Ice, Oil Kings continue to dominate in WHL’s east with shutouts . . . Blazers get past Giants . . . Winterhawks open with victory

There was a full slate of WHL playoff games on Saturday night, meaning all WHLplayoffs2022eight surviving teams were in on the action. When the smoke cleared, three teams, all playing at home, held 2-0 leads in the best-of-seven conference semifinal series. . . . In the other series, the Portland Winterhawks opened with a 4-2 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds. They will resume that series today in Portland. This series has a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format. It wasn’t able to open with two in Portland because the Winterhawks’ home arena was busy with grad ceremonies. . . .

At this point, it would seem that if you are looking for close games, you best pay attention to the Western Conference. In the Eastern Conference, through four games, the winners hold a 22-1 edge in goals scored, including 12-0 last night.

——

THE WHL ON SATURDAY:

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, F Jack Finley scored the game’s first two goals and G Daniel WinnipegIceHauser recorded the shutout as the No. 1 Ice steamrolled the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, 7-0, in Game 2 of their semifinal. . . . The Ice had won the opener, 6-1, on Friday night. . . . The teams now head for Moose Jaw and Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Finley, who has four goals in these playoffs, struck at 2:49 and 3:35 of the first period. . . . F Connor McClennon (5) made it 3-0, on a PP, at 9:01 and the Ice was off to the races. . . . F Matt Savoie (3), F Mikey Milne (7), F Zach Benson (6) and F Chase Wheatcroft (1) also scored. . . . Savoie and Benson, who also had three assists, scored while shorthanded; Milne struck on a PP.  . . . The Ice was 2-for-5 on the PP; the Warriors were 0-for-3. . . . Hauser finished with 27 saves in earning his first playoff shutout after putting up eight in the regular season. In seven playoff games, he is 6-1, 1.29, .936. . . . The Warriors are playing without D Daemon Hunt, their captain, who is out with an undisclosed injury. He hasn’t played since being injured on March 19, missing the Warriors’ final eight regular-season games and their seven playoff games to date. . . .

In Edmonton, F Jaxsen Wiebe scored his first two playoff goals as the No. 2 Oil EdmontonKings held serve on home ice with a 5-0 victory over the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . . The series will resume in Red Deer with games on Monday and Wednesday, and with the Rebels still looking for their first goal. They were beaten 4-0 in Thursday’s opener. . . . Wiebe, who played the previous two seasons with Red Deer, opened the scoring with his first playoff goal at 11:45 of the second period. . . . F Dylan Guenther (6) upped the lead to 2-0 at 17:02. . . . F Justin Sourdif (1) counted Edmonton’s third goal on a penalty shot at 2:56 of the third period. . . . F Jakub Demek (2), on a PP, at 7:10, and Wiebe, while shorthanded, at 9:22, completed the scoring. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 26 shots in posting his second straight shutout. In these playoffs, he is 6-0, 1.00, .957, with three shutouts.

——

Western Conference

In Kamloops, the No. 2 Blazers got past the No. 8 Vancouver Giants, 4-3, to take Kamloopsa 2-0 lead in their semifinal. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Langley, B.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . F Drew Englot (2) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 11:04 of the first period, but the Giants took a 2-1 lead into the second on goals from D Alex Cotton (5), at 12:49, and D Evan Toth (2), while shorthanded at 19:53. . . . Kamloops responded with three straight second-period goals, from F Connor Levis (2), at 1:21, F Caedan Bankier (3), at 6:41, and F Daylan Kuefler (3), on a PP, at 14:21. . . . Kuefler’s goal turned into the winner after F Ethan Semeniuk (2) pulled the Giants to within one at 15:53. . . . Bankier’s goal ran his point streak to 16 games — 10 to close out the regular season and six playoff games. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 23 shots for Kamloops, 12 fewer than Vancouver’s Jesper Vikman. . . . Kamloops was 1-for-9 on the PP, with five of those coming in the third period. . . . Vancouver was 0-for-5 after going 0-for-3 in Game 1. When they eliminated the No. 1 Everett Silvertips in six games, Vancouver was 12-for-32 on the PP. . . . The Blazers were missing F Luke Toporowski, who left in the first period of Game 1 with an apparent shoulder injury. . . . The Giants lost D Mazden Leslie and F Colton Langkow to undisclosed injuries in Game 1. Vancouver already was without forwards Payton Mount, Cole Shepard and Jacob Boucher, none of whom travelled to Kamloops. . . .

In Kent, Wash., D Clay Hanus struck for a PP goal late in the third period, Portlandbreaking a 2-2 tie and sending the Portland Winterhawks on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for today in Portland, with a third game to be played there on Wednesday. . . . F Jared Davidson (4) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 9:28 of the first period. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Marcus Nguyen (1), at 8:44 of the second period, and F James Stefan (3), at 14:44. . . . F Matthew Rempe (4) pulled Seattle even at 19:00. . . . OT was on the horizon when Hanus scored his first goal of these playoffs, at 16:21 of the third period, on Portland’s fourth PP opportunity. The Winterhawks finished 1-for-4; Seattle was 0-for-1. . . . Portland F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (1) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 23 shots for Portland, three more than Seattle’s Thomas Milic.


Informer


JUST NOTES: F Niko Huuhtanen of the Everett Silvertips has joined the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch for the remainder of the season. Huuhtanen, who will turn 19 on June 26, was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. From Finland, he had 37 goals and 40 assists in 65 regular-season games with the Silvertips. He added 10 points, including five goals, in five playoff games. . . .

F Jake Chiasson of the Brandon Wheat Kings now is with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Chiasson, who will turn 19 on May 25, was a fourth-round pick by the Oilers in the 2021 NHL draft. He was limited to 20 games this season by shoulder surgery, and finished with six goals and 12 assists. . . .

The Brooks Bandits won the AJHL championship on Saturday night, beating the visiting Spruce Grove Saints, 2-0, to win the best-of-seven final, 4-1. . . . G Ethan Barwick recorded a 21-save shutout. . . . The Bandits now move on to the Centennial Cup tournament in Estevan, Sask., that is to run from May 18-29. . . .

The Niverville Nighthawks, an MJHL expansion team, have signed Ethan Maertens-Poole as an assistant coach to work alongside head coach Kelvin Cech. Maertens-Poole spent the 2021-22 season as an associate coach with the junior B Golden Rockets of the KIJHL.


Cereal


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Bengay

Remembering when Ginnell left the Bombers . . . Blades’ Maier king of WHL goaltenders . . . Bedard sets two Pats’ records

These days I am spending time going through more than 40 years worth of files. As pages and pages of clippings, news releases and more, most of them related to the WHL and various teams, go into the recycling bin there are memories, lots of memories involving personalities.

Like Patty Ginnell, or Paddy Ginnell, who was Pat Ginnell when he took over as head coach of the Flin Flon Bombers on June 1, 1966. Quick now . . . who did he succeed? That would be Tom Baird, who stayed on as the general manager.

The Bombers were in the SJHL at the time, but that changed when they moved FFBombersto what was then the Western Canada Junior Hockey League for its second season (1967-68). It had been the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League for its inaugural season (1966-67).

Anyway, Ginnell was 29 when he took over the Bombers. He had spent the previous three seasons playing for the IHL’s Des Moines Oak Leafs. You know that putting Ginnell behind the bench was a popular choice in Flin Flon because he had played for the Bombers when they won the 1958 Memorial Cup.

Ginnell coached the Bombers through Dec. 9, 1973, his final game a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats.

Why was that his final game?

He had purchased 40 per cent of the Victoria Cougars and was about to step in as general manager and head coach.

PatGinnell
PAT GINNELL

Ginnell told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post that he had been trying to purchase a piece of the Bombers but hadn’t met with any success.

“I’ve been manager-coach in Flin Flon for nine years,” he told Isaac, “and I don’t have a thing to show for it. I don’t even own a stick.” (If you did the math, you know that he actually was in his eighth season with the Bombers, but, hey, facts didn’t get in the way of a lot of stories back in the day.)

“It’s always been my desire to own and operate my own club and that was something I was unable to do in Flin Flon,” Ginnell continued. “Now I’ll have my own team.”

Interestingly, Ginnell’s impending move leaked with the Bombers on the road and before he was able to inform the team’s board of directors.

With the Cougars, Ginnell bought out Eric Bishop, who said he was quitting as the team’s general manager. The Cougars, who started that season with Ollie Dorohoy as their head coach, were in their third WCHL season, hadn’t made the playoffs in their first two and were struggling again.

Victoria finished that season at 22-40-6, which left it fifth in the six-team Western Division.

At some point before Ginnell bought a piece of the Cougars, he had been asked how long it would take him to turn the team into a contender. “One year minimum,” he replied.

Well, the Cougars, led by Mel Bridgman, finished the 1974-75 season atop the West Division with a 47-18-5 record but dropped a best-of-seven semifinal series to the New Westminster Bruins, 4-2.

The Bombers’ board of directors, meanwhile, accepted Ginnell’s recommendation that Mel Pearson, a teammate on the 1958 Memorial Cup-winning team, be the next GM/head coach. Pearson had spent the 1972-73 season with the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints.

Pearson didn’t get to Flin Flon in time for the Bombers next game, on Dec. 13 against, yes, the Cougars. So trainer Nick Oklobdzija — he was known as Nick Alphabet — served as the interim head coach and posted one of his dozen or so career coaching victories, this one by a 10-2 score. Ginnell watched from the Whitney Forum stands as Dorohoy continued for the moment as the Cougars’ coach.

(Bruce Penton, writing in the Brandon Sun of March 7, 1974, noted that Oklobdzija “is undefeated in 12 tests as coach of the WCHL Bombers.”

“That goes back about eight or nine years,” Oklobdzija told Penton. “I’ve filled in here and there when (Ginnell) was away or suspended, or something. And we’ve never lost while I’ve coached.” The WHL’s coaching records show Oklobdzija with a 2-0-0 coaching mark.)

Pearson made his Flin Flon coaching debut on Dec. 18 with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. (One of Brandon’s goals came from John Paddock, now the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach.)

Pearson, who had signed a contract taking him through 1974-75, was gone early in the 1975-76 season, fired on Oct. 29. At the time, the Bombers had two victories in 12 games.

The Bombers then hired Mickey Keating to replace Pearson, thus ending Ginnell’s connection to the Flin Flon franchise.

As an aside, my favourite Keating quote emerged late in the 1976-77 season. At one point, I wrote a few stories detailing the history of the WHL and it included this:

A nine-hour meeting in Calgary resulted in a new playoff format. Under the original format, the Flin Flon Bombers, third in the East, were 20 points ahead of Regina and all but had a playoff spot locked up. Suddenly, there was a new format and the Bombers were fighting for a spot. Oh yes, they were also on a 15-game West Coast road trip.

“In this league, you need two pieces of equipment,” said Flin Flon boss Mickey Keating. “You need a face-guard when you play some of the teams on the ice and a back protector for the committee room. I had inklings that there may be changes in the playoffs but I had confidence there were intelligent hockey men in this league. I was shown different.”

Ahh, yes, those were the days.


Cats


If you have time on your hands, you could track down the Twitter account belonging to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) and check out the ‘apology’ from the Burke brothers — Billy and Joey. And then see if you can find the screen shot of the WhatsApp chat that got them into trouble with David Branch, the OHL commissioner. . . . And after you have done all that, you are free to wonder why the Burke boys weren’t suspended for life.

Meanwhile, there is ample speculation that the IceDogs are soon to be sold to, as Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered reported, “a group headed by Darren DeDobberlaer, an insurance magnate from nearby Brantford, who owns both the Brantford 99ers Jr. A team and the Brantford Bandits Jr. B team.”

Campbell also wrote: “Oh, yes, and the selling price is rumoured to be in the range of $20 million, which should disavow anyone of the notion that major junior hockey operators in Canada are mom and pop operations that require millions of dollars in tax money to meet their scholarship commitments and provincial government laws to help them skirt minimum wage requirements. Teams make money when they are strong and struggle financially when they aren’t. If the operators know what they’re doing, they can make it work. And as we’re seeing with the IceDogs, they can cash out when they sell the team.”

Campbell’s piece is right here and it’s because of reports like this that I subscribe to his site.



“The Greater Toronto Hockey League has hired a private investigator to scrutinize allegations that Jewish players with the U-13 Avenue Road Ducks and their family members were targeted with anti-Semitic slurs during games this season,” reports Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . That story is right here.

——

Meanwhile, CBC Ottawa reports that “after some Black minor hockey players in western Quebec alleged they were racially abused, a Gatineau, Que., team has suspended six of its players and the provincial governing body cancelled weekend games.” . . . That story is right here.

——

And, from Oakland, Mich., comes this from clickondetroit.com: “A 15-year-old boy is suing three players on an under 16 youth hockey team, their parents and the coach after he said he endured antisemitic bullying until he quit the team.” . . . That story is right here.


Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . You are able to support her by making a donation right here.


Spider


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

G Nolan Maier became the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL Saskatoonhistory as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . Maier stopped 20 shots in posting his 121st career regular-season victory, breaking a record he had shared with Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Hirsch tweeted: “Congrats Nolan! Your perseverance, resilience and dedication is nothing short of inspirational. Enjoy the moment; you’ve earned it!” . . . The Blades won it with two third-period goals, from F Egor Sidorov (23), at 12:17, and F Trevor Wong (16), at 18:01. . . . Maier has three shutouts his season; he holds the franchise career record, with 11. . . . Saskatoon (37-26-4) moved into fourth place, one point ahead of the idle Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Raiders (26-34-5) are 10th, two points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Jake Chiasson had two goals and two assists as the Brandon Wheat Kings Brandondoubled the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Chiasson, who has six goals, struck twice in the second period as Brandon took a 5-1 lead. Chiasson missed a huge chunk of the season with an injury and only began play on March 4. He now has 15 points in 16 games. . . . D Mason Ward added two goals, giving him six, and an assist for Brandon, with D Chad Nychuk getting a goal, his 21st, and two assists. Nychuk has 68 points in 60 games. . . . Brandon (34-25-5), which has won four in a row, is sixth, four points behind Moose Jaw. Each team has four games remaining. . . . Medicine Hat (11-50-4) has lost nine straight games. . . .

In Red Deer, F Ben King, who leads the WHL in goals, scored in OT to give the RedDeerRebels a 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . King, who also had two assists, scored his 49th goal of the season at 2:56 of OT. . . . King has a WHL-leading 15 game-winning goals this season. F Brian Propp of the 1978-19 Brandon Wheat Kings holds the WHL record of 16. . . . F Logan Wormald scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 14. His second goal, at 8:33 of the third period, gave his side a 4-3 lead. . . . D Christoffer Sedoff (7) forced OT with a goal at 12:04. . . . Red Deer (44-17-4) is third, four points behind the idle Edmonton Oil Kings, who have a game in hand. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-5) is headed for a seventh-place finish. . . .

F Connor Bedard set two franchise records as his Regina Pats beat the Broncos, Regina4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Bedard scored twice to give him 47 this season. His 46th goal, a shorthanded effort, set the Pats’ record for most goals by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Jeff Friesen scored 45 times in 1992-93. . . . Bedard now has 89 point in 58 games, and that also is a Pats’ franchise record for a player in his 16-year-old WHL season. F Doug Wickenheiser finished the 1977-78 season with 88 points. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Kelton Pyne. . . . Regina (25-34-5) is 11th and, with four games remaining, trails the eighth-place Broncos (26-34-7) by four points.

——

Western Conference:

F Matthew Seminoff scored with four seconds remaining in the third period to Kamloopsgive the Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kamloops. . . . The goal came one second after the end of a Victoria PP opportunity. . . . F Logan Stankoven had three assists for the Blazers, including the only one on the winner. . . . Seminoff has 25 goals. . . . F Bailey Peach (36) scored twice and added an assist for Victoria, which came back to tie the score three times but wasn’t able to grab the lead. . . . Stankoven now has 99 points, leaving him three behind F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels, who leads the points race. . . . Stankoven, who has played 56 games, leads the WHL in points-per-game (1.77). . . .  Kamloops (47-16-2) is second, four points behind the Everett Silvertips. Each team has three games remaining. . . . Victoria (22-37-6) is tied for seventh with the Vancouver Giants, one point behind the idle Spokane Chiefs. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff scored three times and added an assist as the host Everett EverettSilvertips dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the U.S. Division regular-season pennant, scored the game’s last four goals, the first two from Swetlikoff, who has 33 goals. . . . Everett was 3-for-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-for-2. . . . Everett had a 50-13 edge in shots. According to the online game sheet, shots were 10-0 in the third period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski had an empty-net goal and two assists for Everett. He’s got 46 goals. . . . Everett (45-10-10) leads the conference by four points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-42-7) has been eliminated from playoff contention. . . .

F Jack O’Brien had two goals to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-2 victory Portlandover the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . O’Brien has 13 goals. . . . F Cross Hanas scored his 25th goal and added two assists for the winners. . . . There was something of a brouhaha at 19:17 of the third period that resulted in 97 penalty minutes being handed out. . . . Portland (44-16-5) is third, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (23-36-4) is tied for seventh with Victoria, one point behind Spokane and one ahead of the idle Prince George Cougars.


JUST NOTES: F Logan Nijhoff, the Regina Pats’ captain, has signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. Nijhoff, 20, had 20 goals and 23 assists in 52 games when the signing was announced on Thursday. He is completing his fifth season with Regina. Nijhoff attended the Ducks’ rookie camp in September. . . . The EIHL’s Cardiff Devils have fired head coach Jarrod Skalde, who was in his first season there. Assistant coaches Brodie Dupont and Neil Francis will run things through the end of the season. With four games left in the regular season, the Devils are third at 27-15-3.


War


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dog

Fan’s enthusiasm for WHL returns after visit to Everett . . . Maier ties WHL career record . . . Seattle star signs with Penguins


When the Portland Winterhawks visited the Silvertips in Everett on Friday at least one fan was in the Angel of the Winds Arena for the first time.

This individual is a long-time WHL fan and a season-ticket holder who rarely misses a game. After being in Everett for what he said was his first game “in many years” outside his home city, he sent me some of his thoughts . . .

“Wasn’t sure what to expect, but what a great experience it was compared to Everettwhat I’m used to. . . . Angel of the Winds Arena is a great facility . . . it feels like a smaller version of an NHL arena with two levels, and a nice concourse to walk around in. The concourse is open at one end so you can see the ice from that part of it, too. The lower level is only 12 rows deep, but close to the ice all the way around so fans are right on top of the action. Not to mention it has more concessions than I could count — you couldn’t walk more than about 50 feet without coming to another place to buy food or drinks . . . lots of variety and no long lineups.

“The announced attendance was about 6,800 and unlike other cities that number wasn’t inflated by too much . . . definitely well over 6,000 in the building, eyeballing the empty seats.

“I showed up at the rink at about 5:50 (10 minutes before the doors opened to non-season ticket holders). There already were numerous season-ticket holders going into the building, and by 6 p.m. the line for the general public to get in was over a block long.”

That, he added, was quite a contract to his home team’s games this season “where at 6 p.m. there might be a dozen or two people there.”

In Everett, he wrote, “not long after 6 p.m., the team store was packed with a lineup of about 20 people for the cash register.” That, too, was “a big contrast” to his home team’s games.

“The crowd had a real energy to it, too. It was a pretty young crowd (lots of people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, which is a great thing to see). Lots of Silvertips jerseys in the crowd, something I’m not used to seeing. . . . Anything that happened in the game got a reaction — whenever the Silvertips took the puck away from Portland, cleared it out of their zone, or started a rush up the ice out of their own zone, the crowd was making noise.”

That, he wrote, was “a welcome change” from crowds in his home arena “that for the most part sit on their hands the whole game other than when a goal is scored. And when Everett scores the entire crowd is on its feet.

“I’ve seen NHL games in a number of cities, and some crowds are just different — at a Rangers game, for example, there’s just a very different energy you feel compared to an L.A. Kings or Anaheim Ducks game and that’s the distinction I’d draw between Everett and (my home arena), a crowd where people were there to be part of the game rather than just sit and watch.

“It was just a fantastic experience, and none of it felt manufactured. There wasn’t anything on the scoreboard telling fans to make noise or anything. Even the fan contests during the intermission were fun and different than I’d seen before.

“If I were involved with running a WHL team I’d be sending my marketing team to Everett to learn something.”

When I wrote about the WHL and attendance last month, this fan told me that he was thinking about perhaps switching from a full season-ticket to a half. He changed his mind after his Everett experience.

“Attending that one game probably did more to bring back my enthusiasm for WHL hockey after the lost COVID season than an entire season of attending (my team’s) games,” he wrote.


Deer1
It must have been a tough shift at the factory on Sunday afternoon because the 16 or 17 deer in the field behind our humble abode all were laying down after having eaten. The light was fading and the ol’ peepers aren’t what they used to be so I couldn’t make an accurate count. And there were more there than I could fit into one frame.

Deer3


Dorothy-040719Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here.


Groceries


If you haven’t noticed, the honeymoon appears to be over in Vancouver where the vultures are starting to circle. . . . There was this from Jeff Paterson on the CanucksSekeres and Price podcast this week: “Bruce has to wear some of this, too. The shine is coming off of this team with 3 wins in 13 games at crunch time. 1 win in their last 8 at home. Bruce always wants to flush this thing about slow starts.” . . . Carol Schram of Forbes Sports tweeted: “It’s crunch time. The Canucks season could depend on 3 games in the next 9 days against Vegas, starting Sunday. Bruce Boudreau’s future may also hang in the balance.” . . . The Canucks lost that Sunday game, and they are in Vegas tonight in the opener of a doubleheader there. . . . Just a short time ago, Boudreau could do no wrong, but that doesn’t seem to be the case these days. . . . Where the fans in Vancouver used to chant “Bruce, there it is!,” now it seems that “Bruce, there it isn’t” would be more topical. And the whisperers are wondering: “Where is Paul Maurice?” . . . Gee, maybe the Canucks’ problems haven’t had a whole lot to do with coaching.


Back in the day, if a player tried to skill it up in the NBA this might happen . . .


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier tied the WHL record for career goaltending victories Saskatoonas the Blades beat the Tigers, 4-0, in Medicine Hat. . . . Maier, 20, has 120 victories in his five seasons with the Blades, including 29 this season. He now shares the mark with Tyson Sexsmith (Medicine Hat, Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Maier’s second shutout of this season was the 11th of his career. . . . The Blades are to meet the Hurricanes in Lethbridge tonight. . . . Don’t forget that Maier played only 17 games in the 2021 development season when he earned 12 victories, so only the pandemic kept him from smashing this record. . . . D Ryan Nolan drew three assists. . . . The Blades (26-25-4), with three games remaining, are two points behind the fourth-place Moose Jaw Warriors, who have four to play. . . . The Tigers (11-49-4) have lost eight in a row. . . .

F Jake Chiasson and F Nolan Ritchie each had a goal and two assists as their BrandonBrandon Wheat Kings beat the visiting Regina Pats, 5-4. . . . Chiasson, who has four goals, tied it 2-2 at 16:46 of the second period and Ritchie, with 31 goals, broke the tie at 19:40. . . . D Mason Ward (4) upped the lead to 4-2 at 1:23 of the third period and the Pats never could equalize. . . . Regina got three goals from F Logan Nijhoff, whose first WHL hat trick left him with 20 goals. . . . Brandon (33-25-5) is sixth, five points behind Saskatoon. The Wheat Kings appear headed to a first-round matchup with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Regina (24-34-5) is six points from a playoff spot with five games remaining.

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

In Prince George, D Tyson Feist scored at 1:02 of OT to give the Kelowna Rockets Kelownaa 1-0 victory over the Cougars. . . . He’s got 15 goals this season. . . . Kelowna G Talyn Boyko blocked 21 shots for his second shutout of the season. . . . The Cougars got 35 saves from G Ty Young. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Prince George. . . . The Rockets (38-19-6) are fifth, four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars (22-37-5) are tied for the conference’s last playoff spot with the Spokane Chiefs, one point behind the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals.


Clam


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Mark Bomersback is the new general manager of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. Bomersback, 39, was the Storm’s GM from 2017-20, before stepping down. From a news release: “Mark was an elite player in the AJHL, his 394 career points still stands as the all-time record.  Upon finishing his junior career Mark moved on to Ferris State University in the NCAA.  Mark’s professional hockey career saw him play in the East Coast and American Hockey Leagues before finishing his career in Europe, including a season in the KHL.” Mike Vandekamp was the Storm’s general manager/head coach for the past two seasons, but they parted company at the conclusion of their season. A new head coach has yet to be hired. . . . Billy Keane has joined the Pilot Mound, Man., Hockey Academy as the male U18 head coach and the academy’s assistant general manager. He spent the previous two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. His contract wasn’t renewed when their season ended. . . .

Brandon Switzer is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Switzer, from Brandon, had been the club’s associate coach and assistant GM since June 26. He takes over from Bill Rotheisler, who had filled both positions for the past two seasons. . . . The NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins have signed F Lukas Svejkovsky, 20, of the Seattle Thunderbirds to a three-year entry-level contract that is to begin next season. It carries an annual average value of $859,167 at the NHL level — salaries of $750,000, $775,000 and $775,000 with a $92,000 signing bonus each year. There is an $80,000 minor-league salary in all three years. The Penguins selected him in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL draft. . . .

The NAHL announced on Tuesday that the Wichita Falls Warriors are on the move to Oklahoma City where they will play out of the Blazers Ice Center. They will continue with the Warriors nickname. There was a time when the NAHL franchise in Wichita Falls was known as the Wildcats and was owned by Rick Brodsky, a former WHL chairman of the board and owner of the Victoria/Prince George Cougars.


Sessions


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dads

Hey, Silvertips, does Wolf give up goals in practice? Three games. Three wins. Three shutouts . . . Stankowski adding new chapter to career

Silvertips
Goaltender Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips has his eyes on the prize during a 3-0 victory over the Tri-City Americans on Wednesday night. Wolf has gone the distance in each of Everett’s three games and has yet to surrender even one goal. (Photo: Chris Mast/mastimages.com)

G Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips put up his third straight shutout on Wednesday night, stopping 30 shots in a 3-0 victory over the visiting Tri-City EverettAmericans. . . . The Silvertips are 3-0-0 this season, with Wolf yet to allow even one goal. . . . If you’re wondering, Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers posted four straight shutouts in 1967-68, and that’s the WHL record. . . . Wolf now has 23 career shutouts, three off the WHL record that is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 179 games, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 190 games, 2013-18). Wolf now has appeared in 130 games. . . . Wolf, a seventh-round pick by the Calgary Flames in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has stopped all 70 shots he has faced this season, having earlier blanked the Spokane Chiefs, 2-0, and the Americans, 7-0. . . . Wolf lowered his career GAA to 1.82, second to the 1.73 of Kelly Guard (Kelowna, 115 games, 2002-04). . . . The Silvertips are next scheduled to play Friday against the host Portland Winterhawks. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings were without D Braden Schneider as they dumped the Moose Jaw Warriors 8-2 in the Regina hub. Schneider was injured in the second period of a 6-4 loss to the Saskatoon Blades when his right knee appeared to get twisted underneath him in a collision. Last night, the Wheat Kings, who were 5-for-7 on the PP, got two goals and an assist from F Jake Chiasson, a goal and two helpers from F Nate Danielson, and three assists from each of F Ridly Greig and D Rylan Thiessen. . . . The New York Rangers selected Schneider with the 19th overall pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft. They have signed him to an NHL contract. . . . 

