Agent disappointed with WHL reaction to “racially motivated situation” after offender traded . . . Gut returning to Everett . . . Cougars release two forwards

Kai Uchacz, one of the players involved in some nasty stuff with the Seattle WHL2Thunderbirds, has been traded to the Red Deer Rebels for a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft.

From a WHL news release:

“Uchacz was removed from the roster of the Seattle Thunderbirds on March 25, 2021 following a thorough review by Thunderbirds staff after it was discovered he had directed racist comments and actions towards another player on the team.”

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reported in March that the Thunderbirds had released two forwards because of “a racist taunting incident in which the squad’s lone Black player alleged he was called a racial slur and a banana was waved in front of him.”

The target of the slur was F Mekai Sanders. His agent, Scott Norton, the president of Norton Sports Management, didn’t react to the trade in a favourable fashion on Friday.

Norton tweeted: “Enough is enough. Time for things to change in hockey and society!”

That was on top of this statement from Norton:

“On behalf of my client Mekai Sanders and myself, we are very disappointed that the Western Hockey League has not issued a statement or any disciplinary actions following the racially motivated situation that occurred on the Seattle Thunderbirds during the 2020-21 season. We appreciated the actions of general manager Bil La Forge and the Thunderbirds management during the season, but a league that claims ‘zero tolerance’ should have stepped up and dealt with the individuals as well. In light of today’s trade involving one of the offenders, we are calling upon the WHL Commissioner Rob (sic) Robison and the league to take action immediately.”

Norton also tweeted: “What is the point of having a zero tolerance policy if you do not hold your players to that standard? This was not a 1-time isolated, incident! How many chances does the victim get to live his life and chase his dreams?”

According to the WHL, Uchacz has undergone training and education in the areas of “anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion. . . . As a result of demonstrating significant progress with his ongoing education and genuine remorse for his prior behaviour, Uchacz’s return to the WHL has been fully endorsed by the diversity consulting agencies that conducted the training and education program.

“In addition, once he joins the Rebels, Uchacz will be required to continue his diversity and respect training in Red Deer. All WHL players are required to complete the Respect in Hockey educational program, which includes Respect in Sport certification, each season.”

Uchacz, 18, is from Calgary. The Thunderbirds selected him with the 10th overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . He had one goal and one assist in five games in 2018-19, then added two goals and six assists in 52 games in 2019-20. In 2020-21, he played three games with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints, picking up one assist. . . . According to Alan Caldwell, who keeps track of such things, the Rebels held two second-round picks in the 2021 draft — their own (No. 24) and the Winnipeg Ice’s (40). It’s not clear which pick was sent to Seattle.


The Everett Silvertips confirmed Friday that Czech F Michal Gut will be in their Everettlineup for 2021-22. He was the team’s rookie of the year for 2019-20 after putting up 13 goals and 23 assists in 51 games. . . . Gut, who will turn 19 on Aug. 16, stayed home for 2020-21 and played with HC Banik Sokolov in the Czech2. He finished with 10 goals and 11 assists in 20 games. . . . The Silvertips now have their two imports in Gut and Finnish F Niko Huuhtanen, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in last weekend’s NHL draft.


Golf


American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, the world champion, won’t compete at Covidthe Tokyo Olympics after testing positive. Kendricks, 28, had won a bronze medal at the 2016 Games. . . . Another pole vaulter, German Chiaraviglio of Argentina, also has tested positive and has been ruled out of the Games. . . . Organizers revealed 24 new positives on Thursday among Olympic personnel, with three of those being athletes. At that point, six American athletes had tested positive. . . . There’s more on the Kendricks story right here.


CTV Calgary — “Canada’s top doctors say Alberta’s decision to end isolation requirements for those who test positive for COVID-19, or who have been in close contact with someone who has, could have ripple effects across the country.”



Entertainment Weekly: “Netflix is not taking the fourth wave lightly. It has become the first major Hollywood studio to require vaccinations on productions.”

