Giants add coach, goaltender . . . Ice, fans will wait for Finley . . . Pull goalie in OT? It works for Fedorov

The Vancouver Giants, in preparing for the next month of the WHL’s regular Vancouverseason, have added an assistant coach and a goaltender over the past few days. . . . With head coach Michael Dyck on the coaching staff for Canada’s national junior team, the Giants are bringing in former WHL/NHL D Brent Seabrook to help associate coach Keith McCambridge behind the bench. Seabrook, who is from Delta, B.C., won three Stanley Cups while with the Chicago Blackhawks. . . . The Giants also cut a deal with the Seattle Thunderbirds, acquiring G Connor Martin, 18, for an eighth-round pick in the 2024 bantam draft. As Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports, Vancouver G Jesper Vikman, 19, is expected to be on the roster of Sweden’s national junior team when it is announced today. If that’s the case, the Giants will use Martin and Will Gurski, 19, while the World Junior Championship is being played in Edmonton and Red Deer, from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . This was the second trade of the season for Martin. On Nov. 4, Seattle got him from the Victoria Royals for an eight-rounder in the 2022 draft. . . . Ewen’s piece is right here.


The Winnipeg Ice and its fans may have to wait until January to see the team’s Winnipegnewest acquisition in action. On Monday, the Ice acquired F Jack Finley, 19, and a seventh-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft from the Spokane Chiefs for F Chase Bertholet, 18, F James Form, 19, and a second-round pick in 2024. . . . Before reporting to the Ice, Finley, 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, will attend the selection team for the Canadian team that will compete in the World Junior Championship. The tournament runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, so should he make the team, he won’t be in Winnipeg for about a month. . . . Finley was the Chiefs’ captain. The Tampa Bay Lightning has signed him to a contract after selecting him in the second round of the 2020 NHL draft. His father, Jeff, played three seasons (1984-87) with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks before going on to a lengthy pro career. After two seasons as an assistant coach with the Kelowna Rockets, he spent 10 seasons as an amateur scout with the Detroit Red Wings. He now is in his third season as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Although they hadn’t been added the Spokane’s online roster as of Tuesday night, Bertholet and Form could play Friday in Portland.

JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The host Brandon Wheat Kings dumped Medicine Hat 6-4 on Tuesday night, handing the Tigers their 15th consecutive loss. The Tigers haven’t won since beating the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 6-2, on Oct. 22. Since then, they are 0-12-3. The Tigers are to visit the Regina Pats tonight. . . .

The WHL has two drafts scheduled for the next two days. I won’t be posting here for the next couple of days, but there will be lots on the drafts elsewhere, I’m sure. . . .

Last week, the OHL postponed three games involving the Sudbury Wolves after 12 players turned up positive. Those games have been scheduled for Dec. 1, 3 and 4. Now the league has postponed games that were scheduled for Friday and Sunday, both of them against the visiting Soo Greyhounds. The Wolves next are scheduled to play on Dec. 16 against the host Barrie Colts. . . .

The NFL is having COVID-19 issues of its own. . . . Twelve players were placed on the COVID-19 list after testing positive on Monday — WR Keenan Allen of the Los Angeles Chargers, C Evan Brown of the Detroit Lions, TE Stephen Carlson and TE David Njoku of the Cleveland Browns, LB Blake Cashman of the New York Jets, DE Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints, LB AJ Klein of the Buffalo Bills, QB Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers, G Wes Martin of the New York Giants, RB Jalen Richard of the Las Vegas Raiders and OT Trenton Scott of the Carolina Panthers. . . .

Players activated off the COVID-19 list this week include CB Patrick Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, OL Tommy Doyle of the Buffalo Bills, long-snapper Charley Hughlett and FB Johnny Stanton of Cleveland, OT Terence Steele and TE Blake Jarwin of the Dallas Cowboys and S Kevin Beard of the Tennessee Titans,

These days, former NHL star Sergei Fedorov is the head coach of CSKA Moscow KHLof the KHL. His club has won its last two games, both of them in OT, by using an innovative tactic that has yet to reach the NHL. . . . On Dec. 1, Fedorov exchanged his goaltender, Ivan Fedotov, for the extra attacker in the middle of OT and F Mikhail Grigorenko scored to give CSKA Moscow a 1-0 victory over Yaroslavl Lokomotiv. . . . Then, on Monday, Fedorov did it again. This time D Nikita Nesterov scored for a 3-2 victory over Moscow Dynamo. . . . When you think about it, why not? The 3-on-3 OT has turned into a game of puck possession. So why not outnumber the other guys in their zone and run plays as though you’re on the PP? . . . Now we will watch to see which NHL coach has the jam to be the first. Or would someone — hello, Mike Johnston — give it a whirl in the WHL?

After posting the above, I received a note pointing out that an NHL team pulling its goaltender in OT and giving up an empty-net goal would forfeit the loser point it had earned by playing to a regulation tie. So I’m sure the WHL plays under this rule, too. . . . From the NHL rule book . . .

“A team shall be allowed to pull its goalkeeper in favor of an additional skater in the overtime period. However, should that team lose the game during the time in which the goalkeeper has been removed, it would forfeit the automatic point gained in the tie at the end of regulation play, except if the goalkeeper has been removed at the call of a delayed penalty against the other team. Should the goalkeeper proceed to his bench for an extra attacker due to a delayed penalty call against the opposing team, and should the non-offending team shoot the puck directly into their own goal, the game shall be over and the team that was to be penalized declared the winner. Once the goalkeeper has been removed for an extra attacker in overtime during the regular-season, he must wait for the next stoppage of play before returning to his position. He cannot change ‘on the fly.’ If he does, a bench minor penalty shall be assessed for having an ineligible player.”


You may have missed it, but two KHL teams played a game in Dubai on Friday. Yes, that would be Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. . . . Ak Bars Kazan scored a 3-1 victory over Avangard Omsk before about 5,150 spectators in the Coca Cola Arena. . . . “Everything that we did here was a big win for hockey and the KHL,” Bob Hartley, Avangard’s head coach, said. “Apart from our result, the whole trip was excellently organized, I’d like to congratulate everyone for their work on this event.” . . . Andy Potts of has more right here.

The IIHF met this week and decided that, yes, the Chinese men’s hockey team will get to play in the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. I know. You’re shocked. . . . The Chinese team slots into Group A, along with, uhh, Canada, the U.S., and Germany. . . . Yeah, there’ll be some entertaining hockey in that group.

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What lies ahead for WHL GMs? . . . Hitmen adding goalie with Stankowski out . . . Watson remembers McGeough


While the WHL’s trading deadline doesn’t arrive until Jan. 10, the 22 general managers know that it really is closer than that because of the Christmas moratorium that runs from Dec. 15 through Dec. 26.

At the same time, the 2018-19 regular-season is about one-third completed, and that’s whlenough for each general manager to have a pretty good idea how things are shaping up — with his team and how it stacks up against the competition.

For some of them then, there isn’t any sense waiting until January. That’s why general manager Matt Bardsley of the Kamloops Blazers made two deals on Monday.

This season’s arm’s race isn’t expected to be anything close to what went on a year ago. Back then, you may recall, things started to heat up on Nov. 13 when the Regina Pats acquired D Cale Fleury from the Kootenay Ice for D Jonathan Smart, F Cole Muir and two 2018 bantam draft picks — a second and a sixth.

Twelve days later, the Calgary Hitmen shipped F Matteo Gennaro, F Beck Malenstyn and a 2018 fifth-rounder to the Swift Current Broncos for five players — F Conner Chaulk, G Ethan Hein, F Josh Prokop, D Dom Schmiemann and F Riley Stotts — and a 2018 second-rounder.

From that point on, the WHL experienced its silliest silly season yet. In fact, before this season arrived, the WHL rewrote the regulations that govern trades. Now there are restrictions on the trading of 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds players.

Because of the new rules, it’s going to be interesting to see what transpires between now and Jan. 10.

On Monday, Bardsley traded away two players — a 20-year-old and a 19-year-old — and got back two players, one 20 and the other 19, and four bantam draft picks.

“You’re not allowed to trade a signed 15- or 16-year-old and the 17-year-olds have to agree to a trade,” Bardsley told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV in Kamloops. “So you have a pretty small group of 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds that you’re allowed to trade.

“Last (season), with all those major trades, a lot of them included signed 15- and 16-year-olds. (Now) teams are going to have to make up it with the draft picks . . . so whether we use those to select a player or use those drafts to acquire a player — it gives some options of what you can do to improve your team.”   

Who knows? Maybe we’ll see trades like the one in the OHL last week in which one team gave up two players and got back two players and 11 — count ‘em, 11 — draft picks.

F Cam Hausinger and F Connor McClennon, both of whom were injured on Saturday Kootenaynewnight in a 5-1 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, didn’t practice with the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday, indicating they won’t play tonight against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . However, F Peyton Krebs, who has missed four games, and D Valtteri Kakkonen, a Finnish freshman who has sat out five games, were on the ice Tuesday. . . . On the WHL’s weekly roster report, McClennon is listed as being out four-to-six weeks, with Hausinger out week-to-week. . . . Also on Tuesday, the Ice brought in F Skyler Bruce and F James Form. If both players make their WHL debuts tonight that will give the Ice 12 available forwards. . . . Bruce, 15, has 16 goals and 18 assists in 19 games with the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy Elite 15s. He was a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Form, 16, is from Saskatoon where he plays for the midget AAA Blazers. He has seven goals and four assists in seven games. The Ice selected him in the third round of the 2017 bantam draft. . . . If Bruce and Form play tonight, they will become the 34th and 35th players to have suited up for the Ice this season. The Ice (7-16-4) is seven points away from the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot.

The Calgary Hitmen are listing G Carl Stankowski as being out week-to-week with a Calgarylower-body injury. . . . As you no doubt are aware, Stankowski, then 16, came off the bench to backstop the Seattle Thunderbirds to the WHL title in the spring of 2017. He didn’t play at all last season due to injuries, including hip-related woes, and illness, then was acquired by the Hitmen during the off-season. . . . Stankowski went the distance in Calgary’s second-last game, stopping 24 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Friday night. . . . This season, Stankowski is 6-6-2, 3.72, .879. . . . With Stankowski out, freshman Jack McNaughton will take over the starter’s role. In 12 appearances, he is 4-6-1, 3.35, .890. . . . G Matt Armitage, who was with the Hitmen earlier in the season and has been playing with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, will join Calgary for three weekend games. . . . The Hitmen, who just came off a U.S. Division trip on which they went 3-1-1, are next scheduled to play on Friday when they visit the Red Deer Rebels.

Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post filed a piece on Tuesday that began like this:

“At an altitude of 38,000 feet, Brad Watson expressed his appreciation for a late, great friend who was always so down-to-earth.

“While flying from Denver to Detroit, Watson wrote a tribute to a fellow Regina-born NHL referee — Mick McGeough — and, upon landing, kindly shares the heartfelt sentiments with us.”

It’s all right here, and it’s the best tribute to McGeough that I’ve read since his death, at 62, last week.

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.

Simon Black, an assistant professor of labour studies at Brock U in St. Catharines, Ont., writes in the Toronto Star:

“Major junior hockey is big business. Everyone from coaches to Zamboni drivers to concession stand workers gets paid and protected under labour laws. Everyone, that is, but the players.”

Some of what he writes involves the CHL claim that major junior players are amateur student athletes.

However, as Black points out, “There’s also legal precedent dispelling the amateur myth. Hearing a case about whether the Brandon Wheat Kings should pay employment insurance and Canada Pension Plan assessments, the Tax Court of Canada ruled in 2000 that the relationship between club and players is indeed one of employer-employee.”

Simon’s complete piece is right here.

F Nick Bowman, who left the Kootenay Ice earlier in the month, has joined the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. Bowman, 18, is from Sherwood Park. . . . He was a sixth-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. He had 13 goals and 13 assists in 117 games with the Oil Kings when they dealt him to the Moose Jaw Warriors prior to this season. . . . After recording one assist in 10 games with Moose Jaw, he was traded to the Ice on Oct. 22, along with a sixth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft, for F Kaeden Taphorn and his twin brother, Keenan, also a forward. . . . After scoring twice in 10 games with the Ice, Bowman chose to leave the club.

Brad Moran, who won a WHL scoring title while with the Calgary Hitmen, has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach of the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. He takes over form Darryl Olsen, who was fired on Nov. 22. . . . Moran, 39, is from Abbotsford, B.C. He spent five seasons with the Hitmen. He totalled 450 points, including 204 goals, in 357 regular-season games. Moran won the WHL’s 1999-2000 scoring title, with 120 points. . . . The Canucks are 4-22-1, 20 points out of fifth-place in the AJHL’s Viterra South Division.


The Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to 17 with a 4-3 victory over the PrinceAlbertRebels in Red Deer. . . . The Raiders (24-1-0) are 2-1-0 against the Rebels, having lost 4-3 in Red Deer on Oct. 6 and won 2-1 at home on Oct. 13. . . . Prince Albert set a franchise record with its seventh straight road victory. It had shared the record with the 1985-86 team. . . . The Rebels (16-7-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from F Spencer Moe (4), at 2:59 of the first period, and F Parker Kelly (11), at 4:11. . . . D Ethan Sakowich (1) scored for Red Deer at 5:27, but F Cole Fonstad (7) got that one back for the Raiders at 9:07. . . . F Zak Smith (4) pulled the Rebels to with a goal at 9:43 of the second period. . . . F Brett Leason scored his WHL-leading 26th goal, on a PP, at 14:27, to restore Prince Albert’s two-goal lead. . . . F Jeff de Wit (16) counted on a PP, with G Byron Fancy on the bench for the extra attacker, at 19:01 of the third period for Red Deer’s third goal. . . . D Sergei Sapego had three assists for the winners. . . . Leason ran his point streak to 25 games — yes, every game this season — with an assist on Kelly’s goal. . . . Leason leads the WHL in goals and points (56). . . . Leason went into this season with 24 goals and 27 assists in 135 regular-season games. . . . The Raiders were 1-2 on the PP; the Rebels were 1-7. . . . Sakowich’s goal was his fourth in 161 career regular-season games. He didn’t score in 72 games last season; in fact, his last goal came in a 6-1 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on March 11, 2017. . . . The Rebels were without their best defenceman, Russian Alex Alexeyev, who is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Raiders are back at it tonight when they meet the Oil Kings in Edmonton. This will be the first meeting of the season between these teams.

The Tri-City Americans erased a 2-1 deficit with the game’s last four goals and beat the tri-cityPrince George Cougars, 5-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (14-9-0) has won two in a row. . . . Prince George (10-12-3) has lost two straight. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (6) scored his second goal of the game, on a PP, at 4:09 of the second period to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. . . . F Isaac Johnson (9) tied the score, on a PP, at 9:51, and F Krystof Hrabik (7) snapped the tie at 18:42. . . . Tri-City put it away with third-period goals from F Sasha Mutala (6), at 6:00, and D Mitchell Brown (3), into an empty net, at 18:02. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 39 shots for the Americans. . . . D Aaron Hyman, who was acquired Monday from the Regina Pats, was in Tri-City’s starting lineup. He had one assist and it came on a PP. . . . The Americans lost F Kyle Olson to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 19:19 of the first period.

F Davis Koch figured in three of the game’s last four goals to lead the Vancouver Giants to Vancouvera 5-3 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants (17-6-2) have won three straight. . . . The Blades are 1-1-0 on a B.C. Division tour that continues tonight in Victoria. . . . Saskatoon scored all three of its goals in the game’s first 10 minutes, F Max Gerlach (16) giving it a 3-1 lead at 9:56. . . . Koch scored, on a PP, at 1:49 of the second period to get the Giants to within a goal. . . . F Aidan Barfoot (1), playing in his third game of the season and first since Sept. 22, tied it at 3:51. . . . F Milos Roman (13) gave Vancouver a 4-3 lead, on a PP, at 3:21 of the third period. . . . Koch scored his eighth goal into an empty net at 19:46. . . . Koch has 13 points, including five goals, in a six-game point streak. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who was acquired Monday from the Kamloops Blazers, made his Saskatoon debut.


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