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Swift BladesCurrent Broncos, 6-5 in OT, in the Regina hub. . . . F Tristen Robins got the winner just 29 seconds into OT. That was his second goal of the game and fifth of the season. . . . Saskatoon D Aidan De La Gorgendiere had tied the scored with 42.8 seconds left in the third period. . . . F Josh Filmon’s first WHL goal gave the Broncos (1-5-1) a 5-3 lead at 12:01 of the third period. . . . F Blake Stevenson scored for Saskatoon at 16:31. . . . G Nolan Maier picked up his 84th career victory and now is one away from the franchise’s career record (Tim Cheveldae, 1985-88). Cheveldae spent six seasons (2013-19) as the Blades’ goaltending coach. . . . The Blades now are 6-0-1. Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Blades, reports that the franchise’s best seven-game start (6-0-1, with the 1 being a tie) came in 1985-86. The 1975-76 Blades, Lazaruk tweeted, won their first six games before dropping a 7-3 decision to the Kamloops Chiefs.


Sheep 2
It’s a sunny Wednesday afternoon and a couple of old guys are strolling along Shuswap Road east of Kamloops. One of their pals was just over the edge of the road. The other three regulars weren’t anywhere in sight.

Tim Peel, the former NHL referee, really didn’t give the league any choice when he spoke out loud without realizing his mic was live.

After saying what he said, the NHL, I suppose, had no choice but to bring a nhl2premature end to his career.

But I would suggest that the NHL really over-reacted.

Peel, who worked more than 1,400 regular-season and playoff games during his NHL career, was doing a game between the Detroit Red Wings and host Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. Early on, with his mic live, he uttered these words: “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a f—— penalty against Nashville early in the . . .“ The mic got cut off at that point, so the rest of the sentence went unheard.

Just before that, Peel had given F Viktor Arvidsson of the Predators a minor penalty for tripping.

So the guy said the quiet part out loud. What’s the big deal? And don’t try to tell me that this is about gambling or the integrity of the game. After all, this is a league that hides player injuries more than any of the other big four sports. This is a league that doesn’t put any pressure on a coach to name his starting goaltender. So let’s forget the gambling/integrity part of it.

Simply put, this was a case of the NHL over-reacting.

Peel, 54, was scheduled to work his last game on April 24, after which he planned to skate off into the sunset.

So why couldn’t the NHL bring him in behind closed doors, slap him on the wrist, tell him to take a few days off, like maybe three weeks, and then have him work that final game?

What would have been the harm in that?

Instead, the NHL chose to scapegoat a veteran referee, and for what?

Because if you think Peel’s misstep is going to result in a change to the way NHL games are officiated, well, that’s just not going to happen.

Referees will continue to watch defencemen cross-check forwards into submission in the defensive zone, and the standard of officiating will change in the playoffs.

Besides . . . if it wasn’t like that what would we have to complain about?


There was an interesting goaltending matchup in the NHL on Wednesday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins dumped the visiting Buffalo Sabres, 5-2. Tristan Jarry, who earned the victory, backstopped the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings to the 2014 Memorial Cup title; Dustin Tokarski, who was in goal for the Sabres, won the 2008 Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . According to Jay Stewart (@jaystewie), the Chiefs’ vice-president of business operations: “From what I can tell, this is the first time since Feb. 13, 2002, that goaltenders who won Memorial Cups in the WHL played in the same NHL game.” Stewart’s research shows that Trevor Kidd, who won with Spokane in 1998, played for the Florida Panthers against Steve Passmore and the Chicago Blackhawks. Passmore won the 1994 Memorial Cup with the Kamloops Blazers.


There always are a lot of good stories in and around a hockey season. I don’t think there was a better story to the WHL’s 2016-17 season than G Carl Stankowski, then of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Back then, the Calgary native was a 16-year-old freshman who got into only seven regular-season games. But then G Rylan Toth, 20, was injured. Toth had played in 58 games, going 36-18-1, so there wasn’t any doubt about who was No. 1. But now he couldn’t answer the bell and the torch was passed — GULP! — to Stankowski. All the kid did was go 16-2-2, 2.50, .911 in leading the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . Since then, he has dealt with some serious health issues that he now hopes he has learned to handle as he plays with the Winnipeg Ice in the Regina hub. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post caught up with Stankowski this week and his column is right here.



How are things in B.C.? Thanks for asking. . . . Here are Wednesday’s numbers, thanks to Janet Brown of CKNW: “716 new cases, 383 Fraser Health, 303 hospital (-11), 85 ICU (+2), 3 deaths, 71 new variant cases for total 1,581, 148 active.” . . . That’s right, 716 newbies. But, hey, they’re only numbers, so party on, Garth!


Jesus


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.



JUST NOTES: Kierra Lentz is the new director of marketing for the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. From Salmon Arm, she recently graduated with a diploma in broadcasting from SAIT in Calgary. . . . The AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers have named Tyler King as their assistant general manager of business operations. According to a news release, King “will oversee the Oilers’ day-to-day off-ice operations, reporting to the organization’s board of directors as well as head coach and general manager Tyler Deis.” He was the Brooks Bandits’ business manager from 2017-19, during which time they play host to the 2019 national junior A championship. He also spent 14 months with Hockey Canada as logistics manager for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship that was held in the Edmonton bubble.


Morons

AJHL, QMJHL, PJHL teams have positives . . . B.C. leagues awaiting clarification on travel restrictions . . . USHL moves more games

Coming Friday: Part 2 of a look back at the history of the WHL.


The AJHL revealed Thursday that “a member of the Canmore Eagles has tested ajhlpositive for COVID-19.” . . . According to a four-sentence news release, the team has activated the required protocols, schedule adjustments will be made, and “for privacy reasons, no further comments will be provided.” . . . Four minutes after the AJHL released the news, the Olds Grizzlys tweeted that “our games this weekend vs the Drumheller Dragons now are cancelled.” They were to have played in Drumheller on Friday and in Olds on Saturday. . . . In their last game, the Eagles beat the Dragons, 6-3, in Drumheller on Saturday night. . . . According to the AJHL schedule, Canmore’s games scheduled for Nov. 27 (vs. Brooks Bandits) and Nov. 28 (at Brooks) have been “cancelled.”


