Leason streak hits 27; Raiders at 19 . . . Wheaties’ McCorrister fills his hat . . . Palaga posts first shutout for ‘Tips


MacBeth

F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) has been reassigned by ZSC Zurich (Switzerland, NL A) to GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). This was Sigrist’s second call up by ZSC this season. He was called up Sept. 21 for three games, during which he was pointless. In six games on the second recall, he also was pointless. . . . This season, he had four goals and two assists in 12 games with GC Küsnacht Lions. He also has played three games with GCK Lions Zurich U20 (Switzerland, Elite Junior A), scoring six times and adding two assists.


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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

No. of trades: 6.

Players: 17.

Bantam draft picks: 15.

Conditional draft picks: 3.


If you stop off here , feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Leason ran his point streak to 27 games as his Prince Albert Raiders beat the Pats, PrinceAlbert5-2, in Regina. . . . The Raiders (26-1-0) have won 19 in a row. . . . Prince Albert is next to play Tuesday against the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Pats (8-19-0) have lost four straight. . . . F Carter Massier ’s first WHL goal gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 9:14 of the first period. . . . Leason, who leads the WHL with 27 goals, tied it, on a PP, at 19:33. . . . F Kody McDonald (5) and D Brayden Pachal (6), in his 200th regular-season game, gave the visitors a 3-1 lead heading into the third period. . . . F Jadon Joseph (11) got his first goal for the Pats since coming over in a deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Thursday. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (5) and F Spencer Moe (5) added more late insurance for Prince Albert. . . . The Raiders got three assists from F Noah Gregor. . . . Leason leads the WHL with 60 points, three more than F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings.


F Linden McCorrister scored three times to lead the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 5-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Brandon (13-7-6) has won three in a row to get to .500 in terms of wins and losses. . . . Swift Current (4-21-2) has lost three straight. . . . The Wheat Kings were 3-7 on the PP, with two of those coming from McCorrister. . . . His second goal broke a 2-2 tie at 12:15 of the third period. . . . F Ridly Greig (6) made it 4-2 at 13:01 and McCorrister, who has eight goals, completed his second career hat trick at 13:53. . . . F Stelio Mattheos scored No. 22 for Brandon. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi, a Finnish freshman, scored the Teddy Bear goal at 15:36 of the first period. He’s got five points, all goals, in 25 games. . . . The Wheat Kings got three assists from D Zach Wytinck. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 30 shots in his third straight start for the Broncos.


D Jett Woo broke a 2-2 tie at 4:33 of the second period and the goal stood up as the MooseJawWarriorswinner as the Moose Jaw Warriors skated to a 3-2 victory over the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . The Warriors (15-5-4) have points in 10 straight (9-0-1). . . . The Rebels now are 17-9-1. . . . The Warriors got three assists from F Tristin Langan, who ran his point streak to 10 games. He has eight goals and 13 assists over that stretch. He also has a career-high 44 points, in 24 games. Last season, he put up 42 points in 70 games. . . . D Daemon Hunt (3) got Moose Jaw on the scoreboard first, at 7:18 of the first period. . . . Red Deer took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Brandon Hagel (18), at 7:57, and F Zak Smith (6), at 18:27. Hagel’s goal was a Teddy Bear score. . . . F Tate Popple (6) pulled Moose Jaw even at 1:55 of the second period. . . . Woo’s fourth goal of the season was the winner. . . . F Jeff de Wit, who didn’t finish Red Deer’s 6-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Friday, was in the Rebels’ lineup. . . . Red Deer won 33 of the game’s 50 faceoffs. . . . Moose Jaw was 0-3 on the PP; Red Deer didn’t get even one opportunity. . . . G Byron Fancy stopped 43 shots, 27 more than Moose Jaw’s Adam Evanoff. . . . F Brayden Tracey had an assist for the Warriors as he ran his point streak to 10 games. He has five goals and 12 assists over that stretch. . . . F Brett Davis, who was acquired Friday from the Kootenay Ice, travelled from Seattle and got into Red Deer in time to make his debut. . . . F Cam Hausinger, the other forward acquired from the Ice, is injured and expected to be out at least another week. . . . The Rebels will play their fifth game in six days tonight in Lethbridge.


F Kaden Elder scored in OT to give the host Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 victory over the CalgaryEdmonton Oil Kings. . . . Calgary (11-14-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Edmonton (14-11-5) has lost five straight (0-3-2). . . . The Hitmen got first-period goals from F Bryce Bader, who notched his first WHL goal, and F Jake Kryski, on a PP, to take a 2-1 lead. . . . F Brett Kemp had opened the scoring for Edmonton. Kemp has 19 goals in 30 games; last season, he finished with 17 in 69. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (11) got Edmonton even at 11:10. . . . Kryski (13) put Calgary back out front 15 seconds into the second period. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (19) got Edmonton into a 3-3 tie with his 200th career point at 5:51 of the third period. He’s got 200 points, including 75 goals, in 171 regular-season games. . . . Elder won it with his ninth goal at 2:30 of OT. . . . Kryski drew the primary assist on the winner, for a three-point night. . . . Calgary got 26 saves from G Jack McNaughton, who is the go-to guy with Carl Stankowski (ankle) on the shelf. . . . Edmonton G Todd Scott stopped 27 shots in his first start of the season.


F Jake Leschyshyn broke a 1-1 tie in the second period as the Lethbridge Hurricanes Lethbridgescored a 3-1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Lethbridge (13-8-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . Medicine Hat (12-13-3) had won its previous two games. . . . F James Hamblin (12) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 14:38 of the first period. It was the Teddy Bear goal, and Mads Søgaard, the freshman Danish goaltender, picked up his first career assist on the score. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (11) tied it for Lethbridge at 9:40 of the second period, and Leschyshyn scored his 17th goal, on a PP, at 12:17. . . . That was Leschyshyn’s first goal with the Hurricanes since coming over from the Regina Pats on Thursday. . . . F Dylan Cozens (13) provided the Hurricanes with some insurance, on a PP, at 19:34 of the second. . . . Lethbridge was 2-3 on the PP. . . . G Reece Klassen stopped 31 shots for the Hurricanes, eight more than Søgaard.


F Orrin Centazzo broke a 3-3 tie in the second period to help the host Kamloops Blazers Kamloops1to a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kamloops (11-11-2) has won two in a row, both on home ice where it now is 4-6-1. The Blazers also moved into possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Prince George Cougars. . . . Seattle slipped to 9-13-3. . . . The Thunderbirds erased a 3-1 deficit on second-period goals from F Andrej Kukuca (7) and F Nolan Volcan (6). . . . Centazzo, who has eight goals, then scored twice on the PP. He snapped the tie at 15:28 and added an insurance goal at 18:25. . . . The Blazers were 3-5 on the PP. . . . F Kobe Mohr (3) got the empty-netter at 18:33 of the third period. . . . Kamloops F Zane Franklin (16) scored the Teddy Bear goal, at 11:02 of the first period. . . . Centazzo also had an assist for a three-point night. . . . The Blazers also got a goal, his third of the season and third in four games, and two assists from D Quinn Schmiemann, with F Connor Zary recording three assists. . . . Seattle F Zack Andrusiak had one assist, but his seven-game goal streak ended. He was coming off back-to-back hat tricks. . . . G Dylan Garand, the No. 1 guy in Kamloops with Dylan Ferguson hurt, stopped 26 shots. . . . D Luke Bateman, who is from Kamloops, was in Seattle’s lineup for the second time this season. He was a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. Bateman plays for the major midget Thompson Blazers, who are based in Kamloops.


D Dawson Davidson scored on a breakaway in OT to give the Saskatoon Blades a 5-4 Saskatoonvictory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Saskatoon (17-9-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). The Blades went 3-1-1 in playing five games in eight nights in the B.C. Division. . . . The Rockets now are 12-15-2. . . . Saskatoon led this one 3-0 on goals from F Gary Haden (7), at 11:27 of the first period; F Tristen Robins (4), at 12:31; and Davidson, on a PP, at 1:32 of the second. Davidson ended a 17-game drought with the goal. . . . F Mark Liwiski (2) got Kelowna on the scoreboard with the Teddy Bear goal, at 10:29, and F Leif Mattson (12) pulled Kelowna to within a goal at 3:30 of the third. . . . Saskatoon D Brandon Schuldhaus (3) restored the two-goal lead, on a PP, at 14:57. . . . Kelowna tied it on goals from D Braydyn Chizen (1), at 15:22, and F Kyle Topping (12), at 18:39. The tying goal came with G James Porter on the bench for an extra attacker. . . . Davidson won it with his sixth goal of the season, 23 seconds into OT.


The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s first four goals and the last four en route to Portlandan 8-2 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (15-10-2) had lost its previous two games. . . . Spokane (14-9-4) had been 3-0-1 in its previous four outings. . . . The Winterhawks took control with three goals in the game’s first 8:37. . . . It all started with F Lane Gillis (3) scored the Teddy Bear goal at 2:10. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (22), who also had two assists, made it 2-0 at 3:43, and F Jake Gricius (13) added another, on a PP, at 8:37. . . . F Ryan Hughes upped the lead to 4-0 at 3:54 with the first of his two goals. He’s got nine. . . . The Chiefs got the next two goals, from D Filip Kral (3) and F Jake McGrew (7), but F Jaydon Dureau (4) and F Seth Jarvis (4) scored 1:00 apart for Portland late in the second for a 6-2 lead. . . . F Cody Glass, back after a one-game absence, had three assists for the Winterhawks. He has 26 points, including 21 assists, in a 13-game point streak. . . . Portland had a 44-20 edge in shots, including 15-6 and 16-4 over the first two periods.


The Victoria Royals exploded for four first-period goals and went on to a 5-2 victory over VictoriaRoyalsthe Cougars in Prince George. . . . Victoria (13-9-0) had lost its previous three games. . . . Prince George (10-14-3) has lost four in a row. . . . The teams will meet again this afternoon in Prince George in the Cougars’ final home game until Jan. 11. That is one day after the WHL trade deadline, meaning there may have been Cougars in this game who were playing their last home game in Prince George. . . . They will play their next 11 games on the road, a stretch that will include three separate trips into the U.S. Division. . . . F Dante Hannoun opened the scoring at 4:52 of the first period, on a PP, with F Igor Martynov following that with goals at 6:18 and 13:46. . . . Martynov has three goals. . . . F Tanner Sidaway (3) made it 4-0 at 18:17. . . . F Ilijah Colina (4) got Prince George’s goal at 8:28 of the second period. . . . Hannoun’s second goal, his ninth of the season, ended the scoring at 12:56 of the second. . . . The Royals were 2-4 on the PP; the Cougars were 0-3. . . . G Keegan Maddocks made his WHL debut for the Royals when he played the game’s last 1:10. He didn’t face a shot. Prior to that, Victoria G Brock Gould had stopped 18 shots.


The Vancouver Giants scored the game’s first two goals and never trailed as they went on Vancouverto beat the visiting Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . Vancouver (19-6-2) has won five in a row. . . . The Americans (14-10-1) had points in their previous three games (2-0-1). . . . F Milos Roman got Vancouver started with his 15th goal, on a PP, at 3:05 of the first period. . . . F Evan Patrician (1) made it 2-0 at 12:46. . . . F Isaac Johnson (10) scored, on a PP, for Tri-City at 8:25 of the second, only to have F Dawson Holt (5) counter at 14:26. . . . F Parker AuCoin (13) got a PP goal at 16:35 as the visitors got back to within a goal. . . . F Brayden Watts (5) restored Vancouver’s two-goal lead just 56 seconds later. . . . D Bowen Byram (8) iced it with a shorthanded empty-netter at 18:55 of the third period. . . . The announced attendance for this game, played in the Giants’ former home, Pacific Coliseum, was 6,156. The same teams will play again today, this time at the Langley Events Centre.


F Max Palaga posted his first career shutout as the Everett Silvertips beat the Kootenay EverettIce, 3-0. . . . Everett (22-7-1) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . Kootenay (7-19-4) has lost eight in a row (0-7-1). . . . Palaga, who usually backs up Dustin Wolf, blocked 36 shots. . . . The Silvertips took a 1-0 lead when F Luke Ormsby (3) scored at 11:27 of the first period. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (10) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 19:59 of the second. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother (3) got the empty-netter at 19:48 of the third. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar had one assist as his streak of four-straight two-point games was halted. . . . G Jesse Makaj stopped 42 shots for the Ice.


