Blazers to bid on 2023 Memorial Cup; Gaglardi says process has changed . . . Bedard streak at 19 games . . . Blades halt Oil Kings’ 14-game tear

It used to be that WHL teams bidding to play host to a Memorial Cup tournament would make presentations before the board of governors in Kamloops1Calgary, a vote would be held and a winner would be declared.

But it seems that process has gone the way of the dodo bird.

The Kamloops Blazers plan on bidding on the 2023 tournament and Tom Gaglardi, the team’s majority owner, says things have been redone and a host team/city now will be decided in secrecy and that it won’t involve the WHL board holding a vote. Instead, Gaglardi told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week, that he believes a decision will be made at the CHL level.

“It’s better,” Gaglardi said. “It should be decided by people who are, you know . . . I just think it takes biases out and the real reasons a winning team should host have got a better chance of prevailing. I’m hopeful this is a good system and a better system, but that remains to be seen.”

The WHL was to have played host to the 2020 tournament and the Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes all wanted to be the host team. Presentations were made in October 2018 and . . . the Rockets won. Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ owner, is chairman of the WHL’s board of governors.

Of course, COVID-19 had other plans and the tournament was scrubbed, as was the 2021 event. This year’s tournament is scheduled for Saint John, N.B.

When Hastings called Hamilton to ask if the Rockets would bid on 2023, the response was: “Thanks for the interest. The CHL is who releases that info now.”

Hastings’ story is right here.


Eggs


I got quite a chuckle out of two tweets from The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman on Tuesday night. He covers the Edmonton Oilers, and they had just Edmontondumped the visiting Detroit Red Wings, 7-5. . . .

Part 1: Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft had lunch (Tuesday) with WHL Oil Kings bench boss Brad Lauer and his staff. Lauer said this: “The wins are pieces of art, but you don’t always hang every picture in the living room. Sometimes you hang them in the basement.”

Part 2: “I thought it was a really smart way of putting it,” Woodcroft said of Lauer’s analogy. “Brad’s a really funny guy. I’m going to steal that one. I think it adequately describes tonight’s game.”

I always enjoyed chatting with Lauer when he played for the Regina Pats and I was with the Regina Leader-Post. Later, after I had moved to Kamloops and he was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice (remember them?) for five seasons, we often told talked before and after games.

The WHL hasn’t made a Media Guide and Record Book available since before the 2019-20 season, so the numbers that follow are unofficial.

Including Wednesday’s games, Lauer and Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, are neck-and-neck as to who has the highest percentage of games won among those who have coached at least four seasons.

Williams, who is in his fifth season in Everett, has won 189 of 272 games, which works out to .695.

Lauer is into his fourth season as Edmonton’s head coach. He has been the head coach for 214 games and the Oil Kings have won 149 of those. That is a winning percentage of .692.

Lauer’s Oil Kings dropped a 5-3 decision to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. He went into the game trailing Williams by .00001 — .69485-.69484.

I know. I know. You’re asking: What about Ken Hitchcock, who had such a great run with the Kamloops Blazers. In six seasons, he won 291 of 431 games (.675).


Bury


WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 19 games as the Regina Pats took down the Hurricanes, 6-4, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina won on the strength of three third-period goals after F Justin Hall, who has 33, struck at 7:23 and 7:50 to give Lethbridge a 4-3 lead. . . . Bedard finished with two goals and an assist, giving him 79 points, including 40 goals, in 49 games. . . . His 19-game point streak ties him with F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers, who had a 19-gamer end on Feb. 19. Bedard has 41 points, 20 of them goals, on his streak; Stankoven finished with 17 goals and 22 assists. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored three times to lead the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 5-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. The loss snapped Edmonton’s 14-game winning streak. . . . Robins, who broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals, has 30 this season. He scored at 4:22 and 15:18 of the second period and 4:55 of the third. . . . The Blades got 43 saves from G Nolan Maier, who posted his 118th career victory, just two shy of the WHL record. Maier stopped F Dylan Guenther on a penalty shot at 3:14 of the third period with the Blades leading 3-1. Robins scored his third goal just 1:41 later. . . .

In Langley, B.C., Czech F Petr Moravec scored at 1:37 of OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Moravec, who turned 19 on Feb. 24, has 14 goals. . . . G Tomas Suchanek, an 18-year-old Czech, stopped 35 shots to earn the victory. . . . F Samuel Huo (26) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead with his second shorthanded goal in as many games at 7:27 of the first period. . . . D Alex Cotton (14) pulled the Giants even on the PP at 9:26 of the first. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Swift Current Broncos erased a 2-1 first-period deficit with the next five goals en route to a 6-3 victory over the Raiders. . . . F Karson King scored his fifth and sixth goals 11 seconds apart early in the second period to break a 2-2 tie. The Broncos also got a big game from G Isaac Poulter, who stopped 39 shots. . . .

F Blake Stevenson scored twice, giving him 22, to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Calgary had lost seven in a row. . . . F Zac Funk added his 18th goal and two assists for Calgary, which broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals, one late in the second period and two in the third. . . . The Wheat Kings were without top-end forwards Nate Danielson, Ridly Greig and Marcus Kallionkieli, all injured, for a third straight game. . . .

G Daniel Hauser blocked 24 shots to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 4-0 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . One night earlier, G Dawson Cowan, in his first WHL appearance, stopped 23 shots as the host Ice blanked the Calgary Hitmen, 4-0. . . . Hauser has a WHL-leading six shutouts in 27 appearances this season. He now is 22-2-1, 2.12, .913 this season. . . . The Ice got goals from F Connor McClennon (38), F Matthew Savoie (28), F Mike Milne (30) and F Conor Geekie (18).


Thanks a bunch to those of you who have clicked on the link and given generously. Much appreciated. . . . My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Walmart


The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs and general manager/head coach Joe Martin have agreed on a five-year contract extension that will take him through the 2026-27 season. . . . Martin is completing his third season with the Bulldogs after spending eight seasons with the Merritt Centennials, the last four as GM/head coach. . . . This season, the Bulldogs, with two games remaining, are 34-14-4 and leading the nine-team Coastal Division by seven points over the Langley Rivermen.


The NAHL announced Wednesday that the Minnesota Magicians, who played out of Richfield, have been sold and are on the move to Eagle River, Wis. The Magicians had been in Richfield for nine seasons. . . . Wisconsin is home to two other NAHL franchises — the Chippewa Steel in Chippewa Falls and the Janesville Jets in Janesville.


ApplePie


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.


GoFundMe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Cookies


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

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

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

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

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

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


Selfie


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

——

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

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

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


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


NFT


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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.


ChipsTV

%d bloggers like this: