Storm wins KIJHL’s long game . . . Heidt sparks Cougars in front of large crowd . . . Big crowd in Saskatoon for Blades victory . . . Hitmen run winning streak to seven

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KamStormnewThe junior B Kamloops Storm scored twice in the shootout to defeat the Columbia Valley Rockies, 5-4, in a Kootenay International Junior Hockey League game that began on Friday night and finished Sunday afternoon in Invermere, B.C. . . . The Storm and Rockies were tied, 1-1, with 1:05 left in the third period on Friday when an ammonia alarm sounded in the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena. . . . They weren’t able to finish the game that night. With both teams scheduled to play Saturday, the KIJHL chose to have the Storm, which travelled to Creston and beat the Thunder Cats, 5-4 in OT, return to Invermere to finish up on Sunday. . . . Repairs were made to the refrigeration plant in time for the Rockies to drop a 4-1 decision to the Kimberley Dynamiters on Saturday. . . . On Sunday, Kamloops got shootout goals from F Jake Phillips-Watts and F Evan Douglas, with F Keenan Ingram counting for the Rockies. . . . If you’re wondering, the KIJHL picked up any extra expenses incurred by the Storm during their extra time on the road.



SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

The host Prince George Cougars scored five first-period goals and went on to PrinceGeorgebeat the Vancouver Giants, 6-4. . . . The Cougars (10-9-0) had lost their previous two games, including a 5-4 setback at the hands of the visiting Giants on Saturday night. . . . Vancouver (7-8-4) had been 3-0-1 in its previous four games. . . . The Giants actually led this one 2-0 before it was five minutes old. But the Cougars counted five times before the first period ended, two of them from F Riley Heidt, to take control. . . . Heidt (10) completed his hat trick at 17:01 of the second period for a 6-2 lead. . . . Vancouver got a goal and an assist from F Samuel Honzek (12) in the third period to get within two. . . . The Giants, who had five shots on goal in the first period and four in the second, held a 13-0 edge in the third. . . . The announced attendance was 4,821, the Cougars’ largest home crowd this season. They announced 4,463 on Saturday. . . . Those are the two largest crowds in the CN Centre since Feb. 17, 2020, when the Cougars dropped a 4-2 decision to the Red Deer Rebels before a crowd that was announced at 5,971. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 5-2 Saskatoonvictory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . The Blades (14-4-0) have won three in a row. . . . The Pats (9-9-2) had points in three straight (2-0-1) before this one. . . . The Pats were playing their fourth game in five days and third in fewer than 48 hours. This also was the first outing in a 10-game road trip that will taken them into the B.C. Division. . . . F Jayden Wiens (5) scored two PP goals for Saskatoon. . . . F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 19 games with a goal (18) and an assist. . . . The Pats had D Corbin Vaughan back in the lineup after he completed his second four-game suspension since Oct. 13. . . . Attendance was announced at 7,868, the largest in Saskatoon since 9,188 showed up to watch the Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 3-2, on March 15, 2019. . . .

In Everett, the Calgary Hitmen scored the game’s last four goals to beat the CalgarySilvertips, 6-3. . . . Calgary (10-4-2) has won seven in a row, including the first two games of a U.S. Division tour. . . . Everett (12-6-0) had a four-game winning streak snapped. . . . Everett took a 3-2 lead into the third period. . . . F Zac Funk pulled Calgary even at 1:01, then gave his mates a 4-3 lead with his fourth goal of the season, on a PP, at 2:24. . . . D Tyson Galloway (3) scored once and added two assists for Calgary as he figured in each of the last three goals.


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Lambert leaves Chiefs for Music City. . . . WHL teams sign more prospects. . . . Growlers win ECHL in first season


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D Justin Hamonic (Tri-City, 2012-15) has signed a one-year contract with the Coventry Blaze (England, UK Elite). This season, with Angers (France, Ligue Magnus), he had one goal and nine assists in 42 games.


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On May 21, the Spokane Chiefs signed head coach Dan Lambert to an extension, believed SpokaneChiefsto be two years in length.

On June 4, the Chiefs began their search for a new head coach.

Such are the vagaries of major junior hockey.

Lambert, the Chiefs’ head coach for the past two seasons, has joined the NHL’s Nashville Predators as an assistant coach.

It turns out that the Predators came calling one day after the Chiefs and Lambert agreed on that extension.

“I was not looking,” Lambert told Dan Thompson for a story he wrote for the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “This was not my intention at all.”

The Chiefs are one of three WHL teams without a head coach, joining the Kamloops Blazers and Prince George Cougars. The Blazers are looking for a replacement for Serge Lajoie, who departed after one season, while the Cougars need a head coach after firing Richard Matvichuk in February.

In Brandon, David Anning, the head coach of the Wheat Kings for three seasons, is without a contract after his expired on May 31. He also spent four seasons as an assistant coach with Brandon.

In Spokane, it could be that assistant coach Scott Burt is atop the list of potential replacements. Burt has been on the Chiefs’ staff for six seasons now.

Lambert, 49, is a native of St. Boniface, Man. He played four seasons (1986-90) with the Swift Current Broncos, helping them to the 1989 Memorial Cup championship; he was named the tournament’s MVP. He went on to a pro career that ended after five seasons (2004-09) with the Hannover Scorpions of Germany’s DEL.

He got into coaching with the Kelowna Rockets, working as an assistant coach for five seasons (2009-14) and head coach for 2014-15. The Rockets won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2015 and reached the Memorial Cup final, where they lost to the OHL’s Oshawa Generals.

He spent 2015-16 as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and was the head coach of their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, the next season.

He signed with the Chiefs after being dismissed by the Sabres.

Spokane was 81-46-13 with Lambert as its head coach. This season, the Chiefs finished 40-21-7, then reached the Western Conference final, where they lost to the Vancouver Giants.

This season, the Chiefs had the WHL’s best power play in the regular season (29.1 per cent) and again in the playoffs (36.1). Yes, he is likely to be responsible for Nashville’s PP.

Thompson’s complete story is right here.


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The Red Deer Rebels have signed three of their picks from the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft Red Deer— D Hunter Mayo, D Jace Weir and F Carter Anderson. . . . Mayo, from Martensville, Sask., was selected in the second round. He had 15 goals and 27 assists in 28 games with a bantam AA team in Martensville this season. . . . Weir, from Coldstream, B.C., also was taken in the second round. This season, he had eight goals and 24 assists in 18 games with the North Zone bantams in Coldstream. . . . Anderson, from Thompson, Man., was a third-round pick. This season, with the bantam prep team at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy, he had 17 goals and 11 assists in 29 games.

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The Swift Current Broncos have signed G Reid Dyck to a WHL contract. From Winkler, Man., Dyck was a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. He was the second goaltender taken in the draft. . . . This season, he was 3.44 and .912 in 23 games with the bantam AAA Pembina Valley Hawks.

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The Saskatoon Blades have signed F Jayden Wiens to a WHL contract. From Carrot River, Sask., he was an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, with the midget AAA Tisdale Trojans, he had seven goals and 27 assists in 44 regular-season games. He added four goals and five assists in seven playoff games, then had six goals and two assists in seven Telus Cup games.


Serge Lajoie, who worked this season as the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, has been added to the U of Alberta’s Sports Wall of Fame. . . . Lajoie won four national hockey titles with the Golden Bears — one as a player, two as an assistant coach and one as a head coach. He also was once named the U of A’s top male athlete and Canadian university’s male hockey player of the year. . . . Matt Gutach has more right here.


Bill Chow, the president of the SJHL, has had his contract extended through May 31, 2021. Chow has been running the SJHL for eight seasons since taking over on May 31, 2011. . . . The SJHL news release is right here.


Jake Grimes, who had been an associate coach with the OHL-champion Guelph Storm, is qmjhlthe new head coach of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. . . . Grimes and George Burnett, the Storm’s general manager and head coach, had been together for 13 years in Belleville and Guelph. . . . Grimes, who is from Dartmouth, N.S., had been the Storm’s associate coach for two seasons. . . . The Screaming Eagles fired Marc-Andre Dumont, their GM and head coach, on April 16. . . . Last month, they named Jacques Carrier as general manager, hockey operations, and John Hanna as assistant GM, hockey operations.


The Newfoundland Growlers, in their first ECHL season, won the Kelly Cup on Tuesday night, beating the Toledo Walleye, 4-3, in St. John’s. . . . The Growlers won the best-of-seven final, 4-2. . . . Two ex-WHLers combined for the goal that gave the Growlers a 4-1 lead at 13:32 of the second period. F Giorgio Estephan scored the goal, with Hudson Elynuik getting the lone assist. Estephan, who won a WHL title last season with the Swift Current Broncos, finished with two goals and an assist, while Elynuik, who completed his junior eligibility with the Spokane Chiefs last season, had two assists. . . . Also in the Growlers’ lineup last night were F Matt Bradley, who finished his WHL career last season with the Regina Pats, and Latvian D Kristians Rubins, who spent the previous two seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The last ECHL team to win the championship in its first season of existence? The Greensboro Monarchs, in 1990.


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