Blazers, Oil Kings swing deal . . . WHL issues lengthy suspension . . . Ex-NHL coach helping Cougars

Fans of the Kamloops Blazers have been waiting for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament’s host team to make an impact on the trade front. Well, the Blazers Kamloopsdid that on Monday, but those fans are going to have to wait until mid- to late-January to see F Jakub Demek in action. . . . Demek, 19, was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a possible four WHL draft picks. However, he underwent shoulder surgery after the 2022 World Junior Championshp, has only just returned to skating, and isn’t expect to play in a game for at least two more months. . . .

The Blazers handed over a 2023 first-round pick that originated with the Regina Pats, and a fourth-rounder in 2026. Also going to Edmonton were two conditional selections — a second in 2024 and a third in 2026. . . . The second is conditional on Demek playing an undisclosed number of games with the Blazers. . . . The third is conditional on his returning to the WHL as a 20-year-old. . . .

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Demek, a Slovak, had 20 goals and 34 assists in 55 regular-season games with Edmonton last season. In 19 playoff games, he added five goals and 12 assists. . . . The Vegas Golden Knights hold his NHL rights, having taken him in the fourth-round of the 2021 draft. . . . Demek played for Slovakia in the 2022 WJC in Edmonton in August, earning one assist in four games. . . .

The Blazers now hold the CHL rights to three imports — Demek, Czech G Michael Schnattinger and Finnish D Aapo Sarell, the latter two in their first WHL seasons. Each CHL team is allowed to have two imports on its roster. With the WHL trade deadline set for Jan. 10, the Blazers — if they are to activate Demek — would have to get down to two on Jan. 8. . . .

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Andrew Peard, the radio voice of the Edmonton Oil Kings, points out that the EdmontonWHL’s defending champions, clearly in rebuilding mode, have added a possible eight draft picks in the past week (the asterisks denote conditional picks) . . .

2 — 1st round picks (2023, 2025)

1 — 2nd round pick (2024*)

3 — 3rd round picks (2023, 2025, 2026*)

1 — 4th round pick (2026)

1 — 7th round pick (2024*)

The other big deal, of course, had the Seattle Thunderbirds coughing up three draft picks for D Luke Prokop. Seattle gave up a first-rounder in 2025, a third in 2023 and a third in 2025.

Edmonton also sent F Shea Van Olm to Kamloops for a conditional seventh-rounder in 2024.

It’s worth remembering, too, that Edmonton’s selling off of players from the championship roster actually began on Aug. 9 when F Jalen Luypen, 20, was traded to the Tri-City Americans. The Americans also got two conditional draft picks in the exchange — a fifth in 2024 and a second in 2026. In return, the Oil Kings picked up F Rhett Melnyk, 18, D Bryson Andregg, 19, and a conditional second-rounder in the 2023 draft. (More on Luypen further down.)

Don’t forget, too, that Edmonton doesn’t have its own first- or second-round picks in the 2023 draft, having dealt those away while loading up for its 2021-22 championship run.

And don’t forget, too, that two other players who part of Edmonton’s championship run last season still could end up back in the WHL. Should G Sebastian Cossa, 20, and/or F Dylan Guenther, 19, end up back in Edmonton, the Oil Kings would be able to add even more draft picks to their collection. . . . Cossa, a first-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has seen playing time with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to this point in the season. . . . Guenther, a first-round pick by the Arizona Coyotes in 2021, has three goals and four assists in 14 NHL games this season.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — ‘See No Covid, Hear No Covid’ strategy working about as well as expected.


Fingers


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first two goals and went on to beat PrinceAlbertthe host Moose Jaw Warriors, 2-1. . . . Prince Albert (7-12-2) has won two in a row. . . . Moose Jaw (11-8-0) has lost two straight. . . . F Carson Latimer (7) gave the Raiders a 2-0 lead at 5:14 of the second period. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (4) got the Warriors to within a goal, on a PP, at 17:33. . . . G Max Hildebrand earned the victory with 17 saves. . . . F Ryder Korczak, who was returned to the Warriors by the NHL’s New York Rangers on Monday, didn’t play. . . .

The host Swift Current Broncos erased a 1-0 deficit with three second-period SwiftCurrentgoals as they beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-2. . . . The Broncos improved to 9-9-0, while Brandon (7-11-2) lost its second straight game. . . . F Josh Davies (5) pulled the Broncos into a 1-1 tie at 1:07 of the second period as he scored while shorthanded. . . . Brandon has allowed a WHL-leading eight shorties this season. . . . D Connor Hvidston (6), who also had two assists, and F Mathew Ward (8), with his 100th career point, also scored for the Broncos in the second period. . . . Ward has 36 goals and 64 assists in 106 regular-season games. . . . The Broncos got 37 stops from G Gage Alexander. . . .

The Red Deer Rebels got back on the winning track with a 4-1 victory over the RedDeerOil Kings in Edmonton. . . . The Rebels (16-3-1) had lost four in a row (0-3-1) after opening the season with a 15-game winning streak. . . . The Oil Kings (2-17-1) have lost five in a row. . . . The Rebels scored three PP goals, two of them from F Kalan Lind (4). . . . F Jayden Grubbe added a goal (5) and two assist, with D Christoffer Sedoff, who reached 100 career points, drawing three assists. . . . Red Deer was 3-7 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-11. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who started serving a seven-game suspension. He was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a game at Saskatoon on Saturday. He also is a repeat offender, having been given a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline following a game in Saskatoon on Oct. 23. . . . That is the longest suspension handed out by the WHL since Feb. 15, 2020, when F Ryley Appelt of the Kamloops Blazers got eight games after taking a checking-from-behind major against the Victoria Royals.

In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the PortlandCalgary Hitmen, 4-1. . . . Portland (14-1-2) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . Calgary (10-5-2) had won its previous seven games. . . . The Hitmen now are 2-1-0 on their U.S. Division trip. . . . F Kyle Chyzowski (7) scored twice for Portland. . . . G Dante Giannuzzi stopped 33 shots in earning the victory over Brayden Peters, who had 36 saves.



Earhart


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Jim Playfair, a former NHL player and coach, has been spending time on the ice with the Prince George Cougars of late. He also has helped out as an eye in the sky at some games. “He comes in for practice and helps out with our team play,” Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager and head coach, tells Hartley Miller on his podcast — Hartley’s Cat Scan — that will be released today. “It’s been a real joy having him around, all that experience with our younger coaches, with Carter Rigby and Josh Dixon, and picking his brain. I think he’s really helped our organization.” . . . Playfair, 58, is from Fort St. James, B.C. . . .

The NHL’s New York Rangers have returned F Ryder Korczak, 20, to the Moose Jaw Warriors. Korczak, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round of the NHL’s 2021 draft, was pointless in in five games with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. . . . Last season, he had 79 points, including 25 goals, in 68 games with the Warriors. . . . The Warriors now are carrying four 20-year-olds and have two weeks to get down to three. The other 20s are F Riley Ginnell, D Cole Jordan and G Connor Ungar. . . . Korczak wasn’t in uniform Tuesday night as the Warriors dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . .

The Tri-City Americans lost a defenceman on Tuesday when Ian Ferguson, a 20-year-old from Missouri City, Texas, announced his retirement from hockey. . . . He was in his fourth season with the Americans. . . . Ferguson had two goals and three assists in 16 games this season. In 127 regular season games, he had four goals and 11 assists. . . . The move leaves the Americans with F Reese Belton and F Ethan Ernst as their 20s. . . . The move also creates room for the Americans to add F Jalen Luypen, 20, to their roster from the long-term injury list. . . . The Americans acquired Luypen from Edmonton on Aug. 9, after he had spent four seasons with the Oil Kings. However, he underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season and has yet to return to game action. . . . Luypen, a seventh-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2021 draft, had 64 points, including 29 goals, last season. In 200 regular-season games with the Oil Kings, he put up 61 goals and 63 assists. . . . At present, Luypen is in Chicago where the Blackhawks’ medical staff is looking things over. . . .

The Victoria Royals have received a commitment from Czech F Robin Sapousek, although they don’t know when he will make his debut. The Royals grabbed his rights in the CHL’s 2022 import draft. Sapousek, 18, has been playing with HC Karlovy Vary’s U20 side, putting up nine goals and nine assists in 11 games. He also is pointless in seven games with HC Energy Karlovy Vary in the Czech Extraliga. . . . From a news release: “The precise date of Sapousek’s arrival in Victoria and his first game in a Royals uniform this season will be announced in the near future.” . . .

The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs fired head coach Daniel Fitzgerald on Monday. They brought in Jeff Angelidis as interim head coach. He has been coaching with the OJHL’s Brantford 99ers. . . . The IceDogs came out of the weekend with a 4-10-3 record, leaving them 19th in the 20-team league. . . . Fitzgerald was named the IceDogs’ head coach on July 8. He had spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of the 99ers, who are owned by Darren DeDobbelaer, who purchased the IceDogs in July. . . .

The Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Junior Hockey League have signed Geoff Walker as their new head coach. Walker signed a contract that runs through the 2023-24 season. . . . Kam River had fired head coach Matt Valley late last month, despite the team being in first place. At the time, management said it was in need of a full-time coach. . . . Walker spent the previous four seasons as the head coach of the SIJHL’s Red Lake Miners, then left to coach in Sweden after 2021-22. That apparently didn’t work out.


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.


Thieves

Punch hits 90! Happy Birthday!! . . . Aldridge: We have lost the impact of shame in our society . . . Svatos’ brain showed CTE


David Aldridge of The Athletic wrote a superb column on the latest imbroglio involving Kyrie Irving and the New York Nets. Here is just one paragraph:

“We have lost the impact of shame in our society. The notion that certain things shouldn’t be done, and certain things shouldn’t be said, because they would bring shame to us and embarrassment to our families. You didn’t steal candy from the store not just because you feared getting caught and arrested; you didn’t steal because it was wrong, and because if you got caught, you would be ashamed of what you did. So this isn’t just about Kyrie Irving. It’s about a team that, in the pursuit of a championship, seems incapable of self-reflection, of someone saying ‘Whoa. Maybe we shouldn’t do this.’ ”

And then along came the Boston Bruins on Friday to announce the signing of F Mitchell Miller, a player who was a fourth-round selection by the Arizona Coyotes in the NHL’s 2020 draft.

The Coyotes later did some due diligence and discovered an extremely unsavoury situation in Miller’s past, so they renounced his rights. As Sportsnet reported: “Miller . . . had assaulted, bullied and abused a Black classmate with a learning disability.” The victim has said that this went on for years.

No matter. The Bruins, without speaking with the victim’s family, signed Miller to a three-year entry-level deal. He will report to the AHL’s Providence Bruins.


“Marek Svatos, who played parts of eight NHL seasons and skated for Slovakia in the 2006 Olympics in Torino, had the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death in 2016,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN. “Svatos’ wife, Diana, confirmed his posthumous diagnosis in a series of recent interviews with TSN. Diana – who said the date of her husband’s death has been misreported on the Internet – wanted to speak publicly about Svatos’ life and death because she says it was more complicated than media reports have portrayed.

“Svatos died Nov. 4, 2016, at the age of 34 in his home in Lone Tree, Colo. A coroner reported Svatos had codeine, morphine and anti-anxiety medication in his system when he died, The Denver Post reported at the time. His official cause of death was an accidental overdose, Diana said.”

Svatos played two seasons (2000-02) with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

Westhead’s complete story — it’s a tough but important read — is right here.


Prince


“An upstart Okanagan hockey program is coming under fire by a parent who claims allegations of hazing and cyber bullying within the program are being dismissed,” Wayne Moore of castanet.net wrote earlier this week. “James Kellett levelled those accusations against Okanagan HC which operates three teams (U18, U15 and U14) within the new Junior Prospect Hockey League. The accusations are at this point unproven, but have triggered a public statement and investigation from the league.

“Accusations include hazing, what Kellett termed sexual misconduct involving cyber bullying and other off ice infractions involving the organization. Many came about during a road trip from Sept. 20 to 25 in Edmonton.”

Moore’s complete story is right here.

On Friday, Carli Berry of infotel.ca reported that the RCMP is investigating the situation after “receiving information about misconduct” within the Okanagan HC.

Berry wrote: “RCMP initiated the investigation after receiving information Nov. 3 about misconduct and it is being handled by the Kelowna Vulnerable Persons Section as it involves people under the age of 18, according to a RCMP media release.”



Friday in the WHL . . .

If you aren’t already following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) on Twitter for WHL stats and info, you should be.

The Red Deer Rebels ran their season-opening record to 14-0-0 with a 4-1 victory over the host Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 1967-68 Estevan Bruins RedDeerhold the WHL record for longest season-opening winning streak, at 22 games. . . . The Rebels tied a franchise record with 14 straight victories; the 2001-02 team also won 14 in a row. . . . The Broncos had won their previous four games. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored twice, giving him 13, and added an assist. . . . Uchacz now is tied for the WHL goal-scoring lead, along with F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats, F Austin Roest of the Everett Silvertips and F Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Rebels had a 41-20 edge in shots, including 20-8 in the third period. . . . Next up for the Rebels? Their nine-game road trip continues tonight with stop No. 3, a visit to the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

The Tri-City Americans overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the host Tri-CityBrandon Wheat Kings 4-3 on a goal by D Lukas Dragicevic at 3:11 of OT. . . . Dragicevic, 17, has three goals and nine assists in a nine-game point streak. On the season, he has five goals and 14 assists in 15 games. . . . Tri-City snapped a three-game losing skid; Brandon has lost five straight. . . . The Americans are 2-3-0 in a six-game swing into the East Division that will end with a game tonight against the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Americans trailed 3-1 early in the third period, then tied it on goals from F Jake Sloan, at 7:47, on a PP, and F Ethan Ernst, at 15:16. . . . F Nate Danielson scored one of Brandon’s goals while it was two-men short. . . . F Cash Koch, the 24th overall selection in the 2022 WHL draft, made his Tri-City debut. Koch, 15, is from Calgary. . . .

F Rhett Melnyk’s fourth goal of the season, at 3:57 of OT, gave the host Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Carson Golder, a former Victoria player, gave Edmonton a 3-1 lead at 17:52 of the second period. . . . The Royals tied it on goals from F Alex Edwards, at 19:30, and F Anthony Wilson, at 3:56 of the third. . . . Victoria went 1-4-1 on its Central Division trip and now is 3-12-3. . . . The Oil Kings, who had lost nine in a row, are 2-12-1. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen ran their winning streak to five with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The game was played at the 2,000-seat Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina First Nation. Announced attendance was 1,096. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz had a goal and two assists for the Hitmen. . . . The Tigers have lost four straight (0-2-2). . . .

F Samuel Honzek and F Jaden Lipinski scored shootout goals to give the visiting VancouverVancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Honzek and Lipinski also had regulation-time goals for the Giants, who completed their Central Division trip with a 3-2-1 record. . . . F Ty Thorpe had a goal and two assists for the Giants. . . . F Cole Shepherd scored once and drew two assists for Lethbridge, which acquired Shepherd, 20, from the Giants prior the start of the season for a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. . . .

F Robbie Fromm-Delorme set up three goals, two of them on the PP, to lead the PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland scored the game’s first four goals. . . . Seattle F Kyle Crnkovic had his point streak end at 11 games. Acquired from the Saskatoon Blades as the season was getting started, he had at least one point in each of Seattle’s first 11 games. He has seven goals and 10 assists in 12 games. . . . F Jared Davidson, Seattle’s leading scorer, was scratched with an undisclosed injury, while F Mekai Sanders played his first game this season. Sanders last played a game on March 18; he missed all of Seattle’s run to the 2022 WHL final thanks to a knee injury. . . . These two teams will meet 12 times this season, with a second meeting tonight, this time in Kent, Wash. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s final two goals to beat the host Prince Albert Raiders, 3-2. . . . F Riley Ginnell tied it at 4:19 and F Jagger Firkus snapped the deadlock with a shorthanded goal at 5:25. . . . The Warriors are without head coach Mark O’Leary, who is one of the Canadian coaches at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge ongoing in Langley, B.C. . . .

D Ty Gibson scored twice to help the Everett Silvertips to a 5-3 victory over the EverettBlades in Saskatoon. . . . Gibson, a 19-year-old from Victoria, went into the night with three goals in 98 career regular-season games. This season, he has three goals and an assist in 15 games. . . . F Austin Roest scored his 13th goal of the season and added an assist for Everett. This was his fourth straight game with a goal and an assist. . . . The Silvertips are 3-2-0 on a six-game East Division trip that concludes tonight against the Prince Albert Raiders. . . .

The Prince George Cougars got two goals from F Chase Wheatcroft in a 7-2 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs have lost six in a row. . . . The Cougars got three assists from Slovakian D Viliam Kmec. It was the sophomore’s first three-point game; he had four two-pointers last season, the final one on Dec. 10. . . . He has six points, all assists, in 15 games this season.



Grouchy


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Ben Thornton doesn’t have a timeline for returning to play with the Brandon BrandonWheat Kings, but has been cleared to fly so will be rejoining his teammates on Monday. He has been doing what his father, Erin, told Taking Note is “very light exercise this week” and is waiting to see how he responds to that. . . . Thornton was injured on Oct. 14 during a game against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. He absorbed a nasty hit, was taken off the ice on a stretcher and then went via ambulance to Royal Columbia Hospital in New Westminster. He spent on night in hospital and since then has been at the family home in Chilliwack while dealing with concussion-related issues. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees are 15-0-0 after beating the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, 4-0, on Friday night. . . . The Vees are scheduled to entertain the Wenatchee Wild tonight. . . . The Wild improved to 3-9-1 with a 5-4 OT victory over the visiting Merritt Centennials last night. . . .

The Prince George Cougars acquired F Cole Dubinsky, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 4, from the Regina Pats on Friday, giving up F Zackary Shantz, 17, and third-round selection in the 2023 WHL draft in the exchange. . . . The Cougars now have the maximum three 2002-born players on their roster, the others being F Noah Boyko and F Chase Wheatcroft. . . . Dubinsky, from Ardrossan, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by Regina in the 2017 WHL draft. He put up 38 goals and 65 assists in 203 regular-season games with Regina. This season, he had two goals and five assists in 11 games. . . . Shantz, from Sucker Creek, Alta., was a third-round pick by the Cougars in the 2020 WHL draft. A WHL freshman, he is pointless in four games this season. . . . Regina now is carrying three 20-year-olds — F Jakob Brook, D Luke Bateman and D Tanner Brown. . . .

The Kam River Fighting Walleye of the Superior International Junior Hockey League fired head coach Matt Valley on Friday. The Walleye, which plays out of the municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, Ont., was 49-12-2-1 in Valley’s two and a half seasons behind the bench, and he was the SIJHL’s coach of the year for 2021-22. . . . “It was a tough decision for our organization,” general manager Kevin McCallum said, “but we believed we had to make a decision on bringing in a full-time coach.” . . . McCallum and Vern Ray, the hockey operations advisor, will handle the coaching duties while a search for a replacement continues.


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.


Zeuss

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