Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how many junior hockey teams still need billets . . .

Scattershooting


Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, has said the WHL won’t have a 2020-21 season unless its teams are allowed to operate in arenas with at least 50 per cent capacity.

After Robison held a Zoom gathering with reports on June 18, Marty Hastings of whlKamloops This Week reported: “Robison said a minimum of 50 per cent capacity in all arenas will be required for play to begin. No scenario is expected to be considered in which a team begins the campaign with a maximum capacity of less than 50 per cent.”

Early in August, Robison told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post that 50 per cent still was the mark.

“It’s all part of the outcome on where we arrive at with respect to capacity,” Robison said. “We’re having ongoing discussions with the provincial/state governments on trying to obtain the capacity that we need. If that is not successful, we will be considering some form of financial support to help us get started. But right now we’re focused on trying to get to a capacity that will work for our teams.”

Now, as we near the middle of September, with the league planning on a Dec. 4 opening, could it be that the wind is starting to change?

Here’s Todd Lumbard, the president of the Regina Pats, in conversation with Harder:

““I don’t think it’s 50 per cent or nothing, at least from our point of view. There are lots of discussions going on with different ways we might set up the season if it had to be less than 50 per cent. I know there are a lot of conversations going on with different levels of government and how we might work together with them to potentially help us out through a difficult time until we can get to a level where there is enough people in the crowd to make the Western Hockey League viable again.

“There is some hope out there that there might be some ways to do it.”

Harder’s complete story is right here.


Friends


By now, you may have heard that the BCHL issued a return-to-play news BCHLrelease on Thursday that explained “a COVID-19 alternative plan to fulfill the 2020-21 season,” as approved by its board of governors. . . . The release included this paragraph: “In the case that the original request for 25 per cent capacity in arenas by the scheduled Dec. 1 start date is not approved by the PHO (Provincial Health Office), the league will move forward with a model of reduced games without fans and will rely on player fees along with sponsorship and government support to fund the season.” . . . When you want to know what’s happening in the BCHL, you turn to Brian Wiebe. He interviewed Chris Hebb, the BCHL commissioner, and got a whole lot of answers, including how the amount of individual player fees will be set. That’s all right here.


Hey, what do you do if you are operating a team in the SJHL, but you’re based FlinFlonout of Manitoba? General manager and head coach Mike Reagan and the Flin Flon Bombers have their hands full as they work to navigate the pandemic while dealing with health officials from two provinces. . . . Eric Westhaver of the Flin Flon Reminder has more right here.



Bob Molinaro, in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot: “In Orlando, NBA coaches are neatly dressed in sneakers, slacks and polo shirts. Let’s have them lose the suits for good. What’s the point of basketball coaches dressing as if they’re applying for a bank loan?”


Pizza


There was a time when Dorothy and I spent a few weeks every year in Jasper and area. At the time, there was a Recall drug store there, and high up on one of its walls were a number of black-and-white photos of Marilyn Monroe. The photos had been taken in the area while she was there filming a movie — River of No Return — with Robert Mitchum. . . . Yes, I have watched the movie; no, I wouldn’t watch it more than once. But, really, the scenery is nice. . . . Anyway, Ian Wilson of albertadugoutstories.com has more right here on Marilyn Monroe in Jasper, including a visit by the then-retired Joe DiMaggio. Great stuff!


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Who needs the moon in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars? The sporting world lined up quite an impressive first of its own on Thursday — with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and WNBA all playing on the same day.” . . . There also was NCAA football, U.S. Open tennis and pro golf. And somewhere there had to be poker and darts, too. Right?

——

Perry, again: “Mike Trout, with his 300th round-tripper, just passed Tim Salmon as the Angels’ all-time home-run leader. So how’d this team ever miss out on drafting Mike Carp and Kevin Bass?”


The first thing I thought of when I flipped to Thursday’s NFL game and saw that facemask being worn by Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was car windows at drive-in movies on steamy summer nights a long, long time ago.


“On the news tonight,” wrote comedy writer Brad Dickson in reference to life in 2020, “all they talked about were boycotts, protests, riots, violence, dissension, disease, lawsuits and court cases. And that was just the sportscast.”


Candy

COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

OF Alex Dickerson of the San Francisco Giants was told Friday night that he had tested positive. That resulted in Friday and Saturday games with the host San Diego Padres being postponed. When it turned out to be a false positive, the teams played a Sunday doubleheader. . . . MLB now has postponed 45 games during the pandemic. . . .

The KHL has postponed five games involving the Finnish team Jokerit after all personnel was forced into quarantine. Jokerit played against Neftekhimik on Wednesday after which the latter had seven positive tests turn up. Jokerit was to have played Ak Bars Kazan on Friday, but that one never happened. Jokerit also had games postponed from Sept. 15, 17, 19 and 21. . . .

Scottie Scheffler has had to pull out of golf’s U.S. Open after he tested positive. He is reported to be asymptomatic and at home in Dallas. . . . Braden Grace drew into the tournament as the first alternate. He withdrew from the PGA Championship in August after testing positive. . . . The U.S. Open begins Thursday at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Here’s a tweet from Nick Petaros of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that gave me flashbacks: “I wasn’t able to work a Kentucky Derby photo onto our Sunday sports cover. I hope the horse’s parents don’t complain.”


Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade:

“Steve Simmons, Postmedia Tranna, on Sept. 6: ‘Two words that never, ever, should be attached to Steve Nash: White privilege.’

“Steve Nash, head coach, Brooklyn Nets, on Sept. 9: ‘I have benefited from white privilege.’

“D’oh!”


JUST NOTES: I tried. I really tried. I was going to watch Game 7 of the Toronto Raptors-Boston Celtics series from start to finish, with the sound up. But I couldn’t do it. Oh, I finished watching the game, but the sound was off early. The play-by-play voice using so many Raptors’ first names — Fred and Norm and OG and all their friends — and the cheerleading analyst were just too much. . . . If you’re wondering how much the WHL will miss former Brandon Wheat Kings owner Kelly McCrimmon, consider that he finished fifth in the voting for the NHL’s GM-of-the-year award. And he is in only his first season as an NHL GM. . . . Aren’t you glad that you aren’t a fan of the Cleveland Browns or Detroit Lions? Oh, you are. Sorry about that. . . . The junior B Kimberley Dynamiters tweeted Sunday evening that “we are in dire need of billet homes for this season. . . . We need 9 beds in order for this season to proceed. . . . Without billet homes the season cannot proceed.” I wonder how many junior teams are in a similar predicament?


Dumb

WHL backs up proposed start to Dec. 4 . . . Aiming to play 68 games in 147 days . . . Still lots of questions without answers

Under what once was considered normal circumstances, the 22-team WHL would start a regular season in late September. Each team would play 68 regular-season games, with whlplayoffs — four rounds of best-of-seven series — beginning in late March.

In other words, teams would take six months to play those 68 games. In 2018-19, the teams played the regular season in 178 days, then took 53 days to complete the playoffs.

Then, like the big, bad wolf, along came the coronavirus and the resulting disruption of all things normal.

A few weeks ago, the WHL announced that it hoped to open its 68-game regular season on Oct. 2.

On Thursday, the goal posts moved again; now the WHL is targeting Dec. 4 as opening day, and continues to say it plans on having each team play 68 games.

While the WHL didn’t reveal a closing date, the OHL on Wednesday said that it hopes to play a 64-game season from Dec. 1 through April 29, with the Memorial Cup scheduled for June 17-27.

Presumably the WHL will be following a similar blueprint, meaning it will have to play its regular season in five months. Should it get to open on Dec. 4 and play through April 29, each of its teams would play 68 games in 147 days — 31 fewer days than it took to play the same number of games in 2018-19.

That means teams would be playing as many as four games a week. There likely would be an increase in the dreaded three-in-three weekends. You may recall that decreasing the number of tripleheader weekends was one of the reasons given when the league shortened its schedule from 72 games.

A Dec. 4 start surely would mean a shorter Christmas break — the league stopped for 10 days in 2018-19 and nine days in 2019-20.

But let’s be honest. There aren’t any guarantees there will be a season.

As the WHL’s news release read, all of this “remains contingent on receiving the necessary approvals from the government and health authorities in each of the six provincial/state jurisdictions in WHL territory.”

The WHL’s announcement didn’t mention the situation involving the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel, something that doesn’t seem likely to change in 2020, at least not at B.C. crossings. That would lead to teams playing inside their own divisions for the early part of a schedule.

The news release also didn’t mention players and school. The OHL said Wednesday that it will have its players stay home and start school there, so it likely is safe to assume that the WHL do the same as everyone awaits further developments.

The most important thing to remember is that everything — and I do mean everything — is fluid.

What follows are some thoughts from a few WHL officials, all speaking after Thursday’s announcement . . .

Gord Broda, the president of the Prince Albert Raiders, who are the WHL’s defending Raiders50champions, told Trevor Redden of panow.com: “As frustrating as this (process) has been, I just can’t emphasize enough that as a league, safety is at the forefront. Safety for our players, safety for the people in our buildings when we get going, safety for our fans. We’re at a time where patience is necessary.”

Broda also said: “I’ll speak for the Prince Albert Raiders only, even at 50 per cent capacity, we’re going to have financial shortfalls. I think it’s a realistic goal as a starting point to maybe work with our medical authorities and hopefully they find that an acceptable capacity level. And at the same time at least it’s a reasonable start from a financial perspective. It’s going to be financially very challenging to have reduced capacity in all the buildings. We all know we’re a ticket-driven venue and we’ve got to have fans in the seats.” . . .

Don Moores, the president of the Kamloops Blazers, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “Being fluid is really important. If the border remains closed, we’ll have to deal with it. If it opens and there are restrictions we have to adhere to, we’ll see if that’s workable and make those decisions as we go.” . . .

Brent Sutter, owner, president, general manager, and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, Red Deertold Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate: “We gotta have people in the building, no question. We have to have some kind of attendance and that’s our goal right now. And yet we’ll just have to see where it goes because it continues to move. It’s a moving target that’s changing all the time. It changes from week to week. You look at the other leagues — junior A leagues, American Hockey League, National Hockey League — no one is going to be playing in November.”

