Winterhawks unveil their new look . . . Everett gets d-man from Brandon . . . Spokane, Lethbridge sign imports

Portland

The Portland Winterhawks, preparing for their first WHL season under new ownership, unveiled their new look on Wednesday, as they dumped the Indian chief logo they had worn since debuting in Portland in 1976.

Originally, the Winterhawks had been the Edmonton Oil Kings. The franchise made the move south in time for the 1976-77 season. Ownership at that time had ties to the Chicago Blackhawks and accepted the NHL team’s offer of a set of used jerseys, which is how that logo made its way to Portland.

“We are so proud to finally have our own identity,” Michael Kramer of Winterhawks Sports Group, a co-owner and managing partner, said in a news release after the unveiling. “We feel our new look is fresh and unique, one that we are excited about and believe our community will be as well.”

More from the news release:

“The club’s new primary logo, a right-facing hawk featured with a predominantly white head, also carries the tradition of former colors black and red. The new scheme adds ‘celly gold’ and also squall gray, a color distinct to the new Winterhawks brand. . . .

“Also featured on the bird head are two feathers, carrying the legacy of the franchise’s roots and serving as a subtle nod to the feathers in the previous logo. The bottom of the hawk’s head includes Mount Hood in the aforementioned new squall gray, an iconic mountain from the Cascade Range synonymous with the Portland area. Located within the Mount Hood figure are also the letters ‘W’ and ‘H,’ for further characterization of Winterhawks.”

The Winterhawks also unveiled a new secondary logo.

Again, from the news release:

“The refreshed color scheme can also be seen in the club’s new secondary logo, which features a revitalized edition of the ‘Portland P’ that the team has utilized in the past. The logo will be worn on the team’s jerseys as a shoulder patch, with the P being in gold font at the forefront of two hockey sticks in squall gray. ‘Est. 1976’ — a nod to the 45-year success of the franchise in The Rose City, one of the longest tenured in the WHL — is also included on the patch. ‘Winterhawks’ can be seen hung in a banner atop the logo.”

The complete news release is right here.




The Everett Silvertips have acquired D Jonny Lambos, 20, from the Brandon EverettWheat Kings for a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. . . . Lambos, from Winnipeg, has five goals and 14 assists in 126 regular-season games, all with Brandon. He had two assists in 21 games in the Regina hub earlier this year. . . . He was selected by the Victoria Royals in the third round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Brandon picked him up in a January 2018 trade. . . . His 18-year-old brother, Carson, is a defenceman with the Winnipeg Ice and is likely to be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft on July 23. . . . The Silvertips ended the 2021 developmental season with five 2001-born players on their roster — D Zach Ashton, F Hunter Campbell, F Gage Concalves, F Jalen Price and G Dustin Wolf. . . . Brandon still has six such players on the roster with which it finished the season — Finnish F Marcus Kallionkieli, G Ethan Kruger, F Ben McCartney, D Chad Nychuk, D Neithan Salame and D Braden Schneider. Last week, the Wheat Kings dealt D Rylan Thiessen, 20, to the Swift Current Broncos for a conditional ninth-round pick in the 2021 draft.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed D Tsimafei Kauharenia, 18, of Belarus to a WHL Spokanecontract. . . . An interesting note from the Chiefs’ news  release: “Kauharenia (previously listed as ‘Tomofei Kovgorenya’) was the Chiefs’ first-round pick in the 2021 CHL import draft.” . . . In 2020-21, Kauharenia had seven goals and nine assists in 26 games with the Minsk Bison of Vysshaya Liga. He also got into 17 games — he was pointless — with Dinoma Molodechno of Belarus’s top pro league. . . . The Chiefs now hold the rights to four import players, the other three being Czech G Lukas Parik, Czech D David Jiricek, who turns 18 on Nov. 28, and German F Yannick Proske, 18. . . . Parik has signed with the Ontario Reign, the Los Angeles Kings’ AHL affiliated. . . . Jiricek and Proske haven’t signed with the Chiefs.

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The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Yegor Klavdiev of Belarus to a WHL Lethcontract. They selected him in the first round of the 2021 CHL import draft. . . . From Minsk, the 18-year-old had six goals and five assists in 24 regular-season games with his country’s U-18 team. He also played in the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Texas, putting up a goal and two assists in five games. . . . He also had two goals and two assists in 13 games with Dinamo Molodechno of the country’s top pro league, and one goal in two games with Minskie Zubry of Vysshaya. . . . The Hurricanes didn’t have any imports on the roster with which they concluded the 2021 developmental season. They did have one on their 2019-20 roster — D Danila Palivko of Belarus. He turns 20 on Nov. 30 and signed with Admiral Vladivostok of the KHL earlier this month.


