Giants get forward from Hurricanes. . . . Seattle signs second first-round pick. . . . QMJHL teams to meet in Memorial Cup final for only second time

MacBeth

F Taylor Vause (Swift Current, 2007-12) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, in 49 games, he had 16 goals and 29 assists. In the playoffs, he added six goals and 14 assists in 18 games. He led the league in playoff assists and points. . . .

F Ty Morris (Swift Current, Vancouver, Red Deer, 2003-05) has signed a one-year contract extension with Peiting (Germany, Oberliga). This season, he had 19 goals and 53 assists in 47 games. He is preparing to play his 14th season in Germany.


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The Vancouver Giants have acquired F Jackson Shepard from the Lethbridge Hurricanes Vancouverin exchange for a third-round selection in the 2021 WHL bantam draft. . . . Shepard, 19, is from North Vancouver. . . . The Kamloops Blazers selected him with the 22nd pick in the 2015 bantam draft. The Blazers dealt him to Lethbridge on July 31, getting back F Zane Franklin, 19 at the time, and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. . . . This season, Shepard had five goals and 17 assists in 66 games. In 181 regular-season games, he has 17 goals and 39 assists. . . . F Cole Shepard, Jackson’s younger brother, was selected by the Giants in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. Cole, 17, just completed his first season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. He has committed to attend Harvard and play for the Crimson in 2021-22.


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Two more first-round picks from the 2019 bantam draft have signed WHL contracts. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed D Kevin Korchinski, who was the 10th-overall selection. From Saskatoon, he had 10 goals and 37 assists in 31 regular-season games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Generals, then added five goals and five assists in five playoff games. . . . Korchinski was the second of two first-round picks by the Thunderbirds. They selected F Jordan Gustafson of Ardrossan, Alta., with the eighth pick and signed him on Wednesday. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Oasiz Wiesblatt, who is from Calgary. He was the 12th-overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Wiesblatt had 19 goals and 36 assists in 28 regular-season games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons this season. He added six goals and seven assists in seven playoff games. . . .

Six of the 22 first-round selections now have signed WHL contracts.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Grady Lane, 16, to a WHL contract. . . . Lane, from Virden, Man., was an eighth-round selection by the Chiefs in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had five goals and seven assists in 32 games with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars. . . . Lane will attend the Chiefs’ 2019 training camp after sitting out the 2018 camp due to injury.


The two QMJHL entries — the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Halifax Mooseheads — will 2019MCmeet in the final of the four-team Memorial Cup tournament on Sunday in Halifax. . . . The QMJHL-champion Huskies advanced to the final with a 6-4 victory over the OHL-champion Guelph Storm on Friday night. . . . The Mooseheads received a bye to the final following a 5-4 loss to the Huskies on Wednesday night. Those three teams all were 2-1 in the round-robin and the Mooseheads advanced via the tiebreaker formula. . . . The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders went home early after going 0-3. . . . It is perhaps only fitting that the Huskies and Mooseheads are in the final as the QMJHL is celebrating its 50th anniversary season. . . . This will be the second time in the Memorial Cup’s history that two QMJHL teams have met in the final. In 2006, the Quebec Remparts beat the host Moncton Wildcats, 6-2. . . . Last night, the Huskies and Storm were tied, 3-3, after the second period. F Felix Bibeau broke the tie, giving the Huskies a 4-3 lead at 5:20 of the third period, then made it 5-3 at 12:33. . . . Kyle Cicerella of The Canadian Press has a game story right here.


Carter Zalluski, a bantam draft pick of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, died on Sunday. He was 24. According to an obituary, he “passed away suddenly.” . . . The Oil Kings selected Zalluski in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2010 bantam draft. He never did play in the WHL. . . . A complete obituary is right here.


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Mooseheads celebrate loss, advance to Memorial Cup final. . . . Huskies, Storm in semifinal. . . . Thunderbirds sign first pick

MacBeth

F David Hruška (Red Deer, 1995-96) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sokolov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). This season, he had 12 goals and 14 assists in 35 games. . . . Sokolov played in 2. Liga this season and won promotion to 1. Liga. . . .

D Tamás Láday (Spokane, Medicine Hat, 2014-16) has signed a one-year contract with SC Csíkszereda Miercurea-Ciuc (Romania, Erste Liga). This season with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga), he had two assists in 24 games. He also had six goals and 15 assists in 33 games with Fehérvári Titánok Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Liga). . . . Láday is spending this summer playing for the West Auckland Admirals (New Zealand, NIHL). He has two assists in two games. The NIHL regular season started on May 18, ends on July 28, and playoffs end no later than Aug. 18. . . .

F Max Brandl (Prince Albert, Portland, 2007-09) has signed a two-year contract with Landshut (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2), he had five goals and 17 assists in 52 games. He was the team captain. . . .

F Colin Long (Kelowna, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract with Lustenau (Austria, Alps HL). This season, with Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL), he had 12 goals and 24 assists in 39 games. He was second on the team in goals, assists and points.


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The Prince Albert Raiders arrived back home on Wednesday afternoon, where they were greeted by appreciative supporters.

In Halifax, the host Mooseheads lost the last game of the round-robin portion of the 2019MCMemorial Cup and they celebrated.

Seriously!

As one WHL observer wrote in a note to Taking Note: “The fact that Halifax celebrates like that after losing against a huge rival is another example of why the Memorial Cup is stupid.

“I’m sorry. I have all the respect in the world for that trophy and its history, but that tournament is just completely pointless and dumb.”