Entertainment Weekly: “Broadways sets rule for audiences to be vaccinated and wear masks for performances through October. . . . Performers, backstage crew and theatre staff are also required to be vaccinated.”



CBC News: “The Australian city of Sydney experienced a rise in local COVID-19 cases and warned the outbreak would get worse. Australian authorities have sought help from the military to enforce a city-wide lockdown.”


Masks


It’s believed that more than 90 per cent of the players with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers are vaccinated. DE Nick Bosa, a Pro Bowler, isn’t one of them. “I’m just evaluating everything right now,” he told reporters on Thursday. “I haven’t made a decision quite yet.” . . . Meanwhile, the team’s entire coaching staff has been vaccinated.


Matthew Dolan, Detroit Free Press: “University of Michigan to require COVID-19 vaccination on all campuses. All students, faculty and staff on all three campuses of the University of Michigan are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, submit their vaccination information before the start of the fall.”


The 2022 World Women’s Curling Championship is scheduled to be played in PGPrince George, from March 19-27. The event was to have been held there in 2020 but was cancelled as the pandemic was just getting started. . . . The 2021 championship was decided in a bubble in Calgary. . . . The 2022 event will be held at the CN Centre, the home of the WHL’s Cougars. This means that the Cougars will finish the 2021-22 WHL regular season by playing seven of their last eight games on the road. . . . After entertaining the Victoria Royals on March 11 and 12, the Cougars will hit the road for four games — yes, four in a row — in Victoria on March 18, 19, 25 and 26, and singles against  the Vancouver Giants, Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets. The Cougars will return home to conclude their regular season on April 3 against the visiting Blazers. . . . The big question is: How will they spend their time between doubleheaders in Victoria? Do they stay on Vancouver Island or return home, then travel back to Victoria? Does it influence the decision if there is a playoff spot on the line?


Divorce


F Ethan Browne and F Dave Griffin have cleared WHL waivers and been released by the Prince George Cougars. . . . Browne, 20, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. The Everett Silvertips selected him 14th overall in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He got into nine games with Everett before landing in Prince George and playing four seasons there. In 149 regular-season games, he scored 19 goals and added 53 assists. . . . Griffin, 19, had one assist in three games with the Cougars in 2019-20 and one assist in 15 games during the 2021 development season. . . . The Cougars had six other 2001-born players on the roster that finished the 2021 season — F Connor Bowie, F Brendan Boyle, G Taylor Gauthier, F Jonny Hooker, D Majid Kaddoura and F Tyson Upper.


The New York Times — Starting Friday, Disney World in Florida will require guests older than 2 to wear masks in indoor spaces, reversing its policy that allowed fully vaccinated guests to go without them.



G Roman Basran, 20, has cleared WHL waivers after having released by the RocketsKelowna Rockets, so now is a free agent. He got into eight games in the 2021 development season, going 4-2-1, 3.86, .876. . . . Basran, from Vancouver, played 120 games over four seasons with the Rockets, finishing 52-41-11, 2.90, .905. He also put up five shutouts. . . . The Rockets finished that 2021 season with seven other 2001-born players on their roster — D Tyson Feist, D Jake Lee, D Kaedan Korczak, F Mark Liwiski, G Cole Schwebius, F Alex Swetlikoff and F Dallon Wilton. . . . That same roster also included two other goaltenders — Nicholas Cristiano, who will be 17 on Sept. 3, and Cole Tisdale, 19.


F Kishaun Gervais would appear to be finished with the Portland Winterhawks. PortlandGervais, who will turn 20 on Nov. 4, wrote on his Instagram account on Wednesday: “Thank you for making my dreams of playing in the WHL come true. #RoseCityForever.” . . . From Kamsack, Sask., he was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . He had eight goals and nine assists in 31 games in 2019-20, then added a goal and an assist in 19 games in the 2021 development season. . . . The roster with which Portland finished the season contained six more 2001-born players — Danish D Jonas Brondberg, F Jaydon Dureau, G Brock Gould, D Clay Hanus, F Reece Newkirk and D Kade Nolan. . . .

