High-powered Raiders add to their offence . . . Pats’ Paddock has busy morning . . . Winterhawks bring in third goaltender


MacBeth

F Zdeněk Bahenský (Saskatoon, 2004-06) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Mulhouse (France, Ligue Magnus) after obtaining his release by mutual agreement from Corona Braşov (Romania, Erste Liga). He had one assist in three games. Last season, with Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Alps HL), he had seven goals and 13 assists in 23 games.


tradewire

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

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 4.

Players: 7.

Bantam draft picks: 8.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 25.

Players: 49.

Bantam draft picks: 40.

Conditional draft picks: 10.

(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 Prince Albert Raiders, already with the WHL’s top offence, added another big gun on Thursday by acquiring F Dante Hannoun from the Victoria Royals.

In exchange for Hannoun and fourth- and eighth-round selections in the WHL’s 2019 PrinceAlbertbantam draft, the Raiders surrendered F Carson Miller, 18, F Kody McDonald, 20, and a third-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. (The fourth-round pick originated with the Brandon Wheat Kings; the eighth-rounder was Prince Albert’s originally, so goes back to the Raiders.)

The Raiders are more than halfway through what has all the signs of being a record-breaking season. With a 34-3-1 record, they lead the WHL’s overall standings by nine points over the Everett Silvertips (29-7-2) and are ranked No. 1 in the 60-team CHL.

On offence, the Raiders have scored 179 goals, 25 more than the Silvertips and Portland Winterhawks.

Before acquiring Hannoun, the Raiders already had five players who are averaging more than a point per game. That figure now is six.

Hannoun, the 11th overall selection in the 2013 bantam draft, played 286 regular-season games with the Royals. From Delta, B.C., he has 19 goals and 17 assists in 28 games this season.

For his career, the 5-foot-6, 160-pound Hannoun has 98 goals and 150 assists, his 248 VictoriaRoyalspoints leaving him tied for fourth on the Royals’ all-time list. He also is fourth in assists, fifth in games played and seventh in goals.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound Miller, a native of Yorkton, Sask., was the 21st overall pick in the 2015 bantam draft. This season, he has 10 goals and eight assists in 38 games with the Raiders. In 156 career games, he has 20 goals and 27 assists.

McDonald, from Lethbridge, moved from the Prince George Cougars to Prince Albert at last season’s trade deadline. The Raiders gave up D Rhett Rhinehart, F Austin Crossley and a first-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft — the Cougars took F Craig Armstrong, who was added to their roster earlier this week — for McDonald and a conditional third-round pick in the 2018 draft.

McDonald, who was a second-round pick by the Cougars in 2013, has six goals and 12 assists in 30 games this season. In 295 career games, he has 81 goals and 93 assists.

The Royals are to continue their six-game Central Division trip against the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight.

Hannoun could make his Prince Albert debut tonight against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

——

John Paddock, the general manager of the Regina Pats, was up early on Thursday.

How early?

Early enough to complete three trades before noon.

By morning’s end, Paddock had acquired two players and two WHL bantam draft picks, Patsone of them a third-rounder, for a pair of players and three picks, the earliest a fifth-rounder.

“It’s what we’ve set out to do from the start,” Paddock told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post. “We got a third-round pick in a deal and two 17-year-old players who are both playing in the league. It’s a little bit harder to get younger players (due to the league’s new trade restrictions) . . . but we know it’s the direction we want to go. It’s up to us as an organization to improve them over the next three to four years.”

The Pats, who are reloading after being the host team in the 2018 Memorial Cup, got D Tyson Feist, 17, and a 10th-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Spokane Chiefs for an eighth-round pick in 2019 and a fifth-rounder in 2019. The eighth-round pick originally belonged to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

“Tyson has waived his no-trade clause as he is looking for more ice time,” Scott Carter, the Chiefs’ GM, said in a news release.

This season, Feist, 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, had five assists in 25 games with the Chiefs. He also played five games with them last season, going pointless.

Feist could make his Regina debut tonight when the Pats meet the Blades in Saskatoon.

The Pats also sent F Scott Mahovlich, 19, and an eighth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a third-round selection in 2019.

Mahovlich, who is from Abbotsford, B.C., had five goals and four assists in 38 games with the Pats this season. In 130 career games — the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder also played with the Kamloops Blazers — he had six goals and 12 assists.

The Hurricanes are at home to the Vancouver Giants tonight.

Paddock’s day began when he dealt D Marco Creta, 18, to the Kootenay Ice for F Blake Allan, 17.

Allan, a 6-foot-1, 165-pounder from Davidson, Sask., was a third-round pick by the Ice in Kootenaynewthe 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he had one goal and one assist in four games with the Ice. This season, he has three assists in 31 games.

Creta is from Oak Bluff, Man., which is practically on the southwestern outskirts of Winnipeg. The Ice, which is reported to be relocating to Winnipeg after this season, has acquired six Manitoba-born players in as many trades since Oct. 8. One of those players, F Jack Cowell, refused to report and his rights reverted to the Kelowna Rockets.

In 66 games with the Pats, Creta had three goals and 11 assists. This season, he put up two goals and seven assists in 33 games.

The Ice is to meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat tonight.


ThisThat

With the WHL’s trade deadline less than a week away, the Portland Winterhawks have added a third goaltender to their roster. . . . Evan Fradette, a fifth-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, has joined the Winterhawks, who open a six-game East Division trip in Swift Current tonight. . . . The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Fradette, 17, has been playing for his hometown midget AAA St. Albert Raiders, who won the prestigious Mac’s tournament in Calgary earlier this week. Fradette was named the tournament MVP and the top goaltender, and also was chosen for the all-star team. . . . Fradette joins veteran Shane Farkas and freshman Dante Giannuzzi as Portland’s goaltenders. Farkas, 19, is 20-9-5, 2.96, .898; Giannuzzi, 16, is 1-2-0, 4.09, .833.


The Saskatoon Blades have signed D Alex Ozar, who will turn 17 on Jan. 24, to a WHL contract. Ozar, from Prince Albert, is in his second season with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. He is the team’s captain. This season, he has five goals and 16 assists in 21 games. Last season, he finished with five goals and 26 assists in 44 games. . . . Ozar was a fifth-round pick by the Blades in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


The Regina Pats have added D Makai Mitchell, 16, to their roster, likely for the remainder of this season. Mitchell, from Fort Collins, Colo., had been playing with the Rocky Mountain Roughriders 16U team. He had a goal and an assist in 11 games. He also was pointless in three games with the Pats earlier this season.


F Ethan Leyh of the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen has committed to Quinnipiac U and the Bobcats for the 2019-20 season. Leyh, 17, has 15 goals and 17 assists in 31 games with the Rivermen. From Anmore, B.C., he was an eighth-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


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‘Canes, Pats make monster deal . . . Savoies to ask for exceptional status . . . Warriors’ veteran goes home


MacBeth

F Marek Viedenský (Prince George, Saskatoon, 2008-11) has been released by mutual agreement by Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He was pointless in four games. In an interview with http://Sport.sk , Viedenský disclosed that he has a lower-body injury, the extent of which has not yet been determined. Viedenský felt it was best to terminate the contract while he and doctors try to determine the proper cause of action for his injury.


ThisThat

Well, it didn’t take long to get an answer to a question that was posed here earlier in the week.

After the Kamloops Blazers made two trades that involved four players and four bantam Lethbridgedraft picks, I speculated as to what impact the WHL’s new trade regulations might have on the marketplace.

“Who knows?” I wrote. “Maybe we’ll see trades like the one in the OHL last week in which one team gave up two players and got back two players and 11 — count ’em, 11 — draft picks.”

We didn’t quite get to 11 on Thursday, but the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Regina Pats did swap four players and a possible seven bantam draft picks.

Here are the details. . . .

Lethbridge acquired Regina’s top two forwards — Nick Henry and Jake Leschyshyn, both of whom are 19.

In return, Regina gets F Jadon Joseph, 19, F Ty Kolle, 18, five bantam draft picks and two conditional picks:

  • Lethbridge’s first-round selection in 2019;
  • Lethbridge’s third-round selection in 2019;
  • Swift Current’s eighth-round selection in 2019;
  • Swift Current’s first-round selection in 2020; and,
  • Lethbridge’s fourth-round selection in 2022
  • Should either Henry or Leschyshyn return for a 20-year-old season, the Pats will receive a conditional bantam draft pick. One of the conditional picks is a third-rounder in the 2021 draft, with the other a third-rounder in 2022.

The Pats, of course, sold the acreage over the previous two seasons in order to load up Patsfor the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament for which they were the host team.

Now they have the WHL’s second-poorest record (8-17-0) and are looking well down the road, thus the hunger for draft picks.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are all-in. At the moment, they are 11-8-5 and third in the Central Division, five points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings (14-10-4) and six in arrears of the Red Deer Rebels (16-8-1).

A year ago, the Hurricanes were sellers, a move that allowed general manager Peter Anholt to use some of the acquired assets in the deal with the Pats.

One of the interesting things about Anholt’s decision to shove all of his chips into the middle of the table is that the Hurricanes — let’s assume they make the playoffs — are going to have to vacate the 5,479-seat ENMAX Centre for a time early in the playoffs to make room for the 2019 World men’s curling championship. It is scheduled for March 30 through April 7.

Anholt has said that while displaced the Hurricanes will play in the Nicholas Sheran Ice Centre, which, according to the City of Lethbridge website, has a seating capacity of 978. He has yet to lay out plans as to how the Hurricanes will accommodate fans. The City is in the process of opening negotiations with the Hurricanes regarding compensation for their having to vacate their home arena.

It could be, then, that Anholt sees a deep playoff run as vitally important to the community-owned franchise and its financial outlook.

Anholt was one of a number of general managers to at least chat with John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager, about the availability of Henry and Leschyshyn.

Anholt took things one step further and headed west on a scouting trip. He watched the Pats beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops on Nov. 20. In fact, Anholt and Paddock were seen conversing in a Kamloops restaurant early that afternoon.

Henry, Leschyshyn and D Aaron Hyman, who was traded by Paddock to the Tri-City Americans earlier in the week, were the Pats’ best players in Kamloops.

Anholt also was in Kelowna on Nov. 21 when the Pats lost, 3-2, to the Rockets.

Joseph, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Hurricanes in the 2014 bantam draft. This season, he has 10 goals and nine assists in 23 games. In 144 career games, he has 22 goals and 44 assists.

Kolle, from Kamloops, was acquired by Lethbridge from the Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 4 for a fifth-rounder pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Portland had selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 bantam draft. In 94 career games, he has 14 goals and 15 assists. This season, he put up seven goals and four assists in 17 games with Lethbridge, after recording one assist in four games with Portland.

The two big fish, of course, are Henry and Leschyshyn.

Leschyshyn, the son of former NHLer Curtis Leschyshyn, was the Pats’ captain. Jake was a second-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has signed an NHL contract. The Red Deer Rebels selected him sixth overall in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. On Jan. 5, 2015, he was traded to Regina as part of a deal in which F Connor Gay moved to the Rebels, who were to be the host team for the 2015 Memorial Cup.

This season, Leschyshyn has 16 goals and 16 assists in 32 games. In 213 career regular-season games, all with Regina, he has 61 goals and 70 assists.

Henry, from Portage la Prairie, Man., was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has yet to sign an NHL deal.

The Everett Silvertips had taken him in the third round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft, but hadn’t signed him; in fact, he had committed to the Western Michigan U Broncos. Henry was the 2015-16 MJHL rookie of the year with the Portage Terriers when he was traded to the Pats, who signed him on Sept. 1, 2016. This season, he has 15 goals and 25 assists in 40 games. In 150 games over three seasons, he has 150 points, including 64 goals.

The Hurricanes will play three games in fewer than 48 hours this weekend, as they entertain Swift Current tonight, then visit Medicine Hat on Saturday, before playing host to Red Deer on Sunday.

The Pats also will play three games in fewer than 48 hours. They are to visit Brandon tonight, then play host to Prince Albert on Saturday and Medicine Hat on Sunday.


I spent 17 years attending Regina Pats’ games and had numerous conversations with Bill White, who died Saturday. He was 90. Condolences to his family and friends.


Hockey Canada  hasn’t had to deal with a player applying for exceptional status in order to play regularly in the WHL as a 15-year-old.

It seems that is about to change.

Scott Savoie, the father of Matt Savoie, who is to turn 15 on Jan. 1, told Dhiren Mahiban of sportingnews.com that “we’ll put in for it and then we’ll go through the draft . . . if it’s a perfect fit for him, then we’ll probably let him go. If it’s not, we might defer for a year and kind of wait and see, and see where that takes us.”

The Savoies are from St. Albert, Alta. Matt, 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. In 20 games, he’s put up 22 goals and 26 assists. Last season, with the bantam prep team, he finished with 97 points, including 28 goals, in 30 games.

In normal circumstances, a draft-eligible player would go through the WHL bantam draft. If he is selected, he is eligible to play up to five games in the upcoming season so long as his club team still is playing. Once his club team has concluded its season that player would be eligible to join the WHL team.

Exceptional status would allow a player, in this case Savoie, to play regularly as a 15-year-old.

It’s worth noting that exceptional status doesn’t make any allocation for playing junior A; in other words, it’s major junior or back to minor hockey. The Savoies have already applied to Hockey Canada in the hopes that Matt would be cleared to play in the AJHL, but that was denied.

The WHL holds a draft lottery in advance of its annual bantam draft; it includes the six non-playoff teams. At the moment, the six teams outside playoff position are the Swift Current Broncos, Regina Pats, Kootenay Ice, Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds.

Interestingly, the Prince George Cougars have Swift Current’s first-round 2019 selection, while the Saskatoon Blades have Regina’s.

The deadline to apply to Hockey Canada for exceptional status arrives on Saturday.

In the past, Hockey Canada has granted exceptional status to five players — Joe Veleno in the QMJHL, and Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad, John Tavares and Sean Day in the OHL.

Mahiban’s story is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen lost G Carl Stankowski to an ankle injury early in the week, so had Calgaryplanned to recall G Matt Armitage from the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks at least for the weekend. . . . It turns out that Armitage was injured on Wednesday night in a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Langley Rivermen. Armitage went the distance, stopping 45 shots in 63:34, but apparently was injured at some point. . . . The Hitmen now are bringing in Brayden Peters, 16, from the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. Calgary selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 WHL bantam draft. He is 8-2-0, 1.76, .929 with the Hurricanes. . . . With Stankowski out, the bulk of the goaltending load will fall to Jack McNaughton, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary. To date, he has made 12 appearances, going 4-6-1, 3.35, .890. . . . The Hitmen will play three games in fewer than 48 hours this weekend. They are in Red Deer tonight before returning home to face Edmonton on Saturday and Moose Jaw on Sunday.


When Moose Jaw beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-1, in Cranbrook on Wednesday night, the Warriors were without one of their leading scorers.

It turns out that F Ryan Peckford, 19, had left the team on Monday.

Peckford, from Stony Plain, Alta., was a second-round selection by the Victoria Royals in MooseJawWarriorsthe WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. On Dec. 11, the Warriors dealt F Noah Gregor and an eighth-round 2018 bantam draft pick to the Royals for Peckford and a fourth-rounder in 2018.

This season, Peckford had eight goals and eight assists in 20 games, his 16 points the fifth-highest on the Moose Jaw roster.

Alan Millar, the Warriors’ general manager, told Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com:

“Ryan came in to meet with me first thing Monday morning and expressed at that time that he wasn’t having fun playing the game any longer, it wasn’t fun to come to the rink and he’d lost some passion for the game.

“He’s a good kid, he’s a talented player, we’re certainly disappointed, but at the end of the day, if your heart’s not in it, these young guys have to make difficult decisions and Ryan has certainly made one, and we’ll see if anything changes with his time at home and away from the game.”

Millar added that while Peckford’s decision caught the Warriors off-guard, “there’s a bit of a of trend . . . our league is dealing with a number of young guys (who), for whatever reason, have decided to move on and leave their teams and I don’t think you can pinpoint any specific reason other than each person is different.”

F Peyton McKenzie, a 16-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., has joined the Warriors from the Edmonton-OHA prep team. He is expected to stay with the Warriors through the weekend.

Moose Jaw is to visit the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight for the first of three games in fewer than 48 hours. The Warriors will be in Red Deer on Saturday and in Calgary on Sunday.

Smith’s complete story is right here.




D Sam Huston, who left the Kootenay Ice earlier in the season, has joined the MJHL’s Portage Terriers.

Huston, 19, is from Brandon. He had one assist in two games with the Terriers in 2015-16, while he was playing with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. This season, he has a goal and two assists in three games with Portage.

The Ice selected him in the ninth round of the 2014 bantam draft. In 119 regular-season games, he put up four goals and 13 assists.


The story that started when former NHLer Daniel Carrillo detailed life as a first-year ohlplayer with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting continues to grow legs. On Thursday, David Branch, the OHL commissioner, told CBC Sports that his league “failed” Carcillo and “the other players involved.” Branch called Carcillo’s revelations “shocking.” . . . “You know,” Branch said, “I don’t know how else to put it.” . . . This story isn’t likely to go away anytime soon as more and more former junior hockey players are revealing incidents from the past. . . . James Strashin of CBC Sports has the latest story right here.

Meanwhile, John Chidley-Hill of The Canadian Press, who conducted the original interview with Carcillo, has spoken with more former Sarnia players about what went on with the Sting. . . .  That piece is right here.


F Harrison Blaisdell, who committed to North Dakota on April 28, 2016, has signed his letter of intent. Blaisdell, 17, is a native of Regina. His father, Mike, played six games with the Regina Pats in 1977-78, then spent 1978-79 at the U of Wisconsin. He played one game with the Badgers in 1979-80 before returning to the Pats, where he put up 109 points, 71 of them goals, in 63 games. . . . Harrison is in his second season with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. This season, he has 19 goals and 18 assists in 30 games. . . . He was a second-round pick by the Vancouver Giants in the who’s 2016 bantam draft.


D Cam York has committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines in time for next season. York, 17, is from Anaheim Hills, Calif., and plays with the U.S. national U-18 team in USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. . . . The Red Deer Rebels selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


F Grant Silianoff has committed to the U of Notre Dame Fighting Irish for next season. Silianoff, 17, is from Edina, Minn. In 19 games with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, he has six goals and five assists. . . . The Saskatoon Blades picked him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


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The SJHL’s Melville Millionaires have fired general manager and head coach Devin Windle. . . . Assistant coach Kyle Adams was named interim GM/head coach. . . . Windle was in his third season with Melville. . . . The Millionaires are 8-16-4, good for a third-place tie with the Weyburn Red Wings in the four-team Viterra Division.