It’s hard to disagree with that kind of logic, especially after last night’s circus in Halifax.

The QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies scored with 54 seconds left in the third period to beat the Mooseheads, 4-3, last night.

The Huskies beat the Mooseheads in six games in the QMJHL’s championship final, meaning that Rouyn-Noranda has beaten Halifax in five of their past seven meetings.

But it’s the Mooseheads who have advanced to Sunday’s Memorial Cup final. The Huskies and the OHL-champion Guelph Storm will meet in Friday’s semifinal game. The Raiders went 0-3 and were eliminated on Tuesday.

Here is how Kyle Cicerella of The Canadian Press described the silliness:

“Any one of Halifax, Rouyn-Noranda or Guelph could have earned a berth in Sunday’s tournament final based on Wednesday’s outcome. All three clubs finished with 2-1 records, but the Mooseheads got the tiebreaker through a drawn-out mathematical formula.

“All Halifax needed to do to advance was win outright or lose by one goal up to 4-3. Rouyn-Noranda had to win 4-0, or by five or more goals to move on, while the Storm still had a chance if the game finished by any other score.”

Here’s Halifax head coach Eric Veilleux: “Knowing what everybody knows, obviously I hope I never have to go through that again. It’s really not easy.”

Perhaps Halifax defenceman Patrick Kyte summed it all up with this: “Even though we didn’t win, we got the job done.”

(Cicerella’s game story is right here.)

Of course, this is the risk you run with any kind of round-robin situation, and the CHL’s four-team format, including a host team, isn’t going away anytime soon.

As the afore-quoted WHL observer put it: “(It’s a) cash grab in the second-ugliest form in junior hockey . . . the highest-ugliest form being World Juniors.”

Meanwhile, in Prince Albert, they will celebrate the Raiders’ season with a party at the Art Hauser Centre tonight. A good time will be had by all.


Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was in Prince Albert when the Raiders arrived on Wednesday. His blog post is right here.


By now you will be well aware that the last four WHL champions to play in the Memorial Cup tournament are a combined 0-12. The Brandon Wheat Kings (2016), Seattle whlThunderbirds (2017), Swift Current Broncos (2018) and the Raiders all failed to win even one game at the CHL’s championship tournament.

So, you’re wondering, what’s going on?

Here’s Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News: “Different years, different teams, different situations. Logically, this is just a screwy numbers thing, like the fact a Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993 (Montreal), or that a franchise with a predominantly blue jersey hasn’t won the Cup since 1994 (New York Rangers).”

In the overall scheme of things, there likely isn’t any rhyme or reason to it.

But the one thing I don’t feel can be discounted is the travel factor. Because of the WHL’s geography, the championship final is almost always going to feature some killer travel.

In 2016, it was Brandon and Seattle in the final. The next year, Seattle and the Regina Pats met in the final. A year ago, it was Swift Current and the Everett Silvertips. This season, it was the Raiders and the Vancouver Giants, and they went seven games. They played on a Friday in Langley, B.C., then finished the series in Prince Albert with games on Sunday and Monday. The Raiders travelled to Halifax — three time zones to the east — on the Wednesday and played their first game on Friday.

The travel almost invariably leads to injuries, and by the time a team leaves for the Memorial Cup it is banged up and emotionally drained. And, in a four-team round-robin, you are up against it if you lose that first game.

One WHL fan suggested to Taking Note that the WHL needs to “eliminate the killer travel schedule, which is possibly going to get worse for many Eastern Conference teams. And, of course, save $$$ for smaller Eastern Conference franchises.”

The only way the “killer travel schedule” is eliminated is for the WHL to revamp its regular-season schedule and keep teams playing only in their own conferences. That isn’t likely to happen.

One solution — and it’s only a pipe dream — would be to split the WHL into two leagues, with the B.C. and U.S. teams in one league, and the East and Central division teams in another. There wouldn’t be any interlocking play; these would be two separate leagues.

Each league would hold its playoffs, with the two winners meeting in a western final. Meanwhile, the OHL and QMJHL winners also would go into a best-of-seven final.

The Memorial Cup final, then, would go back to being a true East vs. West best-of-seven series.

Of course, that won’t ever happen because the present format — with a host team as part of a four-team round-robin — is great for the host city and it helps fill the coffers for the host league and its teams.

The present tournament format allows for a celebration of major junior hockey for 10 days every May. It’s time to accept it for what it is, and if the WHL champion never wins another game, so be it.

It could be that Guy Flaming (@TPS_Guy) hit the nail on the head earlier in the week when he tweeted: “It’s more impressive to me to outplay and outlast 15 other teams to win your own league. The Memorial Cup is like dessert after a great meal — not for everyone and it never replaces the meal.”


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The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Jordan Gustafson to a WHL contract. The SeattleThunderbirds selected him with the eighth-overall pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . From Ardrossan, Alta., Gustafson had 31 goals and 39 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers this season. . . .

Gustafson is the third of the WHL’s 22 first-round selections from the May 2 bantam draft to sign contracts. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Caleb Reimer, the 18th selection, while the Prince Albert Raiders signed F Niall Crocker, who was taken with the 22nd pick.

Raiders finished at Memorial Cup. . . . Chiefs, Lambert sign extension. . . . Ex-Breakers winger, Wilson dies at 57

MacBeth

D Kristian Khenkel (Lethbridge, 2013-14) has signed a two-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). This season, with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL), he had four goals and 10 assists in 59 games.


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The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders were eliminated from the 2019 Memorial Cup on Tuesday night when they dropped a 5-2 decision to the OHL-champion Guelph Storm. 2019MC. . . The Raiders lost all three of their round-robin games while being outscored 15-6. . . . The Storm (2-1) is guaranteed at least a spot in the semifinal game. . . . The round-robin portion of the four-team event concludes tonight (Wednesday) with the host Mooseheads (2-0) meeting the QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (1-1). The Huskies beat the Mooseheads, 4-2, in the QMJHL’s best-of-seven championship final. . . . Last night, the first period ended in a 2-2 draw, with Guelph scoring twice off the rush, and the Raiders getting two goals on redirections from in tight. . . . The Storm won it with a pair of second-period goals, from F Liam Hawel, at 1:21, on a PP, and F Nick Suzuki, at 5:02. . . . Suzuki, who also had an assist, put it away with another Suzuki goal at 6:42 of the third period. . . . The Storm got a goal and two assists from F Isaac Ratcliffe. . . . F Sean Montgomery, on a PP, and F Dante Hannoun had the Raiders’ goals. . . . The Raiders represented the WHL in the Memorial Cup for the second time in franchise history. In 1985, their third season in the WHL, they won the WHL title and the Memorial Cup. . . . Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com was in Halifax and his story is right here.

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JUST NOTES: The Raiders played 94 games this season — 68 in the regular season, 23 in the WHL playoffs and three in the Memorial Cup. It wasn’t until they got to the Memorial Cup that they lost three times in a row. . . .

WHL champions now have lost 13 straight Memorial Cup games. Prince Albert has joined the Swift Current Broncos (2018), Seattle Thunderbirds (2017) and Brandon Wheat Kings (2016) as WHL champs who have reached the Memorial Cup, only to go 0-3. The Kelowna Rockets lost the first game in that skid, falling 2-1 in OT to the Oshawa Generals in the final of the 2015 tournament. . . . What, if anything, is the reason for the recent struggles? If you have an opinion, email Taking Note at greggdrinnan@gmail.com and I’ll have some thoughts at some point this week. . . .

According to the online scoresheet, the Storm won 41 of the game’s 59 faceoffs last night. . . .

The Mooseheads can move to Sunday’s final with a victory over the Huskies tonight. If the Huskies win, the three remaining teams will each be 2-1 and the playoff seedings would be decided via the tiebreaker formula.

Here is that formula, direct from the 2019 Memorial Cup Media Guide:

“In the event three teams should tie for first place at the conclusion of the single round-robin series of games, the game each team played against the fourth place team shall be removed from their records. The tiebreaking formula shall be as follows: Add each team’s goals for with their goals against which sum you divide into such team’s goals for. The team with the highest percentage gains the higher ranking in the standings and an automatic berth as home team in the Memorial Cup championship game. The remaining two teams shall play in the semifinal game. The home team in the semifinal game will be the team that won the round-robin game between the two teams. . . .

“In the event that after using the above mathematical exercise all three teams should still remain tied for first place, the game each team played against the fourth team shall be added to their records. The same formula (as above) will be applied to finalize the rankings of the three teams.

“In the event that two teams still remain tied, the round-robin game between the two teams will determine their order of position.”

Got that? If not, just let tonight’s game play itself out and all will be decided then.

BTW, that Media Guide is available as a PDF right here.

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F Noah Gregor was the best of the Prince Albert Raiders in their three-game Memorial Cup appearance. They scored six goals in their three losses, and he was in on the first PrinceAlbertfive, scoring two of them.

He also figured in each of Prince Albert’s last three goals in the Raiders’ seven-game WHL championship series victory over the Vancouver Giants.

Gregor, a 20-year-old from Beaumont, Alta., also was one of their top players through the regular season and playoffs, after having been acquired from the Victoria Royals on July 25 for what, according to the WHL website, was “cond. VictoriaRoyalscompensation.”

Taking Note was told on Tuesday that those considerations were three-fold:

1. An eighth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft in exchange for Gregor’s rights;

2. A 2019 third-round selection based on Gregor playing in a certain number of regular-season games, which he did; and,

3. A 2020 fourth-round selection based on Gregor playing a certain number of playoff games, which he did.

The third-round pick originated with the Prince George Cougars, and turned out to be 48th overall. The Royals used it to take F Tanner Scott, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He played this season with the OHA Edmonton bantam prep team, putting up 18 goals and 25 assists in 29 games.

Gregor, a fourth-round pick by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2016 draft, had signed a pro deal prior to this season. At the time the Raiders acquired his rights, there was no guarantee that he would be back in the WHL; in fact, there was ample speculation that he would end up at least starting the season with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.

At the time of the deal, the Royals had already dealt D Jared Freadrich, 20, to the Portland Winterhawks, and Gregor was one of nine other 1998-born players on Victoria’s roster.

One of those players was F Dante Hannoun, who was moved to Prince Albert on Jan. 3, along with a pair of 2019 draft picks — in the fourth and eighth rounds. In exchange, the Royals got F Kody McDonald, who played out his eligibility this season; F Carson Miller, who turned 19 on Feb. 10; and a 2020 third-round selection.

That means the Royals hold Prince Albert’s third- and fourth-round selections in the 2020 bantam draft.

Gregor had 43 goals and 45 assists in 88 regular-season games, then added 13 goals and 11 assists in 24 playoff games.

Hannoun added 10 goals and 21 assists in 28 regular-season games with the Raiders. In the playoffs, he had 14 goals and 10 assists in 23 games, including the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants in Game 7 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup.


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The Spokane Chiefs announced Tuesday that they have signed head coach Dan Lambert SpokaneChiefsto a contract extension. . . . The Chiefs’ news release didn’t provide the length of the extension. However, Karthik Venkataraman of KREM-TV in Spokane reported: “The Chiefs have not disclosed details of the extension. However, previous extensions have been two years with a club option for a third year.” . . . Lambert has completed two seasons as the Chiefs’ head coach, going 81-46-13 in the process. The Chiefs reached the Western Conference final this season, where they were beaten by the Vancouver Giants. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Lambert spent one season as head coach of the Rochester Americans, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. He also was an assistant coach with the Sabres for one season. . . . Prior to that, he spent five seasons (2009-14) as an assistant coach with the Kelowna Rockets, and one season as their head coach. . . . Lambert will be the head coach Team Canada at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August.


Mitch Wilson, who played two seasons (1980-82) with the WHL’s Seattle Breakers, died SeaBrealerson Saturday at his home in Brinnon, Wash. The native of Kelowna was 57. He had battled ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) for a number of years. . . . “Thank you to everyone for your support through this difficult time,” his family posted on his Facebook page. “Mitch fought this battle the best he knew how and did so with courage.” . . . A rugged right winger, Wilson spent two seasons with the B.C. Junior Hockey League’s Kelowna Buckaroos before joining the Breakers. . . . In 1980-81, he had eight goals, 23 assists and 253 penalty minutes in 64 games. The next season, he finished with 18 goals, 17 assists and 436 penalty minutes in 60 games. . . .  He went on to a pro career that included 26 NHL games — nine with the New Jersey Devils and 17 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had two goals, three assists and 104 PMs in those 26 games.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Caleb Reimer to a WHL contract. The Oil Kings selected him 18th overall in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Reimer, who will turn 15 on Oct. 9, is from Surrey, B.C., and played this season with the bantam prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy. He put up 18 goals and 27 assists in 30 games.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Braeden Lewis to a WHL contract. The Broncos selected him in the sixth round of the 2018 bantam draft. Lewis, from Virden, Man., turned 16 on Tuesday. . . . He played this season with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars, scoring 10 goals and adding 20 assists in 45 games.


Lee Stone is back with the junior B Campbell River Storm, as the Vancouver Island Hockey League team’s general manager and head coach. . . . Stone left the Storm earlier this season and joined the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach. At the time, the Storm announced that it and Stone had “mutually agreed to part ways.” . . . Cam Basarab, an assistant coach, took over as head coach, with assistant coach Bill Brett stepping in as GM. . . . In his time with the Storm, the club has totalled 254 victories, 71 losses,18 OTL and nine ties. According to the Storm, “His clubs have captured three league championships, a Cyclone Taylor Cup and a Keystone Cup.” . . . He also served as chairperson on Campbell River’s 2019 Cyclone Taylor Cup organizing committee. . . . The Storm also announced that Travis McMillan has signed on as assistant GM and associate coach. He had been the head coach of the Cochrane, Alta., Generals of the Heritage Junior B Hockey League.


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Halifax quiets Raiders in tourney opener. . . . P.A. off until Monday. . . . New coaches at St. George’s, AJHL


MacBeth

D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) has signed a two-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). This season, with Kölner Haie Cologne (Germany, DEL), he had four goals and six assists in 48 games.


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The Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup tournament, opened 2019MCwith a 4-1 victory over the WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night. . . . The Mooseheads got a goal and an assist from F Samuel Asselin, with linemate Maxim Trépanier drawing three assists. . . . The Mooseheads took a 2-0 first-period lead as Asselin scored once, at 10:49, and set up the other by F Xavier Parent, at 18:44. . . . The game’s first goal came as referee Mario Maillet inadvertently set a pick on Raiders D Zack Hayes, allowing F Raphael Lavoie a passing lane to get the puck to Asselin at the crease. . . . Asselin spent last season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, so was part of the team that won last season’s Memorial Cup in Regina. He had five goals in four games in that tournament. Traded to the Mooseheads, he led the QMJHL with 48 goals this season. . . . The Raiders were 0-3 on the PP in the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor got Prince Albert to within a goal, at 10:46 of the second period. . . . The Mooseheads got a PP goal from D Jake Ryczek, at 15:52, for a 3-1 lead, then iced it at 18:07 of the third period as F Antoine Morand got an empty-netter. . . . Halifax was 1-6 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-4. . . . G Alexis Gravel stopped 23 shots to record the victory over Ian Scott, who turned aside 33. . . . The Raiders were outshot, 37-24, including 15-4 in the third period. . . . Prince Albert expended a lot of energy and emotion in winning a seven-game series from the Vancouver Giants — the Raiders won Game 7, 3-2 in OT, on Monday night — and then travelled to Halifax on Wednesday. All of that combined with a three-hour time change may have taken a lot out of the Raiders’ legs. They now have a couple of days off and that surely can’t hurt. . . . The OHL-champion Guelph Storm are to meet the QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies tonight, with Halifax playing Guelph on Sunday. The Raiders are off until Monday when they are to face the Huskies.


