second time Englot was traded in fewer than 24 hours. On Sunday, he was part of the massive trade between the Kamloops Blazers and Everett. . . . Englot, from Candiac Sask., had three goals and 11 assists in 34 games with the Blazers this season. Kamloops had acquired him from the Regina Pats last season. . . . Pelletier, from Legal, Alta., had 37 goals and 53 assists in 162 games with the Broncos over the past four seasons. This season, he has 11 goals and 17 assists in 28 games. . . .

Ward and Englot are expected to be in the Broncos’ lineup tonight (Tuesday) when they meet the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

——

The Everett Silvertips acquired F Nolan Chastko, 17, from the Prince George Cougars for a conditional sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2025 draft. . . . Chastko, from Brandon, wasn’t picked in the WHL draft. He signed with the Cougars, and has been playing with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. He has 10 goals and 14 assists in 29 games with Virden.

——

The Tri-City Americans also were involved in a couple of Monday deals. . . . They Tri-Citygot D Ethan Peters, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. From Moose Jaw, Peters was in his third season with Edmonton. He recorded 28 points, including 24 assists, in 119 regular-season games. . . . Following last season, he was presented with the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy as the WHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year. . . .

The Americans also acquired D Jackson Romeril, 17, from the Kelowna Rockets for a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft. . . . From Calgary, the Rockets selected him in the sixth round of the 2020 draft. . . . This season, he is pointless in 13 games with Kelowna.

——

——

Edmonton was involved in another Monday exchange when it got D Jacob Hoffrogge, 19, from the Everett Silvertips for a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. . . . He had two goals and two assists in 23 games with Everett this season. He also has played with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

——

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 36.

No. of players traded — 65.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 65.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 16.

Teams involved in trades — 10: Edmonton; 6: Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Kamloops, Seattle; 4: Everett, Kelowna, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Spokane, Tri-City; 2: Brandon, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; Swift Current; 1: Saskatoon, Vancouver; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.


The Seattle Thunderbirds and Portland Winterhawks each has added a player to their roster who began this season with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets assigned F Brad Lambert to Seattle and F Chaz Lucius to Portland. Neither has played since they were in the 2023 World Junior Championship in Moncton and Halifax.

Lambert, 19, had two goals and an assist in 14 games with the Moose. He had Seattleone goal in five games with Finland at the WJC. . . . Seattle acquired his WHL rights from the Saskatoon Blades on June 30 for fourth- and sixth-round picks in the WHL’s 2023 draft, a conditional first-rounder in 2023 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024. . . . With Lambert having been assigned to Saskatoon, the Blades now are in possession of those two conditional draft picks. . . . Might the Blades spend some draft capital today before the trade deadline arrives?

Lucius, 19, is a native of White Bear Lake, Minn. He had two goals and three Portlandassists in 12 games with the Moose. The Jets selected him with the 18th pick of the NHL’s 2021 draft. Portland grabbed his WHL rights in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he played at the U of Minnesota, putting up 19 points, including nine goals, in 24 games. . . . Last week, he helped Team USA to a bronze medal at the WJC. He finished with seven points, five of them goals, in as many games. He had three goals, including the OT winner, as the Americans beat Sweden, 8-7, in the third-place game.

Portland and Seattle both are in the midst of East Division road trips.

Lucius is expected to join the Winterhawks once they return home. He could make his Portland debut on Jan. 20 against the visiting Victoria Royals.

Seattle general manager Bil La Forge said in a news release that his club looks “forward to getting (Lambert) in a Thunderbirds jersey soon.”


THINKING OUT LOUD: Look, I’m not a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, but those baby blue outfits they were wearing on Monday night should be sent to Mars. Sheesh, who is responsible for the Habs wearing those things instead of their traditional outfits? . . . If you were wondering, the Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds will meet three more times this season. They’ll play March 7 and 21 in Kent, Wash., and March 22 in Kamloops. . . . How much of the NCAA’s championship football game did you watch on Monday night? . . . Today’s WHL trade deadline arrives at 4 p.m. in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 3 p.m. in Alberta, and 2 p.m. in B.C.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

In the middle of all the trading frenzy, the Erie Otters chose to fire head coach BJ Adams on Monday. Adams, who was in his second season as the head coach, had been on the Otters’ staff since 2015. . . . The Otters, who are 1-9-0 of late, are 12-20-3 and in last place in the 10-team Western Conference. . . . The plan is for assistant coaches Vince Laise and Wes Wolfe to run the team while management searches for a head coach. . . .

The junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay Junior International Hockey League are believed to be poised to introduce Briar McNaney as their new head coach. He would replace Adam DiBella, who resigned this week after the league suspended him for the remainder of this season for his role in a New Year’s Eve line brawl in a game against the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks. . . . McNaney, 30, spent five seasons on staff with the KIJHL’s Columbia Valley Rockies; he finished last season as general manager and head coach. . . . From Kamloops, he began this season as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers


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.


Trust

Blazers rock WHL world in landing Zellweger . . . Giants’ captain off to Ice for eight assets . . . Bedard back lighting it up with Pats

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 31.

No. of players traded — 59.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 62.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 12.

Teams involved in trades — 8: Edmonton; 6: Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Kamloops, Seattle; 4: Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Everett, Kelowna, Spokane; 2: Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; 1: Brandon, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Tri-City, Vancouver; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.


January 8, 2023.

It will be remembered as the day when discretion being the better part of valour no longer was entrenched in the WHL’s trade deadline-related thinking of those making the deals.

It was the day the Kamloops Blazers, the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup, and the Winnipeg Ice, the Eastern Conference’s top team to date, combined to give up eight players, 13 WHL draft picks, including seven first-round selections, and a conditional pick for three players.

First things first . . .

Observers have been waiting for weeks to see what kind of impact the Blazers would have as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches. Well, they found out on Sunday.

Kamloops acquired D Olen Zellweger, 19, and F Ryan Hofer, 20, from the Everett KamloopsSilvertips but the cost was off the charts.

All told, Kamloops coughed up two roster players (F Drew Englot, 20, and D Kaden Hammell, 17) and two prospects (D Rylan Pearce, 17, and F Jack Bakker, 15), along with nine draft picks and a conditional pick. Kamloops surrendered four first-rounders (2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026), one second (2023), one third (2025), one fourth (2023), one fifth (2024) and one sixth (2026). The Blazers also threw in a conditional second-rounder in 2026.

No, Kamloops didn’t get any picks back.

Zellweger, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., is fresh off a run as perhaps Team Canada’s best defenceman in a gold medal-winning performance at the World Junior Championship that ended Thursday in Halifax. In Kamloops, he will be Everettreunited with Team Canada teammates Caedan Bankier and Logan Stankoven,

A second-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL’s 2021 draft, Zellweger has 28 points, including 10 goals, in 23 games with Everett this season. He has signed a three-year entry-level contract with Anaheim so is unlikely to return to the WHL for a 20-year-old season.

Last season, Zellweger led WHL defencemen with 78 points in 55 games and was named the league’s top defenceman.

Hofer, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder from Winnipeg, is one of the WHL’s premier power forwards. This season, his third, he has 23 goals and 13 assists in 36 games. The Washington Capitals selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2022 draft.

Englot, from Candiac, Sask., is in his fourth WHL season. The Blazers acquired him from the Regina Pats midway through the 2021-22 season. This season, he has three goals and 11 assists in 34 games.

Hammell, from Langley, B.C., was a first-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2020 draft. Last season, he put up 14 points, 11 of them assists, in 57 games. This season, he has six goals and four assists in 36 games.

Pearce, from Martensville, Sask., was a fourth-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2020 draft. He got into two games with Kamloops this season and earned two assists. Pearce now is with the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers.

Bakker, from White Rock, B.C., is playing for the U18 side at the Delta, B.C., Hockey Academy. He was a third-round selection by the Blazers in the 2022 WHL draft.

The Blazers (22-8-6) are third in the Western Conference, eight points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (28-5-2) and five behind the Portland Winterhawks (26-6-3). The Silvertips (18-18-1) are tied for fifth with the Tri-City Americans (17-16-3), one point behind the Vancouver Giants (16-16-6).

Kamloops, which beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, on Saturday night, is next scheduled to play Wednesday against visiting Vancouver. Hofer will sit out that one with a one-game suspension.

You can bet he’ll be in the lineup on Friday, though, when the Blazers are to play in Everett. The Silvertips are scheduled to visit the Blazers on March 10.

——

Meanwhile, shortly after Winnipeg beat visiting Portland, 6-3, on Sunday night, the Ice announced it had acquired F Zack Ostapchuk, the Giants’ 19-WinnipegIceyear-old captain and another member of Canada’s national junior team.

In exchange, the Ice surrendered two roster players (F Skyler Bruce, 19, and F Connor Dale, 17), two prospects (D Owen Brees, 15, and F Hudson Landmark, 15), and four WHL draft picks — firsts in 2024, 2025 and 2026, and a fifth in 2024.

