All quiet on the Kootenay front . . . Raiders roll to another victory . . . ‘Tips win battle of U.S. Division leaders


MacBeth

D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, as an alternate captain with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), he had one goal and 10 assists in 43 games. He also had three assists in 10 games with Sochi (Russia, KHL). . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) has been released by mutual agreement by Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). He had two goals and two assists in 25 games. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). He had been released by Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL) after the end of a tryout contract on Nov. 11. He had three goals and three assists in six games. . . . Tvrdoň started the season with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga), scoring once in four games.


ThisThat

As readers stopped by here late Tuesday night and on through Wednesday, they learned that the Green Bay Committee had shut it down in Cranbrook, B.C., having started to whlbelieve that the Kootenay Ice, the WHL franchise its members had been working to save, is in its final season there.

The committee had been selling tickets and raising money through sponsorships for the Ice in the hopes of keeping the team in the 4,264-seat Western Financial Place.

With all signs pointing to a departure at season’s end, readers started to suggest possible landing spots, other than Winnipeg. Among those mentioned, in no particular order, were New Westminster, Billings, Chilliwack, Anchorage, Wenatchee, Penticton and Vernon.

None of those will be a destination, of course, as it seems the Ice is destined to end up in Winnipeg playing out of the East Division, while the Swift Current Broncos would slide back into the Central Division.

When that happens, Cranbrook will be home to an arena that meets WHL standards — including new lighting, boards and glass, and with plans for a new scoreboard with video boards to be installed in time for 2019-20.

Perhaps the one thing missing would be a team.

But there already are people in Cranbrook who are wondering if there might be another WHL team interested in relocating.

For starters, you can forget about the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos. These are the four remaining community-owned franchises and they aren’t going anywhere.

But . . .

New owners took over the Prince George Cougars in time for the 2014-15 season and admit that they have been bleeding money. This season, the announced average attendance in Prince George is 2,521 through 11 games. Last season, the final figure was 3,024.

Might the Cougars’ ownership be interested in at least kicking some tires?

Meanwhile, the Tri-City Americans averaged 3,053 fans for seven playoff games last spring after a regular season in which that figure was 3,649. But the Toyota Center, which opened in 1988, needs help

A year ago, the Tri-City Herald published a story that centred on the needed improvements and included this:

“Neither (WHL commissioner Ron) Robison nor (Americans general manager Bob) Tory suggested the Americans might leave Kennewick. But they didn’t deny the possibility either.

“Tory said team expenses have doubled under current ownership while revenue has been flat.

“ ‘There comes a time when that doesn’t make sense any more,’ Tory said.”

Voters in Kennewick, Wash., have twice rejected a sales tax that would have had money directed to Toyota Center improvements.

A year ago, there really wasn’t another option for teams like the Cougars or Americans. That changes if/when the Ice heads for the Manitoba capital.

Interestingly, Tory is quite familiar with Cranbrook, having worked as Kootenay’s general manager for two seasons (1998-2000).


All was quiet on the Kootenay Ice front on Wednesday, the day after a local committee that was working towards ensuring that the WHL franchise stays in Cranbrook, B.C., chose to cease operations.

In a letter to Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, as well as one of its Kootenaynewtwo owners, the Green Bay Committee cited a lack of support from the Ice’s owners, Greg Fettes and Cockell, in its decision.

Fettes and Cockell, both with ties to Winnipeg, purchased the franchise prior to last season. This season has been loaded with speculation that the franchise will be relocated to Winnipeg before another season arrives.

Of late, however, there has only been silence from the Ice.

“The silence is deafening,” John Hudak, the committee’s marketing director, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. “I can’t speak for the owners of the team, I’m not a mind-reader and I don’t know what they are planning on doing, but it’s just highly unusual that people who have been in town for a very short period of time are not making that comment. If they have attendance problems (and) then they aren’t making any comments here to us and (aren’t) willing to engage with us . . . It’s disturbing.”

Hudak’s committee had invited Cockell to attend meetings. Hudak told Taking Note on Wednesday that Cockell’s refusal to attend “surprised” the committee.

Hudak said there was a “representative of the Ice, but not a decision-maker” at the committee’s first meeting on Oct. 25.

Hudak told Global News-Winnipeg on Wednesday that the Ice’s lack of engagement is “probably the single biggest thing that has impacted our ability to lock up some ticket sales.

“Why should we support this if these people aren’t going to remain in the community.

“(We) haven’t heard from the Ice ownership if it will remain . . . their silence on the subject has become deafening.”

Global News reported that “Fettes has also partnered with Brad Rice, who opened Winnipeg’s The Rink Training Facility in 2009, and is building a new facility south of the city. Sources have told Global News a new 5,000-seat arena is planned to be developed on the site to accommodate the WHL team.”

In September, Fettes told Global: “As a fan, parent, and owner, I am passionate about hockey development in Winnipeg and across Canada. Because of this passion, I am involved with The Rink Player Development and their new facility at McGillivray and Loudon, including their expansion and development in the surrounding area.”

Kootenay’s next home game is scheduled for Friday night when the Calgary Hitmen are in town. Jeff Chynoweth is Calgary’s general manager. Fettes and Cockell purchased the Ice from Chynoweth, his brother, Dean, and their mother, Linda.


The B.C. Sports Hall of Fame revealed Wednesday that Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, will received the 2019 W.A.C. Bennett Award for contribution to sport in the province. . . . The award will be presented during the Hall of Fame’s induction gala on May 23 in Vancouver. . . . Toigo has owned the Giants since purchasing an expansion franchise that began play in the 2000-01 season. He has been instrumental in having the 2006 and 2019 World Junior Championships played in Vancouver, as well as the 2007 Memorial Cup. . . . Toigo already is in the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame and the Delta, B.C., Sports Hall of Fame.


G Gavin McHale, who made 45 WHL appearances over two seasons (2004-06), got to watch an NHL game while wearing the uniform of the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. With starter Braden Holtby a late scratch due to an undisclosed injury that is believed to be minor, the Capitals started Pheonix Copley against the host Winnipeg Jets and brought in McHale, a 31-year-old from Winnipeg, as the emergency backup. . . . The Jets won the game, 3-1. . . . McHale, who made 33 appearances with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 12 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, is the goaltender coach for the women’s hockey team at the U of Manitoba. . . . The 6-foot-7 McHale had been in the backup role once before. In February, he spent the third period on the Colorado Avalanche’s bench in support of Semyon Varlamov, who went in to replace the injured Jonathan Bernier.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Alex Evin, their director of player personnel and associate coach, to a two-year extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. . . . Evin is in his second season with the Spruce Kings. . . . Adam Maglio, the Spruce Kings’ head coach, also is signed through 2020-21, as is general manager Mike Hawes.


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WEDNESDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott blocked 43 shots to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to their 11th straight PrinceAlbertvictory, this time beating the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0. . . . The Raiders (18-1-0) now lead the overall standings by six points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Tigers (9-10-3) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Scott even took a shot at an empty-net goal, only to have the scoreboard in the Art Hauser Centre get in the way. “He thought he was Marty Brodeur at the end there with the shot,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com. “I thought it had a pretty good chance. He got some good weight on it and she was going. But then the clock obviously got in the way. That was the end of that.” . . . F Brett Leason (18) scored the game’s first goal, while shorthanded, at 8:58 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (9) added insurance at 11:16 of the third. . . . Leason has at least one point in all 19 Prince Albert games this season. He and F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings are tied for the WHL lead in goals. . . . Scott has three shutouts this season and six in his career. On the season, he is 15-1-0, 1.50, .946. . . . BTW, the Raiders now have scored 11 times while shorthanded; their WHL-leading penalty-killers have surrendered only seven goals. . . . D’Andrea’s story is right here.

G Beck Warm turned aside 24 shots to help the Tri-City Americans to a 3-0 victory over tri-citythe Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Americans now are 12-6-0. This was Game 9 of an 11-game road trip on which they are 7-2-0, including 2-2-0 in the East Division. . . . The Broncos (4-16-2) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Warm had one shutout this season and two in his career. . . . F Kyle Olson (4) opened the scoring at 4:20 of the first period, with F Krystof Hrabik (5) made it 2-0 at 19:15. . . . F Isaac Johnson scored his seventh goal into an empty net at 19:56 of the third period. . . . The Broncos remain without D Matthew Stanley, while F Eric Houk now has missed two games since being injured in a fight with F Carter Massier during a 2-0 loss to the Pats in Regina on Saturday.


F Josh Maser scored the winner in OT and also had two assists to lead the Prince George PrinceGeorgeCougars to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (9-8-3) has won two in a row. . . . Kelowna (8-12-1) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . F Matej Toman (3) gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 10:05 of the second period. . . . Kelowna took a 3-2 lead on third-period goals from F Lane Zablocki (2), at 0:55, and F Kyle Topping (9), shorthanded, at 12:07. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (4) pulled the Cougars even at 19:43. . . . Maser won it with his sixth goal of the season with six seconds left in extra time.


F Riley Sutter’s shootout goal gave the host Everett Silvertips a 3-2 victory over the EverettPortland Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (15-6-0) have won five straight. . . . The Winterhawks (12-6-2) had their five-game winning streak snapped. . . . Everett leads the U.S. Division, by four points over Portland, which holds a game in hand. . . . The Silvertips led this one 2-0 in the first period on PP goals from F Connor Dewar (16), at 2:27, and F Bryce Kindopp (8), at 12:25. . . . The Winterhawks got third-period goals from F Reece Newkirk (13), at 3:14, and F Ryan Hughes (7), at 3:55. . . . Dewar and Portland F Joachim Blichfeld each scored in the first round of the shootout. Sutter, the first shooter in the third round, got the winner. . . . The Silvertips got 39 saves from G Dustin Wolf, while Portland’s Shane Farkas blocked 41.


