Ernie McLean in Japan? Did it almost happen? . . . Remembering Goldilocks and the Two Bears . . . Cristall to sit out Prospects Game

It was the spring of 1980 when Ernie McLean and Bill Shinske sold the New Westminster Bruins, who had gone 10-61-1 in 1979-80, to Nelson Skalbania for somewhere around $300,000.

“There comes a time in life when you have to say what more can you do,” said NewWestMcLean, who, with Shinske, had relocated the Bruins from Estevan for the 1971-72 season. “I’m at the crossroads now. I’m hitting the road. I’ve proven what I can do.”

Understand that this was a time when the WHL was more than an afterthought to many media outlets, including some in the larger centres. So it wasn’t unusual for some in the cast of characters to, well . . . after selling the Bruins, McLean, when asked about his immediate future, said he was dickering with some hockey people in Japan.

“I threw a figure at them that would choke a horse,” McLean said, “and it seemed quite acceptable. The sum was three times what I could make here with the Bruins. There was talk of flying my wife and me to Japan for the season, a rented house with butler, and a chauffeur to drive a rented car.”

No, McLean didn’t end up in Japan. Rather, he stayed on as the Bruins’ general manager for a few weeks.

“I stayed on and I worked for (Skalbania) for two months,” McLean said. “But there was no possible way that I could see that it was going to work out.”

So McLean bowed out.

After the 1980-81 season, Skalbania sold the franchise to the Edmonton Oilers, who then were owned by Peter Pocklington, and the team moved to Kamloops.

Of course, as evidenced by the above tweet, there would be a Bruins’ rebirth down the road and McLean would come to be involved.


Eggs


If you’ve been around for a while, you may remember that Nelson Skalbania installed his daughter, Rozanda, as president of the Bruins. So it wasn’t long before their front office was being referred to as Goldilocks and the Two Bears, with the bears being general manager Tracy Pratt, who replaced McLean, and head coach Muzz MacPherson, the latter another of the great characters in league history.

Early in that 1980-81 season, The Canadian Press reported that the Bruins had added a forward named Dan Hill to their roster, and that he was coming off a 30-goal season with the Montreal Jr. Canadiens. Unfortunately, a reporter who was interested in chasing facts checked out the story and discovered that, yes, Hill had played with Montreal, but that he had managed just one assist in four games. He would go pointless in eight games with the Bruins.

It should also be pointed out that Rozanda attended a board of governors’ meeting before the 1980-81 season got started. At that meeting, she suggested that the WHL should increase the number of 20-year-olds for each team from two to four. No, the governors didn’t agree with her.

But by the 1986-87 season each team was being allowed to dress four 20-year-olds per game. Of course, that number later was reduced to three, which is where it is now.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Study: Best way to get rid of a body is to check it as luggage with Air Canada.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets has been scratched from tonight’s Top Prospects Game at the Langley Events Centre, the home of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. Cristall, who has 62 points in 36 games, has been out since Jan. 6 with an undisclosed injury. F Denver Barkey of the OHL’s London Knights had replaced Cristall. Barkey, London’s first-round pick in the OHL’s 2021 draft, has 37 points, including 11 goals, in 41 games this season.


Winter


MONDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Portland Winterhawks scored four second-period goals en route to a 6-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in a matinee game. . . . Gabe Klassen (27) and Ryan McCleary (10) each scored twice and Jack O’Brien had a goal and two assists for Portland. . . . F Chaz Lucius picked up three assists and now has seven points, six of them assists, in his three games with Portland. . . . The Winterhawks lost F James Stefan to an undisclosed injury in the second period. . . . The Winterhawks closed to within one point of the Western Conference-leading Seattle Thunderbirds. The two teams are scheduled to clash in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. . . . The WHL schedule now is dark until Friday night.



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.


Closed

Remembering the night Oil Kings’ owner coached Calgary team . . . Hodgson finally gets hockey card . . . Dinos tie Canada West record

In going through some files the other night, I stumbled on a few interesting episodes from the WHL’s past, back when there were a whole lot of colourful characters who called it home. Here is one tale from the past. . . .

It was November of 1966 and the WHL, then called the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League, was in its first season when one team’s owner and general manger ended up coaching another team, a team on whose board of directors he happened to sit.

BillHunter
BILL HUNTER

Yes, the gentleman in question was Bill Hunter, who was the Edmonton Oil Kings’ owner, president, chief executive offer, general manager and coach whenever he wanted to be. He also sat on the board of directors of the Calgary Buffaloes. Oh, he also was the chairman of the CMJHL’s board of governors.

The Buffaloes, under coach John Kell, were struggling at 1-9-0. As October turned into November, Kell stepped down amidst rumours that Hunter would put his Oil Kings’ stock in trust and move south to run the Buffs. Hunter, naturally, denied all of that, although he was in Calgary on Oct. 31 to run the Buffaloes through a practice session. With Hunter back in Edmonton, Jim Finney handled practices for the next four days.

On Nov. 4, Hunter and CMJHL commissioner Frank Boucher actually held separate news conferences on the same day in different cities during all of this. Hunter, speaking in Calgary, told the gathered newshounds that the Buffs would sign a coach “in three or four days” and then added that he couldn’t reveal the name just yet. Meanwhile, down the highway in Regina, Boucher was announcing that Alf Pike would coach the Buffaloes but that Pike wouldn’t be available for a few days.

The very next night the Buffaloes met the Regina Pats in Calgary. And guess who was behind the Calgary bench? Yes, it was Wild Bill Hunter, live and in person. The Pats ruined it all by winning, 3-1.

“I’m more convinced than ever the Buffs have the makings of a fine junior club,” Hunter said after the game. “When Alf gets here and implements a system, they’ll start winning their share of games.”

The Buffaloes, who were 1-11-0 after Hunter’s one game behind the bench, finished the season at 4-47-5.


Bored


When the subject turns to the greatest WHL players of all-time, the name Dan PrinceAlbertHodgson isn’t mentioned nearly enough. Hodgson played three seasons (1982-85) with the Prince Albert Raiders, putting up 493 points, including 305 assists, in 202 games. He also played two games with the Spokane Flyers in 1980-81 but didn’t record any points. . . . Hodgson won a Memorial Cup (1985) with the Raiders and played for Canada at two Wold Junior Championships. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL’s 1983 draft. . . . Hodgson, now 57, went on to play 114 games over four NHL seasons, picking up 29 goals and 45 assists. He then went on to a lengthy career in Europe. . . . And through it all he never once had a hockey card. But, as Abdulhamid Ibrahim of The Canadian Press points out, that has all changed with Upper Deck having issued its First Peoples Rookie Cards set. . . . This is a great story and it’s all right here.


ICYMI, Jan. 20 was the 20th anniversary of one of the great moments in NHL history. . . .


JUST NOTES:

The Regina Pats, aka the Travelling Bedards, are to face the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Feb. 24. The Wheat Kings announced on Friday morning that only standing room tickets are available for that one. . . . Those tickets were to go on sale later in the morning, so the SOLD OUT sign may well be up by now. . . .

The U of Calgary Dinos tied a Canada West record on Friday night as they ran their winnings streak to 17 games with an 8-2 victory over the Cougars in Regina. The Dinos now share the record with the1978-79 Albrerta Golden Bears. F Jake Gricius had a goal and two assists for Calgary, giving him six points in a two-game sweep of the Cougars. G Carl Tetachuk stopped 20 shots to post his CW-leading 14th victory.


Sewing


FRIDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Swift Current Broncos scored three times in the last seven minutes of the third period and beat the Regina Pats, 4-2. . . . F Drew Englot’s first goal with the Broncos since being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers at the trade deadline, at 13:18 of the third, stood up as the winner. Englot, 20, began is WHL career with the Pats. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard gave his guys a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 37th goal at 8:57 of the first period. It was his 100th career regular-season goal and ran his point streak to 31 games. . . . Announced attendance was 2,890 in a building that has a listed capacity of 2,879. . . . The Broncos are scheduled to visit Regina tonight. . . . The Broncos and Pats are tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but Swift Current has three games in hand. . . .

F Misha Volotovskii scored twice to lead the Saskatoon Blades — there were the Saskatoon Bananas in a second annual promotion — dumped the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 6-1. . . . Volotofskii, a 17-year-old sophomore from Saskatoon, has three goals in 38 games. Last season, he scored twice in 53 games. . . . The Blades are 5-0-0 against the Raiders this season, having outscored them 24-5. . . . D Landon Kosior was back in the Raiders’ lineup for the first time since Jan. 4. . . . They’ll do it all over again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . .

F Nolan Flamand had a goal (6) and two assists to help the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . D Quinn Mantei (2) broke a 2-2 tie at 17:10 of the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings, who are four points out of a playoff spot, welcomed back two injured players. D Andrei Malyavin last played on Dec. 18, while F Caleb Hadland had been out since Oct. 29. . . .

F Kyle Chyzowski scored at 2:30 of OT to give the host Portland Winterhawks a wild 7-6 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Jake Poole’s 23rd goal, at 14:20 of the third period, had given the visitors a 6-4 lead. . . . F Gabe Klassen (24) got Portland to within one at 16:50 and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (23) tied it at 18:41, both with G Dante Giannuzzi on the bench for an extra attacker. Chyzowski won it with his 11th goal. . . . Klassen and Fromm-Delorme each scored twice, as did teammate James Stefan (15). . . . F Chaz Lucius made his Portland debut on a line with fellow Americans Jack O’Brien and Stefan, who scored 13 seconds into the first period. . . . O’Brien had three assists, Stefan two goals and an assist, and Lucius two assists. . . . The game included only four minor penalties, the last one to the Royals at 2:30 of OT. . . . The Royals are 0-2 on a three-game swing into the U.S. Division that ends tonight Spokane. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels scored four third-period goals and beat the Prince George Cougars, 8-5. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored twice (36) and added three assists for the winners, giving him his first career five-point game. . . . The Rebels were 5-for-7 on the PP. . . . F Ben King, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, scored once (6) as he returned to the Rebels lineup for the first time since Oct. 22. . . . The victory lifted the Rebels into first place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the idle Winnipeg Ice, which holds five games in hand. . . .

Kelowna F Carson Golder, playing after a four-game absence, scored on his first shift back and later added a second goal to lead the Rockets to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Rockets had lost their previous six road games. . . . Golder has 16 goals. . . . The Giants were 0-for-8 on the PP. . . . The Twitter account New Westminster Bruins (@NewWestBruins) pointed out Friday afternoon that the Giants played the Rockets “just once in their first 41 games and now play EIGHT times in their final 27.” . . . Kelowna F Andrew Cristall, who has 62 points in 36 games, missed his fourth straight game. . . . These same teams are to meet again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . . The eighth-place Rockets are seven points behind the Giants with two games in hand. . . .

