Farewell, Cranbrook. It’s been great. . . . Ice wins its final game before move to Winnipeg. . . . Late assist gives Blichfeld scoring title

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The WHL’s 21-year history in Cranbrook, B.C., ended on Sunday as the Kootenay Ice skated to a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels.

If you’re late to this situation, the Ice is relocating to Winnipeg and will spend at least the wpgicenext two seasons playing out of the 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba while it awaits construction of a new facility. . . .

The Ice, which ended a six-game losing skid with Sunday’s victory, finished 13-45-10. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . .

Before the game, a fan emailed this: “At 4 pm the ticket lineup for the final game is the full length of the building.” . . . The announced attendance at the last WHL game in 4-264-seat Western Financial Place was 2,684.

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“The fans continued to turn out to support the PLAYERS who were caught in a terrible situation through no fault of their own,” John Hudak, the marketing director of the now-defunct Green Bay Committee, told Taking Note via email. “Make no mistake, there were very few fans that were supporting this ownership and to the credit of the fans they turned out to support the players and the good name of the City of Cranbrook and its hockey history.  It could have been ugly but the people of Cranbrook took the high road.”

The Green Bay Committee was formed early in the season to help owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell sell tickets and sponsorships. After selling what it said was $50,000 worth, the committee disbanded in mid-November because of what it said was a lack of co-operation and support from the owners.

Prior to that point, there had been ample speculation that the owners, who are from Winnipeg, planned to move the franchise to the Manitoba capital. When the Green Bay Committee went public about the lack of support it had received, the pieces started to fall into place.

“The vibe in the arena today was a testament to the people of Cranbrook,” continued Hudak, who is running for a spot on city council in a May 11 by-election. “They were respectful of the ownership. They got behind the players and the players reciprocated by not rolling over.”

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The game ended with the clock showing 27.7 seconds still to play. But that was only because the timekeeper inadvertently hit the wrong button, something that caused the clock to count up rather than down.

“It was almost as if he didn’t want to see the game end,” Hudak noted. “In all seriousness, he has run the clock for more than 20 years . . . he won’t live this one down for the rest of his days!”

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This isn’t the first time in recent history that a WHL team has relocated. After the 2010-11 season, the Chilliwack Bruins, who had been sold, left the Lower Mainland city after five seasons and opened up shop in Victoria as the Royals. . . .

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Ice F Peyton Krebs, a sure-fire first-round selection in June’s NHL draft, didn’t finish the first period. He was ejected at 11:57 with a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jacob Herauf, who later returned to the game. Should Krebs be suspended, he will serve his suspension to open the 2019-20 regular season . . . unless he cracks the roster of the NHL team that selects him, that is.


SOME NUMBERS:

F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks earned an assist with 1.1 seconds left in whlthe third period of a 6-5 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday, and that was enough to give him the WHL scoring title. . . . He finished with 114 points, one more than F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Blichfeld had 53 goals and 61 assists in 68 games; Langan was at 53 and 60 in 67 games. . . . Had they ended up tied, they would have shared the title. . . . In 1987-88, Theo Fleury of the Warriors and Joe Sakic of the Swift Current Broncos tied at the top, each with 160 points. Sakic was named the scoring champion on the basis of more goals, 78-68. . . .

Blichfeld and Langan led the league in goals, with six more than F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Moose Jaw F Justin Almeida was tops in assists (78), well ahead of F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings and F Nick Henry of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who tied at 65. . . . Kastelic had a WHL-leading 24 PP goals. . . . Moose Jaw D Jett Woo was No. 1 in PP assists, with 33. . . . Lethbridge F Jake Elmer led in shorthanded goals, with seven. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo and two Warriors — F Brayden Tracey and Langan — tied for the lead in game-winning goals, each with 11. . . .

Tracey was the WHL’s top-scoring freshman, leading in goals (36), assists (45) and points (81). . . .

Among goaltenders, Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips was tops in GAA (1.69), save percentage (.936) and victories (41). . . . Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders was second in all three categories — 1.83, .932 and 38. . . . Scott was No. 1 in shutouts (8), one more than Wolf. . . .

Josh Brook of the Warriors and Dawson Davidson of the Saskatoon Blades led all defenceman in points, each with 75, four more than Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants. . . . Byram led in goals (26), while Davison and Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs were tops in assists (62).


The U of New Brunswick Varsity Reds won the Canadian university (U Sports) UNBchampionship on Sunday, beating the Alberta Golden Bears, 4-2, in Lethbridge. . . . The Golden Bears went into the tournament as the top-ranked of the eight teams; UNB was ranked No. 2. . . . In the final, UNB got goals from Samuel Dove-McFalls, Oliver Cooper, Kris Bennett and Mark Rassell, the latter a former Medicine Hat Tigers sniper. . . . Steve Owre and Brandon Magee, both ex-WHLers, replied for the Golden Bears. Owre also played in Medicine Hat; Magee played for the Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royas. . . . G Alex Dubeau stopped 32 shots for the winners. . . . Alberta got 27 saves from Zach Sawchenko, who played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Golden Bears lost F Luke Philp, the Canadian university player of the year, to an undisclosed injury in the first period. . . . UNB now has won eight national titles. . . . Each of the past seven titles has been won by UNB (2017, 2016 and 2013) or Alberta (2018, 2015 and 2014).


SUNDAY  HIGHLIGHTS:

F Vince Loschiavo scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsHitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton (42-18-8) closed out the regular-season on an 11-game winning streak that tied a franchise record. It had been done on three previous occasions, most recently in 2013-14. . . . Calgary (36-26-6) has lost four in a row. . . . The Oil Kings finished atop the Central Division and will open the playoffs against the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The third-place Hitmen will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who wound up second, in the first round. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 7-0-1; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (4) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 10:07 of the first period. . . . Loschiavo tied it at 7:14 of the second period, then gave his guys the lead at 10:47 with his 37th goal of the season, on a PP. That also turned into his 11th game-winner this season, a franchise record. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours (11) wrapped up the scoring with an empty-netter, at 19:35 of the third period. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 25 shots for Edmonton. . . . Calgary got 33 saves from G Carl Stankowski.


F Michael Milne broke a 4-4 tie in the third period as the Kootenay Ice closed out its Everetthistory in Cranbrook, B.C., with a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice (13-45-10), which is relocating to Winnipeg, snapped a six-game losing streak. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . . Red Deer (33-29-6) has lost four in a row. The Rebels, who finished in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, will meet the Prince Albert Raiders, the WHL’s top regular-season team, in the first round. . . . F Jaeger White (28) put the Ice in front 1-0 at 6:48 of the first period. . . . The Rebels responded with three straight goals — from F Cam Hausinger, on a PP, at 12:20; F Brett Davis (20), on a PP, at 14:46; and Hausinger (21), on yet another PP, at 0:19 of the second period. . . . The Rebels acquired Hausinger and Davis, who also had two assists, from the Ice earlier this season. . . . The Ice came back with the next three goals, in the span of 1:45 early in the second. . . . F Nolan Orzeck (4) got it started at 3:01. F Holden Kodak (3) tied the score at 3:56. F Connor McClennon (14) gave the Ice a 4-3 lead at 4:46. . . . The Rebels tied it at 17:40 when F Jordan Borysiuk, an AP, scored his first goal. He was playing in his seventh WHL game, but his first this season. . . . Milne, a 16-year-old freshman from Abbotsford, B.C., broke the tie with his third goal at 14:16 of the third period. . . . Red Deer was 3-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger earned the victory with 25 saves, one fewer than Red Deer’s Byron Fancy. . . . The Ice lost F Peyton Krebs to a boarding major and game misconduct at 11:57 of the first period. . . . The Rebels scratched G Ethan Anders, D Dawson Barteaux, F Jeff de Wit, F Reese Johnson, F Josh Tarzwell and F Brandon Hagel. . . . They also dressed four APs — G Eric Ward, F Jordan Borysiuk, F Ethan Rowland and F Jace Isley. . . . F Austin Schellenberg, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday, was among the Ice’s scratches.


