OHL gets exemption from Ontario gov’t . . . Report: Ice preparing to make announcement next week; team to salute Cranbrook Colts tonight


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The Ontario provincial government skated firmly into the corner with the OHL on Thursday, revealing that major junior hockey players will be excluded from the ohlEmployment Standards Act. As such, those players won’t be classified as employees, therefore won’t be eligible to be paid at least minimum wage.

Ontario is the latest jurisdiction to exempt major junior players from minimum wage-related legislation, joining B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Michigan and the state of Washington.

The CHL is the umbrella under which the OHL, QMJHL and WHL operate. They are facing a class-action lawsuit brought by former and present players asking that they be paid at least minimum wage. Among other things, the lawsuit also asks for vacation pay.

Megan Stacey of the London Free Press has more on this story right here.


All was quiet on the Kootenay Ice front again Thursday, two days after a group that had been working to help the WHL franchise by selling tickets and sponsorships shut it down.

The Green Bay Committee cited a lack of engagement by the Ice ownership in making a Kootenaynewdecision to cease operations and return about $50,000 it said it had raised, mostly from local businesses.

Owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the franchise from the Chynoweth family prior to the 2017-18 season, chose not to attend committee meetings. That decision meant that no one from the Ice organization was on hand to answer questions and to quell speculation that the franchise will move to Winnipeg once this season ends.

On Thursday, the Winnipeg Free Press reported:

“Late Wednesday, a planned team-hosted media event failed to materialize, but sources told the Free Press that an announcement is being planned for next week.”

John Hudak, the Green Bay Committee’s marketing director, has been the front man since a letter explaining its decision was emailed to Cockell and copied to Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, and members of the WHL’s board of governors.

To date, there hasn’t been any comment from Fettes, Cockell or Robison.

“It’s out of our hands; it’s up to the owners,” Hudak told the Free Press. “Like somebody asked me, ‘What do you think?’ Well, the last time I checked I wasn’t a psychologist and I wasn’t a mind-reader. I don’t know what’s going on in the minds of Matt Cockell and Greg Fettes. They’re the people (who) have to answer that.”

When asked by the Free Press if he thinks Cockell and Fettes have always intended to move the team to Winnipeg, Hudak replied:

“Well, I’ll put it to you this way — there are certain people in town who feel that way. I’m not going to dodge the bullet on that one but as far as the committee was concerned, we felt that if we went out and did our work and helped the present ownership out here, that we could sit down and be able to keep the team here.”

The Ice is scheduled to play at home tonight against the Calgary Hitmen. In a promotion tonight, the Ice will be honouring the now-defunct Cranbrook Colts, a team that started in junior B before moving up to junior A and playing int he Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League.

According to Wikipedia, “The Colts folded in 1998 because of the forming of the Kootenay Ice . . .”


The Kootenay Ice has added F Michael Milne 16, to its roster for what the team says is “the remainder of the season.” From Abbotsford, B.C., the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Milne was leading the major midget Fraser Valley Thunderbirds in goals (18) and points (26), in 14 games. . . . He was an eighth-round pick by the Ice in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


The Everett Silvertips have signed F Nate Goodbrandson to a WHL contract. Goodbrandson, a 15-year-old from St. Andrews, Man., has eight goals and 10 assists in 17 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. The 6-foot-0, 160-pounder was a seventh-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft and attended Everett’s training camp prior to this season. . . . Last season, he finished with 31 goals and 46 assists in 34 games with the bantam AAA Winnipeg Hawks.


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All quiet on the Kootenay front . . . Raiders roll to another victory . . . ‘Tips win battle of U.S. Division leaders


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D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, as an alternate captain with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), he had one goal and 10 assists in 43 games. He also had three assists in 10 games with Sochi (Russia, KHL). . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) has been released by mutual agreement by Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). He had two goals and two assists in 25 games. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). He had been released by Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL) after the end of a tryout contract on Nov. 11. He had three goals and three assists in six games. . . . Tvrdoň started the season with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga), scoring once in four games.


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As readers stopped by here late Tuesday night and on through Wednesday, they learned that the Green Bay Committee had shut it down in Cranbrook, B.C., having started to whlbelieve that the Kootenay Ice, the WHL franchise its members had been working to save, is in its final season there.

The committee had been selling tickets and raising money through sponsorships for the Ice in the hopes of keeping the team in the 4,264-seat Western Financial Place.

With all signs pointing to a departure at season’s end, readers started to suggest possible landing spots, other than Winnipeg. Among those mentioned, in no particular order, were New Westminster, Billings, Chilliwack, Anchorage, Wenatchee, Penticton and Vernon.

None of those will be a destination, of course, as it seems the Ice is destined to end up in Winnipeg playing out of the East Division, while the Swift Current Broncos would slide back into the Central Division.

When that happens, Cranbrook will be home to an arena that meets WHL standards — including new lighting, boards and glass, and with plans for a new scoreboard with video boards to be installed in time for 2019-20.

Perhaps the one thing missing would be a team.

But there already are people in Cranbrook who are wondering if there might be another WHL team interested in relocating.

For starters, you can forget about the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos. These are the four remaining community-owned franchises and they aren’t going anywhere.

But . . .

New owners took over the Prince George Cougars in time for the 2014-15 season and admit that they have been bleeding money. This season, the announced average attendance in Prince George is 2,521 through 11 games. Last season, the final figure was 3,024.

Might the Cougars’ ownership be interested in at least kicking some tires?

Meanwhile, the Tri-City Americans averaged 3,053 fans for seven playoff games last spring after a regular season in which that figure was 3,649. But the Toyota Center, which opened in 1988, needs help

A year ago, the Tri-City Herald published a story that centred on the needed improvements and included this:

“Neither (WHL commissioner Ron) Robison nor (Americans general manager Bob) Tory suggested the Americans might leave Kennewick. But they didn’t deny the possibility either.

“Tory said team expenses have doubled under current ownership while revenue has been flat.

“ ‘There comes a time when that doesn’t make sense any more,’ Tory said.”

Voters in Kennewick, Wash., have twice rejected a sales tax that would have had money directed to Toyota Center improvements.

A year ago, there really wasn’t another option for teams like the Cougars or Americans. That changes if/when the Ice heads for the Manitoba capital.

Interestingly, Tory is quite familiar with Cranbrook, having worked as Kootenay’s general manager for two seasons (1998-2000).


All was quiet on the Kootenay Ice front on Wednesday, the day after a local committee that was working towards ensuring that the WHL franchise stays in Cranbrook, B.C., chose to cease operations.

In a letter to Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, as well as one of its Kootenaynewtwo owners, the Green Bay Committee cited a lack of support from the Ice’s owners, Greg Fettes and Cockell, in its decision.

Fettes and Cockell, both with ties to Winnipeg, purchased the franchise prior to last season. This season has been loaded with speculation that the franchise will be relocated to Winnipeg before another season arrives.

Of late, however, there has only been silence from the Ice.

“The silence is deafening,” John Hudak, the committee’s marketing director, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. “I can’t speak for the owners of the team, I’m not a mind-reader and I don’t know what they are planning on doing, but it’s just highly unusual that people who have been in town for a very short period of time are not making that comment. If they have attendance problems (and) then they aren’t making any comments here to us and (aren’t) willing to engage with us . . . It’s disturbing.”

Hudak’s committee had invited Cockell to attend meetings. Hudak told Taking Note on Wednesday that Cockell’s refusal to attend “surprised” the committee.

Hudak said there was a “representative of the Ice, but not a decision-maker” at the committee’s first meeting on Oct. 25.

Hudak told Global News-Winnipeg on Wednesday that the Ice’s lack of engagement is “probably the single biggest thing that has impacted our ability to lock up some ticket sales.

“Why should we support this if these people aren’t going to remain in the community.

“(We) haven’t heard from the Ice ownership if it will remain . . . their silence on the subject has become deafening.”

Global News reported that “Fettes has also partnered with Brad Rice, who opened Winnipeg’s The Rink Training Facility in 2009, and is building a new facility south of the city. Sources have told Global News a new 5,000-seat arena is planned to be developed on the site to accommodate the WHL team.”

In September, Fettes told Global: “As a fan, parent, and owner, I am passionate about hockey development in Winnipeg and across Canada. Because of this passion, I am involved with The Rink Player Development and their new facility at McGillivray and Loudon, including their expansion and development in the surrounding area.”

Kootenay’s next home game is scheduled for Friday night when the Calgary Hitmen are in town. Jeff Chynoweth is Calgary’s general manager. Fettes and Cockell purchased the Ice from Chynoweth, his brother, Dean, and their mother, Linda.


The B.C. Sports Hall of Fame revealed Wednesday that Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, will received the 2019 W.A.C. Bennett Award for contribution to sport in the province. . . . The award will be presented during the Hall of Fame’s induction gala on May 23 in Vancouver. . . . Toigo has owned the Giants since purchasing an expansion franchise that began play in the 2000-01 season. He has been instrumental in having the 2006 and 2019 World Junior Championships played in Vancouver, as well as the 2007 Memorial Cup. . . . Toigo already is in the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame and the Delta, B.C., Sports Hall of Fame.


G Gavin McHale, who made 45 WHL appearances over two seasons (2004-06), got to watch an NHL game while wearing the uniform of the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. With starter Braden Holtby a late scratch due to an undisclosed injury that is believed to be minor, the Capitals started Pheonix Copley against the host Winnipeg Jets and brought in McHale, a 31-year-old from Winnipeg, as the emergency backup. . . . The Jets won the game, 3-1. . . . McHale, who made 33 appearances with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 12 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, is the goaltender coach for the women’s hockey team at the U of Manitoba. . . . The 6-foot-7 McHale had been in the backup role once before. In February, he spent the third period on the Colorado Avalanche’s bench in support of Semyon Varlamov, who went in to replace the injured Jonathan Bernier.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Alex Evin, their director of player personnel and associate coach, to a two-year extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. . . . Evin is in his second season with the Spruce Kings. . . . Adam Maglio, the Spruce Kings’ head coach, also is signed through 2020-21, as is general manager Mike Hawes.


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WEDNESDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott blocked 43 shots to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to their 11th straight PrinceAlbertvictory, this time beating the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0. . . . The Raiders (18-1-0) now lead the overall standings by six points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Tigers (9-10-3) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Scott even took a shot at an empty-net goal, only to have the scoreboard in the Art Hauser Centre get in the way. “He thought he was Marty Brodeur at the end there with the shot,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com. “I thought it had a pretty good chance. He got some good weight on it and she was going. But then the clock obviously got in the way. That was the end of that.” . . . F Brett Leason (18) scored the game’s first goal, while shorthanded, at 8:58 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (9) added insurance at 11:16 of the third. . . . Leason has at least one point in all 19 Prince Albert games this season. He and F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings are tied for the WHL lead in goals. . . . Scott has three shutouts this season and six in his career. On the season, he is 15-1-0, 1.50, .946. . . . BTW, the Raiders now have scored 11 times while shorthanded; their WHL-leading penalty-killers have surrendered only seven goals. . . . D’Andrea’s story is right here.

G Beck Warm turned aside 24 shots to help the Tri-City Americans to a 3-0 victory over tri-citythe Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Americans now are 12-6-0. This was Game 9 of an 11-game road trip on which they are 7-2-0, including 2-2-0 in the East Division. . . . The Broncos (4-16-2) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Warm had one shutout this season and two in his career. . . . F Kyle Olson (4) opened the scoring at 4:20 of the first period, with F Krystof Hrabik (5) made it 2-0 at 19:15. . . . F Isaac Johnson scored his seventh goal into an empty net at 19:56 of the third period. . . . The Broncos remain without D Matthew Stanley, while F Eric Houk now has missed two games since being injured in a fight with F Carter Massier during a 2-0 loss to the Pats in Regina on Saturday.


F Josh Maser scored the winner in OT and also had two assists to lead the Prince George PrinceGeorgeCougars to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (9-8-3) has won two in a row. . . . Kelowna (8-12-1) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . F Matej Toman (3) gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 10:05 of the second period. . . . Kelowna took a 3-2 lead on third-period goals from F Lane Zablocki (2), at 0:55, and F Kyle Topping (9), shorthanded, at 12:07. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (4) pulled the Cougars even at 19:43. . . . Maser won it with his sixth goal of the season with six seconds left in extra time.


F Riley Sutter’s shootout goal gave the host Everett Silvertips a 3-2 victory over the EverettPortland Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (15-6-0) have won five straight. . . . The Winterhawks (12-6-2) had their five-game winning streak snapped. . . . Everett leads the U.S. Division, by four points over Portland, which holds a game in hand. . . . The Silvertips led this one 2-0 in the first period on PP goals from F Connor Dewar (16), at 2:27, and F Bryce Kindopp (8), at 12:25. . . . The Winterhawks got third-period goals from F Reece Newkirk (13), at 3:14, and F Ryan Hughes (7), at 3:55. . . . Dewar and Portland F Joachim Blichfeld each scored in the first round of the shootout. Sutter, the first shooter in the third round, got the winner. . . . The Silvertips got 39 saves from G Dustin Wolf, while Portland’s Shane Farkas blocked 41.


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Silvertips ride bus to three wins . . . Blichfeld, Glass spark ‘Hawks. Again . . . DiLaura posts first shutout


MacBeth

F Matt Pufahl (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Everett, 2010-14) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had one assist in six games with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL), while on loan from the Colorado Eagles (AHL). He had been recalled and released by Colorado on Oct. 30. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has been released by Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL) after the end of a tryout contract. He had three goals and three assists in six games. Earlier this season, he had one goal in four games with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga).


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SUNDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

F Connor Bouchard scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the Tri-City tri-cityAmericans a 3-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . The Americans improved to 11-5-0. This was Game 7 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans. They are 6-1-0, including 1-1-0 in the East Division. . . . The Wheat Kings are 9-4-6. . . F Stelio Mattheos gave Brandon a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 18th goal, at 18:51 of the first period. . . . The Americans took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Riley Sawchuk (8) and F Blake Stevenson (3). . . . F Luka Burzan (13) got Brandon into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 3:18 of the third period. . . . F Isaac Johnson scored for the Americans in the third round of the shootout, but F Ben McCartney then tied it. . . . That left it for Bouchard, who had two assists, to win it.


F Reese Johnson scored in OT to give the visiting Red Deer Rebels a 3-2 victory over the Red DeerSwift Current Broncos. . . . Red Deer (13-5-1) has won two in a row. . . . The Broncos (3-16-2) has lost three in a row. . . . Swift Current grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ben King (4) and F Max Patterson (5), the latter at 0:40 of the second period. . . . F Zak Smith (11) got the Rebels on the scoreboard at 1:27 of the second period and F Josh Tarzwell (3) tied it at 19:34. . . . Johnson won it with his ninth goal at 1:00 of OT. . . . The teams had nine shots apiece in the first period; the Rebels held a 39-8 edge after that point, including 19-3 in the second period and 16-5 in the third. . . . Swift Current G Joel Hofer stopped 44 shots. Despite a 2-11-2 record and a 4.32 GAA, he has a .900 save percentage. . . . F Brandon Hagel, the Rebels’ leading scorer, didn’t play. He played Friday and Saturday games and may have tweaked something that had been bothering him, so was rested. . . . D Jacob Herauf, who was injured on Friday and sat out Saturday, played in this one. . . . Swift Current had F Owen Blocker and D Garrett Sambrook back after brief absences. . . . The Rebels played three road games in fewer than 48 hours and went 2-1-0. . . . The Broncos also played three games in fewer than 48 hours. They went 0-2-1.


F Carson Focht and F James Malm each had a goal and three assists to lead the Calgary CalgaryHitmen to a 7-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Calgary (6-12-2) had lost its previous three games. . . . Kootenay (6-12-3) has lost five in a row. . . . F Riley Stotts gave Calgary a 2-1 lead at 9:10 of the second period and the Hitmen took control with two more goals, from Malm (11), at 10:37 of the second and D Egor Zamula (3), on a PP, at 7:09 of the third. . . . The Ice got to within 4-3 on third-period goals from D Martin Bodak (4) and F Brett Davis (7), but Calgary F Tye Carriere (2) scored 15 seconds later and Calgary later got two more goals. . . . Stotts finished with two goals, giving him three, and an assist. . . . Focht has four goals. . . . Calgary outshot the Ice, 44-32, including 23-8 in the third period. . . . Kootenay went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours.


The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last three goals to beat the host Kamloops EverettBlazers, 5-2. . . . Everett (14-6-0) has won four straight. . . . Kamloops (6-9-2) had lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Everett has won all three meetings with the Blazers this season outscoring them 18-5 in the process. . . . The Silvertips won 7-2 in Kamloops on Friday night, then beat the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, on Saturday, before getting back on the bus and returning to Kamloops for Sunday’s game. . . . The Silvertips now are 11-0-0 when they score the game’s first goal. . . . F Connor Dewar (15) broke a 2-2 tie at 4:59 of the third period and F Jackson Berezowski (4) added insurance at 14:31. . . . G Max Palaga, who is from Kamloops and spent last season with the Blazers, made his first start with the Silvertips, who acquired him in a trade last week. He stopped 26 shots to earn the victory. . . . G Dustin Wolf had started Everett’s first 19 games. Last season, while backing up Carter Hart, Wolf made 20 appearances. He finished 13-6-0 last season; this season, he is 13-6-0. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson started the game but left at 8:17 of the second period after somehow managing to cut a finger. He stopped 15 of 17 shots. He was replaced by Rayce Ramsay, who was beaten twice on 15 shots. With Dylan Garand set to return from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, Ramsay will return today to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . In a couple of games that promise to be interesting this week, the Portland Winterhawks visit Everett on Wednesday and the Silvertips are in Portland on Friday. . . . The Silvertips lead the U.S. Division by three points over the Winterhawks.


F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice and F Cody Glass had three assists to lead the host PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 4-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Portland (12-6-1) has won five in a row. . . . Kelowna (8-12-0) has lost two straight. . . . The Winterhawks had beaten the visiting Rockets, 3-0, on Saturday night. . . . The Rockets went 1-2-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. They had beaten host Seattle, 3-1, on Friday. . . . F Mason Mannek (5), at 15:10 of the first period, and Blichfeld, at 5:55 of the second, gave Portland a 2-0 lead. . . . F Kyle Crosby (2) scored for Kelowna at 9:46, but F Reece Newkirk (12) got that one back, while shorthanded, at 11:08. . . . F Mark Liwiski (1) pulled the visitors to within one at 16:01. . . . Blichfeld added insurance with his 17th goal, at 8:12 of the third period. . . . Blichfeld has 39 points, including 22 assists, in 19 games. . . . Glass now has 34 points, 27 of them assists, in 16 games.


G Isaiah DiLaura blocked 26 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 1-0 victory over PrinceGeorgethe Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Cougars (8-8-3) had dropped a 2-1 decision to the Giants on Saturday. . . . Vancouver (13-4-2) had won its previous three games. . . . DiLaura, an 18-year-old from Lakeville, Minn., record his first career shutout. This was his sixth appearance of the season; he got into 14 games last season. This time around, he is 3-2-1, 2.38, .926. . . . F Ethan Browne (4) scored the game’s only goal, on a PP, at 8:00 of the first period. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 31 shots for the Giants.


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WJC in Everett/Seattle? Why not in 2025? . . . Paddock, Farkas put up clean sheets . . . Silvertips roll past Thunderbirds


MacBeth

F Johannes Salmonsson (Spokane, 2005-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Timrå (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had five goals and seven assists in 52 games with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL).


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As was reported earlier in the week, Team USA will stop off in Everett and Kamloops before starting play in the 2019 World Junior Championship that opens in Vancouver and 2019wjcVictoria on Dec. 26.

Team USA will hold its selection camp at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett from Dec. 14-18, and then will go to Kamloops for its pre-tournament camp from Dec. 19-23.

While this is big news for Kamloops, it is huge news for the Pacific Northwest. In fact, I would suggest that the World Junior Championship will be held in Everett and Seattle in 2025, that is if everything goes according to plan and Seattle has an NHL franchise at the time.

Why 2025? Because that’s the next time the tournament is scheduled to be held in the U.S.

The Silvertips are owned by Consolidated Sports Holding (CSH).

“That’s the whole underlying thing,” Zoran Rajcic, the COO of CSH, told Josh Horton of the Everett Herald, “to not only help them out in a close location to where they’re going to be for this year’s World Juniors, (but get) a chance for us to sit down with USA Hockey (to find out) if they’d consider us hosting a future World Juniors in Everettt.”

John Vanbiesbrouck, the former NHL goaltender who is in his first go-round as general manager of USA Hockey’s national junior team, told Horton:

“We’re still a ways out. But we’re also looking at the impact that Seattle is going to have on the NHL and, between Seattle and Everett, it’s certainly a possibility and something that we haven’t had on the West Coast for some time, if ever. It’s lining up to be a decent fit and hopefully we can take (a look) as it gets closer at it becoming a reality.”

Gord Miller of TSN tweeted on Feb. 12 that the IIHF has reportedly picked these host countries for the next 14 WJCs:

2019: Vancouver and Victoria.

2020: Czech Republic

2021: Canada

2022: Sweden

2023: Russia

2024: Canada

2025: U.S.

2026: Canada

2027: Finland

2028: Czech Republic

2029: Canada

2030: USA

2031: Russa

2032: Canada


There has been ample speculation that an arena will be built in Winnipeg and that it Kootenaynewwould eventually be home to the Kootenay Ice, a WHL team that presently plays in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice’s owners, Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, both were in Winnipeg when they purchased the franchise prior to the 2016-17 season. Cockell relocated to Cranbrook, with his family, as president and general manager. . . . The Winnipeg Free Press reported recently that the Ice would move to Winnipeg, likely in time for next season, and that the team would play out of an arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba until a 5,000-seat arena, built in conjunction to the Rink Hockey Academy, was ready for use. . . . Mike Sawatzky, who has been covering this story for the Free Press, reported Saturday:

“Reeve Brad Erb, who was recently re-elected, told the Free Press this week he has not been approached by representatives of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice for approval to build an arena adjacent to the Rink Hockey Academy (RHA) on the west end of South Landing and just off McGillivray Boulevard.

“A new facility for the RHA, which is currently under construction, lies within the municipality’s boundries.”

Erb told Sawatzky: “I’ve not officially had any introduction or conversation with anyone regarding a Western Hockey League team. I’m more curious than anything about some of the rumours that are out there and whether there’s any truth to them or not. That’s kinda where we stand.”

Sawatzky’s story is right here.


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SATURDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

F Reese Johnson’s shootout goal gave the visiting Red Deer Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Red DeerMoose Jaw Warriors. . . . Red Deer improved to 12-5-1, while Moose Jaw now is 7-5-4. . . . The Warriors erased a 3-1 deficit in the final 2:04 of the third period. . . . F Ryan Peckford (4) got Moose Jaw to within a goal at 17:56, with his second goal of the game, and F Daniil Stepanov (3) tied it at 18:26. . . . Johnson was the first shooter in the fourth round of the shootout. F Oleg Zaytsev had scored for Red Deer in the second round, with F Peckford quickly replying for the Warriors. . . . F Jeff de Wit scored his 12th goal for Red Deer as he ran his goal streak to six games. He has 12 goals in 18 games; he went into this season with 30 goals in 247 career regular-season games. Last season, de Wit finished with 11 goals in 43 games — one goal in seven games with the Regina Pats, two in 15 with the Kootenay Ice and eight in 21 with the Victoria Royals. He also had an assist last night, and now has 21 points, two shy of his career high, in 70 games, with Red Deer in 2015-16. . . . The Rebels were without D Jacob Herauf, who was injured during a 6-3 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday. . . . F Justin Almeida was among Moose Jaw’s scratches. He suffered an undisclosed injury while playing for Team WHL in the CIBC Canada Russia Series in Kamloops on Monday. . . . The Rebels will meet the Broncos in Swift Current this afternoon in what will be the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both teams.


G Max Paddock stopped 20 shots to record his first WHL shutout as the host Regina Pats Patsgot past the Swift Current Broncos, 2-0. . . . The Pats (7-12-0) have won three in a row and four of five. . . . The Broncos (3-16-0) had lost two in a row. They have been blanked three times this season. . . . These teams have met three times this season and the Pats have won all three. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (13) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 19:22 of the first period, and F Scott Mahovlich (3) got the insurance marker at 2:03 of the second. . . . Paddock’s first shutout came in his 54th regular-season appearance. This season, he is 5-10-0, 3.82, .883. . . . Among the Broncos scratches were F Owen Blocker and D Garrett Sambrook, with undisclosed injuries, and D Matthew Stanley, who is ill and missed a second straight game. . . . The Pats will play their next six games on the road; they next play at home on Dec. 1.


