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.
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 Raiders 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. . . .
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.
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.
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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