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Blades have their new coach . . . Capitals have WHL flavour, too . . . Giants sign first-round pick

MacBeth

F Taylor Vause (Swift Current, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 13 goals and 25 assists in 53 games. . . .

F Kevin King (Kootenay, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite), he had 28 goals and 34 assists in 55 games. The team captain, he led the Lightning in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Tyler Redenbach (Prince George, Swift Current, Lethbridge, 2001-05) signed a one-year extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He started this season with Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga), scoring once in 10 games. He signed with Liberec on Oct. 13 and finished with 12 goals and nine assists in 42 games.


ThisThat

The Saskatoon Blades are expected to introduce Mitch Love as their new head coach at a news conference this afternoon (Wednesday).

Love, who had been assistant to the general manager/assistant coach with the Everett SaskatoonSilvertips, replaced Dean Brockman in Saskatoon. Brockman had spent four seasons with Saskatoon, two as an assistant coach and the last two as head coach.

Love, 33, is from Quesnel, B.C. A hard-nosed defenceman, he played with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and the Silvertips (2000-05). He was the Everett captain in his last of two seasons there and is one of the most popular players in that franchise’s history.

He went on to a six-season pro career, playing in the AHL, ECHL and CHL, before starting his coaching career in Everett. Love just completed his seventh season as an assistant with the Silvertips. He twice has coached Canadian teams at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.

The Blades interviewed Love during the WHL playoffs with the Silvertips involved in a second-round series with the Portland Winterhawks. Following the second game of that series there was a two-day break. A source has told Taking Note that Love met with Blades’ management at Vancouver International Airport.

The Blades have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons. In fact, the last time they advanced past the second round was in 1994-95. They have missed the playoffs 11 times since that season.

Harley Love, Mitch’s father, is one of the Blades’ B.C. scouts.

The Edmonton Oil Kings, Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos now are the only WHL teams looking to hire head coaches.

The Oil Kings fired Steve Hamilton, their head coach for the past four seasons, on Monday.

The Blazers are looking for a replacement for Don Hay, the winningest coach in WHL regular-season and playoff history, who moved into an advisory role after four seasons as head coach.

Manny Viveiros, who guided Swift Current to the WHL championship earlier in the month, left the Broncos on Friday and now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.


Might the Regina Pats make a coaching change before the 2018-19 season gets here? Greg PatsHarder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, is expected to step aside as head coach at some point this summer. Paddock, 63, would then focus on his duties as general manager, allowing Dave Struch, the assistant GM/assistant coach, to take over as head coach. . . . Paddock and Struch, a former head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, have worked together through four seasons with the Pats. . . . Harder’s story is right here.


A few days ago, I wrote about the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the number of men with NHL ties, not including players, who are involved with the team.

I was remiss in not doing the same thing with the Washington Capitals, who  have some Capitalsserious WHL connections as they meet the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup final.

At a glance, here are the men with WHL ties who are involved off the the ice with the Capitals:

Ross Mahoney, assistant general manager — Mahoney, 61, spent two seasons (1993-95) as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats. He then spent three seasons as an amateur scout with the Buffalo Sabres, before moving on to the Capitals. Mahoney is in his 18th season with Washington — 14 as director of amateur scouting and the last four as AGM. . . . Did you know: Mahoney was the leading hitter — he hit .636 — and all-star right field in helping the Melville, Sask., Elks win the 1973 Canadian midget baseball championship.

——

Barry Trotz, head coach — Trotz, 55, was a defenceman for three seasons (1979-82) with the Regina Pats. He played in the 1980 Memorial Cup with the WHL-champion Pats. Trotz is in his fourth season as Washington’s head coach, after spending 15 seasons as head coach of the Nashville Predators. . . . Did you know: Trotz played his 20-year-old season in his hometown of Dauphin, Man., with the Kings of the MJHL. They won the MJHL title and the ANAVET Cup that season.

——

Lane Lambert, assistant coach — Lambert, 53, is from Melfort, Sask. He played in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos (1980-81) and Saskatoon Blades (1981-83). He put up 233 points, including 104 goals, in 136 regular-season games. . . . He went on to a pro career that included 283 regular-season NHL games. . . . Lambert started his coaching career as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors in 2002-03. He took over as head coach of the Prince George Cougars during the 2003-04 season, and also spent 2004-05 there. . . . He was an assistant coach under Barry Krotz in Nashville (2011-14) and is in his fourth season with Washington. . . . Did you know: As a player, Lambert won playoff championships in the IHL (Houston Aeros), AHL (Adirondack Red Wings) and the NLB in Switzerland (HC Ajoie).

——

Olie Kolzig, professional development coach — Kolzig, 48, played goal in the WHL with the New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans (1987-90). . . . He scored a goal for the Americans on Nov. 29, 1989, the first WHL goaltender to manage that feat. . . . Kolzig’s pro career included 10-plus seasons with the Capitals, with whom he won the Vezina Trophy and was named to the first all-star team for the 1999-2000 season. . . . Kolzig has owned a piece of the Tri-City franchise since 2004-05. . . . Did you know: Kolzig’s number (33) has been retired by the Americans.

——

Jason Fitzsimmons, pro scout/minor league operations — Fitzsimmons, 46, is from Regina. A goaltender, he played three seasons (1989-92) with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . He played professionally for six seasons, in the AHL and ECHL, finishing up with the South Carolina Stingrays in 1997-98. . . . He transitioned to coaching with the Stingrays and spent nine more seasons there, the last five as head coach. . . . He joined the Capitals as a pro scout in 2007-08, then added the director of minor league operations to his duties prior to 2016-17. . . . Did you know: Fitzsimmons stepped down as the Stingrays’ head coach after the 2006-07 season and was succeeded by Jared Bednar, who now is head coach of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

——

Brian Sutherby, scout — Sutherby, 36, is from Edmonton. He played four seasons (1998-2002) with the Moose Jaw Warriors, and was a first-round selection by Washington in the NHL’s 2000 draft. He went on to play 460 regular-season NHL games, splitting them between the Capitals, Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars. He is in his third season on the Washington scouting staff. . . . Did you know: Sutherby retired after playing 25 games with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters. He finished as the team captain, taking over after Bryan Lerg suffered a season-ending knee injury.

——

Alan May, TV analyst — May, now 53, played one season (1985-86) in the WHL — six games with the Medicine Hat Tigers and 32 with the New Westminster Bruins. . . . In a 393-game NHL career, May compiled 1,348 penalty minutes. . . . He now works as an analyst for NBC Sports Washington, where he has been since 2009. . . . Did you know: In 1984-85, May played in 64 games with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. In 64 games, he had 51 goals, 47 assists and, yes, 409 penalty minutes.


The Vancouver Giants have signed F Zack Ostapchuk, their first-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Ostapchuk, who turned 15 on Tuesday, is from St. Albert, Alta. He was the 12th overall pick in the draft. . . . This season, he had 24 goals and 21 assists in 30 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team.

——

WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Tri-City Americans have signed F Booker Daniel to a WHL contract. He will turn 17 on Aug. 13. From Vanderhoof, B.C., Daniel spent this season with the major midget Kootenay Ice. He had 16 goals and 15 assists in 26 games with the Ice.


Chris Johnston is the new head coach of the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant to head coach Tyson Ramsey. . . . Johnston, 43, played five seasons (1990-95) in the WHL, splitting time with his hometown Wheat Kings, the Red Deer Rebels and Regina Pats.


Mike Hastings, the head coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, has been named the head coach of USA Hockey’s national junior team. He takes over from David Quinn, who left Boston U earlier this month and now is head coach of the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . Quinn had been named the national junior team’s head coach on April 20. Hastings had been selected as an assistant coach. . . . Scott Sandelin, the head coach at Minnesota-Duluth, has been added to Team USA as an assistant coach, joining David Lassonde, the associate head coach at Dartmouth, and Steve Miller, the associate head coach at Ohio State. . . . The 2019 World Junior Championship is scheduled for Vancouver and Victoria, running from Dec. 26, 2018, through Jan. 5, 2019.


“A medical consultant to the National Hockey League Players’ Association has testified under oath that a top NHL lawyer watered down a warning to players about the long-term dangers of repeated head trauma on a poster displayed in every NHL team dressing room,” writes Rick Westhead, TSN’s senior correspondent, in the second of a five-part series that has been headlined NHL Under Oath. . . . The complete story is right here. . . . Meanwhile, the Toronto Star offered up this editorial right here.


Tweetoftheday

Lazaruk, no Phantom, sings for charity . . . Everett, Seattle gets hot, hot, hot . . . Blazers, Rockets ends in kerfuffle

MacBeth

F Brandon Segal (Calgary, 1999-2004) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). He has 12 goals and 14 assists in 49 games this season.


DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, a member of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice crew, is in Pyeong Chang, where he has been working at men’s hockey games in the Olympic Winter Games. Yes, he Olylogowas part of the off-ice crew that handled Team OAR’s 4-3 OT victory over Germany. He also has been letting us know how things are going. On Saturday, he sent this . . .

“Well, after plenty of heartbreaking plays, it was truly sad to see the end results of both Team Canada’s meaningful games. Both teams worked hard but got away from the true Canadian style of physical crash and bang play. They tried to play that finesse style, which led to their defeat.

“We Canadians don’t play that way!

“There won’t be any North American on-ice officials doing the gold medal game.

“Both referee Brett Iverson and linesman Nathan Van Oosten will be working the Blazers game on Wednesday.”


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, took his game to a different level on Friday night.

With the Blades at home to the Regina Pats, Lazaruk got things started by singing O Canada. Yes, he did.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be too much video of it kicking around the Internet, other than the link that is supplied in the above tweet.

Lazaruk did this as a fund-raiser in support of Pink Day for the Saskatchewan Red Cross.

If you aren interested in donating, you are able to do so right here.

Mike Priestner, the Blades’ owner, has agreed to match every penny that is donated.


Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post takes time out of his busy schedule to interview sporting personalities in a light and personal fashion. His most recent subject was John Paddock, the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats. Paddock, as always, is worth listening to as he recounts a lot about his NHL days. . . . It’s all right here.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Kent, Wash., the Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . Everett (41-17-5) has points in 11 straight (9-0-2). It leads the EverettWestern Conference by five points over Kelowna. . . . Seattle (28-24-9) has lost four in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, by six points over Kamloops. . . . Everett is 4-2-2 in the season series; Seattle is 4-3-1. . . . F Nolan Volcan (26) put Seattle ahead 1-0 at 14:18 of the first period. . . . F Connor Dewar (32) tied it at 11:35 of the second period. . . . G Garrett Pilon (31) broke the tie at 2:44 of the third period. . . . Dewar also had an assist. . . . Seattle was 0-1 on the PP; Everett was 0-4. . . . G Carter Hart recorded the victory with 23 saves. . . . Seattle got 37 stops from G Liam Hughes. . . . Announced attendance: 5,452.


At Red Deer, the Rebels overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the Swift Current Broncos, 5-3. . . . Red Deer (22-28-13) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the Red DeerCentral Division, six points behind Lethbridge. . . . Swift Current (43-14-5) had points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, two points behind Moose Jaw, which holds two games in hand. . . . F Brandon Hagel (12) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:28 of the second period. . . . The Broncos responded with three goals. . . . F Giorgio Estephan (27) scored at 2:39 of the second period, and F Matteo Gennaro (37) put the visitors ahead at 15:26. . . . F Glenn Gawdin (52) ran his point streak to 21 games, giving the Broncos a 3-1 lead at 7:03 of the third period. . . . The Rebels then tied it on two goals from F Grayson Pawlenchuk, who has 18, at 9:05 and 15:53. . . . F Chris Douglas (7) broke the tie at 16:50, and F Kristian Reichel (29) got the empty-netter, at 19:18. . . . The Rebels got two assists from F Mason McCarty, with Hagel adding one. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen had two assists for the Broncos. . . . Gawdin has 20 goals and 20 assists in his 21-game point streak. . . . Swift Current was 0-1 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-2. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 28 shots for the Rebels, one more than Swift Current’s Joel Hofer. . . . Announced attendance: 4,735.


At Moose Jaw, the Warriors jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (45-12-3) has tied its franchise record for victories in a MooseJawWarriorsseason that was set in 2011-12. It leads the overall standings, by two points over Swift Current. . . . Regina (33-25-6) had won its previous four games. It is third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Moose Jaw is 6-2-0 in the season series; Regina is 2-5-1. . . . Head coach Tim Hunter posted the 138th regular-season victory, moving to No. 1 on the Warriors’ career list. He had been sharing the record with Al Tuer. . . . F Tristin Langan (14) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 6:50 of the first period, with F Justin Almeida (34) adding another, on a PP, at 14:25. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs made it 3-0 with his WHL-leading 58th goal, at 12:15 of the second period. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle (11) got Regina on the scoreboard at 17:39. . . . F Robbie Holmes (15) pulled the Pats to within one at 7:28 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw was 1-2 on the PP; Regina was 0-2. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 28 stops. . . . The Pats got 23 saves from G Max Paddock. . . . D Jett Woo served the second of a three-game suspension, while D Dmitri Zaitsev (ill) also was among the scratches. . . . The Warriors have added D Daemon Hunt, 15, to their roster for the weekend. He was a first-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. Hunt has 40 points, including 36 assists, in 40 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Regina D Liam Schioler completed a two-game suspension by sitting out this one. . . . Announced attendance: 4,701.


At Edmonton, F Parker Kelly scored the only goal of the third period to give the Prince Albert Raiders a 5-4 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert (26-25-11) has won three PrinceAlbertin a row. It is two points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Each team has 10 games remaining. . . . Edmonton (18-35-8) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . The Oil Kings had an early 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Trey Fix-Wolansky (26), at 1:44, and D Conner McDonald (6), on a PP, at 5:47. . . . The Raiders took a 3-2 second-period lead on goals from D Vojtech Budik (10), on a PP, at 5:18; F Curtis Miske (21), at 5:52; and F Brett Leason, at 6:39. . . . Edmonton got back into a tie when D Wyatt McLeod scored his first WHL goal at 7:07. . . . Leason, who has goals in six straight games, broke that tie with his 16th goal at 12:04. . . . F David Kope (11) pulled the Oil Kings into a 4-4 tie at 18:34. . . . Kelly, playing in his 200th regular-season game, won it with his 26th goal, at 8:35 of the third period. . . . F Kody McDonald and F Regan Nagy each had two assists for the winners, with Kelly and Miske adding one each. . . . Fix-Wolansky had two assists and Kope one for Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings were 2-4 on the PP; the Raiders were 1-7. . . . Prince Albert got 25 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . G Josh Dechaine made 26 saves for Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 9,723.


At Spokane, F Kailer (Yammi) Yamamoto had a goal and two assists and F Jaret (JAD) Anderson-Dolan had three assists to lead the Chiefs to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay SpokaneChiefsIce. . . . Spokane (35-21-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Kootenay (25-36-3) has lost five straight. It is fourth in the Central Division, four points behind Red Deer. . . . As part of the night’s promotion, the Chiefs had nicknames on the backs of their jerseys. Those nicknames are included in the lineup in the above tweet. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead at 4:55 of the first period on a goal from F Milos (Fafs) Fafrak. . . . F Gillian Kohler (6) tied it for the Ice, at 9:10. . . . The Chiefs went out front 3-1 before the period ended, on goals from F Ethan (Dewey) McIndoe (20) and Yamamoto (18), shorthanded, at 19:06. . . . F Colton Veloso scored for the Ice at 2:10 of the second period, but the home team went up 5-2 on goals from F Jake (McGruber) McGrew (16), at 8:25 of the second, and D Ty (Smitty) Smith (13), at 3:38 of the third. . . . Veloso (23) got the Ice’s final goal, at 14:25. . . . The Chiefs also got two assists from F Riley (Woodsy) Woods, with McGrew and Fafrak each getting one. . . . Kootenay was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs got 12 stops from G Dawson (Weatherman) Weatherill. . . . G Matt Berlin stopped 31 shots for the Ice. . . . Announced attendance: 8,352.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans scored three first-period goals in the span of 2:34 and went on to a 6-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Tri-City (32-21-8) TriCity30has won three in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind Spokane. . . . Prince George (20-33-8) has lost three straight. . . . The Americans took control with three goals in the span of 2:34 early in the first period. . . . F Jordan Topping (35) got it started at 4:11, with D Juuso Valimaki making it 2-0 at 4:51 and F Paycen Bjorklund (2) adding another at 6:45. . . . The Americans went ahead 5-0 before the period ended, as Valimaki scored at 11:41 and F Parker AuCoin (17) counted at 19:20. . . . Valimaki completed his second career hat trick with his 11th goal at 10:18 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got their goal from D Ryan Schoettler (6) at 17:42. . . . D Anthony Bishop drew three assists for Tri-City, with F Isaac Johnson and F Nolan Yaremko each getting two. . . . Each team was 0-3 on the PP. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 19 shots for the Americans. . . . The Cougars started G Isaiah DiLaura, who gave up five goals on 14 shots in the first period. Tavin Grant played the last two periods, stopping 15 of 16 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 5,406.


At Victoria, F Cody Glass, who also had two assists, broke a 2-2 tie at 16:56 of the third period to give the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Royals. . . . Portland (37-Portland20-4) has won two in a row, having beaten the host Royals, 2-1, on Friday. The Winterhawks have clinched a playoff spot. They are second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind Everett. . . . Victoria (35-23-5) has lost two straight. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Kelowna and five ahead of Vancouver. . . . The Winterhawks went ahead 1-0 at 3:50 of the first period when F Kieffer Bellows scored on a PP. . . . Victoria F Noah Gregor got that one back, on a PP, at 17:08. . . . Bellows (32) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead 54 seconds into the second period, only to have Gregor (25) tie it, on a PP, at 6:28. . . . Glass got the winner, his 29th goal this season, on a PP. . . . The Winterhawks got three assists from D Dennis Cholowski. . . . Glass now has 200 career points in 190 regular-season games. . . . F Dante Hannoun had two assists for Victoria. . . . F Matthew Phillips of the Royals had his point streak snapped at 22 games. . . . Victoria was 2-4 on the PP; Portland was 2-6. . . . G Shane Farkas earned the victory with 21 saves. He also went the distance for Portland on Friday. . . . The Royals got 39 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Announced attendance: 7,006.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Kamloops Blazers, 6-5. . . . Kelowna (38-18-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Western KelownaRocketsConference, five points behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (27-31-5) has lost two in a row. It is six points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining. . . . Kelowna is 6-0-0) in the season series; Kamloops is 0-5-1. . . . The Rockets actually led this one 3-0, before giving up four goals in a span of 5:57 in the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube, who has 31 goals, scored for Kelowna at 10:51 and 18:46 of the first period, the latter coming via a PP. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (17) made it 3-0, on another PP, at 5:36 of the second period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (32) got the Blazers’ comeback started at 11:04. F Luc Smith (17), back after a two-week absence, made it 3-2 at 11:25, and F Nick Chyzowski (19) tied it, on a PP, at 14:25. D Nolan Kneen (5) gave Kamloops the lead, at 17:01. . . . The Rockets tied it at 12:50 of the third period as F Leif Mattson scored while shorthanded. . . . Kamloops F Orrin Centazzo (10) gave Kamloops a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 13:11. . . . The Rockets tied it at 13:40 as F Carsen Twarynski (38) struck, on a PP, then took the lead at 17:47 on Mattson’s 21st goal of the season. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of D Gordie Ballhorn and F Kole Lind, with Dube and Brutten-Cate adding one apiece. . . . Loewen had two assists for Kamloops, as did Kneen and F Quinn Benjafield. . . . Loewen went into this season with 14 goals and 18 assists in 170 games. This season, he has developed into one of the WHL’s top power forwards, with 32 goals and 24 assists in 57 games. . . . Kelowna was 3-6 on the PP; Kamloops was 2-6. . . . The Rockets got 23 saves from G Brodan Salmond, while G Dylan Ferguson stopped 31 shots at the other end. . . . The Rockets took 62 of the game’s 120 penalty minutes. Eight game misconducts, including one to Salmond, were handed out following a kerfuffle at the final buzzer. . . . Announced attendance: 5,324.


At Medicine Hat, F Cole Reinhardt’s overtime goal gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victor over the Tigers. . . . Brandon (32-24-5) had lost its previous two games. It is fourth BrandonWKregularin the East Division, three points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points up on Saskatoon. . . . Medicine Hat (31-24-8) is 3-0-1 in its past four games. It leads the Central Division, by four points over Lethbridge. . . . The Wheat Kings got off to a 1-0 lead at 8:44 on a goal by F Stelio Mattheos (37). . . . F Ryan Jevne (17) tied it for the Tigers, on a PP, at 17:31. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Wheat Kings went ahead 3-1 on goals from Reinhardt, at 4:43, and F Evan Weinger (26), shorthanded, at 11:19. . . . D David Quenneville (26) scored at 15:02 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . The home team tied it with 38.2 seconds left and the extra attacker on the ice when F Mark Rassell (46) scored the 100th regular-season goal of his career. . . .  Reinhardt scored his 15th goal of the season to win it at 1:06 of OT. . . . Mattheos added two assists to his goal. . . . Quenneville also had two assists, with Rassell and Jevne adding one each. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-4 on the PP; Brandon was 0-1. . . . The Wheat Kings got 31 saves from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . With G Michael Bullion ill, the Tigers gave Kaeden Lane his first WHL start, and he responded with 10 saves. Lane, 16, is from Burnaby, B.C. He plays for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team in the CSSHL. . . . Announced attendance: 3,226.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Saskatoon, 2:05 p.m.

Brandon at Calgary, 4 p.m.

Swift Current at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

Spokane at Everett, 4:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Paddock: Pats will play their best . . . Chico’s the man for Cougars . . . Tigers’ Shaw back on blades . . . Storm’s days numbered in Kamloops?


MacBeth

D Stefan Warg (Seattle, Prince Albert, 2008-10) has signed a two-year contract extension with Malmö (Sweden, SHL). This season, he has two goals and 10 assists in 44 games, while averaging 16:39 ice time per game.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The situation staring the Regina Pats squarely in the face is the elephant in the WHL’s room at the moment.

The Pats, as you are aware, will be the host team for the Memorial Cup when it opens in May.

You also will be aware that they got off to a horrendous start this season, and have ReginaPats100known for some time that they won’t finish first or second in the East Division, the Moose Jaw Warriors (40-9-3) and Swift Current Broncos (37-13-4) simply being too far ahead. The Pats (28-22-5) trail the Warriors by 22 points and the Broncos by 17.

For a while, the third-place Brandon Wheat Kings (29-19-5) had a healthy lead, too, but that was before they turned into sellers at the trade deadline. Since then, they have gone 2-7-3 and now resemble a middle-of-the-pack squad rather than one that was running third in the overall standings.

Going into weekend games, then, the Pats are two points behind the Wheat Kings.

And there’s the rub. . . .

The third-place finisher in the East Division will play No. 2 in the opening round of the playoffs, which is likely to be Swift Current.

Finish fourth and chances are you will be the first wild-card team, meaning a first-round date with the first-place team in the Central Division, either the Medicine Hat Tigers or Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The injury-riddled Tigers have a five-point edge on the hard-charging Hurricanes.

You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to know which is the easiest route.

Just don’t suggest to John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, that maybe, well, just maybe . . . you know . . .

“There’s a lot of hypotheticals,” he told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post.“One, be careful what you might wish for. Two, you can’t step on the ice as a player and you can’t go behind the bench as a coach without trying to win the game. It’s really just a joke (to suggest otherwise). You can’t go out and not play your best. . . .

“We’re not going to catch those top two teams. I’ve known that since October. But we’re going to have to play one or both at some point (in the playoffs). You want to play good and we also know we’re going to play in May and nobody else does. It’s very important to be playing better and better as the season goes on.”

Harder’s complete story is right here.


Chico Dhanjal worked his 700th WHL game with the Prince George Cougars on Jan. 31 while the team was on its East Division swing. A native of Saskatoon, the Cougars’ equipment manager celebrated 700 games during a game against the Pats in Regina.

Dhanjal, who seems to wear a perpetual smile, started with the Cougars in 2008-09, after working with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He has degrees in kinesiology and psychology from the U of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

The Cougars signed him to a three-year extension on Nov. 24, 2016.


The access ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash., home of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, lost US$361,861 in 2017, up from a loss of $155,268 the previous year. But, as Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter writes, city officials are “confident that the numbers show better days are ahead” for the facility. . . . Hunter’s story is right here.


F Mason Shaw, who has yet to play for the Medicine Hat Tigers this season, skated on Thursday for the first time at home since he suffered a knee injury in early September.

Shaw suffered a torn ACL while playing for the Minnesota Wild’s rookie team at an NHL Tigers Logo Officialpreseason tournament in Traverse City, Mich. He subsequently underwent surgery and only recently was cleared to resume skating.

CHAT News reported yesterday that Mason was wearing a non-contact jersey as he “skated several laps . . . by himself. It’s the first time he’s been on skates at his home rink, and the first time he was in full equipment since September.”

Shaw, 19, isn’t likely to play in the regular season, but hopes to be cleared for game action in time for the start of the playoffs.

It would be huge for the Tigers to get him back for playoff action. Last season, he finished with 27 goals and 67 assists in 71 games, then added 12 assists in 11 playoff games.

The Tigers (27-22-7) go into the weekend atop the Central Division, five points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes (25-21-6), who hold four games in hand.

Medicine Hat is really banged up, and is 3-4-3 in its last 10 games, while Lethbridge is 5-2-3.

The Tigers will play home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen (16-30-7) this weekend, opening tonight (Friday) in Medicine Hat and finishing Sunday afternoon in Calgary.

The Hurricanes are in Moose Jaw tonight and Regina on Saturday.


There is an interesting hockey story unfolding in Quesnel, B.C., where a group has been trying to land a junior B franchise, preferably in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

The West Fraser Centre will be home to a pair of games tonight (Kamloops Storm vs. 100 KamStormMile House Wranglers) and Saturday (Kamloops Storm vs. Myles Mattila and his Kelowna Chiefs in a game that also will promote mental health awareness).

Matt Kolle, the Storm’s assistant GM, is part of Parallel Sports Group, which has been working to bring junior B hockey to Quesnel. The KIJHL has twice rejected Quesnel-based expansion applications.

Kolle has told Melanie Law of the Quesnel Observer that the group now is looking at the possible relocation of an existing franchise. In that vein, Kolle told Law that the Storm’s management team has spent the past while reviewing its financial picture.

“In the next few weeks,” Kolle said, “we’ll know where Kamloops’ team stands. And (Parallel Sports Group) has also been having conversations with other (KIJHL) teams in financial strain that might be better off in Quesnel.

“It has always been something we would consider, but we wanted to see how the expansion bid would play out first.”

The Storm, owned by Barry Dewar, has played in Kamloops since relocating from Osoyoos, B.C., prior to the 2006-07 season.

Law’s complete story is right here.


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IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Spokane at Kelowna

Tri-City at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Lethbridge at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Regina, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Portland, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Spokane at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Pats extend coaching staff . . . Season over for two Oil Kings . . . Heponiemi burning it up

MacBeth

F Linden Vey (Medicine Hat, 2006-2011) signed a contract for the rest of the season with the ZSC Lions Zurich (Switzerland, NL A) after being released by Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL). He had 17 goals and 35 assists in 50 games with Barys Astana. Vey was third in the KHL in assists and points. Astana has been eliminated from KHL playoff contention.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Regina Pats have signed John Paddock, their general manager and head coach, Dave ReginaPats100Struch, the assistant GM and assistant coach, and assistant coach Brad Herauf to multi-year contract extensions. . . . No further details were released, but Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post reported that all three extensions were “for three-plus years.” . . . Paddock joined the Pats prior to the 2014-15 season. In three-plus seasons, he has a regular-season record of 149-83-31 and the Pats have reached at least the second round of playoffs each season. In 2016-17, the Pats set a franchise record with 52 regular-season victories, before losing out in the WHL’s championship series. He has twice been named the WHL’s coach of the year. . . . Struch is in his 12th season as a WHL coach. Like Paddock, he came to Regina prior to the 2014-15 season. . . . Herauf, a former head coach of the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, is in his third season with the Pats.


The Edmonton Oil Kings revealed via Twitter on Thursday that two players — G Travis Child and F Andrei Pavlenko — will miss the remainder of this season “due to shoulder surgery.” . . . Child, from Killam, Alta., is a 20-year-old so the injury means his junior hockey career is over. He got into 23 games with the Oil Kings this season, last playing on Dec. 15 when he left after the first period of a 5-0 loss to the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Pavlenko is a 17-year-old freshman from Minsk, Belarus. He had three goals and an assist in 20 games, but hasn’t played since Nov. 14.


F Aleksi Heponiemi of the Swift Current Broncos ran his point streak to 25 games in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime victory over the host Tri-City Americans. He had two goals, SCBroncosincluding the winner, and an assist in the victory.

In the 25 games, he has 19 goals and 43 assists. He has had two five- and two four-point games. There have been seven three-point outings, including each of the past two. He has enjoyed two-point games on nine occasions, and five times has had one point.

The Broncos will play Game 2 of a U.S. Division trek tonight in Portland.

Heponiemi last went pointless on Oct. 13 in a 1-0 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. The Finnish sophomore missed 10 games while playing at the WJC in Buffalo.

The longest point streak in WHL history lasted 56 games. F Jeff Nelson of the Prince Albert Raiders put up 108 points from Oct. 24, 1990, through March 6, 1991.

Second on the list is 47 games, which two members of the Regina Pats — Jock Callander (141 points) and Wally Schreiber (99 points) — did in 1981-82.

In 1980-81, Portland D Jim Benning had a 45-game streak during which he had 95 points.


A couple of notes from info supplied by Geoffrey Brandon (@GeoffreyBrandow):

F Matthew Phillips of the Victoria Royals had a goal and two assists Wednesday’s 4-2 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the Winterhawks in Portland. He now has 31 goals this season, the third straight season in which he has scored at least 30. He also has 40 assists for a second straight season.

In his last 15 games, during which he has been blanked twice, Phillips has 10 goals and 14 assists.

Meanwhile, F Tyler Soy of the Royals scored his 20th goal of the season in Portland. He is the first play with four straight 20-goal seasons since Tyson Baillie (Kelowna Rockets), Jackson Houck (Vancouver Giants/Calgary Hitmen), Luke Philp (Kootenay Ice/Red Deer Rebels) and Brayden Point (Moose Jaw Warriors) all did it from 2012-16.


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Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

Kamloops at Calgary 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Edmonton vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Portland, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Brandon vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Victoria vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY