Keast first female for SJHL . . . Byram writes record in Vancouver . . . Gauthier, Wolf can’t be beaten

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The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves had a young woman — Taylor Keast — dressed and on their bench for a game on Friday night.

Keast was there in support of starting goaltender Jordan Frey.

All Frey did was stop 46 shots, including 21 in the third period, to record a 3-2 victory larongeover the visiting Kindersley Klippers.

With Thursday (Jan. 10) being the junior A trading deadline, as it was in the WHL, the Ice Wolves ran into a goaltending shortage. They dealt Daniel Davidson to the OJHL’s Burlington Cougars and added Brendan Benoit from the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. However, Benoit was in transit so wasn’t available for Friday’s game. (Benoit was on the bench backing up Frey for Game 2 of the weekend doubleheader on Saturday, which was won by the Klippers, 5-2.)

Keast, 17, who plays for a midget team in La Ronge, is believed to be the first female to be in uniform for an SJHL game of any kind in the league’s history. The SJHL has been around, in one form or another, since 1950-51.

“It was pretty cool, I’ve grown up here, so when I was a little kid, I used to want to play for the Ice Wolves,” Keast told Braden Malsbury of mbcradio.com, who is La Ronge’s play-by-play voice. “It was fun, it was a really good experience.”

Shannon Szabados, a veteran of Canada’s national women’s team, made a total of 213 regular-season (2002-07) appearances in the AJHL — split among the Sherwood Park Crusaders, Bonnyville Pontiacs and Fort Saskatchewan Traders.

Szabados, who is from Edmonton, also got into one WHL regular-season game, playing 50 seconds with the Tri-City Americans during a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Giants at Pacific Coliseum on Sept. 22, 2002.

Szabados went in for starter Tyler Weiman at 4:10 of the third period. She didn’t face a shot, and left at 5:00 as Weiman re-entered the game.

Szabados, now 32, is playing with the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts.

Last season, Isabella (Izzy) Palumbo, then 15, started for the junior B Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League on Jan. 20. At that point, the Rockets had two victories and one of those was a forfeit.

So head coach Jason Stephens gave Palumbo the start for a home game on Jan. 20, and she responded with 41 saves in a 7-4 victory over the Columbia Valley Rockies.

Before last season was done, Palumbo had gotten into three games with Golden, going 1-1-0, 6.00, .866.

Palumbo is listed with the Rockets this season as an AP, but hasn’t played.

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Gilles Courteau has been the QMJHL commissioner for 33 years, and he doesn’t think the time has come for major junior teams to treat players as something other than student-athletes.

“A player should never be considered as an employee,” Courteau told Douglas Gelevan of qmjhlCBC News. “We don’t want to give (players the) additional responsibility of an employee. We want him to play in the QMJHL and concentrate on hockey and school. Nothing else.”

This comes as major junior hockey deals with a class-action lawsuit that suggests, among other things, that players should be paid at least the minimum wage that is applicable in each jurisdiction.

Courteau feels that paying players in such a fashion might even lead to players dropping out of school.

He told Gelevan that he could see players saying: “We’re not going to school anymore because we’re working. We’re playing hockey, we’re getting money, we’re getting a paycheque on a weekly basis, we will think about school when we’re done playing major junior.”

Courteau added: “No. This is not what we want to do.”

The complete story, which touches on other topics, too, including the trading of players, is right here.

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D Libor Zabransky no longer is with the Kelowna Rockets. Regan Bartel, the radio voice KelownaRocketsof the Rockets, tweeted prior to Saturday night’s game against the host Prince George Cougars that Kelowna head coach “Adam Foote tells me d-man Libor Zabransky is no longer with the team. The 18-year-old has joined the Fargo Force of the USHL.” . . . Zabransky, from Czech Republic, had two goals and seven assists in 35 games this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had two goals and 17 assists in 72 games. . . . Zabransky’s departure means the Rockets are left with one import on their roster — Finnish freshman Lassi Thomson.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings opened up a 3-1 second-period lead and went on to score a 3-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Brandon (17-17-6) had lost its previous three games. It now is six points out of a playoff spot. . . . Moose Jaw (21-11-7) has lost four straight (0-3-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, nine points behind Saskatoon. . . . F Brayden Tracey (17) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 6:42 of the first period. . . . F Luka Burzan (24) got Brandon even by scoring on a penalty shot at 19:32. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (29) broke the tie at 1:14 of the second period, with F Baron Thompson (2) scoring the eventual winner, on a PP, at 16:57. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (14) pulled the Warriors to within a goal, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third period. That was his first goal since being acquired from Swift Current on Thursday. . . . Of note to number geeks: The Warriors had a 29-21 edge in shots and faceoffs. . . . The Wheat Kings got 27 saves from G Jiri Patera.

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F Parker Kelly scored twice and added an assist to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 7-3 PrinceAlbertvictory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Raiders (37-5-1) have won two in a row. They are 19-3-0 at home, and lead the East Division by 17 points over Saskatoon. . . . The Hitmen (21-17-4) had won their previous six games. They hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points behind Medicine Hat and six in front of Brandon. . . . The Raiders ended Portland’s six-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert took a 2-0 first-period lead — on goals from F Ozzy Wiesblatt (9), on a PP, and D Brayden Pachal (11) — and was never headed. . . . F Riley Stotts got the Hitmen to within 2-1 at 8:21 of the second, but the Raiders stretched the lead to 4-1 as F Cole Fonstad (16) scored at 9:35 and F Dante Hannoun (20) counted at 10:40. . . . F Luke Coleman (12) scored while shorthanded for Calgary, at 13:15, only to have Prince Albert F Brett Leason (30) get that one back at 16:52. . . . Kelly, who has 20 goals, scored twice in the third period, while Stotts got his second of the game and 14th of the season for Calgary. . . . The Raiders had a 41-24 edge in shots, including 15-4 in the first period. . . . F Jake Kryski was among Calgary’s scratches. . . . D Loeden Schaufler and F Bryce Bader, deadline-day acquisitions, were scratched by the Raiders. . . . The Raiders will begin a trip through the B.C. Division in Prince George on Wednesday.

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F Brandon Hagel scored three goals and added two assists to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 9-4 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . Red Deer (25-13-3) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It went 3-0-0 on a trip into the East Division, with victories in Swift Current (3-2) and Brandon (5-3) as it played three times in four nights. . . . The Rebels are tied with Edmonton for second in the Central Division, one point behind Lethbridge. . . .  Regina (12-30-2) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . The Rebels scored the game’s first three goals and led 5-1 halfway through the second period. . . . The Pats got to within two in the third period, but the Rebels responded with three late goals. . . . Hagel, who has 26 goals, completed his fifth career hat trick at 14:03 of the third period for a 7-4 lead. . . . The Rebels also got goals from F Jeff de Wit (22), F Reese Johnson (19), F Brett Davis (14), F Josh Tarzwell (6), F Zak Smith (9) and F Oleg Zaytsev (8). . . . Davis and Tarzwell added two assists each for three-point outings. . . . Regina’s goals came from F Sebastian Streu (4), F Garrett Wright (3), F Duncan Pierce (5) and D Brady Pouteau (1). . . . The Pats celebrated Barret Jackman Bobblehead Night and, yes, the former captain was in the house.

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F Mason Mannek scored Portland’s last two goals as the Winterhawks skated to a 5-4 Portlandvictory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Portland (26-12-5) when 5-1-0 on its East Division trip. It is second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind Everett. . . . Saskatoon (26-13-6) had points in its of its previous three games (2-0-1) and had been 7-0-2 in its past nine home games. The Blades appear headed for a second-place finish in the East Division. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 2-0 on first-period goals from F Kyle Crnkovic (5), at 6:21, and F Max Gerlach, at 18:11. . . . F Seth Jarvis (12) pulled Portland to within a goal at 19:18. . . . F Kirby Dach (17) gave the Blades a 3-1 lead at 3:24 of the second period. . . . F Josh Paterson, who was acquired by Portland from Saskatoon on Thursday, then scored back-to-back PP goals, at 5:13 and 8:52, for a 3-3 tie. . . . Mannek followed at 16:19 by giving Portland a 4-3 lead. . . . Saskatoon tied it at 17:30 of the third when Gerlach scored his 26th goal. . . . Mannek, who has 11 goals, broke the tie at 17:30. He also had an assist to tack on to his first career multi-goal game. . . . Portland G Shane Farkas celebrated his 20th birthday with 35 saves as he won for the 25th time this season. . . . The Winterhawks again were without D Brendan De Jong (concussion), while Saskatoon remains without D Nolan Kneen (undisclosed injury).

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The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s first three goals and went on to a 5-3 victory Seattleover the host Swift Current Broncos. . . . Seattle (15-21-4) has won three straight. It went 4-2-0 on an East Division trip that ended with four games in five nights. The Thunderbirds hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Prince George. . . . Swift Current (8-30-3) has lost two in a row. . . . This was a meeting between the WHL’s last two championship organizations, the Thunderbirds having won in the spring of 2017 and the Broncos last season. Of course, this season they have combined to win 23 of 81 games, which shows that there sometimes is a steep price to be paid for winning championships. . . . Seattle got goals from F Sean Richards, D Jarret Tyszka (4) and F Tyler Carpendale (14) to go ahead 3-0 early in the second period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (6) got the Broncos on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 7:07 of the second p[eriod, but Richards, who has 13 goals, counted at 12:03 for a 4-1 lead. . . . Broncos D Matthew Stanley sandwiched a pair of third-period goals around one by Seattle F Andrej Kukuca (12) to round out the scoring. . . . Stanley has three goals this season. . . . G Cole Schwebius earned the victory for Seattle with 31 stops. . . . Seattle had D Cade McNelly back in the lineup. He served a three-game suspension then was scratched for two games. . . . F Tyler Smithies, who was acquired from Moose Jaw on Thursday, made his Swift Current debut. However, F Tyler Lees, who came over from the Victoria Royals on Monday, is out with an undisclosed injury.

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F Jordy Bellerive’s shorthanded empty-net goal turned into the winner as the host LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Lethbridge (23-11-8) is atop the Central Division, leading by one point over Red Deer and Edmonton. . . . The Hurricanes are to visit Edmonton today. . . . Kootenay (8-29-7) has lost nine in a row (0-8-1). . . . All five goals were scored in the third period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (15) gave the Ice the lead at 3:08. . . . Lethbridge got the next three goals, from F Logan Barlage (11), at 5:23; F Dylan Cozens (25), at 7:56; and Bellerive (22), into an empty net at 18:33. . . . Bellerive’s goal turned into the game-winner when F Brandon Machado (3) scored, on a PP, for the Ice at 19:15. . . . G Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge, one more than Kootenay’s Jesse Makaj. . . . D Chase Hartje, who was acquired from Brandon on Thursday, was in Kootenay’s lineup.

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F Vince Loschiavo scored in OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsTigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Edmonton (23-14-7) has won two in a row and is tied with Red Deer for second in the Central Division. . . . Medicine Hat (23-16-4) had won five straight at home. It is fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third. It also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Calgary. . . . The Tigers took a 1-0 lead at 12:48 of the first period on a goal by F Tyler Preziuso (17). . . . Edmonton tied it at 11:19 of the second period when F David Kope (9) scored. . . . Loschiavo won it with his 20th goal of the season — his seventh winner — at 2:11 of OT. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-8 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . The Tigers got 33 saves from G Mads Søgaard in his first start since he played for Denmark at the WJC. . . . Medicine Hat F Brett Kemp and Edmonton F Josh Williams, who were swapped for each other on Thursday, were in the starting lineups.

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G Taylor Gauthier earned the shutout with 20 saves as the host Prince George Cougars PrinceGeorgebeat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-0. . . . Prince George (16-22-3) has won two in a row. It had beaten the visiting Rockets, 7-2, on Friday night. . . . The Cougars are fourth in the B.C. Division, and have moved into possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of Seattle. . . . Kelowna (17-21-4) has lost five straight (0-4-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand, and three ahead of Prince George. . . . F Josh Maser (16) got the home side off on the right foot with a goal at 7:57 of the first period. . . . F Josh Curtis (7) added insurance at 1:08 of the second. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk put it away with two third-period goals, giving him 15 this season. . . . F Ethan Browne drew three assists. . . . Gauthier, a 17-year-old from Calgary, has three career shutouts, all of them in this, his sophomore season. He now is 12-15-2, 2.94, .905.

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The Spokane Chiefs had eight players with goals and 15 with at least one point as they SpokaneChiefsdumped the visiting Tri-City Americans, 8-3. . . . Spokane (24-13-4) has won four straight. It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . Tri-City (21-16-2) is eight points behind Spokane, but also is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card berth, nine points up on Prince George. . . . The Chiefs led 3-1 after the first period and then outscored the Americans 4-1 in the second. . . . The Spokane goals came from F Eli Zummack (12), F Luc Smith (18), F Cordel Larson (6), F Michael King (1), F Adam Beckman (18), D Nolan Reid (7), F Jake McGrew (18) and F Riley Woods (24). . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan had three assists for Spokane. . . . Tri-City got goals from F Riley Sawchuk (12), F Paycen Bjorklund (2) and F Parker AuCoin (22). . . . The Chiefs outshot the visitors, 48-26, including 20-7 in the second period. . . . The Americans scratched F Blake Stevenson, who turned 18 on Saturday, and D Aaron Hyman. . . . If you were wondering, Spokane head coach Dan Lambert turned 49 on Saturday. I know. I know. He doesn’t look a day over 35.

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D Bowen Byram scored two goals and added three assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to Vancouvera 7-4 victory over the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (25-12-2) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by seven points over Victoria. . . . Kamloops (15-22-3) has lost four in a row, all of them on a road trip that concluded with this one. It is 0-12-1 in its last 13 road games. . . . The Blazers also have fallen into last place in the 10-team Western Conference, one point behind Seattle and two behind Prince George, which has moved into the second wild-card spot. . . . This was the Giants’ first home game since Dec. 16. In between, they experienced the Christmas break and a Central Division trip on which they went 2-4-0. . . . Vancouver is 3-0-0 against Kamloops this season, with all three games in Langley. Over their final 29 games, Vancouver will play Kamloops five times. . . . The Giants took a 3-2 lead into the second period where they exploded for four straight goals, with Byram drawing an assist on three of them. . . . Byram, who will be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2019 draft, set a franchise record for points by a defenceman in one game. According to the Giants, the record had been shared by Jonathan Bloom (2005-09), Neal Manning (2007-12), Cody Franson (2004-07), Paul Albers (2004-06) and Kevin Connauton (2009-10). . . . Byram gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period, only to have F Jermaine Loewen tie it at 3:30. . . . The Giants went ahead 3-1 on goals from Byram (12), at 9:05, and F Milos Roman (18), on a PP, at 11:59. . . . F Travis Walton (1) got the Blazers to within a goal at 17:02. . . . The Giants took over in the second period on goals from F Justin Sourdif (10), F Tristen Nielsen (5), F Brayden Watts (10) and F Davis Koch (12). . . . The Blazers got their last two goals, both in the third period, from F Kobe Mohr (5), on a PP, and Loewen (14). . . . Roman added three assists to his goal, with Nielsen and Koch getting two assists each. . . . The Blazers were without three defencemen. Jeff Faith served Game 2 of a five-game suspension. Joonas Sillanpää drew a one-game suspension after taking a slashing major and game misconduct in a 4-1 loss to the Royals in Victoria on Saturday. Quinn Schiemann was scratched. . . . So the Blazers had two defencemen make their WHL debuts. Ethan Brandwood, 16, is from Victoria and is the captain of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s South Island Royals. He was a seventh-round pick by the Blazers in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. Trevor Thurston, 16, was a fourth-round selection in that same draft. From North Delta, B.C., he plays for the prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy.

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G Dustin Wolf stopped 29 shots to help the Everett Silvertips beat the Royals, 4-0, in EverettVictoria. . . . Everett (33-9-2) leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland. . . . Victoria (22-16-1) had won its previous four games. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Vancouver. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (31) scored the game’s first goal, at 1:36 of the second period. . . . Everett put it away with third-period scores by F Justyn Gurney (1), at 8:10, and F Reece Vitelli (5), at 10:35. . . . Wolf now has four shutouts this season and eight in his career. On the season, he is 29-9-1, 1.82, .930. . . . In 60 career regular-season appearances, Wolf is 42-15-1, 1.96, .929. . . . Everett F Bryce Kindopp had one assist to run his point streak to 12 games. He has 18 points, including 11 goals, over that stretch. . . . F Kody McDonald of the Royals played in his 300th regular-season game; it was his fifth game since being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders for whom he played 63 games. The other 232 were played with the Prince George Cougars. He has 177 points, including 84 goals.

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WJC rosters include 14 WHLers . . . Tourney opens with four games . . . Finland-Sweden in Day 1 spotlight

Mowing
If you didn’t see this photo on Twitter earlier, it was taken on Christmas Day at about 2 p.m. Hey, I was born in Sherridon, Man., and raised in Lynn Lake, Man. — look them up on Google Maps — so I had never before seen grass this green on Dec. 25. LOL! . . . This is at the back of our home; there were nine deer on a field just west of the front yard. Now that I think about it, I didn’t get a really close look, so it may have been Rudolph and some friends.

MacBeth

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2014-16) has signed a two-way contract for the rest of this season with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) after clearing NHL unconditional waivers and having his contract with the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) terminated. He had two assists in 15 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL).


ThisThat

The 10-team World Junior Championship opens today in Vancouver and Victoria with two games in each venue.

In Vancouver, it’s Czech Republic versus Switzerland (1 p.m. PT) and Canada versus Denmark (5 p.m.)

In Victoria, it’s U.S.A. versus Slovakia (3:30 p.m.) and Finland versus Sweden (7:30 p.m.).

In other words, Day 1 should bring us three no-contests and one thriller. Don’t forget that 2019wjcas much as we look forward to this tournament, the early-going often is full of lop-sided games. What today’s schedule means is that you will be able to go out and soak up some of those Boxing Day sales before coming home to watch Finland and Sweden do battle.

BTW, make certain that you’re aware of the IIHF’s new late-hit rule because if you aren’t it’s going to make you crazy.

And note that you aren’t going to read a whole lot about the WJC on this site after this report. I’m not there, nor will I pay particular attention through the early part of the tournament. But there will be a whole lot of other places loaded with info from those who are taking in the games in person.

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The 10 teams taking part in the WJC filed their preliminary rosters on Tuesday.

Under IIHF regulations teams had to register at least 15 skaters and two goaltenders. If a team doesn’t file the maximum (20 skaters and three goaltenders), it is allowed to add players to its roster until two hours before games until reaching the maximum.

By my count, there are 14 WHL players on those rosters. Here’s a look:

Canada (6) — G Ian Scott, Prince Albert Raiders; D Josh Brook, Moose Jaw Warriors; D Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs; F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Spokane; F Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks; F Brett Leason, Prince Albert. . . . Tim Hunter of Moose Jaw is Canada’s head coach; Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is one of the assistant coaches. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Czech Republic (3) — G Jiri Patera, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Filip Kral, Spokane; F Krystof Hrabik, Tri-City Americans. . . . The roster also includes former Brandon D Daniel Bukac, now of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, and F Martin Kaut of the AHL’s Colorado Eagles, whose CHL rights belong to Brandon. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Denmark (2) — G Mads Sogaard, Medicine Hat Tigers; F Phillip Schultz, Victoria Royals. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Finland (0) — The roster includes D Henri Jokiharju of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, who played the previous two seasons with Portland; F Aleksi Heponiemi of the Finnish pro team Karpan Oulu, who spent the previous two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos; and F Sami Moilanen of Tappara Tampere, who played the past two seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Kazakhstan (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Russia (1) — D Alex Alexeyev, Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Mark Rubinchik, who plays for Toros Neftekamsk of the VHL, was with the Saskatoon Blades for the previous two seasons. . . . Registered 11 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Slovakia (2) — F Andrej Kukuca, Seattle; F Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants. . . . Registered 12 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Sweden (0) — Brandon holds the CHL rights to D Erik Brannstrom of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Switzerland (0) — F Justin Sigrist of the GCK Lions Zurich played with the Kamloops Blazers in 2017-18. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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USA (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Meanwhile, Mason Black, who is on Twitter at @NHL RankKing, went over the WJC rosters and has an easy-to-read NHL team-by-team list of prospects right here.

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If you feel so inclined, please click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.

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This piece is four years old, but if you’re a fan of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth your time. It’s from Rolling Stone and it’s a behind-the-scenes look at what went into what has become a movie with an amazing following. . . . The story — it’s an oral history — is right here.


Here is one more great read for you. . . . It’s not that long ago when Austin Murphy was one of the best and most-prolific writers employed by Sports Illustrated. These days, as he writes, “I drive a van for Amazon.” . . . He has written a first-person piece on the adventure of a package deliverer and it’s awesome stuff. You’ll find it right here.


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Silence not golden in Cranbrook . . . Royals get d-man from Blades . . . Farewell to a great Canadian

MacBeth

D Logan Pyett (Regina, 2003-08) signed a contract for the rest of this season with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga). This season, he had one assist in 10 games with the Hershey Bears (AHL). He was released by Hershey on Friday.


ThisThat

The silence emanating from Cranbrook, B.C., the home, at least for now, of the Kootenay Ice has gone beyond deafening to embarrassing for the WHL.

If it wasn’t already, Gregory Strong, a writer with The Canadian Press, turned this into a Kootenaynewnational story on Monday by filing a story that was written after speaking with Vancouver-based Tom Mayenknecht, who is described as “a marketing communications executive and sport business commentator,” and Richard Powers, a sports marketing specialist who is an associate professor at the U of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

The story deals with whether a relocated WHL franchise would be able to make a go of it in the Manitoba capital, which also is home to NHL and AHL franchises.

Powers offers the opinion that “I just don’t see how it can be financially viable,” while Mayenknecht seems to think that hard work and a sound marking strategy just might make it work.

“They’ll have to be very aggressive with their pricing in terms of really making it a family entertainment opportunity and price it a heck of a lot lower than the Jets and even the Moose,” Mayenknecht told Strong.

When Strong approached the WHL for comment, he got the same spiel that the league first issued in October, one that includes this sentence: “The WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay Ice continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook.”

Strong also pointed out that “a message left with team president and general manager Matt Cockell wasn’t immediately returned.”

Strong’s complete story is right here.

In Cranbrook, meanwhile, the folks would like someone to say something . . . anything.


The Victoria Royals have acquired D Jake Kustra, 19, and a seventh-round selection in the VictoriaRoyalsWHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-rounder in 2019.

The seventh-round pick is being returned to its original owner. The Blades had acquired it from the Royals in exchange for F Tyler Lees, 18, on July 19.

Kustra, 19, has been on the shelf since Oct. 14 and has played in only 10 games this season. But he apparently is close to a return, which would have left the Blades with nine healthy defencemen.

This season, the native of Yorkton, Sask., has one assist in 10 games. In 169 career regular-season games, all with the Blades, he has six goals and 25 assists. He was a second-round pick by Saskatoon in the 2014 bantam draft.

Kustra now becomes one of eight defencemen on Victoria’s roster.

The Royals are at home to the Portland Winterhawks tonight and Wednesday. . . . The Blades are to entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight.

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The Red Deer Rebels have acquired G Eric Ward, 17, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Ward is 5-4-3, 3.42, .907 with the midget AAA Edmonton CAC Canadians this season. . . . Ward, who wasn’t selected in the bantam draft, is from Edmonton and will remain with the Canadians.

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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Monday’s action:

No. of trades: 2.

Players: 2.

Bantam draft picks: 3.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 12.

Players: 33.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added G Connor Ungar, 16, to their roster with starter Jiri Patera in the selection camp of the Czech Republic’s national junior team. . . . Ungar, from Calgary, plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team (2.24, .916). . . . With Patera away, freshman Ethan Kruger, 17, will take over the Wheat Kings’ starter’s role. In six appearances this season, he is 3-1-2, 2.95, .910.


As you no doubt are aware, F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders had his season-opening point streak snapped at 30 games in a 1-0 loss to the Blades in Saskatoon on Sunday.

In the tweet above, you will find a list of CHL point streaks, starting with the 1997-98 season.

The top three point streaks in WHL history are right here . . .

56 — Jeff Nelson, Prince Albert, Oct. 24, 1990 through March 6, 1991 (108 points).

47 — Jock Callander, Regina Pats, Oct. 30, 1981 through Feb. 23, 1982 (141 points).

     — Wally Schreiber, Regina Pats, Oct. 20, 1981 through Feb. 23, 1982 (99 points).

45 — Jim Benning, Portland Winter Hawks, Dec. 4, 1980 through March 25, 1981 (95 points).

The longest current streak in the WHL is a 16-gamer by F Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks. However, he is going to have to wait before attempting to extend it as he is in camp with Canada’s national junior team in Victoria.


It used to be that the champion of junior hockey in Western Canada was presented with the Abbott Cup following the conclusion of a best-of-seven series. Over time, however, we found ourselves with junior A and major junior leagues; the Abbott Cup, which was named in honour of war hero Lyman (Hick) Abbott, was relegated to the junior A ranks and soon went to the winner of a single game. (Every year, around Nov. 11, I post a feature-length story here that details the heroics of Hick Abbott and how a Regina-born gentleman Lyman Potts came to be named after him.)

One day, during my 12-year stint as the sports editor at the Regina Leader-Post, I received a letter from Potts, who was concerned that the Abbott Cup wasn’t being treated with the respect its namesake warranted, and suggested that he would like to see the trophy retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Thus began a campaign that could involve Potts, former Leader-Post sports editor Tom (Scotty) Melville and me. . . . It didn’t happen overnight but, in time, the Abbott Cup was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame and, later on, Abbott would be inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

As I would come to find out, Potts was a giant himself; in fact, as The Globe and Mail pointed out on Monday, he “was a founding father of Canada’s music industry.” He was, for example, the push behind Gordon Lightfoot’s first recording session. Potts also was a giant of the Canadian radio industry.

My friend Lyman Potts died on Sunday. He was 102.

If you would like to know more about this great Canadian, Fred Langan has the story right here.


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Dorothy, friends say thank you . . . Broncos trade with Chiefs, then shock Raiders . . . Another big OHL trade

ICU
Dorothy was among four transplant recipients and a kidney donor who stopped by the ICU at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops on Tuesday to say thanks. The organs on the black t-shirts indicate who got what. Included in the photo are Mike Grandbois, who was a single-lung recipient 21 years ago; Abby Farnsworth, 17, who received a heart when she was four; and Tony Maidment, who received a new liver last year. You all know Dorothy, who got a kidney on Sept. 23, 2013. Glenn Ferro, back row at far right, is a kidney donor.

Allow me to interrupt the hockey stuff to tell you how Dorothy and I spent part of our Tuesday afternoon.

BC Transplant, according to its website, “oversees all aspects of organ donation and transplant across BC and manages the BC Organ Donor Registry.”

It also helps folks who have been involved in transplants say thanks to a whole lot of

Ambulance
The Fab Five finished their Thank You Tour with a stop at the B.C. Ambulance Service depot in Kamloops.

people who are awfully important to us, and that’s what we did yesterday afternoon.

There were four transplant recipients (heart, kidney, liver and single lung) and a kidney donor in the group that said thank you to the good people of the ER, ICU and OR at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, and with the B.C. Ambulance Service.

BC Transplant calls it Operation Popcorn, as our Fab Five presented those good people with boxes full of bags of tasty popcorn, just in time for the Christmas season.

While we were at RIH, one of the department managers shared a letter from BC Transplant that had arrived earlier in the day. Things got a bit misty as he read the letter, informing us and staff that after a recent death at RIH, two patients had each received a kidney.

I can tell you that the many friends who have supported Dorothy when she takes part in the annual Kamloops Kidney Walk were in our thoughts today.

Thank you for being there. You, too, are a big part of our journey.


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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Tuesday’s action

No. of trades: 1.

Players: 5.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 1.

——

Totals since Nov. 26:

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.


The Spokane Chiefs and Swift Current Broncos shuffled five players and a conditional bantam draft pick in Tuesday’s only trade.

The Chiefs acquired veteran D Noah King, 19, G Matthew Davis, 17, and a conditional SpokaneChiefsfifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft from the Broncos for F Carter Chorney, 17, F Kye Buchanan, 17, and D Devin Aubin, 15.

Neither Davis, Buchanan nor Aubin has signed a WHL contract.

King, a Winnipegger, was in his second season with the Broncos, who selected him in the 10th round of the 2014 bantam draft. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder played on three championship-winning teams in minor hockey in Winnipeg, then helped the Broncos to the WHL title last spring. This season, he has two goals and four assists in 25 games. Last year, he totalled five assists in 65 games, then added one goal in 26 playoff games.

The Chiefs are about to lose D Ty Smith (Canada) and D Filip Kral (Czech Republic), with both on selection camp rosters for national junior teams. King, who size and a heavy presence in their zone, and his experience will help the Chiefs get through this part of the schedule.

Davis, a list player from Calgary, is playing with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. In 17 appearances this season, he is 1.70 and .925.

Chorney, from Sherwood Park, Alta., waived his no-trade clause, which is how he could SCBroncosbe included in this deal. He was a second-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2016 bantam draft. He had eight goals and four assists in 27 games with the Chiefs this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had two goals in 41 games.

Buchanan, a list player from Lethbridge, has a late-2001 birth date. He has four goals and three assists in 12 games with the midget AAA St. Albert, Alta., Raiders, He also has played four games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats, earning one assist.

Aubin, 15, is from Falher, Alta. The Chiefs grabbed him in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, he has two goals and one assist with the midget AAA Grande Prairie Storm. Last season, he was named the Alberta Major Bantam League’s top defenceman when he had nine goals and two assists in 19 games with the bantam AAA Storm.


Let’s be honest. The WHL still has some catching up to do because when it comes to monster trades the OHL rules.

On Tuesday, the Windsor Spitfires and Ottawa 67’s got together and swapped what could ohlturn out to be 11 pieces, including Michael DiPietro, who is likely to be the starting goaltender for Canada’s national junior team at the 2019 World Junior Championship.

The 67’s have a 22-3-4 record, the best mark in the OHL. They lead the Eastern Conference by 12 points over the Sudbury Wolves. DiPietro, who is from Amherstburg, which is near Windsor, is 2.32, .920 this season, both career bests. He was a third-round pick by Vancouver in the NHL’s 2017 draft and has signed with Vancouver.

Here’s the deal in its entirety . . .

To Ottawa:

G Michael DiPietro.

Windsor’s fourth-round pick in 2020.

Kingston’s second-round pick in 2024.

To Windsor:

F Egor Afanasyev, a 17-year-old Russian who is eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft. He has 11 goals and 15 assists in 19 games with the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks and has committed to Michigan State for next season.

Ottawa’s second-round pick in 2019.

London’s second-round pick in 2021.

Ottawa’s second-round pick in 2022.

Ottawa’s second-round pick in 2023.

Ottawa’s second-round pick in 2021 (conditional).

Ottawa’s third-round pick in 2021 (conditional).

Ottawa’s third-round pick in 2022 (conditional).

The conditional picks all are tied into whether Afanasyev ever plays for the Spitfires.


It’s worth pointing out that F Jack Cowell, who was acquired by Kootenay from the KootenaynewKelowna Rockets on Friday, apparently has yet to join the Ice.

Cowell, 19, is from Winnipeg. The Ice gave up a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft in trading for him.

But while Cowell has been removed from the Rockets’ roster, his name is nowhere to be found on the Ice’s roster.

Cowell, a list player, was in his third season with the Rockets. This season, he had two goals and three assists in 26 games. In 182 career games, all with Kelowna, he had 18 goals and 38 assists.


Geoffrey Brandow, the man with all the numbers when it comes to major junior hockey, posted a tweet the other day that compared this season’s Prince Albert Raiders with the 2003-04 London Knights, each after 27 games.

The Raiders were 26-1-0; the Knights were 26-0-1 (the 1 was a tie).

The Raiders GF/GA: 134-48; the Knights, 124-51.

The Raiders’ top scorer was Brett Leason, 27-33—60; the Knights had Corey Perry, 20-38—58.

Brandow had the Raiders’ top defenceman as Sergie Sapego; the Knights’ as Danny Syvret.

Just for purposes of discussion, I took a look at the 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings, who lost only five games during the 72-game regular season.

After 27 games, they were 23-0-4. I wasn’t able to find their GF/GA totals, but TBird Tidbits came through for us with this: “After 27 games, the 1978-79 Wheat Kings were 23-0-4 with a ridiculous 212 goals for to just 73 against.”

F Brian Propp was 42-48—90. The team’s best defenceman was Brad McCrimmon.

BTW, you are able to follow Brandow on Twitter: @GeoffreyBrandow.


The Kamloops Blazers have dropped D Devan Harrison, 18, from their roster and he is Kamloops1expected to join the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. Harrison, from Dysart, Sask., was selected by the Blazers in the second round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . In 62 career games, he has one goal and four assists. This season, he has one assist in eight games, and has been a healthy scratch on a regular basis of late. . . . This move leaves the Blazers with six defencemen on their roster. However, Jeff Faith, who was acquired last week from the Spokane Chiefs in a deal that had F Luc Smith go the other way, is a defenceman by trade who has been playing up front this season.


File this one under a picture being worth 1,000 words . . .


Further to the note that appeared here yesterday involving WHL players at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) that opens Sunday in Fussen, Germany . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have two forwards — Vladimir Alistrov and Andrei Pavlenko — on the selection-camp roster of the Belarussian national junior team. They weren’t included in the note here yesterday that also had F Aliaksei Protas of the Prince Albert Raiders and D Sergei Sapego of the Prince Albert Raiders on that same roster. Both players obviously are on the way to Germany as neither played for the Raiders last night in Swift Current. . . . Also missing from yesterday’s note was F Sebastian Streu of the Regina Pats. He is on Germany’s selection-camp roster. . . . The tournament runs from Sunday through Dec. 15. . . . F Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen of the Saskatoon Blades is on Norway’s roster. . . . The tournament features the national junior teams from Austria, Belarus, France, Germany, Latvia and Norway.


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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Jiri Patera turned aside 40 shots to lead the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 4-1 victory over BrandonWKregularthe visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Brandon (14-7-6) has won four in a row, outscoring the opposition 19-5 in the process. . . . Medicine Hat slipped to 13-14-3. . . . F Luka Burzan (17) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 18:47 of the first period. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (11) pulled the Tigers into a tie at 14:03 of the second. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos (23) broke the tie at 16:41. . . . The Wheat Kings put it away with third-period goals from F Linden McCorrister (9) and F Ben McCartney (6), the latter into an empty net. . . . The Tigers got 42 saves from G Mads Søgaard. . . . Brandon won 41 of the game’s 65 faceoffs.


In a game that proved why they play the game, the host Swift Current Broncos, with the SCBroncosWHL’s poorest record, scored a 3-2 shootout victory over the Prince Albert Raiders, who boast the best record. . . . The Broncos (5-22-2), had lost their previous three games. . . . The Raiders (26-1-1) had won 19 in a row. . . . The Broncos now are 2-1 in shootouts. This was only the second time this season the Raiders had gone to OT, and their first time in a shootout. . . . Swift Current, as you might expect, got a huge game from G Josh Hofer, who blocked 52 shots through OT and was perfect in the shootout. . . . The Raiders outshot the Broncos 12-10, 17-6, 21-6 and 4-1 by period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (4) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:01 of the first period. . . . F Brett Leason scored his WHL-leading 28th goal at 9:59 for a 1-1 tie. He ran his point streak to 28 games with the goal. . . . D Brayden Pachal (7) put the Raiders ahead, 201, at 11:05 of the third period. . . . Broncos F Ethan Regnier (5), who is from Prince Albert, forced OT with a goal at 18:16. . . . Regnier, the first shooter of the third round, scored the shootout’s only goal. . . . Regnier also had an assist on Leason’s goal. . . . Broncos D Matthew Stanley left and didn’t return following a first-period collision with Regnier. . . . The Raiders were without F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego, both of whom are on the selection-camp roster for the Belarusian national junior team that will play in the World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) that opens Sunday in Fussen, Germany.


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‘Tips get Patterson from Broncos . . . Warriors add two forwards . . . WHL has seven on camp roster


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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Monday’s action

No. of trades: 3.

Players: 4.

Bantam draft picks: 3.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 8.

Players: 21.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 3.


The Everett Silvertips have acquired F Max Patterson from the Swift Current Broncos for F Dawson Springer, 16, and a fourth-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft.

Patterson, from Kamloops, is the third member of the Broncos’ championship team from Everettlast season now on Everett’s roster, along with D Artyom Minulin and D Sahvan Khaira, both of whom are 20 years of age.

The Broncos beat the Silvertips in six games in last spring’s WHL final. This season, the  Broncos have the 22-team WHL’s poorest record (4-21-2), while the Silvertips lead the U.S. Division, at 22-7-1.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Patterson will turn 19 on Dec. 27. He is the son of former WHL/NHL F Ed Patterson.

Max was selected by the Kootenay Ice in the fourth round of the 2014 bantam draft. He had 15 goals and 10 assists in 127 games with the Ice, before being dealt to the Broncos on Sept. 10, 2017, for G Bailey Brkin and a fifth-rounder in the 2018 bantam draft.

Last season, Patterson had nine goals and 15 assists in 72 games. He had five goals and SCBroncostwo assists in 26 playoff games. This season, he had eight goals and 11 assists in 27 games.

With his size, Patterson will give the Silvertips more grit along the boards and on the forecheck, and more net-front presence in the offensive zone.

Springer, from Yorkton, Sask., was listed by Everett last month. He was in the Brandon Wheat Kings’ training camp prior to the 2017-18 season.

Springer is playing for the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos and is tied for the league lead with 18 goals. In 21 games, he has put up 25 points

Last season, Springer had 35 goals and 16 assists in 36 games with the midget AA Melville Millionaires.


The Moose Jaw Warriors were involved in two trades on Monday, acquiring F Luke Ormsby, 19, from the Everett Silvertips and getting F Kjell Kjemhus, 17, from the Prince MooseJawWarriorsGeorge Cougars.

In exchange for Ormsby, who is from Everett, the Warriors gave up a sixth-round selection in the 2022 bantam draft.

The Warriors gave up a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft for Kjemhus. The pick originally belonged to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

This season, Ormsby has three goals and three assists in 25 games. In 150 regular-season games, he has 11 goals and 13 assists. He was a ninth-round selection by Seattle in the 2014 bantam draft. The Silvertips acquired him from the Thunderbirds on Nov. 2, 2017, for a ninth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft.

Kjemhus, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was a fourth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. He was dealt to Prince George in January in a deal that had F Jesse Gabrielle, then 20, join the Pats.

This season, Kjemhus had two assists in five games with the Cougars and had been a frequent healthy scratch. In 36 career games, six of them with Regina, had has two goals and four assists.


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Seven WHL players were among the 34 invitees by Hockey Canada to the selection camp for the country’s national junior team.

The WHL contingent includes F Jaret Anderson-Dolan of the Spokane Chiefs, who is Canadasidelined with a broken wrist and may not have medical clearance in time for the selection camp.

Also on the camp roster are G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, D Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors, Spokane D Ty Smith and F Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks.

The roster, which is right here, includes 14 players from the OHL, eight from the QMJHL, seven from NCAA teams and one from the NHL. F Gabe Vilardi is with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings but is expected to be assigned to the camp.

The roster features three goaltenders, 12 defenceman and 19 forwards.

The selection camp is to run Dec. 11-14 at the Q Centre, the home of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies.

The 2019 World Junior Championship runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Victoria and Vancouver.

NOTES: Finland’s selection camp roster includes D Lassi Thomson of the Kelowna Rockets. He is one of 10 defencemen on the roster. . . . Finland’s roster also includes F Aleksi Heponiemi, who played the past two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos but now is with Kärpät in Finland’s top pro league. Heponiemi, 19, put up 204 points, including 148 assists, over two seasons with the Broncos. He has six goals and 16 assists in 25 games with Kärpät. . . . Jiri Patera of the Brandon Wheat Kings is one of three goaltenders on Czech Republic’s selection camp roster. Also listed are D Filip Kral of Spokane, D Libor Zabransky of Kelowna and F Krystof Hrabik of the Tri-City Americans. D Daniel Bukac also is on the roster. He played two seasons with Brandon, and now is with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs.

——

At least three WHL players will be playing in the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division 1 Group A) that begins Sunday and runs through Dec. 15 in Fussen Germany.

F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego of the Prince Albert Raiders will play for Belarus, while F Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen of the Saskatoon Blades is to be in Norway’s lineup.

The Division I Group A tournament features the national junior teams from Austria, Belarus, France, Germany, Latvia and Norway. The winner of the tournament will be promoted to play with the big boys in the 2020 World Junior Championship.

All three players are expected to miss six games, but should be back by Dec. 27 when both teams return from the Christmas break for a game in Saskatoon.



Veteran NHL assistant coach Rick Wilson, who spent eight seasons on the coaching staff of the Prince Albert Raiders, is joining the Philadelphia Flyers. Wilson, 68, is from Prince Albert. . . . He was an assistant coach with the Raiders for six seasons (1980-86) and the head coach for two seasons. . . . He then went on to an NHL career that has included stints with the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. He actually had two stints with Dallas — 1993-2009 and last season. . . . With the Flyers, he will fill the void created by last week’s firing of Gord Murphy. Wilson be working under head coach Dave Hakstol, a former U of North Dakota head coach. Wilson played at UND and also spent two seasons (1978-80) there as an assistant coach. . . . The Wilson signing was first reported by Brad E. Schlossman of the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald.


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A special Kidney Walk for Dorothy . . . A milestone for the Blades’ voice . . . Some tidbits from opening weekend

MacBeth

G Matt Hewitt (Regina, 2010-13) signed a one-year contract with Fassa Canazei (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, with University of British Columbia (Canada West, U Sports), he got into 20 games, going 12-5-2, 2.85, .920 with one shutout. . . . This summer, Hewitt played with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). In 26 games, he drew three assists, while going 23-2-0, 1.95, .925 with three shutouts. He led the league in wins, shutouts, GAA and SP. . . . CBR Brave won the AIHL championship, beating the Sydney Bears 4-3 in OT in the league’s Grand Final on Sept. 2 in Melbourne. . . .

F Marcel Noebels (Seattle, Portland, 2010-12) has been released from his PTO with the Boston Bruins (NHL) and will rejoin Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL), where he is an alternate captain for this season. Last season, he had 11 goals and 19 assists in 52 games with Eisbären. . . .

F Nikita Popugayev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) has been traded by CSKA Moscow to Amur Khabarovsk (both Russia, KHL) for D Denis Nedilko (1999 born, playing for Amur’s junior team, Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk). Popugayev had two goals and one assist in three games this season with Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (Russia, MHL). . . . Krasnaya Armiya is CSKA’s junior team. MHL is Russia’s junior league.


ThisThat

I’m back after being away for a few days while we put the finishing touches on the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you hadn’t guessed, Dorothy and I were among the organizers for the Kidney Walk that was held on Sunday at McDonald Park.

Yes, it was a success! Oh, was it!!

Let me tell you a little bit about it . . .

Dorothy had her kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, after almost four years of doing peritoneal dialysis, so this Kidney Walk marked the fifth anniversary of her new life.

Drinnanfamily
The Drinnan family, with the cake (donated by the North Shore Safeway) that celebrated the fifth anniversary of Dorothy’s kidney transplant.

We knew it was going to be special because our granddaughter Kara brought her parents — our son Todd and his wife, Joanna — to the Walk from their home in Burnaby.

Then, as Dorothy and I got out of our car at McDonald Park, a couple came walking in our direction. It turned out to be our best friends from Brandon — Darlene and Alan Silvius, who arrived completely unannounced. They actually had arrived in town on Saturday, but didn’t breathe a word about it. In fact, at one point, Darlene actually had sent a text to Dorothy indicating that they were in Portage la Prairie, Man., visiting with friends.

DrinnanSilvius
Darlene and Alan Silvius joined us at the Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sunday. Darlene and Dorothy have a special relationship.

Back in the day, Darlene was adamant that she would be the person to give a kidney to Dorothy. But it turned out that she wasn’t a match. Still, she refused to give up, and turned to the Kidney Paired Donation program.

So it was that five years ago she donated a kidney to a stranger in order to allow Dorothy to receive a true gift of life from someone else.

These two women have long had a strong relationship, but for the past five years they have grown even closer.

The look on Dorothy’s face when her brain finally recognized what her eyes were trying to tell her was priceless indeed.

All of you who read this blog and have donated on Dorothy’s kidney page were a big part of our day, too. In the end, Dorothy raised $3,250, which left her No. 1 in Kamloops for a fifth straight year.

Thank you all so much for your support. It really does mean a lot.

Now let’s get back to hockey . . . although it’ll be a bit spotty this week because, well, we’ve got some company to tour around.


In the meantime, here are some notes from the past few days. . . .

Old friend Les Lazaruk, who I may (or may not) have owned on the Strat-O-Matic field back in the day, opened the regular season with something of a milestone broadcast . . .


Aside from that milestone, the weekend’s biggest story may have been in Moose Jaw where the 50-50 draw at the Warriors’ home-opener on Saturday night reached $383,450.

There were two unclaimed winning pots from last season, so the carryover to this season was $166,615.

The winning ticket on Saturday was Z423428. As of Sunday morning, the jackpot apparently had yet to be claimed.

Now wouldn’t that be a carryover!


On the eve of the regular season, Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman provided this note on the Kootenay Ice:

“The current season-ticket count rests at 1,670, a drop of 247 from last year. The club had set a goal for 2,500 as part of it’s Drive to 25 campaign that kicked off in May 2017.” . . . The announced attendance at the Ice’s home-opener — a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday — was 2,862. . . . F Connor McClennon, the second overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, scored twice for the Ice. A 16-year-old from Wainwright, Alta., he was pointless in five games with the Ice last season.


The Brandon Wheat Kings opened by sweeping a home-and-home series with the Moose BrandonWKregularJaw Warriors, winning 2-1 in the Wheat City and 4-2 on the road. . . . G Jiri Patera, a 19-year-old rookie from Praha, Czech Republic, recorded both victories. A sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft, Patera stopped 56 of 59 shots in the two victories. . . . Patera is the first European goaltender to play for the Wheat Kings in the franchise’s 52-year history. . . . The Wheat Kings have had at least one American-born goaltender in their history — Scott Olson, from Bloomington, Minn., got into 63 games over three seasons and was a part of the 1978-79 championship team that lost only five regular-season games.


A couple of WHLers signed three-year entry-level NHL deals on the weekend. . . . D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Brook, 19, is from Roblin, Man. He was picked in the second round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. Brook scored both Moose Jaw goals as the Warriors dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday night. . . . F Jake McGrew, a 19-year-old from Orange, Calif., signed with the San Jose Sharks after being a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. McGrew has been with the Spokane Chiefs for two seasons, although knee problems kept him from playing in 2016-17.



The Red Deer Rebels released D Colin Paradis on Saturday in order to get down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Releasing Paradis left them with F Brandon Hagel, F Reese Johnson, who is the team captain, and F Jeff de Wit as their 20-year-olds. . . . Paradis, from Sherwood Park, Alta., has played 194 regular-season games — the first 165 with the Moose Jaw Warriors — over four seasons.


F Owen Blocker of the Lethbridge Hurricanes left the ice on a stretcher in the first period of Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat.

According to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Blocker “targeted Dalton Gally Lethbridgefor a hit in the corner and went awkwardly into the boards. Blocker was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a lengthy delay and did not return.” . . . However, after being checked out at hospital and released, Blocker returned to the arena and returned to Lethbridge with his teammates after the game.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes added G Akira Schmid to their roster on the weekend, after he was assigned by the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Schmid, 18, is from Nesslau, Switzerland, and was a fifth-round selection by the Devils in the NHL’s 2018 draft.

He joins Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., and Carl Tetachuk, 17, from Lethbridge, as goaltenders on the Hurricanes’ roster. Klassen went the distance in the Hurricanes’ first two games as they split a home-and-home with Medicine Hat. The Tigers won 5-2 in Lethbridge on Friday.


The Portland Winterhawks got Danish F Joachim Blichfeld, 20, back from the NHL’s San PortlandJose Sharks as the WHL regular-season opened. Blichfeld, a seventh-round pick by the Sharks in the NHL’s 2016 draft, has signed a pro contract so is eligible to play with the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks’ AHL affiliate. . . . Blichfeld’s arrival left the Winterhawks with four 20-year-olds and three imports on their roster. . . . Blichfeld joined F Conor MacEachern, D Brendan De Jong and D Jared Freadrich as the 20-year-olds. . . . MacEachern didn’t play in a 5-3 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, while MacEachern sat out Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Silvertips in Everett. . . .

WHL teams have until mid-October to declare a maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Should the Winterhawks choose to keep Blichfeld, they would have to release either Czech F Michael Kvasnica, 18, or Swiss F Dean Schwenninger. . . . Kvasnica and Schwenninger are first-year players, but teams are allowed to trade freshman imports only between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trading deadline. Prior to this season, teams were permitted to trade first-year imports. . . . Schwenninger didn’t play in either of the two weekend games. . . .

D Henri Jokiharju, a 19-year-old from Finland, is in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was named to the WHL-Western Conference’s second all-star team last season, and may still end up back in Portland.

Should that happen . . . well, I’m sure the Winterhawks won’t concern themselves with that until it actually does happen.


The Kelowna Rockets went 8-0-0 against the Kamloops Blazers last season. The Blazers Kamloops1showed on opening weekend that things are different now. Kamloops swept a home-and-home series, winning 4-1 at home on Friday and 3-1 in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ first-year head coach, picked up his first WHL victory on Friday and his family — wife Kelly and their children (Isabelle, 17, and Marc, 15) were there to witness it, having made the trip from their home in St. Albert, Alta. . . . “Up until (Thursday) night, I was texting with my daughter and my son and they made me believe they were both getting ready for bed and they were going to get up to go to school this morning,” Lajoie told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “It’s nice to be able to share this with them. I’m not here if it isn’t for them. I don’t lose sight of that.”


The Prince Albert Raiders opened with a two-game sweep of Regina, snapping a 15-game losing skid to the Pats with the first victory. The Raiders got started with a 7-2 victory on home ice on Friday, then travelled to Regina and beat the Pats 3-1 on Saturday. . . . The Raiders last beat the Pats on Sept. 23, 2016, when they posted a 4-3 OT victor in Regina on a goal by F Simon Stransky.


The Saskatoon Blades opened with a two-game sweep of the defending-champion Swift Current Broncos, winning 2-1 on the road and 8-0 at home, behind 17 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . F Kirby Dach put up seven points in the two games, including three goals and two assists in Saturday’s shutout victory. . . . Only time will tell if this is a sign of things to come for the Blades, who have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, and the Broncos, who went all-in last season in putting together the team that would win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.


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Vegas assigns goalie to Brandon . . . Blades add Labelle to front office . . . Storm brewing in Kamloops


MacBeth

D Keaton Ellerby (Kamloops, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) signed a one-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). Last season, he had six assists in 42 games with Mora (Sweden, SHL).


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The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights have assigned Czech G Jiri Patera, 19, to the Brandon BrandonWKregularWheat Kings, which leaves them with three goaltenders on their roster. . . . Patera, 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, was selected by Vegas in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft. He played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. . . . With the CHL lifting its ban on import goaltenders prior to its 2018 import draft, the Wheat Kings selected Patera. . . . Of course, Kelly McCrimmon, the Golden Knights’ assistant general manager, owns the Wheat Kings. . . . Also on Brandon’s roster are veteran Dylan Myskiw, 19, and freshman Ethan Kruger, who will turn 17 on Sept. 27. Kruger, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . While the WHL website shows Patera as having been born on Feb. 16, 2000, he actually was born on Feb. 24, 1999.


The Saskatoon Blades have added Xavier Labelle, 18, to their front office as a hockey Saskatoonoperations assistant. Labelle played the past two seasons with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and is a survivor of the April 6 bus crash. . . . From a Blades news release: “Following the accident, Xavier spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital recovering from his injuries, which included a fractured skull and concussion, internal bleeding, approximately 20 broken bones (including 13 in his spine), plus nerve damage affecting his legs and left arm.” . . . From Saskatoon, he continues to rehab in his hometown. . . . Labelle attended the Blades’ training camp on three occasions and also was on their protected list at one time.


The WHL has signed Zach Hodder as its manager, player development. According to a news release, he will be “responsible to lead the WHL player recruitment and development programs.” . . . From North Delta, B.C., Hodder, 25, played 128 WHL regular-season games over five seasons (2009-14), splitting time between the Vancouver Giants, Saskatoon Blades, Prince Albert Raiders, Medicine Hat Tigers and Moose Jaw Warriors. He went on to use his WHL education policy to attend BCIT and Royal Roads U.


If there is a bigger mess in hockey today than that involving the Kootenay International KamStormJunior Hockey League and the Kamloops Storm, well, I can’t imagine it. . . . “It’s a great city and it’s a great hockey market and it’s just a bit of a mess right now,” KIJHL president Larry Martel told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week.“All franchises go up and down. Right now, we’re in a low point in that city.” . . . This is a story that involves charges of tampering, $10,000 in fines, a one-year suspension to one individual, a head coach who has been suspended for 20 games, except, well, it doesn’t seem that he really is the head coach. . . . It seems that someone else was named the head coach so that he could take the hit instead of the real head coach. Got that?. . . . Oh, it’s all enough to give you a headache. . . . Check out Hastings’ complete story right here.


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk — a walk, I should point out, that she is helping to organize — you may do so right here. Thank you!


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