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Jason Becker, a former WHL player and coach, is leaving the BCHL’s Penticton Vees to coach at St. George’s School in Vancouver. Becker, who had been an assistant coach with the Vees for three seasons, will be the head coach of the midget prep team at St. George’s. . . . Before joining the Vees, Becker had coached for two seasons at the Okanagan Hockey Academy and did a four-season stint as an assistant with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. As a defenceman, he played with the Saskatoon Blades, Red Deer Rebels, Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos (1990-95), then spent five seasons with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. . . . The Vees immediately announced that former captain Patrick Sexton has been hired as the new assistant coach. Sexton played two seasons with the Vees before going on to the U of Wisconsin. He was the Vees’ captain when they won the BCHL’s 2014-15 championship. . . . Naeem Bardal will be Becker’s assistant coach at St. George’s. . . .

St. George’s also announced that Jamie Jackson, who had been an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, will be the head coach of the school’s Elite 15 team. Jackson also spent four seasons as head coach of the major midget Vancouver-North East Chiefs, and was the general manager and head coach of the junior B Port Moody Panthers (2011-14). . . . Mike Nardi will be Jackson’s assistant coach. . . .

Todd Harkins, a former GM of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, will be the head coach of the bantam prep team. Harkins is St. George’s head of hockey. His son, Nicklas, will be the assistant coach. . . .

Stan Sibert returns as the head coach of the bantam varsity team, with Cole Todd his assistant.


Dave Dupas is the new general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. He has been an assistant coach in Fort McMurray for three seasons, after four-plus seasons as head coach of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . Dupas had been named the interim GM/head coach a week earlier when the Oil Barons announced that Tom Keca wouldn’t be returning.


The AJHL’s Camrose Kodiak have signed Clayton Jardine as their new head coach. He replaces Boris Rybalka, who stays on as general manager and also will be associate coach. . . . Rybalka had been the head coach since 2001, and an assistant coach before that. . . . Jardine played with the Kodiaks and was the team captain when they won two AJHL titles. . . . This season, Jardine was the SJHL’s coach of the year with the Kindersley Klippers. He also was the GM. From Lacombe, Alta., Jardine was an assistant coach with New England College, an NCAA Division III school, for two seasons before joining the Klippers. . . . Jardine had resigned from the Klippers in April, and was replaced by Garry Childerhose, who had been an assistant GM/assistant coach with the Flin Flon Bombers.


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Raiders put Giants behind 8-ball. . . . P.A. scores seven in first period. . . . Winds of change blowing in Brandon

MacBeth

F Yegor Babenko (Lethbridge, 2015-17) has been traded by Severstal Cherepovets to Traktor Chelyabinsk (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. This season, with Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games. He also was pointless in three games with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL), and had two goals three assists in 15 games with Severstal Cherepovets. . . .

F Liam Stewart (Spokane, 2011-15) has signed a one-season contract with the Southern Stampede Queenstown (New Zealand, NZIHL). Last season,  with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite), he had 12 goals and 11 assists in 35 games. He didn’t play this season after suffering a concussion. . . . Stewart holds dual UK/New Zealand citizenship and is considered a local player in New Zealand. However, in the UK, he is considered an import because he played his minor hockey in the U.S.


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The Brandon Wheat Kings revealed on Tuesday that they won’t be renewing the contract BrandonWKregularof Grant Armstrong, who had been their general manager through three seasons. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, said in a news release that Armstrong “was responsible for many of the moves that will serve us well in the future. At the same time, I also felt a change was necessary as we look to return to a higher level as an organization.” . . . McCrimmon is the assistant GM with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. He will be taking over as the Golden Knights’ GM on Sept 1. . . . Armstrong signed as Brandon’s general manager to take over from McCrimmon when he signed with Vegas. . . . The Wheat Kings were 102-87-23 with Armstrong as the general manager. This season, they finished 31-29-8, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013. . . . Before joining Brandon, Armstrong was with the Victoria Royals for four seasons as director of player personnel and assistant GM. Prior to that, he worked with the Portland Winterhawks for five seasons, the last four as head scout. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here. . . .

With a new general manager to be hired at some point, you are free to wonder about the future of head coach David Anning and assistant coach Don MacGillivray. After three seasons, their contracts are up, too. . . . The news release on Armstrong’s departure doesn’t mention the coaching staff.


The Tri-City Americans announced Tuesday that they have renewed the contracts of goaltending coaches Eli Wilson and Liam McOnie “through the 2021 season.” . . . Wilson and McOnie have worked with the Americans since the 2017-18 season. They also run goaltending camps through Eli Wilson Goaltending.


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The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have hired Jason McKee as general manager and head coach, Vernonreplacing Mark Ferner, who got the team into the BCHL final this season, his fifth season in his second stint with the organization. . . . Ferner, 53, was the Vipers’ head coach for four seasons (2007-11), getting them into three national finals and winning two of them, before spending time on the coaching staffs of the Everett Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers. This time, he had been the Vipers’ director of hockey operations and head coach since early in the 2014-15 season. . . . This season, the Vipers went 26-21-11 to finish fourth in the seven-team Interior Division. They reach the championship final where they were swept by the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . McKee, 40, was the head coach of the Vancouver Giants for two seasons (2016-18). Prior to that, he was with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints for 10 seasons, the last six as general manager and head coach. . . . Brothers John and Tom Glen purchased the Vipers in September from Libby Wray, whose husband, Dr. Duncan Wray, had owned the franchise from 1992 through his death on Jan. 11, 2018. . . . John Glen was quite involved with the Saints, although not at the ownership level. He also is a former scout with the Giants.


If you’re a junior hockey fan you should be following Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) on Twitter. He always has up-to-date information on players moving from the WHL to the Canadian university scene, including F Kody McDonald, who played out his eligibility with the Victoria Royals this season and will be playing for the Carleton Ravens of Ottawa next season. Findlay also reports that Josh Curtis, who was a 20-year-old with the Prince George Cougars, will be joining the Queen’s U Gaels, who play out of Kingston, Ont. Findlay also has F Ryan Jevne (Medicine Hat Tigers) going to the U of Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton, F Nolan Yaremko (Tri-City Americans) off to the Calgary-based Mount Royal Cougars, and F Ryan Vandervlis (Lethbridge Hurricanes), F Mike MacLean (Prince George) and F Jeff de Wit (Red Deer Rebels) all joining the Montreal-based Concordia Stingers.


The Halifax Mooseheads broke a 1-1 tie with two second-period goals and then added two more in the third, en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL’s championship final on Tuesday night. . . . The series now is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Rouyn-Noranda on Thursday night, and Game 6 back in Halifax on Saturday afternoon. A seventh game would be played in Rouyn-Noranda on Monday. . . . Both teams already know they will play in the Memorial Cup because Halifax is the host team. . . .

In the OHL, the Ottawa 67’s will meet the Storm in Guelph in Game 4 tonight (Wednesday). The 67’s hold a 2-1 lead after dropping a 7-2 decision to the host Storm on Monday night. That was the first loss of these playoffs for the 67’s, who now are 14-1.


Rich Pilon, who was named the head coach of the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings on April 29, now is the team’s general manager, as well. The Red Wings announced Tuesday that Pilon will add the GM’s duties, taking over from Tanner McCall, who had been the GM and head scout. . . . McCall, who also scouts for the Moose Jaw Warriors, had been with the Red Wings for five seasons, the last three as general manager and head scout.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: Well, who saw that one coming? The Prince Albert Raiders went into Langley, B.C., and humbled the Vancouver Giants, handing them an 8-2 loss in Game 3 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. Game 5 is set for Friday night in Langley. . . . Last night’s decision means that if the Giants are to win the series, they will have to do it in Prince Albert. Games 6 and 7, if one or both are needed, would be played there on Sunday and Monday. . . .

In Game 3, the Raiders took control with seven goals in the first period. . . . The WHL record for most goals in one period of a playoff game is nine and belongs to the Saskatoon Blades (March 30, 1986, second period of a 12-5 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors). . . .

Oh the games people play now/Every night and every day now. . . . According to the lineup sheet circulated prior to the game, Raiders D Max Martin would play, with D Loeden Schaufler and F Jakob Brook listed with question marks beside their names. That would seem to have indicated that one of those two would play and the other would sit. . . . Martin didn’t finish Game 2 after suffering an apparent shoulder injury when he went awkwardly into the boards in the second period. Last night, he took the pregame warmup and then was scratched. Schaufler and Brook both were dressed and on the Prince Albert bench. . . .

F Dante Hannoun of the Raiders had a goal and two assists in Game 3. He leads the WHL playoffs with 12 goals. His 23 points have him tied with Vancouver D Bowen Byram for the scoring lead. Byram had one assist in Game 3. . . .

According to tweets from Steve Ewen, there were a number of NHL luminaries in the crowd, among them Scotty Bowman (Chicago Blackhawks), and Rob Blake and Todd McLellan (Los Angeles Kings).

——

TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored 41 seconds into the first period and made it 2-0 at 2:27 PrinceAlbertas they went on to an 8-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. . . . Prince Albert had won Game 2, 4-0, so has outscored Vancouver, 12-2, over the last two games. . . . The visitors led 4-0 at 6:33 of the first period, 6-0 at 16:30 and 7-0 going into the second period. . . . The Giants took the game’s first four minor penalties, all of them in the opening 6:33. The Raiders responded with three PP goals. . . . F Parker Kelly (5,6) and F Brett Leason (8,9) each scored twice and added an assist for the victors, with F Dante Hannoun (12) scoring once and adding two assists. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (5), F Cole Fonstad (2) and F Noah Gregor (10) added a goal each. . . . D Sergei Sapego, F Aliaksei Protas and F Sean Montgomery added two assists each for the Raiders. . . . F Brayden Watts (6) and F Yannik Valenti (3) scored PP goals for the Giants after they had fallen behind 8-0. . . . Prince Albert was 4-8 on the PP; Vancouver was 2-8. . . . G Ian Scott blocked 27 shots for the Raiders. . . . Vancouver starter David Tendeck gave up three goals on 13 shots. He allowed two goals on four shots in 2:27, then was relieved by Trent Miner for the remainder of the first period. Miner allowed five goals on 14 shots. Tendeck returned for the final two periods and stopped eight of nine shots. . . . The referees were Mike Campbell and Chris Crich, with Ron Dietterle and Michael Roberts the linesmen.


Tweetoftheday

Mooseheads set 2019 Memorial Cup prices . . . Vees, Harbinson agree on extension . . . Americans sign top draft pick


MacBeth

F Kruise Reddick (Tri-City, 2006-11) signed a two-year contract extension with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). This season, he had 27 goals and 39 assists in 54 games. He led the Flames in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Sami Moilanen (Seattle, 2016-18) signed a two-year-plus-option contract with Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Seattle, he had 22 goals and 23 assists in 50 games. . . .

F Dylan Stanley (Tri-City, 2000-05) signed a two-year contract extension with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). He had 24 goals and 42 assists in 40 games, leading his team in goals, assists and points. He was second in the league in assists and points. . . . Next season will be fifth in Feldkirch.


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The WHL lost in court last week when, as Rick Westhead of TSN tweeted, “The Court of Appeal of Alberta has dismissed the WHL’s request to overturn a decision certifying this minimum wage lawsuit as a class action. Case will no move forward.” . . . Ken Campbell of The Hockey News later weighed in with some thoughts on this situation. Campbell’s piece is right here.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads will be the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup. They have sent a letter to season-ticket holders detailing the price of ticket packages to the event, which result in some social media chatter. . . . One ticket package apparently will go for $320, plus taxes. . . . The Mooseheads haven’t yet detailed when ticket packages will be available to the general public. . . . The 2018 Memorial Cup begins today (Friday) in Regina.

The Memorial Cup schedule (all times local):

Game 1, Friday – Hamilton vs. Regina, 8 p.m.

Game 2, Saturday – Swift Current vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 2 p.m.

Game 3, Sunday – Regina vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 5 p.m.

Game 4, Monday – Swift Current vs. Hamilton, 6 p.m.

Game 5, Tuesday – Acadie-Bathurst vs. Hamilton, 8 p.m.

Game 6, Wednesday – Regina vs. Swift Current, 8 p.m.

Tiebreaker (if necessary) – Thursday, 6 p.m.

Semifinal – Friday, May 25, 8 p.m.

Final — Sunday, May 27, 5 p.m.


Surely it is a mere coincidence that neither Ken Hitchcock nor Don Hay, perhaps the two most-successful coaches in the history of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, aren’t employed as coaches today. . . . Both, however, remain in the employ of the teams they coached last season. . . . Hay is an advisor to hockey operations with the Blazers, having said last week that he has retired from them but still is interested in continuing his lengthy coaching career. . . . Hitchcock, the third-winningest coach in NHL regular-season history, spent this season as head coach of the Dallas Stars. He stepped aside after the season and now is a “consultant” with the team. . . . Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News has more on Hitchcock and his situation right here.

Marty Hastings, who covers the Blazers for Kamloops This Week, offers up his view of all that went on with Hay right here.


If you thought that Fred Harbinson might end up as a WHL general manager this off-season, you can forget about it. Harbinson is the president, general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. Coming out of 2017-18, he had one season remaining on his contract. The Vees announced Tuesday that he now has been extended through the 2023-24 season. Next season will be Harbinson’s 12th with Penticton. The Vees are 481-144-14-40 during that time. . . . Also on Tuesday, the Vees revealed that F Massimo Rizzo will be the team captain next season. Rizzo, who will turn 17 on June 13, just completed his first season with Penticton. The Kamloops Blazers selected him in the first round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft; his family informed the Blazers prior to the 2018 bantam draft that Rizzo wouldn’t be signing with them, choosing instead to pursue an NCAA scholarship.


JUST NOTES:

You can forget about Cam Russell as a WHL general manager. The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads have given him a four-year extension. The Halifax native and former NHL defenceman has been with the Mooseheads since 2000-01 and has been the GM through the past 10 seasons. . . .

The Tri-City Americans have signed D Marc Lajoie, who was a first-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. From St. Albert, Alta., the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder had 12 goals and 18 assists in 20 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team. . . . He is the son of Serge Lajoie, the head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears for the past three seasons. . . .

The 2020 World Junior Championship will be played in the Czech Republic cities of Ostrava and Trinec, running from Dec. 26, 2019, through Jan. 5, 2020. . . . The 2019 tournament is scheduled for Vancouver and Victoria, from Dec. 26, 2018, through Jan. 5, 2019. . . . The WJC last was held in Czech Republic in 2008 when Pardubice and Liberec shared it. . . .

Veteran coach Ted Nolan is looking for work after having been fired as the head coach of Poland’s national team. Poland was 1-4 at the IIHF World Championship (Division 1, Group A) in Budapest, and will be demoted to Division 1, Group B. . . .

The SJHL and the Humboldt Broncos are in the process of resolving that dispute over trademarks. Broncos president Kevin Garinger has said that the SJHL’s board of governors met and the trademarks will end up belonging to the team. . . . There is more right here.


Tweetoftheday

Dewar goal gives Silvertips win in Game 1 . . . Wild goes home with Doyle Cup . . . Pistons push Hawks to the brink . . . Lots of coaching news

MacBeth

D Kirill Vorobyov (Portland, 2012-13) was traded by Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL) to CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) for cash compensation. This season, with Sibir Novosibirsk, he had four assists in 43 games while averaging 17:10 TOI per game. . . .

F Linden Vey (Medicine Hat, 2006-11) signed a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). This season, in 50 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL), he had 17 goals and 35 assists while averaging 21:52 TOI. He was second in the league in assists and fifth in the points race. . . . Vey finished the season with the ZSC Zurich Lions (Switzerland, NL A), recording two goals and four assists in 10 games. . . .

D Dmitri Sinitsyn (Regina, 2013-14) signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Novokuznetsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). He had signed with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL) for this season but missed the entire season due to injury. In 2016-17, he had nine assists in 42 games with Lada Togliatti (Russia, KHL), and one assist in nine games with Dizel Penza (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). . . .

F Lukáš Vantuch (Calgary, Lethbridge, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had two assists in 29 games with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He also had a goal and two assists in three games on loan to Benatky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), and one goal and one assists in five games on loan to Piráti Chomutov. . . .

D Micki DuPont (Kamloops, 1996-2000) signed a one-year contract extension with Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL). He had seven goals and 16 assists in 52 games. . . .

D/F Sena Acolatse (Seattle, Saskatoon, Prince George, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, he had one goal and seven assists in 30 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL).