Ram


So . . . when the Olympic Summer Games open on July 23 is the story going to be the competitions involving the athletes or the competition between the human race and COVID-19?

“Tokyo reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost six months on Wednesday, with the Olympics due to open in the capital in just nine days,” reads a report from Thomson Reuters.

“The city government said there were 1,149 new cases, the highest daily tally since Jan. 22, adding to evidence that a new fifth wave of infections is under way, driven by more infectious virus variants and a low vaccination rate. . . .

“Just 31 per cent of people in Japan have received at least one COVID-19 inoculation dose, among the lowest rate among wealthy countries, according to a Reuters tracker. The vaccination push finally gained steam last month, but has recently ebbed among supply and logistical snags.

“The Delta variant now accounts for more than 30 per cent of cases in Tokyo, and the rate is climbing.”

One of these days, if it hasn’t already been done, an editorial cartoonist is going to redesign the Olympic logo using colourized versions of the graphic that represents the virus.

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An Olympics-related note from Jesse Campigotto of CBC:

“In a pandemic-induced change to the traditional practice of an official placing the hardware around athletes’ necks on the medal stand, medals ‘will be presented to the athlete on a tray and then the athlete will take the medal him or herself,’ IOC president Thomas Bach said. Medallists and officials will also be required to wear masks, and no fans are allowed at any Olympic venues, so these ceremonies will look a lot different in Tokyo.”


The CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers have gotten the all-clear from government and health officials to open up every CFLseat in the house for their home-opener at IG Field on Aug. 5. But you will have to be fully vaccinated — meaning you will have to have had your second shot by July 21 — and have a Manitoba immunization card in order to attend. Also, children under 12 will be allowed in, but only if accompanied by at least one fully vaccinated parent. . . . The wearing of facemasks will be optional for fans. . . . The Blue Bombers, who haven’t played since winning the 2019 Grey Cup with a 33-12 victory over Hamilton on Nov. 24 in Calgary, are to entertain the Tiger-Cats in their opener. The stadium in Winnipeg has a capacity of 33,500. . . . Interestingly, provincial governments and health officials in Saskatchewan and Alberta have said the Roughriders, Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks are free to open to full capacity and that fans don’t have to be fully vaccinated.


Wile


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.


JUST NOTES: The WHL’s Everett Silvertips have lost veteran equipment manager James Stucky to the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. Stucky had been with the Silvertips since the franchise entered the WHL in 2003. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed Josh Mallory as their video coach and hockey operations co-ordinator. Mallory, 24, spent the previous three seasons working with the Brock U Badgers women’s team. . . .

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs have promoted Luca Caputi to head coach. As the club’s associate coach, he was on the bench for two seasons (2018-20) before the OHL lost its 2020-21 season to the pandemic. He replaces Paul McFarland, who was hired on May 8, 2020, and left to join the NHL’s Seattle Kraken as an assistant coach earlier this month. . . . Ryan Hawes, who played 20 games over two seasons (1993-95) with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, has joined the expansion Okanagan Lakers of the BCIHL as an assistant coach. A veteran coach, he has been coaching at various levels in the Okanagan since 2016. . . .

Ty Valin has signed on as general manager and head coach of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He had been an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines. In Fernie, Valin replaces Jeff Wagner, who now is associate coach and director of scouting with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. . . . Brodie St. Jacques has left the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks to join the WHL’s Vancouver Giants as their equipment manager. He had been the Silverbacks’ trainer and equipment manager for two seasons. In Vancouver, he takes over from Shingo Sasaki, who has joined the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. . . .

The QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats announced Wednesday that head coach Daniel Lacroix will be back for a second full season, while assistant coach Josh Hepditch is returning for a fifth season. Moncton also has signed Antoine Samuel as its goaltending coach. Darryl Boyce and Ryan Salvis won’t be returning as assistant coaches, while Marc Theriault won’t be back as the goaltending coach.


Pacemaker

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after not watching Canucks and Flames . . .

Scattershooting2


If you think MLB has a problem with pace of play, how about a high school girls softball game in Montgomery, Alta., in which Park Crossing defeated Sidney Lanier, 46-45?  The winners struck for 11 runs in the first inning but had to come from behind in the final inning for the victory. . . . The teams combined for 20 hits and 14 errors. But there were 65 walks — that’s right! 65!!! Oh, there also were 29 HBPs. One player got to plate eight times and was 0-for-0 with seven runs. She had five BBs and three HBPs. . . . It took almost five hours to play the game.


Stud


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Park Crossing High School’s 46-45 win over Lanier in the Alabama Class 6A girls softball regionals featured 29 batters hit by pitches and 65 walks. Somewhere, Bob ‘Just A Bit Outside’ Uecker was smiling.”