Off the ice, Gervais founded a clothing company — Teddy Wear Clothing — over a year ago and also has been involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. . . . For more on Gervais, take a look at this story right here by Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.

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Brian Pellerin has joined the Portland Winterhawks as an assistant coach. He’ll work alongside Mike Johnston, the organization’s vice-president, general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Don Hay. . . . Earlier in his career, Pellerin spent four seasons (2004-08) with the Winterhawks as an assistant coach. He also worked as associate coach with the Tri-City Americans (2014-20). . . . Pellerin is a former WHL player, having spent four seasons (1987-91) with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . BTW, Pellerin is from Hinton, Alta., which is just a couple of slapshots west of Old Drinnan Town, the entrance to which is pictured at the top of this site.


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.


JUST NOTES: The Swift Current Broncos have signed Devan Praught as an assistant coach. From Summerside, P.E.I., he has been in Wilcox, Sask., at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame for the past eight seasons. Praught, 33, has been the head coach of the U-18 AAA Hounds for five seasons. . . . Former WHLer Jason Christie has joined the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres as an assistant coach. Christie, 52, spent the previous four seasons as the head coach and vice-president of hockey operations with the ECHL’s Jacksonville IceMen. From Gibbons, Alta., he played four seasons (1986-90) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . .

Former WHL G Ty Rimmer has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters as their goaltending coach. From Edmonton, Rimmer split 159 regular-season WHL games over four seasons (2009-13) between the Brandon Wheat Kings, Prince George Cougars, Tri-City Americans and Lethbridge Hurricanes. In Trail, he replaces Cam Basarab, who now is with the Rink Academy in Kelowna. . . . Kory Achtymichuk is the Prince George Cougars’ new equipment manager. From Wadena, Sask., he has spent the past four seasons as the Regina Pats’ assistant equipment manager. In Prince George, he takes over from Ramandeep (Chico) Dhanjal, who left to become the equipment manager with the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks.


LSD

Farewell, Cranbrook. It’s been great. . . . Ice wins its final game before move to Winnipeg. . . . Late assist gives Blichfeld scoring title

ThisThat

The WHL’s 21-year history in Cranbrook, B.C., ended on Sunday as the Kootenay Ice skated to a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels.

If you’re late to this situation, the Ice is relocating to Winnipeg and will spend at least the wpgicenext two seasons playing out of the 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba while it awaits construction of a new facility. . . .

The Ice, which ended a six-game losing skid with Sunday’s victory, finished 13-45-10. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . .

Before the game, a fan emailed this: “At 4 pm the ticket lineup for the final game is the full length of the building.” . . . The announced attendance at the last WHL game in 4-264-seat Western Financial Place was 2,684.

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“The fans continued to turn out to support the PLAYERS who were caught in a terrible situation through no fault of their own,” John Hudak, the marketing director of the now-defunct Green Bay Committee, told Taking Note via email. “Make no mistake, there were very few fans that were supporting this ownership and to the credit of the fans they turned out to support the players and the good name of the City of Cranbrook and its hockey history.  It could have been ugly but the people of Cranbrook took the high road.”

The Green Bay Committee was formed early in the season to help owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell sell tickets and sponsorships. After selling what it said was $50,000 worth, the committee disbanded in mid-November because of what it said was a lack of co-operation and support from the owners.

Prior to that point, there had been ample speculation that the owners, who are from Winnipeg, planned to move the franchise to the Manitoba capital. When the Green Bay Committee went public about the lack of support it had received, the pieces started to fall into place.

“The vibe in the arena today was a testament to the people of Cranbrook,” continued Hudak, who is running for a spot on city council in a May 11 by-election. “They were respectful of the ownership. They got behind the players and the players reciprocated by not rolling over.”

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Clock.jpg

The game ended with the clock showing 27.7 seconds still to play. But that was only because the timekeeper inadvertently hit the wrong button, something that caused the clock to count up rather than down.

“It was almost as if he didn’t want to see the game end,” Hudak noted. “In all seriousness, he has run the clock for more than 20 years . . . he won’t live this one down for the rest of his days!”

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This isn’t the first time in recent history that a WHL team has relocated. After the 2010-11 season, the Chilliwack Bruins, who had been sold, left the Lower Mainland city after five seasons and opened up shop in Victoria as the Royals. . . .

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Ice F Peyton Krebs, a sure-fire first-round selection in June’s NHL draft, didn’t finish the first period. He was ejected at 11:57 with a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jacob Herauf, who later returned to the game. Should Krebs be suspended, he will serve his suspension to open the 2019-20 regular season . . . unless he cracks the roster of the NHL team that selects him, that is.


SOME NUMBERS:

F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks earned an assist with 1.1 seconds left in whlthe third period of a 6-5 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday, and that was enough to give him the WHL scoring title. . . . He finished with 114 points, one more than F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Blichfeld had 53 goals and 61 assists in 68 games; Langan was at 53 and 60 in 67 games. . . . Had they ended up tied, they would have shared the title. . . . In 1987-88, Theo Fleury of the Warriors and Joe Sakic of the Swift Current Broncos tied at the top, each with 160 points. Sakic was named the scoring champion on the basis of more goals, 78-68. . . .

Blichfeld and Langan led the league in goals, with six more than F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Moose Jaw F Justin Almeida was tops in assists (78), well ahead of F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings and F Nick Henry of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who tied at 65. . . . Kastelic had a WHL-leading 24 PP goals. . . . Moose Jaw D Jett Woo was No. 1 in PP assists, with 33. . . . Lethbridge F Jake Elmer led in shorthanded goals, with seven. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo and two Warriors — F Brayden Tracey and Langan — tied for the lead in game-winning goals, each with 11. . . .

Tracey was the WHL’s top-scoring freshman, leading in goals (36), assists (45) and points (81). . . .

Among goaltenders, Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips was tops in GAA (1.69), save percentage (.936) and victories (41). . . . Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders was second in all three categories — 1.83, .932 and 38. . . . Scott was No. 1 in shutouts (8), one more than Wolf. . . .

Josh Brook of the Warriors and Dawson Davidson of the Saskatoon Blades led all defenceman in points, each with 75, four more than Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants. . . . Byram led in goals (26), while Davison and Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs were tops in assists (62).


The U of New Brunswick Varsity Reds won the Canadian university (U Sports) UNBchampionship on Sunday, beating the Alberta Golden Bears, 4-2, in Lethbridge. . . . The Golden Bears went into the tournament as the top-ranked of the eight teams; UNB was ranked No. 2. . . . In the final, UNB got goals from Samuel Dove-McFalls, Oliver Cooper, Kris Bennett and Mark Rassell, the latter a former Medicine Hat Tigers sniper. . . . Steve Owre and Brandon Magee, both ex-WHLers, replied for the Golden Bears. Owre also played in Medicine Hat; Magee played for the Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royas. . . . G Alex Dubeau stopped 32 shots for the winners. . . . Alberta got 27 saves from Zach Sawchenko, who played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Golden Bears lost F Luke Philp, the Canadian university player of the year, to an undisclosed injury in the first period. . . . UNB now has won eight national titles. . . . Each of the past seven titles has been won by UNB (2017, 2016 and 2013) or Alberta (2018, 2015 and 2014).


SUNDAY  HIGHLIGHTS:

F Vince Loschiavo scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsHitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton (42-18-8) closed out the regular-season on an 11-game winning streak that tied a franchise record. It had been done on three previous occasions, most recently in 2013-14. . . . Calgary (36-26-6) has lost four in a row. . . . The Oil Kings finished atop the Central Division and will open the playoffs against the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The third-place Hitmen will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who wound up second, in the first round. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 7-0-1; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (4) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 10:07 of the first period. . . . Loschiavo tied it at 7:14 of the second period, then gave his guys the lead at 10:47 with his 37th goal of the season, on a PP. That also turned into his 11th game-winner this season, a franchise record. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours (11) wrapped up the scoring with an empty-netter, at 19:35 of the third period. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 25 shots for Edmonton. . . . Calgary got 33 saves from G Carl Stankowski.