Ostapchuk, from St. Albert, Alta., had 10 goals and 19 assists in 21 games with the Giants this season. In 153 career regular-season games, he put up 96 points, 48 of them goals. Vancouver selected him 12th overall in the WHL’s 2018 draft, Vancouverand the Ottawa Senators grabbed him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft.

Ostapchuk has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Senators so is unlikely to be back in the WHL for his 20-year-old season in 2023-24.

Bruce, from Winnipeg, had 22 points, seven of them goals, in 33 games with the Ice this season. He has 70 points, including 26 goals, in 136 regular-season games. The Kootenay Ice picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 draft.

Dale, a freshman who also is from St. Albert, has three goals and five assists in 24 games. He was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft.

Brees, from Lethbridge, was picked by the Ice in the fifth round of the 2022 draft. He is playing with the U15 Northern Alberta Xtreme.

Landmark, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was an eighth-round pick in that same draft. He is playing with the U15 AAA Sherwood Park United Cycle Flyers.

The Ice (29-5-0) leads the Eastern Conference by two points over the Red Deer Rebels (26-8-4), with Winnipeg holding four games in hand.

The Giants (16-16-6) are fourth in the Western Conference, 12 points behind third-place Kamloops.

The Ice and Giants aren’t scheduled to meet again during this regular season. In their only clash, the Ice posted a 4-3 victory at the Langley Events Centre on Oct. 19.

Vancouver next will play Wednesday when it is to visit Kamloops.

Winnipeg’s next game is scheduled for Wednesday when it is to play host to the Seattle Thunderbirds, another organization that has gone big in this season’s arm race.

Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) pointed out that the Thunderbirds have acquired F Colton Dach (Kelowna Rockets), D Nolan Allan (Prince Albert Raiders) and D Luke Prokop (Edmonton Oil Kings) for a total of four first-round picks, two seconds, three thirds, a fourth, two sixths, and five players.

——


It was 11 years ago today (Monday) when the Swift Current Broncos and WHLKootenay Ice rocked the WHL’s world with what was then seen as a huge deal.

Mark Lamb, the Broncos’ general manager and head coach, and Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth got together and cooked up a deal that included six players and three WHL draft picks.

The Broncos dealt F Cody Eakin, 19, to the Ice for roster F Christian Magnus, four list players (F Ryan Bloom, F Colby Cave, G Steven Myland and F Jarett Zentner) and three picks — a first and a second in 2011 and a third in 2012.

The Ice went on to win the WHL championship that spring, ousting the Portland Winterhawks from a five-game final series. Eakin, who put up 44 points in 26 regular-season games with the Ice, scored 11 goals and added 16 assists in 19 playoff games. Eakin, F Matt Fraser and F Max Reinhardt each finished with 27 playoff points.

The Ice went 2-3 at the Memorial Cup, losing 3-1 to the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the semifinal. Eakin totalled six points, three of them goals, in the five games.

I’ll let you decide who won the exchange between the Broncos and Ice.


The World Junior Championship ended in Halifax on Thursday. Since then, Seattlethere has been speculation that Finnish F Brad Lambert will be joining the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. That speculation heated up Sunday when his name was dropped from the roster of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Lambert, who had two goals and one assist in 14 AHL games, is listed as inactive on the Moose’s stats page. He had one goal in five games with Finland at the WJC.

Lambert, who turned 19 on Dec. 19, was born in Lahti, Finland. The Winnipeg Jets, the Moose’s parent club, selected him 30th overall in the NHL’s 2022 draft.

Lambert’s father, Ross, spent one season 1982-83) with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, putting up 106 points. Brad’s uncle, Lane, is the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders.


Meanwhile, F Connor Bedard, fresh off lighting up the WJC on behalf of Team ReginaCanada, returned to the Regina Pats’ lineup on Sunday. All he did was score four goals and add two assist as the Pats beat the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 6-2. . . . The announced attendance was 4,761, the Pats’ largest home crowd this season. . . . Bedard’s first career six-point outing included a pair of shorthanded goals. . . . Despite missing 11 games while with Team Canada, Bedard’s 70 points, in 29 games, has him leading the points race by eight points over F Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets. With 31 goals, Bedard is two behind F Kai Uchacz of the Red Deer Rebels, and Bedard’s 39 assists are two more than D Lukas Dragicevic of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was in attendance; his story is right here. . . .

Now take a minute or two, think about the packages that Kamloops and Winnipeg traded away today, then try to figure out what it would cost an organization to get Bedard from the Pats. . . . were he available, that is.


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