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Ice and T-Birds make deal . . . No holiday for WHL disciplinarian . . . Scott, McGovern post shutouts . . . Humboldt families angered by book

MacBeth

D Tomáš Voráček (Prince Albert, 2007-2009) has been assigned on loan by Sparta Prague to Mladá Boleslav (both Czech Republic, Extraliga) for one month. Voráček hasn’t appeared in any games for Sparta this season. Last season, he had three assists in 53 games with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), and one goal in five games with Sparta Prague.


ThisThat

The Seattle Thunderbirds have acquired D Loeden Schaufler, 18, from the Kootenay Ice in exchange for F Eric Fawkes, 17, a ninth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft and undisclosed conditional future considerations. . . . Schaufler, from DeWinton, Alta., was a third-round pick by the Ice in the 2015 bantam draft. He is pointless in one game this season. In 37 career regular-season games, he has six assists. . . . Fawkes was a second-round selection by Seattle in the 2016 bantam draft. He now is playing with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers. From Winnipeg, he totalled 47 goals and 68 assists in 87 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild over the previous two seasons.


The WHL’s Department of Discipline, under chief custodian Kevin Acheson, was busy on Monday, despite it being Thanksgiving Day in Canada.

The suspension of Everett Silvertips F Sean Richards was set at five games, while F Jermaine Loewen of the Kamloops Blazers got four games.

Richards was suspended for a headshot major and game misconduct during a 2-1 OT loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night. Seattle D Reece Harsch, who absorbed the hit, sat out Seattle’s 4-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night.

Loewen was suspended after taking a headshot major and game misconduct for a first-period hit on D Matthew Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks in Kamloops on Friday. Quigley left the game and didn’t return to what was a 5-3 Portland victory. He also sat out Portland’s 4-1 victory in Everett on Saturday.

The Regina Pats were fined $500 after F Sergei Alkhimov instigated a fight in the last five minutes of a 7-3 loss to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday.

The Pats also had two players suspended — Alkhimov got one game for his indiscretion, while F Jake Leschyshyn also drew a one-game sentence after taking a spearing major in the same game.

F Josh Maser of the Prince George Cougars drew a TBD suspension after taking a slew-footing major and game misconduct on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif during a 3-2 loss to the visiting Giants on Saturday.


Stewart Kemp, the president of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, checked in with an update on Monday. He continues to make progress as he rehabs after a couple of strokes.

“Still fighting issues from strokes,” he writes. “I go for CT Scan on Nov. 6 to see how stent is working.  Am doing Neuro Optometry just to see how eyes are. Blood pressure check Tuesday as I had a couple instances of very low and I hear it’s part of stroke. I have speech therapy Wednesday and nutrition call on Friday. Games Wednesday night and Sunday. Seeing how these go.”

If you happen to be at one of those games, stop by the Booster Club’s table and say hi to Stewart.


MONDAY NIGHT NOTES:

G Ian Scott stopped 23 shots to help the visiting Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . It was Scott’s first shutout of this season and the fourth of his career. His first three shutouts all were against the Kootenay Ice. . . . Scott is off to quite a start this season, at 7-1-0, 1.63, .941. . . . F Brett Leason had a goal and two assists. He pulled into a tie for the WHL points lead with F Joachim Blichfeld of the idle Portland Winterhawks. Each has 17 points. . . . Last season, Leason finished with 33 points in 66 games. . . . While the Raiders improved to 8-1-0, the Hitmen, who went 6-0-0 in the exhibition season, now are 0-5-1.


G Duncan McGovern blocked 45 shots to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-0 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . McGovern has one shutout this season and three in his career. . . . The Ice acquired McGovern from the Tigers on Oct. 23, 2017, surrendering a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft in the exchange. . . . The Ice got goals from five different players.


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Wheaties manage to beat Raiders . . . Hurricanes blow away Ice . . . Kambeitz breaks Giants’ hearts

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

A number of former NHLers, including Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier, were in Regina for the All-Star Celebrity Classic on Saturday.

During the lead-up to the game, Dave Struch, the Regina Pats’ assistant GM and assistant coach, came face-to-face with Trottier for perhaps the second time in their lives.

The first time? That was during Struch’s four-game NHL career.

Struch relived that first meeting with Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post, and it’s all right here. Hey, there might even be a coaching lesson buried in here somewhere, courtesy of Dave King.


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


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings opened up a 3-0 first-period lead and, despite being badly outshot, beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-3. . . . Brandon (31-22-5) had lost its previous BrandonWKregularthree games, including a 5-2 setback in Prince Albert on Friday. It moved back into third in the East Division, one point ahead of Regina. . . . Prince Albert (23-24-11) is four points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Brandon is 3-2-0 in the season series; the Raiders are 2-2-1. . . . F Ty Lewis gave the home side a 1-0 lead 26 seconds into the first period. F Marcus Sekundiak (3) made it 2-0 at 2:40, and D Ty Ettinger (2) upped it to 3-0 at 14:31. . . . The Raiders got the only two goals of the second period, both on the PP, from F Jordy Stallard (38), who is from Brandon, at 9:35, and F Brett Leason (11), at 10:47. . . . The Raiders outshot the Wheat Kings 15-5 in the first period and 16-4 in the second, but went into the third period trailing 3-2. . . . Brandon stretched the lead to 4-2 when F Rylan Bettens (5) scored at 2:15 of the third. . . . F Spencer Moe (8) cut the Raiders’ deficit to one at 13:39. . . . The Raiders got two assists from F Kody McDonald. . . . Prince Albert was 2-5 on the PP; Brandon was 0-4. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 39 shots in earning the victory. . . . Curtis Meger started for the Raiders and gave up four goals on 10 shots in 42:15. Ian Scott came on to stop the three shots he faced in 16:14. . . . The Wheat Kings again were without F Stelio Mattheos, but also scratched D Chase Hartje, D Daniel Bukac and F Linden McCorrister (all ill). . . . Announced attendance: 3,826.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes erased an early 2-0 deficit and went on to defeat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (28-24-6) has won two in a row. It is second in the LethbridgeCentral Division, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Kootenay (25-32-3) is tied with Red Deer (20-26-13) for third in the Central Division, with the Rebels having a game in hand. The Ice has five more victories, but Red Deer’s loser points leaves it with a higher points percentage — .449 to .442. . . . The Ice and Hurricanes will meet this afternoon in Cranbrook. Each team will be playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Lethbridge is 5-1-0 in the season series; Kootenay is 1-5-0. . . . The Ice led 2-0 on first-period goals from F Cameron Hausinger (18), at 2:57, and F Gillian Kohler (5), on a PP, at 5:04. . . . F Dylan Cozens (18) started Lethbridge’s comeback at 13:17, and F Brad Morrison (22) tied it, on a PP, at 15:41. . . . F Jordy Bellerive put the Hurricanes in front with 18.7 seconds left in the second period, on a PP. Bellerive had left the game briefly at 17:03 after taking a knee from Ice D Martin Bodak, who was tossed with a major and game misconduct. . . . F Jadon Joseph (7) upped the lead to 4-2 at 14:44 of the third period. . . . Bellerive (41) added an empty-netter at 19:59. . . . F Brett Davis had two assists for Kootenay. . . . Lethbridge was 2-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-7. . . . The Hurricanes got 29 saves from G Logan Flodell. . . . G Matt Berlin stopped 37 shots for the Ice. . . . Announced attendance: 3,680.


At Medicine Hat, F Ryan Jevne’s OT goal gave the Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat (29-24-7) had lost its previous two games. It leads the Tigers Logo OfficialCentral Division by three points over Lethbridge. . . . Swift Current (42-13-5) has points in seven straight (6-0-1) and now is tied with Moose Jaw atop the overall standings. The Warriors hold four games in hand. . . . One night earlier, the Broncos beat the visiting Tigers, 6-2. . . . The Broncos won the season series, 3-0-1; the Tigers were 1-3-0. . . . Earlier, Jevne gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:18 of the first period. . . . The Broncos went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Glenn Gawdin (51), at 3:35 of the second period; F Aleksi Heponiemi (25), at 4:01 of the third; and D Artyom Minulin (12), at 6:14. . . . The Tigers got to within a goal when F Bryan Lockner (11) scored at 9:21, then tied it when F Elijah Brown (6) scored at 15:00. . . . Jevne won it with his 16th goal, at 3:07 of extra time. . . . The Tigers got two assists from F Mark Rassell. . . . Heponiemi had an assist for the Broncos, as did Gawdin. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race with 111 points, eight more than Heponiemi. . . . Gawdin also is on a 19-game point streak. . . . The Tigers were 1-3 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-5. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 28 shots for the Tigers. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Stuart Skinner. . . . Medicine Hat D Dylan MacPherson was back in the lineup after leaving Friday’s game early after taking a shot off one knee. . . . Announced attendance: 3,677.


At Kamloops, the Prince George Cougars got two shootout goals to beat the Blazers, 7-6. . . . Prince George (20-30-8) had lost its previous four games. It is fifth in the B.C. Division, PrinceGeorgenine points behind the Blazers. . . . Kamloops (26-28-5) has lost four straight (0-3-1) and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Kamloops leads the season series, 5-2-1; Prince George is 3-5-0. . . . The Blazers, who lost 2-1 to visiting Kelowna on Friday night, are scheduled to play in Everett his afternoon. . . . F Nick Chyzowski (16) gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead 15 seconds into the first period. . . . The Cougars took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, at 7:08, and F Josh Maser, on a PP, at 10:22. . . . The Blazers then went ahead 3-2 on goals from F Justin Sigrist (3), at 11:55, and F Jackson Shepard (9), on a PP, at 14:03. . . . Maser (25) tied it at 1:57 of the second period. Maser joined the Cougars during last season, after playing with the junior B Kamloops Storm. . . . F Josh Curtis (9) put the Cougars ahead, 4-3, at 4:14. . . . The Blazers got the next two goals to go ahead 5-4. F Jermaine Loewen (29) scored at 4:42, with F Quinn Benjafield (19), on a PP, scoring at 12:05. . . . The Cougars go the next two goals, going ahead 6-5 at Mikhalchuk (12) scored at 17:49 and F Jared Bethune (19) counted, on a PP, at 19:53. . . . After all that, F Tylor Ludwar (1) scored the only goal of the third period to get the Blazers into a 6-6 tie. . . . Mikhalchuk and F Ethan Browne scored shootout goals for the Cougars; Sigrist had one for the Blazers. . . . Kamloops was 2-3 on the PP; Prince George was 2-5. . . . The Cougars got 39 saves from G Tavin Grant. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson started and allowed five goals on 24 shots in 37:49. Max Palaga finished up, stopping six of seven shots in 27:11. . . . The Blazers lost D Nolan Kneen to a kneeing major and game misconduct at 2:48 of the second period. . . . F Connor Bowie, 16, made his WHL debut with the Cougars. From Fort St. John, B.C., he was a seventh-round pick by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2016 bantam draft. The Cougars acquired his rights in a deadline deal that had D Dennis Cholowski go to Portland. . . . Announced attendance: 3,165.


At Kelowna, F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Edmonton EdmontonOilKingsOil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Rockets. . . . Edmonton (18-33-7) was 3-1-0 on a trek into the B.C. Division. . . . Kelowna (35-18-6) leads the B.C. Division by one point over Victoria. . . . The Oil Kings were able to dress only 10 forwards. . . . D Cal Foote (15) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 5:34 of the first period. . . . D Conner McDonald (5) tied it with a PP goal, at 11:58. . . . D Braydyn Chizen (5) gave the Rockets a 2-1 lead at 5:52 of the second period. . . . Edmonton F Tomas Soustal (16), who moved over from Kelowna earlier in the season, tied it at 15:09. . . . Edmonton was 1-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-2. . . . The Oil Kings got 29 saves from G Todd Scott. . . . James Porter Jr. turned aside 27 shots for Kelowna. . . . Announced attendance: 5,112.


At Victoria, F Dino Kambeitz broke a 3-3 tie at 19:49 of the third period to give the Royals a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Victoria (35-21-5) had lost its previous three VictoriaRoyalsgames (0-2-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, one point behind Kelowna and five ahead of the Giants, who have three games in hand. . . . Vancouver (31-19-8) had won its previous two games. . . . Victoria won the season series, 7-3-0; Vancouver was 3-4-3. . . . Kambeitz won it with his 11th goal of the season. . . . Giants F Ty Ronning had tied the score with his 53rd goal, with 36.3 seconds left in the third period. . . . Ronning had scored the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 1:41 of the second period. . . . Victoria went ahead 2-1 on goals from Kambeitz, at 11:57, and F Tyler Soy, at 1:59 of the third period. . . . F Brayden Watts (15) tied it for Vancouver at 13:15. . . . Soy put Victoria back out front with his 32nd goal, at 16:06. . . . The Royals got three assists from F Matthew Phillips, but he wasn’t able to score on a first-period penalty shot. Phillips ran his point streak to 21 games. . . . Watts added an assist for Vancouver. . . . With 53 goals, Ronning is one off the WHL lead that is held by Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs. . . . The Giants were 2-3 on the PP; the Royals were 0-1. . . . G Griffen Outhouse, back after being out for a couple of games, stopped 24 shots for the Royals. . . . G Trent Miner was outstanding for the Giants. He finished with 38 saves, 19 of them in the first period. . . . The Royals also had D Ralph Jarratt back after he sat out a couple of games. . . . Victoria D Kade Jensen played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . Announced attendance: 5,816.


At Spokane, F Jake McGrew had a goal and two assists to lead the Chiefs to a 5-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (32-20-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the SpokaneChiefsU.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . Tri-City (29-21-8) has lost two straight. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind Spokane and one ahead of Seattle. . . . Spokane is 5-2-2 in the season series; Tri-City is 4-2-3. . . . The Chiefs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Ethan McIndoe (8), on a PP, at 3:54 of the first period, and D Ty Smith (10), at 4:14. . . . F Max James (7) scored Tri-City’s goal at 4:44. . . . Spokane got second-period goals from F Luke Toporowski (8), at 4:33, and McGrew (15), at 17:05. . . . D Dalton Hamaliuk (2) had Spokane’s final goal, at 7:06 of the third period. . . . F Riley Woods had two assists for the Chiefs. . . . Spokane was 1-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-1. . . . The Chiefs got 18 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . G Patrick Tea stopped 27 shots for the Americans. . . . Announced attendance: 9,785.


At Everett, the Seattle Thunderbirds got two shootout goals and beat the Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Seattle (28-20-9) had lost its past four games (0-2-2). It holds down the Western SeattleConference’s second wild-card spot, one point behind Tri-City. . . . Everett (37-17-5) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It leads the Western Conference standings by three points over Kelowna.  . . . On Friday, the visiting Silvertips beat the Thunderbirds, 4-3, in overtime. . . . Seattle is 4-2-1 in the season series; Everett is 3-2-2. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (4) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 16:54 of the first period. . . . Seattle F Blake Bargar (11) tied it, on a PP, at 1:42 of the second period. . . . D Jarret Tyszka (7) gave Seattle a 2-1 lead at 4:26. . . . Everett F Riley Sutter (23) tied it at 16:20. . . . F Noah Philp and F Zack Andrusiak scored shootout goals for Seattle, with F Matt Fonteyne replying for Everett. . . . Tyszka also had an assist. . . . Seattle was 1-2 on the PP; Everett was 0-5. . . . Seattle G Dorrin Luding stopped 41 shots through OT. . . . Everett got 30 stops from G Carter Hart. . . . The Silvertips were without F Sean Richards after he drew a TBD suspension. He was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Seattle D Jarret Tyszka on Friday. . . . Announced attendance: 8,238.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Regina, 2 p.m.

Saskatoon at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Lethbridge vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 4 p.m.

Red Deer vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 4 p.m.

Kamloops at Everett, 4:05 p.m.

Spokane vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 5:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Wednesday in the WHL: A pair of four-goal games … ‘Sudden-Death’ Kemp beats Pats … Wolf howls in Everett

Scattershooting

Thankfully, the madness that was the WHL trading deadline has passed us by. Might I suggest that somewhere along the line some people appear to have forgotten that this is junior hockey. . . . Is it not completely absurd to be moving around 15- and 16-year-olds, some of whom haven’t even had a taste of the WHL?


Just putting this out there, but when the Regina Pats lost 4-3 in OT to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings last night they had four players — D Josh Mahura, F Nick Henry, F Robbie Holmes and D Liam Schioler — in the lineup who played in Game 6 of last spring’s WHL championship final. F Jake Leschyshyn, who played last night, missed last season’s playoffs with a knee injury. F Sam Steel, who didn’t play last night, is resting after playing for Team Canada at the WJC in Buffalo. . . . The Pats made seven trades after the Christmas break. . . . This is what you call a massive makeover.



The biggest winners at the WHL trade deadline? How about the folks who recruit for NCAA hockey teams? Hey, with the whacky WHL schedule and teams combining to move 110 players and 77 bantam draft picks since Nov. 13, you have to think NCAA recruiters are fine-tuning their sales pitches.


It didn’t used to be this way, you know. There was a time when players and draft picks didn’t fly around like snowflakes at the WHL trade deadline. Asked what changed, one GM told Taking Note: “Greed. It’s all about the money now. You can’t build a team anymore.”



One thing to keep in mind after all that has gone on in the last while is this: At the end, only one team can win.


The way I see it, there are four legitimate championship contenders in the WHL right now. My rankings look like this: 1. Portland; 2. Moose Jaw; 3. Everett; 4. Swift Current. . . . For the fans of the other 18 teams, well, the WHL is sorry but there’s always next season.


I would say that Tri-City and Kelowna are close, and I really like Vancouver as a dark horse. But they aren’t quite there. The Americans? They need to get their key guys healthy, something they haven’t been able to do for most of two seasons now.


Thanks to eliteprospects.com, a site that is invaluable during a hockey season, but even moreso with a trade deadline approaching.


Peter Anholt gets it. He really does. On Tuesday morning, the general manager of the Lethbridge Hurricanes traded two players — G Stuart Skinner and F Giorgio Estephan — who have been cornerstones of that franchise. Later that night, after the Hurricanes scored a 5-4 OT victory over the Red Deer Rebels, Anholt met with fans to explain the trade and to answer any questions they might have.


All those players who left Regina over the past while? Here’s hoping their parents didn’t purchase Memorial Cup tickets and make travel plans.



MacBeth

F Jared Aulin (Kamloops, 1997-2002) has signed a one-year extension with Rapperswil (Switzerland, NL B). This season, he has 10 goals and 33 assists in 30 games. He leads his team in assists and points; he is fourth in the league’s scoring race and second in assists.


A LITTLE OF THIS …

Scott Burt, an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs, will have his number (12) retired by the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads on Feb. 3 when they entertain the Utah Grizzlies. Burt played 403 games with the Steelheads over seven seasons (2000-07). Burt is second in Steelheads history in games played (403), third in goals (111) and third in points (250). He played on two ECHL-championship clubs. . . . Burt, now 40, played four seasons (1994-98) in the WHL, making stops with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels.


The Swift Current Broncos have dropped F Logan Foster, 18, from their roster. He has joined the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. From Kamsack, Sask., Foster had one assist in seven games with the Spokane Chiefs last season. This season, he had two goals and an assist in 22 games with the Broncos. The Chiefs selected him in the seventh round of the 2014 bantam draft.


The Red Deer Rebels have dropped D Sam Pouliot, 17, from their roster. He is expected to join the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. He had one goal in 12 games with the Rebels. A native of Ottawa who now calls North Vancouver, B.C., home, he is an undrafted list player who was in his first WHL season.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have dropped F Jaxon Steele, 17, from their roster and he is expected to join the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. He was pointless in 17 games with the Tigers.


THE COACHING GAME …

KABOOM! The junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior KimberleyHockey have signed Derek Stuart, their general manager and head coach, to a two-season contract extension that contains an option on a third season. . . . Stuart is a former Dynamiters player. From Calgary, he is in his second season on the bench. This season, the Dynamiters are 27-6-1-1 (one OTL and one tie) and lead the overall standings by a point over the Nelson Leafs.


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Tristan Langan scored four goals, including three in a row in the first period, to lead the Warriors to an 8-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Moose Jaw (34-MooseJawWarriors6-3) has points in nine straight games (8-0-1) and leads the overall standings by 10 points over Swift Current. . . . Calgary (13-23-6) had lost two in a row. . . . F Jakob Stukel gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 4:22 of the first period. . . . The Warriors scored the next six goals. . . . Langan, who has 12 goals, scored at 7:42, 14:12 and 19:36 of the first period. His fourth goal, at 8:08 of the second period, gave the home side a 6-1 lead. . . . F Justin Almeida (25), F Brecon Wood (2), F Tyler Smithies, with his first WHL goal, and F Tate Popple (5) also scored for Moose Jaw. . . . Stukel, who has 20 goals, scored twice, the second one coming on a third-period penalty shot. . . . F Carson Focht also scored for Calgary. . . . The Warriors got three assists from each of F Tanner Jeannot and Jayden Halbgewachs, with D Dmitri Zaitsev getting two and Smithies one. . . . The Warriors were 2-4 on the PP; the Hitmen were 1-3. . . . The Warriors got 17 saves from G Adam Evanoff. . . . Calgary starter Nick Schneider gave up six goals on 22 shots in 28:08. Matthew Armitage came on to stop 10 of 12 shots in 31:52. . . . Announced attendance: 3,048.


At Regina, F Brett Kemp scored at 1:40 of OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the Pats. . . . The Oil Kings (12-24-6) have won two in a row. . . . The Pats (21-19-4) EdmontonOilKingshave points in two straight (1-0-1) and hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of Saskatoon. . . . One night earlier, Kemp, who has 11 goals, scored at 2:06 of OT to give Edmonton a 3-2 victory in Brandon. . . . Last night, F Robbie Holmes gave Regina a 2-0 lead before the first period was half over. Holmes, who has 12 goals, scored at 4:37 and 9:59. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (18) got Edmonton’s first goal, at 12:12. . . . The Oil Kings took a 3-2 lead on two goals from F Colton Kehler, at 1:07 of the second period and 1:13 of the third. . . . The Pats forced OT when F Matt Bradley (26) scored at 14:25. . . . Fix-Wolansky also had an assist. . . . F Austin Pratt drew two assists for Regina and Bradley had one. . . . The Pats were 0-2 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 0-3. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 33 shots for Edmonton, four more than Regina’s Ryan Kubic, who was acquired earlier in the day from the Saskatoon Blades. . . . F Cam Hebig, who went to Regina in the same deal, didn’t play. . . . D Libor Hajek, who came over from Saskatoon on Tuesday, made his Regina debut. F Jesse Gabrielle, who was acquired from Prince George, also was in Regina’s lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 5,372.


At Saskatoon, F Bryan Lockner scored in his Medicine Hat debut as the Tigers beat the Blades, 3-2. . . . Medicine Hat (23-16-3) leads the Central Division by 10 points over Tigers Logo OfficialLethbridge and Kootenay. . . . Saskatoon (22-18-3) has lost two in a row and now holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, seven points ahead of Prince Albert.. . . . The Blades actually acquired Lockner from the Regina Pats on Wednesday morning, then flipped him to Medicine Hat in a deal that brought F Max Gerlach to Saskatoon. Gerlach made his Saskatoon debut and had an assist. . . . The Tigers opened up a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Gary Haden (11), at 1:57, and Lockner (8), at 6:00. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (22) pulled the Blades to within a goal at 17:39. . . . D David Quenneville (18) gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead at 12:31 of the third period. . . . The Blades got to within a goal when F Chase Wouters (11) scored at 19:45. . . . Quenneville also had an assist, as did F Elijah Brown, who was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday. . . . Wouters had an assist for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades were 0-2 on the PP; the Tigers were 0-4. . . . G Jordan Hollett earned the victory with 31 saves, 12 fewer than Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier. . . . Maier was backed up by Tyler Brown, who was acquired from Regina earlier in the day. . . . F Ryan Jevne was back in Medicine Hat’s lineup after serving a three-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 2,709.


At Prince George, F Josh Maser scored four goals, the last one coming in OT, as the Cougars beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . Prince George (16-19-7) had lost its previous PrinceGeorgetwo games (0-1-1). The Cougars are tied with Kamloops, six points out of a wild-card spot. . . . Vancouver (24-14-6) is 7-0-1 in its past eight games. It went 4-0-1 on a five-game road trip that ended with this game. The Giants are second in the Western Conference, one point behind Kelowna. . . . One night earlier, the Giants had beaten the host Cougars, 5-1. . . . Last night, seven goals were scored and they all came from two players, as F Ty Ronning had all three Vancouver goals. . . . Ronning, who has 39 goals, scored the game’s first two goals, at 10:16 of the first period and 7:53 of the second. . . . Maser, who now has 20 goals, gave the Cougars a 3-2 lead with goals at 9:17 of the second and 0:08 and 17:35 of the third. . . . The Giants forced OT when Ronning completed his hat trick with 29.9 seconds left in the third. . . . Master won it at 2:49 of OT. . . . The Cougars got two assists from F Josh Curtis. . . . Vancouver was 0-2 on the PP; Prince George was 0-3. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 27 shots for the Cougars. . . . The Giants got 33 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . The Giants had traded G Todd Scott to Edmonton earlier in the day, a move that left them without a backup goaltender. Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen reports that Cougars G Isaiah DiLaura was on the lineup sheet as the Giants’ backup “and would have been called into service” had Tendeck been injured. . . . D Darian Skeoch was among Vancouver’s scratches. He had played in Tuesday’s victory. . . . Announced attendance: 2,495.


At Everett, G Dustin Wolf turned aside 29 shots to lead the Silvertips to a 4-0 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Everett (25-16-2) has won two in a row and leads the U.S. EverettDivision by a point over Portland. . . . Tri-City (22-13-5) had won its previous two games. It is third in the U.S. Division, two points behind Portland and three ahead of Seattle. . . Wolf, 16, has been starting for Everett in the absence of Carter Hart, who won gold with Team Canada at the WJC in Buffalo. Wolf now is 9-5-0, 2.17, .933, with three shutouts. . . . Hart is expected to return Saturday in Spokane. . . . The Silvertips got two goals from each of F Connor Dewar and D Kevin Davis. . . . Dewar, who has 18 goals, scored the game’s first and fourth goals, at 5:27 of the first period and 8:35 of the third, on a PP. . . . Davis made it 2-0 while shorthanded at 10:41 of the second period, then added his sixth goal at 4:35 of the third. . . . F Matt Fonteyne had two assists, and Davis had one. . . . Everett was 1-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-3. . . . G Patrick Dea started for Tri-City and allowed four goals on 51 shots in 50:05. Beck Warm finished up by stopping all six shots he faced in 9:55. . . . Tri-City F Max James was handed a charging major and game  misconduct for a hit on Everett F Matt Fonteyne at 7:24 of the third period. . . . F Garrett Pilon and D Ondrej Vala, both acquired Sunday from Kamloops, made their Everett debuts. Vala had a game-high 11 shots on goal. . . . The Americans were without D Jake Bean, who is expected to make his debut on Friday against Portland, and F Morgan Geekie, F Kyle Olson, D Juuso Valimaki and F Michael Rasmussen, all of whom are hurt. . . . Announced attendance: 2,997.


At Kelowna, F Kyle Topping score two goals and added an assist to help the Rockets to a 7-4 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kelowna (26-12-3) has won two in a row and KelownaRocketsleads the Western Conference by a point over Vancouver. . . . Spokane (21-18-3) has lost three straight. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Topping, who has 17 goals, got the scoring started at 5:14 of the first period. . . . D Kaedan Korczak’s first WHL goal made it 2-0 at 14:57. . . . The Chiefs followed that with three straight goals, from D Jeff Faith (4), at 18:27; D Tyson Helgesen (6), at 0:19 of the second period; and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (23), on a PP, at 2:11. . . . The Rockets erased the deficit and took a 5-3 lead as F Nolan Foote (12) scored at 3:37, D Cal Foote (7) counted, on a PP, at 14:20, and D Braydyn Chizen (4) added another at 7:53 of the third period. . . . F Zach Fischer (19), who also had an assist, pulled the Chiefs to within a goal at 15:41. . . . The Rocket put it away as Topping scored at 18:06 and F Kole Lind added his 21st goal at 18:55. . . . The Rockets got three assists from F Carsen Twarynski, with Lind, Topping and Nolan Foote adding one each. . . . Kelowna was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 1-3. . . . G Roman Basran started for Kelowna but was shaken up and left at 5:53 of the first period. He stopped all five shots he faced. James Porter Jr. finished up, stopping 23 of 27 shots in 54:07. . . . The Chiefs got 18 stops from G Donovan Buskey. . . . Spokane again had Campbell Arnold, 15, backing up Buskey with Dawson Weatherill scratched again. . . . Announced attendance: 5,372.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Regina, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Lethbridge at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

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

Kamloops at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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