Blazers, Oil Kings swing deal . . . WHL issues lengthy suspension . . . Ex-NHL coach helping Cougars

Fans of the Kamloops Blazers have been waiting for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament’s host team to make an impact on the trade front. Well, the Blazers Kamloopsdid that on Monday, but those fans are going to have to wait until mid- to late-January to see F Jakub Demek in action. . . . Demek, 19, was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a possible four WHL draft picks. However, he underwent shoulder surgery after the 2022 World Junior Championshp, has only just returned to skating, and isn’t expect to play in a game for at least two more months. . . .

The Blazers handed over a 2023 first-round pick that originated with the Regina Pats, and a fourth-rounder in 2026. Also going to Edmonton were two conditional selections — a second in 2024 and a third in 2026. . . . The second is conditional on Demek playing an undisclosed number of games with the Blazers. . . . The third is conditional on his returning to the WHL as a 20-year-old. . . .

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Demek, a Slovak, had 20 goals and 34 assists in 55 regular-season games with Edmonton last season. In 19 playoff games, he added five goals and 12 assists. . . . The Vegas Golden Knights hold his NHL rights, having taken him in the fourth-round of the 2021 draft. . . . Demek played for Slovakia in the 2022 WJC in Edmonton in August, earning one assist in four games. . . .

The Blazers now hold the CHL rights to three imports — Demek, Czech G Michael Schnattinger and Finnish D Aapo Sarell, the latter two in their first WHL seasons. Each CHL team is allowed to have two imports on its roster. With the WHL trade deadline set for Jan. 10, the Blazers — if they are to activate Demek — would have to get down to two on Jan. 8. . . .


Andrew Peard, the radio voice of the Edmonton Oil Kings, points out that the EdmontonWHL’s defending champions, clearly in rebuilding mode, have added a possible eight draft picks in the past week (the asterisks denote conditional picks) . . .

2 — 1st round picks (2023, 2025)

1 — 2nd round pick (2024*)

3 — 3rd round picks (2023, 2025, 2026*)

1 — 4th round pick (2026)

1 — 7th round pick (2024*)

The other big deal, of course, had the Seattle Thunderbirds coughing up three draft picks for D Luke Prokop. Seattle gave up a first-rounder in 2025, a third in 2023 and a third in 2025.

Edmonton also sent F Shea Van Olm to Kamloops for a conditional seventh-rounder in 2024.

It’s worth remembering, too, that Edmonton’s selling off of players from the championship roster actually began on Aug. 9 when F Jalen Luypen, 20, was traded to the Tri-City Americans. The Americans also got two conditional draft picks in the exchange — a fifth in 2024 and a second in 2026. In return, the Oil Kings picked up F Rhett Melnyk, 18, D Bryson Andregg, 19, and a conditional second-rounder in the 2023 draft. (More on Luypen further down.)

Don’t forget, too, that Edmonton doesn’t have its own first- or second-round picks in the 2023 draft, having dealt those away while loading up for its 2021-22 championship run.

And don’t forget, too, that two other players who part of Edmonton’s championship run last season still could end up back in the WHL. Should G Sebastian Cossa, 20, and/or F Dylan Guenther, 19, end up back in Edmonton, the Oil Kings would be able to add even more draft picks to their collection. . . . Cossa, a first-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has seen playing time with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to this point in the season. . . . Guenther, a first-round pick by the Arizona Coyotes in 2021, has three goals and four assists in 14 NHL games this season.

Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — ‘See No Covid, Hear No Covid’ strategy working about as well as expected.



The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first two goals and went on to beat PrinceAlbertthe host Moose Jaw Warriors, 2-1. . . . Prince Albert (7-12-2) has won two in a row. . . . Moose Jaw (11-8-0) has lost two straight. . . . F Carson Latimer (7) gave the Raiders a 2-0 lead at 5:14 of the second period. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (4) got the Warriors to within a goal, on a PP, at 17:33. . . . G Max Hildebrand earned the victory with 17 saves. . . . F Ryder Korczak, who was returned to the Warriors by the NHL’s New York Rangers on Monday, didn’t play. . . .

The host Swift Current Broncos erased a 1-0 deficit with three second-period SwiftCurrentgoals as they beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-2. . . . The Broncos improved to 9-9-0, while Brandon (7-11-2) lost its second straight game. . . . F Josh Davies (5) pulled the Broncos into a 1-1 tie at 1:07 of the second period as he scored while shorthanded. . . . Brandon has allowed a WHL-leading eight shorties this season. . . . D Connor Hvidston (6), who also had two assists, and F Mathew Ward (8), with his 100th career point, also scored for the Broncos in the second period. . . . Ward has 36 goals and 64 assists in 106 regular-season games. . . . The Broncos got 37 stops from G Gage Alexander. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels got back on the winning track with a 4-1 victory over the RedDeerOil Kings in Edmonton. . . . The Rebels (16-3-1) had lost four in a row (0-3-1) after opening the season with a 15-game winning streak. . . . The Oil Kings (2-17-1) have lost five in a row. . . . The Rebels scored three PP goals, two of them from F Kalan Lind (4). . . . F Jayden Grubbe added a goal (5) and two assist, with D Christoffer Sedoff, who reached 100 career points, drawing three assists. . . . Red Deer was 3-7 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-11. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who started serving a seven-game suspension. He was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a game at Saskatoon on Saturday. He also is a repeat offender, having been given a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline following a game in Saskatoon on Oct. 23. . . . That is the longest suspension handed out by the WHL since Feb. 15, 2020, when F Ryley Appelt of the Kamloops Blazers got eight games after taking a checking-from-behind major against the Victoria Royals.

In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the PortlandCalgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Portland (14-1-2) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . Calgary (10-5-2) had won its previous seven games. . . . The Hitmen now are 2-1-0 on their U.S. Division trip. . . . F Kyle Chyzowski (7) scored twice for Portland. . . . G Dante Giannuzzi stopped 33 shots in earning the victory over Brayden Peters, who had 36 saves.



Jim Playfair, a former NHL player and coach, has been spending time on the ice with the Prince George Cougars of late. He also has helped out as an eye in the sky at some games. “He comes in for practice and helps out with our team play,” Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager and head coach, tells Hartley Miller on his podcast — Hartley’s Cat Scan — that will be released today. “It’s been a real joy having him around, all that experience with our younger coaches, with Carter Rigby and Josh Dixon, and picking his brain. I think he’s really helped our organization.” . . . Playfair, 58, is from Fort St. James, B.C. . . .

The NHL’s New York Rangers have returned F Ryder Korczak, 20, to the Moose Jaw Warriors. Korczak, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round of the NHL’s 2021 draft, was pointless in in five games with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. . . . Last season, he had 79 points, including 25 goals, in 68 games with the Warriors. . . . The Warriors now are carrying four 20-year-olds and have two weeks to get down to three. The other 20s are F Riley Ginnell, D Cole Jordan and G Connor Ungar. . . . Korczak wasn’t in uniform Tuesday night as the Warriors dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . .

The Tri-City Americans lost a defenceman on Tuesday when Ian Ferguson, a 20-year-old from Missouri City, Texas, announced his retirement from hockey. . . . He was in his fourth season with the Americans. . . . Ferguson had two goals and three assists in 16 games this season. In 127 regular season games, he had four goals and 11 assists. . . . The move leaves the Americans with F Reese Belton and F Ethan Ernst as their 20s. . . . The move also creates room for the Americans to add F Jalen Luypen, 20, to their roster from the long-term injury list. . . . The Americans acquired Luypen from Edmonton on Aug. 9, after he had spent four seasons with the Oil Kings. However, he underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season and has yet to return to game action. . . . Luypen, a seventh-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2021 draft, had 64 points, including 29 goals, last season. In 200 regular-season games with the Oil Kings, he put up 61 goals and 63 assists. . . . At present, Luypen is in Chicago where the Blackhawks’ medical staff is looking things over. . . .

The Victoria Royals have received a commitment from Czech F Robin Sapousek, although they don’t know when he will make his debut. The Royals grabbed his rights in the CHL’s 2022 import draft. Sapousek, 18, has been playing with HC Karlovy Vary’s U20 side, putting up nine goals and nine assists in 11 games. He also is pointless in seven games with HC Energy Karlovy Vary in the Czech Extraliga. . . . From a news release: “The precise date of Sapousek’s arrival in Victoria and his first game in a Royals uniform this season will be announced in the near future.” . . .

The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs fired head coach Daniel Fitzgerald on Monday. They brought in Jeff Angelidis as interim head coach. He has been coaching with the OJHL’s Brantford 99ers. . . . The IceDogs came out of the weekend with a 4-10-3 record, leaving them 19th in the 20-team league. . . . Fitzgerald was named the IceDogs’ head coach on July 8. He had spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of the 99ers, who are owned by Darren DeDobbelaer, who purchased the IceDogs in July. . . .

The Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Junior Hockey League have signed Geoff Walker as their new head coach. Walker signed a contract that runs through the 2023-24 season. . . . Kam River had fired head coach Matt Valley late last month, despite the team being in first place. At the time, management said it was in need of a full-time coach. . . . Walker spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of the SIJHL’s Red Lake Miners, then left to coach in Sweden after 2021-22. That apparently didn’t work out.

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Winterhawks, Hurricanes make roster moves . . . OHL hands out 15-game suspension . . . Hitmen get OT victory on road


My laptop is in the shop for a checkup, so I’m on a backup with a horrid keyboard. Apologies for a short report tonight, and note that I don’t plan on writing on Thursday . . . unless the computer doctor calls sometime during the day.

The Portland Winterhawks have released F Rylan Bettens, 18, who had been acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Sept. 27 for an undisclosed conditional selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft. Bettens was pointless in four games with the Winterhawks. Over the previous two seasons, he totalled 11 goals and eight assists in 113 games with the Wheat Kings. . . . His departure leaves Portland with 13 forwards.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes’ experiment with an import goaltender didn’t last long. G Akira Schmid, 18, has been waived and is expected to join the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays. Schmid, from Switzerland, got into one game with the Hurricanes,7.43, .741. . . . He was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Having waived Schmid, the Hurricanes will go with sophomore Reece Klassen, 19, and freshman Carl Tetachuk, 17, as their two goaltenders. . . . The Hurricanes still have two imports in veteran D Igor Merezhko, who is from Ukraine, and freshman D Danila Palivka of Belarus.

The Tri-City Americans have signed D Ian Ferguson, 16, to a WHL contract. Ferguson was born in Chatham, Ont., but now lives in Missouri, Texas, and plays for the U-16 Dallas Stars. After eight games, he had one goal and one assist. Last season, he had three goals and nine assists in 36 games with the U-16 Stars.

The OHL has suspended F Cameron Hough of the Kingston Frontenacs for 15 games after he was involved in a hit that resulted in D Brendan Kischnick of the visiting Erie Otters ending up in hospital on Friday. . . . Hough was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct on the play in question. . . . If you haven’t seen it, there’s video right here.
The WHL, meanwhile, handed out three suspensions on Wednesday, each of them for infractions in Tuesday games. . . . D Matthew Stanley of the Swift Current Broncos got two games for being involved in a one-man fight during a 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Broncos F Alec Zawatsky drew a one-game suspension after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct in the same game. He cross-checked Vancouver D Bowen Byram on the play in question. . . . D Dallas Hines of the Kootenay Ice was suspended for two games after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct during a 6-3 loss to the Hurricanes in Lethbridge.


G Bailey Brkin blocked 35 shots to help the visiting Spokane Chiefs to a 4-0 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . That was Brkin’s first shutout this season and the second of his career. . . . F Adam Beckman (6) had two goals for the Chiefs, who are 3-1-0 on their East Division trek. . . . The Chiefs next are scheduled to play Friday in Saskatoon. . . . The Chiefs (6-2-2) now lead the U.S. Division by one point over the Seattle Thunderbirds (6-1-1), who have played two fewer games. . . . The Pats slipped to 3-7-0.

F Josh Prokop scored twice, the second one in OT, and added an assist as the Calgary Hitmen got past the host Saskatoon Blades, 5-4. . . . Calgary(2-6-2) erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals only to have the Blades tie it in the second half of the third period on goals from F Josh Paterson (3), on a PP, and D Brandon Schuldaus (1), the latter scoring at 18:27. . . . Prokop, who has three goals in nine games since leaving the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, won it at 2:31 of extra time. . . . D Dawson Davidson had a goal and two assists for Saskatoon (7-3-1). He’s got four goals and 14 assists in 11 games. . . . Saskatoon F Brady Nicholas took a kneeing major and game misconduct at 13:37 of the first period for a hit on Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who missed a few shifts but returned to finish the game.

F Dante Hannoun had a goal and three assists to lead the host Victoria Royals to a 5-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Hannoun’s fifth goal of the season, at 19:24 of the first period, on a PP, gave the Royals (8-1-0) a 3-1 lead and proved to be the winner. . . . F Kaid Oliver added his sixth goal and two assists for the winners. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 10 shots in his first start for the Royals. . . . G Griffen Outhouse started, and finished, each of Victoria’s first eight games. . . . Gould, 17, is from Colorado Springs, Colo. He was an eighth-round pick by the Royals in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Broncos (1-9-0) were outshot 35-12 just one night after being outshot 71-16 in a 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C.

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