Kennedy makes move away from advocacy centre . . . Raiders’ Gunville dies at 48 . . . Richards gets eight-game sentence

MacBeth

F Hampus Gustafsson (Regina, Brandon, 2009-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Frisk Asker (Norway, GET-Ligaen) after requesting and receiving his release from Stjernen Fredrikstad (Norway, GET-Ligaen). With Stjernen, he had nine goals and 13 assists in 21 games, and he was the team captain. . . . Gustafsson’s contract with Frisk Asker has an option for two additional seasons.


ThisThat

After 23 years of advocating on behalf of victims of abuse, Sheldon Kennedy revealed on Tuesday that he is stepping aside from the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary.

“From first introducing the idea of a Child Advocacy Centre to our Chief of Police in 2010,” Kennedy wrote, “to opening the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre in 2012 and having it renamed the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in 2013, I further stepped up that important work through my volunteer commitment to the SKCAC. I now understand that my name on the building really meant a personal responsibility for the day-to-day practice, the wellness of our front-line workers, the satisfaction of our donors and volunteers, and the proper treatment of the victims we serve. This has been a very rewarding eight years of my life and, at the same time, it has taken its toll.

“For the past several months I have had ongoing and emotional conversations with my family and close friends. They have been a great support and, through this process, I have decided to remove my name from the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.

“I always preach to others that, first and foremost, they need to take care of their own mental health and find balance in their lives. I now need to take my own advice.”

Kennedy’s complete news release is right here.

Kennedy, now 49, played three seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, surviving the bus crash on Dec. 30, 1986, in which four of his teammates died, then helping the team to the 1989 Memorial Cup championship. During his time with the Broncos, he was sexually abused by the team’s general manager and head coach, Graham James.

Kennedy, who grew up in Elkhorn, Man., has spent the past few years criss-crossing the country, and also making appearances in the United States, as he worked tirelessly for his cause.

During that time, he also co-founded the Respect Group, a company that specializes in providing education on how to prevent bullying and abuse, and all that accompanies that, in the sports world, schools and the work place.

I have written this before and I will do so again and again. But it’s time for the WHL to strike an award in Kennedy’s name and to present it to those who have at one time or another been involved with the league and then gone on to make a difference elsewhere in life.

Kennedy has set that bar awfully high, however such an award wouldn’t have to be handed out on an annual basis, but rather presented when there was deemed to be a worthy recipient.

To understand the impact Kennedy has had one need only to search Twitter, which was inundated with testimonials on Tuesday.


Ron Gunville, the Prince Albert Raiders’ director of player personnel, died in hospital in his hometown of Prince Albert on Tuesday afternoon. Gunville, who had been battling cancer, was 48.

Mike Fraser, in his first season as the Everett Silvertips’ head scout, got to know Gunville PrinceAlbertwhile working with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“I really liked him a lot,” Fraser told Taking Note. “He was a great scout but an even better human being and family man.”

Gunville, a defenceman in his playing days, played two seasons in the WHL. He was with the Raiders in 1988-89, then started 1989-90 with the Raiders but finished with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

He began his WHL scouting career with the Prince George Cougars (2009-13), before going to work with the Raiders prior to 2013-14. He was a scout for two seasons, then the head scout in 2015-16. When Dale Derkatch left to join the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, Gunville replaced him as the Raiders’ director of player personnel.

“The best parts of my day were spent with Ron either in our office or on the phone,” Curtis Hunt, the Raiders’ general manager, said in a news release. “We shared the same passion and vision to build an outstanding program from the ground up.”


F Sean Richards of the Everett Silvertips was slapped with an eight-game suspension on Tuesday after he took a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday against the whlhost Seattle Thunderbirds.

Richards drew the stiff suspension because, according to the WHL website, Seattle D Loeden Schaufler “was injured on the play” and “the player is a repeat offender.”

Schaufler is listed on the WHL’s weekly report as being out week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Richards drew the longest WHL suspension since Nov. 4, 2016, when D Sam Ruopp of the Prince George Cougars was given eight games after becoming involved in a one-man fight during a game against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers two nights earlier.

Richards sat out Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. He will be eligible to return on Jan. 6 against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. In between he will sit out two more games against Spokane, two against the Tri-City Americans, and singletons with the Vancouver Giants, Seattle Thunderbirds and Prince George.

Richards, who is scheduled to turn 20 on Saturday, drew a five-game suspension earlier this season after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in a game against Seattle on Oct. 5. He also drew two suspensions last season — a four-gamer for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct against Seattle, and a deuce for a match penalty in a game against the Swift Current Broncos.

This season, in 27 games, Richards has 10 goals and eight assists.

The Silvertips also are without F Akash Bains and F Martin Fasko-Rudas, a pair of veterans who are out with undisclosed injuries. Both of them may return sometime in the next week.

Meanwhile, F Jermaine Loewen of the Kamloops Blazers has been suspended for three games after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a game against the host Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday. Loewen didn’t play in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary. He also missed last night’s game in Red Deer and won’t play tonight in Medicine Hat. He will be eligible to return Friday in Cranbrook against the Kootenay Ice.

This was the second time this season that Loewen, the Blazers’ captain, has been suspended. He got four games for a headshot major and game misconduct against the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 5.


If you’re wondering how the Kelowna Rockets and assistant coach Travis Crickard ended up going in different directions last week, Glen Erickson shed some light on the subject KelownaRocketson Tuesday.

Crickard was in his fifth season with the Rockets, and had helped them win the Ed Chynoweth Cup in the spring of 2015.

When Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, hired Adam Foote to replace the fired Jason Smith on Nov. 30, it turns out that he gave the new coach the freedom to make changes.

“One of the things Adam wanted was the ability to change the coaches if he wanted and I agreed to that,” Hamilton told Erickson, who writes for the Kelowna Daily Courier and dubnetwork.ca. “The only thing I did say is you’ve got to spend some time with them first.”

Foote is the fourth Kelowna head coach under which Crickard and Kris Mallette, the other assistant, have worked. They started under Dan Lambert, and also worked with Brad Ralph and Smith.

Mallette also is into his fifth season with the Rockets, but his contract will expire at season’s end.

Erickson also reported that there is speculation in Kelowna that former Rockets defenceman and captain Josh Gorges may be in line to join the staff.

“The local product and veteran of 800-plus National Hockey League games has been highly visible at home games this season and has been on the ice at practices,” Erickson wrote.

As for Hamilton, he obviously knows that Gorges is around.

“Josh is only three or four months into retirement (as a player),” Hamilton told Erickson. “I don’t want to ask him to do something that he isn’t ready to do. Adam really likes him, but we’re not in a rush to hire anybody right now.”

Erickson’s piece for The Daily Courier is right here.


The Regina Pats, with a couple of regulars on the shelf, have added D Sam McGinley, 16, to their roster. McGinley was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Calgary, he has five goals and 10 assists in 19 games with the Edge School’s prep team in his hometown. . . . The Pats are without D Ryker Evans and D Brady Pouteau, both of whom are out with undisclosed injuries.


With G Ian Scott in camp with Canada’s national junior team, the Prince Albert Raiders have added G Brett Balas, 17, to their roster. . . . The Raiders also are without F Brett Leason, who is in Canada’s camp, and F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego, both of whom are with Belarus at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . So the Raiders have added F Tyson Laventure, 15, to their roster. . . . Balas, a third-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, is playing with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. . . . Laventure, from Lloydminster, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He is playing with the Edmonton-OHA prep team and has 18 goals and 25 assists in 22 games. . . . The Raiders are scheduled to play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight.


According to the WHL’s weekly roster report, D Jacson Alexander of the Edmonton Oil EdmontonOilKingsKings won’t play again this season due to an undisclosed injury. Alexander, 17, was a first-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Oil Kings acquired him from the Broncos in a trade on Aug. 21. . . . Last season, Alexander had one goal and four assists in 32 regular-season games with the Broncos, then added one assist in 26 playoff games. This season, he had three goals and two assists in 15 games. He last played on Oct. 26.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Chase Wheatcroft and D Rylan Thiessen to WHL contracts. . . . Wheatcroft, 16, is a list player who was in the Hurricanes’ camp in August. This season, he has 12 goals and eight assists in 21 games with the midget AAA Calgary Royals. . . . Thiessen,17, also is a list player. The Brandonite has eight goals and 15 assists in 19 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Tuesday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 12.

Players: 33.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Gary Haden scored four times, including the game’s last three goals, and added an Saskatoonassist to lead the host Saskatoon Blades to a 6-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Saskatoon (20-10-3) has won three in a row. . . . The last time the Blades won 20 games quicker during one season was 2011-12 when they were 20-11-1 after 32 games. (Thanks to Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ radio voice, for that gem.) . . . Edmonton (16-12-5) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . Haden enjoyed his first career hat trick and his first five-point game. . . . According to the WHL (@TheWHL), it was the first four-goal game for a Blades player since Oct. 6, 2013, when F Nathan Burns did it against the Regina Pats. . . . D Matthew Robertson (5) pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie at 11:10 of the second period. . . . Haden, who has 12 goals, broke the tied at 8:11 of the third, added insurance at 12:04 and put it away at 12:25. . . . Haden, 19, has 11 goals and 10 assists in 20 games with the Blades, after opening the season with a goal and two assists in nine games with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Brett Kemp scored his 20th goal of the season for the Oil Kings. He has 20 in 33 games; last season, he finished with 17 in 69.


The Kelowna Rockets struck three times on the PP en route to a 3-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Kelowna (15-15-2) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . This was the first of a four-game road trip for the Rockets, who also will stop in Lethbridge, Calgary and Medicine Hat before breaking for Christmas. . . . Kootenay (7-21-6) has lost 12 straight (0-9-3). . . . The Rockets, who were 3-4 on the PP, got two goals from F Leif Mattson. . . . He made it 1-0 at 5:26 of the first period and 3-1 at 2:46 of the second. He’s got 14 goals. . . . F Kyle Topping (13) gave Kelowna a 2-0 lead at 11:50 of the first. . . . Kootenay got its goal from F Cole Muir (7), at 1:31 of the second period. . . . Kelowna finished 3-4 on the PP.


The Red Deer Rebels built a 2-0 lead and hung on for a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red DeerKamloops Blazers. . . . The Rebels (20-9-2) have points in four straight. . . . The Blazers (12-13-3) have lost three in a row (0-2-1), all of them on a Central Division trip. . . . F Reese Johnson (14) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 16:27 of the first period. . . . F Alex Morozoff (6) upped that to 2-0 at 15:06 of the second. . . . F Brodi Stuart (8) scored for Kamloops at 7:14 of the third. . . . Red Deer was 1-9 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 41 shots for Kamloops, 10 more than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders. . . . The Blazers, already without F Jermaine Loewen who is two games into a three-game suspension, lost F Zane Franklin at 12:14 of the first period when he was given a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on D Alex Alexeyev, who left the game and didn’t return. In fact, he was taken to hospital, but an update on his condition wasn’t available after the game. . . . Alexeyev also is on the selection-camp roster for the Russian team that is to play in the 2019 World Junior Championship.


F Zack Andrusiak struck for five points with F Nolan Volcan adding four, including three Seattlegoals, as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-5, in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle improved to 11-14-3. . . . The Cougars (11-17-3) have lost three in a row. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead at 16:34 of the first period. . . . The Thunderbirds scored the game’s next four goals. . . . Volcan’s first goal, at 17:39, got the Thunderbirds to within a goal. . . . D Jarret Tyszka (1) tied it 47 seconds into the second period. . . . Volcan gave Seattle the lead at 1:57, and Andrusiak, who has 21 goals, stretched the lead, on a PP, at 9:50. . . . Mikhalchuk (11), who also had an assist, cut Prince George’s deficit to one at 13:01, only to have Volcan complete his second career hat trick, on a PP, at 9:25. . . . F Josh Maser (10) got the Cougars’ last goal, at 18:00. . . . Andrusiak finished with two goals, giving him 21, and three assists for his first five-point game after four four-pointers. . . . Volcan’s night included his 200th regular-season point. He now has 203 points, including 83 goals, in 291 games.