Ron Robison, WHL commissioner, told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post: “It’s all part of the outcome on where we arrive at with respect to capacity. We’re having ongoing discussions with the provincial/state governments on trying to obtain the capacity that we need. If that is not successful, we will be considering some form of financial support to help us get started. But right now we’re focused on trying to get to a capacity that will work for our teams.”

Zoran Rajcic, the chief operating officer of the Everett Silvertips, told Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald: “The anticipation was that we would be further ahead with (the pandemic) within not only Washington and Oregon, but the four western provinces. The more we looked at things and the way (Washington) is in a holding pattern with Phase 2 (of the state’s reopening plan), it was probably the only decision we can look at. They’re talking about us in Washington not looking at hosting events until Phase 4, so this makes the most sense now. It gives us time to work through things.”



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

The Canadian Junior Football League announced Thursday that it has cancelled its 2020 season and has turned its attention to getting a 2021 season off the ground. . . . The CJFL is the governing body for 18 teams in six provinces that play in three conferences. . . .

The U of Alberta’s men’s and women’s hockey teams have been reinstated by Canada West, so will be eligible to play should the conference start up again in January. The reinstatement comes after the programs received a financial infusion from almuni. . . . The athletic department announced on June 17 that it was suspending all Canada West competition for 2020-21 for financial reasons. . . .

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association has cancelled football’s 2020 season, while pushing girls volleyball, cross-country and cheerleading to January. . . . The only sports left on Hawaii’s fall high school sports calendar are air riflery and bowling. . . . Delaware also has cancelled its high school football season. There are 12 states who have done that, while at least 28 others have postponed the start of the football season. . . .

The U of Louisville booted three players off its men’s soccer team and suspended three others for their roles in a Saturday off-campus party that resulted in 29 positive tests within the school’s athletic department. The three who were kicked off the team apparently organized the party. Players from both soccer teams, as well as the field hockey and volleyball teams, tested positive. . . .

The NFL’s Green Bay Packers said Thursday that they will play their first two home games without fans. That will be re-evaluated after the two games. . . . The Las Vegas Raiders had announced earlier that they will play the entire season without fans in their brand new 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium. . . . The NFL’s regular season is scheduled to open on Sept. 10. . . . Since July 21, when rookies reported to training camps, the NFL has had at least 56 positive tests. . . . The NFL had 66 players opt out of the season by Thursday’s deadline. A complete list is right here.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604.875.5182 or 1.855.875.5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.



Tinfoil

Edmonton and Toronto, here’s pulling for you . . . What happened to the Matthews story? . . . Soetaert at top of KCYHA

Mask


One of these days, the NHL will get around to naming the two hub cities in which it hopes to finish its season.

Here’s Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province with his take on things and, yes, as someone who lives in B.C., I agree with him:

“Admittedly, this comes down to a question of optics. For over three months, British Columbians have followed the guidelines of the public health authority with a single-minded purpose, sacrificing to keep themselves and their neighbours safe and healthy.

“We can be proud of those efforts and they’ve created some of the best COVID-related numbers in North America. But they weren’t made so we could throw our doors open to the NHL and an ersatz Stanley Cup tournament which will benefit a couple of hotels and the food-delivery industry.

“These games will take place, the virus willing, and we’ll be watching. But if Edmonton or Toronto wants them that badly, they can have them.”

Willes’s complete column is right here.

The NHL is reportedly down to six cities — Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago — and is expected to announce the two choices this week.

——

If you haven’t seen it, Willes also had an excellent column that carried this headline: The story behind the story about Auston Matthews’ positive test is bewildering. . . . Postmedia’s Steve Simmons broke the Matthews story, and there were other outlets, some of them of the bigly variety, who ignored it. . . . This is all about how some media types have a vested interest in some of what they cover, so perhaps the consumer isn’t getting the whole story. . . . The complete column is right here.



With MLB poised to open training camps on July 1, Kyle Newman of the Denver Post reports that all-star OF Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies and two team-mates, LHR Phillip Diehl and RHP Ryan Castellani, have tested positive for the coronavirus at Coors Field in Denver. . . .

According to ESPN, Nikola Jokic, an all-star centre with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, tested positive for the coronavirus in Serbia before he could leave to join his teammates in the U.S. . . . Michael Malone, the Nuggest’s head coach, has disclosed that he had the virus in late March. . . .

Jokic was at a recent tennis tournament hosted by fellow-Serb Novak Djokovic in Belgrade. Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 men’s player, also has tested positive, as has his wife Jelena. . . . Three other players — Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Viktor Troicki — also tested positive after playing in the exhibition tournament. . . .

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday night that G Avery Bradley of the Los Angeles Lakers has chosen to opt out of the re-start of the NBA season in Orlando, Fla. . . . Trevor Ariza of the Portland Trail Blazers and Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards also are reported to have opted out. . . .

The Philadelphia Phillies announced Tuesday that two more players and two more staff members have tested positive. One player and the two staffers were in Clearwater, Fla., the site of the Phillies’ training facility. The other player was somewhere else. . . . The Phillies now have had seven players and five staffers come up positive. . . .

The Pittsburgh Steelers had two players test positive earlier this year. Head coach Mike Tomlin said both have recovered and are back at work. . . .

Karate’s 2020 world championships have been postponed. They were to have been held in Dubai, Nov. 17-22. The next worlds are scheduled for Dubai, Nov. 16-21, 2021. . . .

Seven soccer players in France, four from Toulouse and three from Paris Saint-Germain, have tested positive. PSG also had a staff member test positive. . . . The PSG players have resumed training. . . . The Toulouse players were tested on Monday as the team prepared to resume training. . . .

The Orlando Pride withdrew from the National Women’s Soccer League tournament that is scheduled to start Saturday near Salt Lake City. . . . The move, which left the tournament with eight teams, came after six players and four staffers tested positive. . . . On Tuesday, three players, all members of the U.S. national team, said they won’t play, either. Tobin Heath of the Portland Thorns and Christen Press of the Utah Royals cited health concerns. It’s not known why Megan Rapinoe of the OL Reign opted out.




A note from Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, from his Monday posting:

“Back in March, the NBA shut down its operations entirely when one player — ONE player — tested positive for COVID-19. In March, the number of known/active cases for COVID-19 in the U.S. was less than 75,000 and there had been about 1,500 deaths ascribed to COVID-19. The latest data I can find says that COVID-19 cases in the U.S. now total more than 2.2 million and that there have been approximately 115,000 deaths. So, what is the NBA considering today? Reopening their season-interruptus in a bubble environment in Florida — one of those states where case numbers are on the rise. Do those two actions make any sense to you once you juxtapose them? They do if dollars and cents take precedence over health and safety concerns.”

His complete post is right here.


“A Pawtucket, R.I., brewery — taking a swipe at Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski for bolting the Patriots for the Buccaneers — has come out with a new beer named ‘Traitorade,’” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “It’s an imperial fruit sour with sea salt, reviewers say, with maybe just a hint of sour grapes.”

——

Here’s Perry, with a coffee-spitter: “Disease czar Dr. Anthony Fauci has advised against playing baseball deep into October. No problem, said the Seattle Mariners.”


Office


Garrett Taylor, who is the co-signee with Daniel Carcillo on a class-action lawsuit against the CHL that was filed last week, is 29 and claims to have health issues left over from abuse he faced in the WHL. . . . Ken Campbell of The Hockey News writes:

“The statement of claim refers to the incident as ‘the garbage bag treatment,’ a term that is well known in junior hockey circles that refers to when a player is dropped by his team. Kim Taylor said when her son was reassigned, there were no calls made to any of her, Taylor’s agent or his billet family. Nor was he given any money or further direction. The lawsuit alleges that he was told the news in front of the team and had to retrieve his belongings from the bus and his equipment from the storage area.”

Campbell has more on the Taylors right here.

Two years ago, the WHL acknowledged wrongdoing in how Taylor was treated when he was cut by the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Kim Taylor and two former WHL players were questioned by an Oregon Senate committee that was considering a request by the WHL to have Portland Winterhawks players exempted from Oregon’s minimum wage legislation. . . . The committee didn’t grant the WHL’s request. . . . After the hearing, the WHL hired a former RCMP deputy commissioner, Craig Callens, to conduct an investigation into 14 allegations of mistreatment that emerged from the hearing. In July 2018, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, announced that Taylor’s allegation was the only one of the 14 to be “supported by the evidence collected.” . . . In his statement, Robison said: “With respect to the one allegation that was supported in the investigation, the WHL will take the necessary steps to introduce a new policy in this area as it relates to the release or trading of players.” . . . The WHL hasn’t revealed what “necessary steps” it has taken; nor has it released Callens’ report.



Doug Soetaert, a former WHL goaltender and later general manager of the Everett Silvertips, has taken over as the president and executive director of the Kansas City Youth Hockey Association. . . . Soetaert was the head coach, and later the general manager, of the Kansas City Blades as they entered the International Hockey League for the 1990-91 season. From 1991-2001, he was the GM. . . . The Blades won the Turner Cup and Soetaert was the executive of the year for 1991-92. . . . He has since settled in Kansas City. . . . Soetaert, now 64, played four seasons (1971-75) for the Edmonton Oil Kings. He was Everett’s first GM and spent nine seasons (2002-05, 2006-12) with the Silvertips.



Once upon a time there was a hockey player named Rick Herbert. In the days before 15-Patsyear-olds having to apply for exceptional status in order to play regularly in the WHL, he made the Regina Pats’ roster for the 1982-83 season. Of course, the Pats gave up seven players in order to be able to select him in the 1982 WHL draft. . . . How did it work out for him? “It turned me off for life,” Herbert, now 52, told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. ““I haven’t put on my skates to play in a hockey game in 30 years. I don’t pay attention to it.” . . . Not since Herbert, who lives in Kelowna, has anyone played regularly for the Pats at the age of 15. . . . F Connor Bedard will be the next one, and Herbert said: “I’ll be watching from Kelowna.” . . . Harder’s excellent story is right here.


Headline at fark.com: NBA players get fancy rings that can detect COVID symptoms early. You get a dirty mask to wear while getting yelled at by people in the grocery store.


AllWrong


Greg Gilbert is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. Gilbert, a 58-year-old veteran coach, is a former head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . He also spent eight seasons as an OHL head coach, three (2003-06) with the Mississauga IceDogs and five (2011-16) with the Saginaw Spirit. . . . He has worked the last four seasons as an analyst with TSN. . . . In Saint John, he takes over from interim head coach Jeff Cowan, who replaced the fired Josh Dixon on Dec. 2. Cowan will stay on as an assistant coach. . . . Last season, the Sea Dogs were  30-33-1 and tied for 10th in the 18-team league when the pandemic halted proceedings.


Daniel Lacroix is returning for his first full season as head coach of the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats. Lacroix took over as the Wildcats’ head coach in December, and the team went 26-6 with him in charge, including a 16-game winning streak. . . . Earlier in his career, he spent four seasons (2002-07) on Moncton’s coaching staff, taking over as head coach during his third season there. . . . Before returning to Moncton last season, he was the head coach of the Lithuanian national team. . . . He also has ample experience as an NHL assistant, having worked with the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. . . . As well, Ritchie Thibeau, who had been the Wildcats’ interim director of hockey operations, has moved into the role in a permanent capacity. . . . The Wildcats had dismissed John Torchetti, the director of hockey operations and head coach, in December.


After ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary Long Gone Summer, about the Mark McGwire vs. Sammy Sosa bulked up home run derby of 1998, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post summed it up: “ESPN doc tests negative for ’roids.”


Delivery

Paddy in Disguise (With Glasses) . . . QMJHL aiming for Oct. 1 . . . Goodall talks Bedard


The headline in the Victoria Times-Colonist read: Paddy (The Phantom) Ginnell back in town.

It was Sept. 15, 1985, and the New Westminster Bruins were in Victoria for an exhibition WHL game with the Cougars.

Ginnell, a former owner, general manager and head coach of the Cougars, now was the Bruins’ GM/head coach. While he wasn’t behind the bench for this one because he was serving Game 1 of a five-game suspension, he actually was in the arena. At least for a few minutes.

Dave Senick of the Times-Colonist covered the game and wrote that Ginnell “had a false moustache pasted on his upper lip, a pair of sunglasses perched on his nose and a floppy cap pulled well down his forehead. A frumpy lumber jacket completed the outfit.”

It seems that Ginnell had planned on taking in the game in person, but after being recognized — gee, you think! — Senick reported that the veteran coach “stood by the Bruins’ bus and spent the afternoon chatting with those he knew from a past coaching job with the Cougars.”

Why was Ginnell suspended (and fined $500)?

It seems the Bruins and Seattle Thunderbirds had become involved in a bench-clearing brawl on Sept. 11 in Chilliwack, and Ginnell’s guys were deemed the first to leave the bench.

Bench-clearing brawls. Coaches in disguise. Yes, those were the days, weren’t they?

BTW, the above photo of Ginnell, in disguise, was taken by Ian McKain of the Times-Colonist.


The QMJHL, which unveiled a new logo on Monday, plans to begin its 2020-21 regular season on Oct. 1 with a schedule calling for each team to play its usual 68 games. Commissioner Gilles Courteau told a video conference on Tuesday that his league expects to have “a certain percentage of spectators” attending games. . . . The QMJHL opened its 2019-20 regular season on Sept. 19. The 18-team league has teams in four provinces — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. . . . Courteau said the league is working on a return-to-play program and that it will continue to work through all of this with public health officials. . . . Later, some teams, including the Halifax Mooseheads, issued statements. “Although this is a positive announcement for all of us . . . we fully understand that there are still a number of factors to be determined and approved by our Provincial Government and public health authorities before we can begin selling ticket packages,” the Mooseheads said. “We are currently working closely with the QMJHL on a Return to Play protocol for the 2020-21 season in order to ensure a safe return for our players, staff and fans, that will be in compliance with public health guidelines.” . . . So, while the QMJHL is aiming for Oct. 1, it still is faced with a lot of unknowns, meaning the league is no different than anyone else.



Don’t shoot the messenger. OK?

Bartley Kives of CBC News wrote an interesting piece that was posted on the Corp.’s website on Sunday morning.

Here’s the headline: Never mind 2020 — It could be years before pro sports fans are back in the stands.

That is something I have been wondering about for a while now. Faced with an aggressive virus, no vaccine, and with governments, at least in Canada, who are reluctant to allow large gatherings in their jurisdictions, where exactly does the sports world go from here.

That sports world would include pro sports and, yes, junior hockey.

While the NHL, NBA and MLB likely could survive in the short term without fans in the stands, it’s doubtful that the CFL could make it. And there is no chance — Zero! Nil! Nada! — that junior hockey at any level could make it.

The CFL, like all leagues, is wanting badly to have some sort of season in 2020.

As Kives points out, “. . . the CFL may not be able to afford a year of failing to engage its audience. The CFL desperately needs real fans to buy tickets to games, merchandise, food and beer.

“The league could be holding out faint hope public health authorities will allow fans to gather in large groups this season.

“That is quite unlikely, given the highly communicable nature of COVID-19 and the potential for infection when thousands of people are gathered in a confined space such as a stadium concourse.

“It’s hard enough for public health employees to trace the contacts of a single infected patient who works at a Winnipeg Walmart or a Brandon trucking company.

“Imagine the complexity — if not outright impossibility — of trying to figure out who came in contact with one infected person among a crowd of tens of thousands at a stadium such as I.G. Field in Winnipeg or Mosaic Stadium in Regina.”

Kives spoke with Dan Chateau, an assistant professor of community health sciences at the U of Manitoba.

“Think about the Roughriders,” Chateau said. “They get people from all over Saskatchewan, and the Blue Bombers get people from all over Manitoba and from all over the City of Winnipeg, which is three quarters of a million (people) itself.

“You don’t want those people to go back to their communities and eventually spread COVID-19 again through each of their individual spheres of social contact.”

Kives followed that by writing this:

“This would not just be a problem this fall. It will be a problem for the CFL, NHL and any professional league as long as COVID-19 continues to circulate among the population and no vaccine treatment is available.

“This, unfortunately, means there may be no fans in the stands for CFL and NHL games in 2021, 2022 or beyond.”

As for a vaccine, well, you can read all about it right here, which is where you will find Kives’ complete story.

Just remember . . . please don’t shoot the messenger.



When you talk about the most under-rated players in WHL history, Rick Blight’s name has to be near the top of the list. Playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings, he put up 31 goals and 62 assists in his freshman season (1972-73). The next season, he totalled 130 points, including 49 goals, in 67 games. In 1974-75, Blight scored 60 goals and added 52 assists. . . . He finished his major junior career with 336 points, including 141 goals, in 201 assists. . . . Blight committed suicide in April 2005. . . . Ed Willes of Postmedia has more on Blight’s story right here.


The Kamloops Blazers have signed F Connor Levis, a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft who had committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines. Levis was the 20th overall selection in that draft. . . . He and D Mats Lindgren, who was taken seventh overall by the Blazers, had both committed to Michigan. Lindgren also has signed with the Blazers. . . . Levis, at 15, had 12 goals and 14 assist in 33 games for the St. George’s School prep team last season.



Glen Goodall holds one WHL record that won’t ever be broken. Over six WHL seasons, Goodall, now 50, played in 399 regular-season games. At 14, he was a regular with the Seattle Breakers in 1984-85. He played the next five seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Having played at 14, he can relate to what F Connor Bedard is faced with as he prepares to join the Regina Pats at 15. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post chatted with Goodall and the results are right here.


USA Hockey has cancelled boys’ and girls’ player development camps for this summer. From a news release: “USA Hockey cancelled the Boys Select 15, Girls 15, and Girls 16/17 camps on March 20 and on Monday cancelled the remaining camps that had been listed as tentative, including the Boys Select 16, Boys Select 17 and Girls Under-18 Select camps.”


May 8, 1957, belonged to Flin Flon . . . Frey to step back after today’s draft . . . Pats sign top prospect Bedard

Bombers
The 1957 Memorial Cup-champion Flin Flon Bombers. (Photo: reminder.ca)

OK. It’s obvious that you need a hockey fix. Well, you’ve come to the right place . . .

It’s May 8, 1957. The Ottawa Canadiens and Flin Flon Bombers are playing Game 7 of the Memorial Cup final in Regina’s Exhibition Stadium.

The Bombers will take a 2-1 lead into the third period. . . .

Flin Flon is led by the line of Ted Hampson between Paddy Ginnell and Mel Pearson. Ginnell got the game’s first goal at 17:23 of the FlinFlonfirst period, with Pearson counting at 18:14. Mike Legace got Ottawa to within a goal at 19:43 of the second period.

The goaltenders are George Wood for Flin Flon and Ottawa’s Claude Dufour.

Sam Pollock is running Ottawa’s bench, with Bobby Kirk the Bombers’ coach.

We now take you to Regina’s Exhibition Stadium and the play-by-play voice of Lyle Armitage, all thanks to Flin Flon radio station CFAR. All you have to do is click right here and scroll down a couple of items.

While you’re listening, you may want to read about the series and the hijinks that went on. . . . That’s all right here in a history I wrote a few years ago.

Hampson, now 83, went on to play 676 regular-season NHL games, putting up 108 goals and 245 assists. He has been an NHL scout since 1983-84, the last eight seasons with the Vancouver Canucks.

When CFAR first aired a replay of Game 7’s third period earlier this month, Hampson was listening and, at the same time, texting with Erin Ginnell, 51, one of Paddy’s sons. Erin scouts for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

“It was pretty special,” Erin told me via email.



Bob McKenzie of TSN tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that “the 2020 Ivan Hlinka-Wayne Gretzky U-18 tourney scheduled for August” in Edmonton and Red Deer “is going to be cancelled.” . . . As he pointed out, it is the “first big event for the 2021 NHL draft class and 2003-born players.” . . . He also suggested that Hockey Canada is looking at what to do with its U-17 and World Junior Summer Showcase camps and series. The U-17 event is scheduled for July, with the Summer Showcase in August. . . . “No one is optimistic, obviously, but decisions on those still to come,” McKenzie tweeted. . . . Don’t forget, too, that the 2019 U-17 World Hockey Challenge is scheduled for Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I., from Oct. 31 through Nov. 7.



The Regina Pats will select F Connor Bedard of North Vancouver with the first selection Patsin the WHL’s bantam draft today (Wednesday). The Pats signed Bedard, 15, to a contract on Tuesday. . . . Bedard has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada, something that allows him to play full-time in the WHL as a 15-year-old. It used to be that a player in that age group was limited to five games with a WHL team until his club team had its season end. However, F Matt Savoie of the Winnipeg Ice, who wasn’t granted exceptional status prior to last season, got into 22 games in 2019-20 and would have played even more had he not suffered a concussion in December. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has more on the Bedard signing right here.


Tea


Baseball’s independent American Association, which includes the Winnipeg Goldeyes, has postponed the start of its season that was to have opened on May 19. The 12-team league now is hoping to get rolling at some point in July. . . . “We will not jeopardize the safety of our fans, staff, players, umpires or vendors and will abide by all national and local restrictions when determining if we can open in early July,” commissioner Joshua Schaub said in a statement. . . . The U.S.-Canada border will have to re-open before play starts; the Goldeyes are the only Canadian-based team. . . .

The 12-team West Coast League, which includes teams in Kelowna and Victoria, is scheduled to open on June 5. In a statement posted on its website on March 25, it said it “continues to monitor” the situation . . . “while preparing for the upcoming season.” . . . The league’s other 10 teams are in Oregon and Washington state. . . .

Andy Dunn, the president of the Vancouver Canadians, has told Steve Ewen of Postmedia that their season is “in a holding pattern.” The Canadians, who play in the eight-team single-A Northwest League, are an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Vancouver’s season is scheduled to open on June 17. Dunn also told Ewen that the Canadians have plans in place for a “full season, a half season or no season.” . . . Ewen’s story is right here.


The Thought for the Day, thanks to Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with this one from Will Rogers: “Things will get better — despite our efforts to improve them.”


Barry Petrachenko’s run as the chief executive officer of BC Hockey is over. The organization has revealed that he was done on Monday. . . . A new CEO is expected to be named before the next hockey season starts. In the meantime, Jeremy Ainsworth, the chief program officer, and CFO Jen Cheeseman are in charge. . . . Petrachenko had been the CEO since March 2000.


Hands


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have added Lukáš Lomicky as their associate coach. He spent the past three seasons with the junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, moving from assistant coach to associate coach to head coach. He also has worked as video coach for the Czech team at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. . . . In Prince George, he will work with general manager Mike Hawes and head coach Alex Evin.

——

Ryan Hollweg has joined the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express as the associate coach. He will work alongside Dan Cioffi, who signed on as assistant general manager and head coach earlier this month. . . . Hollweg, 36, is from Downey, Calif. He is a former BCHL player who went on to play for the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers (1999-2004). He also got into 228 NHL games, playing with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Arizona Coyotes, before concluding his playing career with HC Skoda Plzen in the Czech Extraliga in 2018. . . . He has been an associate coach with the North West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . The Express has been rebuilding its coaching staff since losing Jason Fortier, the BCHL’s reigning coach of the year, when they couldn’t agree on a new contract.



The Summerland Steam of the junior B Kootenay International Junior B Hockey League announced Tuesday that Ken Karpuk won’t be returning as head coach. . . . Karpuk was the head coach for one season, having replaced John DePourcq, who resigned on May 6, 2019. . . .


Bacon

Pats to select first, plan on taking Bedard . . . NHL postpones draft . . . Opening of CFL season in doubt?

The Regina Pats will have the first selection in the WHL’s bantam draft. That was determined in the annual draft lottery that as held in the WHL’s Calgary office on Wednesday morning. . . . The draft is scheduled to be held online on April 22. . . .

And what will the Pats do with that selection? Here’s Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post:

“Shortly after Regina was awarded the top pick via Wednesday’s lottery, GM John PatsPaddock revealed to the Regina Leader-Post that his team will indeed select blue-chip forward Connor Bedard, who has been granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada.”

Paddock told Harder: “We will be selecting him first. I would have said this regardless but the exceptional status made it even more obvious to everybody. There’s no secret with this. He’ll be a Regina Pat, that’s for sure.”

Harder’s complete story is right here.

So . . . you’re wondering how the Pats ended up with the first pick that actually originated with the Swift Current Broncos? Here’s how it happened . . . 

It all began on Jan. 9, 2018, when the Hurricanes traded G Stuart Skinner, F Giorgio Estephan and F Tanner Nagel to the Broncos for G Logan Flodell, F Logan Barlage, F Owen Blocker, D Matthew Stanley, first- and third-round picks in the 2020 bantam draft and a conditional second-rounder in 2021.

On Nov. 29, 2018, the Pats dealt F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Jadon Joseph, F Ty Kolle, five bantam draft selections — including a 2020 first-rounder that had been Swift Current’s — and two conditional bantam draft picks.

That turned into an early selection when the Broncos, who won the WHL’s 2017-18 championship, finished with the league’s poorest record in 2019-20.