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The Everett Silvertips drew first blood in the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final, for Everettthe Ed Chynoweth Cup, beating the host Swift Current Broncos, 2-1, on Friday night. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar (10) broke a 1-1 tie at 1:49 of the third period. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (14) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 14:43 of the first period. . . . The Broncos tied it at 11:26 of the second period on a goal by F Aleksi Heponiemi (4). . . . F Garrett Pilon had two assists for the winners, who got 34 saves from G Carter Hart. . . . G Stuart Skinner blocked 23 shots for Swift Current. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Steve Papp. . . . The Broncos took three of the game’s five minors. . . . Everett was 1-2 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-1. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Swift Current tonight (Saturday). . . . Everett now is 8-0 on the road in these playoffs.


The BCHL-champion Wenatchee Wild scored the game’s last five goals en route to a 7-2 Wenatcheevictory over the host Spruce Grove Saints, the AJHL champions, on Friday night. . . . The Wild won the best-of-seven Doyle Cup series, 4-1, and now advance to the Royal Bank Cup that opens in Chilliwack on May 12. . . . F Logan Ganie’s second goal of the game, at 1:00 of the second period, pulled the Saints into a 2-2 tie. . . . Wild F August Von Ungern broke the tie at 1:57 and the Wild never looked back. . . . Wenatchee will be the second U.S.-based team to play in the Royal Bank Cup; the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International Junior Hockey League got there in 2013.


In Nipawin, Sask., the MJHL-champion Steinbach Pistons scored twice in the third period Steinbachand took a 2-1 victory over the SJHL-champion Hawks on Friday night. . . . The Pistons hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series for the ANAVET Cup and a berth in the Royal Bank Cup. . . . The teams now head back to Steinbach for Game 6 on Monday and, if needed, Game 7 on Tuesday. . . . Last night, F Brandan Arnold gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead at 17:05 of the first period. That was his sixth goal — and 11th point — of the series. . . . The Pistons pulled even on F Drew Worrad’s goal at 3:58 of the third period. . . . F Jack Johnson broke the tie at 12:22 with his first goal of the series. . . . Steinbach G Matthew Thiessen stopped 24 shots, while Nipawin’s Declan Hobbs turned aside 34.


TheCoachingGame

The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs are to be the host team for the Royal Bank Cup tournament that runs from May 12 through May 20 at Prospera Centre. On Thursday, the Chiefs fired general manager/head coach Jason Tatarnic, replacing him with Brian Maloney, who had been the associate GM and associate head coach. . . . Tatarnic was in his fourth season with the Chiefs. This season, they finished 26-26-3-3, good for fourth place in the five-team Mainland Division. They went on to lose a first-round series to the division-winning Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . The change was announced with a three-sentence paragraph that was posted on the Chiefs’ website. The announcement didn’t mention Tatarnic. It ended with this: “President Glen Ringdal said the decision to elevate Maloney was made by Chiefs’ ownership (Thursday).” . . . The Chiefs are owned by Moray Keith, Jim Bond and Heinz Hasselmann, all successful Lower Mainland-based businessmen.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a look right here at the Tatarnic firing and a few other strange moves that have occurred of late in the world of junior hockey and the impact they could have.


Brad Berry, the head coach of the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, has signed a five-year deal that funs through 2022-23. Berry just completed his third season as the UND head coach and had one year left on his original four-year contract. . . . Major junior coaches will be interested in learning that the new contract gives Berry a base salary of US$400,000 per year. . . . College Hockey News has more right here.


Rob Wilson is the new head coach of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He spent the past three seasons as head coach of the Nuremberg Ice Tigers of Germany’s DEL. . . . Wilson played part of one season (1988-89) with the Petes before going on to a pro career that included stops in North America and Europe. . . . Wilson replaces Andrew Verner, who had been the interim head coach since Jody Hull was fired in January.


Eric Veilleux is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, who will be the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup tournament. Veilleux, 46, has been an assistant coach with the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, for the past two seasons. He has previous QMJHL head-coaching experience with the Shawinigan Cataractes, helping them win the 2012 Memorial Cup as the host team. He also spent two seasons as head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. . . . In Halifax, Veilleux replaces Jim Midgley, who was fired on April 25 after one season as head coach. The Mooseheads went 43-18-6-1 and finished fourth overall under Midgley, then lost a second-round playoff series to the ninth-place Charlottetown Islanders. He had been an assistant coach for five seasons with the Mooseheads.


Casey O’Brien has signed on as the head coach of the Melville Prairie Fire, a team in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League. O’Brien was fired this season as the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers.


Kelly Guard, a former WHL goaltender, has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats as an assistant coach. Guard, 34, had been working as the Prince Albert Raiders’ goaltender coach. . . . Guard played two seasons (2002-04) with the Kelowna Rockets, helping them win the 2004 Memorial Cup.


The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have fired general manager and head coach Bill Rotheisler, who had one year left on his contract. . . . He just completed his second season with the Rebels. . . . “I don’t know what happened, to be honest with you,” Rotheisler told John Boivin of the Castlegar News. “I’m still waiting for my official papers that would explain the reason. I would love to provide you with an answer.” . . . Mike Johnstone, the team president, told Boivin that the board of directors “decided to go in a different direction.” . . . The Rebels finished this season in second place in their division, winning 30 of 47 games. They got past the defending-champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks in the first round of the playoffs, then lost a five-game series to the Nelson Leafs. . . . Boivin’s story is right here.