The long farewell drags to an end in Vancouver . . . Hitmen finally solve Rebels. . . . Royals romp in Kelowna

THINKING OUT LOUD:

Considering the way outgoing head coach Bruce Boudreau was hung out to dry by the Vancouver Canucks’ ownership/management over the past while was there anything more tone-deaf than the above tweet posted anywhere on social media over the weekend? I mean, is that embarrassing, or what? . . .

Of course, it could be that the Canucks simply are so far past being embarrassed that they no longer can see it when it slaps them right in the face. . . .

Wouldn’t you like to know what NHL boss Gary Bettman thinks of the way the Canucks’ ownership/management handled Boudreau’s firing? . . .

Did Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin really open Sunday’s news conference by saying: “As of this morning, I decided to do a coaching change here with the Vancouver Canucks.”????? . . .

Do Canucks’ fans realize that this retooling is going to go on and on and on and on . . . kind of like Days of Our Lives? . . .

If all those Canucks’ season-ticket holders who have said over the past while that they won’t be renewing their tickets stick to their guns, how many empty seats will there be next season? . . .

Rick Tocchet? Really? . . . His contract takes him through the 2023-24 season and, according to Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) pays him in the “$2.75 million per year range.” . . . Really? . . . The Canucks are believed to be paying Travis Green something like $2,750,000 not to coach this season, and now they also are paying Boudreau to do the same. . . . That’s a lot of coin tied up in head coaches. . . . Boudreau was being paid $2.5 million for this season. . . .

Why not let Boudreau finish out this season and then dip into the AHL and hire Mitch Love, now the head coach of the Calgary Wranglers? Ahh, I forgot. Jim Rutherford, who runs the Canucks, would rather dip into the old boys’ club. . . .

Please give me one good reason why a quality free-agent player would want to sign with the Canucks knowing how this situation was allowed to drag on and on. . . . And let’s not forget that we now will move on to the Bo Horvat saga. . . .

Adam Foote, one of the Canucks’ new assistant coaches, was the head coach of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets in 2019-20, a season that was to have ended with them playing host to the Memorial Cup. Of course, the tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic. Before that happened, though, Foote had been fired. The Rockets were 24-26-4 when owner/general manager Bruce Hamilton fired Foote whose son, Nolan, was the team captain at the time. . . .

J.D. Burke, the editor in chief at eprinkside.com, sums up the whole sad Canucks’ story right here. It’s a good read and touches on a whole lot.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Spokane Chiefs announced an attendance of 8,649 for their Saturday night game, a 6-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. That’s the largest crowd at a game in Spokane since Feb. 29, 2020 when 10,259 were in the house to watch the Chiefs beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3, in a shootout. . . . Less than two weeks later, the remainder of the season was postponed because of the pandemic. . . . 

Interestingly, two teams that likely won’t make the playoffs are leading the WHL in attendance. According to figures based on announced attendance and compiled by the WHL, the defending-champion Edmonton Oil Kings’ average crowd is 5,531, with the Spokane Chiefs second at 5,281. . . . The Oil Kings are 31 points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot; the Chiefs are 10 points off the pace in the Western Conference. . . .

There will be one WHL game tonight, with Spokane visiting the Portland Winterhawks, and then nothing until Friday night. That’s because the Top Prospects Game is scheduled to be played at the Langley Events Centre, the home of the Vancouver Giants, on Wednesday night.


SUNDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Swift Current Broncos erased a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-3, in OT. . . . F Josh Davies (13) won it at 1:29 of extra time. He also drew an assist on F Connor Hvidston’s 10th goal that tied it at 17:36 of the third. . . . The Broncos are tied for seventh with the Regina Pats in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Medicine Hat. . . .

In Calgary, the Hitmen scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Red Deer Rebels, 4-2. . . . The Hitmen had lost four in a row, while the Rebels had won five straight. Calgary also had been 0-3-2 against the Rebels this season. . . . F Sean Tschigerl’s 13th goal, at 18:11 of the second period, on a PP, broke a 2-2 tie. . . . The Hitmen are sixth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes with two games in hand. . . . The Rebels lead the Central Division by 13 points over the Hurricanes. . . .

G Carson Bjarnson stopped 19 shots for his third shutout this season as the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 2-0. . . . Bjarnson, a 17-year-old sophomore from Carberry, Man., which is located just east of Brandon, is 17-13-2, 2.84, .913 this season. . . . F Nate Danielson had a goal (23) and an assist. He’s now got 56 points in 44 games. Last season, he finished with 57 points, 23 of them goals, in 53 games. . . . Brandon is three points out of a playoff spot. . . .

The Victoria Royals, playing their third game in as many cities in fewer than 48 hours, went into Kelowna and beat the Rockets, 5-1. . . . The Royals dropped a 7-6 decision in OT to the Portland Winterhawks on Friday and then were beaten, 6-3, by the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday. . . . Last night, Victoria held a 31-14 edge in shots. . . . F Jake Poole, a 20-year-old who was acquired from the Rockets on Oct. 4 for an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 draft, scored his 25th goal for Victoria. He now has 14 points, four of them goals, in a seven-game point streak. . . . The Royals pulled into a tie with the Rockets for the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. Kelowna holds three games in hand. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice scored two PP goals and two others while shorthanded en route to a 6-0 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Ice swept the two-game series, having won 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night. . . . F Ty Nash (16) and F Connor McClennon (22) had the PP goals, with F Matt Savoie (18) and F Owen Pederson (19) scoring while shorthanded. . . . G Mason Beaupit blocked 20 shots for his first shutout this season and second of his career. . . . The Ice moved back atop the Eastern Conference standings, one point ahead of Red Deer. Winnipeg holds five games in hand. . . . The Warriors are fourth, one point behind the Saskatoon Blades, who have four games in hand.


IFFYLUBE


Brad Brown, who a few years back covered the Swift Current Broncos for the ReginaPrairie Post, now is the publisher of the award-winning Quad Town Forum, a weekly newspaper in an area a few slapshots outside Regina. He was part of a sold-out crowd that watched the host Pats beat the Broncos, 5-2, on Saturday night and offered these thoughts on his Twitter account (@saskawhat):

  1. Swift did a good job defending (Connor Bedard) in the 1st but Bedard (first time seeing him play) more than lived up to the hype (2G, 1A + many A+ looks) by game’s end. Looked like a man among boys & didn’t shy away physically either.
  2. Capitals prospect Suzdalev was next best player on the ice. Rocket of a shot.
  3. No points for the local (Candiac) fella but Drew Englot was engaged physically all night.
  4. Game could have easily gone the other way if not for netminding wizardry from Pats goalie Drew Sim.
  5. I know attendance was strong the last four games but if Regina Pats lose $ this year they have no one to blame but themselves. Over $130 for 2 marginal seats + mediocre supper & popcorn for dad + kiddo. Coulda drove almost halfway to Disneyland for less. Lesson learned.

School


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


TP

Sim overshadows Bedard in Pats’ victory . . . Warriors hang on to win in Kamloops . . . Thunderbirds slow down Portland express

A reminder that former WHLer Andrei Lupandin and his family have left their native Ukraine and are in Saskatoon hoping to start a new life after losing their home in the ongoing Russian onslaught.

Lupandin, 44, and his wife and two sons arrived in Saskatoon “with little more than a hockey bag and one suitcase for the family of four,” according to a GoFundMe page that is up and running.

“They have no work and need to start over. We are raising funds to help them with buying essentials, saving money to live and for future accommodations and household items.”

That GoFundMe page is right here.



FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour got started in Langley, B.C., as his Regina Pats beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-0, before an Reginaannounced crowd of 5,276. . . . That is the largest crowd for a Giants’ home game in the Langley Events Centre since they moved there to start the 2016-17 season. . . . The Pats (10-11-2) had lost their previous three games. . . . The Giants now are 8-10-4. . . . G Drew Sim was huge for the Pats, kicking out 47 shots to record his second shutout this season and the third of his career. Sim, 19, was a third-round pick by the Giants in the WHL’s 2018 draft. His first 11 WHL appearances were with the Giants. . . . Vancouver dealt him to Regina on Oct. 21, 13, 2021, for a conditional fourth-rounder in 2024. . . . Bedard, who takes his tour on to Victoria to meet the Royals tonight, was playing in his 100th regular-season game. He had one assist as his point streak reached 22 games. He was blanked in the season’s first game and hasn’t been shut out since then. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (19), assists (30) and points (49). . . . Bedard is from North Vancouver, and this was his first WHL game on the Lower Mainland of B.C. . . . F Borya Valis (10), who had missed the last two games, got Regina’s first goal, on a PP, at 12:47 of the first period. . . . F Riley Ginnell, 20, made his Regina debut after being acquired from the Moose Jaw Warriors earlier in the week. . . .

The visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes scored three PP goals en route to a 4-3 Lethbridgevictory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Lethbridge improved to 13-10-1. It is 1-2 on a six-game road trip. . . . The Wheat Kings are 8-14-2. . . . These teams will play in Brandon again tonight. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but the Hurricanes scored the next three goals. . . . F Tyson Laventure (5) had two goals and an assist for the winners, with D Logan McCutcheon (1) chipping in a goal and two assists. . . . Lethbridge was 3-4 on the PP; Brandon was 2-5. . . . The Hurricanes got 37 stops from G Harrison Meneghin. . . .

In Calgary, F Sloan Stanick and F Keaton Sorensen each had four points to help PrinceAlbertthe Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . The Raiders (9-12-2) have won four in a row. . . . The Hitmen (11-6-3) had points in each of their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . After F Zac Funk (6) gave Calgary a 2-1 lead 48 seconds into the second period, the Raiders scored the game’s last four goals. . . . Sorensen (11) had two goals and two assists, with Stanick drawing four assists. . . . Raiders F Evan Herman, the team’s captain, scored his fifth goal this season — it was the 50th of his career — and added two assists. . . . The Raiders got 32 stops from G Tikhon Chaika. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets struck three times in the second period and went on to Kelownabeat the Silvertips, 4-2, in Everett. . . . Kelowna improved to 9-9-1; the Silvertips, who had been 0-3-1 in their previous four games, now are 12-9-1. . . . F Colton Dach (6), Kelowna’s captain, broke a 2-2 tie at 17:24 of the second period. He also had an assist. . . . F Max Graham (2) iced it with an empty-netter. . . . Kelowna D Jackson DeSouza had two assists and now is on a four-game point streak, with seven points over that stretch. He went into this season with one goal and 10 assists in 70 games. This season, he has three goals and five assists in 17 games, with all eight points having come over the past five games. . . . Everett F Jackson Berezowski, who hadn’t played since Nov. 4 as he missed six games, scored his 13th goal. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s first three goals, two via the PP, and WarriorsNewhung on to beat the Blazers, 3-2, in Kamloops. . . . The Warriors (14-9-0) are 1-1-0 on this seven-game road swing. . . . The Blazers (10-5-4) had points in each of their previous five games (3-0-2). . . . F Brayden Yager (11) had a goal and an assist for the Warriors, the goal giving them a 3-0 lead at 13:52 of the second period. . . . F Jagger Firkus of the Warriors ran his point streak to 16 games with an assist. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven (14) scored 45 seconds into the third period and later added an assist to extend his point streak to 15 games; he has hit the scoresheet in each game in which he has played this season. . . . The Warriors got a big game from G Connor Ungar, who made 36 stops. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers scored three times in the shootout to beat the Rebels, MedicineHat3-2, in Red Deer. . . . The Tigers (8-10-5) have won two straight. . . . The Rebels (16-4-3) have lost three in a row (16-4-3). . . . F Kai Uchacz (17) scored while shorthanded to give Red Deer a 2-1 lead at 2:26 of the second period. . . . F Brendan Lee got the Tigers even with his 14th goal at 15:39 of the third. . . . Lee, who also had an assist, has goals in six straight games, putting in eight over that stretch. He also scored Medicine Hat’s first goal in the shootout. . . . The Tigers had a 42-31 edge in shots. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Winnipeg Ice broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals en route Saskatoonto a 5-3 victory over the Blades. . . . The Ice (22-2-0) has won two in a row. . . . The Blades (15-5-0) had a four-game winning streak snapped. . . . The will have a rematch tonight, also in Saskatoon. . . . F Ty Nash (11) gave the Ice a 4-1 lead at 4:16 of the third period. He has goals in five straight games. . . . The Blades got PP goals from F Josh Pillar (4) and F Justin Lies (4) to get within a goal, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . The Ice got a goal and two assists from D Ben Zloty (6), while F Connor McClennon had three assists. . . . Zloty, 20, has 28 points in 24 games this season. . . . G Daniel Hauser made 30 saves to earn the victory. This season, he is 16-0-0, 2.43, .914. In his career, he is a remarkable 57-3-2. . . . F Zach Benson was one of the Ice’s scratches. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds have points in six straight games after beating the SeattlePortland Winterhawks, 6-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (15-3-1) are 5-0-1 in their past six games. . . . The Winterhawks (17-3-1) had points in each of their previous 12 games (10-0-2) and had won nine in a row. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (10) led Seattle with a shorthanded goal and two assists. . . . The only goal of the first period came from Seattle D Nolan Allan. He has five on the season, but this was his first with Seattle since being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 16. . . . Seattle outshot Portland, 35-21, including 24-7 through two periods. . . . The Winterhawks had F Jack O’Brien and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme back after one-game absences. Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) tweeted that “both are wearing full shields/fish bowls due to coming off illness.” . . . The Thunderbirds remain without injured D Luke Prokop. . . .

F Josh Davies scored the game’s first three goals to lead the host Swift Current SwiftCurrentBroncos to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Broncos (10-11-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Oil Kings (4-19-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, also in Swift Current. . . . Davies, who has eight goals, scored twice while shorthanded — at 14:02 of the first period and 9:39 of the second — to complete his first WHL hat trick in his 106th game.


Looters


THE TRADING PLACE:

The Regina Pats skated at the Langley Events Centre on Thursday in advance of their Friday night game against the Vancouver Giants. Afterwards, John Paddock, the Pats’ senior vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, met with the media. Of course, he was asked about the possibility of trading highly touted F Connor Bedard. Paddock’s response: “That’s a stupid question. That’s my response. There’s only one place where that’s come out of all year and that’s in B.C.” . . . You will note that he didn’t say “NO!” Could it be that the Pats are keeping open all of their options? . . . Hey, John, any chance of your trading Tanner Howe? . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings have acquired F Anthony Wilson, 17, and D Luke Shipley, 18, from the Victoria Royals for F Teydon Trembecky, 17, and three WHL draft picks — a third-rounder in 2023 that originally belonged to the Red Deer Rebels, a fifth in 2024 and a fourth in 2026. . . . Wilson, a third-rounder selection in the 2020 WHL draft, had nine goals and nine assists in 81 games with the Royals. He is from Swift Current. . . . Shipley was a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft. From Powell River, B.C., he had four goals and 18 assists in 105 games with Victoria. . . . Trembecky, a third-round pick by Brandon in the 2020 draft, is from Strathcona, Alta. He had two assists in 24 games with the Wheat Kings. . . . 

Since Oct. 25, WHL teams have combined on 13 trades involving 22 players, 30 draft picks and four conditional picks. . . . Only the Calgary Hitmen, Everett Silvertips, Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Portland Winterhawks and  Vancouver Giants haven’t made at least one deal in the past month.


Spotted


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Regina Pats got down to three 20-year-olds by releasing F Jakob Brook. He is expected to join the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. . . . The Pats had indicated in Tuesday’s WHL roster report that they had dropped Brook. But there wasn’t an announcement until Thursday. . . . A second-round pick by the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL’s 2017 draft, Brook had three assists in seven games this season. In 164 career regular-season games, split between the Pats and Raiders, he put up 14 goals and 23 assists. . . . Brook’s brother, Aidan, 19, also is on Dauphin’s roster. Aidan has WHL experience with the Medicine Hat Tigers (24 games) and Prince George Cougars (11). . . .

F Max Streule, a sophomore from Zurich, Switzerland, has cleared WHL waivers and has left the Winnipeg Ice for the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Streule, 19, had two goals and nine assists in 52 games last season; this season, he was pointless in six games. . . . Streule’s departure leaves F Vladislav Shilo, who is from Minsk, Belarus, as the Ice’s lone import. . . .

G Ève Gascon, who made history last season as the third female to play in a QMJHL regular-season game, with the Gatineau Olympiques, has committed to play NCAA hockey for the U of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their season-opening winning streak to 22 games on Friday, as they dumped the host Alberni Valley Bulldogs, 7-1. . . . The Vees are to travel to Powell River to meet the Kings tonight. . . .

Meanwhile, we shouldn’t be ignoring the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars, who have opened the season by playing 23 games without a regulation-time loss. . . . They will take a 20-0-3 record into their next game, against the visiting Notre Dame Hounds on Dec. 2.


Freedom


THINKING OUT LOUD — Just how big is the NFL in the world of TV and sports. Well, you may have noticed that the NHL didn’t have even one game scheduled for Thursday, which was American Thanksgiving and featured three NFL games. One of those games — New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys — averaged 42 million viewers on FOX-TV. It now is the most-watched NFL regular-season game in history. . . . I never cease to be amazed by the number of people on the sidelines of a football game in the U.S., be it NFL or NCAA. Does each one of those people have a particular responsibility, or are they just there? . . . Mask up whenever the situation calls for it. Those people with suppressed immune systems will thank you for it.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Breakfast

Might Russia-Ukraine situation impact international hockey? . . . Another milestone for Habscheid . . . Royals solve Giants again

In light of developments involving Russia and Ukraine, there is a move afoot, started by the British government, to move soccer’s Champions League final out of St. Petersburg. The game is scheduled to be played on May 28 at Gazprom Arena. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, has sponsored the Champions League for 10 years.

UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, apparently is re-evaluating the situation.

You have to wonder, too, if the Russia-Ukraine situation might have repercussions in the world of hockey. Gord Miller of TSN, who is more than a little familiar with the world of international hockey, posted a series of tweets on this subject on Monday. Here’s a few of them . . .

“Start with the KHL, where the playoffs are set to start next Monday.  One of the top KHL teams is Jokerit, located in Helsinki, but the team and arena are Russian owned. Jokerit is scheduled to play Spartak Moscow, would the Finnish government bar travel to and from Russia?

(Note: It’s worth noting that Chelsea, one of the soccer teams still alive in the Champions League’s round of 16, is owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.)

“Then there’s the Men’s World Championship set for Finland in May. If the Russians invade Ukraine, would the IIHF bar them from competing? That seems unlikely, but it did strip Belarus of it’s co-hosting of the 2021 WC. And again, would the Finnish government step in?

“This summer, the U.S. will host the Women’s U18 tournament, Canada will host the Hlinka/Gretzky U18 tournament and the World Juniors in August. Since severe travel restrictions to and from Russia are among the sanctions being discussed, would their teams be allowed to play?

“Further out, Russia is scheduled to host the 2023 World Junior Championship in December and the Men’s Worlds in May of 2023. New arenas have been built in Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg to host the two events, which stand to be very lucrative and high-profile for Russia.

“Again, even if the IIHF doesn’t take steps in the event of a Russian invasion, would a boycott of those two events by the other competing nations be possible? It might not even be in the hands of the hockey federations, national governments could make that call.”

Who knows what the future holds, but all of this definitely is food for thought and it all will be worth watching as it plays out.


Cookies


When the Prince Albert Raiders skated out of Medicine Hat with a 4-1 victory PrinceAlbertover the Tigers on Monday afternoon, it marked another milestone for veteran head coach Marc Habscheid.

Unofficially, this was the 572nd regular-season victory of Habscheid’s WHL head-coaching career. (It’s all unofficially because the WHL hasn’t made available a Guide and Record Book since early in the 2019-20 season.)

By my count — and I’m the first to admit that I’ve been wrong before — Habscheid now is tied with Mike Williamson for fifth spot on the all-time list. Habscheid, who will turn 59 on March 1, worked as the head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royals before taking over the Raiders during the 2015-16 season.

The Raiders are next scheduled to play tonight (Wednesday) against the host Calgary Hitmen. (Habscheid earned his 500th victory on Feb. 9, 2019, in Lethbridge, and celebrated on the way out of town by having the bus stop at a Dairy Queen. He had a large chocolate sundae and treated everyone else. “The boys got whatever they wanted,” he said at the time. “Best $180 I ever spent.” Might there be another DQ stop in the Raiders’ future?)

Williamson had stints as the head coach with the Winterhawks, Hitmen and Tri-City Americans. BTW, a hearty Happy Birthday to Williamson, who turned 50 on Tuesday (Feb. 22).

Here’s the WHL’s top 10 winningest regular-season coaches: Don Hay, 750; Ken Hodge, 742; Don Nachbaur, 692; Lorne Molleken, 626; Williamson and Habscheid, each 572; Ernie McLean, 548; Brent Sutter, 526; Pat Ginnell 518; and Shaun Clouston, 485.


Selfie


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The WHL has suspended F Matthew Rempe of the Seattle Thunderbirds for two games after he was hit with a kneeing major and game misconduct during a game against the host Portland Winterhawks on Saturday night. Rempe was tossed at 1:55 of the first period for a hit on Portland F Jack O’Brien. Although O’Brien looked to have suffered an injury to his left leg at the time, he was back in the lineup the next night and had two goals and an assist in a 9-1 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Although things have been quiet of late in terms of COVID-19, don’t think for a moment that it has gone away. The QMJHL has postponed two games involving the Cape Breton Eagles because of what are reported to be several positive tests among players. The games, both against the visiting Charlottetown Islanders, were to have been played on Feb. 25 and 26. The Eagles haven’t played at home since Dec. 15. . . . The WHL’s Victoria Royals (14-30-5), who recently snapped a 17-game losing streak, are tied for eighth in the Western Conference. They have 19 games remaining, with seven of those against the sixth-place Prince George Cougars (19-27-3). The Vancouver Giants (19-25-2) are between those two, one point behind the Cougars and seven ahead of the Royals and Tri-City Americans (14-29-5). . . . Meanwhile, the Kamloops Blazers (35-13-2) are second in the conference while leading the B.C. Division. The Kelowna Rockets (29-12-4) are fifth in the conference and second in the division, 10 points behind Kamloops. They will play in Kelowna on Friday and in Kamloops on Saturday. Later, from March 11-26, they will play each other six times. That’ll be six straight games for Kamloops, while Kelowna will squeeze in a doubleheader in Victoria during that stretch. . . . The Rockets will come out of the games with Kamloops to play four in a row against Prince George.

——

MONDAY IN THE WHL: F Reece Vitelli scored twice, giving him 18, as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-1. Raiders D Trevor Thurston likely should expect a call from the WHL office, if he hasn’t had one already, after picking up two major penalties on the same play with 30 seconds left in the third period. He took a charging major for a hit on F Brayden Boehm. Yes there was a scrum, during which Thurston picked up a cross-checking major. . . . F Karson King (4) and F Josh Davies (15) each scored twice as the Swift Current Broncos beat the Pats, 4-3, in Regina. Davies broke a 3-3 tie at 7:59 of the third period. F Connor Bedard (31) and F Tanner Howe (19) each had a goal and an assist for Regina. . . .

The host Edmonton Oil Kings erased a 2-0 deficit with five straight goals en route to a 6-3 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. F Justin Sourdif (15) and F Josh Williams (25) had two goals each for Edmonton. Sourdif’s second goal, which gave Edmonton a 5-2 lead, was the first shorthanded score surrendered by the Ice this season. F Jake Neighbours of the Oil Kings had an empty-net goal as he ran his point streak to 14 games, the WHL’s longest active streak. . . . G Tyler Palmer blocked 35 shots to lead the Victoria Royals to a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. An 18-year-old freshman from Fernie, B.C., Palmer, who is 5-0-0, 1.36, .961 against Vancouver, has two shutouts this season, both against the Giants. The Royals (14-30-5) have won eight of 10 meetings with the Giants (19-25-2) this season. They’ll go home-and-home this weekend to wrap up their season series. . . .

In Kelowna, F Turner McMillen scored twice, giving him nine goals as the Rockets dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-3. Tri-City G Tomas Suchanek turned aside 51 shots . . . F Logan Stankoven had his points streak stopped at 19 games but did score in the shootout as the Kamloops Blazers clinched a playoff spot by beating the visiting Everett Silvertips, 4-3. Stankoven had 39 points, including 17 goals, in the WHL’s longest points streak to date this season. Kamloops F Daylan Kuefler (25) forced OT at 19:17 of the third period with his second goal of the game. Stankoven and F Luke Toporowski scored for Kamloops in the shootout, while F Jackson Berezowski counted for Everett.


If you didn’t happen to watch the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks playing on Monday night, there was a bizarre few moments when six players scrapped for a puck that wasn’t in the corner where they thought it was. Take a look . . .


NFT


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


ChipsTV

Time running out on Cranbrook group hoping to relocate junior B Kelowna Chiefs. . . . Broncos, Pats sign prospects


MacBeth

F Chase Schaber (Calgary, Kamloops, 2007-12) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, in 30 games, he had five goals and 13 assists. . . .

F Michal Hlinka (Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, 2010-12) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had two goals in 12 games. . . .

F Martin Erat (Saskatoon, Red Deer, 1999-2001) has retired. This season, as an alternate captain with Kometa Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and 14 assists in 18 games. . . .

F Bruno Mráz (Brandon, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Olomouc (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had five goals and six assists in 42 games. On loan to Havířov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he was pointless in one game. . . .

F Tomáš Hříčina (Regina, 2008-10) has signed a one-year contract with Dukla Michalovce (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had eight goals and seven assists in 49 games. . . .

F Kyle Beach (Everett, Lethbridge, Spokane, 2005-10) has signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany, DEL2), he had 14 goals and 29 assists in 34 games. . . .

F David Hruška (Red Deer, 1995-96) has retired, per a press release by his club this season, Sokolov (Czech Republic, 2. Liga). This season, he had 12 goals and 14 assists in 35 games in helping Sokolov win promotion to 1. Liga. . . .

F Jordan Hickmott (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Edmonton, 2005-11) signed a one-year contract with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with the Linz black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he was pointless in 10 games, while he had one goal and five assists in four games with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany, DEL2). . . .

D Zack FitzGerald (Seattle, 2001-05) has retired from playing and has been named the new head coach for the Glasgow Clan (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with Glasgow, he was the team captain and had four goals and 13 assists in 56 games.


ThisThat

If the City of Cranbrook approves things sometime today (Friday), there could be junior B hockey in Western Financial Place when the 2019-20 season gets here.

Taking Note was told on Thursday that a Cranbrook group that is believed to be kijhlcomprised of 10 local investors has an agreement in principle to purchase the Kelowna Chiefs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League from owner Grant Sheridan, who also is the team’s president and general manager.

The relocated Chiefs likely would be renamed the Colts, a salute to a junior B team that played out of Cranbrook in the 1980s, winning six league champ[ionships and four provincial titles.

Western Financial Place was built to house a WHL franchise and was the home of the Kootenay Ice until its 2018-19 season ended and the team moved to Winnipeg. The Ice’s lease with the city runs through the 2022-23 season, and owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell have yet to reach a settlement.

But they have agreed on a four-year sublease with the Cranbrook group that would allow the relocated Chiefs to play in Western Financial Place.

Taking Note also was told that the deal on the sublease is contingent on the city accepting it on or before May 31, which is today (Friday). It also is the KIJHL’s deadline for franchise owners to notify it of relocation plans. As of Thursday afternoon, the city had yet to offer a response.

The Cranbrook group, which is believed to include former WHL/NHL D Scott Niedermayer, who is a former co-owner of the Ice, apparently is willing to pay the same rental rates as the Ice did,

According to a Jan. 30 story on the lease by Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Townsman, the Ice “must pay an occupancy fee for each year of the term equal to two per cent of gross game receipts for each hockey season, as well as an additional fee that scales based on attendance.

“For example, the fee would be $20,000 if the average paid attendance exceeds 2,600. If that attendance were to increase to 2,800, the fee also increases to $25,000. Attendance exceeding 3,000 pushes the fee to $30,000, 3,200 to $80,000 and 3,500 to $120,000.

“According to the agreement, net advertising generated at hockey games within the premises is shared 80 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 20 per cent to the City of Cranbrook.

“All occupancy fees for luxury boxes, but not including ticket revenue, is split 70 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 30 per cent to the city.

“Revenue collected from parking fees and concession sales are also 100 per cent allotted to the city, according to the agreement.”

In its final three seasons, the Ice averaged 1,754, 2,442 and 2,214 fans per game. It isn’t like that a junior B franchise would reach those numbers, but there are other KIJHL teams in the area, in Creston, Fernie, Invermere and Kimberley, so there would be some natural rivalries.

A KIJHL franchise also would mean Cranbrook wouldn’t have to go a year or longer without a tenant in Western Financial Place.

On top of that, Larry Martel, the KIJHL’s president, has told Crawley that a franchise in the city would be a “perfect fit.” (Crawley’s story is right here.)

The KIJHL’s annual meeting is scheduled for June 8 in Sun Peaks, the ski resort located just north of Kamloops.

Earlier, a group looked at bringing in an AJHL franchise, but that attempt was rejected by Hockey BC. There also has been interest in acquiring a BCHL franchise, but that apparently has been stalled by, among other things, a reported $1.2-million expansion fee.


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You may have read about Catherine Pearlman in the last week or two. She recently walked into a Starbucks in the Los Angeles area, saw a flier that had been placed by a woman seeking a kidney donor for her husband, and, within minutes, had put the wheels in motion. . . . On Thursday, Pearlman told her story in the pages of the Los Angeles Times and on their website. . . .

“Over the next four months,” she writes, “I gave 32 vials of blood, had a kidney CAT scan and chest X-ray, met with nephrologists, a social worker and the nurse coordinator, collected urine and had a mammogram and pap smear. By the end of April, I was deemed a healthy match and cleared for surgery.

“During that time, I learned that one kidney can do most of the work of two. Also, kidney donors tend to live longer than those who haven’t donated because someone who is healthy enough to donate is likely someone already in excellent health.

Also, one of the most comforting pieces of information I learned is that if I ever need a transplant (less than 1 per cent chance), I would go to the top of the waiting list. My risk of death during surgery was significantly lower than dying in a fire, drowning or a car accident.”

Pearlman’s story, in her words, is right here.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Josh Davies to a WHL contract. From Airdrie, Alta., Davies was a third-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. This season, he had 20 goals and nine assists in 28 games with the bantam prep team at the Edge School in Calgary.

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The Regina Pats have signed D Marcus Taylor to a WHL contract. A ninth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft, Taylor is from Coquitlam, B.C. This season, he had three goals and 14 assists in 35 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s elite 15 team.


Ben Boudreau was named the head coach of the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets on Thursday. . . . He replaces Gary Graham, who had been with the franchise since 2009, first as an assistant coach, then as head coach and, finally, as head coach and director of player personnel for the past six seasons. . . . Boudreau, 34, was an assistant coach with the Komets for the past two seasons. He has never before been a head coach. . . . He also has worked as an assistant with two other ECHL teams, the Bakersfield Condors and Norfolk Admirals. . . . Boudreau is the son of Bruce Boudreau, the head coach of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.


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