Habscheid, Sutter moving on up . . . Rybinski takes Express to BCHL . . . McGeough and family needing help


MacBeth

F Jack Walker (Victoria, 2012-17) has been released by the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He had one goal and one assist in 16 games.


ThisThat

With the Prince Albert Raiders gotten off to such a terrific start, head coach Marc Habscheid has moved from 13th to ninth on the list of the WHL’s winningest regular-season coaches.

When this season began, Habscheid had 456 victories as a WHL head coach. With the whlRaiders at 21-1-0, Habscheid has vaulted into ninth place, passing Peter Anholt, Jack Shupe, Kelly McCrimmon and Dean Clark, none of whom is still coaching. Anholt, however, will have the opportunity to improve on his 466 victories when he goes behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ bench when head coach Brent Kisio joins Canada’s national junior team in December. Kisio will be an assistant coach under head coach Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Meanwhile, Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, has closed to within 18 victories of 500. The Rebels are 15-5-1, but Sutter wasn’t with them for one of those victories; instead, he was on a father-son trip with his son, Brandon, and the Vancouver Canucks.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (includes games of Nov. 21):

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 482

9. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 477

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

       Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 366

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Mike Johnston (Portland) 328

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326



With the WHL schedule having taken Thursday off, perhaps to celebrate American Thanksgiving, here’s a look at what the first-round playoff matchups would be had the regular-season ended yesterday . . . Yes, it doesn’t mean much because teams haven’t played an equal number of games, but, hey, it’s food for thought. . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert (21-1-0) vs. Medicine Hat (10-11-3)

Red Deer (15-5-1) vs. Moose Jaw (10-5-4)

Edmonton (14-8-3) vs. Lethbridge (10-8-4)

Saskatoon (14-8-2) vs. Brandon (10-6-6)

Out: Calgary (9-13-2), Kootenay (7-14-4), Regina (8-16-0), Swift Current (3-18-2). . . . Calgary is three points out of a playoff spot, while Kootenay is five back, Regina seven and Swift Current 15.

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Everett (17-7-1) vs. Kelowna (10-13-1)

Vancouver (15-6-2) vs. Tri-City (12-8-0)

Portland (13-8-2) vs. Spokane (12-8-3)

Victoria (12-6-0) vs. Prince George (9-10-3)

Out: Seattle (8-10-3), Kamloops (8-10-2). . . . Seattle is two points out of a wild-card playoff spot, while Kamloops is three points back.


Ask any long-time observer about the best referees in the history of the WHL and Mick McGeough will be in the conversation. McGeough, from Regina, went on to show his outsized personality during a lengthy career in the NHL, too. . . . McGeough has run into some health difficulties this week, and he and his family need help from the hockey world and beyond. . . . There is a GoFundMe page right here.


F Henry Rybinski, who has asked the Medicine Hat Tigers to trade him, has joined the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. Rybinski, 17, is from Vancouver. Last season, he had three goals and nine assists in 63 games with the Tigers, who picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. This season, he had one goal and four assists in five games. . . . . . . The Tigers revealed on Nov. 1 that Rybinski had asked to be traded and no longer was with the team. Rybinski was wanting more playing time, something the Tigers said they weren’t able to provide because he was behind veteran centres James Hamblin and Ryan Chyzowski on their roster.


The Kootenay Ice has brought back D Anson McMaster, 16, for another look. McMaster, from Siksika, Alta., was a second-round pick by the Ice in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . He is pointless in three games with the Ice this season. . . . In 12 games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers, he has two goals and seven assists.


The Vancouver Giants have dropped F Hunor Torzsok from their roster. He is expected to end up with a junior A team. Torzsok, 18, had one assist in eight games. Last season, he had one goal and one assist in 25 games with Vancouver. He also played 10 games with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers last season, scoring three goals.


TheCoachingGame

The SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs have signed general manager and head coach Trevor Blevins to an extension that runs through the 2021-22 season. He took over as the Mustangs’ head coach during the 2013-14 season. They won the SJHL title in 2015 and 2016. . . . This season, the Mustangs have the league’s second-best record, at 17-6-1.


The AJHL’s Calgary Canucks have fired Darryl Olsen, who had been their general manager and head coach. He had been with the Canucks since August 2017, and had been head coach since November 2017. He was named GM and head coach on April 5. . . . According to a text from Gino De Paoli (@GDP_PXP), it “looks like assistants Brad Moran and Tyson Avery will take over for the time being.” . . . The Canucks are 2-22-1, and in last played in the eight-team Viterra South Division.


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Tweetoftheday

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WHL’s Saturday roundup: A quick look at 11 games . . . Big night for Giants in Langley . . . Who is the KHL’s King of Hat Tricks?

MacBeth

F Petr Šenkeřík (Kootenay, Prince George, 2009-10) has been assigned on loan by Slovan Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) to Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) for the rest of this season. This season, he had three assists in 12 games with Vsetín (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), and two goals and two assists in nine games with Labem.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

It was on Jan. 6, 2014, when the announcement was made that the Kamloops Daily News was soon to be buried.

Employees worked their final shift on Friday, Jan. 10.

Since then, former employees have gathered once a year to renew acquaintance. We did just that on Saturday, which is why the night’s WHL games weren’t rounded up here on Sunday morning.

It’s always a good time when we gather. In a lot of instances, it’s the one time a year when we see each other so there is a lot of catching up to do. What was interesting this time is that there wasn’t a lot of reminiscing about our days at the newspaper. Instead, it was more about catching up with each other and discussing current events.

If you aren’t familiar with Kamloops, you should know that the city demolished The Daily News building late in 2017. The site now is a paved parking lot. Yes, they paved paradise . . .

You may be aware that the city had paid $4.8 million for the building. Yes, that’s one pricey parking lot.

While I am not about to pontificate on the newspaper industry, there is one thing that often is overlooked with the death of a smaller community’s newspaper. That is this: There no longer is a daily chronicle — a daily diary, if you will — of the area’s history. You can’t overestimate the impact of that loss.


Anyway . . . here are some notes from Saturday and short recaps of the night’s WHL games . . .

At Prince Albert, F Kody McDonald’s 21st goal, on a PP at 7:55 of the third period, stood up as the winner as the Raiders beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3. . . . The Raiders had lost 4-0 to the visiting Swift Current Broncos on ‘Guaranteed Win Night’ just 24 hours earlier. The Warriors lead the overall standings by eight points over the Broncos. . . . F Jordy Stallard had goals No. 28 and 29 for the Raiders. . . . F Brayden Burke, the WHL’s scoring leader, had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors had been 9-0-1 in their previous 10 games.


At Regina, D Josh Mahura had a career high five points as the Pats skated to an 8-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Mahura had a goal and four assists, and was a plus-6. . . . The Pats have points in four straight (3-0-1); the Hitmen have lost four in a row. . . . Four other Pats — F Sam Steel, F Jesse Gabrielle, F Jared Legien and D Cale Fleury — had three-point nights. . . . Announced attendance: 6,217.


At Swift Current, the Broncos got goals from nine different players as they whipped the Edmonton Oil Kings, 9-1, before a sellout crowd. . . . Before the game, the Broncos saluted D Artyom Minulin (Russia), F Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland) and F Tyler Steenbergen (Canada), all of whom played in the WJC. . . . The Broncos have points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . The Broncos have gone over 2,100 in season-ticket sales, with quite an upsurge since Wednesday’s trade deadline. That means they will be giving away one 2018-19 season-ticket at each of their final 10 home games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,879.


At Brandon, F Ryan Jevne’s goal at 1:02 of OT gave the Medicine Hat Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . The Tigers overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, with F Gary Haden forcing OT with a PP goal at 7:42 of the third period. . . . Brandon has points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . Announced attendance: 3,721.


At Lethbridge, F Dylan Cozens scored three times and added an assist as the Hurricanes dumped the Kootenay Ice, 5-2. . . . From Whitehorse, Cozens, who will turn 17 on Feb. 9, has 16 goals and 19 assists in 37 games as a freshman. . . . F Logan Barlage had two assists for Lethbridge, giving him four points, including two goals, in three games — all victories — since being acquired from Swift Current. He also has a shootout winner. . . .  The Ice has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Announced attendance: 3,651.


At Red Deer, the Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Rebels, 3-2 in OT. . . . F Josh Paterson tied it with his 21st goal, at 18:17 of the third period, and F Max Gerlach won it at 1:21 of OT. . . . Gerlach, who drew the primary assist on Paterson’s goal, was acquired from Medicine Hat at the deadline. . . . D Dawson Davidson and F Eric Florchuk, two other acquisitions, had the assists on the winner. . . . The Rebels have lost 11 straight games but have loser points in six of those games (0-5-6). . . . Announced attendance: 4,301.


At Portland, the Winterhawks skated to 3-0 and 5-2 leads en route to a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland F Skyler McKenzie scored twice, giving him 31, including one on a shorthanded penalty shot. . . . F Kieffer Bellows had three assists for Portland, which has won four in a row. . . . Seattle, which has lost three straight (0-2-1), got two goals from F Dillon Hamaliuk, who has 10. . . . Announced attendance: 8,622.


At Langley, B.C., F James Malm broke a 2-2 tie at 8:35 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat the Kelowna Rockets, 3-2. . . . The game drew the largest crowd for a Giants Vancouverhome game since the franchise moved from Pacific Coliseum to the Langley Events Centre prior to last season. . . . Malm, who also had an assist, has 17 goals. . . . F Ty Ronning scored his 40th goal of the season for Vancouver, which has points in nine straight (7-0-2). . . . The Rockets had won their previous three games. . . . The victory lifted the Giants to within one point of the Western Conference-leading Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 4,753.

Before the game, the Giants announced that they have played D Bailey Dhaliwal on the long-term injury list. He will miss the remainder of this season. . . . The Giants also announced that they have added F Hunor Torzsok, who will turn 18 on Feb. 1, to their roster for the remainder of the season. Torzsok was born in Budapest, Hungary but has played his minor hockey in Canada so is not an import. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder had seven goals and eight assists in 15 games with the major midget Valley West Hawks this season, and three goals in 10 games with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers.


At Spokane, F Garrett Pilon scored three times to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Pilon, who has 21 goals, was playing his second game since being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers on Jan. 7. . . . F Matt Fonteyne had Everett’s other two goals, giving him 24. . . . G Carter Hart earned the victory with 31 saves in his first appearance since returning from winning gold with Canada at the WJC. . . . Everett has won three in a row. . . . Announced attendance: 6,541.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Prince George Cougars scored three second-period goals and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Jared Bethune scored his 15th goal, into an empty net, and added two assists for the Cougars. . . . The Americans were without seven — yes, seven! — of their top-end players — D Juuso Valimaki, F Michael Rasmussen, F Max James, F Nolan Yaremko, F Kyle Olson, F Morgan Geekie and D Roman Kalinichenko. James is serving a suspension; the others are injured. . . . “Never seen anything like it,” Bob Tory, the Americans’ GM, told Taking Note. . . . The Americans have lost three in a row. . . . Announced attendance: 3,704.


At Victoria, F Dante Hannoun’s second goal of the game, at 16:29 of the third period, gave the Royals a 5-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The visitors led 3-0 before the first period was 11 minutes old and never trailed until Hannoun scored his second goal. . . . He’s got 18 goals, nine of them in seven games against Kamloops. . . . F Jeff de Wit, who came up short on a second-period penalty shot, also scored twice for Victoria, giving him eight goals. . . . The Royals were without F Lane Zablocki, who served a one-game suspension from a checking-from-behind major he took the previous night. . . . Announced attendance: 6,786.


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SUNDAY (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Moose Jaw, 4 p.m.

Saskatoon vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 4:05 p.m.

Everett at Portland, 5 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

If you were wondering about former Kootenay Ice sniper Nigel Dawes . . . he is the KHL’s King of Hat Tricks.