Hasek speaking out against Russian invasion . . . Clouston: Pats ‘going to try to add’ . . . TWU adds Beach as assistant coach

As another hockey season arrives and dictator Vladimir Putin’s Russia continues its war on Ukraine, the impact, or lack of same, on professional hockey hasn’t been much of a story.

But former NHL goaltender Dominik Hasek is working to get it into the headlines.

Here’s a chunk from Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered:

More than a decade after his Hall of Fame career, Hasek has not stopped taking the road less travelled. He’s one of the very few athletes, past or present, who has the courage to speak out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying Russian NHLers should be suspended and Czech players should be barred from playing in the KHL, the league in which he played in the final season of his career. He also thinks that the government in Czechia should bar any Russians playing for the Nashville Predators (winger Yakov Trenin) and San Jose Sharks (wingers Alexander Barbanov and Evgeni Svechnikov) from playing in Prague when the two teams kick off the NHL’s regular season there Oct. 7 and 8.

“It will be a beautiful hockey celebration,” Hasek told Hockey Unfiltered in a telephone interview. “At the same time, however, I am doing everything to ensure that no Russian players can play here and that they cannot make multimillion-dollar advertisements for Russia and its war and killings in Ukraine.”

Hasek also has thoughts on Russians playing in the NHL. Campbell writes: “Hasek believes all Russian-born NHL players should be suspended by the NHL, with the suspensions lifted only if and when they denounce Russia’s actions.”

Of course, there are people in the hockey community who don’t agree with Hasek.

If you haven’t already, you should hunt up Campbell’s Hockey Unfiltered site and check out stories like this one.


Are you waiting for the Regina Pats to trade F Connor Bedard, who is the favourite to be the No. 1 selection in the NHL’s 2023 draft? Well, perhaps you Reginashouldn’t be holding your breath. In fact, what if the Pats are working to add to their roster in the hopes of making a run this season? . . . The Kamloops Blazers will be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup and there has been ample speculation that they are eager to land Bedard. Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, isn’t so sure that Bedard will come available. “I think Regina is going to evaluate things,” Clouston told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “The information we have is they’re not trading him right now. They believe they have a generational-type player and they’re going to try to add. So, right now, that’s the direction they’re going and I guess time will tell if they’re able to get to a place where they feel confident kind of going all-in at some point with Connor Bedard as the centrepiece or whether they change that mindset. But that, right now, from our understanding, is their mindset They’re looking to add right now.” . . . Hastings’ complete story is right here.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added F Alex Drover, 20, to their roster. Drover, from Port-aux-Basques, Nfld., spent the previous four seasons in the QMJHL. MedicineHatHe played with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Saint John Sea Dogs and Rimouski Oceanic, totalling 29 goals and 48 assists in 178 regular-season games. Last season, he put up 37 points, including 14 goals, in 44 games with Rimouski. . . . Drover is one of four 20-year-olds in camp with the Tigers, the others being F Brendan Lee, F Dallon Melin and Finnish F Oskari Kuntonen, who was selected by Medicine Hat in the CHL’s 2020 import draft. Last season, he had six goals and 20 assists in 24 games with KooKoo’s U20 side. Melin is coming off four seasons with the Red Deer Rebels; he had 11 goals and 13 assist in 67 games in 2021-22. Lee was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades last season; he finished with 10 goals and 11 assists in 52 games, 22 of them with the Tigers. . . . Melin had two assists Friday in a 6-3 victory over the host Swift Current Broncos. Lee had one assist; Drover was pointless.


Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the retirement announcement from tennis great Roger Federer:

“Once a teenage brat who would throw his racket on the court, Federer grew up and evolved and became the definition of class and sportsmanship.

“He was doing that in an era of what often seemed relentlessly boorish and unbecoming behavior by professional athletes. When star athletes too often seemed to do something to let their public down, to embarrass themselves or to fail to understand the privilege and position they have.

“Federer never did that. In a modern era of scrutiny and social media, he was a safe harbor.”

The Tofino Resort and Marina, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is owned by a group that includes retired NHLers Willie Mitchell and Dan Hamhuis. The latter also is one of the six men who own the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. . . . Something happened at the resort on Sunday night that has resulted in a management change, the closure of the place for a week or so, and a whole lot of speculation as to what caused it all. . . . Patrick Johnston of Postmedia has that story right here.

THINKING OUT LOUD — F Nick Suzuki may have been given the captain’s ‘C’ this week, but isn’t F Brendan Gallagher really the captain? Gallagher is one of those players who doesn’t need the ‘C’ to be the captain. . . . If F Connor Bedard really is a generational talent — and all signs point to that being an accurate evaluation — how would the Regina Pats explain it to their fans were they to trade him away? . . . There looked to be a lot of empty seats at Mosaic Stadium on Friday night, but the ticket holders who did show up didn’t hesitate to let their feelings be known as their favourites dropped a 26-24 decision to the Edmonton Elks. Yes, it was ugly. . . . The Roughriders are 3-5 at home. They once were 3-0. Whoops!


Former WHL F Kyle Beach has joined the Trinity Western U Spartans of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League as an assistant coach. . . . From Ian Kennedy of The Hockey News: “Last fall, Beach made headlines stepping forward as ‘John Doe’ in a case in which Beach was sexually assaulted by Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich during the 2009-10 season. The case made international news headlines, and eventually resulted in a confidential settlement between the Blackhawks and Beach made in December of 2021.” . . . Beach, 32, is from Kelowna. He played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Spokane Chiefs (2005-10). . . . Beach and TWU head coach Ben Walter, who is in his first season, were teammates with EC Salzburg in Austria’s EBEL and won championships together in 2015 and 2016. . . . Beach spent the past two seasons with the Ten Art BlackDragons in Austria, playing in Germany’s Oberliga. In those two seasons, he totalled 110 points, including 58 goals, in 68 games.



Gino De Paoli is the new play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. The team made the announcement on Friday, three days after he announced he was leaving the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. He had been the voice of the Oilers for 11 seasons. . . . Scott Roblin handled the Tigers’ play-by-play on CHAT last season after Bob Ridley, the only radio voice the team had known since it entered the WHL for the 1970-71 season, took time off for health-related reasons. . . . Roblin left Medicine Hat over the summer and now is covering sports for Global TV in Saskatoon. . . .

Kevin Kaminski, the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves, begins the regular season by starting a 10-game suspension. From the Ice Wolves: “The suspension is the result of reports received by the league after the final playoff game of last season that was played March 27. The sanction is under appeal but until this is finalized, we will comply with the suspension and assistant coach Kyle Schneider will lead the bench.” . . . Playing at home on March 27, the Ice Wolves dropped a 5-3 decision to the Humboldt Broncos in Game 6. The Broncos won the series, 4-2. . . . The Ice Wolves opened their regular season on Friday night with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Nipawin Hawks.


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Habscheid, Sutter moving on up . . . Rybinski takes Express to BCHL . . . McGeough and family needing help


F Jack Walker (Victoria, 2012-17) has been released by the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He had one goal and one assist in 16 games.


With the Prince Albert Raiders gotten off to such a terrific start, head coach Marc Habscheid has moved from 13th to ninth on the list of the WHL’s winningest regular-season coaches.

When this season began, Habscheid had 456 victories as a WHL head coach. With the whlRaiders at 21-1-0, Habscheid has vaulted into ninth place, passing Peter Anholt, Jack Shupe, Kelly McCrimmon and Dean Clark, none of whom is still coaching. Anholt, however, will have the opportunity to improve on his 466 victories when he goes behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ bench when head coach Brent Kisio joins Canada’s national junior team in December. Kisio will be an assistant coach under head coach Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Meanwhile, Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, has closed to within 18 victories of 500. The Rebels are 15-5-1, but Sutter wasn’t with them for one of those victories; instead, he was on a father-son trip with his son, Brandon, and the Vancouver Canucks.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (includes games of Nov. 21):

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 482

9. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 477

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

       Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 366

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Mike Johnston (Portland) 328

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326

With the WHL schedule having taken Thursday off, perhaps to celebrate American Thanksgiving, here’s a look at what the first-round playoff matchups would be had the regular-season ended yesterday . . . Yes, it doesn’t mean much because teams haven’t played an equal number of games, but, hey, it’s food for thought. . . .


Prince Albert (21-1-0) vs. Medicine Hat (10-11-3)

Red Deer (15-5-1) vs. Moose Jaw (10-5-4)

Edmonton (14-8-3) vs. Lethbridge (10-8-4)

Saskatoon (14-8-2) vs. Brandon (10-6-6)

Out: Calgary (9-13-2), Kootenay (7-14-4), Regina (8-16-0), Swift Current (3-18-2). . . . Calgary is three points out of a playoff spot, while Kootenay is five back, Regina seven and Swift Current 15.



Everett (17-7-1) vs. Kelowna (10-13-1)

Vancouver (15-6-2) vs. Tri-City (12-8-0)

Portland (13-8-2) vs. Spokane (12-8-3)

Victoria (12-6-0) vs. Prince George (9-10-3)

Out: Seattle (8-10-3), Kamloops (8-10-2). . . . Seattle is two points out of a wild-card playoff spot, while Kamloops is three points back.

Ask any long-time observer about the best referees in the history of the WHL and Mick McGeough will be in the conversation. McGeough, from Regina, went on to show his outsized personality during a lengthy career in the NHL, too. . . . McGeough has run into some health difficulties this week, and he and his family need help from the hockey world and beyond. . . . There is a GoFundMe page right here.

F Henry Rybinski, who has asked the Medicine Hat Tigers to trade him, has joined the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. Rybinski, 17, is from Vancouver. Last season, he had three goals and nine assists in 63 games with the Tigers, who picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. This season, he had one goal and four assists in five games. . . . . . . The Tigers revealed on Nov. 1 that Rybinski had asked to be traded and no longer was with the team. Rybinski was wanting more playing time, something the Tigers said they weren’t able to provide because he was behind veteran centres James Hamblin and Ryan Chyzowski on their roster.

The Kootenay Ice has brought back D Anson McMaster, 16, for another look. McMaster, from Siksika, Alta., was a second-round pick by the Ice in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . He is pointless in three games with the Ice this season. . . . In 12 games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers, he has two goals and seven assists.

The Vancouver Giants have dropped F Hunor Torzsok from their roster. He is expected to end up with a junior A team. Torzsok, 18, had one assist in eight games. Last season, he had one goal and one assist in 25 games with Vancouver. He also played 10 games with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers last season, scoring three goals.


The SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs have signed general manager and head coach Trevor Blevins to an extension that runs through the 2021-22 season. He took over as the Mustangs’ head coach during the 2013-14 season. They won the SJHL title in 2015 and 2016. . . . This season, the Mustangs have the league’s second-best record, at 17-6-1.

The AJHL’s Calgary Canucks have fired Darryl Olsen, who had been their general manager and head coach. He had been with the Canucks since August 2017, and had been head coach since November 2017. He was named GM and head coach on April 5. . . . According to a text from Gino De Paoli (@GDP_PXP), it “looks like assistants Brad Moran and Tyson Avery will take over for the time being.” . . . The Canucks are 2-22-1, and in last played in the eight-team Viterra South Division.

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