No comment from Hurricanes on Memorial Cup bid . . . Silvertips’ sales booming . . . Winterhawks sign first-round pick

MacBeth

D Rasmus Rissanen (Everett, 2009-11) signed a two-year contract with Örebro (Sweden, SHL). This season, he had three assists in 31 games with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland, KHL).


ThisThat

The WHL’s deadline for teams to declare an official interest in bidding to be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament was May 31.

The Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals had made no secret of the whlfact that they were all-in. The Blazers and Rockets made their intentions known at news conferences; Victoria didn’t hold a news conference but general manager Cam Hope said on numerous occasions that his organization would bid.

However, May 31 came and went and there was nary a word from the WHL. June 1 . . . June 2 . . . June 3 . . . nothing.

On the morning of Monday, June 4, Bruce Hamilton broke the silence. Hamilton is the president and general manager of the Rockets; he also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors.

Hamilton told Kelowna radio station AM 1150 that four teams had filed letters of intent with the WHL office and that those four teams were Kamloops, Kelowna Victoria . . . and the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Hamilton even went out of his way to point out that the Hurricanes “will have a good opportunity. They will have a real good hockey team.”

Until that moment, there hadn’t been even the smallest of hints that would have indicated the Hurricanes had an interest in bidding on the event.

On Monday, a WHL spokesperson told me that the league “will be issuing a release on this matter at the appropriate time.”

As of Tuesday evening, there hasn’t been anything official from the Hurricanes or from the WHL office.

In fact, the only thing that I have seen from Lethbridge came in the form of a Tuesday tweet from Kaella Carr of CTV-Lethbridge.

So we are left to wonder if Hamilton spoke out of turn, or is there more to this than meets the eye?

One supposes that we will find out whenever it is deemed to be the appropriate time.


One team that apparently didn’t express official interest in bidding on the 2020 Memorial Cup was the Everett Silvertips.

It’s really too bad that American teams seem to be on the outside looking in when it Everettcomes to bidding on the Memorial Cup, because it would be interesting to see how fans in the Everett area would respond.

According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Silvertips averaged 5,686 fans through 12 home playoff games this spring, trailing only the Regina Pats (6,484 for three games) and Victoria Royals (5,726 for six games).

In the regular-season, Everett’s announced average attendance was 5,129, good for seventh in the 22-team league. That was up from 4,865 in 2016-17.

This season, the Silvertips finished atop the 10-team Western Conference, then reached the WHL championship final where they lost in six games to the Swift Current Broncos.

On Tuesday, Zoran Rajcic, the COO of Consolidated Sports Holdings, which owns the Silvertips, released a statement that read, in part:

“This last Saturday, we experienced a response and demand in Silvertips hockey from our community like we’ve almost never seen before.

“Our commitment to providing a first-class service to our season-ticket holders resulted in a projected boost of 500 new season tickets, adding to a 92 percent retention from this last season. It’s proof that our region’s thirst for the game has developed into a full passion.”

The Silvertips play in the Angel of the Winds Arena, which, according to the WHL Guide, has a capacity of 8,149.


Apologies to members of the 1980-81 Victoria Cougars, who won the WHL championship. In a piece I posted here Monday night, I made mention of the fact that Victoria had never VicCougarsplayed in a Memorial Cup tournament. That was in error. . . . The Cougars won a thrilling seven-game championship series from the Calgary Wranglers that spring. . . . Here’s what I wrote as part of an essay on the 1981 Memorial Cup that was played in Windsor:

Jack Shupe, a veteran of the western Canadian coaching wars, was running the Cougars. Shupe had last been to the Memorial Cup tournament in 1973 with the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Cougars actually trailed the Calgary Wranglers 3-1 in the WHL’s best-of-seven final before rallying. They didn’t win the WHL title until Terry Sydoryk broke a 2-2 tie at 18:07 of the third period of Game 7. An empty-netter by Grant Rezansoff made the final score 4-2.

The Cougars had finished on top of the West Division, their 121 points (60-11-1) leaving them eight ahead of the Portland Winter Hawks.

The Cougars’ offensive leader was centre Barry Pederson, whose 147 points left him third in the scoring race, just 13 points off the lead.

Pederson added 36 points in the playoffs, second behind the 43 points put up by Calgary’s Bill Hobbins.

Pederson was supported by Rezansoff, who totalled 27 playoff points after a 97-point regular season, Rich Chernomaz (113 regular-season points), Torrie Robertson 111), Brad Palmer, Paul Cyr, Bud McCarthy and Mark Morrison. This was a team that could score — witness its league-high 462 goals.

But it was Fuhr who dominated this team. He was the primary reason for it surrendering only 217 regular-season goals, 49 fewer than any other team.

The Cougars opened the playoffs by sweeping the Spokane Flyers in four games. They then took apart the Winter Hawks in four straight.

That sent them into the final where they fell behind the Doug Sauter-coached Wranglers, who featured goaltender Mike Vernon, 3-1 in games before roaring back to win their first WHL championship since they entered the league in 1971.

“Fuhr was the difference,” Sauter said. “There’s no doubt he’s an all-star.”

This would also mark the first Memorial Cup appearance for a team from Victoria.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Gabe Klassen and G Lochlan Gordon to WHL Portlandcontracts. . . . Klassen, from Prince Albert, will turn 15 on June 30. He was taken in the first round, 19th overall, of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had 52 goals and 37 assists in 31 games with the bantam AA Prince Albert Mintos. He led the league in goals and points. . . . Gordon, from Edmonton, was a third-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. Gordon, 15, played this season with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team, going 12-5-0, 2.68, .891, with four shutouts in 18 games.


WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Conner Roulette to a WHL contract. Roulette, a 15-year-old from Winnipeg, was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, he played for the bantam AAA Winnipeg Hawks, putting up 52 goals and 49 assists in 34 games. He led his league in goals, assists and points.


Inde Sumal, the president and CEO of a Vancouver-based private equity firm, is leading the charge to build a new arena on B.C.’s Lower Mainland. Sumal sees a facility with about 10,000 seats somewhere in Surrey, which has a population of more than 500,000 people. . . . Kenneth Chan of dailyhive.com has more right here.


TheCoachingGame

Ben Simon is the new head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. He takes over from Todd Nelson, who left last week to join the NHL’s Dallas Stars as an assistant coach. . . . Simon, 39, is from Shaker Heights, Ohio. He spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Griffins.


The San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, have signed Drew Bannister as their head coach. He had been the head coach of the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds. Bannister spent three seasons as the Greyhounds’ head coach and is the CHL’s reigning coach of the year. The Greyhounds were 136-50-18 under Bannister, winning two division titles and, this season, the OHL’s regular-season championship. This season, they set franchise records with 55 victories and 116 points.


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Warriors, Raiders set for first round . . . Ronning gets No. 60 in win . . . Rockets win seventh B.C. Division flag

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The 2019 World men’s curling championship will be played at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge, running from March 30 through April 7. That means that the Lethbridge Hurricanes will have to take their show somewhere else should they be in the playoffs at that time. . . . The World women’s curling championship was played in the same facility in 2012. The Hurricanes co-operated that spring by not making the playoffs.


Two goaltenders with ties to the WHL will be inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame this year. Grant Fuhr and Mike Vernon are among the class of 2018 that officially will be inducted on July 22 in Canmore. . . . Fuhr, who won five Stanley Cups with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, played for the Victoria Cougars (1979-81). Vernon, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, once each with the Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings, played for the Calgary Wranglers (1980-83). Vernon also was with the Portland Winterhawks as they won the 1983 Memorial Cup. A roster addition, he ended up as the tournament MVP. . . . Also to be inducted are broadcaster Ron MacLean and long-time hockey coach Wally Kozak, who spent one season (1986-87) as the Wranglers’ head coach.


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

WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, F Jesse Gabrielle scored the lone goal of a shootout to give the Pats a 3-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Regina (39-25-6) has won six in a row. The Pats ReginaPats100are third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon with each having two games remaining. . . . Prince Albert (32-25-13) has points in 11 straight (9-0-2). The loss means the Raiders will finish in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot and will meet the Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round of playoffs. . . . Regina was 8-0-0 in the season series; Prince Albert was 0-4-4. . . . F Jordy Stallard (44) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 11:16 of the first period. . . . Regina tied it at 4:51 of the second period as F Sam Steel got No. 32. . . . The Raiders went ahead 2-1 at 11:24 on F Regan Nagy’s 25th goal. . . . Regina F Cam Hebig (41) tied it, shorthanded, at 11:51. . . . Gabrielle, the shootout’s second shooter, scored the only goal of the skills competition. . . . Prince Albert was 0-3 on the PP; Regina was 0-4. . . . The Pats got 31 saves from G Max Paddock, who continues to be the starter with Ryan Kubic injured. On the season, Paddock is 18-7-2, 2.94, .902. . . . The Raiders got 33 stops from G Curtis Meger. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Swift Current, F Max Gerlach scored twice, giving him three straight 30-goal seasons, as the Saskatoon Blades dumped the Broncos, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (33-33-4) had lost it Saskatoonprevious three games (0-2-1) as it fell out of playoff contention. . . . Swift Current (47-17-6) has lost three in a row (0-3-0). It will finish second in the East Division and meet either Regina or Brandon in the first round. . . . Saskatoon went 4-3-1 in the season series; Swift Current was 4-4-0. . . . F Kirby Dach, who also had three assists, got the Blades started as he scored his seventh goal at 19:45 of the first period. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (37) made it 2-0 at 4:47 of the second period. . . . The home side tied it on second-period goals from F Kaden Elder (17), at 5:32, and F Matteo Gennaro (41), on a PP, at 12:38. . . . F Michael Farren (11) broke the tie, on a PP, at 19:51. . . . Gerlach, who has 31 goals, scored twice in the third period, at 1:14 and 7:02, the latter on a PP. . . . Gerlach had 30 goals as a freshman in 2015-16 with Medicine Hat, then added 34 goals last season. This season, he had 16 goals in 35 games when Medicine Hat dealt him to Saskatoon. He has 15 goals in 28 games with the Blades. . . . D Dawson Davidson drew two assists for Saskatoon, with Gerlach getting one. . . . Saskatoon was 2-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-3. . . . G Tyler Brown stopped 42 shots for the Blades. At the other end, G Stuart Skinner made 22 saves. . . . The Broncos were without F Glenn Gawdin, who now has missed three games with an illness; F Tyler Steenbergen, who took a nasty hit from Moose Jaw F Barrett Sheen on Saturday; and F Tanner Nagel, who sat out the first game of a three-game suspension. . . . D Zach Ashton, 16, made his WHL debut with the Blades. A third-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft, he played the past two seasons with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Calgary, the Hitmen scored three shootout goals to beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Calgary (23-36-11) has won four in a row (3-0-1) and moved into a tie with the Ice for Calgary10th spot in the Eastern Conference. . . . Kootenay (25-38-7) has lost 11 in a row (0-7-4). . . . Kootenay won the season series, 5-1-1; Calgary finished 2-3-2. . . . The Ice got out to a 1-0 lead as F Brett Davis (25) scored at 10:13 of the first period. . . . Calgary took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Mark Kastelic (21), at 1:17, and F Riley Stotts (18), at 2:41. . . . Kootenay F Alec Baer (28) tied it, on a PP, at 2:37 of the third period. . . . D Martin Bodak had two assists for the Ice. . . . F Jake Kryski, Stotts and F Jakob Stukel scored shootout goals for Calgary, with Davis the lone Ice shooter to score. . . . Kootenay was 1-2 on the PP; Calgary was 0-1. . . . Matthew Armitage stopped 25 shots for the Hitmen. . . . G Jesse Makaj made his first career start for the Ice, and made 29 saves. He was a second-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. This season, he played for the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. . . . Announced attendance: 6,849.


At Red Deer, F Kristian Reichel scored twice and added two assists to help the Rebels to a 5-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . This was a meeting of two teams that will Red Deerclash in the first round of the playoffs. The only thing left to decide is who has home-ice advantage. . . . Red Deer (27-30-13) is third in the Central Division, three points behind Lethbridge (32-32-6), which has lost seven in a row. Each team has two games left to play. . . . Lethbridge went 4-2-0 in the season series; Red Deer was 2-2-2. . . . Reichel opened the scoring at 12:45 of the first period, with F Josh Tarzwell (10) making it 2-0, on a PP, at 1:04 of the second period. . . . Lethbridge F Zane Franklin (14) cut into the lead, on a PP, at 5:52. . . . The Rebels got the next two goals, from Reichel (34), on a PP, at 14:33, and F Brandon Hagel (18), at 3:37 of the third. . . . F Jake Elmer (18) got the visitors to within two at 6:40. . . . F Reese Johnson (23) scored Red Deer’s final goal, at 16:07. . . . Red Deer got two assists from F Mason McCarty, with Hagel and Tarzwell each getting one. . . . Red Deer was 2-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-2. . . . G Riley Lamb earned the victory with 32 stops, 12 more than Reece Klassen of the Hurricanes. . . . D Tate Olson and F Dylan Cozens were among Lethbridge’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,858.

At Kamloops, F Ty Ronning scored his 60th goal of the season as his Vancouver Giants skated to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Vancouver (36-25-9) is third in the B.C. VancouverDivision, three points behind Victoria with each team having two games remaining. . . . Kamloops (29-36-5) has lost four straight. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (35) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 11:51, but it wouldn’t score again. . . . F Davis Koch (22) got the Giants even, at 15:13, and Ronning got No. 60 at 1:13 of the second period. That turned into his ninth game-winner of the season, tying him for the team lead with F James Malm. . . . F Milos Roman (9) scored on a PP at 4:00 to stretch Vancouver’s lead to 3-1. . . . Roman hadn’t scored since Dec. 1, but this was only his ninth game since then, thanks to playing for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship and an ankle injury. . . . F Tyler Benson (27) got the empty-netter at 19:46. . . . Malm finished with two assists, with Benson and Koch adding one apiece. . . . Vancouver was 1-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Trent Miner was shaky on the Blazers’ lone goal, but finished with 39 saves in a strong outing. He was named the game’s first star. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Giants are without G David Tendeck, who may not play again until the playoffs begin. . . . Also among the Giants’ scratches were D Dylan Plouffe and D Matt Barberis. . . . Bill Wilms, the analyst on Giants’ radio broadcasts, worked his 2,000 WHL game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,050. . . . This was the 10th time the announced attendance in Kamloops has been at least 4,000. The Blazers are 1-8-2 in those games.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored five times in the third period to beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-3. . . . Kelowna (41-22-7) has points in four straight (3-0-1). With the victory, it KelownaRocketswrapped up the seventh B.C. Division title in franchise history. . . . Prince George (23-38-9) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Kelowna won the season series, 6-2-0; Prince George was 2-4-2. . . . F Aaron Boyd (14) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 13:30 of the first period. . . . Kelowna F Nolan Foote (13), who had missed 17 games with an undisclosed injury, tied it at 17:07. . . . F Brogan O’Brien (15) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 17:45 of the second period and they took that into the third period. . . . The Rockets tied it at 0:23 as D Kaedan Korczak scored his fourth goal. . . . D Cal Foote snapped the tie at 6:08, and F Dillon Dube (35) upped it to 4-2 at 14:00. . . . Foote (19) added a second goal at 14:29, and D Braydyn Chizen (6) counted at 16:27. . . . D Ryan Schoettler (8) scored for the Cougars at 17:56, on a PP. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of F Kole Lind and F Leif Mattson, with Nolan Foote, Cal Foote and Dube getting one apiece. . . . O’Brien added an assist for the Cougars. . . . Prince George was 1-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-8. . . . The Cougars took 62 of the game’s 114 penalty minutes. . . . Kelowna G James Porter stopped 15 shots. . . . The Cougars got 44 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . The Cougars had two players ejected at 8:41 of the third period. D Joel Lakusta took a headshot major and game misconduct, while D Cam MacPhee was hit with a match penalty for attempt to injure. . . . At one point early in the third period, according to the Prince George Citizen, Prince George Richard Matvichuk let referees Mark Pearce and Colin Watt know his feelings by waving a white towel. . . . Prior to the game, Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Rockets, tweeted: “My good friend Bob Tory, GM of the Americans, is in the house to do some pre-scouting on a possible opening round matchup.” . . . Announced attendance: 4,561.


At Spokane, the Seattle Thunderbirds broke a 3-3 tie with three second-period goals to beat the Chiefs, 6-3. . . . Seattle (33-26-10) holds down the Western Conference’s second Seattlewild-card spot, five points behind Tri-City with three games to play. . . . Spokane (39-24-6) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Spokane loss means that Portland, which is second in the U.S. Division, has clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Seattle went 5-2-1 in the season series; Spokane was 3-5-0. . . . Spokane jumped out to a 1-0 lead when F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored at 3:30 of the first period. . . . Seattle scored three times before the period ended. F Sami Moilanen, who has 21 goals, scored twice, at 8:59 and 12:19, and F Samuel Huo (2) found the range at 13:38. . . . The Chiefs climbed into a 3-3 tie on PP goals from F Hudson Elynuik (31), at 19:50, and Anderson-Dolan (39), at 2:04 of the second period. . . . Seattle D Jake Lee (4) broke the tie at 3:29, and F Matthew Wedman (17) made it 5-3 at 13:15. Seattle got its last goal from F Zack Andrusiak (34) at 15:20. . . . F Nolan Volcan had two assists for Seattle, with Moilanen and Andrusiak adding one each. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from each of F Kailer Yamamoto and F Ethan McIndoe. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Seattle was 0-1. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes stopped 37 shots. . . . Spokane starter Dawson Weatherill allowed four goals on 12 shots in 23:29 before Bailey Brkin came on to finish up, giving up two goals on 17 shots in 36:31. Brkin was added to the Chiefs’ roster this week after playing with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Announced attendance: 4,734.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Victoria at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Kootenay, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

Spokane vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Everett at Victoria 7:05 p.m.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m

END OF REGULAR SEASON


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