Lamb, Matvichuk talk about Cougars . . . Montgomery sets Raiders’ record . . . Søgaard, Tigers shock Silvertips

MacBeth

F Nikita A. Popugayev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) has been released by mutual agreement by Amur Khabarovsk (Russia, KHL). He had one goal in 37 games. He also had four goals and four assists in nine games with Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk (Russia, MHL, the top junior league). . . . Popugayev started the season with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) and was assigned to their junior team, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (Russia, MHL), where he had two goals and an assist in three games. CSKA traded Popugayev to Amur on Sept. 9.


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Mark Lamb, in his first season as general manager of the Prince George Cougars, worked his first game as head coach on Friday night in a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna.

That loss left the Cougars riding a 12-game losing skid (0-9-3) was they head for Langley, PrinceGeorgeB.C., and a Sunday afternoon appointment with the B.C. Division-leading Vancouver Giants.

The Giants won twice in Prince George this week — 4-2 on Tuesday and 4-3 in OT on Wednesday.

The Cougars fired head coach Richard Matvichuk, who was in the last season of a three-year contract, after Wednesday’s game.

Lamb and Matvichuk talked about the move with Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen.

Here’s Lamb: “This has been ongoing for a while — I think it was inevitable that something was going to happen (Wednesday) night, win or lose. At the start of the (season) we talked about a lot of development and getting better all the time and we seemed to be stagnant and just kind of not getting better.

“It’s a lengthy streak and it’s hard on everybody — the coaches, the owners, office staff, everybody. It’s not a fun time and you just can’t keep it going. You have to do something to make it change.

“Whether he had one year or two years left was irrelevant on how we were thinking.”

Here’s Matvichuk: “When you go all-in, like we did two years ago, and you take a look at how many players were drafted in the last five years who aren’t even playing in the WHL, regardless of whether it’s a first-rounder or a seventh-rounder, the development curve wasn’t there.

“We knew as an organization last (season) when we decided to go into our rebuild it was going to be a struggle, and it was a struggle. We’re not far off where me and the coaching staff thought we’d be, right around 20 or 25 (wins) and fighting for that last playoff spot this year and that’s exactly where we’re at. Going through the season our goal was to get better every day, the playoffs was never an issue, it was about developing these kids to get ready for the next three years. It wasn’t about winning and losing, it was about making these players better every day and I truly believe that’s what we did.”

Clarke’s complete and thorough story is right here.


The AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines and Gord Thibodeau, their vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, have parted company. . . . Assistant coach Shawn Martin has taken over as interim GM/head coach. . . . “After 25 years of coaching, I have reached the inevitable point of hockey burnout,” Thibodeau said in a news release. “Moving forward I will take some time to rest, recharge and re-evaluate my future within the game of hockey.” . . . Thibodeau is the winningest head coach in WHL history, having put up 889 regular-season victories. . . . The Wolverines went into Friday at 19-30-2, good for seventh in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North. . . . Thibodeau, 55, has been coaching in the AJHL since 1994 spending time with the Fort Saskatchewan Traders, Lloydminster Blazers, St. Albert Saints, Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Lloydminster Bobcats and the Wolverines. . . . He also has battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on four different occasions since 1989, most recently in 2016.


D Kyle Chernenkoff had his BCHL playing career come to an end in January when Trailanother brain injury forced him to retire from the Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . An alternate captain, Chernenkoff, 20, now is a member of the Trail coaching staff. . . . “It wasn’t really a hard decision to make,” Chernenkoff told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times. “It was a decision made for me by the doctors. It was a hard pill to swallow so I took a couple days to come to terms with it myself, and then transitioning into the coaching and being with the team made it easier for me to make that transition.” . . . Bailey’s story is right here.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ben McCartney scored the only goal of a shootout as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the BrandonWKregularvisiting Swift Current Broncos, 3-2. . . . Brandon (23-21-7) had lost its previous two games. It now is six points from a playoff spot. . . . Swift Current (10-37-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Wheat Kings, who were 0-6 on the PP, fired 55 shots at Broncos G Riley Lamb, who is from Rivers, which is 30 km northwest of Brandon. . . . F Baron Thompson (6) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 17:49 of the first period, and D Braden Schneider (8) made it 2-0 at 13:48 of the second. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (13) got Swift Current’s first goal, at 18:48. . . . F Ethan O’Rourke (10) got the Broncos to OT with a goal at 18:40 of the third period. Yes, Lamb was on the bench for the extra attacker at the time. . . . McCartney, the second shooter in the first round, got the winner. . . . Brandon had a 21-6 edge in first-period shots, and it was 19-6 in the second period. . . . Brandon remains without G Jiri Patera (leg), but did get back D Braydyn Chizen from suspension and F Linden McCorrister from an undisclosed injury.


F Noah Gregor scored three times and added an assist as the Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertskated to an 8-2 victory over the Calgary Wranglers (aka Calgary Hitmen). . . Prince Albert (44-7-2) has won three in a row and leads the East Division by 18 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Calgary (27-20-5) had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). It is fifth in the Central Division, one point behind the Red Deer Rebels. The Hitmen also hold down the Eastern Conference’s second-wild card spot. . . . This was the third game of the three-game Corral Series in which the Hitmen saluted the three teams that have called the Corral home — the Centennials, Cowboys and Wranglers. . . . The Raiders swept the four-game season series, the first time in franchise history that they have done that with Calgary. . . . The Raiders took control of this one by scoring the game’s first four goals. . . . F Dante Hannoun (25) got it started, on a PP, at 7:33 of the first period, with F Cole Fonstad making it 2-0 at 8:37. . . . Gregor upped that to 3-0 at 3:12 of the second period, and D Sergei Sapego (8) made it 4-0 at 3:33. . . . F Riley Stotts (16) scored for Calgary at 16:20, but the Raiders opened the third period with four straight goals to take an 8-1 lead. . . . Fonstad, who has 24 goals, finished with two goals and three assists, giving him his first career five-point game. . . . Gregor completed his second career hat trick with his side’s last two goals. He has 33 goals. . . . F James Malm (22) scored Calgary’s second goal on a penalty shot at 17:03 of the third. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton left in the first period after being involved in a collision with Raiders F Brett Leason. McNaughton had skated out to the hash marks in pursuit of a puck that Leason was chasing. That meant that Carl Stankowski came off the bench to see his first playing time since Nov. 23 when he suffered an ankle injury. . . . McNaughton stopped five of seven shots in 8:58, with Stankowski giving up six goals on 38 shots in 51:02. . . . Prince Albert got 21 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . F Sean Montgomery of the Raiders, who is from Calgary, played in his 331st regular-season game to set a franchise record. F Brett Novak (2000-06) had held the previous record. . . . Montgomery, 20, was a sixth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He has played 65, 72, 69, 72 and now 53 games in each of his regular-seasons. . . . Montgomery had one assist last night, and now has 134 points, including 64 goals, in 331 games. This season, he has career highs in goals (21), assists (28) and points (49). . . . F Justin Nachbaur of the Raiders sat out Game 2 of a three-game suspension. . . . The Hitmen are without D Dakota Krebs, D Egor Zamula, F Jake Kryski and F Hunter Campbell.


D Josh Brook scored 35 seconds into OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Moose Jaw (29-13-8) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the East Division, six points behind the Saskatoon Blades with three games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (27-15-10) has points in four straight (2-0-2). It is tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Warriors, who got 47 saves from G Adam Evanoff, were 3-3 on the PP. . . . F Jake Elmer (21) put the Hurricanes ahead at 5:20 of the first period, only to have Brook tie it at 8:23. . . . Lethbridge went ahead 3-1 on goals from D Calen Addison (9), at 8:54, and F Taylor Ross (25), on a PP, at 0:19 of the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida, who also had two assists, got Moose Jaw into a tie with two second-period PP goals, at 6:53 and 15:54. He’s got 23 goals. . . . Brook, who also had two assists, won it with his 12th goal of the season. . . . The Warriors got three assists from F Brayden Tracey. . . . Elmer added two assists to his goal for Lethbridge. . . . The Hurricanes were 1-5 on the PP. . . . Moose Jaw had F Tristin Langan back after he served a one-game suspension, but now is without D Jett Woo, who will sit for two games after taking a charging major and game misconduct in a 6-1 loss to the Blades in Saskatoon on Wednesday. Woo also will miss tonight’s game in Red Deer against the Rebels.


D Ryker Evans scored at 2:37 of OT to give the Regina Pats a 3-2 victory over the Rebels in PatsRed Deer. . . Regina (15-36-3) is 26 points from a playoff spot with 14 games remaining. . . . Red Deer (28-18-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, four points out of third and one up on the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Red Deer went up 1-0 when F Cam Hausinger (17) scored at 1:35 of the second period. . . . Regina tied it on F Ty Kolle’s 12th goal, on a PP, at 2:39. . . . F Brett Davis (16) put Red Deer back in front, on a PP, at 10:14. . . . Regina tied it when F Logan Nijhoff (4) scored at 15:24. . . . Evans won it when he scored his first WHL goal on a PP. A 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, Evans scored in his 31st games. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel drew an assist on his club’s second goal to tie the franchise’s career record of 161. He now shares it with F Arron Asham (1994-98). . . . Regina had D Tyson Feist back after a four-game absence, while F Brandon Dubinsky completed a four-game suspension by missing this game. . . . The Rebels had D Alex Alexeyev back in their lineup. He missed six games since last playing on Jan. 19.


Freshman F Lukas Svejkovsky had a goal and two assists, and veteran F Tristen Nielsen Vancouverhad two goals and an assist, to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-1 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (36-13-3) has won four in a row, including the last three on the road. . . . The Giants now are 20-3-2 against the other B.C. Division teams. They lead the division by 20 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kamloops (20-26-5) had points in each of its previous three games (1-0-2). It is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets, who are to visit Kamloops tonight. The Blazers also are one point behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Svejkovsky, who opened the scoring on Jan. 30 when the Giants won, 3-2 in OT, in Kamloops, did it again, this time at 16:07 of the first period. It was his sixth goal of the season. . . . F Connor Zary (13) pulled Kamloops even, on a PP, at 12:33 of the second period. . . . The Giants won it on two goals from Nielsen in the third period. He got his eighth goal at 12:44, then added insurance, on a PP, at 14:42. Both goals came off slick passes from F Jadon Joseph, with Svejkovsky getting the secondary assist each time. . . . Nielsen also had an assist on Svejkovsky’s goal. . . . Vancouver G Trent Miner, who finished with 26 saves, appeared to be shaken up halfway through the third period when he stumbled and went down on his own behind the Giants’ net. Mike Burnstein, the athletic therapist, went out to chat with Miner as he was stretching his irons, but the goaltender stayed in and finished up. . . . The Blazers got 31 stops from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . Each team was 1-6 on the PP as both goaltenders stood tall. . . . With F Ryley Appelt still out with a finger injury incurred in a fight, the Blazers had F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, in the lineup for his sixth game of the season. Stankoven plays for the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He leads the league in goals (40), assists (36) and points (76), all in 31 games. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi missed this one as he began serving a three-game suspension. . . . D Dallas Hines was one of Vancouver’s scratches. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw played in his 300th regular-season game. The team captain, he has played 95 games with Vancouver, after starting his career by playing 179 with the Victoria Royals, then 26 with the Red Deer Rebels.


F Mark Liwiski broke a 3-3 tie in the third period as the Kelowna Rockets scoured the KelownaRocketsgame’s last three goals to get past the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-3. . . . Kelowna (22-26-5) is third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Prince George (16-31-6) has lost 12 in a row (0-9-3) and is eight points from a playoff spot. . . . The Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from D Cole Moberg (11), on a PP, at 13:13, and F Josh Curtis, at 16:13. . . . F Nolan Foote halved Kelowna’s deficit while shorthanded, at 18:14. . . . Curtis stretched the lead to 3-1 with his 11th goal, on a PP, at 19:07. . . . D Cayde Augustine pulled the Rockets to within a goal with his his first goal of the season, on a PP, at 9:20 of the second period. . . . That also was Augustine’s first WHL point and came in his 28th game. He’s a 17-year-old from Airdrie, Alta. . . . Foote’s 28th goal, at 8:05 of the third period, tied it, and Liwiski won it with his sixth goal, at 12:10. . . . G Roman Basran came on in relief for the Rockets and stopped all 15 shots he faced through two periods to earn the victory. . . . G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George’s starter, left the game at 9:05 of the third period with an injury. There wasn’t a penalty on the play. He had stopped 17 of 20 shots. Tyler Brennan, 15, came on to make his WHL debut, and stopped four of five shots. . . . Brennan, from Winnipeg, was the 21st-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He is on the roster with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Kelowna F Conner Bruggen-Cate completed a two-game suspension by sitting out.


The Portland Winterhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the PortlandSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Portland (33-15-5) is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Seattle (20-26-6) has lost two in a row. It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 44th goal at 2:07 of the first period. . . . D John Ludvig (4) made it 2-0 at 10:41. . . . F Lane Gilliss (13) upped the lead to 3-0 at 11:18 of the second period. . . . Seattle cut into the deficit at 16:13 of the third period as F Matthew Wedman (26) scored, on a PP. . . . F Josh Paterson’s 20th goal, into an empty net, wrapped it up for the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle was 1-6 on the PP; Portland was 0-2. . . . G Shane Farkas earned the victory with 25 saves, one more than Seattle’s Cole Schwebius. . . . Farkas now is 9-1-0 in his career against Seattle. . . . Portland continues to play without F Cody Glass (knee). . . . Seattle D Simon Kubicek left in the first period and didn’t return. He is expected to miss some time with an undisclosed injury. . . . D Jarret Tyszka was back in Seattle’s lineup after missing a couple of games, but F Nolan Volcan remains out. . . . Attendance on a stormy night was announced as 2,688.


F Ethan McIndoe scored two goals and added two assists, and D Nolan Reid had a goal SpokaneChiefsand three helpers, as the Spokane Chiefs dumped the visiting Victoria Royals, 8-3. . . . Spokane (28-17-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Victoria (26-22-3) is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Victoria actually held a 3-2 lead late in the first period, but then surrendered the game’s last six goals. . . . The Chiefs held a 49-31 edge in shots, including 20-14 in the first period and 21-8 in the third. They were 4-8 on the PP and won 46 of 74 faceoffs. . . . Spokane F Luc Smith (23) tied the game 3-3 at 17:45 of the first period. . . . McIndoe, who has 12 goals, broke the tie at 8:55, and Spokane later added four third-period goals. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored his seventh goal of the season for Spokane, and it was the 100th of his career. . . . Spokane F Connor Gabruch, who didn’t score for the first 34 games of his freshman season, scored his second goal in two games. . . . F Jake McGrew (23) and F Luke Toporowski (16) added goals for the winners, who in the third period scored three times on the PP and once while shorthanded. . . . Reid, who has two four-point games during his 315-game career, now has 12 goals this season. . . . D Mitchell Prowse (3), F Kaid Oliver (22) and F Kody McDonald, on a PP, scored for the Royals, who began a five-game road swing with this one.


F Parker AuCoin scored three times and added two assists to lead the Tri-City Americans tri-cityto a 7-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (28-19-3) has won three straight games. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind the Spokane Chiefs. The Americans hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, 13 points ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kootenay (11-34-8) has lost two in a row. . . . F Peyton Krebs (18) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 6:22 of the first period, with AuCoin tying it, on a PP, at 11:49. . . . The Ice then took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Cole Muir (11), at 15:37, and F Holden Kodak (1), at 16:33. Holden, a 17-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., got his first WHL goal in his 40th game, 38 of them this season. . . . The Americans scored the games next five goals to take control. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (19) made it a one-goal game at 17:05. . . . F Krystof Hrabik scored while shorthanded at 13:38 of the second period to tie the score, and AuCoin’s 29th goal gave Tri-City the lead at 14:53. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund (4) and AuCoin, with his 30th goal, added insurance before the period ended. . . . In the third period, Hrabik got his 13th goal for the winners, with F Jakin Smallwood (10) counting for the ice. . . . AuCoin enjoyed his first career hat trick and his first five-point game.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 41 shots to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 1-0 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialhost Everett Silvertips. . . . Medicine Hat (30-18-4) has won three in a row. The Tigers are tied for second with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Everett (37-13-2) had won its past four games. It leads the U.S. Division by five points over the Portland Winterhawks, with the Silvertips holding a game in hand. . . . Søgaard, a 6-foot-7 freshman from Denmark, was hot right from the start, as he stopped 17 shots in the first period. . . . F James Hamblin scored the game’s only goal, his 29th, on a PP at 16:40 of the second period. . . . Everett got 28 saves from G Dustin Wolf. . . . This was a battle of two of the league’s best goaltenders. . . . Søgaard now is 14-4-4, 2.24, .933. . . . Wolf is 33-12-1, 1.81, .931.


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Rockets lose forward to retirement . . . Warriors win second game in B.C. . . . Red-hot Byram sparks Giants’ victory

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The Kelowna Rockets announced on Wednesday morning that F Erik Gardiner has retired.

Gardiner, an alternate captain, was in his third season with the Rockets. The Regina Pats KelownaRocketsselected him in the second round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

The Rockets acquired Gardiner and D James Hilsendager from Regina on Nov. 30, 2016, for D Jonathan Smart.

This season, Gardiner had five goals and 18 assists in 39 games. In 114 career regular-season games — four with Regina and 110 with Kelowna — he had 16 goals and 35 assists.

Gardiner, 19, is from Humboldt. He played minor hockey in the Saskatchewan community and also played 25 games with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos in 2016-17. Yes, he lost friends in the April 6 crash involving the Broncos’ bus.

“Due to health and personal reasons, I thought it was time to step away,” Gardiner said in a news release. “I want to focus on different things and take care of myself.”

Gardiner was limited to 31 games in 2017-18, losing a chunk in the middle of the season after being struck on the head while blocking a shot during a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Oct. 27. The impact of the shot actually broke his visor, but Gardiner returned and drew the primary assist on the winning goal.

Here’s what Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice, wrote on his blog at the time:

“With many in the building gasping as Gardiner went down in considerable pain and the replay was shown on the video screen, Gardiner took off his helmet, rubbed his head a few times before eventually making his way to his feet. Surprisingly, Gardiner stayed in the game, blocked another key shot on an Americans’ power play in overtime and then set up Carsen Twarynski for the game winner.”

One night later, Gardiner was in the lineup again, picking up two primary assists in a 4-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Kelowna.

However, he didn’t play again until Feb. 9 as he tried to overcome post-concussion symptoms.

In mid-April, Gardiner spoke about his Humboldt connections with Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier. That story is right here.

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The GSL Group, which owns the WHL’s Victoria Royals, has purchased the Delta Hockey Academy from the Delta, B.C., School District, for $1. The academy is based out of Planet Ice in North Delta, a facility owned by the GSL Group, which was founded by Graham Lee. . . . Sandor Gyarmati of the Delta Optimist has the story right here.

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The junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, who play out of Armstrong, B.C., have signed Dean McAmmond as their head coach, replacing the fired John Van Horlick. . . . Van Horlick was dismissed last week, with assistant coaches Liam Mconie and Graham Watkins running the team for a bit. They remain on staff to work with McAmmond, a former WHL and NHL forward. Joey Guerra also remains on staff. . . . Dallas Keller, the Knights’ general manager, told the Vernon Morning Star that Van Horlick will be staying with the organization as a scout and consultant. . . . That story is right here.

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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Kootenay Ice erased a 2-1 deficit with three straight goals en route to a 4-3 victory Kootenaynewover the Pats in Regina. . . . Kootenay (10-29-7) has won two in a row. Of its 10 victories, six are on home ice and four came in Saskatchewan. With the victory, the Ice moved ahead of the Pats by one point. . . . The Ice went into Tuesday’s game in Swift Current, where it beat the Broncos, 2-0, having won twice since Nov. 1. . . . Regina (12-31-2) has lost eight straight (0-7-1). . . . D Brady Poteau (2) gave the Pats a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:03 of the first period. . . . The Ice tied it on a goal by F Austin Schellenberg (3) at 12:08. . . . The Pats went back in front at 1:58 of the second period as F Sebastian Streu (5) scored, on a PP. . . . The Ice took a 4-2 lead on goals from F Jakin Smallwood (6), on a PP, at 4:32; D Valtteri Kakkonen (1), at 11:09; and F Davis Murray (7), at 1:38 of the third. . . . Regina F Duncan Pierce (6) made  it a one-goal game at 6:11 but the Pats weren’t able to get another goal. . . . Kakkonen, a freshman from Finland, scored his first goal in his 36th game. . . . Regina was 2-9 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-5. . . . The Ice got 26 saves from G Curtis Meger, who was making his first appearance since joining the team from the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. Meger, 20, is from Regina. Last season, he got into 27 games with the Prince Albert Raiders, going 8-10-6, 3.43, .886. . . . The Ice scratched F Jaeger White, who may have been injured while blocking a shot late in Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. White scored the game’s first goal and added an assist in that victory.

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F James Hamblin’s shootout goal gave the host Medicine Hat Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Tigers Logo OfficialEdmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (24-16-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Edmonton (24-14-8) has points in four straight and now is atop the Central Division by two points over idle Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton leads the season series, 3-0-1; Medicine Hat is 1-1-2. Yes, three of the four games have gone to extra time. . . . The Tigers are fourth in the Central Division, one point out of third. . . . D Ethan Cap (5) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the first period, with the Tigers tying it on a goal by F Corson Hopwo (2), at 10:43. . . . D Wyatt McLeod (3) put the Oil Kings back in front at 19:57. . . . The Tigers tied it, again, at 4:35 of the third as F Ryan Jevne got his 21st goal. . . . Edmonton went in front, again, at 12:45 as F Josh Williams (10) scored, on a PP. That was his first goal with Edmonton since coming over from Medicine Hat in a Jan. 10 deal. . . . The Tigers forced OT when F Ryan Chyzowski (15) struck with 34.3 seconds left in regulation time. Chyzowski hadn’t played since Jan. 5 when he suffered a skate cut near a knee. . . . Hamblin, who had two assists, was the first shooter in the shootout and the only one to score. . . . Each team took one minor penalty. . . . The Tigers lost G Mads Søgaard with 5:16 left in the second period. He left after being involved in a collision with Jevne. . . . The Tigers were trailing 2-1 at the time. Jordan Hollett came on to stop 12 of 13 shots and record the victory. . . . D Matthew Robertson returned for the Oil Kings. He hadn’t played since Dec. 29.

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The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last five goals and beat the Rockets, 5-1, in MooseJawWarriorsKelowna. . . . Moose Jaw (23-11-7) has won two in a row as it has opened its B.C. Division trek with back-to-back victories. It is third in the East Division, five points behind idle Saskatoon and with four games in hand on the Blades. . . . Kelowna (17-22-4) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, three points ahead of Prince George. . . . Last season, the Rockets finished atop the B.C. Division, at 43-22-7, so have already equalled that loss total. . . . Things aren’t about to get any easier for the Rockets, either, as they are scheduled to meet the Silvertips in Everett on Friday, then hurry home to face the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday. . . . The Warriors won the faceoff battle, 37-22. . . . F Carson Denomie (2) got the Warriors started at 4:08 of the first period. It was his first goal since Moose Jaw acquired him from Kamloops last week. . . . F Justin Almeida (14) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 15:08 of the second period. . . . D Jett Woo (8) upped it to 3-0 at 19:36. . . . The Warriors got third-period goals from F Drae Gardiner (1) and F Daniil Stepanov (5) before F Kyle Topping (16) scored for the Rockets. . . . D Josh Brook drew three assists, giving him five in the first two games of the B.C. Division trip. He has nine goals and 35 assists in 32 games. . . . G Brodan Salmond earned the victory with 18 saves. He spent the previous two seasons with the Rockets, but was released over the summer. This season, he is 13-4-4, 2.84, .900. . . . Kelowna’s lone scratch was D Matt Barberis, who has yet to play since being acquired from the Vancouver Giants. With the departures of D Libor Zabransky (released) and F Erik Gardiner (retired), the Rockets have only 21 players on their roster.

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The Prince Albert Raiders broke a 2-2 tie with four goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the PrinceAlbertCougars in Prince George. . . . The Raiders (38-5-1) have won three in a row and lead the East Division by 19 points over Saskatoon. This was the start of a B.C. Division tour that continues Friday in Kamloops. . . . The Cougars (16-23-3) had won their previous two games. They hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, a point ahead of idle Seattle. . . . The Raiders took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from F Sean Montgomery (19) and F Parker Kelly (21). . . . The Cougars tied it on goals from F Jackson Leppard (9), at 16:46 of the first period, and F Mike MacLean (4), at 2:40 of the second. . . . Prince Albert F Aliaksei Protas (8) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 10:51. . . . The visitors put it away with three third-period goals, from F Cole Fonstad (17), F Justin Nachbaur (11) and F Noah Gregor (27). . . . G Taylor Gauthier, making his seventh straight start for the Cougars, stopped 43 shots. . . . The Raiders got 23 stops from G Ian Scott, who now is 26-4-1, 1.78, .937. . . . F Ilijah Colina returned to the Cougars’ lineup after last playing on Dec. 30.

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D Bowen Byram’s goal in OT gave the Vancouver Giants a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City VancouverAmericans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Vancouver (27-12-2) has won four in a row and leads the B.C. Division by 11 points over idle Victoria. . . . Tri-City (21-16-3) has lost two straight. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card berth. . . . The Americans jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Riley Sawchuk (13) and F Sasha Mutala (11). . . . Vancouver went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Jadon Joseph, F Davis Koch (14) and D Bowen Byram. . . . F Kyle Olson (11) got Tri-City into a 3-3 tie at 14:59. . . . Joseph gave Vancouver a 4-3 lead with his 15th goal with 0.6 left in the second. . . . The Americans tied it at 1:56 of the third period when F Parker AuCoin (23) scored on a penalty shot. . . . Byram, who also had an assist, won it with his 15th goal of the season, at 2:39 of OT. . . . Byram has points in seven straight games, with six goals and eight assists over that stretch. In 41 games, he now has 15 goals and 27 assists. . . . Joseph added an assist to his two goals, while Koch had two assists and now has three straight three-point outings. He has 14 goals and 30 assists in 41 games.

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

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

MacBeth

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


ThisThat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Monday’s action

No. of trades: 3.

Players: 4.

Bantam draft picks: 3.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 8.

Players: 21.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 3.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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A father says thanks to Portland . . . Winterhawks complete sweep in Kamloops . . . Raiders perfect after seven . . . Royals now 5-0-0


MacBeth

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Gyergyói HK Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga) after being released by Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga). He was pointless in two games with Michalovce. . . .

D Colby Robak (Brandon, 2006-10) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sport Vaasa (Finland, Liiga). Last season, the with the Stockton Heat (AHL), he had three goals and nine assists in 45 games. He was named the Man of the Year by the Heat for his outstanding contributions to the Stockton community and charitable organizations.


ThisThat

When a junior-aged hockey player gets traded, sometimes we are inclined to read about the transaction and then go on to the next one. But there is a lot that goes on when a player is moved from one team to another.

Earlier this week, the Portland Winterhawks traded F Ty Kolle, 18, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft.

After the deal was done, Kolle’s father, Matt, took the time to visit the Winterhawks Booster Club’s Facebook page and leave the following message, which might provide some insight (a tip of the fedora to Pat Nolan in Kanagawa, Japan, for the lead):

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To Portland Winterhawks, Billets, Fans:

I have been very quiet during Ty’s time in Portland, but I want to ensure the Kolle family’s appreciation is heard.

As a family, the Kolles would like to thank you all.

Mike Johnston and staff have done nothing short of providing Ty a first-class opportunity in hockey. In conversation with Ty as he drove towards Lethbridge, he spoke of how much respect he has for Mike. We thank Mike and we assure Portland you are in great hands.

As far as billets go, Vandy, you made Ty a part of your family and your family went far and above what a billet family needs to do. Your family has a special place in our hearts and we look forward to keeping things going in the future.

Dante (Giannuzi), enjoy these folks as as they will ensure you are in the best environment to succeed.

To the fans of Portland, all I can say is “Wow!” . . . first class and big league. I truly enjoy the passion of the sport of hockey and coming to Portland to watch my son play was a first-class experience. It was a big-league experience. The passion, flair and true support for the team by the fans is at another level.

Overall, the Portland experience is something Ty and family will relish forever.

In talking with Ty, he is excited about the opportunity in front of him in Lethbridge. He is thankful for Portland for enabling the opportunity and Lethbridge for providing it. He is appreciative of the opportunity and more than excited to get started.

He drove 13 hours to ensure he is in the lineup to play the game he loves on Friday night.

Again, from Ty’s family, we thank you.

Cheers,

Matt Kolle

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If you’re wondering, Pat Nolan wasn’t able to watch the Winterhawks’ 5-3 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers on Friday. He said he was driving from Sagamihara to Osaka for a bowling tournament. However, the Winterhawks are to meet the Silvertips in Everett tonight and Nolan said he’ll be watching. As he pointed out, “Saturday night’s game starts at 11 a.m. Sunday here.)



A new feature popped up on the WHL website this week — at least, it was new to me. Headlined WHL XX Journal: Thanksgiving thoughts & gravy for the Raiders, it was written by Tyler Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, and is loaded with information and tidbits. . . . You will find it right here.

Meanwhile, the SJHL has taken a similar approach with a piece written by Dave Leaderhouse that was posted on its website on Friday. This one is headlined ‘Light schedule leads into short break for Thanksgiving holiday weekend.’ Like the piece on the WHL site, it’s full of tidbits, and it’s all right here.

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Former NHL D Chris Pronger will be the guest speaker at the 10th annual Off The Leash Luncheon in support of the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey program on Nov. 1. The fun is scheduled for Prairieland Park in Saskatoon and it all gets started at 11:30 a.m. . . . There’ll be lots of laughs, too, because comedian Kelly Taylor will be the emcee. . . . Individual tickets are $125, and Friends of the Dogs sponsorship packages, each of which includes a full table, are $1,250. . . . Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased through PICATIC at : http://www.picatic.com/offtheleashluncheon2018. . . . For more information, call Matt at 306-222-7475. . . .

If you aren’t aware, there is much excitement in Saskatoon this weekend as the Huskies women’s team opened the new arena — Merlis Belsher Place — with a 1-0 victory over the Alberta Pandas. G Jessica Vance stopped 24 shots to record the shutout. She is the daughter of Liane and Bruce Vance. Bruce, who now works for the City of Prince Albert, spent more than 20 years working in the WHL, with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders. He is a member of the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame. . . . The U of S men’s hockey team is home to the Calgary Dinos next weekend.


Ron Kraft, who spent one season (1997-98) as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats, now is coaching a pee wee team in Houston, Texas. He has his team in Red Deer this weekend for a Thanksgiving tournament. Sheldon Spackman of rdnewsnow.com has more right here.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Portland Winterhawks erased a 3-2 deficit with two goals in the opening 1:36 of the Portlandthird period and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . The Winterhawks, who have won three straight, had beaten the host Blazers, 7-3, on Wednesday night. . . . Kamloops has lost four straight. . . . Last night, each team scored twice on the PP. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice — once on the PP and once shorthanded — and added an assist for Portland. . . . Blichfeld has six goals and seven assists in six games. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen was tossed with a headshot major at 10:12 of the first period for a hit on Portland D Matthew Quigley, who left the game and didn’t return. The Winterhawks scored twice in the final 30 seconds of Loewen’s major. . . . Loewen could end up being suspended before the Blazers entertain the unbeaten Victoria Royals tonight. . . . Portland F Ryan Hughes scored once in his return to Portland’s lineup. He missed the first five games with an ankle or foot injury, one that at one time required a walking boot. . . . If last night was any indication, both teams have some work to do in the discipline department. . . . The Blazers and Winterhawks will complete their regular-season series in Portland on Oct. 27 and 28. . . .


D Josh Brook scored his third goal of the season 16 seconds into OT to give the host MooseJawWarriorsMoose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Brook also had two assists. . . . D Jett Woo was in Moose Jaw’s lineup for the first time this season. A second-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft, he had what was reported was a minor knee procedure early in September. As a result, he missed Vancouver’s training camp and also sat out Moose Jaw’s. . . . This was the third meeting of the young season between these teams. Brandon is 2-0-1 in the three games; Moose Jaw is 1-2-0. . . .


F Jake Leschyshyn scored twice to lead the Regina Pats to a 6-5 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Leschyshyn has three goals. . . . The outcome left the Pats at 1-4-0, while the Broncos slipped to 0-5-0. . . . D Aaron Hyman and F Nick Henry each had three assists for Regina. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Swift Current D Matthew Stanley was involved in a one-man fight at 5:48 of the third period. Earlier in the week, D Cade McNelly of the Seattle Thunderbirds drew a three-game suspension for just such a penalty during a game in Portland on Sept. 29.


G Dorrin Luding stopped 42 shots to help the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Luding was making his first start of the season. This was his second career shutout, but his first with the Blades. He had one shutout in 11 appearances last season with the Everett Silvertips. . . . F Kirby Dach’s fifth goal of the season, at 7:35 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . D Dawson Davidson of the Blades recorded his 100th regular-season when he got in on his club’s third goal. . . .


F Connor Dewar’s fourth goal of the season, 17 seconds into OT, gave the host Everett EverettSilvertips a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . G Cole Schwebius stopped 39 shots for the Thunderbirds in first WHL start. Schwebius, 17, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . G Liam Hughes, the Thunderbirds’ No. 1 guy, is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. With Hughes out, Seattle had Eric Ward, 17, on the bench in a backup role. . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk (4) tied the game at 19:03 of the third period. He has goals in four straight games. . . . Everett F Sean Richards took a headshot major and game misconduct at 14:02 of the third period. That was for a hit on Seattle D Reece Harsch, who needed on-ice help from trainer Phil Varney and didn’t return to the game and is doubtful for a game tonight against the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . .


F Peyton Krebs scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Kootenay Ice a 5-4 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (2) of the Oil Kings forced OT with a goal at 19:55 of the third period. . . .


The Prince Albert Raiders ran their season-opening record to 7-0-0 with a 5-1 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . F Noah Gregor scored his first two goals of the season and added an assist. Both of his goals were shorthanded, the last one into an empty net. . . . Prince Albert got 39 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders, who opened the 1985-86 season with eight straight victories, visit the Red Deer Rebels tonight. . . .


F Josh Williams scored the only goal of a shootout to give the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Tigers (2-4-1) had lost their previous five games. . . . F Riley Woods (5) pulled Spokane into a 2-2 tie at 18:55 of the third period. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard blocked 39 shots through OT and then was perfect in the three-round shootout. . . .


G David Tendeck turned aside 24 shots as the Vancouver Giants opened a weekend doubleheader with a 3-0 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . That was Tendeck’s fourth career shutout. . . . The teams played through two scoreless periods before F Owen Hardy (2) scored at 5:11 of the third period. . . .


The Victoria Royals built up a 4-1 lead and hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Rockets in VictoriaRoyalsKelowna. . . . F D-Jay Jerome (3) gave the Royals a 4-1 lead at 10:18 of the second period, on the PP. . . . The Rockets got close on goals from D Lassi Thomson (3) and F Leif Mattson (6), the latter at 12:31 of the third, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . Victoria now is 5-0-0 as it travels to Kamloops for a Saturday night date with the Blazers. . . . F Liam Kindree scored once in his return to the Kelowna lineup after missing the first six games. He was injured during an exhibition game in Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (1-6-0) visit the Seattle Thunderbirds of Kent, Wash., tonight.


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

MacBeth

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

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

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


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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.

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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.

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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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Blades forward retires . . . Royals deal for Lees . . . Giants make move on radio dial, sign draft pick


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D Brent Regner (Vancouver, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with the Texas Stars (AHL), he had 10 goals and 21 assists in 66 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .

D Nick Walters (Everett, Brandon, Lethbridge, 2010-15) signed a tryout contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had five goals and 14 assists in 50 games. . . . Walters has applied for German citizenship and his application is under consideration by the authorities. The contract converts to a one-year contract when/if his application is approved. . . .

D Jaynen Rissling (Calgary, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had one goal and two assists in five games with the Allen Americans (ECHL); three goals and 10 assists in 36 games with the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL); and three goals and 11 assists in 21 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL).


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F Caleb Fantillo of the Saskatoon Blades announced via Twitter on Wednesday evening that he is retiring. Fantillo, 20, is from Coquitlam, B.C. Last season, he had seven goals and three assists in 38 games with the Blades. He missed time with rib and knee injuries. . . . In 88 regular-season games with the Blades, he put up 12 goals and seven assists. Before being dealt to the Blades, he had six goals and nine assists in 70 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Saskatoon acquired Fantillo on Oct. 13, 2016, giving up a sixth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft in the exchange. . . . He had been a sixth-round pick by the Tigers in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . According to a news release from the Blades, Fantillo “plans to get a jump start on a future career in the health and fitness industry.”


The Victoria Royals have acquired F Tyler Lees, 18, from the Saskatoon Blades for a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Lees, from Regina, had two goals and an assist in 20 games with the Blades last season. . . . Saskatoon selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft.


The Vancouver Giants announced Thursday morning that their games will be heard on Sportsnet 650 in 2018-19. . . . According to a news release, “Sportsnet’s Vancouver-based Vancouverall-sports radio station . . . will broadcast all Vancouver Giants games live . . .” The length of the agreement wasn’t revealed. . . . Sportsnet 650 also holds the radio broadcast rights to the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . Dan O’Connor will return for a second season as the radio voice of the Giants. Before joining the Giants, he was the voice of the Prince George Cougars. . . . Last season, the Giants’ rights belonged to TSN 1040. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a look right here at the arrangement between the Giants and Sportsnet 650.

Later in the day, the Giants announced the signing of F Lukas Svejkovsky, who is from Point Roberts, Wash. Svejkovsky, who will turn 17 on Nov. 23, was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he had five goals and six assists in 16 regular-season games with the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. He missed a good chunk of the season with due to injury. . . . His father, Jaroslav (Yogi), played one season (1995-96) with the Tri-City Americans, putting up 58 goals and 43 assists in 70 games. He has been the Giants’ skills coach since 2006.


Two WHL players — F Jordy Bellerive of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and D Josh Brook of Canadathe Moose Jaw Warriors — have been scratched from Canada’s roster for the World Junior Showcase that is scheduled to open in Kamloops on June 28. . . . Bellerive, 19, was injured in an accident involving a bonfire last month near Calgary, while Brook, 19, may be nursing a wrist injury. He suffered a wrist injury in a rookie camp with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens prior to last season and later underwent surgery. This summer, he missed the Canadiens’ development camp with what has been reported as another wrist injury. . . . Hockey Canada also announced that F Robert Thomas, 19, of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs has been scratched. . . . The three injured players still are expected to be at the camp. . . . Added to the Canadian roster were F Liam Foudy, 18, of the OHL’s London Knights, D Markus Phillips, 19, of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack, and F Akil Thomas, 18, of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs.


Tanner Cochrane of Kamloops has joined the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks as an assistant coach. Cochrane, 25, spent the previous two seasons with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who are based in Kamloops. . . . In Salmon Arm, he joins Scotty Atkinson, the general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Brett Knowles.


The MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons have added Calvin Bugyik to their front office as an assistant coach. For the past two seasons, he has been an assistant coach with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild, who have won two straight league titles. . . . In Steinbach, he will work alongside GM/head coach Paul Dyck. . . . Bugyik replaces Joey Moggach, who had been with the Pistons for two seasons. He left the club after last seasons in order to spend more time at his full-time job and with family.