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.


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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.


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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

ThisThat

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.


Hat tricks for Steel, Bellows as Pats, ‘Hawks win . . . Silvertips sweep the weekend . . . Hitmen bury Rebels in third

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

F Koby Morrisseau left the Regina Pats in January following the sudden death of his father, Paul, on Jan. 12. Morrisseau missed 14 games before returning to the Pats and now is regaining his form. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post spoke with Morrisseau and teammates, and has written a compelling story on how they all are helping a friend deal with all that goes with such a tragedy. . . . That story is right here.


Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four-minute barrier in running the mile, died on Saturday at the age of 88. While in London covering the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, columnist Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle tried to duplicate that feat. The results were, umm, predictable, but, as usual with Ostler, it all made for a delicious read that is right here. . . .

If you would like to know more about Sir Roger, pick up a copy of The Miracle Mile: Stories of the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Written by Jason Beck, curator and facility director at the BC Sports Hall of Fame, this is one of the best books I have read in recent years.


TheCoachingGame

The junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have told Craig Mohr, their general manager and head coach, that they “have decided to proceed in a different direction with the team.” . . . This season, the Ghostriders finished 15-28-1-3 (that’s wins, losses, ties and overtime losses), leaving them fourth in the five-team Eddie Mountain Division. . . . Fernie lost a first-round series to the Kimberley Dynamiters, 4-1. . . . Mohr was the Ghostriders’ GM and head coach through four seasons.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Langley, B.C., D Kevin Davis scored twice to help the Everett Silvertips to a 6-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Everett (44-18-5) has won three in a row. It leads the EverettWestern Conference, by eight points over Portland. . . . Everett won the season series with Vancouver, 5-1-0. . . . Vancouver (33-23-9) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . Both teams were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. The Silvertips went 3-0-0; the Giants were 1-2-0. . . . On Sunday, F Jared Dmytriw (15) gave the Giants at 1-0 lead at 13:35 of the first period. . . . The visitors scored the last six goals. . . . F Connor Dewar (36) tied it at 18:14. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (20) gave Everett the lead at 8:43 of the second period. . . . Davis added insurance at 12:25, and F Garrett Pilon (32) upped the lead to 4-1 when he scored on a penalty shot at 15:36. . . . Davis, who has 10 goals, got his second score, on a PP, at 19:59. . . . F Riley Sutter (25) scored Everett’s last goal, on a PP, at 7:35 of the third period. . . . Dewar and Pilon each added an assist. . . . Everett was 2-3 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-3. . . . The Silvertips got 28 saves and an assist from G Dustin Wolf. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 31 shots for the Giants. . . . Prior to the game, the Giants recognized bus driver Derek Holloway, who made his 600th road game last month; broadcaster Bill Wilms, who is on track to work his 2,000th Giants game on March 14 in Kamloops; and Terry Bonner, the franchise’s scouting director, who has been with the team since Day 1. . . . Announced attendance: 3,537.


At Calgary, the Hitmen exploded for six third-period goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Calgary (20-35-10) had lost its previous five games (0-2-3). . . . Red CalgaryDeer (24-30-13) has lost two in a row. It is third in the Central Division, seven points ahead of Kootenay. . . . Red Deer went 1-2-0) in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Hitmen did the same and went 1-0-2. . . . F Brandon Hagel (13) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:41 of the first period. . . . Red Deer went up 2-0 at 11:02 of the second period when F Reese Johnson got No. 22. . . . F Riley Stotts (16) started Calgary’s comeback, on a PP, at 5:41 of the third period. . . . F Mark Kastelic  (17) tied the score at 6:28. . . . D Dakota Krebs (4) gave the Hitmen the lead at 11:42, and F Jakob Stukel provided a two-goal lead at 13:29. . . . Stukel, who also had two assists, added his 34th goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:32, and F Zach Huber (2) wrapped up the scoring at 19:46. . . . F Conner Chaulk had three assists for Calgary. . . . D Dawson Barteaux had two assists for Red Deer. . . . Red Deer was 1-3 on the PP; Calgary was 1-5. . . . G Matthew Armitage earned the victory with 30 saves. . . . G Ethan Anders stopped 34 shots for Red Deer. . . . Six goals-against in one period? “It’s like we were kicked right in the teeth,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM and head coach, told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. That piece is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 8,465.

——

At Cranbrook, B.C., the Medicine Hat Tigers opened up a 3-1 lead with three second-period goals and went on to beat the Kootenay Ice, 4-3. . . . Medicine Hat (34-24-8) has Tigers Logo Officialpoints in seven straight (6-0-1). It leads the Central Division by six points over Lethbridge. The Hurricanes have two games in hand. . . . Kootenay (25-38-4) has lost eight in a row (0-7-1). The Ice is fourth in the Central Division, seven points from a playoff spot with five games to play. . . . F Colton Kroeker (14) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 12:54 of the second period. . . . The Tigers took control on goals from F Elijah Brown (7), on a PP, at 14:29; F Ryan Chyzowski (19), at 15:21; and F Josh Williams (9), on a PP, at 19:20. . . . F Bobby Russell (1) got the Ice to within a goal at 16:12 of the third period, but F James Hamblin (20) got that one back, shorthanded, at 17:54. . . . D Jonathan Smart (6) pulled Ice to within one at 18:21. . . . F Hayden Ostir had two assists for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-6. . . . The Tigers got a 38-save performance from G Michael Bullion. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 24 shots for the Ice. . . . Announced attendance: 2,771.


At Edmonton, F Sam Steel, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., scored three times to lead the Regina Pats to a 7-4 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Regina (35-25-6) has won two in a ReginaPats100row. It is third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Edmonton slipped to 19-38-8. . . . The Pats took a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from F Nick Henry (12), on a PP, at 11:15; F Jake Leschyshyn, on another PP, at 12:31; and Steel, shorthanded, at 19:48. . . . F Tomas Soustal (19) got Edmonton on the scoreboard, while shorthanded, at 2:24 ofd the second period. . . . Regina responded with three quick goals, with Steel scoring, on a PP, at 3:14; Leschyshyn (18) getting his second at 4:36; and D Cale Fleury (12) scoring on yet another PP at 8:51. . . . Steel (28) completed the hat trick with a third-period PP goal. . . . Edmonton got third-period goals from F Trey Fix-Wolansky (29), F Kobe Mohr (10) and D Matthew Robertson (5). . . . Regina got three assists from each of F Emil Oksanen and F Cam Hebig, two from F Matt Bradley, and one each from Fleury and Steel. . . . Hebig has had back-to-back three-assist outings. . . . Fix-Wolansky and Mohr had one each for Edmonton. . . . Regina was 5-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-4. . . . Regina G Ryan Kubic left after one period with an undisclosed injury. He stopped all seven shots he faced. Max Paddock finished up by stopping 17 of 21 shots over two periods. . . . The Oil Kings got 36 saves from G Josh Dechaine. . . . The Pats are 4-1-0 as they play eight straight road games because the Canadian men’s curling championship is being decided in their home arena. . . . Announced attendance: 8,297.


At Kent, Wash., F Kieffer Bellows struck for three goals to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (40-20-5) has points in six Portlandstraight (5-0-1). . . . Seattle (30-25-10) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . Portland went 1-1-1 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours, while Seattle also went 1-1-1. On Friday, the Thunderbirds beat host Portland 5-4 in a shootout. . . . According to TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits), this was the first time since St. Patrick’s Day 1996 that the Winterhawks had visited the Thunderbirds on a Sunday. In 1996, Portland skated to a 5-0 victory at Key Arena. . . . The Winterhawks scored three goals in game’s first 11 minutes. . . . Bellows started it at 1:03, with F Jake Gricius (13) making it 2-0 at 5:25, and F Cody Glass, who also had three assists, upping it to 3-0 at 10:29. . . . F Mike MacLean (2) scored Seattle’s first goal, at 15:42. . . . Bellows, who has 38 goals, completed his first WHL hat trick with goals at 2:10 and 5:08 of the second period. The first one came via the PP. . . . F Nolan Volcan cut Seattle’s deficit to three goals, on a PP, at 8:06. . . . Volcan’s 29th goal, at 10:12 of third period made it a two-goal game, and F Zack Andrusiak’s 30th score cut the deficit to one at 16:41. . . . Portland got an empty-netter from F Ryan Hughes (16), at 19:13, and its final goal from D Brendan De Jong (4) at 19:41. . . . Portland got three assists from D Henri Jokiharju, who has 65 points, including 57 assists, in 56 games. He has eight assists in his past three games. . . . D Austin Strand drew three assists for Seattle. . . . Each team was 1-3 on the PP. . . . G Shane Farkas earned his eighth straight victory with 32 saves, one more than Seattle’s Dorrin Luding. . . . Mike Johnston worked his 500th regular-season game behind the Winterhawks’ bench. He is 311-160-29. . . . Announced attendance: 4,066.


MONDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Lethbridge at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Regina at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

Portland at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Pats, Warriors rivalry heating up . . . An interview with the Babe . . . Tendeck, Giants blank Blazers

MacBeth

F Brock Nixon (Kamloops, Calgary, 2003-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) after being released by mutual agreement by the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had seven goals and 17 assists in 46 games. Last season, he was Esbjerg’s captain when he had 20 goals and 27 assists in 45 games.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Just when we thought the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds were providing fans with the WHL’s most-heated rivalry, along come the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina MooseJawWarriorsPats getting back in the game.

The host Warriors beat the Pats, 3-2, on Saturday night in the final game of their season series, which Moose won, 6-2-0. (Regina was ???.)

One weekend earlier, the Pats had put up two victories over their Trans-Canada Highway rivals, and apparently their was some strutting going on.

“We read a bunch of stuff from their players,” Moose Jaw he’d coach Tim Hunter told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post.“If they’re that confident that they feel they beat us two games, we won the series clearly after tonight’s win. We had already won the ReginaPats100season series before tonight’s game.

“It’s a long season. There’s lots that goes on. They’ve cobbled their team together, trying to get guys to comply and be good teammates over there. Our team has been together for a long time. These guys grew up together and they’re a very close team.”

With the playoffs on the horizon, we could be in for a series between these teams in the first, second or third round. With that in mind, Hunter was asked if he feels confident about a potential series against Regina.

His response: “No question. We’re a better team. That’s why we’re 20 points ahead of them.”

Harder’s complete story is right here.


Someone waved a magic wand and made a bunch of game misconducts disappear from whlthe Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets. There was a kerfuffle at the end of the Rockets’ 6-5 home-ice victory on Saturday night and referees Ryan Benbow and Colin Watt responded by handing out a handful of game misconducts. But those penalties became misconducts on Monday. . . . The WHL also hit Kelowna D Cal Foote with a one-game suspension for “actions at conclusion of game.” That means he won’t play tonight (Tuesday) against the host Prince George Cougars, but will be eligible to play in Wednesday’s rematch. Foote took a double roughing minor and a misconduct at the end of Saturday’s game.


Here’s a real treat for sports fans . . .

From WBUR.org:

“Seventy years after Babe Ruth’s death, a long-lost radio interview with the baseball legend has turned up in the archives of Cheshire Academy, a private school in Connecticut. It’s part of a collection of interviews donated two decades ago by sports announcer Joe Hasel, an alumnus of the school.

“The 13-minute recording was made during World War II, part of a series of Hasel’s sports interviews broadcast by the Armed Forces Radio Service.”

There’s more on that interview right here, including a story, a transcript and a link to a portion of it. It’s tremendous stuff and it really is amazing to hear the Babe’s voice in such high quality.


If you like what you see here, please consider clicking on the DONATE button over there to the right and helping the cause. You may even want to consider a monthly donation, an option that is available there.

If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.

And don’t forget that the domain name here is greggdrinnan.com.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

MONDAY:

At Langley, B.C., G David Tendeck stopped 24 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Vancouver (32-21-8) had lost its previous three Vancouvergames. It is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria with two games in hand. . . . Kamloops (27-32-5) has lost three in a row. With eight games remaining, the Blazers are six points out of a playoff spot. Seattle, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, has three games in hand. . . . The Giants lead the season series with the Blazers, 3-2-0. They will meet each other three more times. . . . Tendeck has three shutouts in his career, all of them this season. . . . Vancouver had all four of the game’s PP opportunities, and scored on the fourth one when F Jared Dmytriw (14) found the mark at 13:50 of the second period. . . . F Tyler Benson (21) added an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third period. . . . The Blazers got 24 saves from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . D Dylan Plouffe and F Milos Roman, both of whom are injured, and F Owen Hardy (ill) were among Vancouver’s scratches. . . . The Blazers remain without F Luke Zazula. . . . F Justin Sourdif, the third selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, played his fourth game for the Giants. He plays for the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . The Giants took time before the game to recognize Don Hay of the Blazers, who became the winningest coach in WHL regular-season history on Jan. 28. Hay won 401 games in 10 seasons as the Giants’ head coach. He now has 747 victories to his credit. . . . Announced attendance: 2,631.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Swift Current at Calgary, 11 a.m.

Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 11:30 a.m.

Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.

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

Vancouver vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Paddock: Pats will play their best . . . Chico’s the man for Cougars . . . Tigers’ Shaw back on blades . . . Storm’s days numbered in Kamloops?


MacBeth

D Stefan Warg (Seattle, Prince Albert, 2008-10) has signed a two-year contract extension with Malmö (Sweden, SHL). This season, he has two goals and 10 assists in 44 games, while averaging 16:39 ice time per game.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The situation staring the Regina Pats squarely in the face is the elephant in the WHL’s room at the moment.

The Pats, as you are aware, will be the host team for the Memorial Cup when it opens in May.

You also will be aware that they got off to a horrendous start this season, and have ReginaPats100known for some time that they won’t finish first or second in the East Division, the Moose Jaw Warriors (40-9-3) and Swift Current Broncos (37-13-4) simply being too far ahead. The Pats (28-22-5) trail the Warriors by 22 points and the Broncos by 17.

For a while, the third-place Brandon Wheat Kings (29-19-5) had a healthy lead, too, but that was before they turned into sellers at the trade deadline. Since then, they have gone 2-7-3 and now resemble a middle-of-the-pack squad rather than one that was running third in the overall standings.

Going into weekend games, then, the Pats are two points behind the Wheat Kings.

And there’s the rub. . . .

The third-place finisher in the East Division will play No. 2 in the opening round of the playoffs, which is likely to be Swift Current.

Finish fourth and chances are you will be the first wild-card team, meaning a first-round date with the first-place team in the Central Division, either the Medicine Hat Tigers or Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The injury-riddled Tigers have a five-point edge on the hard-charging Hurricanes.

You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to know which is the easiest route.

Just don’t suggest to John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, that maybe, well, just maybe . . . you know . . .

“There’s a lot of hypotheticals,” he told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post.“One, be careful what you might wish for. Two, you can’t step on the ice as a player and you can’t go behind the bench as a coach without trying to win the game. It’s really just a joke (to suggest otherwise). You can’t go out and not play your best. . . .

“We’re not going to catch those top two teams. I’ve known that since October. But we’re going to have to play one or both at some point (in the playoffs). You want to play good and we also know we’re going to play in May and nobody else does. It’s very important to be playing better and better as the season goes on.”

Harder’s complete story is right here.


Chico Dhanjal worked his 700th WHL game with the Prince George Cougars on Jan. 31 while the team was on its East Division swing. A native of Saskatoon, the Cougars’ equipment manager celebrated 700 games during a game against the Pats in Regina.

Dhanjal, who seems to wear a perpetual smile, started with the Cougars in 2008-09, after working with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He has degrees in kinesiology and psychology from the U of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

The Cougars signed him to a three-year extension on Nov. 24, 2016.


The access ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash., home of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, lost US$361,861 in 2017, up from a loss of $155,268 the previous year. But, as Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter writes, city officials are “confident that the numbers show better days are ahead” for the facility. . . . Hunter’s story is right here.


F Mason Shaw, who has yet to play for the Medicine Hat Tigers this season, skated on Thursday for the first time at home since he suffered a knee injury in early September.

Shaw suffered a torn ACL while playing for the Minnesota Wild’s rookie team at an NHL Tigers Logo Officialpreseason tournament in Traverse City, Mich. He subsequently underwent surgery and only recently was cleared to resume skating.

CHAT News reported yesterday that Mason was wearing a non-contact jersey as he “skated several laps . . . by himself. It’s the first time he’s been on skates at his home rink, and the first time he was in full equipment since September.”

Shaw, 19, isn’t likely to play in the regular season, but hopes to be cleared for game action in time for the start of the playoffs.

It would be huge for the Tigers to get him back for playoff action. Last season, he finished with 27 goals and 67 assists in 71 games, then added 12 assists in 11 playoff games.

The Tigers (27-22-7) go into the weekend atop the Central Division, five points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes (25-21-6), who hold four games in hand.

Medicine Hat is really banged up, and is 3-4-3 in its last 10 games, while Lethbridge is 5-2-3.

The Tigers will play home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen (16-30-7) this weekend, opening tonight (Friday) in Medicine Hat and finishing Sunday afternoon in Calgary.

The Hurricanes are in Moose Jaw tonight and Regina on Saturday.


There is an interesting hockey story unfolding in Quesnel, B.C., where a group has been trying to land a junior B franchise, preferably in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

The West Fraser Centre will be home to a pair of games tonight (Kamloops Storm vs. 100 KamStormMile House Wranglers) and Saturday (Kamloops Storm vs. Myles Mattila and his Kelowna Chiefs in a game that also will promote mental health awareness).

Matt Kolle, the Storm’s assistant GM, is part of Parallel Sports Group, which has been working to bring junior B hockey to Quesnel. The KIJHL has twice rejected Quesnel-based expansion applications.

Kolle has told Melanie Law of the Quesnel Observer that the group now is looking at the possible relocation of an existing franchise. In that vein, Kolle told Law that the Storm’s management team has spent the past while reviewing its financial picture.

“In the next few weeks,” Kolle said, “we’ll know where Kamloops’ team stands. And (Parallel Sports Group) has also been having conversations with other (KIJHL) teams in financial strain that might be better off in Quesnel.

“It has always been something we would consider, but we wanted to see how the expansion bid would play out first.”

The Storm, owned by Barry Dewar, has played in Kamloops since relocating from Osoyoos, B.C., prior to the 2006-07 season.

Law’s complete story is right here.


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IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Spokane at Kelowna

Tri-City at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Lethbridge at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Regina, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

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

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Portland, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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

Spokane at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY