A huge thank you to all of those who stop by here and chose to donate to Dorothy’s fund-raising effort on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. You proved once again that hockey people really are the best. The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk was held on Sunday and Dorothy was there for a 10th straight year. At the time of the walk, she had raised $4,810, which was her highest total yet. So, once again, thank you all so much. She is nearing the 10th anniversary of her kidney transplant and she really looks at the Kidney Walk as a way to give something back. Those of you who donated are part of all that so please reach around give yourselves a pat on the back. . . . As of this writing, she is fifth in all of B.C. Kamloops, meanwhile, surpassed its goal of $20,000 and is second only to Vancouver. . . . Again, thank you all so much!
Here we go again . . . those rumours about the Winnipeg Ice relocating to Chilliwack before another season gets here are flying, again. . . . Here’s Rick Dhaliwal, a co-host of the Donnie & Dhali Show that is on Victoria’s CHEK-TV, on Monday: “Out of the blue (Sunday), a lot of people reached out to me, hearing rumours again about Winnipeg moving to Chilliwack. A lot of people feel the Aquilini family may be behind this — involved, anyway. Sources in the Western Hockey League and the BC Hockey League have heard the same.” . . . The Aquilinis, of course, own the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks. . . . In February, when the WHL was rumoured to be searching for a new home for the Ice, management with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, said that wasn’t’ going to happen. As Brian Maloney, the Chiefs’ general manager and head coach, said at the time: “We’ve tried that song and dance before . . . it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.” . . . The WHL did have a WHL franchise at one time, but it allowed the Bruins to be sold and moved to Victoria where it now is the Royals. . . . The difference now is that there wasn’t any mention of the Aquilinis earlier in the year. Dhaliwal even suggested that the Chilliwack Coliseum “could also be part of the deal, as in selling it — buying it.” . . . Daniel Wagner of Vancouver Is Awesome sums it all up right here.
Best wishes in retirement to John Chapman, one of the colourful characters who used to inhabit the WHL. Chapman spent six seasons (1980-86) as the head coach of the Lethbridge Broncos and one (1986-87) as general manager of the Calgary Wranglers. He spent one season as director of scouting with the NHL’s Florida Panthers and two with the Florida Panthers as director of player personnel. He has been with the Philadelphia Flyers since 1995-96, 14 seasons as an amateur scout and past 14 as a pro scout. . . . Before joining the Broncos, he was the head coach of the AJHL’s Red Deer Rustlers. Through those organizations, he had a long history with the Sutter family.
The BCHL has been operating independent of Hockey Canada since June 1. On May 31, the league issued a news release covering its rules pertaining to the 18 teams’ rosters. . . . While each team will be allowed to have two players from outside North American on its roster, “Russian and Belarusian players are temporarily not allowed due to the political situation in Russia.” . . . Of interest, too, is that players from the CSSHL, BCEHL and B.C.’s junior B leagues no longer are allowed to associate with BCHL teams as affiliate players. . . . That news release is right here.
The Cowichan Capitals and West Kelowna Warrriors haven’t wasted time time in adding European players. The Capitals have received a commitment from Norwegian F Lars Petter Eckholm, 19, for 2022-23. He has been in the Rogle BK program in Sweden for the past four seasons. . . . The Warriors have commitments from Swedish F Viggo Nordström, who will turn 20 on Sept. 11, and Norwegian F Johannes Løkkeberg, 19. . . . There have been some other interesting moves, too. The Penticton Vees, for instance, have signed G Andrew Ness off the roster of the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. . . . And then there’s the case of G Ethan Morrow, who apparently is the property of two teams — Cowichan and the AJHL’s Blackfalds Bulldogs. . . . No one watches the BCHL closer than does Brian Wiebe, and he rounds up the latest BCHL-related developments right here. This is interesting stuff and it’s worth checking his stuff on a near-daily basis because of all that is happening.
Here is a chronological look at some items of note that occurred while I was sitting on our deck for the past few days . . .
May 22: The junior B Nanaimo Buccaneers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League announced that Tali Campbell will be their general manager and that they have signed Troy Newans as head coach. . . . Both spots were vacant after Lee Stone, who had signed on in April, left to join the junior A Red Lake, Ont., Miners of the Superior International Hockey League. . . . Newans started 2021-22 as the head coach of the VIJHL’s Kerry Park Islanders but stepped down in January. . . . Campbell is a co-owner of the Buccaneers and also is the chief operating officer and general manager of the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. As soon as the Buccaneers made their announcement, I received a text from a hockey coach wondering: “So Tali Campbell is GM of Coquitlam Express of the now unsanctioned BCHL. How can he also be GM of the Nanaimo Buccaneers of the sanctioned VIJHL” . . . How indeed?
May 23: The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques announced that they and Louis Robitaille, their general manager and head coach, “have mutually agreed to part ways.” Robitaille signed with them in April 2020 and helped the team to a 104-38-25 regular-season record. They were 12-12 in 24 playoff games under Robitaille, and reached the league’s final four this season. . . . Jean-François Fortin, the assistant GM for three years, stepped in as interim GM, but he chose to leave the organization on June 2, just a week before the QMJHL draft.
May 24: The SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings signed Cody Mapes, their general manager and head coach, to a multi-year contract extension. Mapes is preparing for his third season as the team’s head coach. He spent two seasons as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach. The team’s news release didn’t specify the length of the multi-year extension.
May 24: The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials signed Brian Passmore to a three-year contract as head coach and assistant general manager. Passmore, 43, hired on as the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals prior to the 2020-21 season. He was fired on Nov. 16, 2022. . . . In Merritt, he replaces Curtis Toneff as head coach. Toneff, who also was the GM, was fired following this season. He had been with the Centennials since Dec. 22, 2021. . . . I don’t believe that the Centennials have yet signed a new general manager.
May 25: Matt Dagenais, an assistant coach with the Ottawa 67’s, left the OHL team to take over as head coach of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. . . . Dagenais had been with the 67’s since August 2021. He also was the governor and director of hockey operations for the Ottawa Junior Senators of the CCHL. . . . With the Huskies, he replaces Brad Yetman, the head coach for the past two seasons.
May 26: The Spokane Chiefs acquired a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft from the Kelowna Rockets for 2004-born F Michael Cicek. . . . The Rockets announced it as a conditional fifth-round pick but didn’t outline the conditions. . . . This season, Cicek had four goals and eight assists in 41 games with the Chiefs. . . . From Winnipeg, he was the Chiefs’ sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 draft. He is the younger brother of D Nick Cicek, who played with the Portland Winterhawks and now is on the roster of the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.
May 26: The Summerside Capitals of the junior A Maritimes Hockey League signed head coach Billy McGuigan through the 2023-24 season. Under McGuigan’s guidance, the Capitals are 338-133-29 in the regular season, with a 51-32 playoff record, and two MHL championships. . . . McGuigan, 47, is a former WHL assistant coach (Regina Pats, 2013-14). Other than that one season, he has been a fixture with Summerside since 2011-12.
May 26: Devon Fordyce, a former WHL goaltender, has joined the MJHL’s Neepawa Titans as their goaltending coach. Last season, Fordyce was the goaltending coach with the Yellowhead Chiefs of the Manitoba AAA U18 League. . . . Fordyce played for Ken Pearson, the Titans’ general manager and head coach, with the 2014-15 Winkler Flyers. . . . Fordyce, 29, played 18 games with the Prince George Cougars (2011-13).
May 29: The Vancouver Giants announced that Jamison Derksen, their director of media relations and video coach, has left the organization in order “to pursue other opportunities.” . . . He had been with the Giants since 2017-18 when he was a volunteer intern as their game-day operations co-ordinator.
May 29: The Swift Current Broncos acquired F Tyson Laventure, 20, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2026 draft. Laventure, from Lloydminster, Alta., was taken 31st overall by the Prince Albert Raiders in the 2018 draft. The Hurricanes acquired him on Jan. 1, 2022. . . . He had 22 goals and 26 assists in 62 games in 2022-23. In 195 career regular-season games, he has 43 goals and 56 assists.
May 30: The Moose Jaw Warriors announced that Rose Mary Hartney, their long-time education advisor, died. She was 73 when she died on May 25. She had been their education advisor since 1984 when the franchise moved to Moose Jaw from Winnipeg. She spent 38 years as a teacher at Vanier Collegiate in Moose Jaw, then stayed on with the Warriors following her retirement. She was inducted into the Warriors and Legends Hall of Fame in 2012.
May 30: The AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons signed Carter Duffin as an assistant coach. From a news release: “Duffin previously worked as assistant coach/assistant general manager of the Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL) from 2021-2023. Prior to his time in Lloydminster, Duffin served as head coach/general manager of the Castlegar Rebels (KIJHL) from 2018-2021, and was the assistant coach/director of operations of the Estevan Bruins from 2017-2018 where he helped lead the club to the SJHL final.”
May 31: The Kelowna Rockets signed F Hiroki Gojsic, 17, after acquiring him from the Victoria Royals for two WHL draft picks — a second-rounder in 2025 and a fifth in 2027. Gojsic was a second-round selection by the Royals in the 2021 WHL draft. He spent 2022-23 with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, putting up 10 goals and 11 assists in 36 games. From Langley, B.C., Hiroki is the brother of Kanjyu Gojsic, 15, a third-round pick by the Rockets in the 2023 draft who also has signed a WHL contract.
May 31: The Spokane Chiefs acquired F Conner Roulette, 20, from the Saskatoon Blades for two WHL draft picks — a second-rounder in 2024 and a third in 2027. . . . Roulette had 24 goals and 38 assists in 60 games with the Blades, who had acquired him and a third-round pick in the 2026 draft from the Seattle Thunderbirds for F Kyle Crnkovic on Aug. 30. . . . In 191 regular-season games, Roulette has 73 goals and 106 assists.
May 31: The Saskatoon Blades signed associate coach Dan DaSilva to a two-year extension. DaSilva, 38, is from Saskatoon. He has been with the Blades through two seasons.
May 31: The BCHL’s Penticton Vees added Mark McMillan to their staff as an assistant coach. He had been the general manager and head coach of the junior B Summerland Steam of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League since October 2021.
May 31: The Edmonton Oilers acquired F Jayden Grubbe, the 20-year-old captain of the Red Deer Rebels, from the New York Rangers and signed him to a three-year entry-level NHL contract. He has 39 goals and 95 assists in 194 regular-season WHL games with the Rebels. . . . The Oilers gave up a fifth-round pick in the 2023 NHL draft for Grubbe, whom the Rangers had selected in the third round of the 2021 draft.
May 31: The Vancouver Giants hired Nathan Kanter as their director of media relations and broadcasting. He will be the radio voice of the Giants, replacing Eddie Gregory. . . . Kanter has been with the Regina Pats for the past two seasons, working as their manager of digital media, fan and community engagement. He had been the play-by-play voice of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks for two seasons (2019-21) and the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars for two seasons prior to heading west.
June 1: The SJHL’s Estevan Bruins added Drew Kocur to their staff as an assistant coach. He had been the Prairie Junior Hockey League’s coach of the year for 2022-23, a season during which he guided the Pilot Butte Storm to to the provincial junior B title.
June 2: The Victoria Royals acquired F Justin Lies from the Saskatoon Blades for what they said in a news release is a “conditional third-round pick in 2026.” . . . The word “conditional” doesn’t appear in the Blades’ news release. . . . Lies will turn 20 on Nov. 24. . . . Lies, from Flin Flon, had nine goals and 14 assists in 56 games with the Blades in 2022-23. He added three goals and an assist in 15 playoff games. . . . In 176 career regular-season games — he also has played with the Vancouver Giants — Lies has 21 goals and 32 assists.
June 2: The AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs signed head coach Mario Pouliot to a two-year extension. Pouliot has been with the Pontiacs since September when he took over after the departure of Brad Flynn. Despite getting a late start, Pouliot guided the Pontiacs to the North Division final, the first time they have been there since 2015.
June 6: The SJHL’s Melville Millionaires signed Doug Johnson as their new general manager and head coach. He spent the past season as the head coach and assistant GM of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard, getting it into the playoffs and being a finalist for coach of the year. . . . Earlier, Johnson spent 11-plus seasons (2010-22) with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, three times being named coach of the year. . . . In Melville, Johnson will take over from Mike Rooney, who left in April after three seasons with the organization.
The biggest holes to fill in the WHL next season may well be in the officiating crew because referees Chris Crich and Steve Papp worked their final games on June 4 when they did the Memorial Cup final in Kamloops.
Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press has reported that Gord Burnett, who spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Moose Jaw Warriors, is expected to be the new head coach of the U of Manitoba Bisons. Burnett, 42, takes over from Mike Sirant, who has retired after 27 seasons as the Bisons’ head coach. . . . Sawatzky also reported that Don MacGillivray, who was fired as head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings early in 2022-23, “was considered an obvious candidate for the U of M job but did not apply.” MacGillivray ran the Bisons for three seasons (2006-09) while Sirant coached the Danish national men’s team.
Former WHLer Marc Habscheid has signed on as head coach of the Vienna Capitals of the ICE Hockey League. He takes over from Dave Barr, who left the club after two seasons that included a 24-17-7 record this season. Habscheid, 60, spent this season as head coach of that league’s Berner Pioneers Vorarlberg, who play out of Feldkirch, Austria. They went 11-34-3 and Habscheid took his leave shortly after season’s end. . . . Thanks to Darren Steinke for bringing this one to my attention as it obviously had fallen through the cracks. . . .
Dan Lambert, a former WHL player and coach, lost his job as an assistant coach on May 30 when the NHL’s Nashville Predators fired him and head coach John Hynes. Both had one year left on their contracts. . . . Lambert spent four seasons with the Predators. . . . Lambert, 53, played four seasons (1986-90) with the Swift Current Broncos. He was on the Kelowna Rockets’ staff for six seasons — five as an assistant coach and the last one (2014-15) as head coach. He also spent two seasons (2017-19) as the head coach of the Spokane Chiefs before going to Nashville. . . .
F Owen Pederson, who played out his junior eligibility this season with the Winnipeg Ice, has signed a two-year contract with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Pederson, 21, had 32 goals and 42 assists in 65 games with the Ice this season. In 237 games over five seasons, he put up 205 points, including 94 goals. . . .
F Connor McClennon, who played five seasons with the Kootenay/Winnipeg Ice, has signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. He was a sixth-round pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . . He had 46 goals and 46 assists in 64 games with the Ice in 2022-23. . . .
Yanick Lemay, who had been on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets for 12 seasons, is the new general manager of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs. He replaces Philippe Boucher, who left the organization in February. . . . On June 2, the Voltigeurs announced that Éric Bélanger, their interim head coach, won’t be returning. According to a team-issued news release, the decision was reached “by mutual agreement.” He took over as the interim head coach in November, winning 18 of 45 regular-season games and four of eight playoff assignments. . . .
Brett McLean, who played with the WHL’s Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets and Brandon Wheat Kings, is the new head coach of the Iowa Wild, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. McLean played five WHL seasons (1994-99), finishing up with the Wheat Kings. . . . He was an assistant coach in Iowa for three seasons (2017-20) and has been an assistant in Minnesota for the past three seasons. . . .
Jamie Lundmark, who played three seasons in the WHL (Moose Jaw Warriors, Seattle Thunderbirds, 1998-2001) has joined the Princeton women’s hockey program as the director of player development and assistant coach. Lundmark, who retired as a player in 2018, is the founder of Method Hockey. It is based in West Chester, Pa., and works with elite players.
Please take five minutes out of your day and read the story in the tweet below. You’ll learn a whole lot about the Boulets, their son, Logan, and the role that Ric Suggitt played in their story. Wonderful stuff!
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
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
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
Or, for more information, visit right here.