Rybinski asks out of Medicine Hat . . . Krebs leads Ice past host Blades . . . Winkler Flyers forced to move


MacBeth

F Petr Vala (Seattle, 1997-98) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Zell am See (Austria, Alps HL). Last season, with Zell am See, he had 13 goals and 25 assists in 35 games. He led the team in assists and points.


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F Henrik Rybinski is no longer with the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The Tigers revealed on Thursday that they “along with the family and the agent of Henrik Rybinski have mutually agreed to pursue a trade.”

In short, Rybinski wants more playing time, but found himself third on the team’s depth Tigers Logo Officialchart at centre, behind veterans James Hamblin and Ryan Chyzowski.

Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach, pointed out in a news release that with those two as the club’s top centres “we are not able or willing to meet that request.”

Rybinski’s agent is Daren Hermiston of PointsWest Sports & Entertainment.

Rybinski, 17, is from Vancouver. The Tigers selected him in the second round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft.

Last season, as a freshman, he had three goals and nine assists in 63 games with the Tigers. This season, the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder recorded one goal and four assists in 14 games.


The Prince George Cougars have added F Kjell Kjemhus, 17,to their roster. He will be PrinceGeorgeavailable to play tonight and Saturday against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Kjemhus, from Grande Prairie, Alta., had one assist in 10 games with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 25 games with the Cougars. . . . He was a fourth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. The Cougars acquired him from the Pats, along with D Ethan McColm and third- and fifth-round picks in the 2018 bantam draft on Jan. 5, in a deal that had F Jesse Gabrielle and D Jonas Harkins go to Regina.


The Kamloops Blazers have promoted Tim O’Donovan to director of hockey operations. O’Donovan, 32, has been with the Blazers on a full-time since 2009. Most recently, he has been the director of hockey/media administration.


F Alex Young, a sixth-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft, has made a commitment to attend Colgate University and play for the Raiders starting in 2020-21. . . . Young, 17, is from Calgary. He is in his second season with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles and has 10 goals and nine assists in 16 games. Last season, he finished with 21 goals and 29 assists in 60 games.


Mike Benton, the radio voice of the Everett Silvertips, always — which is every second season — chronicles the team’s East Division road trip on his blog Benton Hockey. This season was no different and, as usual, it’s an entertaining read. . . . It’s all right here. Enjoy!


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


The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers will be out of their home arena for the next few weeks, so are Winklerin the process of shifting their operations to Morden, which is about 13 km to the west. . . . The City of Winkler revealed Thursday morning that the Winkler Centennial Arena will be closed for perhaps four weeks due to a mechanical failure that must be repaired immediately. . . . The problem was discovered Tuesday and the arena was closed on Wednesday night. . . . The Flyers practised in Morden on Thursday and will remain there for the next few weeks. . . . Interestingly, head coach Steve Mullin and assistant coach Rylan Price live in Morden, as do a number of players. . . . Winkler’s next home game is scheduled for Nov. 9 when the Waywayseecappo Wolverines come calling.


THURSDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Kootenay Ice erased a 2-1 deficit with three third-period goals and beat the host KootenaynewSaskatoon Blades, 4-2. . . . This was the only game played in the WHL on this night. . . . The Ice (6-7-3) has won two in a row. . . . The Blades now are 9-6-2. . . . F Gary Haden (4) gave the Blades a 2-1 lead at 19:45 of the second period. . . . F Brad Ginnell (4) got Kootenay into a 2-2 tie at 6:02 of the third period. . . . F Jaeger White (9) broke the tie at 9:32, and F Peyton Krebs, who also had two assists, added insurance at 18:56 with his sixth. . . . White, 20, is one goal shy of his career high. He had 10 in 68 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers last season. . . . Krebs, 17, has six goals and 16 assists in 16 games. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 32 shots for the Ice. . . . Kootenay had lost its last eight games in Saskatoon. . . . Earlier in the day, the Ice announced that it had brought in D Karter Prosofsky for the game. Prosofsky, 15, is from Saskatoon and plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. He was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Prosofsky’s father, Tyler, played in the WHL with the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets (1992-96). Karter’s uncle, Garrett, played with the Saskatoon Blades, Prince Albert Raiders and Portland Winterhawks (1996-2001). . . . Karter made his WHL debut in this one, as did F Owen Pederson, who was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft.


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A few notes, thoughts on WHL, marijuana . . . Rasmussen staying in NHL . . . Everett gets goalie from Kamloops


MacBeth

F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) has been assigned on loan by Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) to Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga). This season, with Dinamo, he was pointless in nine games, while averaging 8:36 TOI per game.


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A few thoughts on the WHL and cannabis, with recreational marijuana having become legal in Canada a couple of weeks ago . . .

——

The CHL, the umbrella under which the three major junior leagues operate, works under the anti-doping policy established by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). Cannabis remains a banned substance under that policy, as it has been since the CHL adopted the policy in 2008.

The CCES uses a list of banned substances that originates with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Interestingly, while WADA has cannabis listed as a performance-enhancing drug, the CCES doesn’t agree that it should be there.

“The CCES, to be completely frank, has always argued that marijuana should not be on the list,” CCES president Paul Melia told CBC In June. “We don’t believe there is sufficient scientific evidence supporting its performance-enhancing benefits.”

——

No matter, because it is a banned substance as far as the CHL is concerned, and you are going to hear the word ‘education’ over and over again.

“That policy is very clear for the players — they cannot participate in any use of cannabis or other performance-enhancing drugs,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, has said. “Consequently, it is incumbent on us to make sure we have a very effective education program to make sure the players are aware of that, first of all, and to really help promote a healthy lifestyle.”

——

There is an online course for WHL players, that includes video and a test based on comprehension. There also is a code of ethics that must be signed by players and coaches.

The CHL also has partnered with Health Canada on what is called #FocusedOn, a program that aims to educate players, coaches, management people, parents and others about cannabis.

——

If you are wondering, a first positive test will draw a warning. Suspensions will accompany further positive tests. Testing is conducted, without warning, after regular-season games, playoff games or any of the special events such as the Top Prospects game, a Canada-Russia game, or a Memorial Cup game.

——

Gare Joyce wrote an interesting piece for sportsnet.ca on the subject of the NHL and marijuana. The bulk of the story involved Joyce’s speaking with a former NHL player who now works in an NHL team’s front office.

Among other things, the ex-player told him: “I’d say right now, 60 to 70 per cent of the players in the league smoke marijuana. No doubt there are more players now using marijuana regularly than when I first came into the league. And I think there’ll be a greater awareness and understanding and acceptance (of marijuana use).”

That story is right here.

——

It stands to reason that there are WHL players using recreational marijuana. With it now being legal in Canada, chances are good that there will be more players at least experimenting with it.

One former WHL insider, when asked about marijuana use on today’s teams, told Taking Note that it “would not surprise me at all if it was in the 40-50 per cent range.”

(Recreational marijuana also is legal in the states of Oregon and Washington, but you must be 21 years of age in order to use it. That age is 19 in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C., and 18 in Alberta.)

——

Some figures from Health Canada, all which are from prior to legalization . . . “12 per cent of Canadians reported using it at least once in 2015, according to the latest Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey. That rate is even higher for young people, with usage as high as 21 per cent among youth, aged 15 to 19, and 30 per cent among young adults, aged 20 to 24.”

——

The area that may end up causing the most headaches for the WHL involves medical marijuana and especially cannabis-based products.

One parent with a son in minor hockey has told Taking Note that at least some midget-aged players are using cannabis-based creams — likely cannabidiol (CBD) without tetrahydrocannabinol (TTC) — in a search for pain relief, usually on joints like knees and hips.

The parent said this especially occurs when these teams play multiple games in compressed time periods on weekends. The parent also said that this is happening, at least in some instances, with parental approval and encouragement from coaches.

Defenceman Brooks Orpik of the Washington Capitals talked to the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell about a a memo that went from the NHL to its teams on legalization.

“I think they were nervous about guys bringing it across the border,” Orpik said, “because it’s still illegal (in the U.S.) and CBD oil, without the THC in it, is getting big, especially among athletes for pain management and sleep and stuff.”

As Pell explained, “CBD . . . is a cannabis extract. Unlike THC, another marijuana compound, it doesn’t make you high or intoxicated.”

The parent who spoke with Taking Note also admitted to having concerns about how long cannabis-based cream might stay in a player’s system, and also about, as Orpik noted, it being illegal in the U.S.

“What happens,” the parent wondered, “if a (young player) eligible for an NCAA scholarship gets caught taking cream across the border into the U.S.?”

For that matter, what would happen were a WHL player to find himself in that situation?

But you should know that the WHL says it is well aware of the medical side of all this.

“There is a medicinal application to the product,” Robison told Andrew McCormack of discovermoosejaw.com, “we’re very aware of that, as our medical staffs and training staffs are aware of that, and there is an ability within our national anti-doping program to get a therapeutic exemption should a player require that. It has to be accompanied by clear evidence from their doctor that this is something that’s required as opposed to something that might be used on a more recreational basis or casual basis from time to time.”


MONDAY NIGHT NOTES:

It appears that F Michael Rasmussen won’t be back with the Tri-City Americans. The tri-cityDetroit Red Wings have told Rasmussen that he will be staying in the NHL and, in fact, he is scheduled to play his 10th regular-season game tonight against the host Columbus Blue Jackets. . . . When a junior-eligible player gets into his 10th game it means the first year of his entry-level contract begins, something that’s important down the road when it comes to qualifying for free agency. . . . Rasmussen, the ninth overall selection in the NHL’s 2017 draft, has one assist in his first nine games, while averaging 12 minutes 39 seconds of ice time per game. . . . Rasmussen had 31 goals and 28 assists in 47 regular-season games with the Americans last season, then added 33 points, 16 of them goals, in 14 playoff games. In 161 career regular-season games, he put up 157 points, including 81 goals.


The Everett Silvertips have acquired G Max Palaga, 18, from the Kamloops Blazers, Everettgiving up a sixth-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in the exchange. . . . Palaga, who is from Kamloops, got into 17 games with the Blazers last season, going 5-7-1, 3.71, .875. . . . The Blazers released him earlier this season and he has been with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. He was 2-2-1, 1.77, .943 in five games with Vernon. . . . In Everett, Palaga will back up Dustin Wolf, 17. . . . Blake Lyda, who had been backing up, suffered an undisclosed injury during a morning skate on Oct. 12 and is expected to be sideline for at least another month. . . . With Lyda out, the Silvertips added Danton Belluk to their roster for their East Division trip that concluded Saturday. Belluk has since returned to the midget AAA Eastman Selects. . . .

Meanwhile, the Blazers have added G Rayce Ramsay, 17, to their roster where he will back up Dylan Ferguson, while Dylan Garand, 16, is at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in Quispamsis and Saint John, N.B. . . . Ramsay, from Saskatoon, has been playing with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, going 4-2-0, 3.03, .923.


The Kootenay Ice has returned G Will Gurski to the Shawnigan Lake School’s midget prep team. Gurski, 16, was brought in prior to the weekend. He practised with the Ice and backed up Duncan McGovern in one game with Jesse Makaj scratched. . . . Gurski, from Duncan, B.C., was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


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Scattershooting on Sunday, after a flat World Series . . . Will you pay to watch Phil vs. Tiger? . . . Blazers complete dominating weekend sweep

Scattershooting

Jack Finarelli, who writes daily at sportscurmudgeon.com, with a tip for all of us: “The latest news related to the Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson challenge match that will be on pay-per-view is that the only way you will be able to see it is on pay-per-view.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that no tickets will be available for the event; the only folks on the course with Woods and Mickelson will be those who are there to provide the TV coverage, sponsors and guests of the sponsors.  So, just in case you were thinking of heading out to Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend and trying to score tix to the event at Shadow Creek Golf Club, stay home.”



The neatest statistic from this season’s World Series is this one and it isn’t close. . . . Game 3 between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Kings went 18 innings and took seven hours 20 minutes to complete on Friday night. It took longer to play that one game than it did to play the entire 1939 World Series when the New York Yankees swept the Cincinnati Reds with the four games taking a combined 7:05.



Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon Express: Toronto-based Postmedia columnist Steve Simmons is at it again. “Where does Auston Matthews fit in with this question: Best wrist shot in Leafs history? I’m figuring Wendel Clark and Lanny McDonald are 1-2. Matthews has the most deceptive shot. Over time he may wind up ahead of Clark and McDonald.” Please give us a break from this crap.


Hutchinson also passes along this one . . . From the Twitter account of @wrestlingbubble: “A woman at the grocery store asked me what self-checkup meant, so I told her grocery stores are on the honour system now, and she should just pay what she thinks is fair.”



“Now,” comedy writer Alex Kaseberg says of Boston pitcher Chris Sale, “I don’t want to say Sale is skinny, but if the Red Sox wore pinstripes, he would wear a pinstripe.”


From Vancouver comedy writer Torben Rolfsen: “John Tortorella says he misses ‘the hate’ in today’s NHL. He should go on Twitter.”


The readerboard at Beerhaus Las Vegas recently carried this message: “Marty, I just got back from 2078. Canucks still haven’t won a Cup.”



RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com has a question: “With hurricanes being named after both genders, shouldn’t we call them himicanes and hericanes?”


“SI.com reports Jon Gruden is on a three-year rebuild so the Raiders win the Super Bowl in 2020,” Currie writes. “Why not use his old formula? Have Tony Dungy build the team, then take over.”



Well, that World Series was definitely a letdown. I really expected more out of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were clearly inferior to the Boston Red Sox in all areas of the game. . . . Who knew the Dodgers wouldn’t seem to get any kind of lift from the 18-inning victory in Game 3? . . . But it was only fitting that Manny (The Hustler) Machado should make the series’ last out.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Aaron Hyman set up three goals and was plus-4 as the host Regina Pats skated to a 7-Patsvictory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Regina (4-11-0) had lost five in a row. This was the Pats’ first victory on home ice in nine starts — yes, they are 1-8-0. . . . The Broncos (1-14-0) have lost seven in a row. They are scheduled to entertain the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday. At 0-4-0, Swift Current is the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have won at home. . . . In Regina, the Pats took a 1-0 lead in the first period and stretched it to 4-0 before the second was seven minutes old. . . . F Austin Pratt and F Sergei Alkhimov each scored twice for Regina. Pratt has seven goals; Alkhimov has four. . . . Regina held a 40-22 edge in shots. . . . The Broncos are 13 points out of a playoff spot, while the Pats are seven points back. . . . Regina went 1-2-0 as it played three games in fewer than 48 hours.


F Kirby Dach scored twice and added an assist to help the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-3 Saskatoonvictory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Saskatoon (9-5-1) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Calgary (4-9-2) has lost three in a row. . . . Dach has 27 points, 10 of them goals, in 16 games. . . . The Blades had 2-1 and 3-2 leads. . . . Calgary tied it, 3-3, at 4:02 of the third period when F Zach Huber (4) scored. . . . F Kristian Røykås Marthinsen (5), a freshman from Norway, snapped the tie at 12:43 and Dach added the empty-netter at 19:50. . . . Saskatoon D Brandon Schuldaus played in his 200th regular-season game. A 20-year-old from Calgary, he has played 90 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds, 71 with the Red Deer Rebels, 28 with the Moose Jaw Warriors and 11 with the Blades. . . . Saskatoon was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. It went 1-1-1.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky continued to pile up the points as the host Edmonton Oil Kings EdmontonOilKingsdoubled the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-3. . . . Edmonton (9-7-1) has won four in a row. . . . Lethbridge (7-5-3) had points in its previous six games (4-0-2). . . . The Oil Kings went 3-0-0 in playing three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Fix-Wolansky finished with a goal, his 11th, and three assists. In 17 games, he has put up 32 points, including a WHL-leading 21 assists. He is second in the scoring race, three points behind F Brett Leason of the idle Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Edmonton F David Kope (2) broke a 1-1 tie at 8:05 of the first period. That was the first of five straight goals for the Oil Kings as they took control. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (7) scored twice — once while shorthanded and once on the PP — while F Jake Neighbours (5) scored twice and added an assist.


The Red Deer Rebels got out to a 6-2 lead before the second period was 12 minutes old Red Deerand went on to an 8-5 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Rebels (10-4-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (4-7-3) has lost two straight. . . . Red Deer F Reese Johnson scored twice early in the first period — at 1:11 and 2:29 — for a 2-0 lead. . . . The Ice pulled even when F Brad Ginnell (3), at 4:06, and F Cam Hausinger (5), at 4:42, quickly replied. . . . F Blake Sydlowski (1) put Red Deer ahead at 7:59, and the visitors took control with three second-period goals. . . . The Ice got to within 6-5 early in the third period, scoring three PP goals, but F Jeff de Wit (9) upped Red Deer’s lead to 7-5 at 10:59 and Johnson (8) completed his hat trick with an empty-netter at 19:58. . . . D Alex Alexeyev had a goal (7) and two assists for Red Deer, with F Brandon Hagel drawing three assists. . . . Ginnell added two assists to his goal. . . . The Ice had a 41-26 edge in shots. . . . The Ice has played two home games since a committee hoping to keep the franchise from moving to Winnipeg held a town hall meeting on Thursday. The announced attendance at those games was 2,208, for a 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings, and 2,094 yesterday. . . . The Ice’s next home game is scheduled for Friday when the Oil Kings make their third and final visit of the season.


G Trent Miner stopped 37 shots through OT and wasn’t beaten in the shootout as the VancouverVancouver Giants beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants improved to 11-3-2. . . . Brandon (6-3-5) has lost five straight (0-2-3). The Wheat Kings are 0-2-2 on a seven-game road trip that continues Tuesday in Prince George. . . . Miner is from Souris, Man., and played one season with the bantam AAA Wheat Kings and two with the midget AAA Wheat Kings. . . . This season, Miner is 4-0-1, 1.41, .953. . . . Vancouver F Brayden Watts, the last shooter in the third round, scored the only goal of the shootout. . . . Three of the game’s four ‘real’ goals came via the PP, with Vancouver getting two of those. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (5) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the first period; Vancouver F Milos Roman (7) tied it at 13:26. . . . Brandon went ahead 2-1 at 12:29 of the second as F Caiden Daley (2) scored the game’s only even-strength goal. . . . Watts  (4) tied it at 10:30 of the third. . . . The Giants won 42 of the game’s 63 faceoffs. . . . Vancouver continues to play without D Bailey Dhaliwal, D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis, D Joel Sexsmith and F James Malm, all of whom are out with injuries. The Giants play once between now and Nov. 10, so hope to have some bodies back before then.


The Kamloops Blazers completed a weekend sweep with a 5-2 victory over the host Kamloops1Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops (6-6-1) has won four in a row. . . . Portland (7-6-1) has lost three straight. . . . This was the final game of the season series with each team winning twice on the road. . . . The Blazers beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 7-2 in Kent, Wash., on Friday, then won 6-2 in Portland on Saturday. . . . The Winterhawks also played three games in fewer than 48 hours, but they went 0-3-0. They lost 4-1 in Spokane on Friday. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand stopped 32 shots and then, like a number of other WHL players, left for the U-17 World Hockey Challenge that runs from Nov. 3 through Nov. 10 in Quispamsis and Saint, John, N.B. . . . Garand, who backs up Dylan Ferguson, is 1-1-1, 2.52, .916 in five appearances. . . . The Blazers took control with the game’s first three goals — two in the second period and one in the third. F Josh Pillar and F Kobe Mohr each had a goal and an assist. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Jared Freadrich, who drew a one-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in Saturday’s game. He hit D Luke Zazula on the play in question.


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Broncos, Pats pay price of going all-in . . . Rockets get Wong signed . . . Leason and Raiders continue to dominate

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Is it too early to wonder if it is worth it for a major junior hockey team to really — make that really, really, really — go all-in as it attempts to win a championship?

Is it worth it even if that team wins the championship?

What about the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament? Is it worth it for that team to do the same thing?

Yes, this is all about the Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats.

The Broncos, of course, wheeled and dealed their way to the 2017-18 WHL SCBroncoschampionship. As one observer told Taking Note the other day, “They sold the farm, animals, crop and the dirt.”

And now the Broncos are paying the price. After dropping a 4-1 decision to the visiting Everett Silvertips on Saturday night, they are 1-13-0 and have lost six in a row. They are 0-4-0 at home; they are 1-9-0 on the road, the only victory a 3-2 shootout triumph over the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Oct. 13.

Surely, the Broncos won’t challenge the WHL record for fewest victories in a season, but early indications are that they will be hard-pressed to win 20 games. That is the number of victories posted by the 2010-11 Calgary Hitmen, to date the fewest in one season by a defending champion. (The 1998-99 Portland Winterhawks are No. 2, with 23.)

Meanwhile, the Pats, who lost in the Memorial Cup final last spring, were 6-2 losers to Patsthe Raiders in Prince Albert last night. The Pats are 3-11-0 and have lost five straight games. They are 0-8-0 at home and 3-3-0 on the road.

The Pats and Broncos have met once this season, with Regina posting a 6-5 victory in Swift Current on Oct. 5.

They will play Game 2 of the six-game season series in Regina today, with the teams having a combined 4-24-0 record.

Of course, the question remains as to just how long the Broncos and Pats will pay for all the moves leading into last season’s playoffs?

The Saskatoon Blades went all-in as they prepared for their role as the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup. Some people will tell you that the franchise still is in the process of recovering.


The Kelowna Rockets announced the signing of F Trevor Wong on Saturday, hours before they met up with the visiting Prince George Cougars. Wong, 15, made his WHL debut in KelownaRocketsthat game. . . . From Vancouver, the 5-foot-8, 135-pound Wong was selected by Kelowna with the 18th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Many observers felt he would have been selected sooner had he not made a verbal commitment to attend the U of Denver and play for the Pioneers starting in 2020-21. . . . Last season, Wong had 64 goals and 77 assists in 30 games with the bantam varsity team at St. George’s School in Vancouver. . . . This season, he has four goals and seven assists in 10 games with the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. . . .

With Wong signed, you can bet that the Rockets, who will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, will turn their attention to attempting to sign F Ethan Bowen, who was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Bowen, 16, is from Chilliwack and is playing in his hometown for the BCHL’s Chiefs. He went into last night with six goals and five assists in 11 games. . . . Bowen has made a verbal commitment to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21. . . . His older brother, Ryan, began this season with Kelowna but was released as the Rockets got down to the league-mandated maximum of three 20-year-olds.


No one in the WHL is having a better season than F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. Leason, a 19-year-old Calgarian, had a goal and an assist, both in the first period, as the host Raiders beat the Regina Pats, 6-2, on Saturday night. That put him at 34 points in 16 games, breaking his career high of 33 from last season when he had one goal in 12 games with the Tri-City Americans and 32 points, 15 of them goals, in 54 games with the Raiders. . . . This season, Leason leads the WHL in goals (15), assists (19) and points (34). . . .

The Raiders acquired Leason from the Americans on Oct. 26, 2017, giving up a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. That pick had originated with the Americans, who traded it to the Raiders as part of a deal in which G Rylan Parenteau moved to Tri-City. . . . In 2016-17, as a freshman, Leason had eight goals and 10 assists with the Americans, who picked him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.


SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to eight games as they bounced the PrinceAlbertvisiting Regina Pats, 6-2. . . . Prince Albert scored the game’s first six goals as it improved to 15-1-0. . . . Regina (3-11-0) has lost five in a row. . . . The Raiders’ last two goals both were of the shorthanded variety, from F Eric Pearce (2) and F Jakob Brook (4). Brook drew an assist on Pearce’s goal and, yes, Pearce had an assist on Brook’s tally. Those goals came 2:58 apart midway through the second period. . . . Prince Albert got 19 saves from G Ian Scott, who now is 13-1-0, 1.57, .943.


F Connor Dewar scored two goals and added two assists in leading the Everett Silvertips Everettto a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Everett (10-5-0) has won three in a row; it went 4-2-0 on its East Division tour. . . . The Broncos (1-13-0) have lost six in a row. . . . This was the first meeting between these two franchises since last season’ WHL championship final. The Broncos won that best-of-seven series in six games. . . . Dewar, Everett’s captain, was playing his first game after serving a four-game suspension. He opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at 2:15 of the first period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (3) pulled the Broncos even at 11:43. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother (1) of the Silvertips broke the tie with another shorthanded goal, at 16:54 of the second period. . . . Dewar scored his 10th goal of the season, on a PP, 15 seconds into the third period.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky had a goal and two assists as the host Edmonton Oil Kings scored a EdmontonOilKings5-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Oil Kings (8-7-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Blades (8-5-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Edmonton took control with the game’s first three goals. . . . F Quinn Benjafield got the first two, scoring on a PP at 18:33 of the first period and shorthanded at 5:16 of the second. He’s got five goals. . . . Fix-Wolansky got his 10th goal into an empty net at 19:06 of the third period. He has 28 points in 16 games this season, including four goals and six assists over his past four games. His 28 points trail only the 34 of F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Gary Haden, who was acquired Thursday from the Medicine Hat Tigers, scored both Saskatoon goals, the first while shorthanded. He’s got three goals this season. . . . D Keegan Slaney, the 20th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Oil Kings. From Airdrie, Alta., he has six assists in 11 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary this season.


The Moose Jaw Warriors erased a 3-0 deficit and got past the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-MooseJawWarriors3, in a shootout. . . . The Warriors (6-4-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Tigers (8-6-2) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . F Tristin Langan won this one with the only goal of the shootout. He was the second shooter in the third round. . . . F Brayden Tracey (4) pulled the Warriors into a 3-3 tie at 19:41 of the third period. . . . F Jaxon Steele (2) had given Medicine Hat a 3-0 lead at 2:25 of the third. . . . F Tate Popple (3) got Moose Jaw started at 4:39, and D Josh Brook (5) got the Warriors to within a goal at 12:13. . . . Moose Jaw took the game’s only two penalties — both minors.


F Nolan Foote scored on a PP just 43 seconds into OT to give the host Kelowna Rockets a KelownaRockets4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Rockets (6-10-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Cougars (5-6-3) have lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . Foote was back in the Rockets’ lineup after a brief absence. This was his first game with his father, Adam, as the Rockets’ head coach. The senior Foote is 2-0-0 as a WHL head coach since taking over from the fired Jason Smith on Tuesday. . . . F Kyle Topping (6) had given the hosts a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 1:08 of the third period. . . . D Ryan Schoettler (3) got the Cougars into a tie at 4:52.


F Jermaine Loewen scored three goals to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 6-2 victory over Kamloops1the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . The Blazers (5-6-1) are on their first three-game winning streak of the season. . . . The Winterhawks (7-5-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The same teams will play again today in Portland as they conclude their season series. The Winterhawks won twice in Kamloops early in October. . . . Loewen was playing his second game after serving a four-game suspension for a high hit on Portland D Matthew Quigley in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Winterhawks on Oct. 5. Loewen returned Friday with a goal and an assist in a 7-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. That was Loewen’s first game as team captain; he was named captain while he was suspended. . . . F Joachim Blickfeld (10) gave Portland a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:20 of the first period. . . . The Blazers scored the next four goals, three of them before the first period ended. . . . Loewen scored PP goals at 8:19 of the first period and 2:10 of the second, the latter providing a 4-1 lead. He completed his first career hat trick at 5:17 of the third. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary had a goal, his fifth, and an assist, giving him six points over two games. . . . Portland lost D Jared Freadrich to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 18:40 of the first period.


The Tri-City Americans erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in beating the Chiefs, 5-3, in Spokane. . tri-city. . The Americans (9-4-0) have won five straight. . . . The Chiefs slipped to 7-4-3. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s second goal of the game, on a PP, at 7:39 of the third period gave the home team a 3-2 lead. . . . F Sasha Mutala (3) scored a PP goal to pull Tri-City even at 9:59, and F Isaac Johnson (6) got what proved to be the winner at 15:32. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (10), who also had two assists, got the empty-netter. . . . Anderson-Dolan’s goals were his first of this season and came in his second game since being returned by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.


The Seattle Thunderbirds got 41 saves from G Liam Hughes as they skated to a 5-1 Seattlevictory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Thunderbirds (7-3-2) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Giants (10-3-2) had points in their previous two (1-0-1). . . . The Giants had 17 shots in each of the last two periods but could only muster one goal, that from F Milos Roman (6) at 4:36 of the third period. . . . Seattle jumped out to a 4-0 lead on two goals in each of the first two periods. The outburst featured F Noah Philp’s ninth goal of the season, two from F Matthew Wedman, who has five, and F Samuel Huo’s first of the season.


F Kaid Oliver scored twice to help the host Victoria Royals to a 3-1 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Royals (9-3-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Wheat Kings (6-3-4) have lost four in a row (0-2-2). Brandon now is 1-1-1 on a seven-game road swing that continues today against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (13) put Brandon ahead 1-0, on a PP, at 14:50 of the first period. . . . Oliver, who has nine goals, tied it at 19:53 of the first, then broke the tie at 9:46 of the third. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt (2) got the empty-netter while shorthanded. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 28 shots for the Royals. He returned after missing some time with an undisclosed injury. It’s believed that he tweaked something during practice nine or 10 days ago. . . . The Royals are without F Dante Hannoun, a key offensive contributor, as well as F Phillip Schultz, a freshman import from Denmark, and F Logan Doust, all out with undisclosed injuries.


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Branch prepping to lobby Ontario gov’t . . . Reid, Brkin spark Chiefs . . . Franklin, Zary lead Blazers’ comeback


MacBeth

F Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, 2002-06) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one assist in six games with Traktor Chelyabinsk (Russia, KHL) 6 GP, 0+1, and 17 goals and 19 assists in 47 games with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). He led Kunlun Red Star in goals and points. . . .

F/D Curt Gogol (Kelowna, Saskatoon, Chilliwack, 2007-11) has been released by mutual agreement by Manglerud (Norway, GET-Ligaen). He had one goal in six games. Earlier this season, he had one assist in four games with Kalmar (Sweden, Division 1).


ThisThat

Rick Westhead of TSN reported Friday that David Branch, the OHL commissioner, “has registered as a provincial government lobbyist, a move signalling the league is renewing ohlefforts to argue its players should not be paid at least minimum wage.” . . . Branch doubles as the president of the CHL, the umbrella under which the OHL, WHL and QMJHL operate. . . . Westhead also reported that, according to Ontario’s lobbyist registry, Branch and Toronto-based lawyer Robert Bayne, who also registered as a lobbyist, “plan to meet with Ministry of Labour officials and other members of Queen’s Park to discuss the player wage issue.” . . . To date, seven provinces — B.C., Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan — have passed legislation that exempts major junior hockey teams from minimum wage legislation. Michigan and Washington State also have done so. . . . All of this is ongoing while a class-action lawsuit continues, asking that OHL and WHL players be paid a minimum wage. . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.

The move by Branch to register as a lobbyist recalls a story written two years ago by Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun. It carried this headline: WHL being back-checked for whlpossibly violating lobby law. . . . Mulgrew wrote: “The Western Hockey League did not register as a lobbyist before leaning on B.C.’s cabinet to exempt major junior players form the minimum wage, the provincial watchdog says.” . . . Records showed that Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, began working the back-channels of the then-Liberal government in March 2015. “The direct lobbying effort worked — cabinet quietly passed an order-in-council on Feb. 15, 2016 granting the league the exemption,” Mulgrew wrote. . . . Erin Beatty, the communications director for the B.C. Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists, told Mulgrew at the time that the regulator now is “acting on the potential incident of non-compliance in this case.” . . . Robison told Mulgrew that the WHL didn’t spent a whole lot of time lobbying “and it was certainly not 100 hours. We were not required to register as a lobbyist.” . . . It’s not known what the outcome of the regulator’s investigation was, and it very well may have quietly disappeared when B.C. elected an NDP government. . . . Mulgrew’s piece from two years ago is right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders have returned D Nolan Allan, 15, to the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. From Davidson, Sask., he was the third-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in two games with the Raiders.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Wyatt Wylie scord 21 seconds into OT to give the Everett Silvertips a 2-1 victory over Everettthe Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Everett (9-5-0) is 3-2-0 on its East Division trek. . . . The Warriors (5-3-3) have lost two in a row. . . . F Tristin Langan (10) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 15:33 of the first period. . . . D Sahvan Khaira (3) pulled Everett even at 16:47 of the second period. . . . Wylie won it with his third goal of the season. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots for the winners. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. He’s eligible to return tonight as the Silvertips wrap up their eastern swing in Swift Current.


The Medicine Hat Tigers scored four times in the span of 5:59 of the second period en Tigers Logo Officialroute to a 8-5 victory over the host Regina Pats. . . . The Tigers (8-6-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Pats (3-10-0) have lost four straight. They now are 0-8-0 on home ice. . . . The Tigers got two goals and an assist from each of F James Hamblin, who has nine goals, and F Ryan Chyzowski, who has five. . . . F Duncan Pierce (3) gave Regina a 3-2 lead at 8:56 of the second period. . . . The Tigers scored the game’s next five goals, including one from F Logan Christensen (2), who was acquired Wednesday from the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Medicine Hat was 4-for-6 on the PP. . . . According to the online scoresheet, the Pats won 54 of the game’s 75 faceoffs. . . . F Cole Sillinger made his WHL debut for the Tigers. From Regina, he is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. Cole was the 11th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians.


F Alex Morozoff scored in OT to give the host Red Deer Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Red DeerSaskatoon Blades. . . . The Rebels improved to 9-4-1. . . . The Blades (8-4-2) have lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . Morozoff won it with his second goal of the season, at 1:21 of extra time. . . . F Jeff de Wit (8) gave Red Deer a 3-1 lead at 11:01 of the second period. . . . The Blades tied it on third-period goals from D Brandon Schuldaus (2) and F Kirby Dach (8), the latter at 17:55. Schuldaus also had two assists. . . . F Brandon Hagel (12) had two goals for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels had a 48-26 edge in shots. . . . F Gary Haden, acquired Thursday by the Blades from the Medicine Hat Tigers, was pointless in his Saskatoon debut. . . . This was the third game between these teams this month, which each holding serve on home ice. They’ll complete the season series in Saskatoon on March 3. . . . Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM/head coach, was back behind the bench after missing two games while spending time with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks  on a road trip that included fathers. Sutter’s son, Brandon, plays for the Canucks.


F Zachary Cox broke a 6-6 tie at 13:26 of the third period as the visiting Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes beat the Calgary Hitmen, 7-6. . . . Lethbridge (7-4-3) has points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . Calgary (4-8-2) has lost two in a row. . . . The Hurricanes snapped a 2-2 tie with three goals in a span of 4:10 early in the second period. . . . The Hitmen tied it, 5-5, on F Mark Kastelic’s second goal of the game and 12th of the season at 6:29 of the third. . . . F Jadon Joseph (6) gave Lethbridge a 6-5 lead at 7:31, only to have Calgary F Kaden Elder (6) tie it at 10:29. . . . Cox won it with his third goal of the season. . . . D Igor Merezhko had three assists for the winners, with F Logan Barlage adding a goal, his seventh, and two assists. . . . Kastelic also had two assists for a four-point night, and Elder finished with two goals and an assist. . . . The Hitmen lost F Josh Prokop to a spearing major and game misconduct at 14:18 of the third period. . . .


The Edmonton Oil Kings built a 7-0 second-period lead and went on to a 7-2 victory over EdmontonOilKingsthe Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Oil Kings (7-7-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice slipped to 4-6-3. . . . Edmonton had beaten visiting Kootenay 6-3 on Sunday. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings took control on first-period goals from D Conner McDonald (4), F Scott Atkinson (4) and F Liam Keeler (2). . . . The visitors added four more in the second period and coasted from there. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 39 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . G Sebastian Cossa, who has yet to play this season due to an undisclosed injury, was on the bench backing up Myskiw. . . . The Ice had G Jesse Makaj back in the lineup after he was scratched for one game. He came on in relief of starter Duncan McGovern and stopped six of seven shots in 27:06.


D Nolan Reid had a goal and two assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory SpokaneChiefsover the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs (7-3-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Winterhawks (7-4-1) had won their previous two games. . . . Spokane G Bailey Brkin stopped 36 shots. . . . The Chiefs got out to a 3-0 lead, getting first-period goals from F Carter Chorney (4) and F Eli Zummack (6), shorthanded, and a second-period tally from F Adam Beckman (7), on a PP. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (9) got Portland’s goal 42 seconds into the third period. . . . Reid (2) iced it at 14:29. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan was pointless in his first game after being returned by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. . . . G Dante Giannuzzi made his first WHL start for Portland by stopping 18 shots.


F Zane Franklin scored three times as the Kamloops Blazers erased an early 2-0 deficit Kamloops1and went on to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Blazers (4-6-1) have won two in a row after a seven-game losing skid (0-6-1). . . . Kamloops hadn’t scored seven or more goals in a game since Feb. 21, 2017 when they beat the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-0. They last scored seven or more goals on the road on Dec. 17, 2016, in an 8-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Thunderbirds (6-3-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Seattle got off to a 2-0 lead on PP goals 50 seconds apart in the first period. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who scored his first two goals of the season, got Kamloops on the board at 11:47 of the first period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (3), playing his first game after serving a four-game suspension, tied it at 7:25 of the second. . . . Franklin then scored twice to give the Blazers a 4-2 lead heading to the third. He completed his second career hat trick with his 10th goal at 6:04 of the third. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary had two goals, giving him four, and two assists, for his first career four-pointer. A sophomore, Zary went into the game with a goal and three assists in eight games. . . . The Blazers now head for Portland and a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Winterhawks. Portland swept two games in Kamloops — 7-3 and 5-3 — on Oct. 3 and 5.


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Trumpeting Recchi in Kamloops . . . Winnipeg report has Ice ‘months away’ from possible move . . . Lots of notes from around the WHL


ThisThat

On Oct. 11, in this very space, I wrote a short piece about the Kamloops Blazers looking to put together a cheerleading team in the hopes of improving the atmosphere in their home arena, the Sandman Centre.

I ended the piece with this: “Might I be so bold as to suggest a trumpet player? If it was good enough for the Montreal Forum . . .”

I am pleased to report that on Friday at 6:17 p.m., while seated in the cozy confines of the press box, I heard a trumpeter — Jerome Lidster — break out the theme from Hockey Night in Canada.

Later, he played a darn fine O Canada!

Unfortunately, the man and his horn weren’t heard from again.

Please give us more.


The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that “the Western Hockey League’s long-rumoured Kootenaynewreturn to Winnipeg could be only months away from coming to fruition.” . . . Veteran sports reporter Mike Sawatzky, who is familiar with the WHL having covered the Brandon Wheat Kings more than a few years ago, writes: “Owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice are believed to be considering a plan to move their franchise to Winnipeg in time for the start of the 2019-20 season, sources have told the Free Press.” . . . According to Sawatzky, the relocated Ice would play at the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena until a new 5,000-seat arena is built in conjunction with “the Rink Hockey Academy’s new training facility currently under construction at the west end of South Landing, just off McGillivray Boulevard.” . . . Sawatzky’s complete story is right here.


The Kelowna Rockets settled on their three 20-year-olds by adding F Lane Zablocki to their roster and releasing Ryan Bowen. . . . They had acquired Zablocki’s rights from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 29, giving up a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021. Zablocki, who won’t turn 20 until Dec. 27, was injured at the time of the trade and didn’t get into a game until Friday night in Victoria. . . . Zablocki played for three teams last season. He had nine goals and 10 assist in 31 games with the Red Deer Rebels, two goals and four assists in nine games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and a goal and five assists in 25 games with Victoria. In 201 regular-season games,  he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Bowen was pointless in seven games with the Rockets. He also has played with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge. In 150 career games, he has 21 goals and 36 assists. . . . The Rockets also own the WHL rights to Bowen’s brother, Ethan, 16. Kelowna selected Ethan in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. He has committed to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21 and presently is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . The Rockets’ other 20-year-olds are D Braydyn Chizen and D Dalton Gally.


At least three players have been released by their WHL teams. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds have dropped D Payton McIsaac, who will turn 18 on Dec. 26, from their roster. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he was pointless in four games this season. He was a second-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. He had one assist in 12 games over three seasons with the Blades. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors have released F Brecon Wood, who is to turn 18 on Dec. 5. From Edmonton, he had one goal in seven games this season. In the previous two seasons, he had four goals and two assists in 84 games with the Warriors, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have dropped F Logan Moon, 18, from their roster. From Beaverlodge, Alta., he had yet to get into a game this season and was dropped after the team returned from its U.S. Division trip. He played last season with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. The Oil Kings selected him in the ninth round of the 2015 bantam draft.


F Lukas Sillinger, a sixth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, has committed to attend North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. From Regina, Sillinger, 18, is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. . . . Lukas is in his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. This season, he has one goal and one assist in one game. Last season, he finished with seven goals and 13 assists in 56 games.


The Prince George Cougars have released F Max Kryski, 18, and he has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Kryski, from Kelowna, will remain on the Cougars’ protected list. This season, Kryski was pointless in four games with the Cougars. Last season, he had eight goals and two assists in 62 games. . . . He is a younger brother of Calgary Hitmen F Jake Kryski, 20.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline was busy again on Thursday as three more playes drew suspensions. . . . F Riley Bruce of the Tri-City Americans was hit with a four-game sentence under supplemental discipline for something that happened during a 5-4 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the WHL doesn’t add explainers to suspensions such as these so fans are left to wonder what happened. . . . D Max Martin of the Prince Albert Raiders got a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something that happened during an 8-4 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Again, because the WHL doesn’t add explainers, you are free to guess at what happened. . . . F Brady Nicholas of the Saskatoon Blades has been suspended for two games after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct during a 5-4 OT loss to the visiting Hitmen on Wednesday night. He hit Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who missed a couple of shifts but came back to finish the game.


ICYMI, F Ryan Vandervlis has rejoined the Lethbridge Hurricanes as he continues to recover from horrendous burns he suffered on June 15 in a campfire explosion at a home near Calgary. Vandervlis, 20, has lost about 30 pounds and is a long ways from returning to game action, but he has come miles from when he was in a medically induced coma after the accident. . . . Lara Fominoff of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here.


The OHL’s Flint Firebirds introduced Eric Wellwood, 28, as their new head coach on ohlThursday. He takes over from Ryan Oulahen, who was in his third season when he resigned earlier this month. At that point, the Firebirds were 0-7-0. Then then lost two more games under interim head coach Greg Stefan. . . . Wellwood, whose NHL career was halted by injuries, was an associate coach with the Firebirds in 2016-17, under Oulahen. As a player with the Windsor Spitfires, Wellwood won two Memorial Cups. He won another as an assistant coach with the Oshawa Generals.


F Mackenzie Wight, 19, who left the Swift Current Broncos earlier this month, has joined the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Wight, who is from Burnaby, B.C., was pointless in two games with the Broncos this season, after recording a goal and three assists in 55 games last season. . . . In 74 regular-season games, six with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 68 with the Broncos, he has two goals and three assists. . . . This is his second stint with the Bulldogs; he had six goals and six assists in 27 games with them in 2016-17.


We’re back after one day away. Yes, the laptop came back from a checkup; yes, it passed all the tests. . . . If you missed us, why not consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and making a donation to the Taking Note cause?


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Stelio Mattheos scored three times, the last one into an empty net, as the host Brandon BrandonWKregularWheat Kings dumped the Everett Silvertips, 5-2. . . . Everett (6-4-0), which had won three in a row, started its East Division swing with the game. . . . Mattheos now has 11 goals for Brandon (6-1-2). . . . G Jiri Patera continued his fine start for Brandon, this time with 36 stops. The Czech freshman is 6-1-1, 3.00, .919. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:32 of the third period. . . . Jordin Tootoo, who played his major junior career with the Wheat Kings, announced his retirement from hockey at a pregame news conference, then took part in the ceremonial faceoff.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and beat the Seattle tri-cityThunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) had points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Americans improved to 4-4-0. . . . F Parker AuCoin broke a 2-2 tie at 14:51 of the third period, then added the empty-netter for his sixth goal. . . . F Nolan Yaremko drew three assists for the winners. . . . The Americans will play their next 11 games on the road, starting tonight against the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. The road trip also includes a six-game swing through the East Division. They won’t play at home again until Nov. 23.


F Brandon Hagel scored four times to lead the visiting Red Deer Rebels to a 5-2 victory Red Deerover the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Hagel has eight goals this season. He gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead at 1:08 of the first period, made it 3-1 at 1:16 of the second, completed his fourth career hat trick at 8:04 of the second for a 4-2 lead, and rounded out the scoring with his fourth goal, at 7:25 of the third. . . . G Ethan Anders blocked 41 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels (6-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Edmonton (5-7-1) opened the season with five victories, but has gone 0-7-1 since then.


F Kirby Dach scored two goals, including the winner in OT, and added an assist to give Saskatoonthe Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dach tied the game, 2-2, at 19:59 of the second period and won it with his seventh goal of the season just 37 seconds into extra time. . . . Dach, who almost certainly will be a top 10 pick in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has 22 points, including 15 assists, in 12 games. . . . The Blades (8-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Chiefs (6-2-3) are 3-1-1 on their East Division swing. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson ran his point streak to nine games with an assist. He has 19 points, including 15 assists, this season. . . . Saskatoon got 41 saves from G Nolan Maier.


The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting PortlandVancouver Giants, 5-3. . . . F Cody Glass (4) tied the score, 3-3, at 12:29 of the third period and F Reece Newkirk (7) have Portland its first lead at 13:39. . . . F Ryan Hughes (3) added the empty-netter. . . . Glass also added an assist, while linemate Joachim Blichfeld had two helpers. . . . F Jake Gricius scored two Portland goals in his 150th career game. . . . Portland (6-3-1) will meet the Giants again tonight, this time in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (9-2-1) had points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Winterhawks had D Matthew Quigley back for the first time since he was injured during a game in Kamloops on Oct. 5. Blazers F Jermaine Loewen drew a four-game suspension for the high hit, a suspension he completed Friday night.


The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Warriors in CalgaryMoose Jaw. . . . F Mark Kastelic (8) scored twice and added an assist for Calgary (3-6-2) which has won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (4-3-2) had points in each of their previous six games (4-0-2). . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 30 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Calgary was 2-for-3 on the PP.


The Medicine Hat Tigers forced OT with two late third-period goals and then won it on a Tigers Logo Officialpenalty shot as they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . The Hurricanes had a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes left in the third period when F Tyler Preziuso (4) scored at 18:09 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . F Ryan Jevne (4) tied it at 19:06. . . . F James Hamblin (6) won it on a penalty shot at 4:08. . . . Tigers D Linus Nassen finished with a goal, his second, and two assists. . . . Medicine Hat (6-5-1) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (4-4-3) has lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Lethbridge.


F Josh Pillar broke a 3-3 tie at 16:48 of the third period and the Kamloops Blazers went on Kamloops1to a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 16-year-old Pillar, from Warman, Sask., was a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, drew an assist, his first WHL point in his first game, on the winner. Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He will be back with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops, for a Saturday afternoon game. . . . Kamloops had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1) after opening the season with a pair of victories. . . . The Broncos (1-10-0) have lost three in a row, all on a B.C. Division swing. They have been outshot 146-52 over those three losses. . . . Broncos F Max Patterson, who is from Kamloops, had a goal and an assist. He pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie at 6:38 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Kamloops D Luc Zazula left in the first period after taking a hard hit against the end boards that left him woozy. He didn’t return. . . . Blazers F Jermaine Loewen sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. . . . It was Mark Recchi Hall of Fame Night as the Blazers saluted the local star who went on to win three Stanley Cups during a lengthy NHL career. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Recchi now is an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is a co-owner of the Blazers. . . . Rick Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was in attendance and presented Recchi with a WHL Alumni Achievement Award during a 30-minute pregame ceremony.


D Lassi Thomson and F Liam Kindree had four-point outings as the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketswhipped the Royals, 8-2, in Victoria. . . . F Dante Hannoun (6) gave the Royals a 2-1 lead at 10:47 of the second period but it was all Rockets after that. . . . Thomson finished with two goals, giving him six, and two assists, with Kindree adding his second goal and three assists. . . . Kelowna (3-9-0) was 4-for-6 on the PP and 6-for-6 on the PK. . . . The Royals (8-2-0) are 6-2-0 at home. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, who had started eight of the team’s first nine games. With him out, Brock Gould made his second start, stopping 16 of 22 shots in 40:51. Joel Grzybowski was brought in from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars to back him up and came on in the third period to stop eight of 10 shots. . . . A note from the Royals’ post-game news release points out that Gould “stopped Kelowna’s Leif Mattson on a penalty shot. Since their inaugural season in 2011-12, Victoria has had 19 penalty shots taken against it and has only allowed three goals.”


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Blazers’ top pick to get a look . . . Veteran Hitmen forward wants out . . . Leason, Raiders continue hot start


MacBeth

D Giffen Nyren (Moose Jaw, Kamloops, Calgary, 2006-10) has been released by Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus) by mutual agreement. He was pointless in seven games.


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The Kamloops Blazers, beset by suspensions, injuries and a seven-game losing skid, will have F Logan Stankoven in their lineup on Friday night against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

The 5-foot-7, 160-pound Stankoven, 15, is from Kamloops. He was the Blazers’ first-round Kamloops1pick, fifth overall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

Last season, with the bantam prep team at Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., Stankoven finished with 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games. This season, with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops, he has 10 goals and six assists in eight games.

After making his WHL debut on Friday night, Stankoven will rejoin his major midget teammates on Saturday for a 12:15 p.m. date with the visiting Cariboo Cougars.

F Jermaine Loewen, the Blazers’ captain, will complete a four-game suspension on Friday, while F Ryley Appelt begins a two-game sentence. At the same time, F Kyrell Sopotyk and F Travis Walton are out with undisclosed injuries. Walton, in fact, has yet to play this season, although he may be ready on Friday.

The Blazers will be celebrating Mark Recchi Hall of Fame Night on Friday as Stankoven makes his debut. Recchi, a Kamloops native with three Stanley Cup rings in his possession, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame a year ago. Recchi, one of the Blazers’ five owners, now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Blazers opened this season by sweeping a home-and-home set from the Kelowna Rockets. Since then, the Blazers have gone 0-6-1, including 0-3-0 at home.

Last season, the Blazers began the season with a nine-game losing streak and never did recover as they missed the playoffs.


For the second time in less than a week, a veteran forward has asked a WHL team for a Calgarytrade. . . . The Calgary Hitmen opened a five-game road swing in Prince Albert on Tuesday night, but F Tristen Nielsen, 18, wasn’t with them. Prior to the game, the Hitmen revealed via Twitter that Nielsen, who is from Fort St. John, B.C., has requested a trade. . . . Nielsen was a first-round selection by Calgary in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . In 106 career regular-season games, he has 23 goals and 20 assists. This season, he is pointless in five games. Last season, he finished with 19 goals and 16 assists in 49 games. . . .

Late last week, veteran F Gary Haden, 19, asked the Medicine Hat Tigers for a trade. He is at home in Airdrie, Alta., as he awaits a move. . . . Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News has the latest the Haden situation right here.

On Oct. 8, F Michael Farren, 18, asked the Saskatoon Blades for a trade. On Oct. 11, the Blades dealt him to the Kelowna Rockets.


G Blake Lyda won’t be on the bus as the Everett Silvertips head out on their tour of the EverettEast Division. Josh Horton of the Everett Herald reported that Lyda, 16, who has yet to get into a game this season, suffered an undisclosed injury during a pregame skate on Friday and is listed as being out three-to-six weeks. . . . G Danton Belluk, who plays for the midget AAA Eastman Selects, is expected to join the Silvertips on Thursday and stay with them through the six-game trip.  . . . Belluk, 17, is from Lorette, Man. Everett picked him in the 10th round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. With the Silvertips, he’ll be backing up Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips also head east without F Bronson Sharp, who is week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Silvertips open the trip against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday.


The Medicine Hat Tigers are carrying 22 players after they dropped D Ryan Watson, 16, from their roster. Watson, from Delta., B.C., was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. This season, he was pointless in four games. He played last season for the Delta Hockey Academy prep team, recording four goals and 15 assists in 32 games. . . . The Tigers are carrying two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards, not including veteran F Gary Haden, who is at home in Airdrie, Alta., after asking to be traded.


Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors will be the head coach of Team WHL when it whlopens the CIBC Canada-Russia series in Kamloops (Nov. 5) and Vancouver (Nov. 6). . . . Hunter, in his fifth season as the Warriors’ head coach, also is the head coach of Canada’s national junior team. . . . In the Canada-Russia series, he will be assisted by Brent Kisio, the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Jason Smith, the head coach of the Kelowna Rockets. Kisio also is an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Athletic trainer Mike Burnstein of the Vancouver Giants will work both games, with help from Colin Robinson of the Kamloops Blazers on Nov. 5 and Khore Elliott of the Victoria Royals on Nov. 6. . . . Shingo Sasaki, the Giants’ equipment manager, also will work the game in Vancouver.


A home in Scottsdale, Ariz., that is owned by Bill Gallacher, the owner of the Portland PortlandWinterhawks, can be had for US$26 million. . . . According to Brinkwire, it is the “priciest home for sale in Arizona.” . . . More from Brinkwire: “The 14,350-square-foot house on four acres in the Silverleaf neighborhood of DC Ranch comes with an elevator, two guest houses,10-foot solid slab fireplaces, swimming pools on both sides of the property, a 1,000-bottle wine room and five laundry rooms. . . . The Mediterranean, contemporary-style mansion also has nine bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, 10-foot-tall automated doors leading to numerous marble terraces, a commercial walk-in freezer and a master bathroom done entirely in Statuario marble with grey and gold veining.” . . . Gallacher and Joanne Stansfield bought the joint for US$11.1 million in cash in 2016. . . . There’s more right here.


Garry VanHereweghe has resigned as general manager and associate coach of the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys. He will work through Friday and then take his leave. . . . The Grizzlys have started the season at 0-12-1.


TUESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Vancouver Giants unleashed a 71-shot attack as they beat the Swift Current Broncos, Vancouver6-2, in Langley, B.C. The game was the first in the Broncos’ five-game B.C. Division tour. . . . By period, the Giants outshot the visitors 26-4, 20-7 and 25-4. . . . The Broncos, who beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2 in a shootout, on Saturday, now are 1-8-0. . . . The Giants (9-1-1) are off to their best start since 2008-09 when they opened 7-0-3. . . . Vancouver has points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Giants scored twice in the first period as they outshot the Broncos, 26-4. . . . G Joel Hofer blocked 65 shots for Swift Current. . . . D Bowen Byram (4) scored twice and added an assist for Vancouver, with F James Malm drawing three assists. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Broncos D Matthew Stanley took a fighting major and game misconduct at 11:13 of the third period. Perhaps it was one of those one-man fights? . . . Broncos F Alec Zawatsky was hit with a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 11:54 of the third period. . . . G Trent Miner, who missed three weekend games after returning home to Brandon following the deaths of two grandfathers, was back with the Giants. On this night, he backed up David Tendeck.


F Jack Finley scored two goals to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 6-4 victory over the host SpokaneChiefsBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . The loss was the first of the season in regulation time for Brandon (5-1-2). The Wheat Kings were the last of the WHL’s 22 teams to suffer such a loss. . . . The Chiefs (5-2-2) are 2-1-0 on their East Division swing. . . . Finley, 16, has three goals this season. From Kelowna, he was the sixth overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. He is the son of former NHL D Jeff Finley, who now is the Detroit Red Wings’ chief amateur scout. . . . The Wheat Kings surrendered 2-0 and 4-3 leads as the Chiefs scored the game’s last three goals. . . . F Eli Zummack (5) pulled Spokane even, 4-4, with his second goal of the game, at 11:34 of the third period. . . . Finley’s second of the night broke the tie at 17:23. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera, a freshman from Czech Republic, picked up his third assist of the young season.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . The Hurricanes (4-4-2) had points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Ice (3-4-2) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). . . . Letthbridge’s four-goal outburst included two from F Jordy Bellerive (6) and one from F Jake Elmer (8), who played with the Ice in 2016-17. . . . The Ice lost D Dallas Hines to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 16:21 of the third period.


F Brett Leason continued his red-hot start, scoring two goals and adding two assists as his PrinceAlbertPrince Albert Raiders dumped the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 8-4. . . . The Raiders improved to 11-1-0 with their fourth straight victory. . . . The Hitmen, who had points in their previous two games (1-0-1), fell to 1-6-2. . . . Leason, 19, leads the WHL in goals (11) and points (26) and is tied for the lead in assists (15). . . . He finished last season with career highs in goals (16), assists (17) and points (32), in 66 games. He had one goal in 12 games with Tri-City when the Americans traded him to Prince Albert. . . . F Sean Montgomery (4) added a goal and two assists for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders had F Cohner Saleski, 16, in their lineup for the first time this season, and he assisted on Leason’s first goal for his first WHL point. Saleski, a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, plays for the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. He was pointless in one game with the Raiders last season.


The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Tri-City SeattleAmericans, 5-4, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (6-1-1) have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Americans are 4-4-0. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (8) scored back-to-back second-period goals, the second one at 15:30, to give the Americans a 4-3 lead. . . . Seattle tied it when D Reece Harsch (1) scored, on a PP, at 18:36 of the second. . . . F Nolan Volcan (4) broke the tie at 1:29 of the third period and that one stood up as the winner. . . . Volcan finished with two goals and two assists. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (3) had a goal and two assists for Seattle.


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