F Michael Milne broke a 4-4 tie in the third period as the Kootenay Ice closed out its Everetthistory in Cranbrook, B.C., with a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice (13-45-10), which is relocating to Winnipeg, snapped a six-game losing streak. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . . Red Deer (33-29-6) has lost four in a row. The Rebels, who finished in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, will meet the Prince Albert Raiders, the WHL’s top regular-season team, in the first round. . . . F Jaeger White (28) put the Ice in front 1-0 at 6:48 of the first period. . . . The Rebels responded with three straight goals — from F Cam Hausinger, on a PP, at 12:20; F Brett Davis (20), on a PP, at 14:46; and Hausinger (21), on yet another PP, at 0:19 of the second period. . . . The Rebels acquired Hausinger and Davis, who also had two assists, from the Ice earlier this season. . . . The Ice came back with the next three goals, in the span of 1:45 early in the second. . . . F Nolan Orzeck (4) got it started at 3:01. F Holden Kodak (3) tied the score at 3:56. F Connor McClennon (14) gave the Ice a 4-3 lead at 4:46. . . . The Rebels tied it at 17:40 when F Jordan Borysiuk, an AP, scored his first goal. He was playing in his seventh WHL game, but his first this season. . . . Milne, a 16-year-old freshman from Abbotsford, B.C., broke the tie with his third goal at 14:16 of the third period. . . . Red Deer was 3-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger earned the victory with 25 saves, one fewer than Red Deer’s Byron Fancy. . . . The Ice lost F Peyton Krebs to a boarding major and game misconduct at 11:57 of the first period. . . . The Rebels scratched G Ethan Anders, D Dawson Barteaux, F Jeff de Wit, F Reese Johnson, F Josh Tarzwell and F Brandon Hagel. . . . They also dressed four APs — G Eric Ward, F Jordan Borysiuk, F Ethan Rowland and F Jace Isley. . . . F Austin Schellenberg, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday, was among the Ice’s scratches.


The Seattle Thunderbirds erased a 4-3 deficit with three straight goals and beat the SeattleWinterhawks, 6-5, in Portland to bring down the curtain on the WHL’s 2018-19 regular season. . . . Seattle (31-29-8) has won three in a row. As the Western Conference’s second wild-card entry, it will go up against the conference-champion Vancouver Giants in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Portland (40-22-6) has lost two in a row. It finished third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Spokane Chiefs, who won 10 of their final 12 games. Those two teams will meet in the first round with Spokane having home-ice advantage. . . . Portland went 8-4-0 in the season series; Seattle was 4-6-2. . . . Last night, Portland took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Reece Newkirk (23), on a PP, at 1:47, and F Jake Gricius (27), at 5:35. . . . Seattle scored the next three goals. . . . F Jared Davidson (2) scored at 19:32, with F Kai Uchacz getting his first WHL goal at 13:03. D Simon Kubicek (9) gave Seattle a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 15:14. . . . Uchacz, 15, was the 10th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Winterhawks tied it 42 seconds later as D Clay Hanus (8) scored. . . . Again, Seattle scored three in a row, this time to take a 6-4 lead. . . . F Brecon Wood (4) tied it at 4:27 of the second. . . . F Sean Richards (16) gave the Thunderbirds a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 4:30 of the third, and D Jarret Tyszka (8) made it 6-4 at 8:00. . . . D Jared Freadrich (15) of Portland got the game’s final goal, on a PP, with 1.1 seconds left in the third period. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld drew an assist on Freadrich’s goal for his only point of the game. That gave him 114 points on the season, enough to win the WHL scoring title by one point over F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Andrej Kukuca had three assists for Seattle. . . . Freadrich added two assists to his goal, for his fifth career three-point outing. . . . Seattle got 40 saves from G Cole Schwebius, while Portland’s Joel Hofer stopped 27 shots. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Cody Glass (knee) for an eighth straight game. They say the plan is for him to be back in time for Friday’s playoff opener, but, hey, it’s that time of year when you can’t believe anything you might hear about injuries. . . . F Matthew Wedman, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan, Seattle’s top three scorers, all were scratched.