The Seattle Thunderbirds erased a 4-3 deficit with three straight goals and beat the SeattleWinterhawks, 6-5, in Portland to bring down the curtain on the WHL’s 2018-19 regular season. . . . Seattle (31-29-8) has won three in a row. As the Western Conference’s second wild-card entry, it will go up against the conference-champion Vancouver Giants in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Portland (40-22-6) has lost two in a row. It finished third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Spokane Chiefs, who won 10 of their final 12 games. Those two teams will meet in the first round with Spokane having home-ice advantage. . . . Portland went 8-4-0 in the season series; Seattle was 4-6-2. . . . Last night, Portland took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Reece Newkirk (23), on a PP, at 1:47, and F Jake Gricius (27), at 5:35. . . . Seattle scored the next three goals. . . . F Jared Davidson (2) scored at 19:32, with F Kai Uchacz getting his first WHL goal at 13:03. D Simon Kubicek (9) gave Seattle a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 15:14. . . . Uchacz, 15, was the 10th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Winterhawks tied it 42 seconds later as D Clay Hanus (8) scored. . . . Again, Seattle scored three in a row, this time to take a 6-4 lead. . . . F Brecon Wood (4) tied it at 4:27 of the second. . . . F Sean Richards (16) gave the Thunderbirds a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 4:30 of the third, and D Jarret Tyszka (8) made it 6-4 at 8:00. . . . D Jared Freadrich (15) of Portland got the game’s final goal, on a PP, with 1.1 seconds left in the third period. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld drew an assist on Freadrich’s goal for his only point of the game. That gave him 114 points on the season, enough to win the WHL scoring title by one point over F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Andrej Kukuca had three assists for Seattle. . . . Freadrich added two assists to his goal, for his fifth career three-point outing. . . . Seattle got 40 saves from G Cole Schwebius, while Portland’s Joel Hofer stopped 27 shots. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Cody Glass (knee) for an eighth straight game. They say the plan is for him to be back in time for Friday’s playoff opener, but, hey, it’s that time of year when you can’t believe anything you might hear about injuries. . . . F Matthew Wedman, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan, Seattle’s top three scorers, all were scratched.


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Scattershooting on a quiet Sunday . . . Jack’s a ‘BoLevier’ in Bo Levi . . . Sillinger assist one to remember . . . Portland hangs 10 on Ice

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Jack Finarelli, who posts at sportscurmudgeon.com, watched the Grey Cup game and mentioned something that had escaped me: “When I started viewing the game, I was confused for the first several minutes. The team wearing red and black uniforms was not the Redblacks; the team wearing the white uniforms was the Redblacks. Whatever . . .”

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Here’s more from Finarelli on the CFL’s big game: “I have had fun in the past with the name of the Stampeders’ QB, Bo Levi Mitchell. (When I see his face, then I’m a BoLevier . . . Sorry about that.) After seeing him play a couple of times, I think that NFL teams that are “deficient at the QB position” might want to give this guy a chance. I do not think he is the next coming of Andrew Luck or anything like that, but I do “bo-lieve” that he can play QB better than some of the guys who hold those positions in the NFL this year.”



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “According to one report, 28 per cent of shoppers are still in debt from their spending last Christmas.2018? How about 2013?’ said the Mariners, still on the hook for $120 million to Robinson Cano.”


Perry, again: “Ballybrack, an amateur Irish soccer team, got its upcoming match against Arklow Town canceled by incorrectly claiming that one of its players had been killed in a motorcycle accident. We’ve heard of faking soccer injuries before, guys, but . . . c’mon.”


John Daly once told the Charlotte Observer he played better golf back when he was a drunk,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Presumably in those days he used a putter, a wedge and a designated driver.”



Pet peeve: Hearing or reading that a season is past the quarter-pole when it’s one-quarter over. Quarter-pole is a horse-racing term; the quarter-pole is a marker that is a quarter-mile from the finish line.


I really need someone to explain to me how we got to this point . . .


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Headline at TheOnion.com: Yankees avoid luxury tax by moving franchise to offshore location.


From Cam Hutchinson, at the Saskatoon Express: “Former NFLer David Diehl recently shared a story about highly-touted, but underachieving quarterback Jamarcus Russell. His coaches didn’t think he was studying tapes at night. One day he showed up at practice and said he had watched blitz packages. How did he do that? The coaches gave him blank tapes.”


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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

No. of trades: 6.

Players: 17.

Bantam draft picks: 15.

Conditional draft picks: 3.


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.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Medicine Hat Tigers overcame an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Pats, 3-2, in Regina. . . . Tigers Logo OfficialMedicine Hat improved to 13-13-3. . . . Regina (8-20-0) has lost five in a row. . . . Regina went 0-3-0 and was outscored 13-5 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours, one in Brandon and two at home. . . . On Sunday, F Sergei Alkhimov (5) and F Austin Pratt (11) gave the Pats a 2-0 lead before the game was eight minutes old. . . . F Bryan Lockner, who began his WHL career with Regina, got Medicine Hat’s first goal, his eighth, at 1:19 of the third period. . . . The Tigers tied it at 7:13 when F Josh Williams (6) scored off a pass from F Cole Sillinger, who recorded his first WHL point. . . . Sillinger, 15, is from Regina and is the son of former Pats star Mike Sillinger. Cole, the 11th overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, plays for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . . F James Hamblin snapped the tie with his 13th goal at 18:30. . . . Each team was 0-4 on the PP; each team won 36 faceoffs. . . . The Pats got 38 saves from G Max Paddock. . . . Tigers G Jordan Hollett, who also began his WHL career with the Pats, stopped 30 shots.


