Broncos, Pats: Was it worth it? . . . Oil Kings back on top of Central. . . . Blazers close to within two points of Rockets. . . . Giants move ahead of Silvertips

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The Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos both participated in the 2018 Memorial Cup MemCuptournament. You will recall that Regina was the host team and Swift Current was in as the WHL champion. . . . The price they paid in order to build those teams was steep, though, and those teams now have two of the three poorest records in the WHL. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has written an interesting story about whether the price was worth it. That story is right here.


After saying that it didn’t want to pay the full tab on new boards and glass for the CN Centre, Prince George city council has changed its mind. The bill for the changes, which have been mandated by the WHL, will be $578,000. In February, it was suggested that the Cougars would be the only group to benefit so should pay for half of the package. Kyle Sampson, a city councillor, said Monday that he has learned that other groups will benefit, too, so the city should pay the whole shot. . . . There is more right here.


Nathan Dempsey, a defenceman in his playing days, spent three seasons (1991-94) with the WHL’s Regina Pats before going on to a pro career that included 260 games in the NHL. It was while in the NHL that tremors in his left hand led him to discover that he has Parkinson’s disease. . . . Dempsey, now 44, works out of the Vimy Ridge Sports Academy in Edmonton these days and, yes, he still is on the ice. . . . Stephanie Tobin of CBC News has more on Dempsey’s story right here.


I have a friend who has a problem. I met Vic Morin a few months ago through the Kamloops Kidney Support Group of which my wife, Dorothy, is a co-founder. Vic has chronic kidney disease and, as I wrote about here a while ago, there isn’t a cure. Medication doesn’t make it go away; neither does dialysis. . . . So there’s no way around the fact that Vic needs a kidney via transplant. . . . If you would like to help, if you even think you might consider it, call 1-877-922-9822 or email donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca. . . . That will get you in touch with the donor nurse co-ordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. . . . In the meantime, Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week has more on Vic Morin’s story right here.

Meanwhile, Sullivan also filed a sidebar about having a daughter who was born with one kidney. It is definitely worth reading, and it’s right here.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored a pair of third-period goals to beat the Rebels, 3-2, in Red EdmontonOilKingsDeer. . . . Edmonton (40-18-8) has won nine straight games. It is back atop the Central Division, two points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Each team has two games remaining. . . . Red Deer (33-26-6) had won its previous two games. It remains tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, each with three games remaining. They are four points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who also have three games left. . . . Red Deer is to play in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 6-1-1; Red Deer was 2-6-0. . . . The Oil Kings won the last four games in the series. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (37) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 12:00 of the first period. . . . D Dawson Barteaux (7) tied it, on a PP, at 16:15. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-1 on third-period goals from F Vladimir Alistrov (12), at 4:12, and F Vince Loschiavo (34), on a PP, at 7:28. . . . F Jeff de Wit (26) got the Rebels to within a goal, on a PP, at 12:27. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel picked up a first-period assist, giving him 275 regular-season points and tying him for second in franchise history with F Justin Mapletoft (1996-2001), who played 281 games. The record is held by F Aaron Asham, who put up 292 points in 266 games (1994-98). . . . Red Deer was 2-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-2. . . . Edmonton had a 37-21 edge in shots, including 17-3 in the second period. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 19 shots for Edmonton. . . . Red Deer got 34 stops from G Ethan Anders. . . . The Rebels remain without D Alex Alexeyev, who suffered a knee injury on March 8. According to NBC Sports Washington, Alexeyev is out week-to-week. He now has missed two games. . . . Red Deer F Alex Morozov served the first of a two-game suspension. . . . Prior to the game, the Rebels added F Ethan Rowland, 16, to their roster. The 22nd-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, he had five goals and 10 assists in 42 games with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks this season.


F Orrin Centazzo scored two goals and added an assist to lead the host Kamloops Blazers Kamloops1to a 5-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kamloops (26-32-7) has won three in a row. Kamloops is fourth in the B.C. Division, two points behind the Kelowna Rockets. Each team has three games remaining. Kamloops is to entertain the Victoria Royals tonight, while the Rockets are at home to the Chiefs. . . . Spokane (37-21-7) had won its previous two games. It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks. Spokane has three games remaining. . . . Kamloops and Spokane split the season series, 2-2-0. . . . The Blazers opened a 3-0 lead with goals from Centazzo, at 15:20 of the first period; F Connor Zary, on a PP, at 16:46; and F Ryley Appelt (3), at 4:40 of the second period. At that point, the Blazers had outshot the Chiefs, 27-7. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (18) got Spokane’s goal, on a PP, at 10:16. . . . Anderson-Dolan ran his goal streak to eight straight games, the second-longest in the WHL this season. F Jake Elmer of the Lethbridge Hurricanes had a 13-game run end earlier this month. . . . Centazzo (19) got that one back at 19:52. . . . Zary concluded the scoring with his 21st goal, at 18:15 of the third period. . . . Kamloops had a season-high 51 shots on goal, including 20 in the first period and 18 in the second. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 27 shots in his third straight start for the Blazers. . . . Kamloops scratched G Dylan Ferguson, with an undisclosed injury, and D Joonas Sillanpää. . . . This was the third game Ferguson has missed since being injured on March 6. The Blazers still have G Rayce Ramsay with them. He was added from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, who begin their playoffs on Friday. . . . The Chiefs got 46 saves from G Reece Klassen. . . . With the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League having had their season come to an end, the Chiefs have added G Campbell Arnold to their roster. Arnold, who turned 17 on Jan. 2, is from Nanaimo, B.C. The Chiefs selected him in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Portland Winterhawks broke a 1-1 tie with three third-period goals, two into an Portlandempty net, as they dumped the visiting Everett Silvertips, 4-1. . . . Portland (40-15-4) is second in the U.S. Division, five points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs, who have three games remaining. . . . Everett (46-16-4) has lost two in a row. It will finish atop the U.S. Division, but now is two points behind the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Giants, each with two games left to play. . . . Everett won the season series with Portland, 6-4-0; Portland was 4-5-1). . . . Portland went ahead 2-0 on goals from F Reece Newkirk (22), at 4:50 of the second period, and F Jake Gricius (26), at 5:28 of the third. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (39) scored for Everett at 17:30. . . . The Winterhawks got empty-netters from D Jared Freadrich (13) and F Lane Gilliss (15). . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL scoring race with 112 points, had two assists. . . . G Joel Hofer record the victory with 36 saves, eight more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips were without F Max Patterson for a second straight game. They also scratched F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who has returned to Slovakia in order to write a mandatory exam. . . . The Winterhawks again scratched F Cody Glass, D John Ludvig and D Matt Quigley, but F Seth Jarvis was back on the ice. . . . Glass has played four games since Jan. 26 and hasn’t dressed for a game since Feb. 23.


The Vancouver Giants scored three times in the second period en route to a 5-1 victory Vancouverover the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Vancouver (47-15-4) has won two in a row. It leads the Western Conference by two points over the Everett Silvertips. Each team has two games remaining — Vancouver will go home-and-home with the Kelowna Rockets; Everett will do the same with the Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle (28-29-8) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have three games remaining. Seattle is to meet the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., tonight. . . . Vancouver and Seattle split their season series, 2-2-0. . . . F Justin Sourdif (22) got the Giants started at 14:45 of the first period. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky made it 2-0, on a PP, at 2:29 of the second, and D Alex Kannok Leipert (4) upped it to 3-0 at 7:12. . . . Seattle got its goal from Henri Rybinski (8), at 16:33. . . . Svejkovsky (9) got that one back just 23 seconds later. . . . Vancouver D Dylan Plouffe (7) added more insurance, on a PP, at 0:43 of the third period. . . . F Davis Koch had three assists for the Giants. . . . Vancouver got a big game from G David Tendeck, who stopped 38 shots. . . . Vancouver was 2-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-4. . . . Each team was missing a player who has returned home to Slovakia to write a mandatory exam. Seattle was without F Andrej Kukuca, while Vancouver scratched F Milos Roman. . . . Both players are expected back before the playoffs begin.


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Chiefs’ Larson stable after leaving on stretcher . . . New arena in Pats’ future? . . . Baron rules in Brandon

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F Cordel Larson, a freshman with the Spokane Chiefs, left Saturday night’s game against SpokaneChiefsthe visiting Tri-City Americans on a stretcher and was taken to a local hospital.

Shortly after the game, the Chiefs issued a statement saying that Larson “is in stable condition and has full use of all extremities. His overall injury status remains to be determined.”

Larson, a 17-year-old from Weyburn, Sask., was hurt at 8:10 of the second period, after being checked by Tri-City D Aaron Hyman, who was hit with a boarding major and game misconduct.

Larson was on the ice for a bit while being tended to, then was removed on a stretcher.

The Chiefs tweeted at the time that Larson “is awake and moving.”

Dan Lambert, the Chiefs’ head coach, told Taking Note that “it sounds like he will be OK . . . (it was) very scary.”

“He has feelings in all extremities and (we’re) just waiting on imaging,” Lambert added.

Larson was a ninth-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. He played two seasons with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask., before joining the Chiefs this season. He has six goals and an assist in 38 games.

The Chiefs next are scheduled to play on Tuesday when they visit the Seattle Thunderbirds.


If you happened to watch all — or any — of the WHL game between the Calgary Hitmen and host Edmonton Oil Kings on Sportsnet on Saturday afternoon, you saw the first RE/MAX WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation game of the season.

From a news release:

“This year, players will sport uniforms emblazoned with fun nicknames as opposed to traditional surnames across their shoulders. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on the limited-edition jerseys, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. In addition to game-worn uniforms, fans will have the chance to bid on one Don Cherry-autographed jersey in each participating WHL market.

During the 2017-18 WHL regular season, participating WHL clubs came together with RE/MAX to raise more than $265,500, representing the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.”

Here’s the schedule for the remainder of the special games, which include the WHL’s 17 Canadian teams:

Fri., Jan. 25 – Red Deer Rebels

Fri. Feb. 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors

Sat., Feb. 2 – Prince Albert Raiders

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.

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The Brandt Centre, the home of the Regina Pats, is 41 years of age, and there are Patsdiscussions ongoing about its future.

The Pats and Regina Exhibition Association Limited signed a five-year lease last week.

“I’m glad there’s a lease in place; that’s an important foundation for securing a relationship,” Regina Mayor Michael Fougere told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “It is important to have a discussion about the future of the Brandt Centre. Do we refurbish? Do we work on a new facility in another location or on that location?

“There needs to be some collaboration and discussion by all parties. For the moment we do have the comfort of having a lease in place for a few years so we can have those discussions in a very productive way.”

It could be that when all is said and done Regina will be home to a new arena with more than 10,000 seats.

Harder has all the details right here.


If you haven’t heard, the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs and Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars, teams from the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, are playing an outdoors game today . . . in Fort St. James, B.C.

Organizers and team officials have constructed an outdoor rink at Ernie Sam Memorial Arena that is a bit smaller than regulation — it is 31 feet shorter and 12 feet narrower.

“It’ll be a lot more physical, one-on-one battles, moving the puck quicker, but it’s the same for both teams,” Trevor Sprague, the Cougars’ general manager, told Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen.

Clarke’s story is right here and it’s an interesting look at what all went into the production of what is a great Canadian hockey story.


