The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks have been hooked up with the AHL’s Utica Comets since 2013-14. Now there is ample speculation that the Canucks will be moving their AHL franchise, with the New Jersey Devils taking their AHL affiliate from Binghamton, N.Y., to Utica.
Granted, this is all speculation, but you know what they say about smoke. . . .
So, of course, people are wondering where the Canucks would place their AHL team should they decide to move it. One of the places high on anyone’s list is Abbotsford, where the Calgary Flames’ AHL team played for five seasons once upon a time.
So . . . I got to thinking about this and I actually had a thought: Why couldn’t the Canucks operate an AHL team out of Kamloops or Kelowna? Is either city large enough to be home to two teams — one in the AHL and the other in the WHL? . . . Likely not, mainly because there wouldn’t be enough sponsorship and fan dollars to keep both franchises happy. So forget it.
Besides, teams owned by Francesco Aquilini (Vancouver) and Tom Gaglardi (Kamloops Blazers) could never operate out of the same building, which would be the case in Kamloops. In case you have forgotten, they once were going to partner in buying the Canucks. How did that go? It ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada.
As for Kelowna, well, why not? Before COVID-19 became the decision-maker that it now is, there was all kinds of speculation in the hockey community that Rockets owner Bruce Hamilton was planning to sell the WHL franchise after playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup. Of course, that didn’t happen. Now what’s to stop him from selling the franchise to someone who would want to move it, and then partnering with the Canucks to bring the AHL to Kelowna?
Hey, I’m only thinking out loud . . . maybe it’s the isolation from the pandemic. Know what I mean?
So . . . you may be aware that Seattle as an NHL team — the Kraken. But did you know that Seattle also is home to the Kraken Bar & Lounge and has been since 2011? . . . Now, Kraken, the bar, has served up a high, hard one to Kraken, the team. . . . As Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes: “A University District punk-rock bar is suing the Kraken for $3.5 million, alleging the NHL expansion team’s name choice and plans to open a Northgate Mall practice facility restaurant risks irreparably harming its brand.” . . . The lawsuit was filed on Thursday. . . . Baker added: ”The lawsuit claims the punk bar’s owners didn’t know what to do last summer when the better-resourced NHL team announced its name and new patrons began showing up wanting to turn their establishment into a hockey bar.” . . . From the lawsuit: “That The Kraken Bar would or should become a ‘hockey bar’ or a sports bar of any kind was anathema to The Kraken Bar and its regular patrons. The Kraken Bar’s regular patrons frequented the bar precisely because it was a dive-bar . . .” . . . Baker’s complete story is right here.
There were five games in the WHL on Thursday night and three of them ended in shutouts. One of the goaltenders with a clean sheet was Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips. It was the 24th of his career, two off the WHL record. With time winding down on this developmental season, will Wolf be able to post two more? . . . Stay tuned. . . .
G Max Paddock stopped 20 shots to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in the Regina hub. . . . Paddock has two shutouts this season and nine in his career. . . . This season, Paddock, 20, is 7-6-0, 2.65, .909. . . . The Raiders got first-period goals from F Ozzy Wiesblatt (5) and D Terrell Goldsmith (1), a second-period score from F Landon Kosior (3) and a third-period goal from F Justin Nachbaur (7). . . . Goldsmith, the 15th overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft, got his first goal — and first point — in his 11th game. The native of Fort St. James, B.C., turns 16 on May 13. . . . The Raiders (8-10-3) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Blades (14-4-3) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . .
F Caleb Wyrostok broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Swift Current Broncos skated to a 4-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Wyrostok’s winner, at 8:04, was his fifth goal of the season. . . . F Aiden Bulych (6) got the empty-netter, with his brother, Kaleb, getting the lone assist. . . . F Michael Farren gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead at 18:41 of the first period. . . . The Pats took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Logan Nijhoff (10) and F Carson Denomie (14), both via the PP. . . . Farren’s second goal of the game and ninth of the season, also on the PP, tied it at 18:18. . . . The Broncos got 31 saves from G Reid Dyck. . . . D Ryker Evans had one assist for the Pats as he ran his point streak to 11 games. . . . Swift Current (5-16-1) had lost its previous two games. . . . Regina (8-10-3) had won its previous two games. . . .
G Sebastian Cossa earned the shutout, F Jake Neighbours scored twice and F Josh Williams had a goal and two assists as the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-0. . . . Cossa turned aside 30 shots in recording his third shutout in 14 appearances this season and the seventh of his career. He is 13-0-1, 1.49, .944 and almost certainly will be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Oil Kings (15-1-1) have points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . The Tigers (12-4-1) had points in each of their previous nine games (8-0-1). . . . Edmonton held a 52-30 edge in shots. . . . The Tigers got 49 saves from G Garin Bjorklund. . . . Neighbours, who has eight goals, opened the scoring at 5:18 of the first period and Williams (10) made it 2-0 at 13:21. . . . Neighbours got his second goal at 1:46 of the third. . . . Williams, who turned 20 on March 8, has 21 points in 16 games. . . . Neighbours, who turned 19 on March 29, has 28 points in 16 games. . . .
G Dustin Wolf earned his fourth shutout of the season as the Everett Silvertips dumped the host Spokane Chiefs, 5-0. . . . Wolf, who stopped 32 shots, has 24 shutouts in his career, two off the WHL record that is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 2013-18). . . . If nothing disrupts Everett’s schedule, it has eight games remaining. . . . In 14 games this season, Wolf is 11-2-0, 1.69, .944. . . . F Hunter Campbell, who has seven goals, gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 2:27 of the first period and made it 3-0, on a PP, at 14:11 of the second. . . . In between F Ryan Hofer scored his fourth goal. . . . F Jacob Wright (6) and F Ethan Regnier (7) also scored. . . . Spokane F Adam Beckman had his goal-scoring streak end at six games. He came close by hitting a post with Everett leading 2-0 in the second period. . . . The Silvertips (12-3-0) have won three straight. . . . The Chiefs (4-6-3) had won their previous two games. . . . Spokane hadn’t played in eight days after losing two games due to a positive test in the Tri-City Americans’ camp. . . . The same two teams will do it all over again tonight in Spokane. . . .
The Kamloops Blazers rode three third-period goals to a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers (9-2-0) were the visiting team despite the game being played in Kamloops. . . . The Cougars (4-6-2) have lost three straight. . . . F Connor Bowie (5) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 19:30 of the first period. . . . D Inaki Baragano (4) got the Blazers into a tie at 19:19 of the second. . . . The Blazers got third-period goals from F Matthew Seminoff (5), F Reese Belton (2) and F Connor Zary (4). . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 43 shots for Kamloops, 16 more than Prince George’s Taylor Gauthier. . . . The two goaltenders were teammates on Team Canada at the 2021 World Junior Championship. . . . BTW, Kamloops F Connor Levis had his four-goal game on Tuesday night become a three-goal effort on Thursday. The goal that originally was Levis’s third of the game has been changed to F Caedan Bankier, with Levis getting the primary assist. According to Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, the puck “went off (Bankier’s) backside.” . . . It gave the Blazers a 5-1 lead over the Kelowna Rockets in what became a 6-2 victory. Bankier also had two assists.
The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads dumped head coach J.J. Daigneault on Thursday just days after he had completed his second season in the position. The Mooseheads were 15-19-9 this season, leaving Daigneault with a two-season record of 35-67-14. . . . In a news release, majority owner Bobby Smith said: “The past two years have been rebuilding seasons for our club after playing in the 2019 Memorial Cup final and this past season we had the youngest team in the QMJHL. Over the course of a trying 2020-21 season our young players developed tremendously and for this Coach Daigneault deserves much credit.” . . . That may be so, but it obviously wasn’t enough to save the man’s job. . . . Daigneault, 55, a longtime NHL defenceman in his playing days, spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens and one with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage before taking over as head coach in Halifax. . . . While searching for a new head coach, the Mooseheads also announced that assistant coaches Jon Greenwood and Sylvain Favreau, and goaltender coach Joey Perricone have been retained. Perricone is a former WHL goaltender (Moose Jaw Warriors, 2003-08).
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