The Prince George Cougars jumped out to a 4-0 lead and went on to a 5-3 victory over the PrinceGeorgevisiting Victoria Royals. . . . Prince George (11-14-3) had lost its previous four games. With the victory, the Cougars moved back into possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who have four games in hand. . . . Victoria (13-10-0) had beaten the host Cougars, 5-1, on Saturday night. . . . The Cougars got two goals from F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who has eight, and one each from D Rhett Rhinehart (2) and F Josh Maser (8) to lead 4-0 early in the second period. . . . The Royals got to within two on second-period goals from F Tarun Fizer (3) and F Dante Hannoun (10), on a PP. . . . But F Ilijah Colina (5) restored Prince George’s three-goal lead, on a PP, at 17:55. . . . Victoria D Matthew Smith’s first goal rounded out the scoring at 3:32 of the third period. . . . Maser and Colina added two assists each. . . . Mikhalchuk’s first goal, at 7:49 of the first period, was the Un-Teddy Bear goal. The Cougars have moved away from a Teddy Bear game, instead asking fans to bring scarves, toques, etc., and to throw them on the ice after their first goal. . . . The Cougars will play their next 11 games on the road, with eight of them in the U.S. Division on three separate junkets; their next home game is scheduled for Jan. 11.


F Kaden Elder and F James Malm each scored twice to lead the host Calgary Hitmen to a Calgary5-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Calgary (12-14-3) has won two in a row. . . . Moose Jaw (15-6-4) had points in each of its previous 10 games (9-0-1). . . . Both teams were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours and each went 2-1-0. . . . In fact, Moose Jaw went 3-1-0 in playing four road games in five days. . . . Calgary scored once in the first period and three times in the second to take a 4-0 lead into the third. . . . Elder, who also had an assist, opened the scoring with two PP goals, at 9:04 of the first and 3:25 of the second. He’s got 11 goals. . . . Malm upped the lead to 3-0 at 16:25, and D Egor Zamula (4) made it 4-0 at 17:56. . . . F Justin Almeida (6) scored the Warriors’ goal, on a PP, at 4:43 of the third. . . . Malm finished the scoring, getting No. 14 into an empty net at 19:18. . . . The Hitmen got a big game from F Riley Stotts, who had four assists. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 33 shots for Calgary. . . . The Hitmen lost F Luke Coleman 22 seconds into the third period when he was hit with a boarding major and game misconduct.


D Nolan Jones scored in OT to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Red LethbridgeDeer Rebels in a game that included three goals in the last 2:26 of the third period. . . . Lethbridge (14-8-5) is 5-0-1 in its last six games and has moved to within three points of the Central Division-leading Rebels. . . . Red Deer (17-9-2) has lost two in a row. . . . The Rebels were playing their fifth game in six nights — they went 1-4-0 — and their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 1-2-0. . . . Lethbridge went 3-0-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . F Taylor Ross gave Lethbridge a 2-0 lead in the first period, the second goal coming via the PP. . . . Red Deer went ahead 3-2 on goals from F Chris Douglas (9), at 7:12 of the second; F Zak Smith (7), at 5:00 of the third; and F Brett Davis, shorthanded, at 11:35. . . . F Dylan Cozens (14) tied it for Lethbridge, at 17:34, only to have Ross (16) complete his first career hat trick at 18:43. . . . Davis (9), who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice on Friday, got Red Deer back into a tie at 19:42. . . . Jones won it at 1:50 of OT with his second goal of the season. . . . Jones went into this season without a goal in 12 games. This season, he now has two goals in 22 games. . . . Meanwhile, Ross, who also had an assist, had four previous two-goal games, three last season and one this season, but have never scored three times in one outing. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from F Jake Elmer. . . . Davis added an assist to give him three points. . . . Douglas has nine goals and seven assists in 28 games; he finished last season with nine goals and seven assists in 72 games. . . . The Rebels won 40 of the game’s 66 faceoffs.


F Cody Glass, D Jared Freadrich and F Joachim Blichfeld combined for 14 points as the Portlandhost Portland Winterhawks dumped the Kootenay Ice, 10-2. . . . Portland (16-10-2) has won two in a row and has scored 18 goals in the process. . . . Kootenay (7-20-4) has lost nine straight (0-8-1). . . . The Ice played in three U.S. Division cities in fewer than 48 hours and lost (three) times, getting outscored 20-6 in the process. . . . This one was never in doubt as Blichfeld scored 28 seconds into the first period and Portland took a 4-0 lead into the second. . . . Glass had two goals, giving him 11, and three assists for the fourth four-point game of his career. . . . Freadrich drew five assists, giving him his first five-point game. He had four assists in an 8-6 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane on Nov. 4. . . . Blichfeld had three goals, giving him 25 this season. He also had an assist for the sixth four-point game of his career. . . . Blichfeld has 53 points in 28 games this season; Glass has 51 points in 24 games. . . . Portland was 4-6 on the PP. . . . F Peyton Krebs (11) had one of the Ice’s goals.


The Vancouver Giants overcame a 2-1 third-period deficit and beat the Tri-City VancouverAmericans, 4-2, in Langley B.C. . . . Vancouver (20-6-2) has won six straight. . . . Tri-City (14-11-1) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . On Saturday night, the Giants had beaten the visiting Americans, 5-2. . . . F Blake Stevenson (5) scored shorthanded to give the Americans a 1-0 lead at 12:15 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (6) tied it at 5:26 of the second, only to have F Isaac Johnson (11) score on a PP to give the Americans a 2-1 lead at 7:44. . . . Vancouver won it on third-period goals from F Aidan Barfoot (2), at 7:26; F Davis Koch (9), on a PP, at 13:49; and F Milos Roman (16) at 15:16. . . . Roman now has goals in six straight games.


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Scattershooting on the eighth Sunday before Christmas . . . Desjardins goes to Hollywood . . . Tigers, ‘Hawks both get victories

Scattershooting

A note from Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon: “Memo to Commissioner Manfred — I know you cannot predict which games will take forever and which ones will be over in short order. Nonetheless, please use your ‘Commish authority’ to require one game in the World Series to be played with an afternoon start. In fact, let me be more specific — make it the Saturday World Series game. You may get lucky and have a great game on TV at a time when a lot more people can be awake to see it happen.”


Headline at TheOnion.com: Golden State raises 2018, 2019, 2020 championship banners.



So . . . the NHL sends the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets to Finland and games on Thursday and Friday, both of which began at 11 a.m. PT, were regional telecasts via one TSN channel in Canada. Meanwhile, games between the Chicago Blackhawks and host Vancouver Canucks, and the Colorado Avalanche and host Calgary Flames, which had been played the previous nights, were being replayed Thursday and Friday mornings on four Sportsnet channels. . . . Is this what the NHL calls growing the game?

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Thankfully, ICYMI, the Christmas movie season is upon us. Yes, at least one channel on my satellite package is showing Christmas movies for something like 20 hours a day. Yes, every day. You’re welcome. Hey, that’s really growing the game.


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“A man using a blowtorch to kill spiders burned down his mother’s house in Fresno, Calif.,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “He reportedly got the idea watching Jon Gruden tinker with the Raiders’ roster.”

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One more from Perry: “We can just picture Dodgers shortstop Manny (Don’t Call Me Charlie Hustle) Machado drowning his sorrows after the World Series . . . ‘Bartender, make it a single.’ ”



On my way home from a Friday night hockey game, I drove past a home that featured a Christmas tree all lit up and standing in a corner of the living room. Umm, Friday was Nov. 2. . . . Just for those folks, right here is Darlene Love with All Alone for Christmas.


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, has a question: “How long until Vegas looks at the purchase of the Oakland Raiders under California’s Lemon Law?”


“Four kids came to our door dressed as Jacksonville Jaguars,” relates comedy writer Alex Kaseberg of Halloween, “handed us a $64,170 bar tab and then ran away.”



A note to Toronto sports writers from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Auston Matthews is a good hockey player, but he’s not a god or a saint. So stop writing columns like hte Gospel According to Matthews.”

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“Retired Olympic gold-medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton just got divorced after 27 years,” reports Currie. “I’m not saying she’s ready to start dating, although she may give you a tumble.”


MacBeth

F Tyler Coulter (Brandon, 2012-17) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Vimmerby (Sweden, Division 1). Last season, he had one goal and three assists in 14 games with the Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL), and two goals and one assist in 11 games with the University of Calgary (Canada West, USports).


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ICYMI, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings fired head coach John Stevens on Sunday morning in a move that had a number of WHL ties. . . . Willie Desjardins, 61, was named the interim head coach, which should take him through the remainder of this season. . . . Desjardins spent 2002-10 with the Medicine Hat Tigers, the first three seasons as head coach and the last five as general manager and head coach. . . . Desjardins also was the head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks for three seasons (2014-17). The Kings are scheduled to visit Vancouver on Nov. 27. . . . Desjardins spent last season as the head coach of Canada’s national men’s team. . . . Assistant coach Don Nachbaur, the third-winningest head coach in WHL history, also was fired by the Kings. Nachbaur, who was in his second season on the Kings’ staff, has coached in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs. His 692 regular-season victories trail only Don Hay (750) and Ken Hodge (742). . . . Dave Lowry, a former WHL coach, remains on the Kings’ coaching staff, as does goaltending coach Bill Ranford. Lowry coached with the Calgary Hitmen (2005-09) and Victoria Royals (2012-17). He is in his second season with the Kings. . . . Ranford played three seasons (1983-86) with the New Westminster Bruins and has been with the Kings since 2006-07.

There is more right here from Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times.


Chances are that most hockey fans had never heard Elgar Petersen’s name before the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crashed on April 6. After that accident, though, his name was heard rather frequently because the arena in Humboldt, which is home to the SJHL’s Broncos, is named after him. Petersen died on Saturday evening at the age of 82. Phil Tank of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more on Petersen right here.


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.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Linus Nassen scored two goals and added an assist to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a Tigers Logo Official5-4 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Tigers (9-7-2) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Hitmen (5-11-2) have lost two in a row. . . . Calgary was playing its third game in as many nights. It beat the visiting Tigers 7-5 on Friday, then dropped a 1-0 home-ice decision to the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday. . . . F Kaden Elder got the Hitmen to within a goal, at 3-2, at 6:16 of the second period. . . . Nassen, who has four goals, then stretch the lead to 5-2 with goals at 14:43 and 18:01, the latter on a PP. . . . The Hitmen got close on goals from F Luke Coleman (4), at 18:33 of the second, and Elder (8), at 17:55 of the third. . . . Nassen, a 20-year-old Swedish sophomore, has three three-point outings this season after enjoying two of them last season. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-4 on the PP. . . . Calgary held a 44-33 edge in shots, including 16-1 in the third period. . . . The Tigers got 40 saves from G Jordan Hollett.


The Portland Winterhawks struck for four PP goals en route to an 8-6 victory over the PortlandChiefs in Spokane. . . . The Winterhawks (10-6-1) won three games in as many nights this weekend. They swept a Friday-Saturday doubleheader from the visiting Victoria Royals, 7-3 and 2-1. . . . The Chiefs (8-6-3) have lost two in a row. . . . Spokane actually led this one, 5-3, with five minutes left in the second period. . . . F Jake Gricius (9) pulled Portland to within one, on a PP, at 15:22 of the second. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who finished with two goals and three assists, tied it at 4:04 of the third. . . . D Nolan Reid (3) gave the Chiefs the lead, again, at 5:41. . . . Portland put it away with the last three goals — from F Ryan Hughes (6), on a PP, at 6:18; F Reece Newkirk (10), on a PP, at 17:00; and Blichfeld (14), into an empty net, at 19:27. . . . Portland G Dante Giannuzzi came on in relief to stop four of the five shots he faced in 27:18 and earn his first WHL victory. . . . Blichfeld now has 35 points, including 21 assists, in 17 games. This was his second five-point game of his career, both of which have come this season. . . . Portland got four assists from D Jared Freadrich, who enjoyed the first four-point night of a career that is into its fourth season. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and two assists from F Riley Woods, who has 12 goals, with F Ethan McIndoe (4) scoring once and adding two assists, and F Jake McGrew drawing three assists. . . . Portland F Jaydon Dureau scored his second goal of the season on a penalty shot at 18:09 of the first period, tying the score 3-3 in the process. . . . The Winterhawks outshot the Chiefs, 53-23, including 23-10 in the first period. . . . Portland F Ryan Hughes, who left Saturday’s game in the first period after absorbing a hard hit, was back in the lineup last night and had a goal, his sixth, and an assist. . . . The Winterhawks were without F Cody Glass, while the Chiefs scratched D Ty Smith and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan. Glass and Smith are expected to play for Team WHL against a touring Russian side tonight in Kamloops as the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series gets started. Anderson-Dolan would play if healthy, but now has missed three games with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Seth Jarvis (Portland) and F Jack Finley (Spokane) are at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.


Note that after Sunday’s games, the WHL is off until Friday.


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


SATURDAY NIGHT STUFF:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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