Courneyea gives Opening Ceremony a WOW! . . . Raiders show small profit for 2020-21 thanks to gov’t money . . . Chiefs retire Johnson’s No. 9

Dan Courneyea, our man at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, is there to work as an off-ice official at the hockey venues. But he took time to attend the Opening Ceremony on Friday, writing that “all I can say is WOW! It was AWESOME!” . . . Courneyea, who heads up the Kamloops Blazers’ crew of off-ice officials, is part of the Olympic hockey crew for the third time, having also been at Vancouver in 2010 and PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018. . . . He got his Beijing Games started by working Canada’s 11-1 victory over Switzerland on Thursday, and was back at the NIS today as Canada skated past Finland, 11-1. . . . Before going to the hockey game, Dan sent along some photos from the Opening Ceremony. I am partial to the third one, which provides a proud moment for Canadians. . . . Enjoy!

Ceremony1

Ceremony2

Ceremony3


Despite not playing any home games in what would have been the 2020-21 WHL season, the community-owned Prince Albert Raiders announced a profit Raidersof $25,891 during their annual general meeting on Thursday night.

The pandemic resulted in the WHL’s Manitoba- and Saskatchewan-based teams playing a 24-game schedule a bubble in Regina in the spring of 2021.

At their previous AGM, the Raiders announced a loss of $331,895 for the 2019-20 season. That was when they had $1,074,857 in ticket sales. In 2020-21, the Raiders didn’t have any ticket sales, but did receive a $600,000 grant from the provincial government, as did each of the other four Saskatchewan-based WHL teams.

“That lost revenue was made up for by generosity,” reported Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW. “The Raiders received $1,081,179 in grants, including the $600,000 WHL Support Grant from the Government of Saskatchewan, and $416,111 from the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) along with others.”

His story is right here.

Kyle Kosowan of the Prince Albert Daily Herald reported that the Raiders’ revenue for 2020-21 totalled $515,917, down $1,776,412 from 2019-20.

“The expense total,” Kosowan wrote, ”was nearly $1 million less in 2020-21. Advertising was the largest factor of expenses. Spending just $39,690, that’s a difference of $204,770 from 2019-20. The difference in expenses was $917,347. While revenue generated wasn’t nearly as high, being able to cut down on expenses was a huge game-changer.”

Kosowan’s story is right here.

The WHL has four community-owned teams; all four now have held their AGMs.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who received $668,000 in government funding, showed a profit of $72,250.

The Swift Current Broncos declared a loss of $129,968 after factoring in the $600,000 in provincial government money.

The Moose Jaw Warriors didn’t post a news release on their website, but president Chad Taylor said at the time: “If it wasn’t for the provincial government our balance sheet . . . would look a lot different than it is today. We are still showing a loss. You can’t just recover . . . With no revenues it’s impossible to try and pull a profit out of an organization like this.”

The Warriors lost $391,299 for 2019-20, after losses of $165,145 for 2018-19 and $463,566 for 2016-17. In 2017-18, the Warriors declared a profit of $704,182.


These days, Rick Brodsky mostly hangs his hat in Kelowna, although in non-pandemic times he also spends time in Arizona. Of course, there are times, like now, when you might find him in northern Manitoba, helping nephews get heavy equipment over winter roads and into position to do a big-time construction job. . . . There was a time, though, when he was a prominent WHL owner, first with the Saskatoon Blades, and then the Victoria Cougars, a franchise he would move to Prince George. . . . Hartley Miller, the news supervisor and sports editor for VISTA Radio in Prince George, does a weekly podcast that most often is wrapped around the Cougars. On Thursday, he released Part 1 of a two-part interview with Brodsky, who also is a former chairman of the WHL’s board of governors. . . . It is right here.


Carey


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Spokane Chiefs retired No. 9 on Friday night in honour of  F Tyler Johnson, who put up 128 goals and 154 assists in 266 regular-season games over four seasons (2007-11). Johnson, who is from Spokane, helped the Chiefs win the 2008 Memorial Cup title. He is in his ninth NHL season, the first eight with the Tampa Bay Lightning and this one with the Chicago Blackhawks. However, injuries have limited him to eight games this season.  . . . F Bear Hughes, who had been wearing No. 9, gave his sweater to Johnson and now wears No. 8. . . . Among those in attendance in Spokane was former Chiefs GM Tim Speltz and former head coach Bill Peters, whose final season there was 2007-08. . . . F Ray Whitney is the only other Spokane player to have had his number (14) retired. . . .

The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder and Eric Thurston, the general manager and head coach, have agreed on a contract extension that runs through 2024-25. According to a news release, the contract makes “Eric one of the highest-paid coaches in the AJHL.” No figures were release. He has been with the Thunder since March 13, 2018.


Passwords


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.


Rodent

Clouston headed for WHL’s Top 10 . . . Carrier lit it up, but nothing near record . . . Coaching change in Russia


MOVIN’ ON UP: Shaun Clouston, the Kamloops Blazers’ general manager and head coach, moved into a tie for 12th on the WHL’s all-time victory list as his club beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, in Kent, Wash., on Wednesday night. . . . That was Clouston’s 465th victory — he also has been the head coach of the Tri-City Americans (16) and Medicine Hat Tigers (375). Clouston, 53, now is tied with Dean Clark and Kelly McCrimmon. . . . The Blazers are scheduled to meet the Winterhawks in Portland tonight. A Kamloops victory would lift Clouston into a tie with Jack Shupe and Peter Anholt for 10th on the list. . . . Kamloops (15-2-0) is to play the Silvertips (16-0-1) in Everett on Saturday.


SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE: It turns out that the Tri-City Americans and Kelowna Rockets are sharing not one, but two goaltending coaches. . . . The Rockets acquired G Talyn Boyko from the Americans on Nov. 7. Eight days later, the Rockets announced that Eli Wilson, the Americans’ goaltending coach, would be their goaltending coach, too. It turns out that Kelowna general manager Bruce Hamilton had asked Tri-City GM Bob Tory about sharing Wilson. Tory agreed, as long as Wilson, who lives in Kelowna, would continue to spent one week a month with the Americans. . . . What the Rockets’ news release didn’t mention is that Liam McOnie has joined them as a goaltending consultant. McOnie, who has worked with Wilson for five years, also is a goaltending consultant with the Americans. McOnie also is the general manager and head coach of the junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, who play out of Armstrong, B.C.


Herman


A tip of the Taking Note fedora to F Cole Carrier of the Regina Pats. . . . Carrier, 19, was pointless with the Pats leading the host Medicine Hat Tigers 3-2 and Patsfewer than five minutes remaining in the third period on Tuesday night. . . . He then scored three straight goals — at 15:05, 16:23 and 18:45 — in a span of 3:40 to finish off Regina’s 6-2 victory. . . . As quick as that was, Carrier was 3:16 shy of the WHL record that is held by F Jim Harrison. On Dec. 5, 1966, Harrison scored at 19:31, 19:44 and 19:55 of the third period to give the Estevan Bruins a 6-5 victory over the Pats. According to the Regina Leader-Post of Dec. 5, 1966, Harrison, who also had two assists, “scored the winner . . . after the Bruins had pulled goalie Gordon Kopp for an extra attacker.” The story didn’t indicate why the Bruins had pulled their goaltender in a tie game, but perhaps there was a faceoff in Regina’s zone and Estevan coach Ernie (Punch) McLean chose to play a hunch. . . . Harrison did it in the first season of what was then known as the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League. . . . At that point, Harrison had 40 points, including 18 goals, in Estevan’s first 20 games. . . . That season also was the first for McLean as the Bruins’ head coach. He and Bill Shinske had been among 35 shareholders who had purchased the team from Scotty Munro during the 1965-66 season. . . . Carrier, from Strathcona, Alta., came out of Tuesday’s game, his 19th this season with eight goals. He went into the season with four goals in 44 games.