The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs have had a staff member come up positive so qmjhlnewhave suspended “team in-person activities.” . . . According to the team, “players and staff now will be isolated” and “members of the organization who have been in contact with the infected person will be tested.” . . . The Cape Breton Eagles, who played the visiting Sea Dogs on Wednesday night, won’t play again until public health officials have completed their investigation. According to the Sea Dogs, the infected person didn’t travel with the team to Wednedsay’s game. . . . All told, the QMJHL has had to postpone five games through Nov. 25. . . . There is a news release right here.


Protip


The Fort Knox junior B team that plays in the Prairie Junior Hockey League announced Thursday that “an individual within” its organization has tested positive. As it awaits directions from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the team has postponed its Friday-Saturday home-and-home series with the Regina Capitals. . . . Fort Knox plays out of Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.


With the B.C. government and health officials having announced increased BCHLtravel restrictions on Friday, the BCHL has decided to cancel its weekend exhibition games as it awaits what it calls “further clarification.” . . . The one game scheduled for Friday — the Merritt Centennials were in Cranbrook to play the Bucks — was played. . . . The league has three Saturday games on its schedule, along with one on Sunday. . . . The BCHL has been aiming for a Dec. 1 start to its new season. However, the new travel restrictions are to run through at least Dec. 7. . . . Late Thursday, it seemed that the junior B leagues in the province also were awaiting further clarification on the impact these restrictions will have. It could be that one part of Thursday’s edict — “no spectators and no travel outside your community for sports games” — may not have meant what the words would seem to mean. Yes, we’re talking about mixed messages.


Thanksgiving


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

CBC News: Manitoba reports 8 more coronavirus deaths and 475 new cases. That’s the province’s 3rd-highest daily total during the pandemic, and raises the 7-day average to 386. Manitoba also has a 14% test positivity rate, the highest in the country.

680 CJOB Winnipeg: The Manitoba government is adding teeth to province-wide COVID-19 restrictions, banning gatherings at private residences and limiting retail sales to essential items only.

CBC News: Saskatchewan reports 98 new COVID-19 cases, lowest in 6 days and significantly below the province’s previous 7-day average of 175.

CBC News: With 1,105 new COVID-19 cases, Alberta sets another single-day record. Eight more people died from the disease, four in Edmonton and four in Calgary.

Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW: Alberta sets another daily record with 1,105 new COVID-19 cases. . . . Active cases in Red Deer sit at 110 (up one).

CBC News: B.C. reports 538 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death.

BC Government News: Mandatory mask mandate for workers & customers in indoor public & retail spaces – & in workplace common areas; no events or social gatherings with anyone outside your household or core bubble (if you live alone); COVID-19 travel advisory in BC: essential travel only; spin classes, hot yoga, and high-intensity interval training are suspended; no spectators — and no travel outside your community — for sports games.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 28 additional deaths due to COVID-19 and 1,210 new cases. That’s lower than the previous 7-day average, which drops to 1,365 from 1,418. 361 of the new cases are in Peel Region, 346 in Toronto and 143 in York Region.

CBC News: 34 additional COVID-19 deaths are being reported in Quebec along with 1,207 new cases. That drops the province’s 7-day average for new cases to 1,221 from 1,243.

CBC News: New COVID-19 case confirmed in Whitehorse as Yukon imposes travel restrictions; everyone except critical services workers now required to self-isolate for 14 days when entering territory.

CBC News: 4 new COVID-19 cases detected in Nunavut. 3 are in Arviat, an isolated fly-in community on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay; that brings the number there to 57. Across the territory, which is now in a 2-week lockdown, there are 74 cases.

The New York Times: Our survey of more than 1,900 U.S. colleges and universities has revealed more than 321,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with most of them announced since students returned to campus for the fall term.

The New York Times: New coronavirus infections in Europe appear to be slowing for the first time in months, the WHO said on Thursday. Restrictions re-imposed late last month on businesses and public gatherings appear to be working, and schools have generally remained open.

CBC News: Sweden’s health agency says a number of people who work in the mink industry tested positive for COVID-19. Authorities are analyzing the virus from the infected people and from infected minks to see if there is a link between the strains.

——

The USHL continues to have problems trying to play its schedule. A news release from the league on Thursday revealed that Waterloo Black Hawks games against the Lincoln Stars (Nov. 20 and 25), Des Moines Buccaneers (Nov. 21), Dubuque Fighting Saints (Nov. 26) and Green Bay Gamblers (Nov. 28) “have been declared No Contests.” . . . Lincoln’s Nov. 18 game against the Tri-City Storm also “has been declared a No Contest.” . . . From the release: “Per league safety protocols, minimum standards were not met to play these upcoming games.” . . .

WR J.J. Arecega-Whiteside of the Philadelphia Eagles tested positive and is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, along with close contacts WR John Hightower and WR Deontary Burnett. The Eagles are to play the host Cleveland Browns on Sunday. . . .

The San Francisco 49ers placed OL Hroniss Grasu and LB Joe Walker on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. They join DL Arik Armstead, who tested positive, and DT Javon Kinlaw who were added earlier in the week. . . . The 49ers have a bye this week. . . .

Yahoo!Sports reports: “As of Thursday afternoon, 15 games scheduled for Week 12 of the college football season have been canceled or postponed because of coronavirus cases. There have been 40 games either canceled or postponed over the past three weeks of the season as virus cases have surged across the country.” . . . That includes a scheduled game between Maryland and Michigan State. Maryland wasn’t able to play last weekend against No. 3 Ohio State because of eight positive tests. On Thursday, Maryland said that number over the past week is up to 15. . . . On top of that, there are seven Maryland staff members, including head coach Mike Locksley, who have tested positive. . . . Also cancelled on Thursday was a Mountain West game between the Fresno State Bulldogs, who have had at least one positive test, and the visiting San Jose State Spartans. . . .

Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, 83, has tested positive. He also is a former ESPN football analyst. . . . You may recall that it was Holtz in August who, in explaining why he thought college football should get on with playing, said: “When they stormed Normandy, they knew that there were going to be casualties, there was gonna be risk. Two percent of the people that go to the emergency room go for COVID-19. But young people . . . they think it’s like cancer. They think they’re gonna die.” . . .

The DePaul men’s basketball team is pausing all team activities, according to the Chicago-based school, “following positive COVID-19 test results among its Tier 1 group.” The team’s first three games of a new season — scheduled for Nov. 25, 28 and Dec. 1 — have been cancelled. . . .

Juan Domingo Roldan, who three times challenged for the world middleweight boxing title, died on Wednesday of COVID-19. He was 63 when he died in his hometown of San Francisco, Argentina. In the 1980s, he lost title bouts to Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Michael Nunn.