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Perry, again: “Albert Pujols, just released by the Angels and signed by the Dodgers, has grounded into an MLB-record 403 double plays in his career. Instead of having a street renamed in his honor, maybe he should be awarded his own 643 area code.”



You easily can make the argument that no one athlete in Saskatchewan’s history has had a larger impact on the province than George Reed, one of the two biggest names to have worn the green and white of the Saskatchewan Roughriders — the other being Ron Lancaster, of course. . . . There isn’t anything shocking about that statement. . . . What might be a surprise to you is what Reed faced in Regina, especially in his early days with the Roughriders. . . . Jason Warick of cbc.ca has that story right here and it’s a great read.



Did Joey Meyer of the Denver Zephyrs, a Triple-A baseball team, really hit a 582-foot home run at Mile High Stadium on June 2, 1987? . . . Benjamin Hochman tried to find out and ended up with a great story that is right here.


Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot has a question and the answer: “Is anyone’s enjoyment of a baseball game enhanced after being told the exit velocity of a batted ball? Of course not.”


I would suggest that we may never find out exactly how many NHL players were hit by COVID-19 this season. Consider this from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun, following a post-game Zoom session after the Jets beat the visiting Vancouver Canucks, 5-0, on Tuesday night:

“Jets forward Dominic Toninato, an unheralded free-agent signing in October who has languished on the taxi squad most of the season, revealed he’d come down with COVID in November and had some concerning complications from it, delaying his return.”

Makes a guy wonder just how many similar cases there have been in the NHL. Also has a guy wondering if that’s an upper- or lower-body injury in the NHL?


“Standard Magazine reports heavy-metal fans are among the most anxious and depressed in the world,” notes RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com. “In fact, they rank a close second to followers of the Toronto Maple Leafs.”


Coyote


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

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.


JUST NOTES: The junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League are in the market for a new general manager/head coach with the news that Jeff Wagner has left to join the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express as associate coach and director of scouting. Wagner spent three seasons with the Ghostriders. . . . The BCHL’s Surrey Eagles and head coach Cam Keith have signed a contract extension through the 2023-24 season. He has been the Eagles’ head coach since March 2019.


Grandpa

Lajoie fine with Blazers’ coaching addition . . . Loschiavo sparks Oil Kings’ victory . . . Alexeyev helps Rebels end skid

MacBeth

F Justin Kelly (Spokane, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, 1997-2002) has announced his retirement. This season, he had two goals and five assists in 12 games with Deggendorf (Germany, DEL2), but he hasn’t played since Oct. 21 due to a concussion suffered in a game that night against Kaufbeuren. . . .

F Rudolf Červený (Regina, 2007-09) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Brynäs Gävle (Sweden, SHL) after obtaining his release from Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). In 57 games, he had 11 goals and 12 assists, and was second on the team in scoring. Slovan has four regular-season games left and cannot make the playoffs.


ThisThat

When the Kamloops Blazers officially added Darryl Sydor to their coaching staff on Tuesday, it wasn’t seen in some corners of the team’s fandom as just another move. Kamloops1That’s because Sydor is one of the team’s five owners. . . . After the Blazers dropped the visiting Victoria Royals, 6-1, on Wednesday night, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week spoke with Kamloops head coach Serge Lajoie about job security and a whole lot more. . . .

“I’m not worried,” Lajoie told Hastings. “I don’t see Darryl Sydor as a threat. For me, I’ve always invested my full energy in whatever I’ve taken on. But I value family. I also value education. I’ve got an education degree, a master’s degree. I have good roots back in Edmonton.

“The reason I tell you that is that sometimes things aren’t meant to be. In my heart of hearts, I know I’m supposed to be here. If there is an ulterior motive, to have him in to oversee things, I don’t see it. If that’s the case, again, I’ll reiterate, I’ve put a lot of work in this year. I’ve seen a lot of growth in these players.

“I could leave with my head up high.”

As for Sydor, who has spent eight years as an assistant coach in the professional ranks, he told Hastings that he’s not a threat.

“I’m here to give guidance and if there’s feedback that I can give on how he can become a better coach, that’s what I’m here for,” Sydor said.

Hastings’ complete story is right here.


The junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Ghostridershave signed general manager and head coach Jeff Wagner to a contract extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. . . . Wagner is in his first season with Fernie. . . . The Ghostriders are 25-13, with three ties and four OTLs, and will finish second in the Eddie Mountain Division, behind the Kimberley Dynamiters, who are 39-4 with one tie and one OTL. . . . Wagner, from Calgary, joined the Ghostriders after working as the assistant GM with the KIJHL’s Creston Valley Thundercats.


The Young Stars Classic, a September fixture in Penticton, B.C., since 2010, won’t be held in 2019. . . . The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks confirmed that on Thursday, one day after the Winnipeg Jets revealed that will take part in a prospects’ tournament in Belleville, Ont., in September. . . . The Canucks, Jets, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers had teams of prospects play in Penticton prior to 2018. However the Flames and Oilers didn’t take part in 2018, choosing instead to play games in Red Deer. That left the Canucks and Jets to face each other twice, with the UBC Thunderbirds and Alberta Golden Bears also playing each other twice. . . . Patrick Johnston of Postmedia has more right here.


In all my time writing sports, Kaye Kaminishi may be the most unforgettable character I have met. Now 97, the Kamloops resident played baseball in Vancouver for the legendary Asahi, a Japanese-Canadian team that shone in the years before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After that, Kaminishi ended up in an internment camp near Lillooet, B.C., and never did return to Vancouver. He was there recently, though, filming a Heritage Minute that is soon to be seen on your TV set. . . . John Mackie of Postmedia has more on this remarkable man right here


If you like what you read here, and even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.


THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored three third-period goals, two of them by F Vince EdmontonOilKingsLoschiavo, to beat the Warriors, 3-2, in Moose Jaw. . . . Edmonton (31-17-8) is atop the Central Division, three points clear of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Moose Jaw (30-15-8) has lost two in a row. It appears headed for a third-place finish in the East Division. . . . The Warriors played 12 of their previous 13 games on the road. In those 13 games, they were 9-3-1. . . . The Oil Kings had been 0-7-4 in their previous 11 games with Moose Jaw, not having beaten the Warriors since Feb. 20, 2016. On that night, the Oil Kings won, 3-2, in Moose Jaw with F Dario Meyer getting the winner. . . . F Carson Denomie (3) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 12:55 of the second period. . . . Edmonton went ahead 2-1 on third-period goals from Loschiavo, at 2:11, and F Andrew Fyten (14), at 10:54. . . . D Josh Brook (14) pulled the Warriors even, on a PP, at 12:59. . . . Loschiavo snapped the tie with his 26th goal at 13:38. He has eight game-winners this season; only F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders and F Tristin Langan of the Warriors have more, with nine. . . . Loschiavo would have had a hat trick had he scored on a second-period penalty shot, but he was unable to beat G Adam Evanoff. . . . Loschiavo played the first 215 regular-season games of his WHL career with the Kootenay Ice, then was dealt to Moose Jaw and played 40 games there. On May 3, Edmonton sent F Nick Bowman and a sixth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft to the Warriors for Loschiavo. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 31 shots for Edmonton. . . . The Warriors got 36 saves from Evanoff. . . . With G Dylan Myskiw (ill) sidelined, the Oil Kings had G Matthew Pesenti, 17, backing up Scott. Pesenti, who plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers, was with Edmonton on an emergency basis, because his WHL rights belong to the Regina Pats. He has spent time with the Pats this season and got into two games last month. . . . The Oil Kings also scratched F Scott Atkinson and F Zach Russell, both of whom also were ill. . . . Edmonton D Jake Neighbours served the last game of a four-game suspension. . . . Moose Jaw had F Tate Popple in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 31.


D Alex Alexeyev scored in the fifth round of a shootout to give the Red Deer Rebels a 2-1 Red Deervictory over the Silvertips in Everett. . . . This game was to have been played on Wednesday night but was postponed 24 hours when poor driving conditions kept the Rebels from making it to Everett in time. . . . Red Deer (29-19-5) had lost its previous six games (0-5-1). It is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Everett (38-13-3) leads the U.S. Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Robbie Holmes (10) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:40 of the second period. That was his first goal since being acquired by Everett from the Regina Pats at the Jan. 10 trade deadline. He had nine goals and seven assists in 24 games with the Pats. He’s got a goal and two assists in 12 games with Everett. . . . F Brandon Hagel (32) pulled Red Deer even at 11:26 of the third period. . . . D Jake Christiansen scored for Everett in the fourth round of the shootout, only to have F Jeff de Wit equalize. . . . Alexeyev then won it in the next round. . . . Each of the goaltenders — Red Deer’s Ethan Anders and Everett’s Dustin Wolf — stopped 37 shots through OT. . . . Red Deer was 0-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-4. . . . Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ head coach, now has 496 regular-season victories as he strives to become the ninth coach in WHL history to get to 500.


Tweetoftheday

Broncos sign assistant coaches . . . Warriors have imports in fold . . . Hitmen add ex-talking head to front office

MacBeth

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) requested and was granted his release for personal reasons by the Blackburn Hawks (England, National). He had signed a one-year contract in June. . . . Kovář, on the Hawks’ website: “I was really looking forward to playing for the Hawks next season and moving to the Altrincham area to continue my work as (a) personal trainer. Unfortunately, due to a family illness, I will now be staying in Kazakhstan for the foreseeable future.” . . . Kovář played for Ertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan, Kazakh Vysshaya Liga) last season, putting up five goals and eight assists in 28 games. He had played the previous four seasons in England.


ThisThat

The Swift Current Broncos have announced the hiring of two assistant coaches — SCBroncosBrandin Cote and Scott Dutertre. . . . Cote, who is from Swift Current, was the associate coach at Red Deer College last season. Prior to that, he spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders and two seasons as the head coach of the midget AAA Red Deer Chiefs. He played five seasons (1997-2002) with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dutertre, from Dinsmore, Sask., has been an assistant coach with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies, both men’s and women’s teams, for four seasons. He also is the national skating and skills coach for Ice Hockey Australia. . . . Cote and Dutertre fill the voids created by the departures of Ryan Smith, who now is with the Medicine Hat Tigers, and Jamie Heward, who has joined the Vancouver Giants.


Bil La Forge, who is into his first year as the general manager of the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds, has more than a bit of hockey in his background. And, yes, he paid his dues before signing on as the Thunderbirds’ GM. . . . Jason Gregor of oilersnation.com has more right here in a good read on La Forge and the road he travelled to get to where he is today.



The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed their two selections from the 2018 CHL import MooseJawWarriorsdraft — Daniil Stepanov and Yegor Buyalsky, both 17-year-old forwards from Belarus. . . . Stepanov had three goals and 17 assists in 31 games with the U-18 Team Belarus. . . . Buyalsky had 19 goals and 29 assists in 49 games with the U-17 Team Belarus. He played at the 2018 Mac’s tournament in Calgary, putting up five goals and an assist in six games. . . . Both players already are in Moose Jaw as they prepare for the opening of training camp on Aug. 22. . . . The Warriors finished last season with two import defenceman — Oleg Sosunov and Dmitri Zaitsev. Neither is expected back as a 20-year-old. Sosunov will play in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization; Zaitsev signed with Melallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.


Rob Kerr has been named assistant general manager, business operations by the Calgary Hitmen. He takes over from Melissa Blades, who now is manager, business operations with lacrosse’s Calgary Roughnecks. . . . Both organizations are owned by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, which also owns the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Kerr spent the past 15 years at Sportsnet and for 12 of those was an on-air host at Calgary radio station Sportsnet 960—The Fan.


Alex Dixon is the Seattle Thunderbirds’ new equipment manager, replacing Trevor Heinzerling, who left to sign on the assistant equipment manager with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. . . . Dixon spent last season as the equipment manager with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers. . . . Prior to that, he was with the USA National Team Development Program for two seasons and, before that, spent two seasons with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers.


Todd Harkins has joined the West Van Hockey Academy as the director of program development and head coach of the bantam varsity side. Harkins spent the previous six seasons with the Prince George Cougars, the last four as general manager. Prior to that, he was the hockey director at the North Shore Winter Club for 12 years. . . . At the same time, the West Van academy revealed that Yashar Farmanara is leaving “operational and ownership rules” in order to pursue “interests outside of hockey.” A co-founder of the academy, he coached the Elite 15 team for the past two seasons. . . . Farmanara split five WHL seasons (2003-08) among the Seattle Thunderbirds, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Medicine Hat Tigers.


We in the Kamloops area have been well aware of F Jermaine Loewen of the Blazers and his startlingly good story for a few years now. But now that he has been selected by the Dallas Stars in the NHL draft, more people are being introduced to Loewen, a 20-year-old power forward with the perpetual smile. Jeff Miller of nhl.com has a piece on Loewen right here.


Mitch Topinka has signed on as an assistant coach with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. Last season, he was on staff with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. Doug Hedley, who was the general manager and head coach with the Blizzard last season, now fills both those roles with the Kings. . . . Topinka, who is from Whitewood, Sask., also scouted for the Blizzard while coaching a junior B team in Regina. . . . According to a Kings’ news release, Topinka was a stick boy with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks when Hedley was coaching there “in the early 2000s.”


The junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have added Jered Neufeld as an assistant coach. He spent the past two seasons as coach/assistant general manager with the Esterhazy Flyers of the Triangle Hockey League. . . . Neufeld also spent time on the coaching staff of the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s Red Deer Vipers. . . . Neufeld now is the general manager of Legacy Ford Fernie.


Tweetoftheday

Scattershooting: Blades’ voice has idea to honour Tyler Bieber . . . Guy Charron? Call him commissioner . . . Virden up 2-0 in MJHL final

Scattershooting

Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, caught a ride with Blades assistant coach Jerome Engele on Thursday morning and the two headed for Humboldt.

They went to the Elgar Petersen Arena for the funeral of Broncos’ radio voice Tyler Bieber, who was killed in Friday’s bus crash.

While in the seats, just prior to the service starting, Lazaruk had an idea.

“One other thing I feel as I sit and look at Tyler Bieber’s spot in the 107.5 Bolt FM broadcast booth,” he tweeted, “. . . I want to honour Tyler’s memory by calling Humboldt Broncos game on Bolt-FM. For free! No talent fee! No gas money! No meal money! I don’t care where the game is.

“There are 58 regular-season games in 2018-19 and I hope 57 other broadcasters step up and do the same in Tyler’s memory.”

If there is a way to make this work, you can bet on it happening.

Chris Cuthbert, Gord Miller, Peter Loubardias, Phil Andrews, Kelly Moore, Shawn Mullin, Ryan Switzer, James Gallo, Troy Gillard, Dave Randorf, John Fraser, Ben Holden, Joey Kenward, Tim Edmonds, Jason Gregor, Lee Jones, Tony Brar, Rob Mahon, Nick Gismondi, Brendan Parker, Peter Mills, Pete Krupsky and Cameron Birnie were among those to respond in a resoundingly positive fashion.


Tyler Bieber was a huge fan of the NFL’s New England Patriots.

Upon hearing that, Robert Kraft, the Patriots’ owner, called Bieber’s family — he ended up leaving a voicemail expressing condolences, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan — and also made sure that flowers were sent.



Bob Wilkie was a defenceman with the 1986-87 Swift Current Broncos. He survived the Broncos’ bus crash on Dec. 30, 1986, and went on to win the 1989 Memorial Cup with SCBroncosthem.

Wilkie later co-authored a book about the Broncos and that accident — Sudden Death: The Incredible Saga of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos.

On Sunday, he was in Saskatoon and Humboldt as he, Sheldon Kennedy, Peter Soberlak and Darren Kruger worked to spread hope among those impacted by the Humboldt bus crash.

This week, Wilkie dug up a souvenir of that 1989 Memorial Cup championship.



Elsewhere . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have signed three members of their organization to contract extensions, the lengths of which weren’t released. Assistant coach Scott Burt, equipment manager Tim Lindblade and Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, all have new deals. . . . Burt is preparing for his sixth season with the Chiefs. . . . Lindblade joined the Chiefs for the 2013-14 season. . . . Baird just completed his first season as equipment manager after 10 seasons as the Chiefs’ video co-ordinator.


Jeff Wagner is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He had been assistant GM/associate coach with the KIJHL’s Creston Valley Thunder Cats. . . . Wagner replaces Craig Mohr, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the Ghostriders were first-round playoff casualties. This was his fourth season as the club’s GM/head coach.


Guy Charron, a former NHLer who did a couple of turns as the head coach of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, is the new commissioner of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League. . . . You can bet that Charron will be a busy man because, as Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week writes, “The league has never been short on fiery personalities and hot-button issues — and this year is no different.” . . . Hastings has more right here.


JUST NOTES: If you’re following the WHL playoffs, you will be aware that the Tri-City Americans completed a four-game sweep of the Victoria Royals on Wednesday night. The Americans play in the U.S. Division and were a wild-card entry into the playoffs. They have swept the B.C. Division’s top two teams — the Kelowna Rockets, who finished atop the division, and the Royals, who were second. Does this mean the Americans get to hoist a B.C. Division championship pennant prior to next season? . . . In the MJHL, Rylee Zimmer had a goal and two assists to help the host Virden Oil Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the Steinbach Pistons. Zimmer tied the game at 14:07 of the third period and drew an assist on Landyn Cochrane’s winner at 15:48. . . . Virden won the opener, 2-1, in Steinbach on April 6. Game 2 had been scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed out of respect for the Humboldt Broncos. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday in Steinbach. . . . The winner of the MJHL championship will meet the SJHL champ, either the Estevan Bruins or Nipawin Hawks, in the ANAVET Cup series. The SJHL final opens Saturday in Nipawin. . . .


A really interesting hockey book was published a year ago, but somehow I missed it. That book is Father Bauer and the Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey. I came upon it last month, and simply devoured it. Written by Greg Oliver, it details all that went on as Canadian hockey moved into the national team era and beyond. When I was growing up in northern Manitoba, among my hockey heroes were the likes of Roger Bourbonnais, Terry O’Malley, Barry MacKenzie, Fran Huck, Seth Martin, Ken Broderick, Jean Cusson et al. These were the Canadian players who would venture to Europe and get in the face of the great Soviet machine. The stories of all that went into getting the national program off the ground — no, Clarence Campbell’s NHL didn’t like it at all — all are right here. Great stuff!

Hat tricks for Steel, Bellows as Pats, ‘Hawks win . . . Silvertips sweep the weekend . . . Hitmen bury Rebels in third

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

F Koby Morrisseau left the Regina Pats in January following the sudden death of his father, Paul, on Jan. 12. Morrisseau missed 14 games before returning to the Pats and now is regaining his form. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post spoke with Morrisseau and teammates, and has written a compelling story on how they all are helping a friend deal with all that goes with such a tragedy. . . . That story is right here.


Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four-minute barrier in running the mile, died on Saturday at the age of 88. While in London covering the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, columnist Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle tried to duplicate that feat. The results were, umm, predictable, but, as usual with Ostler, it all made for a delicious read that is right here. . . .

If you would like to know more about Sir Roger, pick up a copy of The Miracle Mile: Stories of the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Written by Jason Beck, curator and facility director at the BC Sports Hall of Fame, this is one of the best books I have read in recent years.


TheCoachingGame

The junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have told Craig Mohr, their general manager and head coach, that they “have decided to proceed in a different direction with the team.” . . . This season, the Ghostriders finished 15-28-1-3 (that’s wins, losses, ties and overtime losses), leaving them fourth in the five-team Eddie Mountain Division. . . . Fernie lost a first-round series to the Kimberley Dynamiters, 4-1. . . . Mohr was the Ghostriders’ GM and head coach through four seasons.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Langley, B.C., D Kevin Davis scored twice to help the Everett Silvertips to a 6-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Everett (44-18-5) has won three in a row. It leads the EverettWestern Conference, by eight points over Portland. . . . Everett won the season series with Vancouver, 5-1-0. . . . Vancouver (33-23-9) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . Both teams were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. The Silvertips went 3-0-0; the Giants were 1-2-0. . . . On Sunday, F Jared Dmytriw (15) gave the Giants at 1-0 lead at 13:35 of the first period. . . . The visitors scored the last six goals. . . . F Connor Dewar (36) tied it at 18:14. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (20) gave Everett the lead at 8:43 of the second period. . . . Davis added insurance at 12:25, and F Garrett Pilon (32) upped the lead to 4-1 when he scored on a penalty shot at 15:36. . . . Davis, who has 10 goals, got his second score, on a PP, at 19:59. . . . F Riley Sutter (25) scored Everett’s last goal, on a PP, at 7:35 of the third period. . . . Dewar and Pilon each added an assist. . . . Everett was 2-3 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-3. . . . The Silvertips got 28 saves and an assist from G Dustin Wolf. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 31 shots for the Giants. . . . Prior to the game, the Giants recognized bus driver Derek Holloway, who made his 600th road game last month; broadcaster Bill Wilms, who is on track to work his 2,000th Giants game on March 14 in Kamloops; and Terry Bonner, the franchise’s scouting director, who has been with the team since Day 1. . . . Announced attendance: 3,537.


At Calgary, the Hitmen exploded for six third-period goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Calgary (20-35-10) had lost its previous five games (0-2-3). . . . Red CalgaryDeer (24-30-13) has lost two in a row. It is third in the Central Division, seven points ahead of Kootenay. . . . Red Deer went 1-2-0) in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Hitmen did the same and went 1-0-2. . . . F Brandon Hagel (13) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:41 of the first period. . . . Red Deer went up 2-0 at 11:02 of the second period when F Reese Johnson got No. 22. . . . F Riley Stotts (16) started Calgary’s comeback, on a PP, at 5:41 of the third period. . . . F Mark Kastelic  (17) tied the score at 6:28. . . . D Dakota Krebs (4) gave the Hitmen the lead at 11:42, and F Jakob Stukel provided a two-goal lead at 13:29. . . . Stukel, who also had two assists, added his 34th goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:32, and F Zach Huber (2) wrapped up the scoring at 19:46. . . . F Conner Chaulk had three assists for Calgary. . . . D Dawson Barteaux had two assists for Red Deer. . . . Red Deer was 1-3 on the PP; Calgary was 1-5. . . . G Matthew Armitage earned the victory with 30 saves. . . . G Ethan Anders stopped 34 shots for Red Deer. . . . Six goals-against in one period? “It’s like we were kicked right in the teeth,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM and head coach, told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. That piece is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 8,465.

