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).


ThisThat

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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Scattershooting on Sunday . . . Petes trade one player, get nine draft picks . . . Goaltenders in WHL news . . . Schlenker’s movin’ on up

Scattershooting

“San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt named his newborn son August,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “in honor of his college coach at Texas, the late Augie Garrido. Just be thankful the Longhorns hired Garrido instead of Oil Can Boyd.”



Jack Finarelli, who is at sportscurmudgeon.com, had this analysis of a recent trade between the Green Bay Packer and Seattle Seahawks: “The Packers sent backup QB, Brent Hundley to the Seahawks where he will carry a clipboard for Russell Wilson instead of Aaron Rodgers. Hundley showed last season that he might someday become a journeyman QB who will not throw up on his shoes.”



College football players are being ejected when ruled to have targeted another player’s head for a helmet-to-helmet hit. In the WHL, meanwhile, teenagers are allowed to punch each other in the face and get only major penalties.



Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, writing about the mess at Ohio State: “Read the public documents Ohio State collected in its investigation of Urban Meyer and you will never again be able to view him as anything but boneless.”

The complete column is right here. After reading it you will never look at a plucked chicken the same way again.


Surely it is only a coincidence that Chris Jones, the vice-president of football operations, general manager, head coach and defensive co-ordinator, and his Saskatchewan Roughriders are 3-0 since ridding themselves of Duron (The Distraction) Carter. Right?


Here’s Janice Hough, who can be found at leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Bottled water has an expiration date?! So what happens when it expires?”



With Air Canada and WestJet having increased the fees to check bags, perhaps it’s time people flew in the baggage compartment and the bags were strapped into the seats.


MacBeth

F Kris Versteeg (Lethbridge, Kamloops, Red Deer, 2002-06) signed a one-year contract with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had three goals and five assists in 24 games with the Calgary Flames (NHL). . . .

F Ryan Hollweg (Medicine Hat, 1999-2004) has been released by Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga) by mutual agreement due to “long-term health problems.” Hollweg signed a one-year extension with Plzeň in April. Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 41 games.


ThisThat

When the OHL held what it calls its priority selection — most of us call it a draft — the Peterborough Petes selected F Will Cuylle in the first round.

Cuylle, who played last season with the minor midget AAA Toronto Marlboros, and his ohlfamily had told the Petes that he wouldn’t report if they selected him. The Petes rolled the dice and took him anyway, then tried to convince him to report.

When that failed, they traded him to the Windsor Spitfires on Friday in a deal that resulted in the Petes acquiring nine draft picks. Yes, NINE!

Here are the particulars from a Petes news release:

In the deal, Peterborough acquires one first-round pick, four second-round picks, three third-round picks, and one fifth-round pick, as follows:

  • Kingston’s 2nd round pick in 2019
  • Kingston’s 3rd round pick in 2020
  • Windsor’s 5th round pick in 2020
  • Windsor’s 3rd round pick in 2021
  • Barrie’s 2nd round pick in 2022
  • Windsor’s 3rd round in 2023
  • Kitchener’s 2nd round pick in 2024* (conditional)
  • 1st round pick (5th overall) in 2019 (OHL Compensatory Pick)
  • 2nd round pick (end of round) in 2019 (OHL Compensatory Pick)

* Should Windsor acquire a 2nd round pick in 2020 or 2021, Peterborough will receive that pick and return Kitchener’s 2nd round pick in 2024.

The Petes also will receive the 5th overall pick and the last pick in the 2nd round of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection as compensation from the Ontario Hockey League.

——

In the OHL, if a team’s first-round selection doesn’t report to training camp he is considered to be a “defected” player and the team will get a compensatory pick if it trades the player prior to Sept. 15. The drafting team also gets a second-round pick if the player in question was a top five pick.

——

With the restrictions that the WHL apparently has placed on the trading of young players, we are left to wonder if we will start to see these kinds of deals happen in the WHL.

(ICYMI, I wrote about those restrictions right here.)

When a team is loading up because it is to play host to a Memorial Cup, will it be prepared to trade away six or seven bantam draft picks in order to land a star player who just might put that team over the top?


Chris Schlenker, a former WHL player and on-ice official, has been promoted by the NHL and will be a full-time referee this season.

Schlenker, 34, worked in the AHL and NHL last season.

From Medicine Hat, he played four seasons (2001-05) in the WHL, playing two-plus seasons with the Regina Pats and one-plus with the Prince Albert Raiders.

He also spent 10 years as a member of the Medicine Hat Police Service.

There is more on Schlenker right here, from scoutingtherefs.com.


The Prince Albert Raiders have added G Donovan Buskey, 18, from the Spokane Chiefs in PrinceAlbertexchange for a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

Buskey, from Vancouver, was a third-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he was 10-10-0, 3.56, .871, with one shutout, in 22 appearances with the Spokane.

Adding Buskey adds to the Raiders’ goaltending depth and could figure in the 20-year-old decision-making process as the start of the regular season grows near.

Ian Scott, 19, who will go to camp with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, is No. 1 on the depth chart. Curtis Meger, 20, and Brett Balas, 17, also are on the Raiders’ roster.

The other 20-year-olds on the roster are F Kody McDonald and F Sean Montgomery. They also hold the WHL rights to F Noah Gregor, 20, who could end up with the San Jose Barracuda, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. The Raiders acquired Gregor’s rights from the Victoria Royals earlier in the summer.



The Prince George Cougars will open the regular season with Isaiah DiLaura, 18, and Taylor Gauthier, 17, as their goaltenders.

Gauthier is atop the depth chart. Last season, he was 8-18-3, 3.96, .885. This summer, he PrinceGeorgeplayed with the Canadian U-18 team that won the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In fact, Gauthier, from Calgary, was the winning goaltender in the final, coming on with his side down 2-0 and stopping 16 shots as Canada beat Sweden, 6-2.

The 10th overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft, Gauthier was 8-18-3, 3.96, .885 last season.

DiLaura, from Elko New Market, Minn., was 3-3-2, 3.94, .888, in 14 appearances.

The third goaltender on their roster at the moment is Tyler Brennan, a first-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft who won’t turn 15 until Sept. 27. From Winnipeg, he will return to the Rink Hockey Academy and play for the midget prep team.

Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen has more right here.


Because of injuries, the Edmonton Oil Kings used five goaltenders last season as they went 22-42-8 and missed the playoffs.

This season, with exhibition games just having started, they already are down to three EdmontonOilKingsand one of those, Sebastian Cossa, won’t turn 16 until Nov. 21.

Chances are that the Oil Kings, under first-year head coach Brad Lauer, will open the regular season with Todd Scott, 18, who was acquired last season from the Vancouver Giants, and Boston Bilous, 17, a fourth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, as their goaltenders.

Scott, from Albertville, Minn., was 4-5-0, 3.89, .883 after joining the Oil Kings last season. He had been 8-7-4, 4.11, .869 with the Giants when they sent him east.

Bilous, from Langley, B.C., got into 16 games and went 0-10-1, 4.72, .838.

Cossa, from Fort McMurray, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he played for the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, going 3.37, .915 in 19 games. In seven playoff games, he was 2.28, .943.

With the three young goaltenders, Lauer told Derek Van Diest of Postmedia that age won’t have much to do with which two make the roster.

“They’re all young, so I don’t think the age part of it comes into play,” Later said. “It’s going to be how you’re playing that comes into play. I know we’ll be good defensively and responsible so, for me, goaltending is going to be how the exhibition seasons goes and how they develop through that.”

Van Diest’s complete story is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades are down to three goaltenders after releasing Cameron Beson, 16, who is from Grande Prairie, Alta. He has been in two Blades’ training camps now, and Saskatoonhas been placed on their protected list.

Sophomore Nolan Maier, a 17-year-old from Yorkton, is the Blades’ starter after going 23-17-2, 3.31, .895 in 43 appearances last season. He spent part of his summer winning gold with Canada’s U-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, going 3.12, .872 in four games.

The other two goaltenders on the roster are Dorrin Luding, 19, of Prince George, and Koen MacInnes, a 16-year-old from Burnaby, B.C.

The Blades re-acquired Luding on June 21, getting him from the Seattle Thunderbirds on June 21 for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Saskatoon had selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.

Last season, Luding got into 11 games with the Everett Silvertips (3-6-0, 3.64, .891) and 17 with Seattle (6-9-1, 3.81, .881). In 30 career games, he is 9-15-1, 3.75, .886.

Saskatoon picked MacInnes in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he played with the Burnaby Winter Club’s Elite 15s, going 2.36, .926 in 17 regular-season games.

The Blades have opened the exhibition season by going 3-0-0.


The Brandon Wheat Kings, who wrapped up training camp with their intrasquad game BrandonWKregularon Sunday, also are down to three goaltenders after releasing Connor Ungar, 16.

That leaves the Wheat Kings with Ethan Kruger, Dylan Myskiw and Jiri Patera as the remaining goaltenders.

Myskiw, 19, got into 22 games with Brandon last season, going 11-5-2, 3.41, .887. He spent the season backing up Logan Thompson, who was playing out his eligibility.

Patera, 19, is from Praha, Czech Republic. He played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, after the Vegas Golden Knights selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has yet to sign a pro contract, and will leave later this week to attend the Golden Knights’ camp.

Kruger, who turns 17 on Sept. 27, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he played with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings.


F Ryan Vandervlis of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who was badly burned during an incident involving a firepit on June 15, is back home after being released from a Calgary hospital on Friday.

Vandervlis, 20, suffered burns to as much as 60 per cent of his body and spent four weeks in a medically induced coma. For the last part of his hospital stay, he was in the burn unit at Foothills Hospital.

Two other hockey players — Jordy Bellerive and Matt Alfaro — were injured in the incident that took place at the home of former Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong near Calgary. Bellerive, the Hurricanes’ captain, is in camp with his club. Alfaro will be going into his second season with the U of Calgary Dinos.

Bellerive scored twice, including the OT winner, as Lethbridge opened its exhibition season with a 5-4 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night.



The junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats found themselves without a general manager and head coach earlier this week when Brad Tobin left to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach. . . . Tobin, 29, worked as an assistant with the Eagles for six seasons (2010-16) before leaving to join the Thunder Cats. . . . In Surrey, Tobin will work alongside Peter Schaefer, who took over as head coach on Aug. 28 following the departure of Brandon West. . . . One week before Tobin handed in his resignation, the Thunder Cats lost assistant coach Carter Duffin, who left to join the KIJHL’s Castlegar Rebels. . . . Earlier, Jeff Wagner, another Creston assistant coach, joined the Fernie Ghostriders as GM and head coach. After he left, Tobin hired Duffin, who had been with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins, as an assistant coach.


G Kyle Dumba, 20, had his junior A rights swapped this week when the Nanaimo Clippers acquired them from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, who got back D Sam MacBean, 20. . . . Dumba, who has split 41 career regular-season WHL games between the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips, is in camp with the Regina Pats. He finished last season on the Pats’ roster, but didn’t get into any regular-season games. Last season, he also got into 30 regular-season and three playoff games with Salmon Arm.


Karablog
Kara is answering the phone and taking pledges as her grandma, Dorothy Drinnan, prepares for her fifth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23. (Todd Drinnan photo)

Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


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Hurricanes bring back coaching staff . . . Wheat Kings sign import goalie . . . Porter moves to Oil Kings


MacBeth

F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) after a successful tryout. Last season, he had two goals and three assists in 40 games with Dinamo Riga and was pointless in three games with Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). He signed a tryout contract with Dinamo on July 3. . . . Dinamo has played six exhibition games so far and has four more scheduled before opening the regular season on Sept. 2. . . .

D Aaron Irving (Edmonton, Everett, 2012-17) signed a one-year contract with Storhamar (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, he had 15 goals and 33 assists in 60 games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL), and was pointless in one game while on loan to the Utica Comets (AHL). . . . He was named to the ECHL’s all-rookie team. . . .

F Todd Fiddler (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Spokane, Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with Boro/Vetlanda Landsbro (Sweden, Division 2). Last season, he had 14 goals and 13 assists in 17 games with the Stony Plain Eagles (Allen Cup West). . . .

F Jan Bittner (Red Deer, 2012-13) signed a one-year contract with Osby (Sweden, Division 3). Last season, with Morzine-Avoriaz (France, Division 3), he had 11 goals and 38 assists in 15 games. He was second on his team in assists, and third in the league. . . .

G Kevin Nastiuk (Medicine Hat, 2001-05) was released by the Coventry Blaze (England, UK Elite) due to “an ongoing medical issue.” He had signed a one-year extension with Coventry in May. Last season, he was 3.12 and .900 in 56 games. Nastiuk was named Coventry’s Best Defensive Player, the Players’ Player of the Season, and the Coaches’ Player of the Season. . . .

D Paul Postma (Swift Current, Calgary, 2004-09) signed a one-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one assist in 14 games with the Boston Bruins (NHL), and one goal and eight assists in 13 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL). . . .

F Lance Bouma (Vancouver, 2005-10) signed a one-year plus option contract with Genève-Servette (Switzerland, NL A). Last season, he had three goals and six assists in 53 games with the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and seven goals and seven assists in 20 games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL). . . .

F Tyler Mosienko (Kelowna, 2000-05) signed a one-year contract with Saale Bulls Halle (Germany, Oberliga). Last season, with Épinal (France, Ligue Magnus), he had four goals and 17 assists in 36 games. He was the team captain. . . . Épinal’s Ligue Magnus team was liquidated in bankruptcy proceedings in April and lost its place in Ligue Magnus. A new senior club was formed as part of the minor hockey association in Épinal and will play in Division 3 this season.


ThisThat

Dorothy and I are just back after spending a couple of days in Jasper . . . that would be in Alberta, not Alabama.

No, we weren’t able to get away from the smoke.

Robson
This was Tuesday afternoon . . . somewhere behind the smoke sits Mount Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies.

Still, the smoky conditions didn’t seem to keep anyone away because the highways, streets, sidewalks, shops and restaurants all were packed.

A few years ago, we would do a two-hour hike in an area called The Valley of the Five Lakes just south of Jasper. Back then, there might have been three or four vehicles in the parking lot. When we drove past on Wednesday, there had to have been 100 vehicles there. It’s safe to say that Jasper no longer is a hidden gem.

While watching people from around the globe walking the streets, and listening to the various languages being spoken, I found myself wondering how much money a lot of these tourists had spent on what may well have been their Rocky Mountain adventure of a lifetime.

Except that the mountains were awfully hard to see through the smoke.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed head coach Brent Kisio and assistant coach Jeff Hansen to contract extensions, the lengths of which haven’t been disclosed. . . . Kisio, 35, Lethbridgeis about to begin his fourth season as the club’s head coach. He will miss part of this season while working as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria. . . . Hansen, 36, is returning for a second season after working for four years as the video coach with Kisio’s former team, the Calgary Hitmen. He will be the video coach with Canada at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in November. . . . The Hurricanes also announced that Josh McNiven will be back for a fourth season as an assistant coach, with Andrew Doty, the assistant to the general manager and video coach, returning for a fifth season. He worked with Team Canada as it won gold at the recently completed Hlinka Gretzky Cup event . . . . The Hurricanes also have hired Matt Anholt, 24, as skills and development coach. The son of Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt, Matt played four seasons with the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. He was the team captain the past two seasons. . . .

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have added Garry Carson to their scouting staff. A veteran scout, he most recently worked with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He also is the director of scouting and player development for the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers.



The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed Czech G Jiri Patera, who was selected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. Patera, 19, played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids BrandonWKregularRoughriders, going 3.24, .901 in 34 games. . . . He was a sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, is the Golden Knights’ assistant general manager. . . . The Wheat Kings finished last season with two goaltenders — Dylan Myskiw and Ethan Kruger — on their roster who are eligible to return. Myskiw, 19, is from Winnipeg, while Kruger, who turns 17 on Sept. 27, is from Sherwood Park. Myskiw was 11-5-2, 3.41, .887 in 22 appearances while backing up Logan Thompson, who played out his junior eligibility. Kruger played last season with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. . . . Patera is the first European goaltender to have been drafted by the Wheat Kings. . . . Brandon also holds the WHL rights to Swedish D Erik Brannstrom, who was taken by Vegas with the 15th overall selection in the NHL’s 2017 draft, and Czech F Martin Kaut, who was a first-round pick by the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL’s 2018 draft. The Wheat Kings selected Brannstrom in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. He will turn 19 on Sept. 2 and is eligible to play with the Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. . . . Brandon picked Kaut, who turns 19 on Oct. 2, in 2017. He played professionally at home last season, and is eligible to play this season in the AHL, where the Colorado Eagles are affiliated with the Avalanche.

The Wheat Kings have signed Roman (RJ) Kaszczij as their athletic therapist. He spent the past two seasons with the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, who won the league title in 2017-18. . . . With the Wheat Kings, he takes over from Chris Trivieri, who spent two seasons with Brandon. . . .

The Wheat Kings also announced that they have signed a three-year deal with Q Country 91.5FM that will run through the 2020-21 season. Brandon Crowe will be back for a third season as the team’s play-by-play voice. . . . The Wheat Kings also revealedthat they have sold 2,036 season tickets. Last season, according to a news release, they sold “close to 2,600 season tickets.”


The Edmonton Oil Kings have hired Jamie Porter as their new director of scouting. EdmontonOilKingsPorter, who is from Edmonton, had been with the Swift Current Broncos for 14 seasons, most recently as assistant general manager and director of player personnel. Porter also worked for the Broncos as an area scout, the head scout and the director of scouting and player personnel. . . . He left the organization after Dean Brockman was named director of hockey operations and head coach. . . . In Edmonton, Porter will be working with Kirt Hill, the Oil Kings’ first-year president of hockey operations and director of scouting.


If you’re a regular here, this is part of what you read on July 7:

“The buzz is that veteran scout Daryl Anning will be leaving the Broncos for the Vancouver Giants and what one source told me would be ‘an increased role.’ Anning is the father of David Anning, the head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings.”

On Tuesday, the Giants announced that they have hired Daryl Anning, who is from VancouverWinnipeg, as their scouting director. A retired police officer, Anning spent 20 seasons with the Swift Current Broncos before leaving, along with all of the other scouts, when the front office underwent a massive overhaul. As a travelling scout, you can bet Anning played a major role in the Bronco’s 2018 WHL championship.

The Giants also added Jason Smart of Kelowna, Dale Britton of Red Deer and John Verrall of Saskatoon to their scouting staff. . . . Smart is a former WHL player (Prince Albert, Saskatoon, 1986-90). An RCMP officer, his son Jonathan is a defenceman with the Kootenay Ice. Jason also has scouted for the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Britton, who will work the Central Alberta region, spent the previous seven seasons scouting for the Moose Jaw Warriors. He also worked for the Prince Albert Raiders for four seasons. . . . Verrall will work as a player development analyst. He is a retired physician with, according to a news release, “experience in video analytics and scouting at multiple levels, including the NHL, AHL and CHL.” His son, Ben, plays at York University.


The Kootenay Ice has acquired F Jaeger White, 20, from Medicine Hat for what a Tigers’ news release says is a “conditional draft pick.” . . . White also has played for the KootenaynewLethbridge Hurricanes, Everett Silvertips and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Last season, the Medicine Hat native had 10 goals and 24 assists in 68 games with the Tigers. In 152 regular-season WHL games, he has 15 goals and 39 assists. . . . He was a fourth-round selection by the Hurricanes in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . White is a stepson to Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach. . . .

The Ice now appears to have five 20-year-olds on its roster, including F Gunnar Wegleitner, who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on July 20, White, G Matt Berlin, D Martin Bodak and D Dallas Hines. As an import, Bodak would be a two-spotter, but I’m not sure that he has committed to return to the Ice. . . .

Having dealt White, the Tigers are left with six 20s on their roster, although two of those players — F Mason Shaw and D David Quenneville — have signed pro contracts. The other four 20s on the Tigers’ roster are D Dalton Gally, F Ryan Jevne, D Dylan MacPherson and D Linus Nassen, who would be a two-spotter should he return.


The Everett Silvertips have added James Jensen to their staff as goaltending coach. . . . Jensen takes over from Shane Clifford, who now is the goaltending coach with the OHL’s EverettErie Otters. . . . In Everett, Jensen will work with head coach Dennis Williams, who is into his second season, and first-year assistants Harry Mahood and Louis Mass. . . . According to a Silvertips news release, Jensen has more than “20 years as a professional goaltending coach” and has worked in private training with goaltenders “currently playing at the NHL, minor professional, WHL and youth levels.” . . . Jensen is on staff at NET360, an annual goaltending camp in West Kelowna, B.C.

Meanwhile, the Silvertips have signed D Ty Gibson to a WHL contract. Gibson, from Victoria, was a third-round selection by Everett in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He is the first pick from that class to have signed with the Silvertips. . . . Last season, he stayed at home and played for the Pacific Coast Academy’s bantam prep team, putting up eight goals and 16 assists in 30 games. He also had one assist in four games with the Elite 15 team.


TJ Millar, who spent one season (2015-16) as the Tri-City Americans’ video coach, has joined the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs as an assistant coach. Millar, a 24-year-old from Calgary, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, who won the league title last season. He has a Sports Management Degree from the Sports Institute of Finland.


The junior B Creston Valley ThunderCats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have added Carter Duffin as an assistant coach. . . . Duffin, from Red Deer, was an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins for the past two seasons. He also coached minor hockey in Red Deer for six seasons. . . . Duffin fills the spot created when assistant coach Jeff Wagner left to take over as general manager and head coach of the KIJHL’s Fernie Ghostriders.


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