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It’s time for WHL to do the right thing . . . Decision-makers must act . . . Fighting, headshots have to go

 


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Included in a WHL news release that was issued on June 14 following the league’s annual meeting in Vancouver was this sentence:

“The WHL took further measures to address player safety by introducing new supplemental discipline regulations and raising its standard on illegal checks to the head.”

The news release didn’t provide any further details, but it says here that anything short of a complete ban on fighting and all contact with an opponent’s head, including incidental contact, is a complete failure.

If the WHL really — really, really, really — cares about the health and safety of its players it is time to make these moves. In fact, it’s well past time.

Why?

Well, let’s start with this Ken Dryden piece from the op-ed pages of the Washington Post.

And then there’s this piece right here from The Players Tribune. Written by Nick Boynton, a former major junior player who went to skate in the NHL, it isn’t pretty.

At one point, Boynton writes of his three-year-old son: “But I cannot, in good conscience, let him play the game of ice hockey until something changes and we start looking out for our players by taking the problems of head hits and concussions — and their potential impact on mental health — more seriously.”

Boynton also writes:

“Yes, ours is a physical, violent sport. And it may be the case that we cannot rid hockey of that violence and danger altogether. But at the very least let’s deal with the issues that arise as a result of that. Deal with the head trauma. Deal with the concussions. And deal with all of the ramifications that those things bring about.

“Stop telling people the world is flat and just do the right thing. Instead of ignoring the damage that occurs to the brain when you get your bell rung out on the ice, let’s own up to it and get guys the help they need. Not just after they retire, but while they’re playing the game.

“Let’s start addressing the problem. Let’s look closely at the brain — and how our sport as we currently play it might be harmful to the brain — and begin making things right.”

In a recent conversation with Brandon Rivers of dubnetwork.ca, WHL commissioner Ron Robison was asked about the fact that the OHL has fighting restrictions — Rivers pointed out that “If a player fights more than three times in a season, that player will be subjected to a two-game suspension for each fight over the number allowed” — while the WHL has no such thing.

Robison replied:

“I think that is another example. Each in our own way we are looking to reduce or eliminate fighting or what we would call . . . unnecessary fighting in the game. In our case, we have a WHL Player Safety Seven Point Plan, which has been in place for several seasons. We review that annually and make recommendations and we will be reviewing that actually with our general managers . . . It is an ongoing process. We each approach things a little differently but for the most part we are on the same page as far as what we are trying to accomplish.”

Robison, if you haven’t noticed, has got commissioner-speak down to a fine art where he uses many words to really say, well, not much. What he should have said is this:

“There is more and more scientific evidence linking CTE to blows to the head. Whether or not CTE is a direct result of blows to the head and/or concussions/traumatic brain injury, we are well aware that blows to the head aren’t good and may cause irreparable damage.

“As a result, the WHL is moving to the forefront of this issue by banning fighting. When a player has one fight, he will receive a warning. A second fight will carry with it a two-game suspension, with three games for a third, four for a fourth, etc.

“This is just another case of our wanting to protect the health of our players now and in the future.”

It would be easy for the WHL to adopt the IIHF’s rule that deals with checking to the head or neck. It’s Rule 124 in the IIHF rule book that is readily available at iihf.com.

Dryden, the former NHL goaltender whose latest book is Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador and the Future of Hockey, spoke for 40 minutes at the See The Line symposium in London, Ont., on Thursday.

“Six years ago the process began (with See The Line),” he said. “Injuries happen, sometimes career-diminishing, sometimes career-ending, some that change a person’s life; and change them and make them not them anymore. In six years we are now more aware of that too.

“But after six years we still have this immense problem with brain injury in sports. Why? What can we do now? Our response to it is we need better science; we need to understand it better and that becomes our focus . . . to get better technology and the focus becomes on science. The problem is when it becomes so much of the focus; science takes time and games are played tomorrow.”

Later, he told Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press, whose piece is right here:

“If you don’t force decision-makers to do something, things will remain the same. We have to move beyond just awareness and science. As I said in the end it is up to the decision-makers to take all this awareness that’s been raised and apply it. They have every right to simply carry on and that’s the problem; they are the roadblock. Why do we let them off the hook? Put it into the hands of those whose hands it should be in. Say to them ‘you are not custodians of the game; but custodians of the people playing the game.’ What are you doing for them?”



If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.



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Hitmen get goalie from T-birds . . . Seattle playoff hero off to Calgary . . . Rockets sign Finnish defender


MacBeth

F Radim Valchar (Portland, Lethbridge, 2007-10) signed a one-year extension with Csíkszereda (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 32 games. He led his team in goals, assists and points, and was third in the league’s points race.


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The Seattle Thunderbirds have traded G Carl Stankowski, who shone as they won the 2016-17 WHL championship but then didn’t play in 2017-18, to the Calgary Hitmen.

In return for Stankowski, an 18-year-old who played minor hockey in Calgary, and a Seattleconditional fourth-round selection, year undisclosed, in the WHL’s bantam draft, the Thunderbirds acquired D Mike Koster, 17, an eighth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft and a conditional pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft.

“Carl’s medical needs have become very significant and we felt that being close to his home in Calgary would allow his family to more closely monitor his needs,” Seattle GM Bil La Forge said in a news release.

Stankowski, then in his 16-year-old season, took over from injured starter Rylan Toth late in the 2016-17 regular season and sparkled as Seattle won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. CalgaryStankowski, a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2014 bantam draft, was 3-0-0, 2.18, .910 in seven regular-season appearances, then went 16-4, 2.50, .911 in the playoffs. However, hip problems and health issues kept Stankowski from playing last season.

Andy Side of 710 ESPN Seattle detailed Stankowski’s issues in a February story that is right here. . . .

Koster, from Chaska, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2020-21. Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 21 games with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. He also captained the Chaska High Team, and put up 14 goals and 41 assists in 25 games. Koster is playing for Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this week.

“Koster is an elite defenseman who is NCAA committed,” La Forge said. “We feel that we will provide him with a very viable option going forward. We look forward to opening the lines of communication with him.”

In Seattle, the trade means that G Liam Hughes, 19, is alone atop the depth chart. Last season, after being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings, he was 16-12-6, 3.15, .909. It is likely that Cole Schwebius, 17, and Eric Ward, 17, will battle for the No. 2 spot. Schwebius, from Kelowna, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft; Ward is a list player from Edmonton.

In Calgary, the Hitmen, who didn’t make the playoffs last season, are looking to replace Nick Schneider, who completed his eligibility by making 61 appearances.

The Hitmen acquired G Nick Sanders, 20, who was limited by injuries to four games with the Prince Albert Raiders last season. Interestingly, Sanders, like Stankowski, has had hip-related problems. Also in the hunt will be Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30. A fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2014 bantam draft, he got into 19 games with Calgary last season (4-7-1, 3.55, .890).


There wasn’t anything on the Kelowna Rockets’ website as of Tuesday night, but if Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, says they have signed Finnish D Lassi Thomson, well, that’s good enough for me. . . . Thomson will turn 18 on Sept. 24. . . . He is from Tampere. . . . Last season, he had 12 goals and 15 assists in 49 games with Ives U-20 in the Jr. A SM-liiga. He also played six games with the Ives U-18 team, putting up four goals and three assists. On top of that, he played 20 games with the U-18 national team, scoring three goals and adding seven assists. . . . The Rockets selected him in the CHL’s 2018 import draft.



The Calgary Hitmen are looking for an athletic therapist with the news that Kyle Vouriot has signed on with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose as assistant athletic trainer and assistant strength and conditioning trainer. . . . The Winnipeg-based Moose is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Vouriot, who is from Winnipeg, was with the Hitmen for three seasons.


Spiros Anastas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. He spent the previous four seasons as head coach of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . . With the Stingrays, Anastas, 33, takes over from Ryan Warsofsky, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. . . . The Stingrays are coming of the best regular season (48-16-7-1) in franchise history. . . . Anastas was 36-68-8 with the Pronghorns. The school’s athletic department announced his departure on Friday, and now is searching for a replacement.


