Colina cites personal reasons in leaving P.G. . . . Tracey, Warriors rolling . . . Oil Kings win in P.A. . . . Farkas, Klassen record shutouts

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On Friday night, the Kootenay Ice played its first home game since the WHL and the team’s owners announced on Tuesday that the franchise will be relocating to Winnipeg at the end of this season. Scroll down for more photos from the game in Cranbrook, which the Ice won, 3-2, over the Swift Current Broncos.

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F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) has been recalled by Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) from Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). With Dinamo, he was pointless in 15 games. He had four goals and seven assists in 14 games with Liepaja. . . .

F Juraj Bezúch (Lethbridge, 2011-12) has been traded by Hradec Králove (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Dukla Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga) for Petr Štindl. With Hradec Králove, Bezúch had three goals and four assists in 30 games. On loan to Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had two goals and two assists in three games. . . .

F Roman Pšurný (Medicine Hat, 2004-06) has been assigned on loan to Brno (Czech Republic Extraliga) by Přerov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). In 45 games, he had 11 goals and 25 assists with Přerov. He is eligible to play the rest of this season with both clubs. . . .

D Jordan Rowley (Kamloops, Prince Albert, 2005-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Pelicans Lahti (Finland, Liiga) after requesting and receiving his release from Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga) on Thursday. In 24 games, he had one goal and four assists. He played last season for Pelicans, recording two goals and seven assists in 45 games.


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F Ilijah Colina has left the Prince George Cougars for what the teams says is “personal PrinceGeorgereasons.” . . . In a news release, the team says Colina’s decision is “fully supported by the Cougars organization.” . . . This season, Colina, who turns 19 on Feb. 18, has six goals and six assists in 39 games. From North Delta, B.C., he has 55 points, including 18 goals, in 151 career regular-season games. He played 83 games with the Portland Winterhawks, before being acquired by the Cougars. Colina was part of a Jan. 10, 2018 deal in which Portland got D Dennis Cholowski and the rights to G Ty Taylor. The Cougars landed Colina and F Connor Bowie, along with a 2020 first-round bantam draft pick, second-rounders in 2018 and 2019, a third-rounder in 2020, and a conditional sixth-rounder in 2019. . . .

With Colina gone, the Cougars have added F Craig Armstrong to their roster. Armstrong, from Airdrie, Alta., was the ninth overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.. He plays at the Edge school in Calgary, where he has 12 goals and 13 assists in 24 games with the prep team. . . . Armstrong was with the Cougars on Friday night in Kamloops, but didn’t play against the Blazers.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brayden Tracey scored the game’s first three goals and later added an assist to lead the MooseJawWarriorsMoose Jaw Warriors to a 6-1 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Moose Jaw (28-11-8) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, three points behind the Saskatoon Blades with three games in hand. . . . This was Moose Jaw’s first home game after a seven-game road swing (6-0-1), and the Warriors now will play their next five games away from home. . . . Medicine Hat (27-18-4) has lost two in a row. The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels. Medicine Hat also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, three points ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Tracey, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. This season, he has 51 points, including 22 goals, in 47 games. This was his second hat trick of the season. . . . Tracey opened the scoring at 8:52 of the first period, then completed his hat trick in the second period with goals at 4:57 and 8:40. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (12), F Kjell Kjemhus (1) and F Justin Almeida (19) also scored for Moose Jaw. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (16) scored the Tigers’ goal, at 10:36 of the third period. . . . Kjemhus got his first goal in 22 games with the Warriors after coming over in a deal with the Prince George Cougars. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 33 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Tigers had F Cole Sillinger in their lineup for the third time this season. Sillinger, 15, is from Regina. He was the 11th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky and D Conner McDonald each scored twice to help the Edmonton EdmontonOilKingsOil Kings to a 6-3 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Edmonton (28-15-8) has won three in a row and now leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Prince Albert (41-7-2) now is 20-4-0 at home. The lead the East Division by 17 points over the Saskatoon Blades. This was the Raiders’ first home game since Jan. 12. They were 4-1-1 on a road swing in the interim. . . . F Cole Fonstad gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 12:41 of the first period. . . . Edmonton took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Jalen Luypen (7), at 7:59, and McDonald, at 9:13. . . . Fonstad tied it with his 20th goal, at 16:28, and D Brayden Pachal (13) gave the Raiders a 3-2 lead at 17:49. . . . Edmonton took control with the next four goals, two of them late in the second, and both from Fix-Wolansky, at 18:25, on a PP, and 19:21. He’s got 27 goals. . . . McDonald added his 14th goal at 5:09 of the third and F Vince Loschiavo, who was playing in his 301st regular-season game, got his 22nd goal into an empty net at 16:36. . . . Edmonton got 39 saved from G Todd Scott. . . . The Oil Kings sent Prince Albert starter Ian Scott to the bench after scoring five times on 27 shots in 45:09. . . . D Matthew Robertson was among Edmonton’s scratches.


F Gary Haden scored twice as the Saskatoon Blades skated to a 3-1 victory over the Pats Saskatoonin Regina. . . . Saskatoon (30-13-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). it is second in the East Division, three points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Regina (13-35-3) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . Saskatoon had a 17-3 edge in shots in the first period but only F Max Gerlach (28) was able to beat Regina G Max Paddock. . . . Haden made it 2-0 at 7:35 of the second period. . . . The Pats outshot the visitors 22-14 in the second period and got one goal, that from F Sergei Alkhimov (11), at 15:31. . . . Haden iced it with an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third. He’s got 23 goals. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 34 shots for the Blades, five fewer than Paddock. . . . D Ryker Evans was back in Regina’s lineup after missing 23 games, but the Pats were without G Dean McNabb and F Duncan Pierce. . . . With McNabb, out, Regina had Carter Woodside backing up Paddock. Woodside, who plays with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, was a sixth-round pick by the Kootenay Ice in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. Regina acquired him from Kootenay on Aug. 20, giving up a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . F Cole Dubinsky of the Pats began serving a four-game suspension for a kneeing major and game misconduct he incurred on Tuesday in Calgary. F Hunter Campbell of the Hitmen, who was on the receiving end, was scratched from last night’s game in Calgary.


F Luka Burzan scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 6-5 victory over the centsCalgary Centennials (aka the Calgary Hitmen) in a game played at the Calgary Corral. . . . Brandon (22-19-7) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It is four points behind Calgary, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Calgary (25-19-5) has lost three in a row (0-1-2). . . . Calgary took a 1-0 lead as F Tye Carriere (5) scored at 1:53 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Caiden Daley (4) tied it 15 seconds later. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (31) gave Brandon a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 5:58 of the second period. . . . Calgary followed with goals from F Luke Coleman, on a PP, at 6:37, and F Mark Kastelic, at 15:15. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it when F Connor Gutenberg (12) scored, on a PP, at 17:17. . . . Kastelic (34), who also had an assist, put the Centennials ahead, on a PP, at 1:08 of the third period. . . . Brandon then took the lead on two goals from F Ben McCartney, who has 15, at 2:21 and 14:15. . . . Coleman forced OT when he scored his 17th goal at 18:18. . . . Burzan won it with his 29th goal just 16 seconds into OT. . . . Mattheos added two assists to his goal, including the only helper on the winner. . . . Brandon got three assists from D Zach Wytinck, with McCartney adding one to his brace of goals. . . . Both teams are without their starting goaltenders, Brandon’s Jiri Patera with a leg injury and Calgary’s Carl Stankowski with an ankle problem. . . . The Wheat Kings got 27 saves from Ethan Kruger, with Jack McNaughton stopping 32 shots for Calgary. . . . The Wheat Kings were without D Braydyn Chizen, who is two games into a four-game suspension for a headshot major he took Tuesday in Edmonton.


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There were messages for the players as the Kootenay Ice played its first home game since a move to to Winnipeg was made official on Tuesday . . .
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. . . and there was a message to the many billet families who have taken in players over the 21 seasons in which the Ice has called Cranbrook home . . .
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. . . and, yes, there was a message for the owners of the Ice, too.

F Jaeger White broke a 2-2 tie late in the third period to give the Winnipeg Ice (aka KootenaynewKootenay Ice) a 3-2 victory in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (11-32-8) has lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Broncos (10-36-3) have lost two in a row. . . . The Ice took a 1-0 lead when F Connor McClennon scored at 9:12 of the first period. . . . F Owen Blocker (4) pulled the Broncos even at 15:10, and D Christian Riemer (1) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 12:10 of the second. . . . Riemer, an 18-year-old freshman from Regina, got his first goal in his 38th game of the season. . . . McLennon (8) tied it at 8:18 of the third period, and White got the winner at 19:08. He’s got 21 goals this season. . . . G Jesse Makaj stopped 24 shots for the Ice, four fewer than the Broncos’ Isaac Poulter. . . . F Tanner Nagel, the team captain, was among the Broncos’ scratches. . . . The was the Ice’s first home game since the WHL announced on Tuesday that the franchise will relocate to Winnipeg when this season ends.


F Jake Leschyshyn, F Nick Henry and D Igor Merezhko each scored twice to lead the LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (26-15-8) had lost its previous two games. It is second in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Rebels. . . . Red Deer (28-17-3) has lost two straight. . . . Leschyshyn and Henry, mid-season acquisitions from the Regina Pats, made it 2-0 with goals at 5:39 and 16:49 of the first period. . . . F Josh Tarzwell (7) scored for Red Deer at 2:03 of the second. . . . Leschyshyn (29) scored again at 5:20, with Henry (20) counting at 9:46. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev (9) got Red Deer closer at 14:57. . . . Merezhko, who now has three goals, iced it with third-period goals at 3:12 and 14:40, the latter a shorthanded empty-netter. . . . Henry also had an assist for a three-point outing. . . . Lethbridge was 2-4 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-6. . . . Rebels F Brandon Hagel went to the dressing favouring a hand after a scrap with Lethbridge F Jordy Bellerive at 6:43 of the second period, but he later returned. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 26 shots to earn the victory.


F Kyrell Sopotyk scored twice, the second one into an empty net, to help the host Kamloops1Kamloops Blazers to a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Kamloops (20-25-4) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). The Blazers are tied with the Seattle Thunderbirds for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, one point behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers and Rockets are to meet in Kelowna tonight. . . . Prince George (16-28-5) has lost eight straight (0-6-2) and now trails Kamloops by seven points. . . . Sopotyk gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 9:35 of the first period, with F Orrin Centazzo (13) upping it to 2-0 at 19:35. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (18) scored for the Cougars, on a PP, at 3:09 of the second period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (14) got that one back for Kamloops at 10:31 of the third period. . . . Sopotyk, who has nine goals, got the empty-netter at 18:34. . . . The Cougars were 1-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-4. . . . Both goaltenders were sharp, with Dylan Ferguson making 26 saves for Kamloops and Taylor Gauthier stopping 40 for the Cougars. . . . The Blazers had D Quinn Schmiemann back after a four-game absence. He was injured on Jan. 20 on a hit by Prince George F Josh Maser, who was given a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline. . . . Kamloops was without D Jeff Faith, who drew a two-game suspension for a kneeing major and game misconduct against the visiting Vancouver Giants on Wednesday night. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, played his fourth game of the season with Kamloops. He didn’t pick up any points, but the Cougars took two minor penalties on him.


G Shane Farkas stopped 24 shots and F Reece Newkirk had two goals as the Portland PortlandWinterhawks dumped the visiting Vancouver Giants, 3-0. . . . Portland (31-14-5) is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Vancouver (32-13-3) had points in each of its previous 10 games (9-0-1). It leads the B.C. Division by 15 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Portland is 3-0-0 against Vancouver this season. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld scored the game’s first goal, his WHL-leading 43rd, at 8:48 of the second period. . . . Newkirk made it 2-0 at 4:42 of the third, and added an empty-netter, his 20th goal of the season, at 19:16. . . . Blichfeld also had an assist. He leads the WHL in points, with 90, nine more than F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. Blichfeld’s 43 goals are five more than Langan.


F Zack Andrusiak scored a goal and added three assists as the visiting Everett Silvertips Everettbeat his old team, the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . Everett (36-12-2) has won three in a row. It leads the U.S. Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (19-23-6) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). The Thunderbirds are tied with the Kamloops Blazers for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Silvertips and Thunderbirds will meet again tonight, this time in Everett. . . . The Silvertips are 5-0-0 in the season series. . . . Everett acquired Andrusiak from Seattle in a Jan. 1 deal that included F Sean Richards going the other way. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (13) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 14:51 of the second period. . . . Everett took a 3-1 lead on three PP goals from F Bryce Kindopp — at 16:37 of the second period and 0:26 and 6:42 of the third. . . . Kindopp, who has 28 goals, enjoyed his first career hat trick. . . . F Matthew Wedman (23) got Seattle to within a goal, on a PP, at 8:11. . . . F Dawson Butt (7), at 14:11, and Andrusiak (35), at 15:23, put it away. . . . Everett was 3-5 on the PP; Seattle was 1-5. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the victory with 29 saves. . . . Seattle remains without F Nolan Volcan, the team captain. . . . The Thunderbirds had F Kai Uchacz in their lineup for the first time. A 15-year-old from De Winton, Alta., Uchacz was the 10th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He has 15 goals and 15 assists in 26 games with the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers. Uchacz will return to Okotoks after weekend games.


G Reece Klassen stopped 25 shots and F Adam Beckman had two goals as the host SpokaneChiefsSpokane Chiefs beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-0. . . . Spokane (26-17-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, 10 points behind the Portland Winterhawks and and four ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kelowna (20-25-5) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Victoria Royals and one ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who are to visit Kelowna tonight. . . . The Rockets have been blanked five times this season. . . . Klassen, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Jan. 2, posted his first career shutout. It came in his fourth appearance with the Chiefs. . . . F Jake McGrew (21) scored the game’s first goal, at 8:02 of the first period, with Beckman making it 2-0 at 15:55 of the second. . . . D Nolan Reid (9) upped it to 3-0 at 1:54 of the third period. . . . Beckman, a 17-year-old freshman from Saskatoon, rounded out the scoring with his 21st goal at 3:50. A fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, he’s got 39 points in 48 games. . . . Kelowna G James Porter stopped 13 of 15 shots, but left with an apparent injury after giving up the second goal. Roman Basran finished up, stopping 15 of 17 shots in 23:11.


The Victoria Royals grabbed a 3-1 first-period lead and went on to a 5-2 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Victoria (25-20-2) is second in the B.C. Division, seven points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Tri-City (25-19-3) holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. It also is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Victoria went ahead 1-0 at 2:58 of the first period on a goal by F Igor Martynov (8), only to have the Americans tie it at 10:50 when F Krystof Hrabik (11) scored. . . . D Ralph Jarratt gave (5) Victoria a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 15:07, and F Logan Doust (3) made it 3-1 at 17:55. . . . Tri-City got to within a goal at 7:32 of the third period as F Kyle Olson (16) scored on a PP. . . . The Royals locked it up on goals from F D-Jay Jerome (19), at 8:35, and F Tarun Fizer (11), into an empty net, at 15:51. . . . Victoria had D Jake Kustra back in the lineup after he had been out since Jan. 10. . . . These teams meet again tonight in Victoria.


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Rockets deal for 20-year-old from Royals . . . Oil Kings win again . . . Brandon’s Burzan fills the net


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The Kelowna Rockets have acquired F Lane Zablocki, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 27, from the Victoria Royals. In exchange, the Royals got a conditional seventh-round selection in KelownaRocketsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. . . . The Royals’ news release indicated that both draft picks were conditional; the Rockets’ news release didn’t use the word ‘conditional.’ . . . The Royals got Zablocki from the Lethbridge Hurricanes at last season’s trade deadline, giving up a second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, a conditional third-rounder in 2019 and a sixth-rounder in 2018. . . . He recorded one goal and five assists in 25 regular-season games with the Royals, then added two goals and an assist in 10 playoff games. . . . Zablocki also has played with the Regina Pats and Red Deer Rebels. In 201 regular-season games, he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Zablocki, from Wetaskiwin, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the 2013 bantam draft. The Detroit Red Wings selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . .

The Rockets were down to one 20-year-old for two weekend games in Prince George. They have been carrying two, but F Ryan Bowen was ill and didn’t play on the weekend. That left D Braydyn Chizen as the team’s lone 20-year-old. . . .

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, said that Zablocki isn’t expected to play “for another two weeks” as he recovers from an undisclosed injury. “He is just arriving back home to Regina from Detroit’s training camp where he was all summer,” Hamilton added, “and he will report to us on Monday.”

The Royals, meanwhile, have settled on F Dante Hannoun, D Ralph Jarratt and G Griffen Outhouse as their three 20s.

The Rockets snapped their season-opening four-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George on Saturday night. Kelowna went into this game having lost 12 straight — four playoff games, four exhibition games and the first four games of this regular season.


Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Friday night that D Bailey Dhaliwal had one arm in a sling after injuring a shoulder during a 3-1 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. Dhaliwal, 19, left the game in the first period. . . . He has a history of shoulder woes. He was limited to six games last season because of surgery. In 2016-17, he was able to play in only 29 games. . . . “We’re going to see where he’s at . . . but obviously I’m concerned,” Michael Dyck, the Giants’ head coach, told Ewen. “Anytime that shoulder is injured there’s a concern.” . . . Ewen has more on the Giants’ situation right here.


