Recovering Leonard could use some $$ help . . . Ice victory streak at 15 . . . Winterhawks are rolling, too

Seth Leonard played games in six WHL seasons (1998-2004), spending time with the Kelowna Rockets (133 games) and Prince Albert Raiders (166). In his final season, he struck for 50 goals and added 40 assists in 72 games with the Raiders.

Now he could use some help from the hockey world.

Gina Ratcliffe, a family friend, has started a GoFundMe after Leonard was in a car accident near his hometown of Nakusp, B.C.

Leonard, writes Ratcliffe, “was on his way to Nakusp to pick up his daughter when he was in an bad accident due to the road conditions.”

According to Ratcliffe, Leonard’s back was broken “in three different spots.” He was taken to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, where he underwent surgery. He now will be returning home to begin his recover.

Leonard’s girlfriend, Brittany, has taken time off work and there is no indication as to when Leonard will be able to return to work. Yes, they now find themselves in a financial pinch.

If you are able to help that GoFundMe is right here.


Headline at fark.com — Former FIFA boss says giving the World Cup to Qatar was a mistake. It sure took a long time for that check to clear.


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

F Evan Herman, the Prince Albert Raiders’ new captain, scored twice and added PrinceAlbertan assist in a 5-4 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Raiders (8-12-2) have won three straight. . . . The Tigers (6-10-5) had points in each of their previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Herman, who has four goals this season, was named captain after the Raiders dealt D Nolan Allan to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday. . . . F Sloan Stanick (6) also scored twice and had an assist for the winners. His second goal broke a 3-3 tie at 10:56 of the third period and Herman made it 5-3 at 16:53. . . . The Raiders were 2-11 on the PP; the Tigers were 1-5. . . .

G Connor Ungar turned aside 33 shots to lead the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors to WarriorsNewa 6-0 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Warriors (13-8-0) have won two in a row. They beat the Broncos 5-4 in Moose Jaw on Friday night. . . . Swift Current (9-11-0) has lost two straight. . . . Ungar, a 20-year-old from Calgary, posted his first shutout of this season and the third of his career. . . . F Brayden Yager’s 10th goal, a shorthanded effort at 3:25 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . F Jagger Firkus scored once as he ran his scoring streak to 14 games. He has 10 goals and 10 assist over that stretch. . . . The Warriors are carrying four 20-year-olds, and D Cole Jordan was the odd-man out for a second straight game. The Warriors had Ungar, F Ryder Korczak, who had two assists, and F Riley Ginnell, who had one helper, in the lineup. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings won their second straight game, beating the EdmontonHurricanes, 4-2, in Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton now is 4-17-1. . . . The Hurricanes (11-9-1) had points in their previous seven games (6-0-1). . . . Trailing 2-1 with fewer than seven minutes remaining in the third period, the Oil Kings scored three times in 6:05, with the winner coming from F Marshall Finnie (4) at 19:42. . . . Finnie is from Lethbridge. . . . F Carson Golder, who has seven goals, figured in Edmonton’s last three goals, scoring twice and assisting on Finnie’s score. . . . The Oil Kings are without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who is serving a seven-game suspension. . . .

F Ryan McCleary struck late in OT to give the host Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 Portlandvictory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Winterhawks (16-1-2) have points in 10 straight (9-0-1). . . . The Blazers (9-4-4) have points in four in a row (2-0-2). Kamloops is 0-3 in OT this season. . . . Portland is 3-0-0 against Kamloops this season, winning twice in OT. . . . Kamloops took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matthew Seminoff (7) and F Daylan Kuefler (9), the latter on a PP. . . . F Marcus Nguyen (8) scored for Portland, on a PP, at 19:41. . . . D Luca Cagnoni (8) got the home team even at 2:30 of the second period. . . . McCleary’s fourth goal ended it at 4:45 of OT. . . . G Michael Schnattinger made his first start for the Blazers since Oct. 22 and he was just fine, with 41 stops. . . . It was a battle of Czech goaltenders, with Jan Špunar stopping 32 shots for Portland. . . . Portland scratched F Kyle Chyzowski after he suffered an undisclosed injury late in Friday’s 4-1 victory over visiting Everett. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven drew an assist on the first goal as he ran his point streak to 13 games. He has 27 points, 12 of them goals, in that streak. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 Brandonvictory over the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . The Wheat Kings (8-13-2) went 1-4-0 on a five-game road trip. . . . Red Deer (16-4-2) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . Brandon erased a 2-1 deficit with the game’s last three goals. . . . F Nolan Ritchie (9) tied it at 16:48 of the second period, on a PP, and F Nate Danielson (11) scored the next two goals, at 11:29 and 18:44 of the third, the latter into an empty net. . . . Red Deer F Jace Isley, who scored his 13th goal, was ejected at 13:45 of the second period with a major penalty for interference on a goaltender. . . . The Wheat Kings got 40 saves from G Nick Jones, an 18-year-old from Calgary who recorded his first WHL victory and was chosen as the game’s first star. A fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 draft, he was 0-1-0 last season and began this season with five straight losses. . . . 

F Gracyn Sawchyn’s goal in OT gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 2-1 victory over Seattlethe Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (13-3-1) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . Everett (12-7-1) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . This was Everett’s first visit to Kent this season. In the other meeting between these teams, in Everett, the Thunderbirds rang up an 11-3 victory. . . . F Roan Woodward (2) gave Everett a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:52 of the second period. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (8) got Seattle even, on a PP, at 8:19 of the third. . . . Sawchyn’s fifth goal of the season won it at 2:04 of extra time. . . . The Thunderbirds had D Nolan Allan, who was acquired this week from the Prince Albert Raiders, and D Kevin Korchinski paired together and in the starting lineup. Both are first-round NHL draft selections of the Chicago Blackhawks and both are from Saskatoon. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen unleashed a 60-shot attack in skating to a 6-2 victory over Calgarythe host Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Hitmen (11-5-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). They went 3-1-1 on a U.S. Division swing. . . . The Chiefs (4-13-1) have lost two in a row. . . . Calgary held an 18-9 edge in shots in the first period and 29-8 in the second. . . . D Grayden Siepmann  (6) and F Carson Wetsch (4) each had a goal and two assists for the Hitmen. . . . G Dawson Cowan, a recent acquisition from the Winnipeg Ice, got his first start for Spokane. He went the distance, making 54 stops. . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice erased a 1-0 deficit with four second-period goals and WinnipegIcewent on to beat the Regina Pats, 5-2. . . . Winnipeg (20-1-0) has won 15 in a row. . . . Regina (9-11-2) has lost three straight. . . . The Pats are 0-3-0 on their 10-game road trip that picks up Friday in Langley, B.C., against the Vancouver Giants. . . . After F Connor McClennon (16), playing in his 200th regular-season game, got the Ice even at 1-1 at 2:51 of the second, F Zach Benson (13) scored twice for a two-goal lead. His first goal game while shorthanded; the second came via the PP. . . . Benson also had two assists for a four-point outing. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had two assists in extending his point streak to 21 games. He leads the WHL in goals (19), assists (29) and points (48). . . . G Mason Beaupit, acquired last week from the Spokane Chiefs, made his first start for the Ice. G Daniel Hauser, who is 14-0-0 this season, was scratched. . . . According to the online game sheet, the Ice didn’t dress a backup goaltender. . . . The Pats lost F Jaxsin Vaughan to a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:34 of the second period. . . .

The visiting Prince George Cougars ran their winning streak to three games PrinceGeorgewith a 5-2 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Cougars now are 12-9-0. . . . The Royals (3-16-3) have lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . The Cougars had cruised to a 10-3 victory in Victoria on Friday night. . . . F Cole Reschny’s first WHL goal pulled Victoria into a 2-2 tie at 15:17 of the second period. . . . But the Cougars, who got two goals from F Cole Dubinsky (8), scored the next three goals — in a span of 2:48 before the period ended. . . . Things got a bit heated in the game’s final minute with the officials handing out 132 penalty minutes, including 12 fighting majors and six game misconducts. . . . Cougars F Koehn Ziemmer extended  his scoring streak to 13 games with an assist. He has 23 points, 10 of them goals, in that stretch. . . . Cougars D Hudson Thornton also had an assist and now is on a 13-game streak. He has five goals and 18 assists in that time. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Tri-KelownaCity Americans, 5-3. . . . Kelowna (8-8-1) has won two in a row. . . . The Americans are 8-12-0. . . . The Americans held a 3-1 lead early in the second period but couldn’t hold it. . . . D Jackson DeSouza’s second goal of the game — and second of the season — got the Rockets to within one at 3:47 of the second. They were shorthanded at the time. . . . F Adam Kydd (9) tied it at 9:57, and F Andrew Cristall (15) broke the tie at 7:18 of the third. . . . Kydd (10) added an empty-netter. . . . F Gabriel Szturc had three assists for Kelowna, as did Cristall. . . . The Americans got a goal and two assists from F Ethan Ernst, who was acquired from the Rockets early last season. He has career highs in goals (13), assists (14) and points (27) in just 19 games. . . . Tri-City D Lukas Dragicevic ran his point streak to 14 games with two assists. He has 22 points, 18 of them assists, in that streak. . . . The Rockets lost F Colton Dach, their captain, to a headshot major and game misconduct at 19:00 of the second period.


YardSale


IT’S NOT OVER — From The New York Times: “John Kerry, the United States special envoy for climate change, has tested positive for Covid-19, a State Department spokeswoman said, a development that will sideline him at a crucial moment in the waning hours of negotiations at United Nations climate talks. Mr. Kerry, 78, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday morning and worked from his hotel all day, said his spokeswoman, Whitney Smith, who described Mr. Kerry’s condition as ‘mild.’ ” . . . Kerry is at the COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt.


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JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Marty Williamson, the head coach of the Barrie Colts, picked up his 500th OHL regular-season victory on Saturday night, a 3-2 OT triumph over the visiting Sarnia Sting. . . . The retired Brian Kilrea is atop the victory list, with 1,194. . . .

Apologies to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. They have won so many games in a row to open this season that I am unable to keep up. Yes, I shortchanged them by one here on Friday night, when they actually extended that streak to 19 games. . . . And, on Saturday night, they made it 20 in a row with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . The Vees are 12-0-0 on home ice. . . . Next up for the Vees? The Salmon Arm Silverbacks (11-7-1) will be in town on Wednesday, then it’s off to visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (Friday) and Powell River Kings (Saturday). . . . If anyone knows the BCHL record for consecutive victories to open a season, please email me at greggdrinnan.gmail.com. Thank you! . . .

F Jadon Joseph of the U of Calgary Dinos set a Canada West record for fastest three goals in one game on Saturday in a 5-2 victory over the Trinity Western Spartans in Langley, B.C. . . . Joseph actually red-shirted with the Spartans last season before transferring to Calgary over the summer. . . . With Calgary leading 2-1 in the second period when Joseph struck at 13:29, 14”13 and 15:05. . . . Three goals in 1:36 smashed the previous record of 5:17 that had been held by F Connor Rankin of the Mount Royal U Cougars since 2016. . . . Joseph, 23, played four seasons in the WHL, spending time with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants, Moose Jaw Warriors, Kelowna Rockets and Tri-City Americans. . . . The Dinos have won nine games in a row.


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Is Lamb ticketed for NHL’s Oilers? . . . Is Gustafson Blazers’ next head coach? . . . They want how much for Memorial Cup tickets?


ThisThat

All signs are pointing to the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers introducing Dave Tippett as their next head coach, perhaps as early as today (Friday).

In fact, it could be that Ken Holland, the Oilers’ new general manager, and Tippett finalized things in Vancouver on Thursday prior to Holland’s induction into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.

Tippett, 57, has been working as senior advisor to the group that owns the NHL expansion franchise in Seattle. He has ample NHL coaching experience, although he hasn’t been behind an NHL bench since 2016-17 when he was with the Arizona Coyotes.

What impact might Tippett’s return to coaching have in the WHL? There is speculation, PrinceGeorgeas you can see from Robin Brownlee’s tweet, that Tippett might bring Mark Lamb on board as an assistant coach in Edmonton.

Lamb is preparing for his second season as the general manager of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars.

Tippett spent six seasons (2002-09) as the head coach of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, and Lamb was an assistant coach for each of those seasons. Also, Lamb was the head coach of the Tucson Roadrunners, the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, in 2016-17 when Tippett was the Coyotes’ head coach.

The Cougars also are one of two WHL teams — the Kamloops Blazers are the other — without a head coach at the present time.

Prince George fired head coach Richard Matvichuk late this season, with Lamb taking over. However, Lamb has said that he isn’t interested in continuing as head coach.

While speculation about a new head coach has been quiet out of Prince George, it is believed that Lamb has been planning to do a lot of work on filling the vacancy during the NHL draft, which is scheduled for Vancouver, June 21 and 22. By then the Cougars might be looking for a general manager, too.

After all, would you rather be the general manager of a WHL team or an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers?

Meanwhile, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has reported that the Blazers have Kamloops1“about five candidates” on their short list as they look to replace Serge Lajoie, whose stint as head coach lasted one season. Lajoie now is the head coach of the midget prep team at OHA Edmonton.

At the moment, I would suggest that Kyle Gustafson, who has been on the coaching staff of the Portland Winterhawks since 2003-04, is the favourite to be the Blazers’ next head coach. Gustafson was in Kamloops last week and, no, he wasn’t here on a shopping trip.

Matt Bardsley, who just completed his first season and his first bantam draft as Kamloops’ general manager, joined the Blazers after a long run with the Winterhawks, so he is quite familiar with Gustafson.

Furthermore, Gustafson came awfully close to getting a contract as the Blazers’ head coach last summer. He lost out when ownership chose to go in a different direction, deciding to go with Lajoie, who hadn’t coached previously in the WHL, over Gustafson, who had all that WHL experience and is especially familiar with the Western Conference.

Obviously, that didn’t work out, but now Gustafson finally may be about to get his first shot at being a WHL head coach. He certainly has paid his dues.

At one time, Darryl Sydor, one of the Blazers’ co-owners and an assistant coach with the team, was believed to be a favourite to be the next head coach. Taking Note has been told that Sydor will remain part of the team’s coaching staff, but that he won’t be the head guy.

If the Blazers haven’t signed Gustafson by mid-June, you have to think that he will visit Vancouver during the NHL draft and look up Lamb, or whomever is conducting the Cougars’ coaching search at that point.


It may be major junior hockey, but that hasn’t kept tickets for Sunday’s Memorial Cup final in Halifax from going into the pricing stratosphere. . . . The host Mooseheads will be in the final, playing either the OHL-champion Guelph Storm or QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who will meet in tonight’s semifinal game. . . . Tickets for the final carried an original price of $50 to $75. On Thursday, in places like StubHub and kijiji, sellers were looking for as much as $1,000 per ticket. Surely, no one is paying those prices, or are they? . . . There is more right here from Jon Tattrie of CBC News.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Thank you very much.


The Calgary Hitmen have signed D Grayden Siepmann and F Brandon Whynott to WHL Calgarycontracts. . . . Siepmann is the fourth first-round selection from the May 2 bantam draft to sign a WHL contract. Calgary selected him with the 13th overall pick. . . . From Abbotsford, B.C., Siepmann played this season with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team, scoring eight goals and adding 21 assists in 29 regular-season games. He had two goals and two assists in five playoff games. . . . Whynott, from Langley, B.C., also played for the bantam prep team at Yale Academy, which is in Abbotsford. Whynott had 17 goals and 15 assists in 30 games, and had one goal and one assist in the playoffs. Whynott was taken in the second round of the 2019 bantam draft.


Stephen Whyno, a hockey writer with The Associated Press, has written a piece that carries this headline — Faces of concussions: NHL’s head-on battle with an epidemic. . . . This is devastating stuff, especially when former NHLer Daniel Carcillo says: “I’m going to choose when I’m going to go. I’ll make that decision of how much pain I’m going to put my loved ones through that are around me.” . . . Carcillo is 34 years of age and wonders what the future holds as he tries to live with the after-effects of at least seven concussions. . . . There is more to this story than Carcillo, though, and as you read it you come to the realization, again, that hockey at all levels needs to do everything it can to get rid of headshots. Yes, the WHL absolutely must ban fighting. . . . Whyno’s piece is right here. Give it 10 minutes of your time.


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