Matt Thomas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. Thomas, a 42-year-old native of Maple Ridge, B.C., spent 11 seasons (2002-13) coaching in the ECHL, with the Atlantic Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons and Stockton Thunder. . . . From a news release: “He enters the 2018-19 campaign as the ECHL’s sixth-winningest coach with a career record of 342-225-80, just one win back of fifth place all time. He is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 97, and ranks third with 49 playoff wins.” . . . Thomas spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. . . . In Cincinnati, Thomas replaces Matt Macdonald, who left after four seasons to join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins as an assistant coach.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


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You’ll be hearing from Hockey Gives Blood . . . Kamloops’ GM on the job . . . Wheat Kings, Tigers sign draft picks

MacBeth

F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) signed a one-year contract with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite). This season, with Orlik Opole (Poland, PHL), he had 18 goals and 19 assists in 35 games. He led the Lightning in goals and points, and was tied for the team lead in assists. . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). This season, with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 35 games. He was the KHL’s forward of the month for November. . . .

F Clarke Breitkreuz (Regina, Prince George, 2008-10) signed a one-year contract with Lausitzer Füchse Weisswasser (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2), he had seven goals and nine assists in 40 games. . . .

D Alexei Platonov (Medicine Hat, 2015-16) signed a try-out contract with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had one goal and two assists in 24 games. . . .

F Jaroslav Kristek (Tri-City, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Courchevel-Méribel-Pralognan (France, Division 2). This season, with Brest (France, Division 1), he had seven goals and 12 assists in 22 games. . . .

D Riley Stadel (Kelowna, Edmonton, 2011-17) signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 games. . . .

F Michal Poletín (Regina, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and nine assists in 52 games. . . .

F Taylor Makin (Prince George, Vancouver, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Brest (France, Division 1). This season, with Acadia University (Atlantic University Sports), he had four goals and two assists in 12 games. . . .

F Jacob Doty (Seattle, Medicine Hat, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Braehead Clan Glasgow (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 16 goals and 19 assists in 56 games.


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What follows was written earlier today (Sunday) but a four-hour power outage on the east side of Kamloops meant that its posting was delayed. So without further ado . . .

——

I actually took a couple of days away from the laptop in order to paint our deck. It was supposed to have been done last summer, but the smoke from the forest fires limited the amount of time a person could spend outside.

This time I only had to battle the mosquitoes. I haven’t seen them this bad since we left Regina in the spring of 2000. This spring, in the Kamloops area, we had a sudden turn to 30 C temperatures and a quick snow melt from the higher areas, all of which combined for a perfect mosquito-hatching season.

Having sat on our deck and enjoyed many a mosquito-free evening over the last few years, I had forgotten that the only thing mosquitoes like more than heat and water is human flesh.

But, hey, I toughed it out and the painting is finished.


I did take time out late last week to have a cup of coffee with Stu Middleton, the man behind Hockey Gives Blood.

He is a busy man these days. But, oh boy, has he accomplished a lot in less than two HockeyGivesBloodmonths.

Hockey Gives Blood, the project he started following the April 6 crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus, has partnered with Canada Blood Services, as it reads on its website, “to promote blood donation as an integral component of hockey programs . . .”

With that in mind, Hockey Gives Blood was front and centre at the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack and at the Memorial Cup in Regina last month.

Yes, Middleton says, Hockey Gives Blood has made some inroads, but it has a long, long way to go.

Middleton has big plans for the non-profit organization, most of which are still in the planning stage. But you can count on hearing a lot from Hockey Gives Blood in the near future.

In the meantime, watch for representatives at events like annual golf tournaments held by the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets, and the Humboldt Broncos Memorial tournament at the Humboldt Golf Club on Aug. 18.

You are able to check out Hockey Gives Blood right here.

If you haven’t seen it, Pam Cowan of the Regina Leader-Post wrote about Middleton and Hockey Gives Blood in April, and that story is right here.


As expected, the Kamloops Blazers introduced Matt Bardsley as their new general manager at a news conference on Friday morning.

Bardsley, 46, had been with the Portland Winterhawks since 1999, working his way up Kamloops1from scout to assistant general manager.

In Kamloops, Bardsley takes over from Stu MacGregor, who now is on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. The Stars are owned by Tom Gaglardi, who is the majority owner of the Blazers.

Bardsley steps into a Kamloops organization that needs a head coach, at least one assistant coach, and a director of player personnel.

Don Hay, the head coach for the past four seasons, has been moved to an advisory role, although he has made it apparent that he still wants to coach and that his phone line is open.

Assistant coach Mike Needham, who had been with the Blazers since 2010, and director of player personnel Matt Recchi, who had been in his position for 10 years, were told their contracts couldn’t be renewed.

Bardsley’s first job will be to hire a head coach, with Kyle Gustafson, who has been on the Winterhawks’ coaching staff since 2003-04, definitely in the running.

According to Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV, Bardsley said: “Kyle is a a good friend of mine. I have a long list of names, and he’s certainly a person who is on my list. He’s certainly qualified to have an opportunity, and he’ll be a head coach — soon.”

Meanwhile, the Blazers have scheduled a news conference for this afternoon (Monday) at which they are expected to announce the signing of F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops.

Stankoven was the fifth overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. This season, he had 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C.

The Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and Stankoven announced Sunday that he will play for them in 2018-19.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Vincent Iorio, a highly touted second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Iorio was widely believed to be going the BrandonWKregularNCAA route before signing with the Wheat Kings. From Port Coquitlam, B.C., he has a late birthday, so won’t turn 16 until Nov. 14. . . . This season, he had four goals and 19 assists in 52 games with the U16 midget team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. The previous season, he had eight goals and 24 assists in 39 games with the bantam T1 team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s.

Brandon also signed F Nolan Ritchie, 16, who was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. His father, Darren, is a former Wheat Kings player who now scouts for the organization. . . . This season, Nolan had 40 goals and 44 assists in 45 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. His 84 points left him second in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League scoring race. In his draft season, he won the Winnipeg Bantam AAA League’s scoring derby with 89 points, 51 of them goals, with the Wheat Kings.

The Wheat Kings also have signed F Jake Chiasson and F Brett Hyland to WHL contracts. . . . Chiasson was a first-round selection, 15th overall, in the 2018 bantam draft, while Hyland was taken in the second round. . . . Chiasson, from Abbotsford, stayed at home this season and played at the Yale Hockey Academy. He had 20 goals and 48 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team. . . . Hyland, from Edmonton, had 10 goals and 25 assists in 17 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team this season.

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WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

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

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Cole Sillinger, who was a first-round selection, 11th overall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had 46 goals and 37 assists Tigers Logo Officialin 30 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team. From Regina, his father, Mike, starred for the Regina Pats (1987-91) before going to a lengthy pro career that included 1,049 regular-season NHL games.

The Tigers also signed D Dru Krebs, who was taken in the second-round of the 2018 bantam draft. From Okotoks, Krebs had seven goals and 10 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Okotoks Oilers. . . . Krebs has two brothers playing in the WHL — Peyton is with the Kootenay Ice, while Dakota plays for the Calgary Hitmen. Yes, all three brothers are with teams in the Central Division, although Dru, at 15, isn’t eligible for full-time play until the 2019-20 season.


The City of Kennewick is going to make improvements to the 30-year-old Toyota Center tri-citythat is home to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. Annie Fowler and Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald report that “visitors will soon see improvements . . . under an agreement that will keep the Americans for the foreseeable future.” . . . The major project this summer will be the installation of LED lighting. . . . In time, it is expected that a new ice plant and video board will be installed, and improvements will be made to the visiting team dressing room. . . . Taking Note has been told that improvements also will be made to the foyer and there will changes to the concessions. . . . The WHL had implemented a deadline of September 2019 for improvements to be made in order that the facility met league standards. . . . The Americans’ lease expires in 2020. . . . The Herald’s story is right here.


The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio, owners of 94.3 the Goat, have agreed on a deal covering play-by-play rights for the 2018-19 season. Fraser Roger will call the play for a second straight season, with Hartley Miller back for a sixth season as the analyst.


Mark Chase has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. From Kamloops, Chase, 31, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . In Osoyoos, Chase takes over from Ken Law, who was dropped after being the only head coach in the team’s eight-year existence. Under Law, the Coyotes won one KIJHL title and six regular-season division titles. . . . Andrew Stuckey of Osoyoos Today has more right here.


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