If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Ice situation should be addressed today; news conference scheduled for Cranbrook . . . Brandon adds goalie, forward


MacBeth

F Dominic Zwerger (Spokane, Everett, 2013-17) signed a contract extension with Ambrì-Piotta (Switzerland, NL A) through the 2021-22 season. The contract extension has an NHL exit clause after the 2020-21 season. This season, an alternate captain, he has 16 goals and 20 assists in 38 games.


ThisThat

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, and the owners of the Kootenay Ice are to address the media in Cranbrook this morning at 10:30.

The news conference, which will include Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, is to be held at the team’s office in Western Financial Place.

At the same time, the Winnipeg Free Press has reported that the Ice’s owners “have Kootenaynewscheduled a Tuesday afternoon news conference to announce they are moving their franchise to Winnipeg after the 2018-19 season . . .”

The Free Press didn’t indicate a time or a site for that news conference, but Tuesday is expected to be the coldest day of this winter in Winnipeg, with a high of -29 C.

The news conferences are being held on Day 41 of the Kootenay Kountdown — it has been 41 days since Robison appeared with Dean Millard on Edmonton radio station TSN 1260 and said there would be an announcement regarding the Ice “very soon.”

The Ice, at 10-32-8, has the WHL’s second-poorest record and won’t be in the playoffs for a second straight season under the ownership of Fettes and Cockell, who purchased the franchise from the Chynoweth family prior to the 2017-18 season. This will be the fifth straight season out of the playoffs for the Ice.

Last season, the Ice finished 27-38-7, missing a playoff spot by 16 points.

The Ice began life in 1996 as the Edmonton Ice, but left the Alberta capital for Cranbrook after two seasons. In its 21 seasons in Cranbrook, the Ice won three WHL championships (2011, 2002, 2000) and one Memorial Cup, that in 2002.

The Ice will be first franchise to have won a Memorial Cup to relocate since the QMJHL’s Granby Predateurs. They won the 1996 Memorial Cup and moved to Sydney, N.S., in 1997 where they now are the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

The last WHL relocation occurred following the 2010-11 season when the Chilliwack Bruins moved to Victoria where they now operate as the Royals.

This season, the Ice has the lowest announced average attendance in the 22-team WHL, at 2,218. The Ice has nine home games remaining, starting Friday against the Swift Current Broncos, the only team in the WHL with a poorer record.

Last season, the average for 36 home games was 2,442, up from 1,754 in 2016-17, the final season under the ownership of the Chynoweth family.

The Ice has been playing in 4,264-seat Western Financial Place, which opened in 2001. In its first two seasons in Cranbrook, the Ice played in that city’s Memorial Arena.

In its first season in the new arena, the Ice’s announced average attendance was 3,635, which remains the single-season high.

That was one of seven seasons in which that figure was north of 3,000, somewhere it hasn’t been since 2008-09 (3,071).

The relocated Ice is expected to spend a couple of seasons playing in the 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena at the U of Manitoba while it waits for its permanent home to be built. It is expected that some work will be done to freshen up that facility and that some seats will be added.

If you click right here and scroll down to the last two photos, you will see a couple of pictures from the interior of the Wayne Fleming Arena as it now stands.

The expected relocation announcement comes just days before WHL governors and general managers travel to Las Vegas, as they do every year on Super Bowl weekend, for meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

It’s too bad that they couldn’t have moved those meetings to Cranbrook this time . . . you know, just to thank the businesses and fans of the area for 21 seasons of support.


With G Jiri Patera (leg) on the shelf, the Brandon Wheat Kings have added G Connor BrandonWKregularUngar, who turned 17 on Jan. 12, to their roster. He had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . Ungar will back up freshman Ethan Kruger, who is 5-6-2, 3.45, .893. . . . Ungar, who began the season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, made two earlier appearances with the Wheat Kings, going 0-1-0, 3.09, .892 in 78 minutes. . . . The Wheat Kings open a four-game trip into the Central Division tonight in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. . . .

The Wheat Kings also have added F Jake Chiasson, 15, to their roster. He has been playing at the Yale Hockey Academy in his hometown of Abbotsford, B.C. Chiasson was the 15th overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, with Yale’s prep team, he has 22 goals and 36 assists in 29 games.


The OHL’s Owen Sound Attack fired head coach Todd Gill on Monday. Dale DeGray, the Attack’s general manager, announced that assistant coach Alan Letang has taken over as interim head coach, with Jordan Hill now the lone assistant coach. . . . The Attack was 61-42-12 under Gill, who was in his second season as head coach. . . . This season, the Attack is 23-20-4, and in fifth place in the 10-team Western Conference.


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors fired head coach Geoff Grimwood on Monday and WestKelownanamed Brandon West as their general manager and head coach. . . . You may recall that this is the second time this season that Warriors owner Kim Dobranski has fired Grimwood. . . . Grimwood was named interim head coach iafter Rylan Ferster, the veteran GM and head coach, suddenly resigned on Aug. 21. . . . Three weeks later, Dobranski fired Grimwood, but reinstated him after the players rebelled, leaving the ice during one practice and going for a hike, rather than practise, the next day. . . . Grimwood had been hired on July 3 as associate coach and assistant GM. . . . West, who is from Kelowna, is a veteran BCHL coach. He was in his third season as head coach of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks when he was fired on Nov. 9, 2016. He spent last season as the head coach of the Surrey Eagles, but that ended in August through one of those mutual parting of the ways. This season, he had been with the Penticton Vees, as an assistant coach, since Oct. 15. . . . The Warriors are 25-21-1 and in fourth place in the Interior Division. They have clinched a playoff spot.


The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have fired assistant coach Gavin Brandl and replaced him with Devin Windle, a former general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . Windle was in his third season as the Millionaires’ GM and head coach when he was fired on Nov. 29. He spent two seasons (2014-16) as an assistant coach in Nipawin, working with Doug Johnson, the Hawks’ general manager and head coach. . . . Brandl was in his first season with Nipawin.


Tweetoftheday

You’ll be hearing from Hockey Gives Blood . . . Kamloops’ GM on the job . . . Wheat Kings, Tigers sign draft picks

MacBeth

F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) signed a one-year contract with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite). This season, with Orlik Opole (Poland, PHL), he had 18 goals and 19 assists in 35 games. He led the Lightning in goals and points, and was tied for the team lead in assists. . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). This season, with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 35 games. He was the KHL’s forward of the month for November. . . .

F Clarke Breitkreuz (Regina, Prince George, 2008-10) signed a one-year contract with Lausitzer Füchse Weisswasser (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2), he had seven goals and nine assists in 40 games. . . .

D Alexei Platonov (Medicine Hat, 2015-16) signed a try-out contract with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had one goal and two assists in 24 games. . . .

F Jaroslav Kristek (Tri-City, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Courchevel-Méribel-Pralognan (France, Division 2). This season, with Brest (France, Division 1), he had seven goals and 12 assists in 22 games. . . .

D Riley Stadel (Kelowna, Edmonton, 2011-17) signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 games. . . .

F Michal Poletín (Regina, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and nine assists in 52 games. . . .

F Taylor Makin (Prince George, Vancouver, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Brest (France, Division 1). This season, with Acadia University (Atlantic University Sports), he had four goals and two assists in 12 games. . . .

F Jacob Doty (Seattle, Medicine Hat, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Braehead Clan Glasgow (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 16 goals and 19 assists in 56 games.


ThisThat

What follows was written earlier today (Sunday) but a four-hour power outage on the east side of Kamloops meant that its posting was delayed. So without further ado . . .

——

I actually took a couple of days away from the laptop in order to paint our deck. It was supposed to have been done last summer, but the smoke from the forest fires limited the amount of time a person could spend outside.

This time I only had to battle the mosquitoes. I haven’t seen them this bad since we left Regina in the spring of 2000. This spring, in the Kamloops area, we had a sudden turn to 30 C temperatures and a quick snow melt from the higher areas, all of which combined for a perfect mosquito-hatching season.

Having sat on our deck and enjoyed many a mosquito-free evening over the last few years, I had forgotten that the only thing mosquitoes like more than heat and water is human flesh.

But, hey, I toughed it out and the painting is finished.


I did take time out late last week to have a cup of coffee with Stu Middleton, the man behind Hockey Gives Blood.

He is a busy man these days. But, oh boy, has he accomplished a lot in less than two HockeyGivesBloodmonths.

Hockey Gives Blood, the project he started following the April 6 crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus, has partnered with Canada Blood Services, as it reads on its website, “to promote blood donation as an integral component of hockey programs . . .”

With that in mind, Hockey Gives Blood was front and centre at the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack and at the Memorial Cup in Regina last month.

Yes, Middleton says, Hockey Gives Blood has made some inroads, but it has a long, long way to go.

Middleton has big plans for the non-profit organization, most of which are still in the planning stage. But you can count on hearing a lot from Hockey Gives Blood in the near future.

In the meantime, watch for representatives at events like annual golf tournaments held by the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets, and the Humboldt Broncos Memorial tournament at the Humboldt Golf Club on Aug. 18.

You are able to check out Hockey Gives Blood right here.

If you haven’t seen it, Pam Cowan of the Regina Leader-Post wrote about Middleton and Hockey Gives Blood in April, and that story is right here.


As expected, the Kamloops Blazers introduced Matt Bardsley as their new general manager at a news conference on Friday morning.

Bardsley, 46, had been with the Portland Winterhawks since 1999, working his way up Kamloops1from scout to assistant general manager.

In Kamloops, Bardsley takes over from Stu MacGregor, who now is on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. The Stars are owned by Tom Gaglardi, who is the majority owner of the Blazers.

Bardsley steps into a Kamloops organization that needs a head coach, at least one assistant coach, and a director of player personnel.

Don Hay, the head coach for the past four seasons, has been moved to an advisory role, although he has made it apparent that he still wants to coach and that his phone line is open.

Assistant coach Mike Needham, who had been with the Blazers since 2010, and director of player personnel Matt Recchi, who had been in his position for 10 years, were told their contracts couldn’t be renewed.

Bardsley’s first job will be to hire a head coach, with Kyle Gustafson, who has been on the Winterhawks’ coaching staff since 2003-04, definitely in the running.

According to Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV, Bardsley said: “Kyle is a a good friend of mine. I have a long list of names, and he’s certainly a person who is on my list. He’s certainly qualified to have an opportunity, and he’ll be a head coach — soon.”

Meanwhile, the Blazers have scheduled a news conference for this afternoon (Monday) at which they are expected to announce the signing of F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops.

Stankoven was the fifth overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. This season, he had 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C.

The Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and Stankoven announced Sunday that he will play for them in 2018-19.

——

The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Vincent Iorio, a highly touted second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Iorio was widely believed to be going the BrandonWKregularNCAA route before signing with the Wheat Kings. From Port Coquitlam, B.C., he has a late birthday, so won’t turn 16 until Nov. 14. . . . This season, he had four goals and 19 assists in 52 games with the U16 midget team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. The previous season, he had eight goals and 24 assists in 39 games with the bantam T1 team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s.

Brandon also signed F Nolan Ritchie, 16, who was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. His father, Darren, is a former Wheat Kings player who now scouts for the organization. . . . This season, Nolan had 40 goals and 44 assists in 45 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. His 84 points left him second in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League scoring race. In his draft season, he won the Winnipeg Bantam AAA League’s scoring derby with 89 points, 51 of them goals, with the Wheat Kings.

The Wheat Kings also have signed F Jake Chiasson and F Brett Hyland to WHL contracts. . . . Chiasson was a first-round selection, 15th overall, in the 2018 bantam draft, while Hyland was taken in the second round. . . . Chiasson, from Abbotsford, stayed at home this season and played at the Yale Hockey Academy. He had 20 goals and 48 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team. . . . Hyland, from Edmonton, had 10 goals and 25 assists in 17 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team this season.

——

WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Cole Sillinger, who was a first-round selection, 11th overall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had 46 goals and 37 assists Tigers Logo Officialin 30 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team. From Regina, his father, Mike, starred for the Regina Pats (1987-91) before going to a lengthy pro career that included 1,049 regular-season NHL games.

The Tigers also signed D Dru Krebs, who was taken in the second-round of the 2018 bantam draft. From Okotoks, Krebs had seven goals and 10 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Okotoks Oilers. . . . Krebs has two brothers playing in the WHL — Peyton is with the Kootenay Ice, while Dakota plays for the Calgary Hitmen. Yes, all three brothers are with teams in the Central Division, although Dru, at 15, isn’t eligible for full-time play until the 2019-20 season.


The City of Kennewick is going to make improvements to the 30-year-old Toyota Center tri-citythat is home to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. Annie Fowler and Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald report that “visitors will soon see improvements . . . under an agreement that will keep the Americans for the foreseeable future.” . . . The major project this summer will be the installation of LED lighting. . . . In time, it is expected that a new ice plant and video board will be installed, and improvements will be made to the visiting team dressing room. . . . Taking Note has been told that improvements also will be made to the foyer and there will changes to the concessions. . . . The WHL had implemented a deadline of September 2019 for improvements to be made in order that the facility met league standards. . . . The Americans’ lease expires in 2020. . . . The Herald’s story is right here.


The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio, owners of 94.3 the Goat, have agreed on a deal covering play-by-play rights for the 2018-19 season. Fraser Roger will call the play for a second straight season, with Hartley Miller back for a sixth season as the analyst.


Mark Chase has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. From Kamloops, Chase, 31, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . In Osoyoos, Chase takes over from Ken Law, who was dropped after being the only head coach in the team’s eight-year existence. Under Law, the Coyotes won one KIJHL title and six regular-season division titles. . . . Andrew Stuckey of Osoyoos Today has more right here.


Tweetoftheday

%d bloggers like this: