Will Rasmussen be back in WHL? . . . Giants, Royals prepping for tripleheader weekend. . . . Wheat Kings close on playoff spot


MacBeth

F T.J. Mulock (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-03, Kamloops, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). This season, he has one goal and 15 assists in 43 games. Mulock, who is a dual German-Canadian citizen, is completing his 10th season in the DEL, his 13th overall in Germany. . . .

F Grant Toulmin (Swift Current, 2005-07, 2008-09) has signed a one-season contract extension with the Sydney IceDogs (Australia, AIHL). Last season, he had 15 goals and 33 assists in 21 games. He was second in team scoring and was named the team’s MVP. This will be Toulmin’s fourth season in Australia. The AIHL regular season begins on April 20.


ThisThat

There is speculation that the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings may return F Michael Rasmussen, 19, to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

The 6-foot-6 Rasmussen was selected by the Red Wings with the ninth overall pick of the tri-city2017 NHL draft.

The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 48 games. A short time ago, they sent him to their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, on a conditioning stint, and he had two goals in three games.

However, Rasmussen isn’t eligible to play in the AHL because of his age. If the Red Wings want him to be playoff eligible with Grand Rapids, Rasmussen would have to be returned to Tri-City, and he could be assigned to the Griffins whenever the Americans’ season might end.

Ansar Khan of mlive.com reported on Wednesday that the Red Wings “are contemplating” returning Rasmussen to Tri-City.

Last night, Rasmussen was pointless, and minus-1, in nine minutes 36 seconds of playing time as the Red Wings dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

That was the fourth time in six games that he has played fewer than 10 minutes.

The Americans have 12 games left in their regular season. They are third in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Portland Winterhawks and one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs.

Rasmussen had injury problems in each of the past two seasons, but still put up 63 goals and 51 assists in 97 games with Tri-City. Last season, he was tremendous in the playoffs, scoring 16 goals and adding 17 assists in 14 games.


The cities of Vancouver and Victoria are separated by about 115 kilometres, including the Georgia Strait.

So you wouldn’t think it would be that tough for the cities’ WHL teams to complete a 10-game season series over the course of six months without having to play a tripleheader. You know, catch a ferry and play a doubleheader, or even just pop across the strait for a singleton.

The Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals have three games remaining in the season series. At this point, Vancouver is 4-2-1 in the season series; Victoria is 3-3-1.

The Giants have 12 games remaining, with the Royals having 11 left on their schedule, meaning time is running out.

So, hey, why not do it up in fewer than 48 hours this weekend?

That’s right. The Giants and Royals are going to face each other three times this weekend — Friday at the Langley Events Centre, and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in Victoria.

The Giants (39-14-3) are atop the B.C. Division, 18 points ahead of the Royals (30-24-3), who appear headed to a second-place finish. The Giants, though, are hoping to finish atop the Western Conference — they are four points behind the Everett Silvertips with two games in hand — so still have something for which to play.


The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit has extended the contracts of general manager Dave Drinkill Saginawand head coach Chris Lazary through the 2020-21 season. . . . Drinkill is in his fourth season as Saginaw’s GM, after working with the Barrie Colts for nine seasons in various roles. . . . Lazary, 36, signed on with the Spirit as the associate coach prior to 2016-17. He took over as head coach on Nov. 18 after Troy Smith was fired. Since then, the Spirit is 25-6-3. . . . Overall, the Spirit is 36-15-5, good for third place in the 10-team Western Conference.


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Evan Vossen is out as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice larongeWolves. He had been with the Ice Wolves since taking over from the fired Shawn Martin early in the 2016-17 season. . . . Vossen, 32, played for the Ice Wolves in 2006-07 before going on to play five seasons with the McGill U Redmen. In fact, he was the team captain when the Redmen won the 2012 national championship with him scoring the title-winning goal in OT. . . . This season, the Ice Wolves are 10-42-2 and in fourth spot in the four-team Sherwood Division. . . . Gaelan Patterson, who played four seasons with the Saskatoon Blades (2006-10) will be the Ice Wolves’ GM and head coach for the remainder of this season. Patterson, 28, joined the Ice Wolves as an assistant coach prior to this season, after playing last season with the Coventry Blaze of the Elite Ice Hockey League.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Stelio Mattheos and F Cole Reinhardt each had four points as the Brandon Wheat Kings BrandonWKregulardumped the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 5-1. . . . Brandon (28-22-7) has won five in a row. With this victory, Brandon moved into a tie with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Calgary. . . . Calgary (30-22-5) had won its previous two games. The Hitmen are fourth in the Central Division, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Mattheos and Reinhardt had two goals and two assists each, as they figured in each of Brandon’s last four goals. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-0 lead before this game was six minutes old, thanks to goals from F Ridly Greig (12), at 0:30; Mattheos, at 4:29; and Reinhardt, on a PP, at 5:32. . . . Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko (4) scored at 15:10. . . . Reinhardt got his 21st goal at 19:43 of the second period, and Mattheos got No. 39 at 1:25 of the third. . . . Mattheos, who came awfully close to landing with the Everett Silvertips at the Jan. 10 trade deadline, now has 39 goals and a career-high 49 assists in 54 games. Since Jan. 10, Mattheos has 13 goals and 24 assists in 19 games. . . . Reinhardt, who turned 19 on Feb. 1, has 21 goals and 18 assists in 56 games. He has career highs in all three major offensive categories. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 27 shots for Brandon.


The Regina Pats erased a 4-0 deficit and beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 5-4, in a shootout. . Pats. . Regina (17-38-3) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of the Ice. . . . Kootenay (11-37-9) has lost six in a row (5-0-1). . . . The Ice got first-period goals from F Jakin Smallwood (11) and F Jaeger White (24), then went ahead 4-0 on second-period scores from F Connor McClennon (9) and F Brad Ginnell (13). . . . D Brady Pouteau (3) started Regina’s comeback at 15:30 of the second period. . . . The Pats tied it on third-period goals by F Brett Clayton, at 8:29; F Carter Massier (3), at 10:20; and F Logan Nijhoff (6), shorthanded, at 16:59. . . . The Ice had the only four shots of OT but wasn’t able to beat G Dean McNabb, who had replaced starter Max Paddock in the second period. McNabb stopped all 13 shots he faced through OT. . . . Regina won it in the shootout when F Garrett Wright, the first shooter in the fifth round, scored. . . . Regina F Ty Kolle and Kootenay F Peyton Krebs and scored in the second round. . . . Earlier in the day, the Ice added D Anson McMaster to its roster from the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers, and he played in this one. He now has played five games with the Ice this season. McMaster, 16, is from Siksika, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft.


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Four Don Cherry games remaining . . . Giants’ Ronning gets NHL deal . . . Dauphin beckons for Wheat Kings

MacBeth

F Grant Toulmin (Swift Current, 2005-07, 2008-09) has signed a one-season extension with the Sydney Ice Dogs (Australia, AIHL). Last season he had 22 goals and 20 assists in 27 games. He led the team in goals and points. . . . The AIHL regular season opens on April 21.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Four of the WHL’s 17 Canadian teams will hold their WHL Suits Up With Don Cherry games this weekend.

The Victoria Royals will have their game on Friday, with the Kelowna Rockets, Red Deer Rebels and Saskatoon Blades following suit on Saturday.

If you’re new to this, the home teams wear sweaters fashioned after the outfits worn by Don Cherry on Coach’s Corner. Those sweaters are available via auction, with proceeds going to the local branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

There also are Don Cherry bobbleheads available, as well as Upper Deck cards featuring Cherry, and some really nifty mini-hockey helmets.

The Medicine Hat Tigers are one of the teams that held their game last weekend. When it was all over, the Tigers had raised almost $50,000 through the sweater auction.

Scott Roblin of CHAT News in Medicine Hat has a story right here that tells all you need to know about this promotion and its importance. It’s about people like the mother and daughter who took part in the ceremonial puck drop in Medicine Hat, and it’s all about organ donor awareness.


When the Portland Winterhawks chose to try and get an exemption from Oregon laws regarding the paying of minimum wage and other benefits, you have to think they, and the WHL, weren’t anticipating what followed.

“What started as something the WHL and the Winterhawks thought would be a simple whlprocess,” Ken Campbell of The Hockey News writes, “has degenerated into a nightmare, largely because some people in Oregon stood up to junior hockey. The local United Food and Commercial Workers, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, Oregon Working Families and the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association all spoke out against the bill and in fact created a website urging people to contact their senators to vote against the bill.”

Campbell’s complete piece, which explains what went on, is right here.


The New York Rangers have signed F Ty Ronning of the Vancouver Giants to a three-year entry-level NHL contract. Ronning, 20, has 55 goals and 22 assists in 64 games with the Giants this season. . . . He is the WHL’s second-leading goal scorer and now holds the Giants’ record for goals in one season. . . . The 5-foot-9, 172-pound Ronning was a seventh-round pick by the Rangers in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . He finished last season with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, and had two goals and three assists in 12 games. . . . He is the son of former WHL/NHL F Cliff Ronning. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on Ty’s signing right here.


JUST NOTES . . .

The Portland Winterhawks will induct former players Andrew Ference, Marian Hossa, Brendan Morrow and Todd Robinson into their Hall of Fame on Saturday night, prior to a game against the visiting Tri-City Americans. At the same time, they will honour the 1998 Memorial Cup-winning team, with most of the players and coaches from that team expected to be on hand. The ceremony will be emceed by the legendary Dean (Scooter) Vrooman, who was the radio voice of the Winterhawks for so many years. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings announced Monday that should they qualify for the playoffs, they will play their first-round home games at Credit Union Place in Dauphin, Man. As always happens, the Wheat Kings will get bumped from their home arena, Westoba Place, by the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. . . . The Wheat Kings, who have seven games remaining, hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Prince Albert and eight ahead of Saskatoon. 


TheCoachingGame

The MJHL’s Dauphin Kings are looking for a general manager and head coach. . . . The Kings started the season with Marc Berry as the GM and head coach. But they fired him in November after a 4-18-2 start. . . . Mitch Giguere, an assistant coach since August, was named interim GM and head coach on Nov. 19. At the time, the Kings stated that they would be “looking into all options” to fill the GM/head coach position following the season. . . . The Kings finished the season at 14-44-2 — 10th in the 11-team league — and didn’t make the playoffs. . . . There’s more on the opening right here.


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

MONDAY:

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.


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