Darren Rumble, who did a stint as an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds, has ohlsigned on as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. . . . When this season began, Rumble was in his sixth season as the head coach of the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats. However, he was fired on Jan. 7. . . . Rumble spent two seasons (2011-13) on the Thunderbirds’ coaching staff. . . . As a player, he spent three seasons (1986-89) in the OHL, with the Kitchener Rangers. But he hadn’t coached in the OHL until signing with Saginaw. . . . Chris Lazary is the head coach in Saginaw, having moved up from associate coach to replace the fired Troy Smith on Nov. 18. . . . Smith has since joined the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos as an assistant coach.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Edmonton Oil Kings built up a 2-0 lead thanks to their PP and then went on to EdmontonOilKingsscore a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (25-14-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1) and leads the Central Division by two points over Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. . . . Calgary (21-18-4) has lost two in a row. It is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Brandon. . . . The Oil Kings lead the season series 4-0-1. . . . D Matthew Robertson (6) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 7:42 of the first period, and F Carter Souch (8) made it 20 just 42 seconds into the second. . . . F Luke Coleman (13) got Calgary to within a goal at 6:51. . . . Edmonton F Vladimir Alistrov (6) stretched the lead to 3-1 at 3:51 of the third period. . . . Calgary F Carson Focht (12) rounded out the scoring, on a PP, at 7:23. . . . D Conner McDonald had two assists for Edmonton and now has 100 career regular-season points in 235 games. This season, he has nine goals and 18 assists in 47 games. . . . G Jack McNaughton made his 18th straight start for Calgary, stopping 24 shots. . . . Edmonton got 25 saves from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . Calgary won 37 of the 57 faceoffs. . . . The Hitmen were without F Jake Kryski and F James Malm, while Edmonton F Quinn Benjafield remains on the shelf.


F Baron Thompson, who went into the game with two goals, scored three times to lead BrandonWKregularthe host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 7-5 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Brandon (19-18-6) has won two in a row to get within two points of a playoff spot. . . . Kootenay (10-30-8) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). It went 2-3-1 on a six-game road trip. . . . The Wheat Kings had beaten the visiting Ice, 5-4 in OT, on Friday night. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (30) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 14:13 of the first period. . . . F Jaeger White tied it at 15:35. . . . Brandon went ahead 2-1 at 16:26 as F Luka Burzan (27) counted on another PP. . . . The Ice went ahead 3-2 on goals from D Carson Lambos (1), on a PP, at 18:47, and White (20), at 1:10 of the second period. . . . Lambos, from Winnipeg, was playing in his fifth WHL game. He was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Thompson, who had two goals in his previous 41 games this season, then scored twice, at 13:01 and 16:49 as Brandon went ahead 4-3. . . . F Cole Reinhardt upped that to 5-3 at 18:27. . . . Kootenay came back in the third period and tied on goals from F Jakin Smallwood (7), at 1:04, and F Austin Schellenberg (4), at 1:21. . . . However, Thompson completed his hat trick at 6:27, and Reinhardt (13), who also had an assist, added insurance at 19:04. . . . The Ice got three assists from D Chase Hartje, who was acquired from Brandon at the trade deadline. . . . The Ice’s scratches included F Connor McClennon, who missed a second straight game, D Martin Bodak, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday, and D Valtteri Kakkonen (ill).

——

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 4-2 victory Saskatoonover the Pats in Regina. . . . Saskatoon (28-13-6) has won two in a row. It is second in the East Division, six points ahead of Moose Jaw, although the Warriors hold four games in hand. . . . Regina (12-33-2) has lost 10 straight (0-9-1). . . . The Blades beat the visiting Pats, 6-2, on Friday night and lead the season series 3-1-0; the Pats are 1-2-1. The home team had won each of the first three games. . . . The Blades won this one behind two goals from each of F Eric Florchuk and F Cyle McNabb. . . . Florchuk made it 1-0, on a PP, at 10:44 of the first period, with McNabb upping it to 2-0 at 3:38 of the second. . . . Florchuk got it to 3-0 with his 13th goal, at 18:50 . . . F Duncan Pierce (8) got Regina’s first goal, on a penalty shot while the Pats were shorthanded, at 2:30 of the third period. . . . McNabb restored the three-goal lead with his fourth goal of the season, at 6:01. . . . F Riley Krane (10) got Regina’s second goal, another shorthanded effort, at 11:27. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 31 shots for the Blades.


F Jackson Shepard broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to give the visiting Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes a 2-1 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (24-13-8) had lost its previous two games. Lethbridge and Medicine Hat are tied for second in the Central Division, two points behind Edmonton. . . . Red Deer (26-14-3) had points in each of its past five games (4-0-1). It now is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. . . . On Friday night, the Rebels won 3-1 in Lethbridge. . . . Last night, the Hurricanes won despite being credited with winning only 18 of 58 faceoffs. . . . F Jeff de Wit (24) put the Rebels in front, on a PP, at 12:27 of the first period. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (26) tied it at 12:23. . . . Shepard, who hadn’t scored in 15 games, won it with his third goal of the season at 9:52. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 35 shots to earn the victory over Ethan Anders, who made 29 saves. . . . De Wit left in the second period after crashing into the Lethbridge net. He didn’t return.


D Trevor Longo broke a 3-3 tie with 52.6 seconds left in the third period as the Medicine Tigers Logo OfficialHat Tigers beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 5-3. . . . Medicine Hat (26-16-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is tied with Lethbridge for second in the Central Division, two points behind Edmonton. . . . Swift Current (9-33-3) has lost three in a row. . . . The Tigers beat the Broncos, 3-1, on Friday night in Swift Current. . . . Last night, the home side took a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from F Nick McCarry (1), at 2:37; D Dylan MacPherson (2), at 6:30; and F Brett Kemp (25), at 16:39. . . . The Broncos got started at 15:39 of the second period on a goal from F Owen Blocker (2). . . . The visitors made it a one-goal game when F Ethan O’Rourke (6) scored at 8:17 of the third period, and they tied it on a goal by D Connor Horning (4), on a PP, at 10:22. . . . Longo broke the tie with his fourth goal of the season, and F James Hamblin (26) got the empty-netter at 19:41. . . .  The Tigers had a 44-26 edge in shots, including 16-5 in the second period. . . . McCarry’s first WHL goal came in his fourth game this season. A 17-year-old from Calgary, he was pointless in two games last season.
This season, he had seven goals and seven assists in 30 games with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons before being added to the Tigers’ roster.


F Nolan Foote scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Kelowna Rockets a 4-3 victory KelownaRocketsover the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Kelowna (19-22-4) has won two in a row. It is second in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand. . . . Prince Albert (39-5-2) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is 2-0-1 on its B.C. Division trip and leads the Eastern Conference and the East Division by 18 points over Saskatoon. . . . The Rockets went into the weekend having lost six in a row. They beat the host Everett Silvertips, 2-0, on Friday night, meaning they scored victories over the two conference leaders on back-to-back nights. . . . Last night, the Raiders went ahead 1-0 on a goal by F Aliaksei Protas (9), at 4:51 of the first period. . . . Kelowna took a 2-1 lead before the period ended, on goals from F Kyle Topping (17), at 12:36, and Foote (22), at 16:03. . . . F Dante Hannoun (22) scored for the Raiders at 1:42 of the second period, and F Parker Kelly (22) gave them a 3-2 lead at 7:52 of the third. . . . The home team forced OT when D Lassi Thomson (10) scored, on a PP, at 14:51. . . . Foote, who also had two assists, was the first shooter of the second round and his goal stood up as the winner. . . . The Rockets got 30 saves from G Roman Basran, with Ian Scott stopping 27 shots for the Raiders. . . . The Rockets honoured former D Josh Gorges prior to the game. He announced his retirement as a player earlier in the week. Gorges, who is from Kelowna, captained the 2003-04 Rockets, who won the Memorial Cup on home ice. Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, was the head coach of that Kelowna team. Jeff Truitt, the Raiders’ associate coach, was on Habscheid’s staff in Kelowna.


The Portland Winterhawks broke open a scoreless game with five third-period goals and Portlandwent on to beat the visiting Everett Silvertips, 5-1. . . . Portland (27-12-5) has won two in a row to close to within nine points of Everett, which leads the Western Conference and the U.S. Division. . . . Everett (33-11-2) has lost two straight. . . . Everett still leads the season series, 5-3-0, although Portland is 3-4-1. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, figured in Portland’s first three goals. . . . He opened the scoring with his 39th goal, at 3:56, then drew an assist on D Jared Freadrich’s seventh goal, at 5:05, and F Cody Glass’s 13th, at 15:19. . . . Blichfeld is the first CHLer to 80 points this season, as he now has 82, in 44 games. . . . F Jake Gricius (20) and D Brendan De Jong (6) added empty-netters for Portland. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (10) scored for Everett at 19:45. . . . Glass also had two assists. He has 61 points, including 48 assists, in 31 games. . . . Portland won 40 of the 66 faceoffs. . . . G Josh Hofer, who was acquired by Portland from Swift Current for six draft picks, made his first start in Portland a strong one with 31 saves. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf turned aside 27 shots. . . . Everett D Gianni Fairbrother (ill) missed a second straight game, while F Riley Sutter sat out an eighth game with an undisclosed injury. . . . De Jong was back after an eight-game concussion-related absence, and this was his 300th regular-season game, all with Portland.


The Kamloops Blazers won for the first time in 14 road games as they bet the Prince Kamloops1George Cougars, 3-1. . . . Kamloops (16-24-3) had lost its previous six games. In terms of road games, the Blazers went 0-12-1 after beating the host Tri-City Americans, 4-1, on Nov. 23. . . . Prince George (16-24-3) has lost two in a row. . . . Kamloops and Prince George are tied for ninth in the Western Conference, two points from a playoff spot. . . . The Blazers are 4-0-0 against the Cougars this season, and have won nine straight in Prince George. . . . They’ll play again this afternoon at the CN Centre as the Blazers skate for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Last night, Kamloops grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals from F Kyrell Sopotyk (7), at 8:21 of the first period, and F Connor Zary (10), at 10:04 of the second. . . . F Josh Maser (17) cut the Cougars on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 15:16. . . . F Martin Lang (9) gave the Blazers some insurance at 8:54 of the third. . . . G Dylan Ferguson, who pulled himself after allowing three goals in the first period of a 5-2 loss to visiting Moose Jaw on Tuesday, stopped 25 shots for Kamloops. . . . G Taylor Gauthier, making his eighth straight start, blocked 29 shots for the Cougars. . . . The Blazers scratched F/D Jeff Faith, who completed a five-game WHL suspension, and D Luke Zazula, who left Friday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders early in the second period. As a result, the Blazers were able to dress only 17 skaters, one under the maximum.


F Nolan Volcan broke a 4-4 tie with a shorthanded goal in the third period and the SeattleSeattle Thunderbirds went on to a 6-4 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (16-21-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Kamloops and Prince George. . . . Victoria has dropped four in a row. . . . F Noah Philp gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 15:07 of the first period, and it was a Teddy Bear goal. The Thunderbirds were the last of the WHL’s 22 teams to have a Teddy Bear game, or a toque throw, etc. . . . The teams went to their dressing rooms while the ice was cleared. . . . When they returned, F Sean Richards (14) upped the lead to 2-0. . . . Victoria cut into the deficit at 18:48 of the second period on a goal from F D-Jay Jerome (17). . . . The teams then combined for seven third-period goals. . . . F Kaid Oliver (19) got Victoria into a tie at 0:47, and F Igor Martynov (5) gave the Royals a 3-2 lead at 2:29. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman tied it at 3:12, only to have Victoria reclaim the lead on a goal by D Mitchell Prowse (2), at 7:25. . . . The Thunderbirds closed it out with three straight goals, from Wedman, at 10:52; Volcan (17), at 12:02; and Wedman (17), shorthanded, at 18:29. . . . Wedman’s second goal originally was credited to D Simon Kubicek, but was later changed. That gave Wedman his first career WHL hat trick. . . . D Jake Kustra and F Carson Miller, two players acquired via trade, were among Victoria’s scratches. . . . The Royals and Kamloops Blazers led the WHL by each playing in four Teddy Bear games.


F Sasha Mutala scored in the fifth round of a shootout to give the Tri-City Americans a 2-tri-city1 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . Tri-City (23-16-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Chiefs. . . . Spokane (24-14-5) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . The Chiefs lost despite leading 40-33 in shots and 42-23 in the faceoff circles. . . . Both ‘real’ goals came in the third period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (4) got Spokane’s goal at 5:04. . . . F Parker AuCoin (25) replied for Tri-City, on a PP, at 8:06. . . . F Kyle Olson gave Tri-City a 1-0 lead in the second round of the shootout, with Anderson-Dolan tying it in the third round. That left it for Mutala to win it. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm stopped 39 shots, six more than Tri-City’s Reece Klassen. . . . Warm has been in six shootouts this season and he has won them all, stopping 17 of 20 shots in the process. . . . The Americans have been to OT on 14 occasions this season. They have posted six shootout victories and five in OT, losing twice in OT and once in a shootout. . . . Tri-City lost D Aaron Hyman to a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:10 of the second period after a hit on freshman F Cordel Larson.


F Davis Koch scored in OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the Moose Jaw VancouverWarriors in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (29-12-2) has won six straight. It leads the B.C. Division by 15 points over Victoria. . . . Moose Jaw (24-11-8) has points in four straight (3-0-1), all on a trip into the B.C. Division. It is third in the East Division, six points behind Saskatoon with four games in hand. . . . D Jett Woo, whose NHL rights belong to the Vancouver Canucks, gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 7:08 of the first period. He’s got 38 points, including nine goals, nine, in 39 games. Last season, he finished with 25 points, including nine goals, nine, in 44 games. . . . D Bowen Byram (16) got Vancouver into a 1-1 tie at 9:36. He’s got 43 points in 43 games. . . . Koch won it with his 16th goal at 2:58 of OT. He has a goal in five straight games. In his past six games, he has put up five goals and nine assists. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 26 shots for Vancouver, one more than Moose Jaw’s Brodan Salmond.


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Did Leason make the right choice? . . . Edmonton takes battle of Kings . . . Stankowski, Hitmen win in Portland


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Hockey or football? Football or hockey? . . . It’s not that long ago when Brett Leason was PrinceAlbertputting up pretty impressive numbers as a quarterback in peewee football. On top of that, his father, Darryl, was a superb university quarterback and, at 44, continues to play competitively. Still, Brett ended up choosing hockey and it would seem that he made the right decision. . . . After all, the Prince Albert Raiders forward went into Wednesday’s games leading the WHL in goals and points. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has more on the Leasons right here.


Kelly Sowatsky, a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, needed a kidney transplant. So she showed up at a Penguins game on March 31 with a sign. She got a new kidney on Nov. 6. . . . Mike Brehm of USA Today has that story right here.


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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Quinn Benjafield scored twice to help the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings to a 4-1 victory EdmontonOilKingsover the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton (14-8-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Brandon (10-6-6) has lost two in a row. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (19) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead, on the PP, at 2:49 of the first period . . . Edmonton F Brett Kemp (16) got that one back at 4:50. . . . The Oil Kings took control with two more goals before the period ended. . . . Benjafield scored at 16:38 and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (14) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 19:21. . . . Benjafield, who has 10 goals, added an empty-netter at 19:52. . . . Fix-Wolansky also had an assist, moving back atop the WHL scoring race. He’s got 48 points, one more than the idle Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. Fix-Wolansky also leads the WHL in assists (34). . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 30 shots for Edmonton. The Oil Kings acquired Myskiw, 19, from Brandon on Sept 19, giving up a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. With Edmonton, Myskiw is 11-5-2, 2.95, .905. . . . The Wheat Kings are without two of their top defencemen in Schael Higson and Braden Schneider.


G Carl Tetachuk stopped 35 shots to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3-1 victory over Lethbridgethe Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Lethbridge (10-8-4) had lost its previous two games. . . . Saskatoon (14-8-2) had a four-game winning streak come to an end. . . . The Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals after F Tristen Robins (3) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 19:07 of the first period. . . . F Jadon Joseph (10) tied it just 35 seconds later. . . . F Ty Kolle (5), who also had two assists, broke the tie at 3:17 of the third period. . . . F Jackson Shepard (1) got the empty-netter at 19:35. . . . Kolle has five goals and four assists in 15 games with Lethbridge after being acquired from the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Blades will open a five-game B.C. Division swing in Prince George on Saturday night.


F Nolan Foote scored a pair of PP goals to lead the host Kelowna Rockets to a 3-2 victory KelownaRocketsover the Regina Pats. . . . The Rockets (10-13-1) have won two in a row. They also have won four straight at home. . . . The Pats (8-16-0) are 1-3-0 on a B.C. Division tour that concludes Friday in Prince George. . . . F Kyle Crosbie (3) and Foote gave the Rockets a 2-0 lead, before F Jake Leschyshyn (16) got the Pats to within one at 13:00 of the second period. That ran his point streak to 12 games. . . . Foote restored the two-goal lead with his 15th score at 18:23. . . . Regina D Aaron Hyman (5) got the Pats to within a goal, on a PP, at 19:01 of the third. . . . Finnish D Lassi Thomson, a freshman, had two assists for Kelowna. He’s got seven goals and 11 assists in 24 games.


The Calgary Hitmen erased a 1-0 deficit with three goals and went on to score a 3-2 Calgaryvictory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . Calgary (9-13-2) is 2-1-0 on a five-game trip through the U.S. Division. . . . Portland (13-8-2) has lost two in a row. . . . F Cody Glass (8) ran a point streak to 10 games as he gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 9:28 of the first period. . . . F Jake Kryski (11) got Calgary even, on a PP, at 5:42 of the second. . . . Hitmen F James Malm (12) broke the tie at 3:46 of the third period, and F Riley Stotts (6) made it 3-1 at 7:52. . . . D John Ludvig (1) scored at 15:17 as Portland got to within a goal. . . . Calgary was 1-3 on the PP and its penalty-killers were 5-5. . . . D Brendan De Jong was back in Portland’s lineup after a one-game absence. . . . The Hitmen got 38 saves from G Carl Stankowski. You will recall that Stankowski, then 16, wrote quite a story in the WHL playoffs in the spring of 2017 as he helped the Seattle Thunderbirds to a championship. He ran into injury and health problems and didn’t play last season, then was dealt to Calgary. The Hitmen are scheduled to visit the Thunderbirds on Friday night.


The Vancouver Giants opened a 3-0 lead and went on to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-Vancouver2, in Kent, Wash. . . . Vancouver (15-6-2) had lost its previous two games. . . . Seattle now is 8-10-3. . . . The Giants got first-period goals from D Bowen Byram (7), on a PP, and D Dylan Plouffe (3). . . . F Milos Roman (11) made it 3-0, on another PP, at 3:54 of the second period. . . . F Nolan Volcan (5) got Seattle on the scoreboard, shorthanded, at 14:37. . . . However, F Lukas Svejkovsky (2) restored Vancouver’s three-goal lead at 14:13 of the third period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (11) got Seattle’s second goal, on a PP, at 17:03. . . . Plouffe, who played in his 200th career game, has two goals and four assists in a four-game point streak. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 23 shots for Vancouver. . . . G David Tendeck was among the Giants’ scratches. With him on the shelf, the Giants had Braedy Euerby backing up Miner. Euerby, from Delta, B.C., was a fifth-round pick by Vancouver in the 2017 bantam draft. He plays for the Delta Hockey Academy prep team. . . . F Lucas Ciona made his WHL debut with the Thunderbirds. Ciona, 15, is from Edmonton. He was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He has six goals and eight assists in 16 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. He also has one assist in two games with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints.


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Ex-WHL coach next up in Tucson . . . Pats’ defenceman to miss start of season . . . Reichel gets deal with Moose

MacBeth

F Chase Schaber (Calgary, Kamloops, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, he had 30 goals and 31 assists in 55 games. He led the Flyers in goals and was second in points. Fife’s head coach since 2005-06 is Todd Dutiaume (Brandon, Moose Jaw, 1991-94). . . .

D Brendan Mikkelson (Portland, Vancouver, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL). Last season, with Luleå (Sweden, SHL), he had 12 assists in 50 games. He was an alternate captain.


ThisThat

Jay Varady, a former coach with the Everett Silvertips, is the new head coach of the Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. Varady heads for Tucson after one season as head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. . . . Kingston was 36-26-9 last season and reached the OHL’s Eastern Conference final, where they lost to the Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . According to a Coyotes’ news release, Varady signed a “multi-year contract.” . . . Varady, 40, is a native of Cahokia, Ill. He spent seven seasons (2003-10) in Everett, the first four as assistant coach and the last three as associate coach. . . . Varady is the Roadrunners’ third head coach in as many seasons. He takes over from Mike Van Ryn, who left after one season to join the NHL’s St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach. Van Ryn replaced Mark Lamb, who was dismissed after the 2016-17 season and now is preparing for his first season as general manager of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars.


D Brady Pouteau of the Regina Pats is expected to miss the beginning of the 2017-18 WHL season. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that Pouteau underwent shoulder surgery early in June. . . . The Pats are hopeful that Pouteau, 20, will return sometime in the second half of October. . . . He has four goals and 28 assists in 150 regular-season games. . . . Pouteau was a fourth-round selection by the Pats in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. He was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Jan. 5, 2017, then re-acquired at last season’s trade deadline.


Czech F Kristian Reichel, 20, is eligible to play a second season with the Red Deer Rebels, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be back in the WHL after signing a one-year contract with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Reichel signed the deal after attending the NHL-Winnipeg Jets’ development camp last week as a free agent. The Moose is the Jets’ AHL affiliate. . . . Last season, his first in the WHL, Reichel had 34 goals and 23 assists in 63 games. . . . He is the son of former NHL F Robert Reichel.


Bryant Perrier is out as general manager and head coach of the junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The team announced the move on its Facebook page Saturday night, saying “the Knights and Perrier have parted ways.” . . . Perrier spent three seasons with the Knights, who play out of Armstrong, B.C.


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Two more WHL teams introduce new head coaches . . . Dyck, Struch take reins . . . At least eight clubs make change

MacBeth

F Parker Bowles (Tri-City, 2011-16) signed a one-year contract with Lillehammer (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, with the Tilburg Trappers (Netherlands, Germany Oberliga), he had 29 goals and 37 assists in 44 games. He led the Trappers in goals and points. . . .

F Colin Smith (Kamloops, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL). Last season, he had five goals and 13 assists in 35 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), and four goals and 13 assists in 24 games with the Stockton Heat (AHL). . . .

F Brendan Ranford (Kamloops, 2007-13) signed a one-year contract with Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL), he had four goals and 15 assists in 57 games.


ThisThat

I was going to write something about the CHL’s 2018 import draft, but it would only be repeating what already is out there. So I’m watching the Angels and Red Sox instead. . . . Each of the WHL teams that took part issued a news release, and there is a pick-by-pick look on the WHL website.


The Vancouver Giants introduced Michael Dyck as their new head coach on Thursday. VancouverDyck replaces Jason McKee, who was fired by incoming general manager Barclay Parneta on June 15. . . . McKee had been the head coach for two seasons. . . . Deck, 49, is familiar with the Giants organization. He was an assistant coach for three seasons (2002-05), then scouted for them and worked as their director of player development (2010-12). His coaching career includes four seasons (2006-09) as head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . He also has coached with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . He has been coaching minor hockey in Lethbridge of late. Last season, he took the midget AAA Hurricanes to a league championship. In 2015-16, he coached the bantam AAA Golden Hawks, including Giants D Bowen Byram, to a league title. . . . A defenceman in his playing days, he skated for the Calgary Wranglers, Brandon Wheat Kings and Regina Pats during a four-season (1985-89) career. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more right here.

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As expected, the Regina Pats have promoted Dave Struch to head coach, with John PatsPaddock moving away from the coaching game to focus on being the club’s general manager. Struch, who has been with the Pats through four seasons, had been the assistant GM and assistant coach. Now he has assistant GM and head coach. . . . When the Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group purchased the Pats in 2014, Struch was a finalist for the coaching job that went to Paddock. . . . Brad Herauf will remain on staff as Struch’s lead assistant coach. . . . Paddock, Struch and Herauf signed four-year extensions in January. . . . Struch joined the Pats after eight seasons with the Saskatoon Blades, the last one as head coach. He was fired following the 2013-14 season when he got caught up in an ownership change. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.


If nothing changes between now and late August when training camps open, eight of the WHL’s 22 teams will have different head coaches from the end of last season.

The Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans are the teams without head coaches at the moment.

The Hitmen are looking for a replacement for Dallas Ferguson, who cited family reasons in resigning earlier this week after one season there.

Mike Williamson, the fifth-winningest regular-season coach in WHL history, left the Americans after four seasons.

The Vancouver Giants and Regina Pats named new head coaches on Thursday.

Prior to that, the Edmonton Oil Kings (Brad Lauer), Kamloops Blazers (Serge Lajoie), Saskatoon Blades (Mitch Love) and Swift Current Broncos (Dean Brockman) all named new head coaches.


Mark LeRose, a former Everett Silvertips assistant coach, is a free agent after choosing not to re-sign as the general manager of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. . . . LeRose, 48, spent two seasons (2007-09) with the Silvertips, then returned to them for 2013-14. . . . He has been the Musketeers’ general manager for the past four seasons. . . . In a DM to Taking Note on Thursday, he wrote: “I did not re-sign as the general manager of the Sioux City Musketeers. I am officially a hockey GM/coach/scout free agent.”


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Blades have their new coach . . . Capitals have WHL flavour, too . . . Giants sign first-round pick

MacBeth

F Taylor Vause (Swift Current, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 13 goals and 25 assists in 53 games. . . .

F Kevin King (Kootenay, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite), he had 28 goals and 34 assists in 55 games. The team captain, he led the Lightning in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Tyler Redenbach (Prince George, Swift Current, Lethbridge, 2001-05) signed a one-year extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He started this season with Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga), scoring once in 10 games. He signed with Liberec on Oct. 13 and finished with 12 goals and nine assists in 42 games.


ThisThat

The Saskatoon Blades are expected to introduce Mitch Love as their new head coach at a news conference this afternoon (Wednesday).

Love, who had been assistant to the general manager/assistant coach with the Everett SaskatoonSilvertips, replaced Dean Brockman in Saskatoon. Brockman had spent four seasons with Saskatoon, two as an assistant coach and the last two as head coach.

Love, 33, is from Quesnel, B.C. A hard-nosed defenceman, he played with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and the Silvertips (2000-05). He was the Everett captain in his last of two seasons there and is one of the most popular players in that franchise’s history.

He went on to a six-season pro career, playing in the AHL, ECHL and CHL, before starting his coaching career in Everett. Love just completed his seventh season as an assistant with the Silvertips. He twice has coached Canadian teams at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.

The Blades interviewed Love during the WHL playoffs with the Silvertips involved in a second-round series with the Portland Winterhawks. Following the second game of that series there was a two-day break. A source has told Taking Note that Love met with Blades’ management at Vancouver International Airport.

The Blades have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons. In fact, the last time they advanced past the second round was in 1994-95. They have missed the playoffs 11 times since that season.

Harley Love, Mitch’s father, is one of the Blades’ B.C. scouts.

The Edmonton Oil Kings, Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos now are the only WHL teams looking to hire head coaches.

The Oil Kings fired Steve Hamilton, their head coach for the past four seasons, on Monday.

The Blazers are looking for a replacement for Don Hay, the winningest coach in WHL regular-season and playoff history, who moved into an advisory role after four seasons as head coach.

Manny Viveiros, who guided Swift Current to the WHL championship earlier in the month, left the Broncos on Friday and now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.


Might the Regina Pats make a coaching change before the 2018-19 season gets here? Greg PatsHarder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, is expected to step aside as head coach at some point this summer. Paddock, 63, would then focus on his duties as general manager, allowing Dave Struch, the assistant GM/assistant coach, to take over as head coach. . . . Paddock and Struch, a former head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, have worked together through four seasons with the Pats. . . . Harder’s story is right here.


A few days ago, I wrote about the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the number of men with NHL ties, not including players, who are involved with the team.

I was remiss in not doing the same thing with the Washington Capitals, who  have some Capitalsserious WHL connections as they meet the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup final.

At a glance, here are the men with WHL ties who are involved off the the ice with the Capitals:

Ross Mahoney, assistant general manager — Mahoney, 61, spent two seasons (1993-95) as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats. He then spent three seasons as an amateur scout with the Buffalo Sabres, before moving on to the Capitals. Mahoney is in his 18th season with Washington — 14 as director of amateur scouting and the last four as AGM. . . . Did you know: Mahoney was the leading hitter — he hit .636 — and all-star right field in helping the Melville, Sask., Elks win the 1973 Canadian midget baseball championship.

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Barry Trotz, head coach — Trotz, 55, was a defenceman for three seasons (1979-82) with the Regina Pats. He played in the 1980 Memorial Cup with the WHL-champion Pats. Trotz is in his fourth season as Washington’s head coach, after spending 15 seasons as head coach of the Nashville Predators. . . . Did you know: Trotz played his 20-year-old season in his hometown of Dauphin, Man., with the Kings of the MJHL. They won the MJHL title and the ANAVET Cup that season.

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Lane Lambert, assistant coach — Lambert, 53, is from Melfort, Sask. He played in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos (1980-81) and Saskatoon Blades (1981-83). He put up 233 points, including 104 goals, in 136 regular-season games. . . . He went on to a pro career that included 283 regular-season NHL games. . . . Lambert started his coaching career as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors in 2002-03. He took over as head coach of the Prince George Cougars during the 2003-04 season, and also spent 2004-05 there. . . . He was an assistant coach under Barry Krotz in Nashville (2011-14) and is in his fourth season with Washington. . . . Did you know: As a player, Lambert won playoff championships in the IHL (Houston Aeros), AHL (Adirondack Red Wings) and the NLB in Switzerland (HC Ajoie).

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Olie Kolzig, professional development coach — Kolzig, 48, played goal in the WHL with the New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans (1987-90). . . . He scored a goal for the Americans on Nov. 29, 1989, the first WHL goaltender to manage that feat. . . . Kolzig’s pro career included 10-plus seasons with the Capitals, with whom he won the Vezina Trophy and was named to the first all-star team for the 1999-2000 season. . . . Kolzig has owned a piece of the Tri-City franchise since 2004-05. . . . Did you know: Kolzig’s number (33) has been retired by the Americans.

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Jason Fitzsimmons, pro scout/minor league operations — Fitzsimmons, 46, is from Regina. A goaltender, he played three seasons (1989-92) with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . He played professionally for six seasons, in the AHL and ECHL, finishing up with the South Carolina Stingrays in 1997-98. . . . He transitioned to coaching with the Stingrays and spent nine more seasons there, the last five as head coach. . . . He joined the Capitals as a pro scout in 2007-08, then added the director of minor league operations to his duties prior to 2016-17. . . . Did you know: Fitzsimmons stepped down as the Stingrays’ head coach after the 2006-07 season and was succeeded by Jared Bednar, who now is head coach of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

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Brian Sutherby, scout — Sutherby, 36, is from Edmonton. He played four seasons (1998-2002) with the Moose Jaw Warriors, and was a first-round selection by Washington in the NHL’s 2000 draft. He went on to play 460 regular-season NHL games, splitting them between the Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars. He is in his third season on the Washington scouting staff. . . . Did you know: Sutherby retired after playing 25 games with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters. He finished as the team captain, taking over after Bryan Lerg suffered a season-ending knee injury.

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Alan May, TV analyst — May, now 53, played one season (1985-86) in the WHL — six games with the Medicine Hat Tigers and 32 with the New Westminster Bruins. . . . In a 393-game NHL career, May compiled 1,348 penalty minutes. . . . He now works as an analyst for NBC Sports Washington, where he has been since 2009. . . . Did you know: In 1984-85, May played in 64 games with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. In 64 games, he had 51 goals, 47 assists and, yes, 409 penalty minutes.


The Vancouver Giants have signed F Zack Ostapchuk, their first-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Ostapchuk, who turned 15 on Tuesday, is from St. Albert, Alta. He was the 12th overall pick in the draft. . . . This season, he had 24 goals and 21 assists in 30 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team.

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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.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

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

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Tri-City Americans have signed F Booker Daniel to a WHL contract. He will turn 17 on Aug. 13. From Vanderhoof, B.C., Daniel spent this season with the major midget Kootenay Ice. He had 16 goals and 15 assists in 26 games with the Ice.


Chris Johnston is the new head coach of the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant to head coach Tyson Ramsey. . . . Johnston, 43, played five seasons (1990-95) in the WHL, splitting time with his hometown Wheat Kings, the Red Deer Rebels and Regina Pats.


Mike Hastings, the head coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, has been named the head coach of USA Hockey’s national junior team. He takes over from David Quinn, who left Boston U earlier this month and now is head coach of the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . Quinn had been named the national junior team’s head coach on April 20. Hastings had been selected as an assistant coach. . . . Scott Sandelin, the head coach at Minnesota-Duluth, has been added to Team USA as an assistant coach, joining David Lassonde, the associate head coach at Dartmouth, and Steve Miller, the associate head coach at Ohio State. . . . The 2019 World Junior Championship is scheduled for Vancouver and Victoria, running from Dec. 26, 2018, through Jan. 5, 2019.


“A medical consultant to the National Hockey League Players’ Association has testified under oath that a top NHL lawyer watered down a warning to players about the long-term dangers of repeated head trauma on a poster displayed in every NHL team dressing room,” writes Rick Westhead, TSN’s senior correspondent, in the second of a five-part series that has been headlined NHL Under Oath. . . . The complete story is right here. . . . Meanwhile, the Toronto Star offered up this editorial right here.


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Mitchell looks back at Humboldt . . . Broncos, Americans win . . . MJHL title rests in Steinbach

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Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix is one of Canada’s best-kept writing secrets. He is a wordsmith and an observer of the human condition who could more than hold his own in any marketplace. . . . On Saturday, he wrote about visiting Humboldt immediately after the Broncos’ bus crash and all that he discovered. That piece is right here.



F Giorgio Estephan’s third goal of the game, at 9:38 of OT, gave the host Swift Current Broncos a 4-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Game 2 of the WHL’s best-of-SCBroncosseven Eastern Conference final on Saturday night. . . . They’ll play Game 3 in Lethbridge on Tuesday. . . . TheBroncos had won the opener, 3-2, on Friday night. . . . Estephan and G Stuart Skinner, who stopped 36 shots, were acquired from the Hurricanes on Jan. 9. . . . The Broncos lost F Glenn Gawdin in the second period, according to Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post, “after he took a hit in the corner. Asked about his captain after the game, (Broncos head coach Manny) Viveiros responded: ‘He’s fine.’ ” As Harder noted: “That’s his customary response to questions about injuries — regardless of the severity.” . . . Harder added: “The Broncos were already without D Artyom Minulin, who didn’t finish Game 1 due to an undisclosed injury that was initially described as an illness. He missed three games in the first round due to an apparent shoulder issue and may have re-injured it on Friday.” . . .

Harder’s complete story is right here.

Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, also was at the game and his piece is right here.


In Everett, the Tri-City Americans scored three third-period goals and beat the Silvertips, 5-3. Tri-City F Max James broke a 3-3 tie with his first goal of these playoffs at 12:29 of the third period. . . . The Western Conference final is tied, 1-1, with Game 3 in Kennewick, Wash., on Monday night.


The Steinbach Pistons won the MJHL title on Saturday night, beating the hometown Virden Oil Capitals, 2-1. Virden won the first two games of the best-of-seven series, only to have Steinbach roar back with four straight victories to win its first championship since 2013. . . . Paul Dyck, a former WHL defenceman (Moose Jaw, 1989-91), is in his sixth season as the Pistons’ general manager and head coach. . . . The Pistons will play the SJHL champion — either the Nipawin Hawks or Estevan Bruins — for the ANAVET Cup. Nipawin leads the SJHL final, 3-2, with Game 6 in Estevan tonight (Sunday) at 7:30.


Former WHL player Sheldon Kennedy is being honoured by Assiniboine Community College of Brandon. Kennedy has been awarded ACC’s second annual Courage Award, and will be saluted at a dinner on Oct. 25. . . . He was born in Brandon and grew up in Elkhorn, Man. . . . Kennedy heads up the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and also is the co-founder of Respect Group.


Last fall, three men died in Fernie, B.C., after being exposed to ammonia while working on the ice plant in the community’s arena. After that tragedy, WorkdSafeBC began inspecting arenas and recreation facilities across the province. Now, Karin Larsen of CBC News reports, communities are having to find money for repairs. For example, Larsen writes, Rossland needs $200,000 “to keep (its arena) operating” because safety upgrades are needed around the ice plant. . . . The same holds true, to one extent or another, for numerous facilities. . . . Larsen’s story is right here.