G Carl Stankowski is back in action after sitting out all of last season. You’ll recall that Stankowski, as a 16-year-old, was the story of the 2016-17 playoffs as he backstopped the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Ed Chynoweth Cup. But he didn’t play at all last season due to injury and illness. Now he’s back and playing with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Todd Saelhof of Postmedia has more right here.


SATURDAY NIGHT STUFF:

The Washington Capitals have signed F Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips to a three-year entry-level NHL deal. He is to turn 19 on Oct. 25. Sutter, who is back with the Silvertips, was a third-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. His father, Ron, played 19 seasons in the NHL. . . . Last night, Sutter scored twice and added an assist to lead the visiting Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Each team scored twice via the PP. . . .

D Igor Merezhko of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was given a two-game suspension after he got tossed from Friday’s 8-4 victory over the Pats in Regina. Merezhko didn’t play in Lethbridge’s 8-4 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon and won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Wheat Kings got four goals and an assist from F Luka Burzan as they built up a 7-0 second-period lead; he later added an empty-netter for a five-goal night, the first in the WHL this season. . . .

F Riley McKay scored in the 10th round of a shootout to give the host Saskatoon Blades a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Blades are 3-0-0 for the first time since 2011-12. Danish G Mads Søgaard, who stands 6-foot-7, made his first WHL start for the Tigers by stopping 39 shots. . . . The Blades had F Josh Paterson back in the lineup after he missed two games last weekend after taking a high hit from D Parker Gavlas of the visiting Regina Pats in an exhibition game on Sept. 13. When Paterson sat out the first game, it ended a streak of 145 straight regular-season games played. Gavlas was hit with a six-game suspension for the hit. . . . Paterson had two assists and was chosen the game’s first star. . . .

D Jared Freadrich, playing in his 200th regular-season game, had a goal and three assists as the Portland Winterhawks scored three PP goals and won their home-opener, 4-2, over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Winterhawks got three assists from F Cody Glass, with linemate  Joachim Blichfeld getting a goal and two assists. . . . The Winterhawks next play on Wednesday (and Friday) when they visit the Blazers in Kamloops. This will be the return of Portland assistant coach Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history who spent the previous four seasons with the Blazers. . . .

F Parker Kelly scored the game’s last two goals as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders erased a 5-2 deficit late in the third period and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-5. Moose Jaw D Brandon Schuldaus completed a three-game suspension left over from last season. He was suspended after taking a match penalty in a playoff game against Swift Current on April 16. . . . F Brayden Tracey, the 21st overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft, scored his first two WHL goals for the Warriors. Tracey, 17, is from Calgary. He had two assists in five games last season. This season, he had been pointless in two games. . . .

The host Victoria Royals erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits, the latter in the second period, en route to a 6-3 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. The Royals had beaten the Blazers, 3-2, on Friday night. Victoria G Griffen Outhouse stopped 71 of 76 shots (.934) in the two victories. . . . Kamloops scratched sophomore F Connor Zary (ill) last night. . . . The Royals went 4-0-0 on a season-opening four-game homestand. . . .

The Swift Current Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, avoided a third straight shutout as they slipped to 0-4-0 by losing 5-2 to the Rebels in Red Deer. The Broncos have been outscored, 20-3. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs won their home-opener, getting two goals and an assist from Riley Woods in a 6-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. One night earlier, the Chiefs came out of Cranbrook with a 7-4 victory over the Ice. . . . D Ty Smith had one assist and was plus-3 in his first game with the Chiefs since returning from the camp of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils with a three-year entry-level deal in his hip pocket. . . .

The visiting Edmonton Oil Kings skated to a 6-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen, improving to 5-0-0 in the process. This is the first time in the franchise’s modern history, starting in 2007-08, that the Oil Kings have opened with five straight victories. . . . The Hitmen, who were 6-0-0 in the exhibition season, are 0-3-0. . . . This was the first meeting between these teams this season. During the offseason, the Oil Kings fired head coach Steve Hamilton and the Hitmen hired him.


If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players.


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Kootenay puts some seats on ice . . . Broncos, Pats struggling early . . . Smith back to Chiefs after NHL stint


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Cranbrooktarps

A few weeks ago, Taking Note received an email from a reader who reported that the Kootenay Ice had blocked off some seats in one end of the 4,268-seat Western Financial Place.

According to the emailer, some season-ticket holders had been asked to relocate to seats Kootenaynewelsewhere in the arena.

“The past three seasons, attendance in sections F, G and H was pretty sparse,” the emailer continued. “Now, if one goes to the website and tries to buy season tickets, almost every seat in those three sections is unavailable.”

As you can see from the above photo, the Ice has indeed closed off some seats; in fact, there now are tarps over those seats.

During the offseason, the Ice, which has worked hard as an organization on community involvement and raising its visibility in the Cranbrook area, mounted a season-ticket campaign — Drive to 25 — in an attempt to sell 2,500 before this season opened. Last week, Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman reported that the count was at “1,670, a drop of 247 from last (season).”

When the Ice played their home-opener a week ago, the announced attendance was 2,862. The Ice beat the Calgary Hitmen, 5-3, in that one.

On Friday night, the announced attendance was 2,375 as the Ice dropped a 7-4 decision to the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


It appears that F Lukus MacKenzie’s WHL career is over. MacKenzie, 19, has returned home after being in camp with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . According to someone familiar with the situation, MacKenzie “lost his interest in playing.” It is expected MacKenzie soon will be going back to school. . . . MacKenzie, from Calgary, was one of the WHL’s toughest players over the previous three seasons. A third-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in 2014 WHL bantam draft, he played two seasons (2015-17) there before being dealt to the Red Deer Rebels early last season. The Winterhawks later acquired him from the Rebels. . . . In 169 regular-season games, he put up 10 goals and 23 assists.


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D Dan Gatenby, who was released by the Tri-City Americans, has joined the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Gatenby, 20, is from Kelowna. He also has played in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers. . . . Last season, he had five assists in 57 games with the Americans. . . . In 120 regular-season WHL games, he has one goal and 12 assists. . . . Prior to joining Nanaimo, his junior A experience comprised two games with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors in 2014-15.


Barry Wolff, a long-time junior coach, has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. . . . Wolff spent the previous four-plus seasons with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, the first as head coach and then as general manager and head coach. He was fired by the Express, with whom he won the BCHL’s 2014 playoff championship, in late November with their record at 3-21-2. . . . He has been involved in junior B or junior hockey as a coach since at least 1996-97, spending most of that time in the BCHL. . . . He did spend one season (2004-05) in the MJHL, as the head coach of the OCN Blizzard. . . . The Stampeders had been looking for a GM/head coach since Taurean White resigned prior to beginning his second season with them. . . . Darren Webster, who will stay on as a part-time director of player personnel, has been working as the interim GM/head coach. . . . The Stampeders went into Friday’s action at 2-1-0.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES: The NHL’s New Jersey Devils have returned D Ty Smith to the Spokane Chiefs. The Devils selected Smith with the 17th overall pick of the NHL’s 2018 draft after he put up 73 points, including 59 assists, in 69 games. He is expected to be in Spokane’s lineup tonight as the Chiefs open their home schedule against the Kootenay Ice. . . . Two players off the Tri-City Americans’ 2017-18 roster remain with NHL teams. D Juusu Valimaki, who is to turn 20 on Oct. 6, is with the Calgary Flames. If he doesn’t start with them, he likely will be with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. F Michael Rasmussen, 19, is with the Detroit Red Wings; if he doesn’t stick there, he must be returned to the Americans. . . .

The WHL’s two representatives in the 2018 Memorial Cup are having a tough time finding that first victory this season. The Swift Current Broncos, the WHL’s defending champions, are 0-3-0 and have been outscored, 15-1. They were outshot 47-14 and beaten 5-0 by the host Edmonton Oil Kings last night, the second game in a row in which they’ve been blanked. Swift Current’s only goal in three games was scored by F Kaden Elder, who was dealt to the Calgary Hitmen on Thursday. . . . The Regina Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament, also are 0-3-0. Last night, they fell 8-4 at the hands of the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, who got three goals from F Dylan Cozens. . . . The Pats last opened 0-3-0 in 2008-09. . . . The Oil Kings, meanwhile, have started 4-0-0 for the first time since they entered the WHL in 2007-08. . . .

The Hurricanes lost D Igor Merezhko to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 19:31 of the second period for a hit on Regina F Austin Pratt. Pratt left the game at the time, but returned for the third period. . . . The Portland Winterhawks blew a 5-3 third-period lead, then failed to score on a rare 5-on-3 man advantage in overtime before dropping a 6-5 four-round shootout decision to the host Tri-City Americans.


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