The host Victoria Royals erased a 2-0 deficit with five straight goals and went on to a 7-4 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Victoria (14-12-1) had lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Portland (18-11-2) had a four-game winning streak end. . . . F Cross Hanas and F Joachim Blichfeld (27) gave Portland a 2-0 lead before the first period was 11 minutes old. . . . The Royals scored three times before the period ended, with F Tarun Fizer, F Brandon Cutler (6) and D Ralph Jarratt (3) finding the range. . . . F Dante Hannoun and Fizer added goals early in the second period for a 5-2 lead. . . . F Mason Mannek (8) got the Winterhawks to within two at 15:49, only to have the Royals strike twice more. . . . Fizer, who scored twice in 45 games last season, completed his first career hat trick with his seventh goal at 17:48. . . . Hannoun later added his 12th goal, with Hanas (5) scoring again for Portland. . . . D Scott Walford drew four assists for the Royals, with Hannoun adding two assists for a four-point night, too. . . . They’ll do it all over again tonight in Victoria.


Tweetoftheday

Advertisements

Broncos, Oil Kings swap players, picks . . . A ticket-price increase, or not? . . . Ferster leaves West Kelowna

MacBeth

F Andrej Šťastný (Vancouver, 2010-11) signed a one-year contract with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, he had three goals and one assist with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL).


ThisThat

The Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos got together on Tuesday and pulled off a deal that includes four players and three bantam draft picks.

Edmonton gets: D Jacson Alexander, 17, D Chad Smithson, 17, and a sixth-round pick in EdmontonOilKingsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft.

Swift Current gets: F Matthew Culling, 17, D Chase Lacombe, 16, a second-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft and a fourth-rounder in 2019.

The trade seems to have been precipitated when Alexander, a first-round pick by the Broncos in the 2016 bantam draft, requested a trade. Alexander, who is from Victoria, began last season with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies, putting up three goals and six assists in 29 games. While in the BCHL, he had committed to going the NCAA route and playing SCBroncosfor the U of Denver Pioneers. After joining the Broncos, he had a goal and four assists in 32 regular-season games. He had one assist in 26 playoff games.

Smithson, from Winnipeg, had six goals and seven assists in 41 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers last season. The Broncos selected him in the seventh round of the 2016 bantam draft.

Culling is from Regina and had 25 goals and 37 assists in 43 games with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians last season. The Oil Kings picked him in the 10th round of the 2016 bantam draft.

Lacombe is from Moose Jaw. Last season, he had one goal and one assists in 42 games with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. He was a fifth-round pick by Edmonton in the 2017 bantam draft.

The WHL has yet to reveal the particulars of new regulations involving who can and can’t be traded — assuming, that is, that the grand pooh-bahs have intentions of at some point letting fans in on what’s going on — but it seems that neither Smithson nor Lacombe has signed, while Culling is signed.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Jamie Porter, who used to be the Broncos’ director of hockey operations and head scout, now is the Oil Kings’ director of scouting. He will have played a role in Swift Current’s decision to select Alexander in the first round of the 2016 draft.


The Kootenay Ice held a news conference on Monday, after which they issued an all-encompassing news release.

Included in that news release was the pronouncement that “individual game pricing will Kootenaynewnot increase this season, however applicable taxes will no longer be included in the price.”

As one observer wrote in an email: “In other words, ‘we are increasing our ticket prices.’ ”

That emailer went on to do the math . . .

“Last season — $27.00 including taxes (highest single-game ticket price). This meant that the ticket price last season was actually $25.71 plus $1.29 taxes.

“This season — $27.00 plus $1.35 taxes = $28.35.

“Total Increase $1.35 = 5 per cent increase over last season. Actual Ice revenue per ticket went up $1.24 or 5 per cent.”



G Brodan Salmond, who got into 26 games with the Kelowna Rockets last season, is on MooseJawWarriorsthe training camp roster of the Moose Jaw Warriors. Salmond, from Calgary, will turn 20 on Oct. 8. . . . Last season, Salmond was 13-10-1, 3.67, .880 with the Rockets. In 56 career regular-season games over three seasons, he is 28-19-3, 3.26, .885. . . . The Warriors revealed on Monday that veteran Brody Willms, 20, won’t play this season do to hip problems. Their training camp roster also includes sophomore Adam Evanoff (15-4-1, 2.65, .906), who backed up Willms last season, and bantam draft picks Jackson Berry and Ethan Fitzgerald, both of who have signed WHL contracts. Berry, who turns 16 on Dec. 6, was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 draft; Fitzgerald, 17, was taken in the sixth round in 2016.



I don’t know how much you’ve got planned this week, but Stuart Kemp is a busy guy.

He’s the president of the Portland Winterhawks’ Booster Club, and he is leading the way Portlandas they get ready for the Toyota Hockey Family Fest on Sunday at the Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton on Sunday, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Before that, there’s a barbecue on Saturday in Clackamas.

He also had been getting ready for training camp, which started Tuesday and runs through Friday. And, yes, he hopes to see you there.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that he is working hard to recover from two strokes he had earlier in the year. That means he was to see a doctor on Tuesday, has speech therapy on Thursday and again on Saturday.

As he posted Monday night, “See you at upcoming events.”

Hey, Stuart, say hi to Don Hay for me on Sunday!

He added: “I do appreciate your help and will keep you posted on results at Doc and other events. I want to quickly thank all those who’ve read posts and sent messages, some I didn’t talk to in ages. Thanks much!”

Don’t forget that there’s a GoFundMe page for Kemp and his wife, Cathy, and it’s right here.



Rylan Ferster has resigned as general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s West WestKelownaKelowna Warriors. The announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon. . . . Geoff Grimwood, the assistant GM and associate head coach, has been named interim GM and head coach. Assistant coach Matt Miller and goaltending coach Chad Carder remain on staff. . . . Ferster, from Prince Albert, has spent seven seasons with the Warriors, helping them to the RBC Cup in 2016. . . . The Warriors had a regular-season record of 210-150-35 with Ferster in charge. . . . Ferster told Ron Seymour of the Kelowna Daily Courier that “it’s just the right time for me to leave.” Ferster didn’t add anything to that, other than “it’s was definitely an amicable parting. I’m leaving on good terms with the team, which in this business so many times is not the case.” . . . Seymour’s story is right here. . . . Grimwood, 37, is from Victoria. He signed on with the Warriors in July after spending three seasons as the head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers.


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.


Tweetoftheday

Broncos sign 2016 first-rounder … Honour for Ice’s new logo … Ex-WHL coach out in Nanaimo shakeup

MacBeth

F Kris Foucault (Swift Current, Kootenay, Calgary, 2006-11) has signed a one-year extension with the Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). In 32 games, he has 16 goals and 13 assists, and he leads the team in goals and points. He is tied for third in the league in goals. . . .

F Zdeněk Bahenský (Saskatoon, 2004-06) has been released by Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Alps HL) by mutual agreement due to a shoulder injury suffered on Dec. 16. He had seven goals and 13 assists in 23 games. He is expected to return to Prague for treatment. . . .

F Peter Quenneville (Brandon, 2013-15) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He played for Aalborg last season, putting up 30 goals and 19 assists in 45 games. He led the league in goals and was fourth in the points race. . . . This season, with Dynamo Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two goals and an assist in 12 games, and he had three goals and an assist in nine games with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). He was released from a tryout contract with SaiPa on Dec. 12.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . . SOME OF THAT . . .

The Swift Current Broncos have signed D Jacson Alexander, 16, who was one of their two first-round selections in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Alexander, from Victoria, was taken with the 16th overall pick.

Alexander, who will turn 17 on Feb. 1, was in his first season with the BCHL’s Victoria SCBroncosGrizzlies — he put up three goals and seven assists in 29 games — but will join the Broncos after Christmas.

He committed to the U of Denver on Dec. 7, 2016, for the 2019-20 season, while playing for the Shawnigan Lake, B.C., School prep team in the CSSHL.

This season, the 5-foot-10 Alexander also played for Hockey Canada’s Team Black at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge last month in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. He had one assist in five games.

Alexander could make his WHL debut on Dec. 27 when the Broncos return to play against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

Alexander’s arrival will give the Broncos seven defencemen and may take some of the pressure off Manny Viveiros, the director of player personnel and head coach, with the trade deadline approaching on Jan. 10. Observers were watching closely to see if Viveiros would go to the marketplace to land a seventh defenceman, something that may not be necessary now.

BTW, in that 2016 bantam draft, the Broncos used the fourth overall selection to take F Logan Barlage, who was playing for the bantam AA Humboldt, Sask., Broncos. This season, the 6-foot-4 Barlage, a freshman, has a goal and six assists in 30 games with the Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have the WHL rights to the only unsigned first-round selection from the 2017 bantam draft. They took D Joel Sexsmith of Edmonton with the ninth overall pick. He now is playing at the Edge School in Calgary.

Meanwhile, F Massimo Rizzo now is the lone first-round selection from the 2016 bantam draft not to have committed to the WHL.

The Kamloops Blazers selected Rizzo with the 15th overall pick, but he chose to sign with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.

From Burnaby, B.C., Rizzo has six goals and 11 assists in 28 games with the Vees this season. He had a goal and three assists in five games as a teammate of Alexander’s on Team Black at the U-17 WHC.

Rizzo has yet to make an NCAA commitment, nor has he told the Blazers that he definitely won’t sign with them at some point.


If you enter your email address over there on the right you will be notified each time I post something new on this site.

I haven’t yet been able to get a DONATE button posted here. But if you care to help the cause, please visit the old site (takingnote.ca), click on the DONATE button and do it there. Thank you.


When it comes to sports logos, Chris Creamer is the man. You are able to find him at sportslogos.net, or on Twitter at @sportslogosnet.

On Friday, he announced the 2017 Creamer Award winners for best new sports logos.

KootenaynewThe 14-person judging panel considered logos that “made their in-game debut in 2017.”

The WHL’s Kootenay Ice placed third in the Primary Logo of the Year Award, behind baseball’s Memphis Redbirds and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

Of the Ice’s new logo, which is pictured on the left, Creamer wrote: “Love the hidden ICE in this logo, designed by Bill Frederick’s team at Fanbrandz, who gave this junior hockey team the identity update it so desperately needed. Well done!”

The top 50 in that category and whole lot more, including a mention of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ 50th anniversary logo, can be found right here.


Less than a week after staging a father/son trip with his BCHL team, Mike Vandekamp is out of work.

Wes Mussio, a Vancouver-based lawyer who is the majority owner of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, revealed on Thursday, at 11:43 p.m., via Twitter that he had fired Vandekamp, the team’s general manager and head coach, “due to irreconcilable differences with the management team.”

Vandekamp’s contract would have expired at season’s end.

Late Friday night, the Clippers’ website continued to list Dustin Donaghy as the team’s

Clippers
On Nov. 10, Penny and Wes Mussio (second and third from left) were introduced as the new majority owners of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Darren Naylor (left) was named director of hockey operations, while team president David LeNeveu (fourth from left) retained five per cent. Mike Vandekamp (far right), then the general manager and head coach, was fired Thursday night and replaced by Naylor. (Photo: Greg Sakaki/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

head coach. However, a BCHL insider told Taking Note that Donaghy had been “fired by the Clippers.” Donaghy, from Cranbrook, played three seasons in the WHL (Spokane, Lethbridge, 2007-10).

Darren Naylor, who was part of that management team as the director of hockey operations, is the new GM and head coach.

Mussio and his wife, Penny, purchased 95 per cent of the Clippers last month and installed Naylor as director of hockey ops. Naylor also has been working as GM/head coach of the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, who are 26-2-1 in the Pacific Junior Hockey League. Mussio had been the majority owner of the Ice Hawks but is believed to have sold his shares when he purchased the Clippers.

On Friday, Mussio told Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin that he and Naylor were tired of butting heads with Vandekamp. (Sakaki’s complete story is right here.)

“The previous owner gave Mike a carte-blanche ability to do anything he wants and I wanted some input and I wanted Darren Naylor to have some input and sadly that didn’t seem like something Mr. Vandekamp was prepared to accept,” Mussio told Sakaki.

Mussio added: “We brought in a few key players and they were hit with resistance and we also tried to bring on some (affiliate players) and that was hit with resistance. So in order to move forward to the next (season), we need to have a look at players and recruit. Without any support from the coach, it’s pretty hard to do.”

Mussio also told Sakaki that Vandekamp had been given until Dec. 22 to commit to the new situation.

“He didn’t think it was in his personality . . . to do so, so that the end of it,” Mussio said.

Vandekamp, who has yet to comment, is a veteran junior coach who was in his seventh season with the Clippers. This season, the Clippers are 18-13-3-2 (that’s two ties), leaving them one point behind the Powell River Kings (18-10-3-3), who lead the BCHL’s Island Division.

The Clippers’ next game is Dec. 29 when they are scheduled to visit Powell River.

Vandekamp’s resume includes a season and a half as head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. In the BCHL, he also has worked with the Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers. He joined the Clippers after four seasons with the AJHL’s Grand Prairie Storm.

As for the father/son trip . . . the Clippers beat the Trail Smoke Eaters, 7-2, on Friday, then got past the Penticton Vees, 4-2, on Saturday. Nanaimo ended the trip by dropping a 4-2 decision to the Merritt Centennials on Sunday afternoon.

Dominic Abassi is the news director for Island Radio and @NanaimoNewsNOW.


It was rather interesting on Friday when F Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who has missed his NHL team’s past six games, discussed with reporters why he has been out of the lineup.

Matthews practised for the first time in almost two weeks and later talked about having symptoms of a concussion after colliding with Toronto D Morgan Reilly during a game against the host Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 9.

While Matthews didn’t go into great detail on the symptoms, he did say that he “went MapleLeafsthrough all that return to play, and all the protocols and everything and obviously, you know, they take it pretty seriously and they deemed me out so I went through all that stuff and I feel great now.”

Toronto next is scheduled to play today (Saturday) in New York against the Rangers, but it’s not yet known if Matthews will play.

Matthews’ conversation with reporters on Friday just may be another sign that NHL teams are loosening up when it comes to detailing injuries.

A couple of weeks ago, head coach Ken Hitchcock of the Dallas Stars explained why he no longer plays the “upper-body or lower-body” game.

“I think we collectively hate playing that game,” said Hitchcock, who posted his 800th victory as an NHL head coach on Thursday. “What I mean by that is we say upper-body, then you go on the phone, and then you look up things or you go to the doctors, find out what part of the upper body . . . We try to make your work easier, quite frankly, and so we just don’t like going through the dance.

“It’s easy to tell you what it is and let’s move forward. It’s just the whole game. It’s an injury and within two hours after we tell you it’s upper-body you know exactly what it is, so why not just tell you? And the players don’t go out and say: ‘He has a broken left pinkie and we’re going to go after that pinkie.’ Nobody thinks like that.

“Our feeling is just tell them what the injury is and move it forward and let’s stop the dance.”

But, then again, it could be that the Toronto braintrust wasn’t at all pleased with the way Matthews handled things on Friday. David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail takes a look at the situation right here.


Scoreboard

Dec. 18-Dec. 26:

No Games Scheduled.


Tweet of the day