——

At Cranbrook, B.C., the Medicine Hat Tigers opened up a 3-1 lead with three second-period goals and went on to beat the Kootenay Ice, 4-3. . . . Medicine Hat (34-24-8) has Tigers Logo Officialpoints in seven straight (6-0-1). It leads the Central Division by six points over Lethbridge. The Hurricanes have two games in hand. . . . Kootenay (25-38-4) has lost eight in a row (0-7-1). The Ice is fourth in the Central Division, seven points from a playoff spot with five games to play. . . . F Colton Kroeker (14) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 12:54 of the second period. . . . The Tigers took control on goals from F Elijah Brown (7), on a PP, at 14:29; F Ryan Chyzowski (19), at 15:21; and F Josh Williams (9), on a PP, at 19:20. . . . F Bobby Russell (1) got the Ice to within a goal at 16:12 of the third period, but F James Hamblin (20) got that one back, shorthanded, at 17:54. . . . D Jonathan Smart (6) pulled Ice to within one at 18:21. . . . F Hayden Ostir had two assists for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-6. . . . The Tigers got a 38-save performance from G Michael Bullion. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 24 shots for the Ice. . . . Announced attendance: 2,771.


At Edmonton, F Sam Steel, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., scored three times to lead the Regina Pats to a 7-4 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Regina (35-25-6) has won two in a ReginaPats100row. It is third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Edmonton slipped to 19-38-8. . . . The Pats took a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from F Nick Henry (12), on a PP, at 11:15; F Jake Leschyshyn, on another PP, at 12:31; and Steel, shorthanded, at 19:48. . . . F Tomas Soustal (19) got Edmonton on the scoreboard, while shorthanded, at 2:24 ofd the second period. . . . Regina responded with three quick goals, with Steel scoring, on a PP, at 3:14; Leschyshyn (18) getting his second at 4:36; and D Cale Fleury (12) scoring on yet another PP at 8:51. . . . Steel (28) completed the hat trick with a third-period PP goal. . . . Edmonton got third-period goals from F Trey Fix-Wolansky (29), F Kobe Mohr (10) and D Matthew Robertson (5). . . . Regina got three assists from each of F Emil Oksanen and F Cam Hebig, two from F Matt Bradley, and one each from Fleury and Steel. . . . Hebig has had back-to-back three-assist outings. . . . Fix-Wolansky and Mohr had one each for Edmonton. . . . Regina was 5-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-4. . . . Regina G Ryan Kubic left after one period with an undisclosed injury. He stopped all seven shots he faced. Max Paddock finished up by stopping 17 of 21 shots over two periods. . . . The Oil Kings got 36 saves from G Josh Dechaine. . . . The Pats are 4-1-0 as they play eight straight road games because the Canadian men’s curling championship is being decided in their home arena. . . . Announced attendance: 8,297.


At Kent, Wash., F Kieffer Bellows struck for three goals to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (40-20-5) has points in six Portlandstraight (5-0-1). . . . Seattle (30-25-10) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . Portland went 1-1-1 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours, while Seattle also went 1-1-1. On Friday, the Thunderbirds beat host Portland 5-4 in a shootout. . . . According to TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits), this was the first time since St. Patrick’s Day 1996 that the Winterhawks had visited the Thunderbirds on a Sunday. In 1996, Portland skated to a 5-0 victory at Key Arena. . . . The Winterhawks scored three goals in game’s first 11 minutes. . . . Bellows started it at 1:03, with F Jake Gricius (13) making it 2-0 at 5:25, and F Cody Glass, who also had three assists, upping it to 3-0 at 10:29. . . . F Mike MacLean (2) scored Seattle’s first goal, at 15:42. . . . Bellows, who has 38 goals, completed his first WHL hat trick with goals at 2:10 and 5:08 of the second period. The first one came via the PP. . . . F Nolan Volcan cut Seattle’s deficit to three goals, on a PP, at 8:06. . . . Volcan’s 29th goal, at 10:12 of third period made it a two-goal game, and F Zack Andrusiak’s 30th score cut the deficit to one at 16:41. . . . Portland got an empty-netter from F Ryan Hughes (16), at 19:13, and its final goal from D Brendan De Jong (4) at 19:41. . . . Portland got three assists from D Henri Jokiharju, who has 65 points, including 57 assists, in 56 games. He has eight assists in his past three games. . . . D Austin Strand drew three assists for Seattle. . . . Each team was 1-3 on the PP. . . . G Shane Farkas earned his eighth straight victory with 32 saves, one more than Seattle’s Dorrin Luding. . . . Mike Johnston worked his 500th regular-season game behind the Winterhawks’ bench. He is 311-160-29. . . . Announced attendance: 4,066.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Lethbridge at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Regina at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

Portland at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.