Prince Albert head coach Marc Habscheid would have been better off to spend his money on postage stamps and send Christmas cards to referees Adam Bloski and Troy Murray, who handled the Raiders’ 5-1 loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday night. . . . As Jeff D’Andrea noted in the above tweet, Habscheid came out of the dressing room with his team to start the third period, offered up Christmas greetings and then wasn’t around when the puck was dropped. . . . There wasn’t anything on the WHL’s website late Thursday night, but surely the league will dip into the wallet of the WHL’s winningest active coach (560 victories).


THE TWOS HAVE IT: The Portland Winterhawks were beaten, 3-2 in OT, by the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday night. Later, Andy Kemper, the Winterhawks’ historian, informed us via Twitter that this “was the 86th time in Winterhawks history that a game ended in a 2-2 score after regulation.” Furthermore, he pointed out that in those games, Portland had 22 victories, opponents had 22, and 22 ended in ties. In games that needed a shootout, Portland has 10 victories and opponents have 10 victories.


IN THE Q: The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan fired head coach Mario Durocher on Thursday, with assistant coach Greg Leland moving up at least on an interim basis. The Titan are 9-9-2. . . . Leland signed with the Titan on July 3, 2020. . . . Durocher, 58, is a veteran coach who first coached in the league in 1992 when he was an assistant coach with the Sherbrooke Faucons. He had been behind the Titan’s bench since November 2018. . . . In Victoriaville, the Tigres signed general manager Kevin Cloutier to an extension that runs through the 2026-27 season.


Villain


JUST NOTES: I was doing some searching through Regina Leader-Post archives the other night and discovered that the sports section featured a regular column — Curling with Hack Waight. Yes, those were the days. . . . When the CHL’s weekly rankings showed up on Wednesday, the top four slots were occupied by WHL teams — in order, the Winnipeg Ice, Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers and Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . All four teams won that night. That improved Winnipeg’s record to 20-1-0, with Everett at 16-0-1, Kamloops at 15-2-0, and Edmonton at 15-3-3. . . . There will be a party in Whistler, B.C., to celebrate the World Hockey Association’s 50th anniversary. You do remember the WHA, don’t you? The party will run from Oct. 6 through Oct. 9 of 2022. Harrison Brooks of Pique Newsmagazine has more right here.


COACHING CHANGE WITH RUSSIAN JUNIORS: Sergei Zubov, a former NHL defenceman who has two Stanley Cup rings, will be the head coach of the Russian entry at the World Junior Championship that is to open in Edmonton and Red Deer on Dec. 26. Oleg Bratash was to have been the head coach, but he now is an assistant coach, along with Alexander Titov and Vladimir Filatov. It appears that the change was made because of Zubov’s better understanding of the English language. . . . As Bratash explained to Martin Mark of iihf.com: “At the tournament we will speak a lot with the organizers, there will be a strict COVID-19 protocol, and Sergei speaks English as a result of his experience of living in North America. Furthermore, he has coached in the KHL. These aren’t major changes.” . . . Zubov won WJC gold with the Soviet Union team in 1989. He won Stanley Cups with the New York Rangers (1994) and Dallas Stars (1999). . . . The Russian junior team will open camp with medicals at Novogorsk on Dec. 1 and will wrap it up on Dec. 14. . . . You are going to want to watch Russia, assuming F Matvei Michkov makes the roster. Michkov, who turns 17 on Dec. 9, has two goals and three assists in 11 games with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. He also totalled 28 points, including 17 goals, in 11 games with two MJL teams.


Christmas


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.


Deergut

No Ridley, no victories for Tigers . . . Benton back with ‘Tips for two . . . WHL, Raiders backtrack on alternate sweaters


The Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos completed a season-Tigersopening home-and-home series on Saturday night. The Broncos won the opener, 2-0, at home on Friday, then completed the sweep with a 3-2 victory in Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . However, you can bet that the participants recognized that something was missing. Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Tigers, wasn’t there; he’s in Lethbridge undergoing radiation treatments. . . . Darren Steinke, who keeps track of such things, notes that Ridley has done the play-by-play on 4,021 of the 4,022 games the Tigers have played since entering the WHL for the 1970-71 season. That includes regular-season games, one tiebreaker, playoff games and Memorial Cup games. . . . And let’s not forget that Ridley drove the Tigers’ bus for a lot of those seasons. You don’t even want to think about how much coffee he drank back in those days. . . . In Ridley’s absence, Scott Roblin of CHAT in Medicine Hat is calling the games.


The Everett Silvertips will play their season-opener tonight (Sunday) when Everettthey face the Chiefs in Spokane. The Silvertips won’t play again until Friday when they hold their home-opener, this time against the Portland Winterhawks. . . . With Mike Benton, the Silvertips’ radio voice for the previous six seasons, having left to join Seattle radio station KJR, you are wondering who will be doing the play-by-play for Everett now, aren’t you? . . . Well, a little birdie has told me that Benton will handle the first two games as the Silvertips work to get a new voice into place. . . . With KJR, Benton is handling the pre-game, intermission and post-game shows for Seattle Kraken games.


The WHL issued a statement late Saturday after the Prince Albert Raiders had unveiled a third sweater that included a controversial logo from their past. Yes, this qualifies as one of those ‘Yikes, what were they thinking?’ moments. . . . Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com has more right here.


Meanwhile, on the ice in the WHL on Saturday . . .

If you’re on Twitter, there are some interesting noise-related comments on the thread here . . .

In Regina, the Pats scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-2. F Sloan Stanick scored twice and added an assist for the Pats in a game that was televised nationally by CBC with Victor Findlay calling the play and Sam Cosentino providing the analysis. . . . If you’re on the Connor Bedard watch, he was interviewed during CBC’s pre-game show and again in the second intermission. Oh, he also scored the game’s last goal, his third in two games. . . . Regina had won, 3-1, in Prince Albert on Friday night. While the Pats rode the iron lung home after the game, the Raiders got some shut-eye in their own beds before heading south Saturday at 6:15 a.m. . . . Rob Vanstone has more on Saturday’s game right here. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice completed a home-and-home sweep of the Brandon Wheat Kings, winning 7-1 in the Manitoba capital. F Connor McClennon had two goals for the Ice, with D Carson Lambos adding a goal and two assists. . . . The Ice had won, 10-2, in Brandon on Friday. . . .

The visiting Swift Current Broncos opened up a 3-0 first-period lead en route to a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . G Isaac Poulter stopped 29 shots for his second victory in two nights. . . . The Broncos had beaten the Tigers, 2-0, in Swift Current on Friday. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored the game-winner and added an assist on the insurance goal as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-2. . . . The Warriors had dumped the Blades, 7-1, in Moose Jaw on Friday. . . .

The host Red Deer Rebels skated to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings, scoring the game’s last three goals, the final two into an empty net. . . . The Rebels earned a split in their season-opening home-and-home series, having lost 4-1 in Edmonton on Friday. . . . Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate noted that Saturday’s victory was “just the second time the Rebels have beat Edmonton since December 2018, a span of 20 games.” . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last three goals, the first two early in the second period and both from F Matthew Rempe, as they beat the Winterhawks, 3-1, in Portland. . . .

F Connor Levis broke a 4-4 tie with a PP goal at 15:09 of the third period as the Kamloops Blazers beat the Cougars, 5-4, in Prince George. The Cougars had come back from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits but weren’t ever able to grab a lead. . . . D Hudson Thornton had a goal and two assists for Prince George. . . .

G Jesper Vikman, a 19-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden, stopped 16 shots in his WHL debut as the Vancouver Giants defeated the host Victoria Royals, 5-0. . . . The game wasn’t as kind to Victoria G Sebastian Wraneschitz, who is from Vienna, Austria. He gave up three goals on six shots and left 7:24 into the game. . . . Vancouver F Connor Horning scored once and added an assist in his 200th regular-season WHL game. . . . The Giants were without head coach Michael Dyck, as he served a one-game suspension after his team was involved in a “multiple-fight situation” against Prince George on Sept. 24. Associate coach Keith McCambridge took over in Dyck’s absence. . . .

In Spokane, the Tri-City Americans erased a 3-2 deficit with three third-period goals as they scored a 5-3 victory over the Chiefs. . . . F Parker Bell’s goal at 15:13 of the third period broke a 3-3 tie and stood up as the winner.


It doesn’t happen often, but a veteran of the QMJHL wars has made his way to Royalsthe WHL. F Bailey Peach, 20, has been added to the Victoria Royals’ roster and was in the lineup on Saturday night. . . . From Falmouth, N.S., he cleared QMJHL waivers after being released by the Charlottetown Islanders. He played three seasons (2017-20) plus five games last season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix before moving on to the Islanders last season. In 184 regular-season QMJHL games, he put up 40 goals and 67 assists. He added one goal and five assists in 26 playoff games. . . . Peach joins F Tarun Fizer and F Graeme Bryks as the Royals’ 20-year-olds.


G Robin Lehner of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights hit the send button on the above tweet on Saturday evening. He has more than 107,000 followers. You can bet that we are going to be hearing a lot about this over the next few days.


Helf


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.


Specials

Jarvis, Tschigerl fill their hats . . . ‘Sudden-Death’ Schneider strikes again . . . Neighbours keeps streak intact

Mud2
It was a muddy Saturday on the north shore of the South Thompson River just east of Kamloops. Yes, that’s a tow vehicle visible through the trees. The backhoe was extricated about 1 p.m.; I didn’t hang around to see the fate of the truck.


Alex Kopacz, 31, is an Olympic gold medallist, having won the two-man bobsleigh competition as pilot Justin Kripps’ brakeman in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Today, he’s in hospital in London, Ont., just happy to be alive. . . . “I’ve never felt so close to my own death before,” he told Donna Spencer of The Canadian Press. “It’s been horrible.” . . . Yes, he has COVID-19, and he is on oxygen to help him breathe. But he is showing improvement and hopes to be out of the hospital in a few days, although he doesn’t know what the future holds. . . . In the meantime, he wants everyone to know that “it’s not a joke. The only thing that’s a joke is people who don’t believe in scientists. The anti-maskers are a joke. An absolute hazard to society.” . . . Spencer’s complete story is right here.


The Western Canadian Baseball League lost another team on Saturday when the Medicine Hat Mavericks announced they have chosen to opt out of the 2021 season. . . . The league announced late last month that its Alberta teams were going to go ahead with a season using only Canadian players. At this point, the Edmonton Prospects, Lethbridge Bulls, Sylvan Lake Gulls and two teams of Okotoks Dawgs seem poised to play.


The Canadian College Baseball Conference announced Saturday that it has cancelled its 2021 spring season “due to public health restrictions.” . . . From a statement: “The CCBC board of governors was optimistic in the early spring that a return to play would happen and worked diligently to pursue every avenue to make the conference season happen. With provincial authorities extending current restrictions it has made for challenges that can’t be overcome.” . . . The CCBC comprises eight teams in Alberta and B.C.



KidneyWalk

Hey, want to be part of a team? Dorothy, my wife of almost 49 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and now is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. It happens virtually on June 6. You are able to join her team with a donation right here.


Athletics Canada has decided not to send a team to the two-day World Athletics Relays that are scheduled for Chorzow, Poland, May 1 and 2. Australia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.S. have also said they won’t be there. . . . Simon Nathan, Athletics Canada’s high performance director, in a statement: “The safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority. Though showing signs of improvement, Poland is reporting a very high level of COVID-19 and travellers are strongly encouraged to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of Poland, even those who are fully vaccinated.” . . . The Canadian team, which has been training in Baton Route, La., was to have comprised 24 athletes.


The WHL’s Regina hub season will end with two games on Wednesday. The five WHL2Saskatchewan and two Manitoba teams have been there since early March, staying in dormitories at the U of Regina and Luther College. . . . The WHL said on Saturday that the seven teams have gotten through their final COVID-19 testing period without any positive tests. Teams are tested once a week. In the period from April 18-24, those seven teams experienced 213 tests without a positive. . . . In total, there were 1,020 tests administered to WHL teams in that time period, with one positive test for a player with the Tri-City Americans. According to the WHL, that player “was deemed to have been a close contact resulting from the previous one case of COVID-19, as announced April 17. The player remains in isolation at this time.” . . . The Americans, then, have had two players test positive. . . . According to the WHL, it has administered 8,220 tests from Feb. 12 through April 24 with 14 of those coming up positive.

Meanwhile, there were five games on Saturday . . .

F Seth Jarvis scored Portland’s last three goals as the host Winterhawks skated PortlandAlternateto a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland improved to 7-5-3, while Seattle, which has lost three straight, slipped to 7-8-0. . . . The Thunderbirds fell behind 2-0 before this one was two minutes old and weren’t ever able to catch up despite getting to within a goal on three occasions — 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3. . . . F Simon Knak (9) and D Ryan McCleary (3) scored on Portland’s first two shots. . . . F Gabe Ludwig scored for Seattle at 10:49 of the first period, but Portland F Mason Mannek (6) got that one back at 13:55. . . . Seattle F Sam Oremba scored his first WHL goal at 14:12 — he was the seventh overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft — and Jarvis replied 54 seconds into the second period. . . . D Tyrel Bauer (2) pulled Seattle back to within a goal at 4:22. . . . Jarvis completed his third career hat trick with goals at 11:13 of the second and 11:09 of the third, both via the PP. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Portland was 3-for-7 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-3. . . . These teams will play again tonight in Portland. . . .

D Braden Schneider scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 5-4 victory Brandonover the Prince Albert Raiders in the Regina hub. . . . Schneider, a native of Prince Albert, struck for his fifth goal at 2:30 of OT. . . . He also had the OT winner on April 18 in a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney (13) had tied the score at 14:39 of the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings (17-3-2) have won six in a row. . . . The Raiders (8-10-4) have points in two straight (1-0-1). . . . Prince Albert erased 2-1 and 3-1 deficits to lead 4-3 in the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings led 2-0 after one period on goals by F Brett Hyland (4) and F Lynden McCallum, on a PP. . . . F Dallyn Peekeekoot (4) got the Raiders on the board at 7:23 of the second period, with McCallum, who has 15 goals, restoring the two-goal lead at 7:23. . . . The Raiders then scored three straight goals — from D Landon Kosior (4) at 9:09 of the second, F Evan Herman (8), on a PP, 23 seconds into the third and F Matthew Culling (3) at 8:55 — for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Nate Danielson drew three assists for Brandon. The fifth overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft, he has three goals and 12 assists in 22 games. . . . The Wheat Kings get their first opportunity to clinch the Regina hub’s best record when they play the Regina Pats today. Brandon holds a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Ice. . . .

Linemates Jake Neighbours and Kaid Oliver each had a goal and two assists to Edmontonlead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 4-1 victory over the host Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Oil Kings (16-1-1) have points in eight straight (7-0-1). They had beaten the visiting Tigers, 3-0, on Friday. . . . Medicine Hat now is 12-5-1. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Edmonton. . . . Oliver (10) and Neighbours (9) gave Edmonton a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . D Cole Clayton’s eight goal got Medicine Hat on the board at 8:22 of the second. . . . F Josh Williams (11), the third member of Edmonton’s big line, and D Matthew Robertson (4) scored PP goals in the third period to put it away. . . . Neighbours has played in 17 games this season and has at least a point in each one. He has 10 multi-point games. All told, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft has nine goals and 22 assists. . . . According to Andrew Peard of the Oil Kings, this was head coach Brad Lauer’s 100th regular-season victory. He is 100-31-19. Peard reports that Lauer “becomes the fastest coach in Oil Kings history to the century mark, doing it in 150 games. Derek Laxdal had done it in 175 games. . . .

F Sean Tschigerl’s three goals led the Calgary Hitmen to a 7-2 victory over the CalgaryHurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . The Hitmen (8-5-2) have points on four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Hurricanes (7-10-2) have lost three in a row. . . . The Hitmen, in their first game since April 5, had beaten the visiting Hurricanes, 6-3, on Friday. . . . They’re back at it again tonight in Calgary. . . . Lethbridge F Chase Wheatcroft (5) tied the game 2-2 at 10:41 of the second period. . . . The Hitmen followed that with three goals in 4:20 to take a 5-2 lead into the third period. . . . Calgary wrapped it up with two shorthanded goals, 25 seconds apart, in the third, with F Josh Prokop getting his eighth and Tschigerl completing his first WHL hat trick with his ninth. . . . Prokop also had two assists. . . .

In Kelowna, the Rockets snapped a 2-2 tie with two third-period goals as they Rocketsbeat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . Kelowna (5-2-0) has won two straight. . . . Vancouver (9-4-0) had won its previous four games. . . . D Jake Lee’s first goal of the season got the Rockets into a 3-3 tie two minutes into the third period. . . . F Mark Liwiski (5) broke the tie at 5:15. . . . The Giants had opened the scoring at 9:11 of the first period on a goal by D Alex Kannok Leipert (5). . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (3) pulled Kelowna even at 18:35, on a PP. . . . F Justin Sourdif put the Giants back out front with a shorthanded score at 12:47 of the second period, only to have D Kaedan Korczak (2) tie it at 15:02. . . . Sourdif, who has seven goals, gave the Giants their third lead at 17:54. . . . Kelowna was 1-for-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-for-1.


Collies


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

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Toaster

Thunderbirds drop two after racist incident . . . COVID-19 takes chunks out of Fighting Irish, two baseball leagues, NHL


Earlier this week, Geoff Baker, a reporter with the Seattle Times, was writing about Brendan Lee, a forward with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips who was born Everettin Seattle and is of Chinese heritage.

Baker wrote about how Lee was “jolted” by last week’s mass shooting in Atlanta in which six women of Asian descent were killed, something that brought stories of anti-Asian harassment to the forefront.

Baker wrote: “Lee said neither he nor his immediate family have felt targeted, though he’s aware of fears within the broader Asian community. He hopes there’s some role he can play, through hockey, in projecting a positive image of Asian Americans — within that diverse community and beyond.”

Lee told Baker: “It’s horrible what happened. And with the platform I have, I think I can be an influencer. Maybe have somebody look up to me that’s a kid, who can see an American Asian playing hockey — and that it’s a kid from Seattle.”

Let’s move ahead to Thursday now, when Baker was writing this:

“Two teenage forwards with the Seattle Thunderbirds major junior hockey Seattleteam have been released for the remainder of the season for a racial-taunting incident in which the squad’s lone Black player alleged he was called a racial slur and had a banana waved in front of him.

“The players, age 17 and 18, had been suspended the Thunderbirds’ first two Western Hockey League games last weekend after team officials investigated a complaint of racial harassment against a 17-year-old teammate.

“On Thursday the team informed the suspended players they were no longer on the team and would be flown back home to Canada shortly, and removed their names from the roster.”

Baker reported that the Thunderbirds have said neither player will be back next season, although the team will maintain their rights and could trade them.

“Both are awaiting further instructions on when they can return to Canada due to tightened border restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote. “The 17-year-old is from Alberta, the 18-year-old from British Columbia.”

The victim texted Baker: “I am very disappointed with what happened, but I appreciate and respect the way my organization has handled this situation. That’s all I am going to say, and now I just want to focus on our season at hand.”

Baker’s wonderful story on Lee is right here.

Baker’s story involving the Thunderbirds is right here.


Oh boy, is the general manager of the Ottawa Senators going to be sorry about losing his cool in this age of social media, or what? This was Pierre Dorion after his club lost in OT to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night . . .


The Regina Pats broke a 1-1 tie with four straight goals en route to a 5-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in the Regina hub on Thursday. . . . F Carson WHL2Denomie, who went into this developmental season with 35 goals in 198 regular-season games, scored his seventh goal in as many games for the Pats (2-3-2). He also had an assist. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had two assists, giving the 15-year-old 12 points as he has started his WHL career on a seven-game point streak. . . . F Cole Carrier also had a goal and an assist for Regina, with D Ryker Evans adding two assists. . . . The Raiders (2-3-2) are winless in four games (0-3-1) after opening this developmental season by earning five points in their first three games. . . . Regina lost its captain, F Logan Nijhoff, to a kneeing major at 5:24 of the third period. . . . Prince Albert was without its captain, D Kaiden Guhle, for a fifth straight game due to a hand injury. . . . The Raiders dressed only one goaltender, Carter Serhyenko, because Cam Paddock is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. . . . Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW that “we had a goalie from another team (WInnipeg Ice) in the stands, so if something (had) happened to Carter, he would have dressed. It’s part of the bubble. It’s the way it is.” . . .

In the night’s other game, F Ridly Greig’s first goal of the season, shorthanded at 4:11 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . F Connor Geekie gave the Ice a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Brandon scored three times — F Nate Danielson, F Rylen Roersma and F Jake Chiasson — in a span of 2:17 before the period ended. . . . F Peyton Krebs and F Owen Pederson pulled the Ice (5-2-0) even, the latter scoring on a PP at 2:09 of the third. . . . Winnipeg had won five straight since opening with a 3-2 loss to Brandon on March 13. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-2-1) were without D Braden Schneider for a second straight game. He is listed as day-to-day with what is believed to be an injury to his right knee.


Scarecrow


It was a big day for COVID-19 on the sporting front Thursday. First, it took the Notre Dame Fighting Irish right out of the chase for the NCAA men’s hockey title. And then it took big chunks out of two summer baseball leagues that used to feature lots of U.S. college players. Oh, and it got into the coach staff of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres for the second time this season . . .

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The Fighting Irish were to have taken part in the NCAA Northeast Regional hockey tournament in Albany, N.Y., this weekend. But they have had to withdraw due to COVID-19 protocols. . . . According to head coach Jeff Jackson, “With multiple positives and contact tracing it became clear that for the safety of our team and others in the tournament we could not proceed.” . . . Notre Dame was to have played the Boston College Eagles on Saturday. That game has been declared no-contest and the Eagles moved directly into Sunday’s regional final against either St. Cloud State or Boston U. . . . Interestingly, Notre Dame was in the tournament as a late invitee after St. Lawrence U had to withdraw because of COVID-19 protocols. Notre Dame couldn’t be replaced because the NCAA had set a Monday night deadline for replacements to be made.

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The pandemic has forced quite a shuffling of the deck with the Western Canadian Baseball League. . . . The Edmonton Prospects, Lethbridge Bulls, Okotoks Dawgs (two teams) and Sylvan Lake Gulls have said that they will play the 2021 season using only Canadian players. . . . According to the league, the Fort McMurray Giants and Medicine Hat Mavericks continue to discuss their options. . . . At the same time, “due to the COVID-19 restrictions, border issues and the uncertainty of any changes,” five other teams — the Brooks Bombers, Moose Jaw Miller Express, Regina Red Sox, Swift Current 57’s and Weyburn Beavers — have decided to sit out the 2021 season. . . . At the same time, Taylor Shire of Global Regina tweeted that the “Yorkton Carinals and Melville Millionaires have left the WCBL and, according to WCBL president Kevin Kvame they both ceased operations.” . . .

From a news release issued by the Red Sox:

“Player and staff testing protocols will need to be in place at an estimated cost of $40,000 per team, as well as quarantine costs amounting to $2,000 per player. Interprovincial travel continues to be restricted, and the US/Canada border remains closed at this time. The WCBL is exploring options for an ‘All Canadian League’ in Alberta, which would also be subject to quarantine, testing, and border restrictions, presenting a challenge for the league. The Saskatchewan franchises have made the decision to defer the resumption of operations until 2022.”

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Marker

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The West Coast League, a wood-bat summer baseball league, has revised its 2021 schedule in order to remove international travel from its regular season, but it is leaving open the possibility of a playoff format involving teams from both Canada and the U.S. . . . The WCL, which features 15 teams, didn’t play in 2020. . . . In Canada, the Kelowna Falcons have opted out of the 2021 season, leaving the Victoria HarbourCats to play against three first-year teams — the Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws and Nanaimo NightOwls. . . . American teams in the league are the Bend Elks, Corvallis Knights, Cowlitz Black Bears, Portland Pickles, Ridgefield Raptors, Walla Walla Sweets, Bellingham Bells, Port Angeles Lefties, Wenatchee Apple Sox and Yakima Valley Pippins.

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Kevyn Adams, the Buffalo Sabres’ general manager, served as head coach on Thursday night as the team lost 4-0 to the Penguins in Pittsburgh. That’s nhl2because Don Granato, who was named interim head coach last week after Ralph Krueger was fired, and interim assistant coach Matt Ellis were in self-isolation. . . . This is the second time this season that the Sabres’ coaching staff was impacted by the virus. Earlier, Krueger tested positive and missed some time. . . . The Sabres have six victories this season; they have been shut out seven times. . . .

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers had assistants Jacques Martin and Greg Brown back behind the bench for last night’s 8-3 victory over the host Philadelphia Flyers. But head coach David Quinn has yet to be cleared to return from COVID-19 protocol, so former WHL player/coach Kris Knoblauch continues to work as head coach. Under normal conditions, Knoblauch is the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. . . . Knoblauch will stay with the Rangers at least through Saturday’s game in Philly. . . .

Marc Bergevin, the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, expects his club to return to the ice next week. He said Thursday that one player had tested positive — forwards Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi — and that it was a variant. . . . So far, the Canadiens have had four games postponed — three against the Edmonton Oilers and one with the Ottawa Senators. . . . If all goes well, the Canadiens will return to practice on Monday and play in Ottawa on Tuesday. . . . The NHL now has postponed 41 games because of COVID-19.


And how are things going out west? Hey, thanks for asking . . .

Justin McElroy, CBC Vancouver — 800 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., the highest number since the very height of the second wave, as the province’s trendline is going up VERY sharply now. . . . Active cases jump by almost 300, now the highest since January 8. . . . Five new deaths and hospitalizations up.

Oh, hey, things are going great in Alberta, too . . .

CBC News — Alberta reports 764 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 more deaths. The province confirms 191 variants of concern cases. 294 people are in hospital, 55 in ICU. . . . Variant cases now make up more than 20 per cent of the total.

Party on, Garth!


——

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: The Spokane Chiefs have promoted Chris Baird to director of hockey operations. He had been assistant director of hockey operations since 2017. He first was hired by the Chiefs in 2006-07 as a part-time video co-ordinator. . . . The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders have named Adam Manah as general manager — he will continue as head coach — and Jeff Woywitka as assistant GM. Manah has been with the Crusaders since 2015 when he was associate coach. He took over as assistant GM and head coach in 2016. Woywitka has been associate coach since 2016. The moves were necessitated by the firing of general manager Kyle Chase on March 19. Chase, who had been part of the organization since 2004, had been GM since 2016. Shane Jones of the Sherwood Park News has more on Chase’s dismissal right here.


Anger

Huskies dump Raiders at Memorial Cup. . . . WHL champs have lost 12 straight. . . . Must-win situation on Tuesday


ThisThat

F Killian Hutt (Portland, Regina, Swift Current, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Herford (Germany, Regionalliga). This season, in 32 games, he put up 49 goals and 83 assists. He led the league in assists and points. . . .

D Dan Gibb (Prince George, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he had two goals and 12 assists in 43 games. . . .

D Ryan Button (Prince Albert, Seattle, 2007-11) has signed a two-year contract with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Red Bull Munich (Germany, DEL), he had three goals and 14 assists in 48 games. He is a dual German-Canadian citizen.


ThisThat

F Tyler Hinam’s second goal of the game, at 15:28 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie and sent the QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on their way to a 6-3 victory over the 2019MCWHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders at the Memorial Cup tournament in Halifax. . . . The Raiders (0-2) are to play the OHL-champion Guelph Storm (1-1) tonight. A loss would eliminate the WHL champs. . . . The Raiders haven’t lost three straight games this season. . . . The host Mooseheads (2-0) and the Huskies (1-1) conclude the round-robin portion of the tournament on Wednesday. . . . With the score 3-3, Huskies D Noah Dobson seized a neutral zone turnover and took the puck down the right side and go it to the net, from where Hinam, who is from Cole Harbour, N.S., beat G Ian Scott. . . . F Peter Abbandonato added insurance at 16:53, and Dobson got the empty-netter at 18:19. . . . F Noah Gregor, perhaps the best player on the ice, had a goal and two assists for the Raiders. . . . F Cole Fonstad and D Brayden Pachal added a goal each for the Raiders. . . . The Huskies were 1-3 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-3. . . . Each team hit three or four posts in a game that featured a lot of scoring chances. . . . Huskies G Sam Harvey blocked 30 shots, three more than Scott.

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Here’s how Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com explained the situation in Halifax: “If the Raiders beat the Storm on Tuesday and the Huskies (1-1) defeat the Halifax Mooseheads (2-0) on Wednesday, then the Raiders and Storm would play a tiebreaker on Thursday. But if the Raiders defeat the Storm and the Mooseheads beat the Huskies, then there would be a three-way tiebreaking scenario between the Storm, Raiders and Huskies who would all have records of 1-2. A Raiders loss would be the end to their tournament.”

D’Andrea’s complete story is right here.

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JUST NOTES: When the CHL regular-season ended, Rouyn-Noranda was 59-8-1 and ranked No. 1, with the Raiders at 54-10-4 and in the No. 2 slot. . . . WHL champions now have lost 12 straight games at the Memorial Cup. It all started when the Kelowna Rockets were beaten, 2-1 in OT, by the Oshawa Generals in the 2015 final. . . . In 2016, the Brandon Wheat Kings went 0-3, while the host Red Deer Rebels were going 2-2. In 2017, the Seattle Thunderbirds went 0-3 in Windsor, Ont. In 2018, the Swift Current Broncos went 0-3 in Regina, while the host Pats were 3-2.  The Raiders now are 0-2. . . . Add up the records of the WHL champions and you get 0-12. . . . The WHL champs have been outscored 58-22 in those losses. . . . OHL teams have won five of the past 10 tournaments, with QMJHL teams winning four times and the WHL once (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2014). . . . The Raiders are 0-7 on the PP through two games. . . . Mario Poulliot, Rouyn-Noranda’s general manager and head coach, was with the Memorial Cup-winning Acadie-Bathurst Titan in Regina a year ago. Huskies D Noah Dobson also was with the Titan. The Huskies acquired Dobson early this season.


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The MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues are looking for a head coach after announcing on Monday that they and head coach Billy Keane “have agreed to part ways.” . . . Keane had been an assistant coach with the Blues for six seasons (2010-16) when he took over as head coach prior to the 2016-17 season. He was the general manager and head coach each of the past two seasons. . . . Keane, who is from Winnipeg, is a brother to former WHL/NHL F Mike Keane. . . . The Blues were purchased in April by 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, the owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. On May 14, Taras McEwen, the Ice’s manager of scouting and hockey operations, was named the Blues’ GM. . . . At that time, Keane told Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press that “I’m definitely interested” in staying on as head coach.


Todd Watson, a former OHL coach, is the new head coach of the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes. . . . Watson, 52, was an assistant GM/assistant coach with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers for two seasons (2005-07) and the head coach of the Saginaw Spirit for three-plus seasons (2007-11). He was the Spirit’s general manager for the last two-plus seasons of his stint there.


Tweetoftheday

Byram chasing WHL history. . . . Scott is in select company, too. . . . Final series to resume Tuesday in Langley

ThisThat

D Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants is attempting to skate where no other player has gone since the WHL started play in the autumn of 1966.

Byram leads all playoff scorers with 22 points, two more than F Dante Hannoun of the VancouverPrince Albert Raiders.

The Giants and Raiders are tied, 1-1, in the WHL’s best-of-seven final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with Game 3 set for Tuesday night in Langley, B.C.

The record for most points by a defenceman in one playoff season is 34 and belongs to John Miner, a hard-shooter who put up nine goals and 25 assists in 23 games with the Regina Pats in 1984.

Second on that list is Keith Brown of the Portland Winterhawks, who had 33 points, 30 of them assists, in 25 games in 1979.

Derrick Pouliot of Portland is third, having recorded 32 points, including 27 assists, in 21 games in 2014.

Tied for fourth, each with 31 points, are Darren Veitch of the 1980 Pats and Greg Hawgood of the 1986 Kamloops Blazers. Veitch did it in 18 games; Hawgood managed to do it in 16 outings.

But none of those five led the playoffs in scoring.

Byram, who had 71 points in 67 regular-season games, has played in 17 playoff games, with at least three more to come.

Will he be able to hold off Hannoun? Might Raiders forwards Noah Gregor and/or Brett Leason, who are four points back, make a late run? Or what of Giants F Davis Koch, who also has 18 points?

Stay tuned.


Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders stopped 15 shots in earning the shutout Saturday in PrinceAlberta 4-0 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants in Game 2 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . Scott now is one of 13 goaltenders to have put up at least four shutouts in one playoff season. The record of six is shared by Dustin Slade of Vancouver, who did it in only 18 games in 2006, and Stuart Skinner, who managed to do that in 26 games with the Swift Current Broncos last season.


Judging by the WHL website, it would seem that the official name of the Ed Chynoweth Cup final series is the 2019 Rogers #WHLChampionship Series. Even though there hasn’t been a WHL game on Rogers since the first three games of the second-round series between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades. . . . As Game 1 of the WHL final began in Prince Albert on Friday evening, Sportsnet had the same NHL game on five of the six channels, with the Blue Jays and Texas Rangers on the other. . . . If you are a WHL fan, feel free to slam palm of hand on forehead.


If you don’t like the WHL’s present playoff format, Ray Marcham, who has a blog he calls The Outlet, will take you back, back, back . . . to the days when round-robins were a part of our spring. . . . If you’re a long-time fan and lived through a few of those series, reading his piece, which is right here, just may give you nightmares.

If you’re wondering why the WHL went away from any kind of round-robin format, you may get a bit of a hint from this story right here.


JUST NOTES: How important is the first goal of a game to the Raiders. They are 11-0 when scoring first in these playoffs. Combine the regular season and playoffs, and they are 55-0. . . . Marc Habscheid of the Raiders now has 71 playoff victories as a WHL head coach. He is seventh on the WHL’s all-time list, behind Don Hay (108), Ken Hodge (101), Ernie McLean (87), Kelly McCrimmon and Pat Ginnell, each 80, and Brent Sutter, 79. . . . Michael Dyck, in his first season as the Giants’ head coach, went into this spring with 18 playoff victories, all with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He now is up to 31. . . .

Steve Ewen, who covers the Giants for Postmedia, reports right here that in Vancouver’s camp it’s all about the forecheck.

Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com has a piece right here on Vancouver D Bowen Byram and his tie to Prince Albert and the Raiders.


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The junior B Summerland, B.C., Steam of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has had to make a coaching change after John DePourcq chose to step aside after seven seasons. According to a news release from the Steam, DePourcq cited “increasing work and family obligations” as the reasons for his decison. . . . Ken Karpuk is the Steam’s new head coach. Karpuk, 57, is from Penticton. . . . The Steam made the playoffs in each of DePourcq’s seven seasons and advanced past the first round on five occasions. . . . As well, Steve Hogg has been named full-time general manager after working in an interim capacity since April 28 when the club announced that, by mutual agreement, Mike Rigby’s contract wouldn’t be renewed. . . . . DePourcq will remain with the organization in an advisory capacity.


Tweetoftheday

If you haven’t seen this already, take time to check out the thread . . .

Giants caught in Dante’s Inferno as Raiders even final series. . . . Teams now head for Langley. . . . AJHL will lose one team


MacBeth

D Dylan Busenius (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, 2008-14) has signed a one-year contract with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with the University of Calgary (USports, Canada West), he had two goals and 16 assists in 27 games. . . .

F Juraj Bezúch (Lethbridge, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Hradec Králove (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and four assists in 30 games. On loan to Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had two goals and two assists in four games. On loan to Dukla Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had one goal and two assists in seven regular-season games, then added five goals and two assists in 10 playoff games.


ThisThat

The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s are 14-0 in these playoffs after scoring a 4-3 victory over the ohlvisiting Guelph Storm in Game 2 of the championship final on Saturday afternoon. . . . Ottawa, which swept its way through the first three series, leads the final, 2-0. . . . However, the 67’s lost G Mikey DiPietro at 14:50 of the first period when he went down with an injured right leg after appearing to catch it on the goal post. After the game, he was using crutches and has his right foot and ankle in a boot. It’s believed that he suffered a high ankle sprain. . . . At that time, Ottawa was trailing, 2-0. G Cedrick Andree came on to replace DiPietro and stopped 26 shots to key the victory. . . . The series will continue on Monday with Game 3 in Guelph. Game 4 is to be played there on Wednesday. . . . DiPietro, 20, was a third-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has signed with them and, in fact, played one game with them this season.


In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies are 1-1, with Game 3 scheduled for Halifax on Monday night. The Mooseheads beat the host Huskies, 5-4 in double OT, on Friday. . . . Both teams already are assured berths in the Memorial Cup tournament because the Mooseheads are the host team. . . . On Friday, F Benoît-Olivier Groulx scored the winner, his second goal of the game, at 9:53 of the second OT period.


The BCHL-champion Prince George Spruce Kings won the Doyle Cup on Saturday night, beating the visiting Brooks Bandits, the AJHL champions, 4-2. . . . The Spruce Kings won the series, 4-2. . . . Both teams have berths in the national junior A championship tournament because Brooks is the host team. . . . The MJHL-champion Portage Terriers also will be there, having won the ANAVET Cup with a 7-3 victory over the host Battlefords North Stars on Thursday night. The Terriers won that series, 4-1. . . . The national tournament is to run from May 11 through May 19. . . . The Terriers already know that they will play in the 2020 tournament because they will be the host team.


The AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs are taking a leave of absence for the 2019-20 season. The CalgMustangsorganization revealed on Saturday that it had applied to the AJHL for the OK to move to Strathmore before a new season gets here. However, the AJHL denied the request and an appeal also was denied. . . . “Over the past two seasons our off-ice product has not equaled the success we had on the ice,” Mike Cartney, the Mustangs’ president, wrote in a letter. “Low ticket sales, decreasing advertising revenue and a lengthy playoff absence have left the franchise in a difficult position, financially. The board of the directors . . . (has) had lengthy discussions about all of our options and ultimately (has) voted in favour of taking a leave of absence from the AJHL for the upcoming 2019-20 season.” . . . The Mustangs were one of eight teams in the 16-team league’s South Division. This season, they finished fifth, at 29-22-9, then lost a best-of-five first-round playoff series to the Camrose Kodiaks, 3-2. . . . Ty Drader, who had been the Mustangs’ general manager and head coach, was named Friday as the head coach of the ACAC’s Calgary-based SAIT Trojans.


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EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL’s best-of-seven championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is tied, 1-1, after the host Prince Albert Raiders beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-0, on Saturday night. . . . The Giants had won, 5-4, on Friday night. . . . The teams now will fly — on the same airplane — to Vancouver today for games at the Langley Events Centre on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights. . . . The Raiders are 13-5 in these playoffs; the Giants are 13-4. . . .

If you missed it late Friday night, there were a couple of scoring changes following the completion of the Giants’ 5-4 victory in Game 1. Vancouver D Bowen Byram was awarded two more assists, giving him four in the game. At the same time, F Owen Hardy, who had been credited with two assists, had one taken away.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders held the visiting Vancouver Giants to 15 shots en route to a 4-0 PrinceAlbertvictory in Game 2 of the WHL’s championship series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The series is 1-1 with the next three games in the Langley, B.C., Events Centre — Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders stopped all 15 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of these playoffs. That leads the CHL. . . . Prince Albert held a 27-10 edge in shots through two periods. . . . Raiders F Dante Hannoun (11), who is from Delta, B.C., opened the scoring when he beat the coverage to the front of the Vancouver net and was able to rap a pass in behind G David Tendeck at 10:17 of the first period. . . . Hannoun, 20, scored nine times through the first two rounds, then was blanked for six games in the third round. This was his second goal in two games in the final. . . . Hannoun, who faced the Giants often while he was with the Victoria Royals, also had two assists, and now has 56 points in 52 career games, regular-season and playoffs, against Vancouver. He has two goals and three assists in the first two games of this series. . . . The home boys went ahead 2-0 as D Sergei Sapego (3) scored off a pass from F Parker Kelly at 7:43 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (9) added to the lead with a PP goal at 10:39. . . . F Brett Leason (7) closed out the scoring with an empty-netter at 18:39. . . . The Giants had Tendeck on the bench for the extra attacker with four minutes still to play. . . . Tendeck finished with 30 saves. . . . Raiders F Parker Kelly had two assists for a second straight game. . . . The Raiders were 1-5 on the PP; the Giants were 0-2. . . . D Max Martin of Prince Albert left the game at 11:30 of the second period after falling awkwardly into the end boards. He immediately went to the dressing room and didn’t return. Head coach Marc Habscheid didn’t indicate whether Martin would travel to Vancouver, saying only that the veteran defenceman would be “re-evaluated” on Sunday. . . . The referees were Fraser Lawrence and Steve Papp, with Deion Foster and Chad Huseby on the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.

Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com has a lead right here.

Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Daily Herald has a gamer right here.


Tweetoftheday

Habscheid: It was open season on our goaltender. . . . Lauer: We need to do more of that. . . . Cozens helps Canada stay unbeaten


MacBeth

F Todd Fiddler (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Spokane, Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2009-14) has signed a one-year contract with Neuilly-sur-Marne (France, Division 1). This season, with the Rosetown Red Wings (Allan Cup Hockey West), he had three goals and six assists in 10 games.


ThisThat

OK. The WHL’s Eastern Conference final officially became a series after Game 2. The Edmonton Oil Kings tied the series, 1-1, with a 4-3 OT victory over the Raiders in Prince EdChynowethCupAlbert on Saturday night.

When the game was over, Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ veteran head coach, pointed out what he felt were some deficiencies in the work of referees Mike Langin and Steve Papp when it came to protecting his goaltender, Ian Scott, from on-rushing Oil Kings.

Brad Lauer, the Oil Kings’ first-year head coach, said his guys need to get to the Prince Albert crease even more than they did in Game 2.

“One thing that concerned me a little bit was it was open season on our goaltender,” Habscheid told reporters. “We depend on the officials to defend our goaltender, because we have no recourse anymore these days. He was getting bumped and stuck and ran all game. We expect them to take care of that and they didn’t. That was real disappointing.”

As for Lauer, he said:

“Their (defencemen) do a really good job getting into (you). They box you out early and they tie you up. We found it really tough in Game 1 to get in front of the net. . . . We had to find ways to get to him and make things difficult for him. We did it a couple times. Did we do it enough? I don’t think so. We need to do more of that and create that second or third opportunity. If we do that, we’ll be okay.”

Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com has a story right here.

Derek Van Diest of Postmedia has a game story right here.

The series resumes with Games 3 and 4 in Edmonton on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.




The Western Conference final also will continue with games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights as the Vancouver Giants take a 2-0 lead over the Chiefs into Spokane. . . . The Chiefs have lost two games in a row for the first time since mid-February when they lost three in a row — 5-4 to the Giants in Langley, B.C., 7-5 to the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., and 4-3 in OT to the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . After those losses, Spokane closed out the regular season on a 10-2-0 run, then opened the playoffs by going 8-2 before losing twice to the Giants. . . .

A key in this series may well be the status of Spokane F Luc Smith, who left Game 1 early in the first period with an apparent ankle injury. Here’s Kevin Dudley of the Spokane Spokesman-Review after Game 2: “The Chiefs were without forward Luc Smith, who was hurt early in Game 1. (Spokane head coach Dan) Lambert said there is no update and they are waiting for Smith to see the team doctors. Smith was walking with a visible limp outside the Spokane dressing room.”


Team Canada ran its record to 3-0 at the IIHF U-18 World Championship by whipping CanadaBelarus, 11-1, on Sunday in Umea, Sweden. . . . F Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) led Canada with two goals and three assists, with F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice) adding a goal and an assist. F Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers) and D Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings) each scored once. F Daemon Hunt and F Brayden Tracey, both of the Moose Jaw Warriors, each had an assist. . . . G Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) stopped 41 shots in his first start of the tournament. . . . Belarus now is 2-1. . . . Canada is next scheduled to play on Tuesday against Czech Republic. . . .

In Sunday’s other Group A game, Czech Republic improved to 2-1 with a 4-2 victory over Finland (0-3). . . . In Group B, Team USA went to 3-0 with a 6-3 victory over Russia (2-1), and Sweden went to 2-1 with a 5-1 victory over Slovakia (0-3). . . .

On Monday, Switzerland (0-2) is to meet Belarus in a Group A game, while, in Group B, Latvia (0-2) will meet Slovakia (0-3).

The tournament, in Umea and Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, runs through April 28.


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Blazers, Lajoie go their separate ways. . . . Broncos taking games to the Internet. . . . Giants sweep way into conference final

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D Sena Acolatse (Seattle, Saskatoon, Prince George, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, he had 11 assists in 46 games. . . .

F Cody Almond (Kelowna, 2005-09) has signed a three-year contract with Lausanne (Switzerland, NL). This season, with Genève-Servette (Switzerland, NL), he had 12 goals and 17 assists in 40 games. Almond is a dual Swiss-Canadian citizen, and has played the past seven seasons in Geneva.


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The Kamloops Blazers announced late Thursday afternoon that they and head coach Serge Lajoie “have mutually parted ways.” Lajoie had replaced Don Hay as the team’s head coach prior to this season.

The four-paragraph news release didn’t mention assistant coach Dan Kordic, who came Kamloops1to the Blazers from the U of Alberta Golden Bears with Lajoie. They had helped the Golden Bears win the U Sports national title for 2017-18.

Jon Keen, the Blazers’ broadcaster, later tweeted that Kordic “has been retained.”

Lajoie, a defenceman in his playing days, got into seven games with the Blazers in 1986-87. He went on to play five seasons (1988-93) with the Golden Bears, where he played under head coach Billy Moores for four of those seasons. Interestingly, Moores is a former WHL coach, having spent one season (1985-86) as the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats. Moores is the older brother of Don Moores, who has been the Blazers’ president and chief operating officer for almost three years.

Matt Bardsley, who just completed his first season as the Blazers’ general manager, explained things this way to Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week, who shared all of it on his Twitter account (@MarTheReporter):

“We had some reviews, discussing with Serge, talked about some things, both sides, and we came to the conclusion that I think a little bit was the fit. Might not have been the right fit for us and maybe for him.

“I think, even for Serge, being away from family played possibly a part of it. It’s tough for coaches, for anybody, when you’re away from family all year long.”

Lajoie’s family — wife Kelly and children Isabella and Marc — stayed in the Edmonton area. Isabella is finishing up Grade 12, while Marc, a first-round selection by the Tri-City Americans in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, spent this season playing for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team.

“I missed out on so much, in terms of my daughter’s accomplishments, my son’s accomplishments,” Lajoie told Hastings. “I would have loved to have been able to see his first WHL game. You sit down with your family and think — is this really worth it? It would not have been fair to the Blazers.”

In explaining his side of the decision, Lajoie said:

“I’m very comfortable with it. Both the Blazers and myself, totally on the same page. It was an evaluation that I made at the end of the year. I wanted to make sure I took some time at the end of the season to see if really this is something I could continue and commit the time and effort necessary to help continue to push the Blazers forward. Family was a big part in this decision. We came to an understanding, the Blazers and myself. Now is the right time to part ways and move on to the next opportunity.”

This season, the Blazers went 28-32-8, good enough for a third-place tie with the Kelowna Rockets in the B.C. Division. The Blazers then beat the visiting Rockets, 5-1, in a tiebreaker that propelled them into the first round of the playoffs, where they were beaten in six games by the Victoria Royals.

The writing may have been on the wall for the Blazers as early as Feb. 12 when they added co-owner Darryl Sydor as a full-time assistant coach. Sydor, who had moved back to Kamloops prior to this season, had been at most of the team’s home games, watching from the press box. After Feb. 12, he was behind the bench for all but a couple of games.

In a season-ending interview with Hastings, majority owner Tom Gaglardi said that Lajoie had a long-term contract. Asked if Lajoie would be back as head coach, Gaglardi told Hastings: “I suspect so. He’s got a long-term contract and we haven’t had any conversation about anything other than that.”

Gaglardi went on to praise Sydor’s contribution to the team and to the coaching staff. Asked if Sydor has “what it takes to be a head coach,” Gaglardi replied: “I’ve got to think so, if that’s what he wants to do.”

On Thursday, when Hastings asked Bardsley if Sydor would be the next head coach, the GM responded:

“We talked to Darryl and I think we’re comfortable Darryl is going to come back as a coach, At what capacity, we have to discuss that. Is it the head coach? We haven’t even discussed that. We’d like to have Darryl back as a coach.”

Despite the optics, Lajoie told Hastings that he didn’t see Sydor’s presence as any kind of threat. I recommend that you check out Hastings’ timeline on Twitter (@MarTheReporter) for more comments from Bardsley and Lajoie, along with a few quotes from Gaglardi.

The Blazers have completed 12 seasons under the ownership of Gaglardi, Sydor, Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi. The next hire will be the 11th full-time or interim head coach since they purchased the franchise.

In those 12 seasons, the Blazers have missed the playoffs four times, reached the Western Conference final once, gotten into the second round on one other occasion, and been bounced in the first round six times.

BlazersCoaches

The above chart is from the Blazers’ website. One asterisk indicates that he was replaced in mid-season; two asterisks indicates an interim head coach.


There are some nasty allegations being made by followers of the Prince Albert Raiders who journeyed to Saskatoon on Wednesday for Game 4 between their favourite club and PrinceAlbertthe Blades. Fans are claiming they had beer and macaroni thrown at them in the SaskTel Centre. . . . “I could feel something on the back of my neck, something really hard,” Raiders fan Matt Herbert told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com. “We discovered it was macaroni later, but they were just pelting it down on us. Next thing you know, I could feel some beer coming down my back. The guy beside me was soaked.” . . . The macaroni had been given to fans as part of a promotion. . . . D’Andrea wrote: “The Blades did not wish to comment on the record. The SaskTel Centre did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The Raiders issued a response. . . . In it, they confirm that they’ve been told the occurrence is being examined by SaskTel Centre, and they hope nothing like this repeats itself for Game 5 Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.” . . . D’Andrea’s complete story is right here. . . . The Blades won Game 4, 4-1, to tie the series, 2-2. . . . Game 6 is scheduled for Saskatoon on Sunday.


The Swift Current Broncos are taking their game broadcasts to the Internet. After being SCBroncoson The Eagle 94.1 since the late 1980s, the Broncos announced on Thursday that they are beginning “a new era of audio content production and distribution.” . . . According to the news release, “This will include streaming game-day broadcasts, podcasts and interviews that will provide Broncos Nation with leading in-depth coverage and access that we believe our fans will truly appreciate. . . . Further details are set to be released at a future date that is considerate of the parties involved and after a proper process has been completed.”


The Red Deer Rebels have signed D Blake Gustafson to a WHL contract. Gustafson, who will turn 17 on May 21, played this season with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. He had four goals and one assists in 38 regular-season and playoff games. Gustafson was a 10th-round pick by the Rebels in the 2017 bantam draft.


There is an interesting story developing in the OHL where the Windsor Spitfires seem ohlabout to be sold, perhaps for as much as $12.8 million. According to reports, Dr. Azim Parekh is negotiating a deal that will end with him buying the Spitfires from a group that includes Warren Rychel and Bob Boughner. On Saturday, the Spitfires selected D Isa Parekh in the fifth round of the OHL draft. On Wednesday, the OHL held its U-18 draft, and the Spitfires, with the fifth overall pick, took D Aydin Parekh. . . . Yes, they both are sons of Dr. Parekh. . . . Dave Jewell of The Hockey Writers has a whole lot more on this story right here.


The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers have signed Mat Hehr, their general manager and head coach, to a two-year contract extension. Hehr, 30, joined the Terriers as an assistant coach for 2016-17, then took over as head coach on Nov. 15, 2017. So he just completed his first season as the full-time head coach.


The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs have promoted Brad Rihela to assistant general manager and associate coach. Rihela, 29, spent last season as their director of player personnel and assistant coach. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Rihela spent three seasons at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., coach in the bantam prep program. . . . In Chilliwack, Rihela will be working with Brian Maloney, the general manager of hockey and building operations and head coach.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The Vancouver Giants advanced to the Western Conference final by beating the host Victoria Royals, 6-1, in Thursday’s only WHL playoff game. The Giants, last in the conference final in 2010, swept the series, 4-0, and now await the winner of the series between the Everett Silvertips and Spokane Chiefs. . . . That series will open in Langley, B.C., with games on April 19 and 20. . . .

The Chiefs lead that series, 3-0, and have a chance to wrap it up at home tonight. . . .

The other series also resumes tonight, with the Saskatoon Blades in Prince Albert to meet the Raiders. The Blades won, 4-1, on Wednesday night in Saskatoon to tie that series, 2-2. . . . Game 6 will be played Sunday in Saskatoon and, as of late Thursday afternoon, the lower bowl in the SaskTel Centre, with 6,000 seats, was sold out. . . . The winner of that series will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. They completed a sweep of the Hitmen with a 6-0 victory in Calgary on Wednesday night.

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THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Vancouver Giants are into the Western Conference final after beating the Royals, 6-1, Vancouverin Victoria. . . . The Giants swept the series and will meet either the Everett Silvertips or Spokane Chiefs in the conference final. The Giants, who finished atop the conference standings, will have the home-ice advantage, so the series will begin with two games in Langley, B.C., on April 19 and 20. . . . Last night, the Giants took control with three first-period goals, from F Lukas Svejkovsky (3), at 10:04; D Bowen Byram (4), at 16:19; and D Dallas Hines (3), at 16:37. . . . F Owen Hardy (3) made it 4-0 at 9:39 of the second period, before F D-Jay Jerome (2) got Victoria’s lone goal at 11:58. . . . F Brayden Watts (3) and F Jared Dmytriw (4) had the Giants’ other goals, both in the third period. . . . Dmytriw, who played the first three seasons (2014-17) with the Royals, also had two assists. He also is Vancouver’s captain. . . . Vancouver was 1-1 on the PP; Victoria was 0-1. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 17 shots for Vancouver, while G Griffen Outhouse completed his WHL career with a 27-save effort. . . . The Giants held a 157-63 edge in shots in the series, but, because of Outhouse’s superb play, needed OT to win Games 3 and 4. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt, who missed Game 3, was back in the lineup. Royals F Phillip Schultz, who left Game 3 in OT with an apparent injury to his left arm, also was in the lineup. . . . F Kaid Oliver, the Royals’ leading scorer in the regular season, missed all of the playoffs with a shoulder injury. F Kody McDonald, who has used up his junior eligibility, completed a six-game suspension by sitting last night, while D Jake Kustra sat out the second of a two-game suspension. F Tanner Sidaway missed all of this series with a hand injury.


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