The Saskatoon Blades got 31 saves from G Nolan Maier as they beat the Kootenay Ice, 2-1, Saskatoonin Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Blades (12-7-2) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (6-11-3) has lost four straight. . . . F Gary Haden (6) opened the scoring, giving Saskatoon the lead at 8:41 of the first period. That was his fifth goal in eight games since being acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Ice tied it when F Cole Muir (4) scored at 18:59. . . . Saskatoon D Seth Bafaro (2) broke the tie at 4:29 of the second period. . . . Maier was named the game’s first star for the second night in a row. On Friday, he turned aside 35 shots in a 3-1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . This season, Maier is 10-5-1, 2.84, .910. . . . Kootenay D Jonathan Smart played in his 200th regular-season game. A 19-year-old from Kelowna, he also has played with the Rockets (68 games) and Regina Pats (64 games).


F Brett Kemp started the scoring and he ended it as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the host EdmontonOilKingsMedicine Hat Tigers, 4-3, in OT. . . . Edmonton (12-7-2) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . Medicine Hat (9-8-3) has lost two in a row. . . . Kemp, who has 14 goals, gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:20 of the second period and he won it at 1:11 of extra time. . . . These teams went into the third period tied 1-1. . . . D Trevor Longo’s first WHL goal gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead at 5:50. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-2 on PP goals from F Vince Loschiavo (9), at 8:21, and F Andrei Pavlenko (5), at 11:19. . . . Medicine Hat forced OT when F Hayden Ostir (7) scored, on a PP, at 13:50. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Oil Kings had two assists and moved into the lead in the WHL scoring race, He has 42 points, two more than F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, who didn’t play last night. Fix-Wolansky has a WHL-high 30 assists.


G Shane Farkas blocked 26 shots in earning his first shutout of the season as the Portland PortlandWinterhawks beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 3-0. . . . Portland (11-6-1) has won four straight. . . . Kelowna (8-11-0) had won its previous four games. . . . This was the Rockets’ first loss under head coach Adam Foote, who had been 4-0-0 since replacing Jason Smith. . . . Farkas had three shutouts last season. . . . F Joachim Blickfeld (15), who was credited with 10 shots on goal, gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 3:20 of the first period. He also had two assists. . . . F Cody Glass (7) made it 2-0 at 6:43 of the second period, with F Reece Newkirk (11) putting it away at 11:04 of the third. . . . Portland finished with a 50-26 edge in shots. . . . Blichfeld has 38 points in 18 games. . . . Glass has 31 points in 15 games. . . . The same teams meet again today in Portland.


F Connor Dewar scored twice to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 5-1 victory over the EverettSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Everett (13-6-0) has won three straight and leads the U.S. Division. . . . The Silvertips, who now have won six straight on the road, have won both meetings with the Thunderbirds this season. . . . Seattle (7-8-2) has lost five in a row. . . . Everett took control of this game in the first period, when it outshot Seattle, 18-1, and emerged with a 3-0 lead. . . . Dewar, who has 14 goals, got it started at 2:57, with F Jalen Price (1) scoring at 7:44, and D Wyatte Wylie (3) making it 3-0 at 18:19. . . . Dewar made it 4-0 at 5:59 of the third period. . . .  Everett F Akash Bains was among the scratches. He scored twice in Kamloops on Friday night before leaving with an apparent knee injury. . . . The Silvertips, 6-1 victors over the Blazers in Kamloops on Friday night, are back in Kamloops today for a 5 p.m. start.


G Trent Miner turned aside 32 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 2-1 victory over Vancouverthe Prince George Cougars in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (13-3-2) has won three in a row. . . . Prince George (7-8-3) had won its previous two games. . . . These teams will play again this afternoon in Langley. . . . Miner’s evening included 17 saves in the third period. . . . F Connor Bowie (1) have the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 6:10 of the first period. . . . The Giants won it with second-period goals from F Tyler Ho (1), at 11:44, and F Cyle McNabb (1), at 15:07.


D Filip Kral had a goal and two assists to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 7-2 victory over the SpokaneChiefsRoyals in Victoria. . . . The Chiefs (9-7-3) had lost three in a row. . . . The Royals (10-6-0) had beaten the visiting Chiefs, 7-5, on Friday night. . . . F Luke Toporowski (6) of the Chiefs broke a 1-1 tie on a PP, at 13:38 of the first period. . . . Kral got his first goal of the season at 18:53. . . . F Eli Zummack (7) made it 3-1 just nine seconds into the second period as the Chiefs took control. . . . Kral drew assists on the goals by Toporowski and Zummack. . . . The Chiefs finished with two empty-net goals. . . . F Jake McGrew, who played for the Chiefs on Friday, was scratched from this one. He’s got six goals and nine assists in 16 games.


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Letter-writing time in Ontario . . . Jones close to KIJHL milestone . . . Raiders’ victory streak now at 10


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So . . . early in the week, David Branch, the OHL’s commissioner, penned an open letter directed at the Ontario government, stating that his league’s players should be exempt ohlfrom the province’s minimum-wage legislation because they are student-athletes and not employees.

On Tuesday, Michael Tibollo, Ontarios’ minister of tourism, culture and sport, wrote an open letter pledging his support and, presumably, that of the provincial government.

Then it seems it was the turn of Goldblatt Partners, the Toronto law firm that represents an untold number of former and present players who filed a class-action lawsuit against the OHL — and the WHL — asking that, among other things, players be paid minimum wage.

Joshua Mandryk, a lawyer with Goldblatt, wrote that OHL teams are owned by companies “who make money, big money in most cases, from the players’ work — work that the owners and the media like to call ‘play’ . . . Virtually all (OHL teams) are owned by private companies that are able to hide their books, and their profits, from the players, from their employees.

“Other multi-million dollar employers don’t get to avoid paying the employees who drive their revenue. Paying wages is part of doing business. Why should the OHL be any different?”

Rick Westhead of TSN has more on this story right here.


Terry Jones, the head coach of the junior B Beaver Valley Nitehawks, who play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, went into Friday night with 998 career victories — 759 of the regular-season variety and 239 from playoff games. . . . Jones, 52, is in his 23rd season with the Nitehawks. Imagine that . . . 23 seasons with one team. Amazing! . . . As a player, he spent two seasons (1982-84) with the Portland Winterhawks.

“When I started coaching, well before the Nitehawks, it was a ‘winning is everything’ attitude,” Jones told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times. “Now I’ve flip-flopped and believe coaching is more about developing young men into adults and good citizens, and hockey is the vehicle we do that. As a result of that attitude, we’ve won a lot of games, we’ve won some championships.

“When you change your goals of winning to just building a good team, a good group of guys that care about each other, I think anything can happen.”

Bailey’s complete story is right here and it is a great read about a remarkable man.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have acquired D Parker Gavlas, 19, from the Regina Pats for an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . The Pats, who acquired D Kyle Walker, 18, from the Everett Silvertips on Thursday, were carrying nine defencemen, so this kind of move was hardly a surprise. At the same time, the Oil Kings’ roster included only six healthy defencemen. . . . Gavlas, from Saskatoon, had one assist in 12 games with the Pats. Last season, he was pointless in eight games with Regina.


The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have fired general manager/head coach Travis Clayton. He was in his second season with the Bobcats. . . . According to a post on the team’s website, “IHD and Lance Ward will provide interim coaching support . . . while the organization seeks a new head coach and general manager.” . . . IHD is Impact Hockey Development and Ward, a former WHLer (Red Deer Rebels, 1994-98), is a lead instructor in Lloydminster. . . . At the time of the move, the Bobcats were 5-13-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North Division. . . . On Friday night, the Bobcats dropped a 6-2 decision to the host Sherwood Park Crusaders.


Dinamo Minsk of the KHL has fired head coach Gordie Dwyer, along with assistant coaches Sergey Stas and Konstantin Koltsov, goaltending coach Andrey Kudin and trainer Gennady Lyango. . . . Dinamo was seven points out of a Western Conference playoff spot at the time. . . . Dwyer, 40, was in his second season as Dinamo’s head coach. . . . No replacements were named.


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FRIDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

In Brandon, the Wheat Kings erased a 2-0 second-period deficit with five straight goals BrandonWKregularen route to a 6-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Brandon improved to 9-4-5. This was Brandon’s first home game since Oct. 20. The Wheat Kings went 2-3-2 on a seven-game trek that included a 2-2-1 record in the B.C. Division. . . . Red Deer (11-5-1) had won its previous three games. . . . F Brandon Hagel (13) and F Arshdeep Bains (3) gave Red Deer a 2-0 lead early in the second period. . . . F Lynden McCallum (4) got the Wheat Kings started at 10:10 and F Stelio Mattheos (17) tied it on a PP at 15:26. That was his 100th regular-season goal. Mattheos also had two assists. . . . D Neithan Salame’s first goal, at 17:04, made it 3-2 and F Marcus Sekundiak (2) scored what proved to be the winner at 8:41 of the third. . . . The Wheat Kings got 40 stops from G Jiri Patera. . . . Brandon lost F Linden McCorrister to a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on Red Deer F Jacob Herauf at 4:47 of the first period. Herauf needed help getting off the ice and was taken to hospital “where he remained for several hours” with an undisclosed injury, according to Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. . . . Meachem’s story is right here.


F Noah Gregor, F Kody McDonald and F Sean Montgomery each scored twice as the PrinceAlbertPrince Albert Raiders beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 6-2. . . . The Raiders (17-1-0) have won 10 in a row. . . . The Broncos (3-15-1) had points in each of their previous three games (2-0-1). . . . F Eric Houk (2) got the Broncos to within a goal, at 3-2, at 18:17 of the second period. The Raiders, who had a 43-19 edge in shots, put it away with the next three goals. . . . Houk’s father, Rod, was a goaltender who played two seasons (1987-89) with the Regina Pats. . . . McDonald (3), playing his first game after missing eight, got his second of the night at 18:31 of the second. . . . Gregor (8) upped it to 5-2 at 2:11 of the third period. . . . Gregor also had three assists for a five-point outing. . . . F Brett Leason of the Raiders ran his point streak to 18 games with an assist on F Sean Montgomery’s eighth goal just eight seconds into the second period. Leason has at least one point in each of the Raiders’ 18 games this season. . . . Montgomery scored his ninth goal at 14:13 of the third period, on a PP. . . . The Raiders brought in D Nolan Allan for his fourth game and he picked up his first WHL point, an assist, on McDonald’s first goal. Allan, 15, was the third overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From Davidson, Sask., Allan plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Broncos were without D Matthew Stanley (ill) and D Garrett Sambrook (undisclosed injury). . . . Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com was at the game and has a story right here.


F Jake Leschyshyn scored three goals and F Nick Henry had four assists to lead the host PatsRegina Pats to a 5-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Regina (6-12-0) has won two in a row. . . . Tri-City (10-5-0) had won its previous six games. This was Game 6 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans, who are 5-0-0 since last playing at home on Oct. 19. They next are scheduled to play at home on Nov. 23. . . . The Pats got started 30 seconds into the first period when F Austin Pratt (9) scored. . . . Leschyshyn made it 2-0 at 2:36, scored his second at 15:53 of the second period, for a 4-0 lead, and completed the hat trick with his 12th goal of the season at 7:27 of the third. . . . Regina got 39 saves from G Max Paddock. . . . Pats D Aaron Hyman had three assists; he’s got four goals and 16 assists in 18 games. Last season, in 26 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 28 with Regina, he totalled three goals and 10 assists.


F Liam Keeler broke a 2-2 tie late in the second period and the Edmonton Oil Kings went EdmontonOilKingson to beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Oil Kings (11-7-1) have points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Ice (6-10-3) has lost three in a row. . . . Kootenay erased a 2-0 deficit to tie the game on F Jaeger White’s 11th goal at 9:01 of the second period. . . . Keeler’s third goal, at 19:01 of the second, stood up as the winner. . . . F Quinn Benjafield had a goal, his eighth, and two assists for Edmonton. . . . F Vince Loschiavo returned to Edmonton’s lineup after a five-game absence. . . . F Tyler Horstmann, 16, scored his first WHL goal in his first game with the Oil Kings, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2017 bantam draft. From Richmond, B.C., Horstmann plays for the Delta Hockey Academy’s prep team.


F Jadon Joseph of Lethbridge ran his point streak to 11 games as the Hurricanes doubled Lethbridgethe visiting Calgary Hitmen, 4-2. . . . Lethbridge (8-5-4) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Calgary (5-12-2) has lost three in a row. . . . Joseph scored the game’s first goal, his ninth, at 1:01 of the first period. He has nine goals and six assists during his streak. . . . D Calen Addison (4) gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead at 8:13 of the second period and D Alex Cotton (1) made it 3-1 at 12:31. . . . Each team was assessed one minor penalty. . . . Calgary had a 36-19 edge in shots, but Lethbridge G Reece Klassen was solid.


F Max Gerlach and F Gary Haden scored against their former team as the Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades beat the Tigers, 3-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon improved to 11-7-2. . . . The Tigers now are 9-8-2. . . . F Josh Williams (3) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead at 10:03 of the first period. . . . Gerlach, who was acquired from the Tigers in January, got his 13th goal, on a PP, at 17:57 of the second period. . . . Haden’s fifth goal — his fourth with the Blades since being acquired in a deal this season — turned into the winner at 5:31 of the third. . . . This was the first appearance in Medicine Hat as visiting players by Gerlach and Haden. . . . F Logan Christensen, who went the other way in the Haden deal, was pointless. . . . The Blades got 35 stops from G Nolan Maier.


The Everett Silvertips scored five PP goals as they beat the Blazers, 6-1, in Kamloops. . . . EverettEverett (12-6-0) has won two straight. . . . Kamloops (6-8-2) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . At 10:32 of the second period, the Silvertips had a 6-0 lead and had outshot the Blazers, 22-3. . . . F Sean Richards (3) got Everett rolling, on a PP, at 4:02 of the first period. . . . F Akash Bains then scored twice, at 10:29 on a PP, and at 1:41 of the second, for a 3-0 lead. He’s got four goals. However, he wasn’t on the bench for the third period after leaving while appearing to favour a knee in the second. . . . Everett finished 5-for-8 on the PP. . . . The Silvertips got four assists from D Gianni Fairbrother. . . . When Max Palaga entered the game for Everett to start the second period, it marked the first time this season that a goaltender other than Dustin Wolf was in the Silvertips’ goal. . . . Palaga, who is from Kamloops, spent last season with the Blazers, but was cut early this season. He was with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers when the Blazers dealt him to Everett on Oct. 29 for a sixth-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. . . . Palaga stopped seven of eight shots, after Wolf turned aside all six shots he faced. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson was beaten six times on 22 shots. He came out at 10:32 of the second, with Rayce Ramsay going in to make his WHL debut. He was perfect in stopping 14 shots. . . . Ramsay, 17, is with the Blazers while G Dylan Garand is at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. When Garand returns, Ramsay will go back to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . D Artyom Minulin, 20, had one assist in his debut with the Silvertips. He had been acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. This was Minulin’s first game after he had off-season shoulder surgery. . . . Part of the game was played with two referees and one linesman after Nick Bilko left with a knee injury. He was injured when he got caught up in traffic along the boards in the middle of the first period. Nick Panter entered late in the second period to replace Bilko. . . . Former Blazers head coach Guy Charron was in the press box, helping the team’s new coaching staff as an eye in the sky. He also has been on the ice during recent practices. . . . The Silvertips left immediately after the game as they are to meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., tonight. Everett then returns to Kamloops for a Sunday evening game. The Blazers don’t play tonight.


The Kelowna Rockets scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 3-1 victory over the KelownaRocketsSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Rockets (8-10-0) have won four in a row and seven of their last nine. . . . Five of Kelowna’s victories have come on the road. . . . Seattle (7-7-2) has lost four in a row. . . . F Kyle Topping scored Kelowna’s first goal, on a PP, at 10:44 of the first period. He ran his goal-scoring streak to five games and his point streak to 12 games. . . . D Libor Zabransky (2) upped it to 2-0 at 3:10 of the second period. . . . F Nolan Foote (11) made it 3-0 at 4:57. Foote has eight goals in a six-game goal-scoring streak. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (7) scored for Seattle at 15:03 of the second. . . . Kelowna D Dalton Gally was hit with an interference major and game misconduct at 7:59 of the second period after a hit on Seattle F Jaxan Kaluski. . . . Kelowna is 4-0 since Adam Foote replaced the fired Jason Smith as head coach. . . . The Rockets opened a six-game road trip with this one; they’ll play those six games in nine nights. . . . The trip continues with games in Portland tonight and Sunday.


The host Victoria Royals scored nine seconds into the game and went on to a 7-5 victory VictoriaRoyalsover the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Royals (10-5-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Chiefs (8-7-3) have lost three in a row. . . . F Tarun Fizer (2) got the Royals going with the early goal. . . . The WHL record for fastest goal to start a game? Dean Sexsmith of the Seattle Thunderbirds scored five seconds into a 7-6 victory over the visiting Victoria Cougars on Jan. 30, 1987. . . . The Royals went ahead 2-0 when F D-Jay Jerome scored at 1:55. . . . The Chiefs would trail 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . Jerome, who also had an assist, got his second goal of the game, and 10th of the season, at 10:20 of the third period for a 6-4 lead and D Scott Walford (1) added insurance at 13:43. . . . The Royals got three assists from F Sean Gulka, who, as you will have noticed from the above tweet, had some fans in the stands. He went into the game with two assists in 11 regular-season games, eight of them with the Chiefs. . . . F Brandon Cutler added a goal, his fifth, and two assists for Victoria. . . . F Riley Woods scored twice and added an assist for Spokane. He’s got six goals and three assists over his past four games. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt (foot) is on the shelf for the second time this season. According to the team, this one could keep him out for up to six weeks. . . . F Dante Hannoun, who missed three games, and F Kaid Oliver, who missed one, both were back in the Royals’ lineup. . . . Hannoun scored his seventh goal and added an assist.


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Minulin ready so Silvertips move Walker to Pats . . . Ontario gov’t set to back OHL . . . Team USA will camp out in Everett and Kamloops


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With D Artyom Minulin poised to make his Everett debut, the Silvertips have traded D EverettKyle Walker to the Regina Pats for a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . The draft pick originated with the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Pats acquired it in a deal on May 23, 2017 that also included F Matt Bradley and a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft moving to Regina and G Jordan Hollett going to Medicine Hat. . . . Walker, an 18-year-old list player from Leduc, Alta., was pointless in 14 games with Everett this season. Last season, he had a goal and five assists in 50 games. . . . The Pats are scheduled to play the visiting Tri-City Americans tonight. . . .

Minulin, a 20-year-old Russian, was acquired from the Swift Current Broncos on Oct. 31 in exchange for D Alex Moar, 17, and an eighth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. Minulin has yet to play this season after undergoing off-season shoulder surgery. . . . He now has been cleared to play and has his immigration status looked after, so could play tonight against the Blazers in Kamloops. He was in Vancouver dealing with paperwork on Wednesday and was to meet the Silvertips in Kamloops on Thursday night. . . . In 206 regular-season games over three seasons with the Broncos, he had 26 goals and 100 assists.


Here’s Ken Campbell of The Hockey News:

“It should come as absolutely no surprise that it appears the Ontario government has quickly and unconditionally thrown its support behind the Ontario League’s attempts to prevent its players from making minimum wage. This is the same government that, early in its mandate, effectively killed Bill 148, which would have raised the minimum wage from $14 an hour to $15 an hour, along with granting two paid sick days, 10 emergency leave days and pay equity for casual and part-time workers. It was a move that prompted the president of the Ontario Federation of Labor to declare premier Doug Ford, ‘an enemy of workers.’”

Campbell’s complete piece is right here and there is input from a few agents, including one who makes quite a point in the last paragraph.


USA Hockey’s national junior team will train in Everett and Kamloops prior to the start of the 2019 World Junior Championship in Victoria and Vancouver. . . . Team USA will be in Everett from Dec. 14 through Dec. 18, then move to Kamloops and work there from Dec. 19 through Dec. 23. . . . The tournament is scheduled to open on Dec. 26. . . . Team USA’s training camp roster will be announced early in December.



Due to Justin Timberlake’s bruised vocal cords, the Prince Albert Raiders and Edmonton Oil Kings have had to reschedule a game in February. Timberlake was to have performed in Edmonton on Nov. 4 and 5, but was forced to postpone the stops on his Man of the Woods Tour because of bruised vocal cords. . . . The Edmonton stops now have been rescheduled for Feb. 6 and 7. . . . The game between the Raiders and Oil Kings that was to have been played on Feb. 6 at Rogers Place has been moved to Feb. 4.


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The junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League announced late Wednesday night that it and general manager/head coach Lee Stone “have mutually agreed to part ways.” . . . Bill Brett has taken over as general manager, with Cam Basarab the head coach. . . . Brett had been an assistant coach, while Basarab was assistant GM/assistant coach. . . . “Stone, while pursuing other opportunities, will stay on board as a senior advisor to the owner and staff, shifting his focus to running a successful Cyclone Taylor Cup,” reads the announcement that ended with this: “There will be no further comment from the club.” . . . At the time of the moves, the Storm was 14-6-1 and leading the North Division standings by eight points over the Nanaimo Buccaneers.


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‘Tips looking at bizarre schedule . . . Ex-Raiders forward Edmonton’s top cop . . . OHL’s Firebirds get first victory


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D Nolan Yonkman (Kelowna, Brandon, 1996-2001) has signed a contract through Jan. 20 with JYP Jyväskylä (Finland, Liiga). Last season, with JYP, he had two goals and an assist in 52 games. . . .

D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Kölner Haie Cologne (Germany, DEL) after a successful tryout in which he had one goal and two assists in 16 games. . . .

F Geordie Wudrick (Swift Current, Kelowna, 2005-11) has been released by Harzer Falken Braunlage (Germany, Oberliga) after an unsuccessful tryout in which he scored once in seven games.


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The Everett Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers will play a doubleheader this weekend.

They will meet in Kamloops on Friday, 7 p.m, and they’ll do it all over again in the EverettSandman Centre on Sunday, 5 p.m.

Nothing unusual about that. The WHL schedule often has teams play two games in a row in the same arena, although it mostly happens on back-to-back nights in places like Prince George and Victoria.

But what if I told you that the WHL has the Silvertips playing a Saturday night game, too? What if I told you that game is scheduled for Kent, Wash., against their arch-rival, the Seattle Thunderbirds?

Would you believe me? Well . . . you should.

The Silvertips will ride the bus to Kamloops today. They will challenge the Blazers on Friday night, then get back on the bus and head for home, then play the Thunderbirds in Kent on Saturday night. After that, it will be back on the bus and back to Kamloops for the Sunday game.

As one interested observer asked Taking Note on Wednesday: “Who signed off on this?”

And you thought the WHL’s wild weekends would go away when the WHL cut back from 72 to 68 games.

But wait . . .

This is just the start of a horrendous bit of scheduling for the Silvertips, who also will play three games in fewer than 48 hours the following weekend, too.

In fact, by the time they get through with playing the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Nov. 18, they will have played seven games in 10 nights. Throw in a visit by the Calgary Hitmen on Nov. 20 and it’s eight games in 12 nights.

When that part of the schedule is over, the Silvertips will have played 11.8 per cent of their schedule in only 12 days.

Maybe the players could be given a bonus when it’s over, like, say, a pay raise to the minimum wage, at least for the 12 days.

——

BTW, the Silvertips have another bizarre stretch of schedule to deal with in February. . . . They are to play the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Feb. 13, then travel to Kelowna for a game with the Rockets on Feb. 15. On Feb. 16, they have to be in Kent, Wash., for a game with the Seattle Thunderbirds. That’s a Saturday night. It’ll be on the bus right after that game because they’ll be playing the Cougars in Prince George on Monday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. . . . They’ll stay in Prince George for a game the next night, too, before returning home to play on Feb. 22 (Seattle) and Feb. 23 (Prince George). . . . At some point in time the Silvertips obviously did something to offend the WHL’s scheduling guru, whoever/whatever that is.



The Kootenay Ice has added D Ben Zloty, a 16-year-old from Calgary, to its roster. He was a sixth-round selection by the Ice in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. This season, he has three goals and 10 assists in 12 games with the midget AAA Calgary Royals.


Dale McFee, a former player with the Prince Albert Raiders, has been named Edmonton’s PrinceAlbertchief of police. He will begin his new duties early in the new year. . . . McFee, 53, is from St. Albert, Alta. He spent four seasons (1982-86) with the Raiders, totalling 270 points, including 118 goals, and 535 penalty minutes in 269 games. . . . McFee also did a stint as the police chief in Prince Albert and has been the president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. He has been Saskatchewan’s deputy minister of justice for six years. . . . McFee was an assistant coach with the Raiders in 1993-94, and served as team president for nine years (2008-17). He remains a member of their board of directors.



The OHL’s Flint Firebirds won their first game of the season on Wednesday afternoon, beating the visiting Sarnia Sting, 7-4, in front of an announced crowd of 3,534 in what was billed as a ‘School Day Game.’ . . . F Jake Durham had three goals for the Firebirds, who now are 1-16-1, having scored 45 goals and allowed 108.



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