Tweetoftheday

It’s true! Hay joins Winterhawks . . . Ice extends two coaches, trainer . . . Willms’ season ends before it starts


MacBeth

F Carter Proft (Brandon, Spokane, 2010-14) signed a one-year contract with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). Last season, he had two assists in 20 games with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL), and nine goals and eight assists in 23 games with Ravensburg Towerstars (Germany, DEL2).


ThisThat

Some reaction to the piece that appeared here yesterday advocating for the banning of fighting and headshots in the WHL:

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The final word, as it should, goes to a hockey mom . . .


As was reported here on Friday night, Don Hay has joined the Portland Winterhawks’ coaching staff as an assistant where he will alongside Mike Johnston, the vice-president, Portlandgeneral manager and head coach, and associate coach Kyle Gustafson.

Hay, the winningest regular-season and playoff coach in WHL history, spent the past four seasons as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, a team with which he won three Memorial Cups in the 1990s. However, on May 10, majority owner Tom Gaglardi announced at a news conference that Hay had retired.

“Don Hay is a legend and it is only fitting that he is able to retire with his hometown Kamloops Blazers as the winningest coach in WHL history,” Gaglardi said in a news release. “Don leaves a storied legacy within junior hockey circles. His accomplishments are astounding and he will be forever regarded as one of the greatest coaches in junior hockey history. We are extremely grateful to have had Don return to the Blazers and be able to end his coaching career where it all began.”

The Blazers announced at the time that Hay would stay with the organization, as senior advisor, hockey operations.

Hay wasn’t in attendance at that news conference, and when he met with the media the next day he let it be known that he still wanted to coach.

The Winterhawks had a position come open with Danny Flynn, a veteran coach, signed on as an eastern Canadian scout with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Flynn, a longtime friend of Johnston’s, spent one season in Portland.

Johnston and Hay also are longtime friends, going back to the 1995 World Junior Championship. Hay was the head coach and Johnston an assistant with Team Canada, which won the gold medal in Red Deer.

“We are thrilled to add a coach of Don’s calibre to our staff,” Johnston said in a news release. “When I first approached Don about the idea I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be, but he was both interested and excited. Kyle and I have always had a good rapport with Don and feel he will definitely be a great addition to our group.”

Former Winterhawks’ head coach Ken Hodge had been the WHL’s winningest regular-season coach, with 742 victories, before Hay broke the record last season. Hay finished the season with 750 victories.

Johnston ran his total to 323 last season, becoming the 23rd coach in WHL history to surpass 300.

The Winterhawks are scheduled to play in Kamloops on Oct. 3 and 5.



The Kootenay Ice announced three contract extensions during a news conference on KootenaynewMonday morning in Cranbrook. Assistant coach Gord Burnett has a two-year extension, while Darcy Ewanchuk, the trainer and equipment manager, was extended for three seasons, and Nathan Lieuwen, the goaltending consultant and video coach, signed a two-year extension. . . . Burnett, from Regina, is heading into his fourth season with the Ice, while Ewanchuk, from Sherwood Park, Alta., is preparing for season No. 14. Lieuwen, from Abbotsford, joined the Ice prior to last season. He was a goaltender with the Ice from 2007-12. . . . The Ice also announced that James Patrick is returning for his second season as head coach, with Jon Klemm back as associate coach, and Roman Vopat as assistant coach. . . . The Ice also revealed that as of Monday morning they had sold 1,598 season tickets, “down 319 from 2017-18 and 902 below the Drive to 25 target announced in May 2017.” . . . The complete news release detailing all announcements from the news conference is right here.


Brody Willms of the Moose Jaw Warriors, one of the WHL’s top goaltenders, isn’t expected to play this season because of a hip injury. Alan Millar, the Warriors’ general MooseJawWarriorsmanager, made the announcement on Monday.

Willms, a 20-year-old from Coquitlam, B.C., was 37-11-4, 3.00, .898 in 54 appearances in leading the Warriors to their first Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy — most points in the regular season — in 2017-18. He set a single-season franchise record with the 37 victories.

An eighth-round selection by Moose Jaw in the 2013 WHL bantam draft, Willms went 62-34-10, 3.20, .900 in 118 appearances over five seasons with the Warriors.

Two WHL goaltenders — Carl Stankowski of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Nick Sanders of the Prince Albert Raiders — missed time last season with hip woes. Sanders, who played in only four games, was dealt to the Calgary Hitmen on Jan. 8, while they acquired Stankowski on Aug. 7. Stankowski sat out the entire season after stepping in and backstopping the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship in 2016-17.

The Warriors used Willms and freshman Adam Evanoff in goal last season. Evanoff, 18, was 15-4-1, 2.65, .906, so likely moves to the top of Moose Jaw’s depth chart. From Penticton, Evanoff was a 10th-round pick in the 2015 WHL bantam draft.

Among the other goaltenders expected in Moose Jaw’s camp are Ethan Fitzgerald, 17, of Calgary, who was a sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, and Jackson Berry of Chestermere, Alta., who will turn 16 on Dec. 6. He was a sixth-round pick in 2017. Fitzgerald and Berry both have signed with the Warriors.



The Regina Pats have acquired G Carter Woodside, 17, from the Kootenay Ice for a Patsconditional eighth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Woodside, from Asquith, Sask., was picked by the Ice in the sixth round of the 2016 bantam draft. . . . The trade’s condition has to do with the number of games Woodside plays for the Pats in 2018-19. . . . He played last season with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, going 15-5-0, 2.53, .900 in the regular season. . . . Also on the Pats’ goaltending depth chart are sophomore Max Paddock, 18, and WHL veteran Kyle Dumba, 20.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Kai Uchacz, their first-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft, to a WHL contract. From De Winton, Alta., he had 25 goals and 17 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Okotoks Oilers last season. . . . As the lists below show, WHL teams now have signed 19 of the 22 first-round draft picks.

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

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.

——

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

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong (committed to U of Denver, 2021-22).

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.


When it comes to the Medicine Hat Tigers’ training camp and exhibition schedule, there Tigers Logo Officialis going to be an interesting battle for spots on the depth chart. Barring the unexpected, veteran Jordan Hollett, 19, will be the starter. . . . Mads Sogaard, a Dane who will turn 18 on Dec. 13, will be in the battle to backup Hollett. Sogaard, 6-foot-6 and 180 pounds, played last season with the NAHL’s Austin Bruins, so culture shock shouldn’t be much of an issue. In 22 games, he was 2.64, .909. . . . Garin Bjorklund, at 16-year-old from Calgary, also will be in camp. He was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . Also in the picture is Kaeden Lane, who turns 17 on Oct. 10. From Burnaby, he’s a bit smaller than Sogaard, at 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds. . . . Matt Pouncy of chatnewstoday.ca has more right here.



D Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the SpokaneChiefsNew Jersey Devils, who selected him with the 17th overall pick in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Smith, from Lloydminster, Alta., was the first WHL player taken in that draft. The Chiefs selected him first overall in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he put up 14 goals and 59 assists in 73 games. . . . For 2017-18, Smith was named the WHL’s scholastic player of the year, earning the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy, and to the Western Conference’s first all-star team.


Nathan Hollinger has joined the Calgary Hitmen as their athletic therapist. He spent last season working as the athletic therapist/strength and conditioning coach with the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton. He also has worked with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers (athletic therapist/equipment manager, 2015-17) and Regina Pats (student athletic therapist, 2014-15). . . . Hollinger takes over from Kyle Vouriot, who is moving on to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose as assistant athletic therapist and assistant strength and conditioning trainer.



If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.


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