When the lottery was held yesterday, a Prince George Cougars’ ball fell, allowing them to move up from fourth to second — that is the maximum advancement permitted under draft rules. . . . The Cougars also hold the 11th and 17th picks, from the Saskatoon Blades and Medicine Hat Tigers, respectively.

The first-round order:

1. Regina Pats (from Swift Current Broncos via Lethbridge)

2. Prince George Cougars

3. Moose Jaw Warriors

4. Tri-City Americans

5. Saskatoon Blades (from Regina Pats)

6. Red Deer Rebels

7. Seattle Thunderbirds

8. Kelowna Rockets

9. Victoria Royals

10. Vancouver Giants

11. Medicine Hat Tigers (from Saskatoon)

12. Calgary Hitmen

13. Brandon Wheat Kings

14. Winnipeg Ice

15. Prince Albert Raiders

16. Lethbridge Hurricanes

17. Prince George Cougars (from Medicine Hat)

18. Spokane Chiefs

19. Kamloops Blazers

20. Edmonton Oil Kings

21. Swift Current Broncos (from Everett Silvertips)

22. Prince George Cougars (from Portland Winterhawks)

For the second and all ensuing rounds, the draft order follows the inverse order of the 2019-20 standings.

——

The WHL held its inaugural two-round draft of U.S. prospects on Wednesday afternoon. . . . All of the selections are listed right here.


Dinos


The NHL has postponed its annual draft, but hasn’t provided a new date. It was to have been held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, June 26 and 27. . . . The NHL also postponed its scouting combine and awards ceremony. The combine would have taken place in Buffalo, from June 1-6, with the awards ceremony in Las Vegas on June 18. . . .


Bob McKenzie, the godfather of hockey insiders, reported on TSN on Tuesday that the NHL has asked teams to look into the availability of their home arenas through the end NHLof August.

Emily Kaplan of ESPN later chatted with Nick Foligno, the captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Here is part of their conversation:

“I don’t know if I should be saying this, but I will. I don’t know if it makes a ton of sense for us to play into August. I think that’s pretty dangerous coming into another season. You want to have a great season the following season, and I don’t know if that gives guys enough time to rest and recover.

“If you think of the amount of games some guys would play, you’re adding on another 20 games, plus a full season, then playoffs again. That’s dangerous for some players, especially star players — the guys fans want to see — they’re usually playing deep into the playoffs, so we have to be cognizant of their health and safety. We want to make our league as great as it could be going into this big TV deal that everybody knows about. There’s so much that goes into it.”

The complete conversation is right here.


The 2020 North American Indigenous Games have been postponed until some point in 2021. The Games had been scheduled for K’jipuktuk/Halifax, N.S., July 12-18. . . . There isn’t a date set for next year but organizers are hoping for some time during the summer. . . . The 2020 B.C. Summer Games that had been scheduled for Maple Ridge have been cancelled. They were to have been held July 23-26. Maple Ridge will play host to the Games in 2024. . . . The 2020 Canada 55+ Games that were to have been held in Kamloops have been postponed to 2021. They had been scheduled for Aug. 25-28. . . . These Games are held every two years in late August. They have been held in even-numbered years, but that rotation will be broken in 2021. . . .


The Russia-based KHL has cancelled the remainder of its season. The KHL was into its playoffs and had hoped to be able to finish in time, but now has given up on that happening. . . .


The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes told full-time employees on Wednesday that they won’t be getting paid after the end of this week. . . . The Super League’s Toronto Wolfpack has laid off its Canadian staff, putting 12 full-time employees out of work until play resumes. . . .


The B.C. Lions are scheduled to hold training camp in Kamloops from May 13 through June 3. I’m thinking that is about seven weeks away. I’m also thinking that isn’t going to happen. . . . So it may not be long before the CFL announces Plan B. . . .


If you feel like clicking on that DONATE button over there on the right and making a contribution, please go ahead. . . .


The below tweet shows the price of gas in Walsh, Alta., just east of Medicine Hat, on Tuesday:


The Thought for the Day, from Jack Finarelli, who is at sportscurmudgeon.com, courtesy of Mark Twain: “How lucky Adam was. He knew when he said a good thing, nobody had said it before.” . . .


Clown


With the French Open already having been rescheduled, it now seems that Wimbledon could get the same treatment. It is scheduled for June 29 through July 12 but the All England Lawn Tennis Club now is saying the event could be postponed or, yes, even cancelled. . . . The French Open, originally scheduled for May 24 through June 7 at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, now is to be held from Sept. 20 through Oct. 4. It is to start one week after the conclusion of the U.S. Open. . . .


Terry Jones of Postmedia reports that Edmonton is likely to lose the Volleyball Super Nationals that were scheduled for May 13-19, and also the Triathlon World Series Grand Final and World Championships, Aug. 17-23. . . . While the triathlon event is expected to be moved to 2021, the next Volleyball Super Nationals isn’t scheduled until 2022. . . .



Beans

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

ThisThat

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.


Tweetoftheday

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

ThisThat

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.

——

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.


Tweetoftheday

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


ThisThat

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.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


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.


Tweetoftheday

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.


Tweetoftheday