‘Just why are we doing this?’ . . . ‘If we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us.’



The MLS is Back tournament in Orlando, Fla., continues to stagger along, having lost two teams because of players testing positive, and having to postpone a Sunday morning game for the same reason.

Major League Baseball teams are trying to hold something resembling training camps between positive tests and teams having to cancel workouts for reasons that include delays in receiving results.

The NBA has its teams in bubbles in Orlando, practising and preparing to restart their season. There have been positive tests — CBS Sports has reported “dozens” of them — since late June when players returned to practice facilities.

The NHL has teams opening training camps today (Monday) and later will head for the two bubble cities — Edmonton and Toronto — in hopes of resuming their season. In its last weekly report, the NHL said 35 players have tested positive in the past month, with 23 of those coming since workouts began at team facilities on June 8.

The NHL has placed a gag order on its teams, with the league office taking over the reporting of player absences. The NHL won’t provide illness or injury specifics.

On Sunday, Arpon Basu of The Athletic reported that at least three players with the Montreal Canadiens have tested positive “in recent days.” Neither the NHL nor the Canadiens would comment.

As of Sunday evening, seven players had opted out of returning to play — D Karl Alzner, Montreal; F Sven Baertschi, Vancouver; D Mike Green, Edmonton; D Travis Hamonic, Calgary; D Steven Kampfer, Boston; D Roman Polak, Dallas; and D Zach Trotman, Pittsburgh. I believe all of them made the decision to put their health and that of their families ahead of playing in what is truly a bogus season.

(I admit to having stole ‘bogus season’ from Ann Killion, a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle.

(After C Buster Posey of the Giants opted not to play in this MLB season, Killion wrote: “Every single one of the roughly 2,500 or so individuals being asked to participate in a bogus, truncated baseball season have their own personal decisions to make.”)

The deadline for NHL players to opt out without penalty is today (Monday) at 5 p.m. ET.

The Canadiens have given F Max Domi an extra seven to 10 days to make a decision on reporting to camp. Domi has Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.

Keeping the previous paragraphs in mind, I have to ask: Am I the only person wondering what is going here?

Have we as a society gotten to the point where we sit idly by, in some instances applauding and cheering, as billionaire owners march their athletes like so much chattel into what they all seem to be calling a return to play but in which there are so many unknowns?

How is it that we are in a place where a young man like Domi has to make this kind of decision?

With the U.S. government calling for a return to school next month, Canyons School District in Utah is making plans to re-open. Part of its return-to-school protocol includes this, after it touches on things like exposure letter and distance learning plan information:

“Template letter for the death of a student, teacher.”

It’s enough to make one wonder if various leagues and teams have such a thing in their return-to-play protocols.


Bee


In a brilliant piece in The New York Times, John Branch writes:

“On Wednesday, the day that the Ivy League canceled fall sports, nearly 60,000 new cases were reported in the United States, a new high.

“Some of those were college athletes. Through Wednesday, at least 426  had tested positive for the coronavirus among roughly 50 Division I programs, but the number of cases is likely much higher. About half of American universities either did not respond to requests for testing results from The New York Times, or declined to provide numbers, under the auspices of protecting the privacy of student-athletes.

“Ohio State, in suspending its off-season workout programs this week, did not reveal how many students tested positive. It only said that the shutdown impacted seven sports, including football.

“Such news accelerates as the fall sports calendar approaches. And if reasonable people at some of the world’s great universities had not seriously pondered this question before, they are now:

“Just why are we doing this?”

Branch’s piece is right here.


Look, I’m sorry, but COVID-19 is here and it isn’t going anywhere, at least not for the foreseeable future. I want to see live sporting events on my TV set with fans hooting and hollering in the background. I want to see a  return to some kind of normalcy just as badly as anyone, but I have come to realize that in the months ahead we are going to have to get used to a new normal, whatever that might be.

As Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for Public Health in Seattle and King County, told a news conference on Friday:

“It’s just critical that, as a community, we understand the long-term nature of COVID-19. None of us asked for this, none of us wanted this. But it’s with us and we have to deal with it. And if we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us.”


Kevan Smith, a catcher in camp with the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., spent the early part of summer working out at home in Pittsburgh.

It seems that he has found Florida to be a bit different.

“Felt like you couldn’t even walk outside without a mask on (at home),” Smith told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “I feel like here you go out with a mask, we have guys getting called names and all the above. Just a totally different feel.

“I heard a story, one of the (guys), I don’t know if I can use this word, he was in a store shopping for food and I guess it was a resident called the player a pansy for wearing his mask.

“I went out briefly to just pick up some takeout food, and I swear I got like a dozen eyeballs on me, looking at me like I’m like the weirdo walking in with a mask. Little do they know what is at stake for my life and for my livelihood. It’s just very immature and just whatever you want to call it. It’s comical. It’s going on all over the world, but we’re seeing it firsthand here.”


Early last week, 2B Scott Kingery of the Philadelphia Phillies, who is back on the field after being out with COVID-19, told Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia: The virus “can creep up on you and get you pretty bad like it did with me.

Kingery now is symptom-free, but he continues to deal with shortness of breath, a month after being diagnosed. . . .

On Saturday, the New York Yankees revealed that Aroldis Chapman, one of MLB’s best relievers, had tested positive. He has some symptoms and is out indefinitely. . . .

Kenley Jansen, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer, was late reporting to their camp because he had tested positive. He said he is “doing great and better now.” He told reporters that he had family members who also tested positive, but they have recovered. . . .

C Cam Gallagher of the Kansas City Royals played in an intrasquad game on Friday and tested positive on Saturday. The Royals now have had at least four players test positive. . . .

P Luis Perdomo and SS Luis Urias of the Milwaukee Brewers have tested positive, but are asymptomatic. The Brewers also are without P Eric Lauer, who didn’t get to camp until Friday. He hasn’t tested positive, but was in contact with someone who did.


TV


Jockey Flavien Prat tested positive after riding in Kentucky on Saturday. He was tested in La Jolla, Calif., on Sunday. He had eight rides at Del Mar on Sunday, but had to give them up. . . . Victor Espinoza, a jockey who is in horse racing’s hall of fame, tested positive in La Jolla on Friday. . . . Two other prominent jockeys — Martin Garcia and Luis Saez — also have tested positive.



From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times . . .

What a difference four months makes:

March 9: Jazz center Rudy Gobert mockingly touches every microphone at a news conference, contracts COVID-19 and shuts down the NBA season.

July 9: 76ers center Joel Embiid, headed to the Disney World bubble for the season restart, shows up in a hazmat suit.


In my world, Tony Kubek is perhaps the most under-rated analyst in MLB broadcast history. How I used to look forward to Saturday afternoons with Kubek and Curt Gowdy . . .


Headline at fark.com: MLB releases 60-day COVID-19 spreading schedule.


Hartley Miller attacks Redundant Rhetoric in his latest Hartley’s Hart Attack blog entry that is right here. Oh my, there are a lot of pet peeves in here, starting with this point about game times: “How about this traditional one-liner — And tonight’s game will start at 7 ‘PM.’ Thanks for the notice; I would have waited until seven the next morning to watch ‘tonight’s’ game.”


An NFL prediction from Tim Hunter of KRKO Radio: “Patrick Mahomes has signed a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs that will definitely last longer than the team’s name.”

On that subject, the Washington NFL team reportedly will announce today that it is changing its nickname. But it won’t yet announce that nickname as it proceeds through the legalities of a change.



Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “Cubs pitcher Jose Quintana lacerated a thumb while washing dishes. Jose, you make big-league money. Look into this really neat invention. It’s called a dishwasher!”


Chimes

Pandemic responsible for rash of WHL signings? . . . Co-owner: Cougars 1,500 fans a game from breaking even . . . Hanlon’s latest gig in German DEL

With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


After the Red Deer Rebels announced the signing of Arjun Bawa, a second-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft, on Thursday, Alan Caldwell, who keeps track of these things, tweeted:

“Bawa makes 15 of 22 second-rounds picks signed now. Add to 19 of the 22 first-rounders and that’s 34 of the first 44 picks from 2020.

“Five 3rd-rounders, one 4th and one 5th make 41 players signed from the 2020 draft already.”

And, as Caldwell also noted, the numbers “may actually be higher as some teams don’t announce signings.” (Note: There were more signings on Friday, too, with 21 of 22 first-round picks from 2020 now having signed.)

Whatever the numbers, I can’t ever recall a time when the WHL’s 22 teams signed so many players in such a short period of time. After all, the draft was held on April 22.

So . . . why the rush?

I had wondered if perhaps the WHL’s 22 teams were feeling more pressure than usual from leagues like the BCHL and USHL. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Two people with an understanding of the situation have told me that you likely can chalk it up to the pandemic. Unable to take vacations and with not a whole lot of other things on their plate at the moment, team executives simply have sped up the signing process.

And, no, neither Bill Gates nor 5G have had anything to do with it.



Wondering how much money the Prince George Cougars lost last season? Hartley Miller PrinceGeorgeof 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97 takes a look in his weekly Hart Attack column and it’s all right here. . . . On Tuesday, John Pateman, one of the team’s owners and the franchise’s president, took part in a virtual town hall with fans. At one point, he offered: “It’s been a struggle financially for the ownership group over the last several years. We’ve obviously lost a lot of money. I would suggest, last season, we were probably 1,500 fans short of paying all our bills per game, that’s without making the playoffs.” . . . Do the math, as Miller does in his column, and this looks a lot like about a $1-million loss. Yikes!


Married


Glen Hanlon is the new head coach of the Krefeld Pinguine of the German DEL. He finished last season as the head coach of DVTK Jegesmedvek in Slovakia. . . . Hanlon, 63, spent two seasons (2016-18) as the general manager of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants before going back to Europe where he gained considerable experience after spending the better part of four seasons on staff with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.


Paul McFarland has left his position as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs to take over as head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. . . . McFarland spent three previous seasons (2014-17) as the Frontenacs’ head coach before joining the Florida Panthers for two seasons as an assistant coach. He then spent one season with the Maple Leafs. . . . In Kingston, he replaces Kurtis Foster, who was fired on April 29 after two seasons in the position.


Mike Rooney is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. Rooney, from Yellow Grass, Sask., spent last season working as a skating/skills coach with the Notre Dames Hound program in Wilcox, Sask. . . . Rooney replaces Kyle Adams, who was dismissed on Feb. 26. . . . Rooney is a familiar face in Saskatchewan hockey circles, but hasn’t done a whole lot of coaching. He was the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers for two seasons (1995-97) and the GM/director of player personnel for the SJHL’s Hounds (1997-2000). . . . He also has considerable experience as an NHL and WHL scout.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon with his Thought for the Day, this one from H.L. Mencken: “If x is the population of the United States and y is the degree of imbecility of the average American, then democracy is the theory that x × y is less than y.”


Banjo


Oliver David of the Dubuque Fighting Saints has been named the USHL’s coach of the year for 2019-20. The Fighting Saints had the USHL’s best defensive record en route to finishing second in the overall standings. . . . Oliver spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, where he worked alongside general manager and head coach Mike Johnston. . . . You have to admit that Johnston’s managerial coaching tree is looking rather impressive. It includes Garry Davidson, the general manager of the Everett Silvertips; Matt Bardsley, the GM of the Kamloops Blazers and the Western Conference’s executive of the year; Grant Armstrong and Josh Dye, who both have gone on to scout with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning; Karl Taylor, the head coach of the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals; and Travis Green, the head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . It is somewhat interesting that Johnston, despite Portland being one of the WHL’s premier franchises, has never been saluted as executive or coach of the year. The Winterhawks are the reigning Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy holders as regular-season champions.



The B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame has cancelled its 2020 induction dinner that was to have been held in Penticton on July 24. It is expected that the 2020 inductees will be installed in the Hall of Fame at a celebration in the summer of 2021. The class features players Eric Brewer and Mattias Ohlund, official Jay Sharrers, builder Ray Stonehouse, and two teams — the 2002 Kootenay Ice and 2012 Penticton Vees.


The West Coast League says it still hopes to play baseball this season, despite the fact that five of its 12 teams have said they aren’t able to play because of restrictions having been placed on facilities by health officials and the fact that the U.S.-Canada border remains closed. That includes the Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats, the league’s two Canadian franchises. Also out are the Bellingham Bells, Bend Elks and Corvallis Knights. . . . The WCL’s regular season was to have started on June 5. In a news release, the league said it now is “targeting early July for the return of baseball to our member cities.” . . . The WCL’s other franchises are located in Portland the Washington communities of Longview (Cowlitz Black Bears), Port Angeles, Ridgefield, Walla Walla and Yakima. . . .

Baseball Alberta announced on Friday that it has cancelled all sanctioned events and activities through Aug. 31. . . . The senior Red Deer Riggers immediately tweeted that their season was over, but they are looking forward to 2021 when they are to be the host team for nationals.


Grandma

Hope: It’s been a wonderful run . . . Does Prince George Rec League need help from feds? . . . New commish for PJHL

It sounds like Cam Hope doesn’t know why he was fired on Wednesday as the president and general manager of the WHL’s Victoria Royals, and he’s taking the high road. . . . Interestingly, Hope ran the Royals’ bantam draft on April 22, then had the rug yanked out VictoriaRoyalsfrom under him just one week later. . . . Hope had joined the Royals in 2012 after spending seven seasons with the NHL’s New York Rangers, the first three as vice-president of hockey operations and the last four as assistant GM. . . . He was the Royals’ GM for three seasons, then president and GM for five. . . . The Royals made the playoffs in each of his eight seasons, but never got out of the second round. . . . “We’re in a results oriented business,” Hope told Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist,“and (results) are a matter of perspective. If you don’t win a championship, (well) you serve at the pleasure of ownership. I thought we had three good chances — in 2016, in 2018 and, as crazy as it sounds, this year with a team that was poised, and it’s disappointing not to get that chance. Often in sports, it’s in the hands of the gods.” . . . Graham Lee, the franchise’s owner, was quoted in the news release announcing Hope’s dismissal, but that’s been it. . . . Hope added: “It’s been eight terrific years in the best job in junior hockey. It’s extremely hard to create a sustainable business in this league. But I’ve enjoyed every day of it and it’s been a wonderful run.” . . . With Hope pulling the strings, the Royals had a 316-205-52 regular-season record. Good luck to the Royals in finding someone who can match that. . . . Dheensaw’s complete story is right here.


The 2020 IIHF World Men’s Hockey Championship had been scheduled for Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland, from May 8-24. Of course, it was postponed. There had been talk of Switzerland playing host in 2021, but that has been ruled out and it will remain in Belarus and Latvia. . . . The Swiss federation was interested in 2021, but changed its mind, citing financial risks and — get this! — the risk of the coronavirus still being a factor a year from now. . . .

The Hungarian government has banned all large gatherings through Aug. 15, so the F1 Hungarian Grand Prix will be run without fans in attendance if it is held on Aug. 2. . . . F1 officials continue to work on their schedule, which has been riddled by cancellations and postponements. . . .

NASCAR says it is going to start its season on May 17 at Darlington, S.C., Raceway. The Coca-Cola 600 is set for Charlotte, N.C., Motor Speedway on May 24. . . . No fans allowed, though.


Waldo


The WHL made it to fark.com, which took note of the 2020 bantam draft with this: “The virus of Brayden has passed its peak. Minus, it has mutated into variations of Hayden, Aiden, Kaden, Jayden, Grayden and (deep breath) Teydon.”


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon with his Thought for the Day, this one from Will Rogers: “The short memories of the American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.”


If baseball’s 10-team Expedition League does get its season started, the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks, who call Brandon home, will be playing out of a city in North Dakota. . . . Brian Pallister, Manitoba’s premier, had said on Wednesday that there won’t be live sporting events with fans in attendance in the province until at least September. That combined with the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel meant the Whiskey Jacks wouldn’t be able to play in Brandon. So they will set up shop in a North Dakota community yet to be named. . . . The league’s Opening Day had been set for May 26, but that has been postponed, although a new date hasn’t yet been announced. . . . The league, a summer circuit for college players, also has teams in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming. . . . Thomas Friesen of the Brandon Sun has more right here.


With a number of sporting leagues — CFL, CPL, CEBL, BCHL, KIJHL — apparently asking the feds for some financial help, Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat in Prince George and myprincegeorgenow.com wonders: “Is it time for the Prince George Rec Hockey League to ask the government for a handout?” . . . Yes, I think he was joking. But, hey, in these bizarre times you just never know.


In his weekly Hart Attack column, which is right here, Hartley Miller asked a few timely questions:

“What are the contingency plans for junior hockey leagues like the WHL and BCHL should physical distancing measures still be in place for the fall (which is highly likely) and even into the new year? It seems obvious that these leagues are not financially viable without fans, and many of them, in the stands.

“What will be the protocol when sports do return and a competing athlete tests positive for COVID-19? Does everything get shutdown again or do we just shrug our shoulders and just keep playing?”


Hands


Trevor Alto is the junior B Pacific Junior Hockey League’s new commissioner. Alto, 41, takes over from Ray Stonehouse, who had been in charge since 2016. Stonehouse, 76, will remain as a senior advisor through 2021-22. . . . Alto was the BCHL’s executive director under then-commissioner John Grisdale from 2012-19.

——

Bayne Koen is the new head coach of the junior B Richmond Sockeyes of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. He is a veteran junior coach on the Lower Mainland of B.C., and, in fact, has won four championships, most recently in 2018-19 in his fourth and final season with the North Van Wolf Pack. He also has been a PJHL head coach with the Port Coquitlam Buckeroos and Port Moody Black Panthers. Last season, he was the director of player development with the White Rock Whalers and also coached a bantam prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy. . . . With the Sockeyes, he takes over from Brett Reusch, who left the club on April 9, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.


Embalm

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering how Canucks fans are taking things . . .

Scattershooting

Heavyweight Deontay Wilder blamed his loss to Tyson Fury on a 40-pound costume that he wore into the ring for the introductions. Said it took all the zip out of his legs. What did Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, think of that excuse? “And women are going, ‘40 pounds? Meh, that’s the weight of my small purse,’ ” she wrote.



Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade, is of the opinion that there is “a very real human element” to the David Ayres story. “He has one of his mom’s kidneys, you see,” Swansson writes, “and his new-born celebrity allows Ayres to raise awareness and funds for a disease that, according to the National Kidney Foundation, causes more deaths in the U.S. than breast or prostate cancer. One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease, and I happen to be among them. I’m at Stage 4, and there’s no cure for the silent killer. Not surprisingly, though, the kidney angle is too often an afterthought in the telling of the Ayres tale, because who thinks about their kidneys until they go on the fritz?” . . . You can read The River City Renegade right here.

——

One more from Swansson: “Wow, CBS will be paying Tony Romo $17 million to flap his gums during National Football League games next season. Hmmm, I wonder how much it would take for Fox to get Terry Bradshaw to stop talking.”


Honey


Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Hey, NFL, let’s just make your season an even 30 games. That would really jack up the income of the owners and the salaries of the players . . . for one season. Then every player would be injured or dead, and the league would fold. But let’s not dwell on the down side.

“It’s called greed. NFL owners simply can’t get enough money, and players can’t resist a slight pay hike, even if it costs them dearly in terms of injuries and shortened careers. Richard Sherman’s lonely voice of sanity was drowned out by the merry cha-chinging of the cash register.”


“It’s February 28,” wrote Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, on Thursday. “Not sure what we’re going to call Donald Trump’s coronavirus strategy. Alas ‘March Madness’ is already taken.”


Onion


There was a time when Brandi Brodsky was the vice-president of business with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. . . . There were good times and there were bad times — a house that was egged, needing an escort from the press box to the office, having to lock the office door with the team on the road. . . . She talks about all that and more on Hartley Miller’s Cat Scan, a podcast that is right here.


Gillian Kemmerer, who blogs at The Caviar Diplomat, sat down with Scotty Bowman on the day of the NHL trade deadline. Most of the conversation was about Russian hockey and players, and it’s well worth reading. It’s all right here.


D Ty Smith had eight points on Friday night, leading his Spokane Chiefs to a 9-2 WHL victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Spokane Spokesman-Review posted five brief paragraphs — not one containing a quote from Smith — about the game on its website. . . . On Saturday, the host Chiefs beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3 in a shootout. This game got seven paragraphs. . . . You don’t suppose that the Spokesman-Review has stopped sending writers and photographers to Chiefs’ home games, do you? If so, what’s up with that?


“Ever notice,” writes Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, “that there are no grammar-checking editors anywhere in radio or television, including talk-show hosts? Thus, the steady stream of ‘would have gave,’ ‘should have went,’ ‘as we seen,’ ‘that’s what he do,’ and other fractured offerings. No need to get upset; nobody else is. Apparently, it’s absolutely fine.”



JUST NOTES: Al Strachan, who spent a lot of years covering the NHL and was a regular on Hockey Night in Canada, has a new book on the way. Hot Stove: The Untold Stories of the Original Hockey Insiders is to be released on Nov. 17, just in time for Christmas. . . . Former WHL F Carter Rigby will return as head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes, who didn’t qualify for the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League playoffs this season. Rigby stepped in has the Coyotes’ head coach in December. . . . ICYMI, the Vancouver Canucks went east and lost to the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets, blowing a late 3-1 lead in the latter game on Sunday. They aren’t rioting in the streets of Vancouver — yet — but the panic is running in the streets like so much rain water.

Czech goalie appears headed to Chiefs. . . . ‘Canes’ Cozens suffers thumb injury. . . . Campbell staying in Portland


MacBeth

F Brandon McMillan (Kelowna, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, in 47 games, he had seven goals and 12 assists. An alternate captain he averaged 19:04 TOI. . . .

D Anatoli Yelizarov (Edmonton, 2015-17) has been traded by Salavat Yulaev Ufa to Sochi (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. Last season, with Salavat Yulaev, he was pointless in 40 games. He also had one assist in 16 games with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), and had one assist in two games with Tolpas Ufa (Russia, MHL). . . . MHL (Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga) is Russia’s national junior league.


ThisThat

Allan Walsh is a prominent player agent and the co-managing director at Octagon-Hockey. One of his clients would seem to be Czech G Lukas Pařík, 18, who was selected by the Spokane Chiefs in Thursday’s CHL import draft and it would seem that he is bound for the WHL. . . . A few days earlier, Pařík had been selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the third round of the NHL draft, then spent a few days in the Kings’ development camp. . . . At this point in time, he joins three other goaltenders on the Chiefs’ depth chart — veterans Bailey Brkin and Reece Klassen, both of whom are prepping for their 20-year-old seasons, and Campbell Arnold, a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft who played last season with the junior B Spokane Braves.


F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes suffered an injury to his left thumb on Saturday while in the Buffalo Sabres’ development camp. It appears that the thumb was hurt as he put his hand down in the hopes of easing a fall as he tried to absorb a hip check from D Brandon Hickey. . . . Cozens, who is to see a specialist on Monday, later told reporters: “It’s good. I saw the videos and stuff. I think it looked a lot worse than it really was. . . . but right when it happened I wanted to get right back out there, so I’m feeling good.” . . . Cozens told reporters that the thumb isn’t broken. He also kept his left hand in the pouch of his hoodie as he spoke with reporters. . . . The Sabres selected Cozens with the seventh pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft.


You may recall that the Prince George Cougars’ 2018-19 schedule included an 11-game road trip that began in early December and ran into Christmas, all but ruined their season and may well have cost head coach Richard Matvichuk his job. . . . So what kind of schedule are the Cougars looking at for 2019-20? . . . Hartley Miller of 94.3 the GOAT and the analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts, takes a look right here.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping here, why not consider donating to the cause? All that’s involved is clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and following the instructions. Thank you very much.


An interesting item from Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade, who is a must read whenever she posts a smorgasbord of thoughts and opinions, which usually is a couple of times a week

“Can it really be true that parents are required to pony up $12,000 for their 17- and 18-year-old kids to skate with Winnipeg Blues in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League? That, according to an article by Taylor Allen in the Drab Slab, is up from $3,000 last season. I don’t make a habit of telling folks how to spend their money, but in this case I will: Are you people nuts? That’s a lot of coin for a handful of hope. I mean, if the goal for your boy is the National Hockey League, you might be better off buying $12,000 worth of lottery tickets. I don’t blame parents for dreaming, though. The bad guys here are the mucky-mucks at 50 Below Sports + Entertainment. That $12,000 price tag is just wrong.”

The “Drab Slab” is the Winnipeg Free Press, in which Allen wrote:

“To suit up for the Blues this (season), it will cost $12,000 for players between the ages of 17 and 18, and $6,000 for 19- and 20-year-olds. Last (season), players had to pay roughly $3,000, with some of the cost offset by fundraising. The price has gone way up, as the Blues, who are owned by the same ownership group as the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, are now a club whose main intention is to develop players in hopes of getting them ready to play in the WHL.”

Are the Blues the only junior A team in all of Canada whose goal is to groom players for the WHL rather than try to get them hockey scholarships with NCAA teams?

Swansson’s complete piece is right here.



The Portland Winterhawks have re-signed Rich Campbell, their athletic trainer/strength Portlandand conditioning coach, to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. . . . Campbell is prepping for his 12th season with the Winterhawks. . . . “Rich Campbell is the longest serving member of our current staff, and we are pleased to announce that he will be returning for several more seasons,” Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, said in a news release. “One of the key reasons we are able to develop players for the National Hockey League is because of the work Rich does off the ice.” . . . Campbell’s resume includes a stint with the 2008 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team that played in the Beijing Games, and working as the head trainer for the NHL’s New York Islanders from 1997 to 2006.


JUST NOTES:

The Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Dave Hakstol as an assistant coach under head coach Mike Babcock. Hakstol, the former U of North Dakota head coach, was fired as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 17. . . . The Leafs had an opening on their staff after Jim Hiller, a former WHL player and coach, left after four seasons to join the staff of the New York Islanders. Hiller was the head coach of the Chilliwack Bruins for three seasons (2006-09) and the Tri-City Americans for five (2009-14). . . .

Mike Vellucci, who was the head coach of the AHL-champion Charlotte Checkers for two seasons, now is the head coach of that league’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. . . . The announcement was made on Friday, one day after Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli resigned for personals reasons. . . . Vellucci is the AHL’s reigning coach of the year. . . . He spent five seasons (2014-19) with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations. For the past two seasons, he also was Charlotte’s head coach. Before joining Carolina, he spent 14 seasons (2001-14) as the GM/head coach of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. . . .

The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League have named Clayton Robinson their general manager and head coach, with Jesse Hammill coming on board as associate coach. . . . Robinson has owned the franchise since May 1, 2018. . . . Curtis Toneff, the team’s GM/head coach for two seasons, left to join the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos as an assistant coach.

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Will Lamb stay, or will he go? . . . Cranbrook: Ice isn’t tenant, so doesn’t control lease. . . . Royals sign local twins

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F Davis Vandane (Saskatoon, Spokane, Prince Albert, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 55 games. . . .

F Jens Meilleur (Brandon, 2010-14) has announced his retirement through the website of the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Kassel, he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 52 games. Meilleur is quoted in the announcement as saying that he is returning to Manitoba to work on the family farm. . . .

D Patrik Maier (Kamloops, Moose Jaw, 2014-16) has signed a one-year contract with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was pointless in four games, while, in 47 games on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had six goals and nine assists.


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The Prince George Cougars have been without a head coach since their season ended in PrinceGeorgeMarch. You are free to wonder if they soon also will be looking for a general manager. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen took a look at the situation in a story for Wednesday’s paper. . . . Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager, is friends with, and has worked with, Dave Tippett, the new head coach of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . “Now entering the second year of a four-year contract with the Cougars,” Clarke writes, “Lamb would neither confirm nor deny whether he’s about to be hired by the NHL team, but the stars appear to be aligned in that direction.” . . . Clarke’s complete story is right here.


As it played its final WHL season in Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place, the Kootenay Ice had a lease that ran through the 2022-23 season. Now that the team has moved to Winnipeg, the city feels the Ice no longer is a tenant so doesn’t control the lease. . . . That’s the word from Paul Heywood, the city’s acting director of community services, who was responding to charges from a group that attempted to purchase and relocate an AJHL franchise (Calgary Mustangs) and later a KIJHL team (Kelowna Chiefs) to Cranbrook. . . . The group said in a news release that the city’s refusal to approve a sublease between it and the Ice ended the chances of placing a team in Cranbrook. . . . Heywood told Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman: “The City has not turned down any offers, and we presently have a questionnaire open for any hockey organizations that are willing to submit an offer to bring their team to Cranbrook. The City of Cranbrook decided that the Kootenay Ice (is) no longer a tenant in Western Financial Place, after establishing offices in Winnipeg and selling tickets for a new season at the Wayne Fleming Arena at the University of Manitoba. The City of Cranbrook has clearly stated that the Winnipeg Ice no longer (has) the right to assign a sublease to any hockey organization. It will remain at the discretion (of) the City of Cranbrook to choose which hockey team will be coming to WFP.” . . . Crawley’s complete story, including the group’s news release, is right here.


The Victoria Royals have signed twin brothers Jason and Ryan Spizawka to WHL VictoriaRoyalscontracts. Both were taken in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Jason, a defenceman, was selected in the first round. Last season, with the bantam prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., he had two goals and 23 assists in 28 games. . . . Ryan, also a defenceman, was taken in the seventh round. He also played at Yale Hockey Academy, putting up eight goals and 12 assists in 28 games. . . .

This Victoria franchise, which entered the WHL as the Chilliwack Bruins, has had at least one other set of brothers, but the Walker boys weren’t twins. From Edina, Minn., Ben played from 2011-14, and Jack was there from 2012-17.

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The WHL’s 22 teams now have signed 15 first-round selections from the May 2 draft. . . .

WHL 2019 FIRST-ROUNDERS

UNSIGNED:

1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth

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SIGNED:

2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker


It is always interesting to compare ticket prices between WHL teams. Hartley Miller, the news and sports supervisor at 94.3 the GOAT in Prince George, has done just that, taking a look at the Cougars and the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Miller also is the analyst on broadcasts of Cougars’ home games. . . . His comparison piece is right here.


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Mike Pelino, a former WHL coach, will spend next season working as an assistant coach with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. He will be working alongside first-year head coach Craig MacTavish. . . . Pelino, 59, spent two seasons (1997-99) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . He has spent the past six seasons working in the KHL. This season, he was an assistant coach with Avangard Omsk. Prior to that, he was on staff with Metallurg Magnitogorsk for five seasons.


The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers are in the market for a general manager/head coach after Curtis Toneff signed on as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . The Buccaneers play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. . . . Toneff, who is from Nanaimo, was the Buccaneers’ head coach for two seasons. . . .

The VIJHL’s Saanich Braves also are looking for a general manager/head coach, with Sam Waterfield having joined the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express as an assistant coach. . . . Waterfield spent two seasons with the Braves.


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Giants, Raiders head back to P.A. . . . Game 6 scheduled for Sunday. . . . Guelph one win from title in OHL


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The Guelph Storm won its third straight game on Friday night, beating the host Ottawa ohl67’s, 4-3, to take a 3-2 lead in the OHL’s championship series. . . . They’ll play Game 6 in Guelph on Sunday. . . . Last night, the Storm got a goal and an assist from F Alexey Toropchenko, who has seven goals in his past four games. He has 13 goals in these playoffs. . . . F Tye Felhaber scored twice for Ottawa. He now leads the OHL playoffs, with 17 goals. . . . The 67’s opened the playoffs with 14 straight victories, but now have lost three in a row — for the first time this season — and are facing elimination on Sunday.



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The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio have extended their broadcast agreement through the 2019-20 season. . . . The Cougars’ games, home and away, will again be heard on 94.3 The GOAT. . . . Fraser Rodgers will be back for his third season as the play-by-play voice. . . . Hartley Miller, The GOAT’s sports director, will be the analyst for a seventh straight season.


Sean Murray, a goaltending coach who has worked with the Portland Winterhawks, TrailVancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars, has signed on with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Murray, a coach for more than 20 years, spent five seasons (2006-11) with the Giants, and was part of their Memorial Cup title in 2007. . . . He also pent three-plus seasons with the Winterhawks and two working with the Cougars. . . . The Smoke Eaters also have hired Jeff Urekar, who had been the head coach of the major midget North East Chiefs, as assistant GM.


The AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced Friday that they have “parted ways” OilBaronswith Tom Keca, who had been their general manager and head coach through four seasons. . . . In a news release, David Fitzgerald, the organization’s president, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to agree on terms with Tom to extend his contract beyond this season. In light of this, we decided that it was best for the organization to move in a different direction next season.” . . . Before taking over as GM/head coach, Keca had been an assistant coach with the Oil Barons for four-plus seasons. He also spent five seasons (2000-05) on the staff as an assistant before taking over as head coach of the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Dave Dupas has stepped in as general manager and head coach “until further notice.” . . . Dupas has been an assistant coach with Fort McMurray for the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings for four seasons. . . . This season, the Oil Barons went 32-19-9 to finish fourth in the Viterra AJHL North. They beat the Grande Prairie Storm, 3-1, in a best-of-five first-round series, then lost a best-of-seven affair to the Sherwood Park Crusaders, 4-2.


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NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is headed back to the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. . . . The Vancouver Giants beat the Raiders, 4-3, on Friday night in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders now hold a 3-2 lead in the series. . . . The two teams will climb on to the same plane today and fly to Prince Albert where Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday. . . . A seventh game, if needed, would be played on Monday. . . .

Prior to Game 5, Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Steve Ewen of Postmedia: “The one thing I know for sure is that you don’t give games away. You have a chance like this, you play this like it’s Game 7. “You want to end it as quick as possible. (Friday) is our Game 7.” . . .

After Game 5, Habscheid told reporters: “If someone had told me at the start of the (season) that we’d have two games at home to try and win the league title, we’d take it.” . . .

This is the third straight WHL final to go six games. . . . Two seasons ago, the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the host Regina Pats, 4-3 in OT, to win that series, 4-2. . . . Last season, it was the Swift Current Broncos winning Game 6, 3-0 over the visiting Everett Silvertips, to take that series, 4-2. . . .

On Friday, at 8:15 p.m. PT, with Game 5 between Vancouver and Prince Albert in the first intermission, Rogers Sportsnet had Plays of the Month on four channels, MLB’s Best on one channel and Highlights of the Night on another. Just sayin’ . . . No, Game 6 of the OHL’s championship final wasn’t on any of the channels earlier in the evening either.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Vancouver Giants erased a 2-1 deficit with three-second period goals en route to a 4-Vancouver3 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Raiders lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-2, with Game 6 to be played in Prince Albert on Sunday. . . . Game 7, if necessary, would be played on Monday. . . . Last night, the Giants got the game’s first goal, at 7:42 of the first period, when F Brayden Watts (7) deposited a rebound off a shot by F Tristen Nielsen into an empty side. . . . The team scoring first now is 5-0 in this series. . . . The Raiders tied it at 10:44 as F Aliaksei Protas (12) scored from the slot off a rebound from a shot by F Sean Montgomery. . . . The teams then combined for five goals in the second period. . . . The visitors took their only lead at 2:45, just nine seconds after killing off a penalty. F Dante Hannoun came free in front of the Giants’ net and beat G David Tendeck for his WHL-leading 13th goal of these playoffs. . . . Vancouver tied it 50 seconds later as D Bowen Byram (8) skated into the left side of the slot and beat G Ian Scott for his first goal of the series. . . . F Davis Koch (3) put the home boys back out front, putting home a rebound at 9:24. He had gone 12 games without a goal. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (6) upped Vancouver’s lead to 4-2 at 11:13 with a shot from the top of the left circle off a play by F Dawson Holt, who gained possession of the puck with some good work along the boards and then threw out a terrific pass. . . . The Raiders got back to within a goal at 15:54 as F Noah Gregor (11) got a backhand shot through Tendeck after the Giants failed to clear their zone. . . . F Jadon Joseph had two assists for Giants, while Byram added an assist to his goal, as did Watts. . . . The Raiders got two assists from F Brett Leason. . . . Leason and Byram remain tied for the playoff points lead, each with 25, two ahead of Hannoun. . . . Tendeck finished with 37 saves, including 16 in the third period as he helped keep the Raiders off the scoreboard. . . . Scott stopped 26 shots. . . . The Giants were 0-1 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-2. . . . The Raiders had D Max Martin back in the lineup after he missed Games 3 and 4. He was injured in the second period of Game 2 after crashing awkwardly into the end boards. With Martin back in, D Loeden Schaufler came out. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Fraser Lawrence, with Ron Dietterle and Brett Mackey working the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.


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Brewer says Cougars’ “uptick is coming.” . . . Raiders, Blades are up 3-0 and in control. . . . Chiefs take Winterhawks to the Woods’ shed


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If you are waiting for the Prince George Cougars to make a move, like out of town, forget about it.

Eric Brewer, a former NHL/WHL defenceman who is part of the organization’s PrinceGeorgeownership group of six, made a second apperance with Hartley Miller on the latter’s Cat Scan podcast, and made it quite clear that the Cougars aren’t going anywhere. He said he is in it for the long term and that means a long time.

“Long-term for me means a long way out,” Brewer said. “I don’t know how you would quantify a long term. There really has been no discussion to move the team that I’m aware of. We’re just trying to improve . . .

“We’re asking people to be patient because we feel the uptick is coming. . . . It’s coming but it does take time. Some people have stayed away a little bit . . . they want to see kind of where we’re going with it, and we understand. . . . Certainly winning a few games and a playoff run or two would help.”

Brewer added that the ownership group, which has owned the team for five years, really wants “this thing to be good and we want it to be a real positive experience for the families, for the fans, for the businesses, for the community overall. It’s a real big part of Prince George, It is the community’s team . . . we may own it, but we’re just kind of a vehicle for everyone to be a part of it.”

The Cougars missed the playoffs, and Brewer said it was “definitely a growing” season for the team. “But,” he added, “we are getting there . . . we are going up.”

Brewer also talked about the Cougars’ 17-game losing streak, the firing of head coach Richard Matvichuk, the Kootenay Ice moving to Winnipeg and a whole lot more. . . . It’s all right here.


The WHL hasn’t announced its exhibition schedule, but there will be two games, both featuring the Edmonton Oil Kings and Prince George Cougars, played in Dawson Creek, B.C. . . . Those games will be played at the Encana Events Centre on Sept. 12, 7 p.m., and Sept, 14, 1 p.m. . . . Proceeds from the games are ticketed for the Dawson Creek and District Hospital Foundation. . . . D Wyatt McLeod of the Oil Kings if from Dawson Creek, so this will be a homecoming of sorts for him.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Jacob Hoffrogge to a WHL contract. Hoffrogge, from Saskatoon, was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Hoffrogge, who turned 16 on Feb. 18, had two goals and 14 assists in 39 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts this season.


F Tristyn DeRoose scored at 4:54 of OT to give the host Estevan Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Humboldt Broncos in Game 7 of an SJHL playoff series on Tuesday night. . . . The Bruins had taken a 2-0 first-period lead on goals 19 seconds apart by F Will Koop and F Eddie Gallagher. . . . The Broncos tied it on second-period goals by D Josh Patrician, at 1:26, and F Reagan Poncelet, at 1:57. . . . DeRoose, who turned 20 on Jan. 29, won it with his first goal of these playoffs. He has played in the WHL with the Vancouver Giants and Moose Jaw Warriors. In fact, he started this season with the Warriors. In 109 WHL games, he has five goals and eight assists. In the regular season with Estevan, the native of Ceylon, Sask., recorded seven goals and 18 assists in 25 games. . . . Estevan got 29 saves from G Grant Boldt, while G Rayce Ramsay stopped 38 shots for Humboldt. . . . The announced attendance was 2,662.


Topher Scott at thehockeythinktank.com has written a piece titled: The Cost of AAA Hockey. . . . My goodness, this is scarier than Stephen King at his best. Unless you’re a loans officer or the president of a bank, of course. . . . It’s all right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: Going into Tuesday’s games, the first round of the playoffs had featured nine games in suspensions and $1,500 in fines. There don’t appear to have been any major incidents last night, although one hit in the Victoria Royals’ 3-2 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers may come in for a look. . . .

The Royals may ask for supplemental discipline after a second-period hit by F Brodi Stuart of Kamloops on D Matt Smith, who left the game and didn’t return. There wasn’t a penalty on the play, but Victoria head coach Dan Price obviously felt there was a high elbow involved. He could be seen signalling with an elbow at referee Sean Raphael, and also appeared to suggest to Raphael that the referee should “watch the replay.” . . . After the game, Price told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “I’m not going to comment on (the hit by Stuart). I appreciate you asking the question. I said what I had to say to the referee so I just want to make sure I leave that in the hands of the league. That’s above my pay grade. Our general manager will make that decision.” . . . As Tuesday night turned into Wednesday morning, Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, was pondering his options. . . .

Only the Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans weren’t in action last night. They will play Game 3 tonight in Kennewick, Wash., with the Silvertips leading, 2-0. . . . Only the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Calgary Hitmen won’t play tonight. They are scheduled to play Game 4 in Calgary on Thursday night. . . . Home teams were 2-5 last night and now are 14-9 in these playoffs. . . . 

Last night, F Cole Sillinger scored his first WHL goal for the Medicine Hat Tigers. It came in his third playoff game. His dad, Mike, totalled 20 goals in 23 playoff games with the Regina Pats back in the day. . . .

When F Jared Anderson-Dolan of the Spokane Chiefs was penalized for interference 24 seconds into the second period of their game in Portland last night, it was the first penalty called in more than four periods between these teams. There wasn’t even one penalty called in Game 2 or in the first period of Game 3.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Max Gerlach snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Saskatoon Blades skated to a 3-Saskatoon2 victory over the host Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Blades hold a 3-0 lead in the series, with Game 4 in Moose Jaw tonight. . . .  F Kyle Crnkovic (1) gave Saskatoon the lead at 18:03 of the first period. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (1) tied it at 11:29 of the second. . . . F Kirby Dach (2) put Saskatoon back out front at 17:15. . . . Warriors F Carson Denomie (2) tied it at 6:27 of the third. . . . Gerlach won it with his fourth goal of the series, on a PP, at 15:39. . . . The Warriors took back-to-back delay-of-game penalties at 13:40 and 14:12 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon was 1-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 22 saves. . . . Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff made his second straight start and stopped 37 shots. . . . F Brayden Tracey returned to the Warriors’ lineup after missing his club’s previous four games.


F Noah Gregor scored twice to help the visiting Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-2 victory over PrinceAlbertthe Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 3-0. Game 4 is to be played tonight in Red Deer. . . . The Raiders haven’t won a playoff series since 2005 when they dumped the Saskatoon Blades (4-0) and Medicine Hat Tigers (4-2) before losing in seven games to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference final. Since then, the Raiders were ousted six times in the first round and had seven non-playoff seasons. . . . The Raiders, who held a 42-16 edge in shots, got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and were never headed. . . . Gregor (1) made it 1-0 at 1:09 of the first period, and F Dante Hannoun (2) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 13:22. . . . F Brandon Hagel (4) scored for Red Deer at 4:37 of the second period. . . . Gregor (2) restored the two-goal lead at 16:45 of the third period, only to have F Reese Johnson (1) get Red Deer to within one at 18:58. . . . Prince Albert F Parker Kelly (1) iced it with the empty-netter at 19:41. . . . All four of the Prince Albert goals were unassisted. . . . The Raiders got 14 saves from G Todd Scott. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders turned aside 38 shots. . . . The Raiders played without F Brett Leason, who served a one-game suspension for a hit from behind on Rebels F Cam Hausinger in Game 2. Hausinger wasn’t injured on the play. . . . The Rebels are without D Alex Alexeyev (knee), who won’t play in this series.


The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 3-0 lead midway through the game and went on to beat Calgarythe visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-3, behind two goals and an assist from F Carson Focht. . . . The Hurricanes lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 tonight in Calgary. . . . F Ryder Korczak (1) gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 3:24 of the first period, and Focht (1) made it 2-0 at 4:43. . . . F Josh Prokop (1) upped that to 3-0 at 9:01 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes got to within one on second-period goals from F Dylan Cozens (2), at 9:39, and F Zack Stringer (1), at 17:38. . . . Calgary went back up by a pair when Focht (2) scored, on a PP, at 6:13 of the third. . . . Cozens (3) got the Hurricanes back close at 11:27, before Calgary F Luke Coleman (1) got the empty-netter at 19:55. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 26 shots for Calgary, five fewer than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . F Mark Kastelic, Calgary’s captain and a 47-goal man in the regular season, was among the scratches. According to a tweet from Jeff Hollick (@JeffHollick), Kastelic “is out indefinitely with a concussion after a boarding incident and a punch to the head in Game 2.” . . . The Hurricanes were without F Scott Mahovlich and F Jackson Shepard, both of whom served one-game suspensions that were handed down after they became involved in a brouhaha at the end of Game 2. . . . When this series returns to Lethbridge for Game 5 on Friday, they’ll be playing in Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns because the world men’s curling championship will be in the Enmax Centre. The Nicholas Sheran Arena has 968 seats and 200 standing room spots.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 32 shots to lead the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-0 victory Tigers Logo Officialover the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled to be played tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . F Cole Sillinger, 15, scored his first WHL goal to get the Tigers started. The 11th-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft counted at 15:09 of the first period. . . . F James Hamblin (2) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 9:24 of the second period, with F Elijah Brown (3) adding to the lead at 12:53. . . . The Tigers wrapped it up with third-period goals from F Ryan Chyzowski (1) and F Hayden Ostir (2). . . . Medicine Hat was 0-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-2. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo wasn’t able to score on a third-period penalty shot. . . . Søgaard, the 6-foot-7 freshman from Aalborg, Denmark, is 2-1, 1.68, .959 in the three games of this series. He has stopped 118 of 123 shots. . . . Edmonton starter Dylan Myskiw surrendered four goals on 23 shots in 41:55. Todd Scott came on in relief and was beaten once on 11 shots in 18:05.


The Vancouver Giants erased a 3-2 deficit with three straight goals en route to a 6-4 Vancouvervictory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Giants lead the series, 2-1. . . . They are to meet again tonight in Kent for Game 4. . . . Seattle went ahead 1-0 at 4:06 of the first period when F Matthew Wedman (1) scored. . . . The Giants took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Tristen Nielsen (1), on a PP, at 19:27, and D Bowen Byram (2), at 3:21 of the second period. . . . Seattle went ahead 3-2 as F Payton Mount scored his first two goals, both on the PP, at 8:40 and 11:09 of the second period. The Giants took a pair of too-many-men minors 3:19 apart, and Seattle scored on both PP opportunities. . . . Mount had scored five goals in 57 regular-season games, with just one of those coming via the PP. . . . Vancouver tied it when F Jadon Joseph (3) struck, on a PP, at 18:48 of the second period, then took the lead when D Alex Kannok Leipert (1) scored 24 seconds into the third. . . . D Dallas Hines (1) made it 5-3 at 7:02. . . . Seattle got to within a goal as F Sean Richards (2) scored at 16:38, but Vancouver F Brayden Watts (1) got the empty-netter at 19:38. . . . Nielsen and Byram each had two assists for three-point outings. . . . G David Tendeck made his first start of the series for Vancouver, stopping 25 shots. Trent Miner had started the first two games. . . . Seattle G Roddy Ross blocked 31 shots. . . . Vancouver was 2-3 on the PP; Seattle was 2-5. . . . The Thunderbirds were without D Jake Lee, who completed a two-game suspension for a hit on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif with six seconds remaining in Game 1. Sourdif hasn’t played since then, and isn’t expected to be in the lineup tonight.


F Riley Woods scored in OT to give the visiting Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the SpokaneChiefsPortland Winterhawks. . . . Spokane leads the series, 2-1. . . . They’ll do it again tonight in Game 4 in Portland. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 2-0 on first-period goals from F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (1), at 1:39, and F Joachim Blichfeld (2), at 6:57. . . . Spokane responded with three straight goals, from F Luke Toporowski (1), who had missed Game 2, at 16:37; F Luc Smith (2), on a PP, at 5:03 of the second period; and F Ethan McIndoe (2), at 5:42. . . . Portland then took a 4-3 lead as D Jared Freadrich (1) scored at 10:06 and Fromm-Delorme (2) got his second at 1:44 of the third. He had scored three times in 60 regular-season games. . . . Spokane F Jack Finley (1) tied it, 4-4, at 7:48. . . . Woods won it with his second goal of the series, at 9:35 of OT. . . . Spokane was 1-1 on the PP; Portland was 0-1. . . . The teams had played Game 2 without taking a minor penalty. There were two called in Game 3. . . . Spokane G Bailey Brkin stopped 28 shots, 10 fewer than Portland’s Joel Hofer. . . . The Winterhawks continue to play without F Cody Glass (knee), while D John Ludvig completed a two-game suspension by sitting out this one.


The Victoria Royals scored the game’s last two goals, both of them in the third period, VictoriaRoyalsand beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops. . . . Victoria leads the series, 2-1. . . . Game 4 is to be played tonight in Kamloops. . . . F Carson Miller (3) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 17:36 of the first period. He has a goal in each game of this series. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen (2) tied it at 19:03. . . . After a scoreless second period, F Connor Zary (1) gave Kamloops a 2-1 lead, shorthanded, at 2:15 of the third. . . . Zary was playing his first game of the series after being out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Zary scored after stripping the puck from a Victoria defenceman behind the Royals’ net and coming out the backside to stuff it into the net. . . . At 4:48, Victoria F Brandon Cutler (1) scored a playgrounder at the other end to get his guys back into a tie. . . . The Royals won it at 8:08 when D Scott Walford, the best player in this game, and F Kody McDonald broke out 2-on-1. Walford slipped the puck to McDonald, who got G Dylan Ferguson to open up and then slid the disc through his legs for his third goal of the series. . . . The Blazers had one excellent change with time winding down but F Kyrell Sopotyk had his backhand attempt sail wide of the right post. . . . Victoria was 0-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-2. . . . G Griffen Outhouse was sharp in making 32 saves. He set a franchise record for career playoff victories (10), breaking the mark he had been sharing with Coleman Vollrath (2012-16). . . . Ferguson finished with 28 saves. . . . Victoria D Matt Smith, who had missed 10 games since last playing on Feb. 24, started the game but left in the second period after a hit from Kamloops F Brodi Stuart. . . . Victoria was without D Mitchell Prowse for a second straight game. . . . With Prowse out and Smith gone, the Royals sent with four defencemen for most of the game’s final 25 minutes. In the third period, they used two pairings — Walford with Jameson Murray, and Jake Austria with Ralph Jarratt. . . . Kustra was playing his first game after missing six in a row. . . . Kamloops F Kobe Mohr sat out as he completed a two-game suspension for slashing a linesman following a faceoff in Game 1. . . . The video below provides a look at Mohr’s transgression.


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Ex-WHLer talks about concussion battle. . . . Raiders one point from clinching top spot. . . . Kindopp spoils Warm’s amazing game

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F Jesse Gabrielle’s season might be over, sidelined by what he says is his third concussion of the season.

Gabrielle suffered the first concussion this season while with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. He began the regular season with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators, but was injured after playing 25 games. He came back with the Wichita Thunder, but suffered a third concussion in January.

Gabrielle, 21, finished last season with the WHL’s Regina Pats. He also played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Prince George Cougars.

In conversation with Hartley Miller for his Cat Scan podcast, Gabrielle said that he has been advised to shut it down for this season.

“Head injuries nowadays are a big deal and they need to be taken serious care of. I’ve had three concussions this season. It’s something that definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have to make sure you rest and don’t come back before it’s properly healed.”

As for brain injuries in the WHL, Gabrielle, a native of Moosomin, Sask., offered: “I had one diagnosed but I know that . . . I probably had three guaranteed in the WHL. But I didn’t really say anything.”

He remembers having one in his draft season, 2014-15, and not saying anything.

“It’s my draft year and I tried skating through it, I guess . . . I didn’t really want anyone to know that I had a concussion at the time.”

He remembers being hit by D Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“Provorov lined me up,” Gabrielle said. “I don’t think it was a dirty hit; it just really jarred me. I didn’t want to say anything. You don’t want to be out a week or two with a concussion in your draft year. It’s something that players probably hide more than they should. I’m fresh out of the league but I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing now. Guys weren’t saying anything when I was in the league, that’s for sure.”

Asked what he’s dealing with now as he tries to recover from this third concussion, Gabrielle replied: “It’s annoying . . . it’s really tough. Some days are worse than others. For me, it’s a lot of pain behind the eyes . . . a lot of pressure behind the eyes. . . . sensitivity to light. Screens, TV,  even a sunny day. It’s tough to go outside sometimes.

“You’re alone a lot of the time. Our team is on the road and I stayed back just because I don’t really want to be doing too much activity.”

Gabrielle pointed out that a brain injury isn’t like a lot of other hockey injuries.

“It’s not like a shoulder where you can tape it up and go play,” he said. “You don’t really know how it’s healing up. You’re just going day by day. It’s kind of a frustrating experience . . . because one day you can be feeling really good. You try biking and you want to poke your eyes out because the pressure behind your eyes is so intense.”

He also mentioned having migraines and having to go into a dark room to deal with those.

In dealing with this latest brain injury, he also noticed something else one day.

“It happened three times in a day . . . one of the scarier days since got my third concussion,” he said. “I was in mid-conversation with someone and I would just forget what I was saying.

“It’s not something to be taken lightly. If you’re a player with a history of concussions or think you might have one, be safe about it. Don’t risk your brain. You only have one.”

The complete podcast is right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders inducted Donn Clark, a former player, general manager and head coach, into their Wall of Honour on Friday night prior to a game against the Red Deer Rebels.

Unfortunately, Clark wasn’t able to attend.

“He’s at the final stages of battling cancer, and he’s done it proudly,” Kerry Clark, one of the three brothers to have played in the WHL, told Trevor Redden of panow.com. “He’s held his head high and he’s never complained. Every battle, he’s hit it head first all the time and that’s just the way he is.” . . . Redden’s story is right here.

With Donn unable to attend, Wendel, the third of the brothers, represented him in Prince Albert.


The NHL’s Colorado Avalanche has signed F Nick Henry of the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a three-year entry-level contract. . . . Henry, from Portage la Prairie, Man., was selected by Colorado in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Henry, 19, has 24 goals and 59 assists in 62 games this season. He played the first 25 games with the Regina Pats, before being dealt to the Hurricanes. In Lethbridge, he has nine goals and 34 assists in 37 games. . . . The Everett Silvertips selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, but later dealt him to Regina.



The Spokane Chiefs have signed D Hendrik De Klerk, 16, to a WHL contract. He was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . From Swift Current, De Klerk had six goals and 31 assists in 44 games as a freshman with the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires.


F Kaden Bohlsen of the USHL’s Fargo Force has made a commitment to attend the U of Nebraska-Omaha and play for the Mavericks starting in 2020-21. Bohlsen, from Willmar, Minn., turned 18 on Jan. 10. He started this season with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, putting up six goals and seven assists in 25 games. With the Force, he has three goals and an assist in 17 games. . . . He was a ninth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Carl Tetachuk stopped 35 shots to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 5-0 victory over Lethbridgethe Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Lethbridge (34-18-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Moose Jaw (34-18-8) has lost two straight and is destined to finish third in the East Division. . . . Tetachuk’s second career shutout came six days after the first one. . . . The Hurricanes opened a 1-0 lead at 6:59 of the first period as F Jake Elmer ran his goal-scoring streak to 11 games with a shorthanded marker. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (35) made it 2-0 just 43 seconds into the third period, and F Jackson Shepard (4) upped it to 3-0 at 15:53. . . . F Nick Henry, who signed a three-year contract with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche earlier in the day, had a goal, his 25th, and an assist. . . . F Dylan Cozens (31) also scored. . . . Elmer and Leschyshyn each had two assists. . . . The Warriors had F Kaeden Taphorn back in the lineup after a 10-game absence.


The Prince Albert Raiders closed to within one point of clinching the Scotty Munro PrinceAlbertMemorial Trophy with a 2-1 shootout victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . With one more point, Prince Albert (50-8-4) will wrap up first place overall. The Raiders last won 50 games in 1991-92 when they finished 50-20 with two ties. The franchise record for victories in a season is 58, set in 1984-85. . . . The Raiders have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . Red Deer (31-24-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, four points behind the Calgary Hitmen. Red Deer also holds the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Noah Gregor (38) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:29 of the third period. . . . Red Deer tied it at 14:21 as F Brandon Hagel (38) scored the 100th regular-season goal of his career. . . . In the shootout, the Raiders got goals from Gregor, F Dante Hannoun and F Brett Leason, with F Cam Hausinger scoring for the Rebels. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 23 saves. . . . Red Deer got 39 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . The Raiders were without D Max Martin for a fifth straight game. . . . Prince Albert F Parker Kelly sat out the second game of a three-game suspension.


G Nolan Maier turned aside 19 shots to help the host Saskatoon Blades to a 4-0 victory Saskatoonover the Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (40-14-8) has won three in a row. The Blades have won 40 games for the first time since they finished 2012-13 at 44-22-6. That also is the last time they qualified for the playoffs prior to this season. . . . The Blades are going to finish second in the East Division and meet the third-place Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. . . . Regina (18-41-3) has lost three straight. . . . Saskatoon is 5-1-0 in the season series; Regina is 1-4-1. . . . Maier has three shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . Saskatoon got first-period goals from F Eric Florchuk (21), shorthanded at 2:10, and F Max Gerlach (38), at 19:46. . . . F Ryan Hughes (27) and F Kyle Crnkovic (11) added second-period scores. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 31 shots for Regina.


F Riley Stotts scored in OT to give the Calgary Hitmen a 3-2 victory over the visiting CalgaryBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . Calgary (33-22-6) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It is third in the Central Division, six points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and four ahead of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Brandon (29-23-8) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers, who are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card berth. . . . The Hitmen got the game’s first goal, from F James Malm (28), at 3:48 of the second period. . . . Brandon went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Connor Gutenberg (14), at 8:03, and F Caiden Daley (7), at 14:23. . . . Calgary forced OT on F Mark Kastelic’s 44th goal, on a PP, at 7:59 of the third period. . . . Stotts won it with his 19th goal, at 2:09 of extra time. . . . G Jack McNaughton recorded the victory with 19 saves, 20 fewer than Brandon’s Jiri Patera.


Ice
After beating the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 5-3, on Friday night, the Kootenay Ice has four home games remaining before leaving Cranbrook, B.C., for a new home in Winnipeg.

F Connor McClennon scored twice as the Kootenay Ice beat the Swift Current Broncos, 5-Kootenaynew3, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (12-39-10) had lost its previous nine games (0-7-2). . . . The Broncos now have lost 13 straight (0-11-2). . . . These two teams have combined for 13 regulation-time victories in 120 regular-season games — nine by the Ice and four by the Broncos. . . . F Brandon Machado (4) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 2:44 of the first period. . . . The Broncos tied it at 2:49 of the second period on F Matthew Culling’s 10th goal. . . . The Ice responded with the next three goals — from F Jaeger White (26), at 4:44 of the second period, F Brad Ginnell (15), at 16:31, and McClennon, at 1:49 of the third. . . . Swift Current got to within a goal as F Carter Chorney (14) scored at 7:41 and F Eric Houk (3) counted at 10:43. . . . McClennon iced it with an empty-netter at 18:08. He’s got 11 goals. . . . The Ice got 24 saves from G Jesse Makaj. . . . G Isaac Poulter stopped 43 shots for the Broncos. . . . The Ice has four home games left in Cranbrook before it relocates to Winnipeg.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky, who was playing in his 200th regular-season game, scored twice to EdmontonOilKingshelp the host Edmonton Oil Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Edmonton (36-18-8) has won five in a row. It is atop the Central Division, two points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Medicine Hat (31-25-5) has lost seven in a row. It is in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels and one ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton is 5-0-1 in the season series; Medicine Hat is 1-3-2. . . . D Matthew Robertson (7) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 8:08 of the first period. . . . The Tigers tied it at 9:38 of the second as F Ryan Chyzowski (21) scored on a PP. . . . Fix-Wolansky snapped the tie at 12:05 and F Vince Loschiavo (30) made it 3-1 at 13:22. . . . F Hayden Ostir (10) pulled Medicine Hat to within a goal at 7:27 of the third period. . . . Fix-Wolansky iced it with his 33rd goal, an empty-netter, at 19:51. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 31 saves, 10 fewer than the Tigers’ Mads Søgaard. . . . With F Ryan Jevne, F Brett Kemp and F Elijah Brown all out, the Tigers had F Caleb Willms, 17, and F Noah Danielson, 16,  in their lineup. Willms, from the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons, played one game with the Tigers earlier in the season. Danielson, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, made his WHL debut. He plays for the midget AAA Red Deer Chiefs.


G Roddy Ross stopped 42 shots and F Noah Philp had a goal and two assists to lead the SeattleSeattle Thunderbirds to a 6-4 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Seattle (25-28-7) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Kamloops (23-30-6) now is five points from a playoff spot. . . . This game was one of those four-pointers. Had Kamloops won, the Blazers would have been one point behind Seattle, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, with a game in hand. Instead, the Blazers fell five points off the pace. . . . Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers do have two games in hand. . . . Over the next eight days, the Blazers will play three times against the Vancouver Giants and twice against the Rockets. . . . Seattle scurried home after last night’s game because it has to face the host Everett Silvertips tonight. Everett was at home to the Tri-City Americans on Friday. . . . Seattle jumped out front 2-0 on first-period goals from F Matthew Wedman, at 8:02, and Philp (22), at 10:30. . . . F Kobe Mohr (7) got Kamloops’ first goal at 13:18. . . . Wedman upped Seattle’s lead to 3-1 with  his 35th goal, at 3:25 of the second period. . . . The Blazers tied it on goals from F Josh Pillar (6), on a PP, at 11:41, and F Orrin Centazzo (16), at 12:19. . . . Seattle went back in front at 14:04, on a PP, as F Andrej Kukuca (24) scored. . . . F Connor Zary (19) brought Kamloops even again at 18:25. . . . F Henri Rypinski (6) broke the tie for Seattle, on a PP, at 6:46, and F Nolan Volcan (21) added insurance at 10:03. . . . Wedman now is riding an 11-game point streak, while Philp is on a 10-game tear. . . . Kamloops had a season-high 46 shots on goal, while surrendering 31. . . . D Simon Kubicek returned to Seattle’s lineup after not having played since Feb. 8. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly served the second game of a four-game suspension. . . . The Blazers had F Ryley Appelt back for the first time since Jan. 27.


G Bailey Brkin turned aside 50 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-2 victory over the SpokaneChiefsWinterhawks in Portland. . . . Spokane (34-19-7) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is third in the West Division, six points ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (37-18-6) is second, five points up on the Chiefs, who have a game in hand. . . . Spokane went 3-2-1 in the season series; the Winterhawks were 3-3-0. . . . The Chiefs took control with the game’s first four goals. . . . F Jake McGrew (25) got it started, on a PP, at 6:04 of the first period. . . . F Luke Toporowski (19) scored at 10:02 of the second and F Riley Woods, who also had two assists, scored his 29th at 17:00. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (13) made it 4-0 at 1:24 of the third period. . . . D John Ludvig (5) scored for Portland at 2:25, but F Eli Zummack (15) got that one back for Spokane, on a PP, at 10:50. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (52) got Portland’s last goal, on a PP, at 18:48. . . . The Winterhawks had an 18-9 edge in shots in the first period, and it was 21-7 in the third. The Chiefs had the edge, 19-13, in the second. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral had three assists. . . . The Winterhawks had D Brendan De Jong back after he missed six games, but they scratched F Cody Glass.


F Milos Roman scored once and added three assists as his Vancouver Giants dumped the VancouverKelowna Rockets, 7-4, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (42-14-4) has points in four straight (3-0-1). The Giants will finish atop the B.C. Division, and they are two points behind the Everett Silvertips, who lead the Western Conference. . . . Kelowna (26-30-5) had won its previous two games. It is third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have two games in hand. . . . Vancouver leads the season series, 6-0-1; Kelowna is 1-6-0. . . . Roman enjoyed the second four-point game of his career. . . . The Rockets actually held a 4-3 lead early in the second period before surrendering the game’s last four goals. . . . F Nolan Foote gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead at 1:44 of the first period. . . . D Nicholas Draffin tied it with his first WHL goal at 2:54. . . . Kelowna went back out front at 3:12 as F Mark Liwiski (10) scored. . . . Vancouver D Dallas Hines (8) tied it at 11:16. . . . Foote (33) gave Kelowna a 3-2 lead at 16:45. . . . The Giants pulled even, again, at 1:15 of the second period as D Alex Kannok Leipert (3) scored. . . . The Rockets took their fourth lead of the game at 4:47 as F Alex Swetlikoff (4) scored. . . . It was all Giants after that. . . . F Jadon Joseph (18) tied it at 12:24, and Roman’s 24th goal, on a PP, gave Vancouver a 5-4 lead at 14:33. . . . D Davis Koch (25), who also had two assists, and F Tristen Nielsen (11) added insurance before the third period ended. . . . Joseph also added two assists to his goal. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck stopped 35 shots. . . . F Dawson Holt returned to Vancouver’s lineup after missing 14 games.


F Kody McDonald scored twice and added an assist to lead the host Victoria Royals to a 4-VictoriaRoyals3 victory over his first WHL team, the Prince George Cougars. . . . Victoria (32-25-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is headed for a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . Prince George (17-38-8) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Victoria went 7-1-0 in the season series; Prince George was 1-5-2. . . . McDonald got the scoring started at 3:47 of the first period, and F Phillip Schultz (16) made it 2-0 at 6:16. . . . F Josh Maser (27) got the Cougars to within a goal, on a PP, at 11:20. . . . Victoria F Tarun Fizer, celebrating his 18th birthday, made it 3-1, on a PP, at 16:03. . . . McDonald got the lead to 4-1 with his 20th goal at 4:26 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got close on third-period goals from Matej Taman (8), at 2:05, and F Reid Perepeluk (2), at 19:26. . . . McDonald played 232 regular-season games over parts of five seasons (2013-18) with the Cougars. . . . The Royals got 32 saves from G Griffen Outshouse. . . . The Cougars have added F Liam Ryan, who turned 19 on Jan. 2, to their roster after his BCHL team, the Surrey Eagles, had its season end. Ryan, from New Westminster, B.C., had five goals and four assists in 22 games with the Eagles. The Cougars selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. Ryan didn’t play in this one. . . . The Royals are without F Kaid Oliver, who is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. He leads them in goals (27) and points (49).


G Bryce Kindopp scored with 48.6 seconds left in the third period as the Everett Silvertips Everettovercame a career-high 60-save effort by G Beck Warm in beating the visiting Tri-City Americans, 2-1. . . . Everett (43-14-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by 10 points over the Portland Winterhawks. Everett also leads the Western Conference, by two points over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Tri-City (33-24-3) has lost three in a row. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Spokane Chiefs. The Americans do hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . The Silvertips lead the season series, 4-3-0. . . . Everett unleashed a season-high 62 shots, which is the most shots the Americans have allowed in a game this season. . . . The Americans took a 1-0 lead when F Nolan Yaremko (24) scored at 7:25 of the first period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (38) got Everett into a tie when he scored at 9:40 of the third period, on the team’s 57th shot. . . . Kindopp, who drew an assist on Andrusiak’s goal, won it with his 37th goal of the season. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots in winning his 38th game of the season, a franchise record. The previous record of 37 was set by Leland Irving in 2005-06. . . . This season, Wolf is 38-13-3, 1.75, .934. . . . The Silvertips had F Connor Dewar and F Dawson Butt back in the lineup.


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Hitmen add two players to roster . . . Lamb discusses being WHL GM . . . Giants win battle of division leaders


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Earlier this week, the Calgary Hitmen returned G Brayden Peters to the midget AAA CalgaryLethbridge Hurricanes. On Thursday, they brought him back. This would seem to indicate that G Carl Stankowski (ankle) isn’t yet ready to return. With Stankowski out, G Jack McNaughton has started 19 straight games. A 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, McNaughton is 15-12-2, 3.32, .888 in 30 appearances this season. . . . At the same time, the Hitmen have added F Orca Wiesblatt from the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has six goals and nine assists in 16 games with the Terriers, and was pointless in two earlier games with the Hitmen. . . . The Hitmen are to entertain the Prince George Cougars tonight.


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the general manager of a WHL team? How about the GM of a team that has changed philosophy and now had a plan that involves building a strong foundation? Mark Lamb, the first-year general manager of the Prince George Cougars, sat down with Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat for an episode of the Cat Scan podcast and it’s all right here.


THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Davis Koch scored twice to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-1 victory over the Prince VancouverAlbert Raiders in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (30-12-2) has won seven straight games. It leads the B.C. Division by 15 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Giants are 19-5-1 at home. They went 6-0-0 against the East Division this season, as all six teams visited Langley. . . . Prince Albert (40-6-2) had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). The Raiders, who are 20-3-2 on the road, went 3-1-1 in its swing through the B.C. Division. They still lead the East Division by 20 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . F Brayden Watts (11) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 13:15 of the second period. . . . Koch upped the lead to 2-0 at 8:37 of the third period. That goal stood up as the winner, giving him three winners in as many games. . . . D Brayden Pachal (12) got the Raiders to within a goal at 18:22. . . . Koch iced the victory with an empty-netter at 19:32. . . . Koch, who has 18 goals, is riding a six-game goal streak and a seven-game point streak. He has 16 points, including seven goals, over those seven games. . . . For the season, Koch has 49 points in 44 games. . . . Prince Albert was 0-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-1. . . . The Giants got 31 saves from G Trent Miner, who had a great night. He now is 14-3-1, 1.86, .933. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott stopped 25 shots. . . . Head coach Marc Habscheid was back with the Raiders, after having been in Red Deer at the Top Prospects Game. Also arriving in Vancouver from Red Deer in time to play were F Brett Leason of the Raiders and D Bowen Byram of the Giants. . . . The game was televised on Sportsnet. Early in the second period, analyst Sam Cosentino said he had been told there were 140 NHL people in the building.


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