F Parker Bell enjoyed his first three-goal game to spark the Tri-City Americans to an 8-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Bell, who scored all three goals on the PP, now has 21 goals. . . . The Americans, who trailed 2-1 after a period, were 4-for-4 on the PP. . . . Interestingly, Tri-City’s Lukas Dragicevic, who leads WHL defencemen in points, only had one assist, while D Marc Lajoie drew four helpers. . . . Tri-City G Tomas Suchanek finished up with 48 stops. . . . With the Americans leading 6-2 in the third period, Kamloops G Dylan Ernst stopped his older brother, Ethan, on a penalty shot. . . . The same teams will play again tonight in Kamloops. . . .

F Reid Schaefer counted on a penalty shot in OT as the Seattle Thunderbirds got past the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 3-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Hurricanes were in OT for the fourth time in five games. They have won one of those games. . . . Schaefer, who has 18 goals, won it at 1:18 of extra time after tying the score, 2-2, at 6:58 of the third period. . . . Lethbridge is 0-0-2 on its three-game U.S. Division trek that concludes tonight in Portland. . . .

G Tyler Palmer turned aside 25 shots to help the host Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Spokane led 2-1 after the first period, but Everett scored the game’s last four goals. . . . The comeback was sparked by F Kyan Grouette’s first goal of the season in his 30th game. Grouette, who turned 18 on Jan. 7, is from Dauphin, Man. He tied the score, 2-2, at 6:22 of the second period.



Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered:

“By my count there are 14 Russian Orthodox churches in Philadelphia and another 10 in Cherry Hill, N.J., where most of the Philadelphia Flyers live. I wonder how many of them Ivan Provorov has attended since he started playing for the Flyers six-plus years ago. I really want to believe that hockey doesn’t hate the LGTBQ+ community. I really do. But then I see that Provorov’s sweater (not a jersey) sold out after he opted out of the warm-up on the Flyers’ Pride Night and it depresses me.”


THINKING OUT LOUD: It has to be awfully hard to be a fan of the Vancouver Canucks these days what with the way ownership/management is treating head coach Bruce Boudreau. . . . The QMJHL’s 2022-23 Media Guide was available for download when the season got started. I’m told the OHL’s was ready sometime in November. The WHL’s isn’t available and the regular season is half over. Too bad, because its arrival once was a highlight of the season. . . . If you missed it, Boudreau, at the close of his post-game media availablity, said: “See you tomorrow . . . I hope.” The Canucks are at home to the Edmonton Oilers tonight, so this saga will get more play, this time on Hockey Night in Canada’s national stage. Unless a change is made early today. Oh, and the game will bring a conclusion to Hockey Day in Canada. . . . Bruce, there it is!


Lost


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.


Homeless

A look back at Sobchuk’s 10-point night . . . Broncos put up sold-out sign for Bedard visit . . . Lucius set for Portland debut


Here are the first two paragraphs of something I wrote more than 36 years ago . . .

“It was Friday, Jan. 19, 1973. Across the pond in jolly old England, Prince Charles narrowly escaped a head-on crash while driving his Aston Martin through the fog-enshrouded countryside southwest of London.

“Meanwhile, at Regina’s Exhibition Stadium, a nautical mile or two from the old country, a prince of a hockey player was having a jolly good night.”

Thanks to a tweet from Kevin Shaw (@theblueliner), the go-to guy for all things Regina Pats, the memories came flashing back on Thursday night.

DennisSobchukYes, it was 50 years ago — Jan. 19, 1973 — when F Dennis Sobchuk had one of the greatest offensive nights in WHL history. That night, Sobchuk struck for 10 points, six of them goals, in an 11-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings before 2,284 fans at Regina’s Exhibition Stadium.

It’s worth noting that the Wheat Kings were without F Ron Chipperfield (throat infection), who was leading the league with 53 goals.

Sobchuk’s line finished with 20 points — Mike Wanchuk had a goal and five assists; Clarke Gillies had a goal and three assists. Gillies also spent some time in the penalty box, thanks to a pair of fights with Brandon D Rick Piche.

The 18-year-old Sobchuk was in his second season with the Pats. That night, his fourth goal was his 100th regular-season score. Yes, he had 100 goals in fewer than two full seasons.

“Some nights they go in easy. Other nights they don’t go in at all. Tonight, well, it was one of those real good nights,” Sobchuk told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post. “And I should have had a couple of more, especially in the third period. But I guess a guy can’t be greedy.”

The outburst came just two days after head coach Bob Turner had talked with his three top forwards, telling them “to shoot more, that’s all. Each of them has a great shot but they just don’t shoot enough. Tonight, they were really rifling them and look what happened.”

The six goals allowed Sobchuk to tie the WCHL record — the WHL then was the Western Canada Hockey League — for goals in a game that had been set two seasons previous by F Danny Spring of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Sobchuk’s 10-point night also got him a piece of the single-game record for points, one that had been established by F Gerry Pinder of the Saskatoon Blades on March 12, 1967, and tied by F Tom Lysiak of the Medicine Hat Tigers on Dec. 30, 1971. While Pinder also had six goals and four assists in his big game, Lysiak did it with four goals and six helpers.

Sobchuk also tied the WCHL record for goals in one period — he scored five times in the second period.

Sobchuk’s night also pushed him into the WCHL scoring lead with 92 points, including 46 goals. At that point, he had two more points than Lysiak, who would go on to win his second straight scoring title, with 154 points, seven more than Sobchuk.

In his freshman season (1971-72), Sobchuk totalled 123 points, including 56 goals, in 68 games, and was named the WCHL’s rookie of the year.

He would play one more season with the Pats (1973-74), putting up 146 points, including 68 goals, in 66 game and helping Regina to a Memorial Cup title.

In three seasons with the Pats, he finished with 416 points, 191 of them goals, in 190 regular-season games. He placed fifth, second and second in the scoring race.

Sobchuk had won the Saskatchewan Amateur Junior Hockey League’s scoring title in 1970-71 when he finished with 96 points, including 56 goals, in 36 games with the Weyburn Red Wings. At that time, his WCHL rights belonged to the Estevan Bruins, who were about to move to New Westminster.

On July 7, 1971, Del Wilson, the Pats’ president and general manager, acquired Sobchuk from New Westminster, sending F Emile DeMoissac, F Wayne Dye, D Bob Hess, F Doug Lindskog and F Vic Mercredi the other way.

DeMoissac, Hess and Mercredi would be key performers for the Bruins, although all had moved on before their four-season run (1974-78) as WHL champions.

By November 1986, Sobchuk was the Pats’ assistant GM and assistant coach. One night, he and I chatted about his 10-point outing.

“Funny thing,” he recalled. “I didn’t realize it but they had a guy shadowing me that night. When the people clapped for me at the end of the game, Brandon — I talked to a few of the players in later years — they were going to push the guy who was supposed to be the shadow out there to take a bow with me.

“But it was just one of those nights. Whenever you shot the puck it went in. It was a crazy night.”

I asked Sobchuk just how big a thrill it was.

“I still have the stick,” he replied.

Two nights later, the Pats and Wheat Kings met in Brandon, with Regina skating away with a 5-4 victory. F Rick Uhrich had three goals. Sobchuk had one assist.


Number


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Swift Current Broncos announced on Thursday that tonight’s game against the visiting Regina Pats, aka the Travelling Bedards, is sold out. . . .

F Chaz Lucius, 19, has joined the Portland Winterhawks and is expected to make his WHL debut tonight against the visiting Victoria Royals. Lucius, who starred with Team USA at the recent World Junior Championship, had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets assigned him to Portland after the WJC. . . .

F Gabriel Szturc, a 19-year-old from Cesky Tesin, Czechia, was named the 28th captain of the Kelowna Rockets on Thursday, replacing Colton Dach, who was traded to the Seattle Thunderbirds earlier this month. Szturc is the first European-born captain in the Rockets’ franchise history. Four of Szturc’s first five games as captain will be against the Vancouver Giants, starting tonight in Langley, B.C., and Saturday in Kelowna. . . .

F Ben King of the Red Deer Rebels, who led the WHL with 52 goals last season, has 10 points, five of them goals, in five games this season. But he hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury on Oct. 22. It seems that he may return tonight against the visiting Prince George Cougars or Saturday with the Brandon Wheat Kings in town.



WEDNESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

D Max Wanner’s eighth goal at 0:45 of OT gave the Moose Jaw Warriors a 5-4 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon and a sweep of their home-and-home series. The Warriors had won, 3-1, at home on Tuesday. . . . The victory allowed the Warriors (28-14-2) to move into a third-place tie with the Blades (27-9-4) in the Eastern Conference. The Blades hold four games in hand. . . . F Atley Calvert led the Warriors with two goals and two assists. He has 25 goals and 25 assists in 44 games after finishing last season with 15 and 25 in 65. He went into last night’s game with 98 career points and came out with 102, all in 146 games. . . . Last night, the Blades outshot the visitors, 43-17, including 16-2 in the third period. . . . The Warriors trail Eastern Conference-leading Winnipeg (31-5-1) by five points and visit the Ice tonight and Saturday. However, the Ice holds seven — count ’em, SEVEN — games in hand. . . .

F Connor McClennon and F Zach Benson each had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Ice lit up the Raiders, 8-1, in Prince Albert. . . . Benson has 24 goals; McClennon has 21. . . . Ice F Connor Geekie scored his 20th goal of the season. . . . The Ice held a 39-16 edge in shots. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers scored three times in a six-round shootout and beat the Broncos, 5-4, in Swift Current. . . . Three second-period goals had given the Tigers a 4-2 lead, but the Broncos pulled even on third-period scores from F Josh Filmon (28) and F Connor Hvidston (9). . . . Hvidston also had two assists, and Filmon finished with two goals and a helper. . . . Latvian D Bogdans Hodass scored twice for the Tigers, giving him seven this season. . . . The Tigers (17-21-6) closed to within two points of the Broncos (20-17-2), who hold down the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot. Those two teams are to play in Medicine Hat on Sunday. That will be the Broncos’ third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . .

The Prince George Cougars came from behind four times before finally beating the host Calgary Hitmen, 6-5. . . . With the NHL’s Flames playing host to the Colorado Avalanche in the Saddledome, the WHL game was played at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex. . . . Prince George scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period. F Jaxsen Wiebe (7) got the winner at 14:42, his second of the game. F Koehn Ziemmer (22) also scored twice for the winners. . . . The Cougars, who fired 21 shots in each of the last two periods, outshot the Hitmen, 51-35. . . .

F Ben Hemmerling scored twice, including in OT, and added two assists as the host Everett Silvertips beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . Hemmerling’s 14th goal came at 3:36 of extra time. . . . Hemmerling, who now has had two four-point games in his WHL career, has three goals and six assists in his past four games. . . . The Tri-City Americans erased a 4-0 first-period deficit and beat the Victoria Royals, 5-4, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Ethan Ernst (21) scored twice for the Americans, his second goal, at 13:54 of the third period, breaking a 4-4 tie. . . . F Matthew Hodson (13) scored twice for Victoria. . . . The Americans (19-16-4) are fifth in the Western Conference, one point behind the Everett Silverips (21-19-1).


Electrician


THINKING OUT LOUD: I yearn for the days when I could look at NHL highlights and recognize teams by their uniforms. . . . David Adelman is the acting head coach of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets these days. That’s because head coach Michael Malone is away because of health and safety protocols. Yes, COVID-19 has reared its ugly head, again. Three Denver players — Bones Hyland, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray — have spent time in protocol this season, too. And you thought the pandemic was over, didn’t you? Mask up!


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.


Test

Bedard, Pats keep on rolling . . . Rockets face interesting schedule . . . Look back at WHL’s weekend


BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

THE LEGEND CONTINUES TO GROW: F Connor Bedard scored Regina’s last two goals as the Pats beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-3, on Saturday night. . . . Bedard has 36 goals this season and is on a 30-game point streak. . . . The Pats have won three in a row since Bedard returned from his dominating performance with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. In those three victories, Bedard has nine goals and four assists — a six-point game, a five-pointer and Saturday’s deuce. . . . Despite missing 11 games while at the WJC, Bedard leads the WHL in goals (36), assists (41) and points (77). He holds a 15-point lead over F Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets in the points derby. Cristall has missed Kelowna’s last three games with an undisclosed injury. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post tells us that Bedard’s 30-game point streak is “17 short of the team record, set by Jock Callander and Wally Schreiber during the 1981-82 season.” . . . Vanstone also informs us that Bedard “is on pace to become the first Pat to score 50 goals in 50 or fewer games since Dale Derkatch in 1983-84.” Derkatch scored Nos. 50 and 51 in his 49th game that season. . . . The Pats are off until the weekend when they go home-and-home with the Swift Current Broncos, playing Friday on the road and Saturday in Regina. . . . The Broncos (20-17-1) are eighth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Regina. The Broncos hold four games in hand.


From the Department of Read It and Weep, a piece that hits the nail squarely on the head . . .


The Kelowna Rockets, who are fighting for their playoff lives, are two games into an eight-game stretch during which they will play only two teams — the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants.

Going into this week, it really is looking as though one of the Rockets or Royals Kelownawill finish eighth in the Western Conference, with the other team left out of the playoffs. The Rockets (13-23-3) are eighth now, one point ahead of the Royals (12-25-4). The Prince George Cougars (17-18-4) and the Giants (16-19-6) are tied for sixth, nine points ahead of the Rockets.

Five of the Rockets’ next eight games are against the Giants, so one would have to think Kelowna needs to beat Vancouver at least four times to have a chance at moving up in the standings.

As for the Royals, well, they are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games after sweeping a weekend series from the visiting Rockets, winning 4-0 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday.

Next up for the Rockets is a home-and-home with the Giants, playing Friday in Langley, B.C., and Saturday in Kelowna. The Royals, who are to play the Winterhawks in Portland on Friday and the Chiefs in Spokane on Saturday, will be in Kelowna on Sunday as each team plays its third game in fewer than 48 hours.

The Rockets and Giants then will play three in a row — Jan. 27 in Langley, and Jan. 28 and Feb. 3 in Kelowna.

One positive for the Rockets is that they won’t play any mid-week games during that stretch, so head coach Kris Mallette and his staff will have lots of practice time, something coaches really treasure.


THEDAD


Jack Todd in the Montreal Gazette, with a few words on the Montreal Canadiens’ baby blues:

“Supposedly a nod to the late, great Montreal Expos, the reverse-retro jerseys are a bland, boring, soulless cash grab, a blue-on-blue nightmare that is more reminiscent of the Toronto Argonauts than Nos Amours. Canadiens fans agree on something once a century, and this is it: everyone hates those kiddie pyjamas.”

Todd also points out that the Canadiens have worn the baby blues four times and are 0-4, so perhaps they won’t last long. They are next scheduled to be worn on Thursday for a visit by the Florida Panthers.

——

Here’s Todd, again, with something that I can get behind: “We’re 100 per cent behind Connor McDavid. The shootout is a farce, while 3-on-3 overtime is the most exciting thing since skate sharpeners. Ten minutes of 3-on-3, then in the unlikely event no one has scored, it’s a tie.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Jack Bakker, whose WHL rights moved from Kamloops to the Everett Silvertips in the Jan. 8 deal in which D Olen Zellweger and F Ryan Hofer went to the Blazers, has committed to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for 2023-24. Bakker, 15, is from White Rock, B.C., and plays on the U18 prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy. Kamloops selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . .

F Ozzy Wiesblatt, 20, played for the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda on Saturday night, meaning he won’t be joining the Portland Winterhawks, who had acquired his rights from the Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, explained to Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) that Wiesblatt could only end up in Portland if he didn’t play another AHL game after Jan. 10. . . . Wiesblatt was a first-round selection by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . . Had Wiesblatt ended up in Portland, the Raiders would have receive three draft picks from the Winterhawks — a first in 2025 and two seconds in 2026. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their home record to 16-0-0 on Saturday with a 5-3 victory over the Cowichan Valley Capitals before an announced crowd of 3,628. . . . Also on Saturday, the Wenatchee Wild drew an announced crowd of 3,521 as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . .

The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars suffered their first regulation-time loss of the season on Saturday night as they were beaten, 5-0, by the Bruins in Estevan. That left the North Stars’ record at 33-1-3. . . . G Jackson Miller stopped 30 shots to earn the shutout, while F Keagon Little scored twice.


Callback


SUNDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

F Cole Shepard scored two goals 70 seconds apart in the first period to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Lethbridge was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours; it picked up five points by going 2-0-1 in those games. . . . Shepard, who sat out Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels with a one-game suspension, has 15 goals. . . . G Bryan Thomson blocked 38 shots to earn the victory. Thomson, who made 50 appearances last season, was playing in his fifth game this season. The start of his season was delayed by surgery to repair an undisclosed injury. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first seven goals, five of them in the second period, en route to a 7-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . F Jalen Luypen had a goal (4) and two assists for the Americans. . . . G Tomas Suchanek stopped 18 shots in his first appearance with the Americans since returning from the World Junior Championship where he backstopped Czechia to a silver medal.

——

SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored four second-period goals and got 39 saves from G Connor Ungar as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-3. Ungar is 21-5-2, 2.64, .924 this season. . . . In Edmonton, D Terrell Goldsmith’s third goal of the season, at 2:16 of OT, gave the Prince Albert Raiders a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. The offensively challenged Oil Kings were held to three, six, five and two shots, by period. . . .

F Jackson Berezowski had two goals and an assist as the hometown Everett Silvertips got past the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in OT. . . . F Austin Roest’s 25th goal, at 1:39 of extra time won it. . . . Roest has three goals and seven assists over his past three games. . . . Berezowski, the team captain, has 28 goals. In his past three games, he has put up eight goals and four assists, surpassing the 200-point career mark in the process. He now has 204 points, 110 of them goals, in 245 regular-season games. . . . D Hunter Mayo (14) scored at 4:55 of OT to give the Red Deer Rebels a 2-1 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .

F Alexander Suzdalev scored once (23) and added an assist as the Regina Pats beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-3. . . . Portland finished its East Division swing at 2-4-0. . . . Suzdalev has 53 points in 40 games. . . . Could it be that Regina and area has caught Bedard Fever? The Pats have drawn their three largest crowds of the season to their past three games — 4,761, 5,651 and 5,403. In 20 home games, only one other crowd has been more than 4,000, and that was 4,336 on opening night. . . . The Winterhawks thought they had tied the game late in the third period, but the goal was disallowed by the on-ice officials. Portland fans were upset that the play didn’t go to video review, but goaltender interference isn’t something that can go upstairs for review in the WHL. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “With (G Dante) Giannuzzi pulled for an extra attacker, Portland appeared to score the game-tying goal with 17 seconds left. But, after lengthy deliberations, the goal was disallowed when the ruling was made that Portland’s Kyle Chyzowski interfered with Pats netminder Drew Sim. Chyzowski received at least a nudge from Pats defenceman Luke Bateman before colliding with Sim, but the goal was waved off.”

F Egor Sidorov scored three times and linemate Trevor Wong had a goal and two assists as the Saskatoon Blades beat the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-2. Sidorov, a sophomore from Belarus, has four career hat-tricks, three of them this season. He has 22 goals; Wong has 15. . . . Seattle went 3-3-0 on its East Division swing. . . . G Reid Dyck stopped 29 shots, including a third-period penalty shot, to help the Broncos to a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Swift Current. . . .

F Matthew Hodson scored twice and added an assist as the host Victoria Royals doubled the Kelowna Rockets, 6-3, to sweep their weekend series. The Royals had won, 4-0, on Friday. The Rockets have lost six in a row on the road. Hodson, who scored three goals in 39 games last season, has 11 in 38 outings this season. . . . The Royals scratched D Gannon Laroque, who played Friday, and F Brayden Schuurman, who left Friday’s game after the first period. F Alex Thacker, who last played on Dec. 17, took the warmup but didn’t dress. . . . The sweep allowed the ninth-place Royals (12-25-4) to close to within one point of the Rockets (13-23-3), who hold down the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Connor McClennon scored three times, giving him 19, to lead the Ice to an 8-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. The visitors led 2-0 before the game was five minutes old. . . . F Ryan Hofer scored twice (26) and F Logan Stankoven drew three assists as the Kamloops Blazers beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 5-2. Hofer has three goals in two games with the Blazers since being acquired from Everett. G Matthew Kieper stopped 22 shots in his first appearance for Kamloops since being acquired from Regina on Jan. 3.



THINKING OUT LOUD: Just a reminder that Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) is a must follow on Twitter for major junior hockey fans. . . . You watch QB Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers and you realize how important it can be to be in the right place at the right time to find success. . . . It wasn’t long after the Los Angeles Chargers had coughed up a 27-0 lead and lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday that their fans had Sean Payton replacing Brandon Staley as head coach. And how many jobs will Payton be rumoured for before he finally picks one? . . . There is a lot of chatter that has the Vancouver Canucks on the verge of firing head coach Bruce Boudreau and replacing him with Rick Tocchet. Just a thought, but maybe the Canucks should try doing things right for a change — let Boudreau finish out the season and then see who’s available. And maybe, just maybe, think about handing a blank cheque to Barry Krotz. Or maybe call Sean Payton. . . . ICYMI, QB Nathan Rourke, who lit up the CFL with the B.C. Lions before suffering a foot injury last season, says he is going to sign with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. What an exciting time this must be for him as he gets the opportunity to live out his dream . . . You don’t like Tom Brady and you despise the Dallas Cowboys. So what are you going to do tonight?


COVID


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.


Missing

Another WHL trade deadline here and gone . . . Seattle gets golden boy’s rights . . . Blades grab Chiasson


The WHL’s trade deadline arrived on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 48.

No. of players traded — 83.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 81.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 29.

Teams involved in trades — 11: Edmonton; 6: Everett, Kamloops, Kelowna, Seattle, Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Brandon, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina, Tri-City; 4: Portland, Prince Albert; 3: Red Deer, Spokane, Swift Current; 2: Moose Jaw; Saskatoon, Vancouver; 1: Calgary; 0: Medicine Hat.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.


Late Tuesday afternoon, just before the trade deadline whizzed past, the Edmonton Oil Kings announced that they had acquired the rights to F Koji SeattleGibson, 15, six conditional WHL draft picks and a fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft from the Seattle Thunderbirds for the rights to F Dylan Guenther, 19, the rights to F Jordan Ramsay, who will turn 16 on Jan. 24, and a 2023 eighth-round pick. . . . The conditional picks — a second in 2023, sixth in 2024, fourth in 2025, and first, fourth and fifth in 2026 — all hinge on the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes assigning Guenther to Seattle. . . . Guenther, a first-round pick by the Coyotes in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has three goals and eight assists in 22 games with Arizona this season. . . . He scored the OT goal on Thursday as Team Canada beat Czechia, 3-2, in the World Junior Championship final in Halifax. . . . The Oil Kings selected Guenther with the first overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 draft. He helped the Oil Kings to the WHL championship last season as they beat the Thunderbirds in the championship final. . . .

Gibson, from North Vancouver, plays for the U18 prep team at the Burnaby Winter Club. Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . . Ramsay, from Victoria, is with the U18 prep team at the Pacific Coast Academy. He was an eighth-round pick by the Oil Kings in the 2022 draft.


The Saskatoon Blades, perhaps the most under-appreciated team in all of the SaskatoonCHL at the moment, acquired F Jake Chiasson, 19, from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a first-round WHL draft pick in 2023, a second-rounder in 2025 and a conditional second in 2026. . . . Chiasson, from Abbotsford, B.C., was a fourth-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s 2021 draft. The Wheat Kings selected him in the first round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . He was in his fourth season with Brandon, having put up 30 goals and 41 assists in 141 regular-season games. . . . This season, he has 10 goals and 18 assists in 37 games. . . . From the Saskatoon news release: “Chiasson made international news earlier this winter as he and three teammates, who were driving over a bridge in Brandon, helped save the life of a distressed man.” . . . The 2023 first-round pick was Saskatoon’s and not the one the Blades acquired from Seattle in the deal that had F Brad Lambert’s rights move to the Thunderbirds. . . .

The Blades (26-6-3) are rather quietly putting together a solid season. In fact, their points percentage of .786 trails only the Winnipeg Ice (.853) and Seattle Thunderbirds (.806). . . . BTW, the Thunderbirds and Ice are to meet tonight (Wednesday) in Winnipeg.

——

In a second deal, Brandon acquired F Dawson Pasternak, 19, and a conditional fourth-round pick in an undisclosed WHL draft from the Portland Winterhawks for the rights to F Colin Frank, a sixth-rounder in 2025 and a second in 2026. . . . Pasternak, from Winnipeg, was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft. This season, he has 17 points, five of them goals, in 28 games. Last season, as a freshman, he had five goals and nine assists in 34 games. . . . Pasternak had an assist on Brandon’s first goal Tuesday night as the Wheat Kings beat the visiting Thunderbirds, 4-2. . . . Frank, from Ladera Ranch, Calif., will turn 17 on March 3. He was taken by Brandon in the 2021 U.S. prospects draft. He plays for the U16 AAA Anaheim Jr. Ducks and has 34 goals and 39 assists in 45 games.

——

In a third deal, the Wheat Kings acquired F Nolan Flamand, who will turn 19 on Thursday, from the Kelowna Rockets for F Trae Johnson, 17, and two picks — a third-rounder in the 2023 WHL draft and a fifth in 2024. . . . Flamand, from Saskatoon, had four goals and 12 assists in 35 games with Kelowna this season. He was a second-round pick by Kelowna in the 2019 draft. . . . Johnson, from Martensville, Sask., had two goals and four assists in 37 games with Brandon this season. He was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft.


Just before the deadline, the Winterhawks acquired the rights to F Ozzy PortlandWiesblatt, 20, from the Prince Albert Raiders for three conditional draft picks — a first in 2025 and two seconds in 2026. . . . The picks — one of the second-round picks was acquired from Brandon earlier on Tuesday —  are conditional on Wiesblatt being assigned to Portland by the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Wiesblatt, a first-round pick by the Sharks in 2020, is with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda with whom he has a goal and four assists in 17 games. . . . Prince Albert picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2017 draft. He put up 179 points, including 58 goals, in 195 regular-season games with the Raiders. . . .

The Winterhawks also dealt G Donavan Bodnar and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft to the Everett Silvertips for a fourth-rounder in 2024. . . . Bodnar, from West St. Paul, Man., won’t turn 18 until Nov. 22. He was a seventh-round pick by Portland in the 2020 draft. . . . Bodnar now is playing for the Seven Oaks Raiders in the Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League. . . . Earlier this season, the Portage Terriers acquired Bodnar’s rights from the Selkirk Steelers for D Jacob Ziegler, 18. . . .

In another move, the Winterhawks traded D Nicholas Andrusiak, 18, to the Red Deer Rebels for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft. . . . Andrusiak, from Tisdale, Sask., is with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires, and has two goals and an assist in 20 games. He got into two games with Portland early this season.


The Prince George Cougars announced their presence on Deadline Day by PrinceGeorgeacquiring F Zac Funk, 19, from the Calgary Hitmen for F Carter MacAdams, 18, and three WHL draft picks — second-rounders in 2023 and 2024, and a fourth in 2024. . . . Funk, from Coldstream, B.C., had 13 goals and 19 assists in 33 games with the Hitmen this season. In 129 career games, he has 78 points, 39 of them goals. . . . He was a second-round pick by Calgary in the 2018 draft. . . . MacAdams, from South Surrey, B.C., was picked by the Cougars in the fourth round of the 2019 WHL draft. He has 18 goals and 30 assists in 117 regular-season games over three seasons with Prince George. This season, he has six goals and 15 assists in 36 games.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes reacquired G Jared Picklyk, 19, from the Tri-City Americans for a 10th-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. The Hurricanes had traded him to the Americans for a 2024 sixth-round pick on Nov. 17, but he got into only two games with Tri-City. . . . Before that deal, he was 4-5-0, 3.50, .877 with Lethbridge this season. . . . Picklyk, from Kelowna, will report to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos.


The Kelowna Rockets acquired D Landon Cowper, 16, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a conditional fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. Cowper, from Whitehorse, was a fourth-round pick by the Raiders in the 2021 draft. . . . He is playing for the U18 team at the RINK Hockey Academy in Kelowna, and has one goal and 15 assists in 18 games.


The Kamloops Blazers picked up the rights to D Daylan Weigel, 19, from the KamloopsSwift Current Broncos for a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. Weigel, from Warman, Sask., is with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and, according to the Blazers, “will remain with the Broncos for the 2022-23 season and become an affiliate player.” . . . He has six goals and 18 assists in 31 games with Humboldt this season. . . . Weigel has played in 25 WHL games — one with the Regina Pats and 24 with Swift Current. He has six assists in those games. . . . Regina picked him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft.


The Vancouver Giants have acquired the rights to D Ben Feenan, 18, from the Tri-City Americans for a seventh-round pick in the 2026 WHL draft. . . . Feenan, a sixth-round pick by the Americans in the 2019 draft, is from Surrey, B.C. He had three assists in 22 games this season when he left the team and joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.


In the final trade before the deadline, announced more than three hours after it Reginahad passed, the Regina Pats acquired F Steel Quiring, 19, from the Everett Silvertips for a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. Quiring, from Vernon, B.C., had three goals and three assists in 30 games with Everett. He also has played for the Kelowna Rockets and Calgary Hitmen. The Silvertips acquired him from the Hitmen on Sept. 30. . . . The Rockets selected him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. . . . Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) pointed out on Twitter that “the Pats are Quiring’s 4th WHL team in the last  year and five days.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Edmonton Oil Kings have claimed F Loick Daigle, 20, off CHL waivers from the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. In 108 QMJHL regular-season games, he has 24 goals and 26 assists. . . . F Brad Lambert wasn’t in Seattle’s lineup on Tuesday night in Brandon, nor was F Chaz Lucius with Portland in Prince Albert. . . . The junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that Briar McNaney has signed on as their interim head coach. . . . The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder have announced that Sean Brown, its general manager and head coach, has stepped down for “family reasons.” Corey Bricknell, who had been assistant GM and associate coach, has stepped in as interim GM/head coach. The Thunder (11-27-2) is eighth in the eight-team North Division.


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.


Phone

A quieter Monday in the WHL . . . Six more deals as deadline nears . . . Portland, Seattle add AHL assignees

As Monday disappeared over the horizon, there had been nothing in the way of WHLSunday’s craziness and with the WHL’s deadline now only hours away.

One supposes that some teams took time to count their remaining draft picks after what had transpired on Sunday.

Still, there were a handful of trades made on Monday, one of which involved a player who had been part of one of those Sunday blockbusters.

And two U.S. Division teams had players who began the season in the AHL assigned to them by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.

Read on . . .

——

The Swift Current Broncos were involved in a couple of trades. . . .

First, they and the Brandon Wheat Kings swapped a pair of defencemen, with SwiftCurrentMason Ward, 20, moving to the Broncos for Kayden Sadhra-Kang, 19. . . . The Wheat Kings acquired Ward from the Red Deer Rebels prior to the 2021-22 season. From Lloydminster, the 6-foot-5 Ward had four goals and six assists in 38 games with Brandon this season. . . . The 6-foot-4 Sakhra-Kang, from Richmond, B.C., was acquired by Swift Current from the Lethbridge Hurricanes early last season. In 90 games with the Broncos, he had four goals and 19 assists. . . .

The Broncos also made a deal with Everett, getting F Drew Englot, 20, from the Silvertips for F Raphael Pelletier, 20, and a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2024 draft. . . . This was the second time Englot was traded in fewer than 24 hours. On Sunday, he was part of the massive trade between the Kamloops Blazers and Everett. . . . Englot, from Candiac Sask., had three goals and 11 assists in 34 games with the Blazers this season. Kamloops had acquired him from the Regina Pats last season. . . . Pelletier, from Legal, Alta., had 37 goals and 53 assists in 162 games with the Broncos over the past four seasons. This season, he has 11 goals and 17 assists in 28 games. . . .

Ward and Englot are expected to be in the Broncos’ lineup tonight (Tuesday) when they meet the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

——

The Everett Silvertips acquired F Nolan Chastko, 17, from the Prince George Cougars for a conditional sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2025 draft. . . . Chastko, from Brandon, wasn’t picked in the WHL draft. He signed with the Cougars, and has been playing with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. He has 10 goals and 14 assists in 29 games with Virden.

——

The Tri-City Americans also were involved in a couple of Monday deals. . . . They Tri-Citygot D Ethan Peters, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. From Moose Jaw, Peters was in his third season with Edmonton. He recorded 28 points, including 24 assists, in 119 regular-season games. . . . Following last season, he was presented with the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy as the WHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year. . . .

The Americans also acquired D Jackson Romeril, 17, from the Kelowna Rockets for a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft. . . . From Calgary, the Rockets selected him in the sixth round of the 2020 draft. . . . This season, he is pointless in 13 games with Kelowna.

——

——

Edmonton was involved in another Monday exchange when it got D Jacob Hoffrogge, 19, from the Everett Silvertips for a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. . . . He had two goals and two assists in 23 games with Everett this season. He also has played with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

——

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 36.

No. of players traded — 65.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 65.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 16.

Teams involved in trades — 10: Edmonton; 6: Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Kamloops, Seattle; 4: Everett, Kelowna, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Spokane, Tri-City; 2: Brandon, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; Swift Current; 1: Saskatoon, Vancouver; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.


The Seattle Thunderbirds and Portland Winterhawks each has added a player to their roster who began this season with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets assigned F Brad Lambert to Seattle and F Chaz Lucius to Portland. Neither has played since they were in the 2023 World Junior Championship in Moncton and Halifax.

Lambert, 19, had two goals and an assist in 14 games with the Moose. He had Seattleone goal in five games with Finland at the WJC. . . . Seattle acquired his WHL rights from the Saskatoon Blades on June 30 for fourth- and sixth-round picks in the WHL’s 2023 draft, a conditional first-rounder in 2023 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024. . . . With Lambert having been assigned to Saskatoon, the Blades now are in possession of those two conditional draft picks. . . . Might the Blades spend some draft capital today before the trade deadline arrives?

Lucius, 19, is a native of White Bear Lake, Minn. He had two goals and three Portlandassists in 12 games with the Moose. The Jets selected him with the 18th pick of the NHL’s 2021 draft. Portland grabbed his WHL rights in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he played at the U of Minnesota, putting up 19 points, including nine goals, in 24 games. . . . Last week, he helped Team USA to a bronze medal at the WJC. He finished with seven points, five of them goals, in as many games. He had three goals, including the OT winner, as the Americans beat Sweden, 8-7, in the third-place game.

Portland and Seattle both are in the midst of East Division road trips.

Lucius is expected to join the Winterhawks once they return home. He could make his Portland debut on Jan. 20 against the visiting Victoria Royals.

Seattle general manager Bil La Forge said in a news release that his club looks “forward to getting (Lambert) in a Thunderbirds jersey soon.”


THINKING OUT LOUD: Look, I’m not a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, but those baby blue outfits they were wearing on Monday night should be sent to Mars. Sheesh, who is responsible for the Habs wearing those things instead of their traditional outfits? . . . If you were wondering, the Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds will meet three more times this season. They’ll play March 7 and 21 in Kent, Wash., and March 22 in Kamloops. . . . How much of the NCAA’s championship football game did you watch on Monday night? . . . Today’s WHL trade deadline arrives at 4 p.m. in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 3 p.m. in Alberta, and 2 p.m. in B.C.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

In the middle of all the trading frenzy, the Erie Otters chose to fire head coach BJ Adams on Monday. Adams, who was in his second season as the head coach, had been on the Otters’ staff since 2015. . . . The Otters, who are 1-9-0 of late, are 12-20-3 and in last place in the 10-team Western Conference. . . . The plan is for assistant coaches Vince Laise and Wes Wolfe to run the team while management searches for a head coach. . . .

The junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay Junior International Hockey League are believed to be poised to introduce Briar McNaney as their new head coach. He would replace Adam DiBella, who resigned this week after the league suspended him for the remainder of this season for his role in a New Year’s Eve line brawl in a game against the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks. . . . McNaney, 30, spent five seasons on staff with the KIJHL’s Columbia Valley Rockies; he finished last season as general manager and head coach. . . . From Kamloops, he began this season as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers


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.


Trust

T-Birds trade for Rockets’ captain . . . Leafs’ coach resigns after being hit with suspension . . . How about those North Stars?

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 29.

No. of players traded — 48.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 49.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 11.

Teams involved in trades — 8: Edmonton; 6: Victoria; 5: Winnipeg, Seattle; 4: Kamloops, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Kelowna, Spokane; 2: Everett, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; 1: Brandon, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Tri-City; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland, Vancouver.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.

——

Less than 48 hours after celebrating Team Canada’s gold medal-winning effort at the World Junior Championship in Halifax, F Colton Dach, the captain of the SeattleKelowna Rockets, was traded to the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday morning. . . . Dach, who suffered an injury to his right shoulder in a game against Sweden on Dec. 31, won’t play for Seattle for perhaps eight weeks. The good news is that it doesn’t appear that he will need surgery to repair the damage. . . . The Rockets also gave up a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2024 draft, while getting back F Ty Hurley, D Ethan Mittelsteadt, a first-rounder in 2024 — it originated with the Regina Pats — two conditional picks, a second-rounder in 2025 and a fourth-rounder in 2023. The latter originally belonged to the Everett Silvertips. . . .

Dach, who turned 20 on Wednesday, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. The KelownaSaskatoon Blades selected him in the first round, sixth overall, of the WHL’s 2018 draft. He had 22 goals and 27 assists in 82 games over two seasons with the Blades. . . . The Rockets acquired him from the Blades on Sept. 28, 2021, in exchange for F Trevor Wong. Last season, Dach put up 29 goals and 50 assists in 61 games with Kelowna. This season, he had nine goals and eight assists in 14 games. . . . He missed time early in the season because of two concussions, one incurred in training camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago picked him in the second round of the 2021 NHL draft. These days, the Blackhawks’ medical staff will be keeping close tabs on Dach and his shoulder. . . .

Hurley, an 18-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., now has been traded twice this season. The Thunderbirds had acquired him from the Swift Current Broncos, who picked him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. He had one assist in 16 games with the Broncos, and recorded one assist in 15 games with Seattle. . . . Last season, he had a goal and two assists in 31 games with Swift Current. . . .

Mittelsteadt, who turned 17 on Dec. 18, is from Victoria. Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2020 draft. He had two goals in 16 games with the Thunderbirds last season; this season, he had a goal and an assist in 24 games. . . .

Hurley and Mittelsteadt both played for Kelowna on Saturday night as the Rockets dropped a 5-1 decision to the host Kamloops Blazers, who had Team Canada forwards Caedan Bankier and Logan Stankoven back in their lineup. . . .

When Dach finally gets into the Thunderbirds’ lineup, he will join four teammates from Team Canada — D Nolan Allan, D Kevin Korchinski, Thomas Milic and F Reid Schaefer. (By coincidence, the Blackhawks also hold the NHL rights to Allan and Korchinski.) Earlier in the season, the Thunderbirds acquired Allan from the Prince Albert Raiders. They also added Luke Prokop, a high-end defenceman, in a deal with the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . .

Since Oct. 25, the Thunderbirds have made five trades, acquiring five players and four WHL draft picks, while giving up six players, eight draft picks and six conditional picks. . . .

The Thunderbirds (28-5-2) lead the U.S Division, the Western Conference and the overall standings. They presently are on a six-game East Division trip that opened with a 6-0 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday and continued Saturday with a 6-2 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Thunderbirds will face the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday and then be in Winnipeg on Wednesday to meet the Ice (28-5-0) in a game that some observers see as a likely preview of the WHL’s championship final.

——

In another Saturday swap, the Winnipeg Ice acquired F Easton Armstrong, who is to turn 20 on Jan. 24, from the Regina Pats for D Omen Harmacy, 17. . . . Armstrong, 19, has 13 goals and nine assists in 39 games this season, his third with the Pats. From Los Angeles, he was a 10th-round pick by the Pats in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He has 20 goals and 14 assists in 121 regular-season WHL games. . . . Harmacy, from Winnipeg, was an eighth-round pick by the Ice in the 2020 draft. A sophomore, he has three assists in 30 games after recording six assists in 32 games last season.


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced on Friday that Adam DiBella, the head coach of the Nelson Leafs, has been kijhlsuspended for the remainder of the 2022-23 regular season and the playoffs. . . . The suspension amounts to the regular-season’s final 15 games and whatever playoff games the Leafs end up playing. . . . The move followed a New Year’s Eve line brawl between the host Leafs and Beaver Valley Nitehawks. . . . Earlier in the week, the KIJHL issued 35 games in suspension to Nelson players and eight to the Nitehawks. . . . Later Friday, the Leafs, who won’t appeal any of the disciplinary decisions, announced that they had accepted DiBella’s resignation. . . . “Our investigation determined that the incident in Saturday’s game was instigated by the Leafs at Mr. DiBella’s direction,” Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner, said in a news release. “The KIJHL has zero tolerance for these types of actions by any team staff member, and the severity of Mr. DiBella’s suspension reflects the seriousness that we place on leadership and player safety.” . . . Should DiBella want to coach in the KIJHL in the future, he will have to apply to the Nelsoncommissioner for reinstatement. . . . The KIJHL also ruled that DiBella won’t be allowed in “any KIJHL facility for a period beginning one hour before and ending one hour after any Nelson Leafs game. He may not travel on the team bus and he may not be present on the ice, players’ bench, dressing room or office immediately before, during or after team practices. He is not to conduct any official business as a representative of the Nelson Leafs, such as player meetings, trade negotiations and athlete recruitment.” . . . As well, the Leafs were fined $5,000 “and instructed to take proactive steps to ensure all team staff are sufficiently trained and educated in the standards of conduct required under KIJHL regulations. A written report outlining steps taken by the organization in these areas must be submitted to the Commissioner no later than June 1, 2023.” . . .

In announcing DiBella’s resignation, the Leafs also issued an apology to the “Beaver Valley Nitehawks, all Nelson Leafs fans, hockey fans in general and all member clubs of the KIJHL. . . . As a proud member of the KIJHL, the Nelson Leafs failed to abide by league principles to encourage participation in hockey in a manner so as to foster clean play and good sportsmanship. As an organization the Nelson Leafs intend to ensure that our club is seen as a healthy, competitive and respectable recreational activity for our players and fans and as a club that promotes hockey, education and life skills.” . . .

The Leafs (17-9-5) opened a three-game road swing Friday night in Chase with a 4-3 victory over the Heat, then were beaten, 3-2, by the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Saturday night. The Leafs will finish the trip against the Kamloops Storm on Sunday. General manager Lance Morey and assistant coach Tyson Soobotin are running things while the board of directors makes “a decision concerning the head-coaching position in the days to come.”

The KIJHL’s news release is right here.

The Leafs’ news release is right here.


Swing


Here is Ken Campbell at Hockey Unfiltered on Friday:

“The Regina Pats have been very clear to this point that they have no intention of trading World Junior hero and future NHL superstar Connor Bedard, despite the fact that they currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference of the Western Hockey League and are likely first-round fodder. In fact, they’re not even a lock at this point to make the playoffs.

“This comes despite the fact that the Seattle Thunderbirds . . . are apparently prepared to offer an enormous package of players and picks to the Pats in exchange for Bedard. ‘I don’t know how you don’t do it,’ one scout said. ‘Regina could get 10 assets for this guy. And if Seattle were to get Bedard, you might as well just give them the Memorial Cup right now.’ ”

——

Meanwhile, there have been reports that the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets will assign F Brad Lambert, who turned 19 on Dec. 19, to Seattle. Lambert is fresh off playing for Finland at the World Junior Championship; he had one goal in five games. . . . The 30th overall selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft, Lambert has two goals and one assist in 14 games with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The Thunderbirds acquired his WHL rights from the Saskatoon Blades on June 30, giving up two conditional draft picks — fourth- and sixth-rounders in 2023 — in the exchange.


F Ben King, who led the WHL with 52 goals during the 2021-22 regular season, RedDeerhasn’t played for the Red Deer Rebels since Oct. 22 due to an undisclosed injury. Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner and general manager, told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com this week that King might return in two weeks. “We’re getting a hell of a player back in a couple of weeks who’s been out of our lineup for a long time,” Sutter said. “We’re looking forward to that.” . . . Sutter admitted that knowing King is close to returning will impact his thinking at Tuesday’s trade deadline. “If something comes up we’ll look at it, but we like our team the way it is,” Sutter said. . . . King, who started this season in camp with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, had five goals and five assists in five games when he was injured.


Bags


THINKING OUT LOUD: It always amazes me that major junior teams are in such a rush to get their World Junior Championship players back into the lineup. Why not send them home for a few days, if possible, allowing them to get some rest — mentally and physically — and getting them as far away from the coaches as possible? . . . Just because I know you’re wondering, it looks like pitchers and catchers will report on Feb. 14 and spring training games are to start on Feb. 24. . . . The U of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team ran its winning streak to 15 on Saturday with a 4-1 victory over the host MacEwan Griffins. The Dinos, who put it away with two empty-net goals, now are 17-3-0. . . . Nothing ruins a day like having the power go out just as the lasagna is going in the oven. So guess what’s on the menu for Sunday evening? . . . QB Nathan Rourke of the CFL’s B.C. Lions is able to sign an NFL deal starting Monday, but he still has more team visits on his schedule. Unfortunately for CFL fans, I have to think NFL money will be awfully hard for him to leave on the table.


Becky Sullivan of npr.org reports that the faculty of Lake Superior State University has issued its “annual list of words that is says deserve to be ‘banished’ from our vocabularies over ‘misuse, overuse, and uselessness.’ ” . . . And it’s hard to argue with any of them, from GOAT to ‘it is what it is.’ ” . . . Irregardless of all that, and moving forward, Sullivan’s story is absolutely right here.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Single-use plastic bags to be replaced by reusable bags you will use a single time.

——

Headline at The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) — Pigeon with meth backpack caught in B.C. prison yard, says officers’ union president.


Mummy


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars won their 31st game of the season on Saturday, beating the host Kindersley Klippers, 5-1. Why is that worth noting? Because the North Stars have yet to lose in regulation time this season. They now are 31-0-3. . . . Battlefords had beaten visiting Kindersley, 5-1, on Friday. . . . The North Stars next are scheduled to play on Thursday against the Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. . . .

The Chilliwack Chiefs announced that they set a BCHL attendance record on Saturday night when their announced attendance was 5,008 for a 4-3 victory over the Cranbrook Bucks. . . . The Chilliwack Coliseum, which once was home to a WHL franchise, lists its capacity as 5,000 for hockey. . . . Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything about the previous BCHL single-game attendance record. . . .

ColoradoGritThe NAHL has approved a franchise for Greeley, Colo. The Colorado Grit will begin play in the Greeley Ice Haus in time for the 2023-24 season. The Grit will play out of the South Division. One of the team’s three owners is former NHLer David Clarkson. . . . There’s more right here.


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.


Muppet

Taking Note’s pick as sportsmen of the year . . . Come on, folks, mask up . . . Rockets, Giants stung by WJC injuries

As another old year gives way to a new one, numerous organizations hand out end-of-year awards. That doesn’t happen at Taking Note, but if it did I would Brandonbe quick to salute Calder Anderson, Jake Chiasson, Nolan Ritchie and Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings as this site’s sportsmen of the year. . . . In case you missed it, in the words of the Brandon Sun’s Perry Bergson, they “successfully interceded to help a distressed man who was contemplating suicide on the First Street Bridge” on the evening of Nov. 29. . . . “We’re very happy that we were able to save him and get him some help,” Thornton told Bergson, who added: “They also learned another lesson when 30 or 40 vehicles drove by without stopping in the short span they were trying to help the man. Yet they never considered leaving until the man was safe.” . . . Gentlemen, I salute you. . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.


Let’s be honest. We are part of a society that is putting together an absolutely Covidabysmal record unless being selfish and uncaring is the objective. Really, had you told me four years ago that the time was coming when our children would by dying, when our children would be unable to get much-needed surgical procedures, when our hospital’s emergency rooms would be over-run and that society would refuse to help by doing something as simple as masking up, well, I would have told you that you were crazy. . . . But, well, here we are.

——

After avoiding COVID-19 for almost three years, it caught up with me almost five weeks ago. Ironically, I tested positive on a day when I was to have visited a pharmacy for my fifth shot. Thankfully, the boosters did what they were supposed to, leaving me with a bit of a cough and some fatigue. The strangest thing is that there have been good days followed by bad. Just when you think you’re over the rough road, it reappears. Kind of like city streets, if you know what I mean. . . . As for that fifth shot, well, it’ll have to wait until May. . . . In the meantime, I will be here as fatigue’s curtain allows.

——

André Picard wrote this in The Globe and Mail last week:

“In some ways, these more recent viral challenges have distracted us from the main event: COVID-19. While we largely returned to ‘pre-pandemic’ normalcy this year, this has actually been the deadliest year yet for COVID-19; in 2022, Canada will surpass 17,000 deaths, more than the 14,642 deaths we recorded in 2020 or the 16,489 in 2021. A fifth wave of Omicron is just beginning.

“We still don’t know if SARS-CoV-2 will mutate further. We do not know if it will become seasonal, like most respiratory viruses. And we definitely do not yet have a handle on what it will mean if we suffer repeated COVID-19 infections — but it certainly won’t be good news.

“Viruses are ubiquitous, and will continue to pose new threats. We can’t live a virus-free existence, nor can we place our children and seniors in a protective bubble.

“But we also cannot hang them out to dry on a viral firing range, without any protection. We need to use the mitigation tools (vaccinations and masks) we have while we develop new ones. That’s what ‘living with COVID’ really needs to mean, moving ahead into a new year.”

——

The Angus Reid Institute released results of an online survey early in December that showed of 5,013 participants 54 per cent would be prepared to mask up if it was made mandatory if COVID-19 levels increase. But only 31 per cent are wearing masks more than half the time when they are in indoor public places. Sheesh, people, that just doesn’t make any sense.

Get vaccinated and wear a mask when appropriate, like when shopping or anywhere in a crowded area. . . . Just because the politicians and health officers won’t do their part by mandating masks doesn’t mean you can’t do the right thing and be part of the solution.



Look, F Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals is not the greatest goal scorer nhl2in NHL history. So stop trying to tell me that he is. He’s still 88 behind Wayne Gretzky. Have people already forgotten just how great Gretzky was? . . . Allow me to point out that Gretzky also scored 92 goals in the WHA, which was a better league than many of those same people seem to recall. As for Gordie Howe, well he scored 801 NHL goals and another 174 in the WHA. . . . But when Ovechkin puts in No. 895, then you can call him the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. OK?

——

While some hockey fans celebrate Ovechkin’s scoring accomplishments, there are those who don’t and never will go that way. Why? Because of Ovechkin’s long-time support of Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, who, of course, is responsible for the ongoing war on Ukraine. Luke Fox of Sportsnet took a look at the Ovechkin-Putin situation the other day and it really is an interesting read. That piece is right here.

——

BTW, did Gretzky really have to throw mud on his legacy by jumping on the gambling gravy train?


It is every general manager’s worst nightmare . . . a top player leaves for an international assignment and then suffers a serious injury. . . . That is what has happened with the Kelowna Rockets and Vancouver Giants, each team having had a player seriously injured at the 2023 World Junior Championship. Those injuries may well have an impact on the WHL’s Western Conference playoff race from which eight teams will qualify. . . .

F Colton Dach, the Rockets’ captain, initiated a hit during a Saturday game — KelownaCanada beat Sweden, 5-1 — and left the game in obvious discomfort thanks to an injury to his right shoulder area. Dach, who turns 20 on Wednesday, has 17 points, nine of them goals, in 14 games with the Rockets this season. Earlier, he missed some time with a concussion. . . . The Rockets (12-18-3), who have lost five in a row, are eighth in the conference, seven points ahead of the Victoria Royals (8-24-4). . . .

Meanwhile, freshman F Samuel Honzek, the Vancouver Giants’ leading scorer, Vancouversuffered a skate cut to the back of his left leg on Wednesday as his Slovakian side beat the U.S., 6-3. The 18-year-old Honzek, who is expected to be out as long as six weeks, leads the Giants in assists (26) and points (43) in 31 games. . . . Vancouver (14-16-6) is tied for fourth in the conference with the Tri-City Americans, who hold two games in hand. They are one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . .

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Jan. 10.


The Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals swapped 19-year-old goaltenders on Dec. 28. Tyler Palmer, who had left the Royals for what the team said was WHLpersonal reasons, was dealt to Everett in exchange for Braden Holt. . . . Palmer, from Fernie, B.C., was in his second season with Victoria. He left the Royals sometime after a 7-4 loss to the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 12. . . . Holt, from Bozeman, Mont., was in his fourth season with Everett. In his first start with Victoria, he stopped 35 shots in a 3-0 victory over the host Vancouver Giants. . . . Having acquired Holt, the Royals then traded G Logan Cunningham, a 17-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta., to the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fifth-round pick in the 2025 WHL draft. . . . After adding Cunningham to their roster, the Oil Kings dropped G Ronin Geraghty, 18. From Burnaby, B.C., he was 0-5-0, 6.48, .819 in seven games with Edmonton. . . .

Still with goaltending, the Swift Current Broncos lost starter Gage Alexander on Dec. 30 when the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks signed him to an entry-level deal and assigned him to the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. Alexander, 20, had played in 15 games for the Broncos this season, two more than Reid Dyck. Alexander was 8-5-1, 3.47, .898. . . . The Ducks had selected Alexander in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Broncos had acquired him from the Winnipeg Ice on July 28, giving up a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft in the exchange. . . . The move left the Broncos with Dyck, an 18-year-old from Winkler, Man., and Joey Rocha, 17, from Nanaimo, B.C., as their goaltenders. . . . Dyck, in his third season, was 4-10-0, 4.07, .880 at the time of the deal; Rocha, a freshman, had been in four games. . . .

And while we’re on the subject of goaltending, how about the run Scott Ratzlaff is on with the Seattle Thunderbirds while starter Thomas Milic is with Team Canada at the WJC? Thom Beuning, the veteran radio voice of the Thunderbirds, points out that Ratzlaff’s December looked like this: 8-0-1, 1.65, .941, with two shutouts. . . . Ratzlaff, 17, is from Irma, Alta. He was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 draft. This season, the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder is 14-2-1, 2.04, .925. In 42 career appearances, he is 32-4-2, 2.31, .912. . . .

And let’s not forget about Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice. An 18-year-old from Chestermere, Alta., Hauser recorded his 20th victory of the season the other night. This season, in 22 games, he is 20-2-0, 2.36, .912. He has made 70 regular-season appearances over three seasons, going 61-5-2, 2.24, .911. Not at all shabby, eh?


The junior B Nelson Leafs and the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the kijhlKootenay International Junior Hockey League took time out from chasing a puck to exchange Happy New Year greetings as they began the second period on Saturday evening. . . . The Leafs are the team in white in the above video, and the video evidence would seem to indicate that they were first off the mark. . . . The puck now has been passed to Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner. . . . Happy New Year, Mr. Dubois.


MyWay


THINKING OUT LOUD — The best part of the World Junior Championship? That’s easy. Having the opportunity to listen to Dennis Beyak do play-by-play again. It says here that he is the best in his field even if he is semi-retired. . . . The other day, the choice was Beyak calling Slovakia and Switzerland from the WJC on TSN or Jack Edwards handling the Buffalo Sabres against his beloved Boston Bruins on Sportsnet. Sorry, Sportsnet. . . . The most annoying commercial on TV these days (pick one) — Clay Matthews for Tide, Rogers’ Wrapped in Red spots, the Subway ads featuring the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes, or the Sobeys’ family of four. . . . If you enjoy your time on this site, and even if you don’t, you may want to consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right side. Thanks in advance. . . . Dan Russell, the now-retired host of the long-running Vancouver-based radio show Sportstalk, release his memoir — Pleasant Good Evening: A Memoir — My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportsnet — in 2022 and now is thinking of spinning off a podcast. “My plans,” he writes on his blog, “now are to add more content to this site, especially in the audio vault. And I will update this blog from time to time. I’m also considering a podcast as my 2023 project. One that will combine what is happening today with the large archive of Sportstalk audio I have saved over the years.” If you haven’t seen his blog, it’s right here.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, after the final game in soccer’s World Cup: “If you watched this game and came away from it with the idea that it was not a good expenditure of your time, then you simply do not like soccer and should make a note to yourself not to waste any more time trying to appreciate the sport.” . . . Hey, he is correct!


How many WHLers do you know of, past or present, who have put together and released an album? Yes, an album of their own music. . . . F London Hoilett of the Calgary Hitmen is quite a story, having made the team prior to this season despite never having been drafted. He also is something of a musician and has his first album — Can’t Sit Still — ready for release on Jan. 10. . . . Cami Kepke of Global Calgary has more right here.


Mitts


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

A few things of note that popped up while I was away from here . . .

D Ethan Samson, the captain of the Prince George Cougars, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, who selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. Samson, 19, is from Delta, B.C. He had two goals and an assist as the Cougars beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 10-6, on Saturday night. This season, Samson has 11 goals and 16 assists in 28 games. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets have added former player Curtis Hamilton, 31, to their front office as assistant general manager. Yes, his father, Bruce, is the Rockets’ owner, president and general manager. There is a news release right here. . . .

Gilles Courteau, who took over as the QMJHL’s president during the 1985-86 season, will retire at the end of this season. A replacement is expected to be named in May, with Courteau staying on into 2024 to help with the transition. . . . The league has changed the name of its championship trophy from the President’s Cup to the Gilles Courteau Trophy. . . . Courteau first worked in the QMJHL office in 1977 as a statistician. . . .

The junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced that they will ice a team for the 2023-24 season. The Braves have sat out the past two KIJHL seasons for reasons related to the pandemic. . . .

Another high-end WHL forward changed teams on Dec. 31 when the Winnipeg Ice acquired Carson Latimer, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for F Aiden Quiring, 17, and third-round selections in the 2024 and 2025 WHL drafts. . . . Latimer, a fourth-round selection by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL’s 2021 draft, had 22 goals and 38 assists in 75 regular-season games with the Raiders. This season, he had 10 goals and 18 assists in 31 games when he was dealt. . . . Quiring, a freshman who was a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL draft, had five goals and three assists in 26 games at the time of the trade. . . .

The Tri-City Americans revealed on Dec. 30 that D Ben Feenan “has left the team for personal reasons and will join the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.” . . . Feenan, 18, is from Surrey, B.C. He had three assists in 22 games this season, after recording six helpers in 48 games in 2021-22. . . . The Americans selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. . . .

The Americans got past the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 7-6 in OT, on New Year’s Eve. And wouldn’t you know it . . . Americans D Lukas Dragicevic didn’t pick up so much as one point, thus ending his 27-game point streak. He put up seven goals and 30 assists during that stretch.


Grinch


Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press recently wrote a piece in a newsletter about things he would change if he ruled the hockey world for a day. Here’s one item with which I completely agree:

“Severely limit betting/gambling advertisements. Heck, I might just consider an outright ban. I could tolerate them when they first began, in small doses. But it’s to the point now of being completely obnoxious. Seemingly every second commercial is for some website, and now even hosts such as Ron MacLean are routinely shilling for these services. To be clear, I’ve got absolutely nothing against gambling. If you have the means and can do it responsibly, knock your socks off. It’s the idea of having it shoved down my throat everywhere I turn that I find so offensive.”


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.


Dinner

Hit by a positive test after almost three years . . . Sold out in Kelowna, or not? . . . Pats, Warriors both win in B.C.

I am going to try and explain what it’s like for someone who is Covidimmunocompromised to navigate through a society filled with politicians, health officials and fellow citizens who couldn’t care less about them, and, furthermore, don’t mind letting them know how they feel just by their inaction.

There are hundreds of thousands of people walking around today who are immunocompromised. Solid organ transplant recipients, cancer patients, people on various kinds of medication . . . the list goes on.

And you wouldn’t know it just by walking past one of them. There is no scarlet “I” on their foreheads. For the most part, they look just like ‘normal’ people.

If you think that number is an exaggeration, consider that the National Kidney Foundation, an American organization, tweeted on Monday that “24,670 people received a kidney transplant in 2021.”

If you do the math it works out to 68 such procedures carried out every single day in the U.S.

I don’t know what the number was for Canada, but I can tell you that, according to BC Transplant, there were 529 organ transplants carried out in this province in 2021, including 340 kidneys, 97 livers, 66 lungs and 22 hearts.

Through Oct. 31, the numbers for 2022 were 242 kidneys, 90 livers, 45 lungs and 20 hearts.

All of the recipients take anti-rejection drugs that prevent their systems from rejecting the foreign body that has been surgically implanted into their bodies. In order to do that, some of those medications work to suppress the immune system.

This is a round-about way to tell you that Dorothy, my wife of 50 years, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning. It’s been more than nine years since she underwent a kidney transplant, so we knew to be careful from the moment COVID hit the fan. We had avoided the bullet for almost three years. She has had five vaccinations; I am to get my fifth this week. We have had our flu shots. We have had our first Shingrix vaccinations. We have been avoiding large crowds. We have been masking up when going for groceries or being anywhere with other people, most of whom, of course, now are unmasked.

For the first couple of years of this pandemic, we ordered our groceries online. We didn’t go into restaurants, choosing drive-thru or pickup instead. We didn’t have guests into our home. We didn’t travel.

Last spring, we loosened up a bit. We decided that we had to live at least a bit. So, on rare occasion, we went inside a couple of our favourite eateries, masking up to go in and unmasking to eat/drink. We brought the Kamloops Kidney Support Group back together for monthly gatherings. We went back to in-person grocery shopping, always wearing masks, of course. Dorothy went back to one of the loves of her life — playing the piano once a week for the residents of a care home.

But, still, it got her, and we haven’t any idea how or when.

Thankfully the scientific and medical communities are there for us. After an exchange of phone calls with staff at Royal Inland Hospital on Tuesday, Dorothy underwent her first infusion of anti-bodies via IV on Wednesday morning. She will be back for a second one on Thursday and a final one on Friday.

By Wednesday afternoon, she was feeling somewhat better. The pounding headache that was there on Tuesday was receding. But the coughing, sneezing and stuffiness still was hanging around.

After she is up and about, hopefully at some point after Friday, we’ll see how things go. We will have to decide whether we want to wade back into the great unmasked community. What about going back into restaurants? What about the much-discussed long COVID, something that is as real as the nose on your face?

As for the anti-vaxxers and the anti-maskers, here’s hoping that your immune systems never go away on you. Here’s hoping that you never need a solid organ transplant. Because if you do you are in for a horrible feeling of loneliness when it hits you that you are expendable to a whole of people out there.

You will find out what it feels like to hear politicians and medical officials “recommend’ the wearing of facemasks rather than mandating it. It will dawn on you that the almighty dollar is more important than the lives of a bunch of people with wonky immune systems or a whole lot of senior citizens.

Yes, you really will find out, and it will sting.

And all of this was/is so avoidable. Mask up. Get vaccinated. Wash your hands.

Please!



TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

It would appear that F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas ReginaTour experienced its first non-sellout in Kelowna. The Pats beat the Rockets, 6-5 in OT, before an announced crowd of 6,407. There were plenty of references on social media to it being a sellout crowd; however, Prospera Place, on its website, lists its capacity for hockey at 6,886. . . . The fans who were in attendance saw F Alexander Suzdalev win it for the Pats with a PP goal at 3:07 of Prospera 2OT. . . . The Pats (12-11-2) have won three in a row, all in the B.C. Division. . . . The Rockets (9-10-2) have lost two straight (0-1-1). . . Suzdalev, who has 14 goals, scored twice and added two assists. . . . Bedard kept his point streak alive with the primary assist on the winning goal. That ran his streak to 24 games. . . . Regina D Stanislav Svozil helped out with four assists. . . . The Rockets got two goals and two assists from F Andrew Cristall (18), who is riding a 12-game point streak. D Caden Price (3) had a goal and two assists, and F Gabriel Szturc had three assists. . . . D Tanner Brown, who is from Kelowna, gave Regina a 5-4 lead with his first goal of the season at 17:32 of the third period. . . . Cristall tied it on a 5-on-3 PP with the goaltender pulled for an extra attacker at 19:08. . . . The Rockets were without F Adam Kydd, 20, who is expected to miss up to six weeks with a fractured foot. He has 11 goals and 12 assists in 20 games this season. . . . The Pats are to face the Blazers in Kamloops tonight and then conclude their B.C. swing against the Prince George Cougars on Friday. . . .

D Denton Mateychuk enjoyed a five-point night as the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Royals, 8-3, in Victoria. . . . The Warriors (16-9-0) have won three in a row. WarriorsNewThey are 3-1-0 on a B.C. Division swing that wraps up tonight with a game against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Royals (3-18-3) have lost nine straight (0-8-1). . . . F Brayden Schuurman (4) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead just 49 seconds into the first period. The Warriors scored the next seven goals. . . . Mateychuk scored his sixth goal and added four assists, leaving him with 25 points in 21 games. . . . F Atley Calvert (12) scored twice and D Max Wanner had three assists for Moose Jaw. . . . Warriors F Jagger Firkus scored his 15th goal as he ran his point streak to 18 games. . . . Victoria F Marcus Almquist has left to join Denmark’s team that is preparing for the IIHF Division I World Junior tournament in Asker, Norway, Dec. 11-17. . . . The Royals also are without veteran G Tyler Palmer, who is on personal leave with his family.


Lego


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Ryan Kuwabara is the new head coach of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs. . . . Jeff Angelidis had been serving as interim head coach since the firing of Daniel Fitzgerald on Nov. 14. Angelidis will stay on as an assistant coach under Kuwabara. . . . There is a news release right here.


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.


Democracy

Bedard tour sure to sell out B.C. arenas . . . Wheat Kings make coaching change . . . Oil Kings still wheeling, dealing

F Connor Bedard’s I Can Sell Out the B.C. Division Arenas Tour will wrap up with Reginaa game against the Prince George Cougars on Friday night.

Taking Note was told that as of late Monday afternoon there were fewer than 100 tickets remaining for the game that will be played in the 5,971-seat CN Centre. Through 12 home games, the Cougars’ average announced attendance is 2,551.

A sellout in Prince George will mean that Bedard and his Regina Pats will have sold out all five games on their B.C. Division swing.

The trip opened Friday in Langley, B.C., with a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. The announced attendance was 5,276, the largest crowd for a Giants’ home game since they left the Pacific Coliseum for the Langley Events Centre prior to the 2016-17 season. Going into Friday night, the Giants’ average announced attendance through nine home games had been 3,017.

One night later, Bedard and his travelling show went into Victoria and dumped the Royals, 9-5, before an announced crowd of 7,006. That was the largest crowd in Victoria since Feb. 22, 2020, when 7,006 fans watched the Royals beat the Kelowna Rockets, 4-3 in OT. . . . The Royals had been averaging an announced attendance of 2,956 through 11 home games prior to Saturday’s game.

The Pats are to meet the Rockets in Kelowna tonight in 6,886-seat Prospera Place. Through 11 home games, the Rockets’ average announced attendance has been 4,021.

On Wednesday, Bedard and his mates will face the Blazers in Kamloops’ 5,464-seat Sandman Centre. Through 10 home games, the Blazers, the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup, have average an announced attendance of 4,650 fans.

If the five B.C. Division teams aren’t prepared to offer up a cut of their gate receipts to Bedard, they should at least present him with keys to their arenas. Or coupons good for free meals whenever he should happen to visit their cities. He should never have to pay for a meal again in any of those communities.

That’s the least they could do to show their appreciation.

Right?

BTW, Bedard has three goals and two assists through the first two games of his trek through B.C. However, he has been overshadowed somewhat by F Tanner Howe, who turned 17 — yes, 17!!! — on Monday. Howe scored five times and added two assists in those two games, and was named the WHL’s player of the week on Monday.


The Brandon Wheat Kings became the first of the WHL’s 22 teams to make a coaching change this season when they fired head coach Don MacGillivray on BrandonMonday morning. . . . Marty Murray, who is in his first season as the team’s general manager, has taken over behind the bench. . . . This is the first firing in Brandon since Kelly McCrimmon announced on Sept. 8, 2020, that he had sold the franchise to the J&G Group of Companies, under Jared Jacobson. . . .

MacGillivray, 57, had been with the Wheat Kings since signing on as an assistant coach prior to the 2016-17 season. . . . He was working on a contract that is to run through 2023-24. . . . This season, the Wheat Kings are last in the six-team East Division, at 8-15-2, after being swept in a weekend doubleheader by the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes — 4-3 on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday. . . .

Since taking over as head coach on Nov. 24, 2020, prior to the pandemic-forced developmental season, MacGillivray had a 61-47-9 record. He replaced Dave Lowry, who left for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Before joining the Wheat Kings, MacGillivray spent five seasons as the GM/head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . He also worked as the head coach of the MJHL’s St. James Canadians (1989-91), Southeast Blades (1992-93), and Neepawa Natives (1993-96); the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders (1996-98), the MJHL’s Portage Terriers (1998-2006) and the U of Manitoba Bisons (2006-09). . . .

Murray played four seasons (1991-95) with the Wheat Kings, putting up 392 points, including 260 assists, in 264 games. His time there included 114- and 128-point seasons. He has head-coaching experience from his time in the NAHL and USHL. He was the GM/head coach of the NAHL’s Minot Minotauros from 2011-20 and then spent two seasons with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. . . .

Mark Derlago and Del Pedrick, the Wheat Kings’ assistant coaches, remain on the coaching staff. . . .

The Wheat Kings, who have lost two in a row and are 2-7-1 in their past 10 outings, will be at home to the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday and the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday.


Umbrella


THE TRADING PLACE:

At 2:30 p.m. PT, Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) tweeted: “Will the last member of the 2021-22 Oil Kings to leave please turn out the lights? 18 players got a Edmontonpoint for the Oil Kings in the 2022 playoffs. Only 3 of them are still on the team today after the Golder trade. (Dowhaniuk, Wiebe, Seitz).”

At 3:10 p.m. PT, he followed up with: “This tweet was accurate for 37 minutes. Wiebe is gone now.”

Yes, the Edmonton Oil Kings, the WHL’s defending champions, made two more trades on Monday afternoon.

They started by sending F Carson Golder, a 20-year-old who also can play on Kelownathe back end, and a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft to the Kelowna Rockets for F Riley Kovacevic, 18.

It wasn’t long after that when Edmonton dealt F Jaxsen Wiebe, 20, and a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2026 WHL draft to the Prince George Cougars for F Noah Boyko, 20, a third-round pick in the 2023 draft and a conditional third-rounder in the 2026 draft.

This season, Golder, who is from Smithers, B.C., has eight goals and seven assists in 24 games. Last season, he scored three goals and added nine assists in 46 regular-season games, then scored three times and set up five others in 16 playoff games in helping the Oil Kings win the WHL championship. . . . Kovacevic, from Kelowna, has five goals and four assists in 20 games this season. Last season, he recorded three goals and four assists in 49 games. The Rockets selected him in the 10th round of the WHL’s 2019 draft. . . .

Meanwhile, the Cougars traded Boyko, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades for a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft on May 19. From Fort PrinceGeorgeSaskatchewan, Alta., Boyko had five goals and five assists in 23 games with the Cougars. He was a first-round selection by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2017 bantam draft. In 198 career regular-season games, he has 94 points, including 48 goals. . . . Wiebe, from Moose Jaw, has three goals and one assist in six games with Edmonton this season. He is six games into a seven-game suspension that was handed down after he, a repeat offender, took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in Saskatoon on Nov. 12. Earlier, he sat out four games after being suspended following a knee-on-knee hit on Saskatoon F Josh Pillar. . . . In 130 regular-season games, the first 73 with the Red Deer Rebels, Wiebe has 60 points, 22 of them goals. Last season, he finished with 10 goals and 26 assists in 41 games, then added two goals and six assists in 13 playoff games. He also had three goals and one assist in three games at the Memorial Cup. . . . Obviously, he brings more edge to the game than does Boyko, and that would seem to be what the Cougars want. . . .

After all this, the Oil Kings are left with two 20-year-olds — Boyko and D Logan Dowhaniuk. Their roster also includes only one 19-year-old — D Ethan Peters. . . . The Rockets now have three 20-year-olds on their roster, with Golder joining F Adam Kydd and G Talyn Boyko. . . . And the Cougars also have three — Wiebe, F Cole Dubinsky, who was acquired from the Regina Pats on Nov. 4, and F Chase Wheatcroft, who came over in a June 10 deal with the Winnipeg Ice.

——

On Monday night, the Victoria Royals announced that they had acquired G VictoriaRoyalsNicholas Cristiano, 18, from the Kelowna Rockets for a fifth-round selection in the 2023 WHL draft. . . . With veteran G Tyler Palmer, 19, not having played since Nov. 12, the Royals needed a goaltender to pair with Logan Cunningham, 17. . . . Cristiano, from Langley, B.C., started this season with the Rockets — he was 0-1-0, 2.61, .879 — before being released and joining the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. In three games with the Warriors, he was 1-2-0, 4.42, .867. . . . According to Dan Price, the Royals’ general manager and head coach, Palmer is “on personal leave and with his family.” . . . Palmer, who is 3-10-3, 4.22, .876 this season, is from Fernie, B.C. . . . The Royals (3-17-3) are scheduled to entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors (15-9-0) tonight.

——

Since Oct. 25, the WHL has featured 16 trades involving 27 players, 33 draft picks and six conditional picks.


Gate


With the Edmonton Oil Kings in rebuilding mode just months after winning the WHL championship, Guy Flaming (@TPS_Guy) tweeted the records last week of the four teams who appeared in the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament that was won by the host Saint John Sea Dogs. I have updated their records going into tonight’s games:

Edmonton, 4-20-1, last in six-team division.

Hamilton Bulldogs, 9-10-1, fourth in five-team division.

Shawinigan Cataractes, 11-12-2, last in four-team division.

Saint John Sea Dogs, 6-15-1, last in six-team division.


Ticket packages for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament that is scheduled to be held in Kamloops are to go on sale Thursday through Ticketmaster. . . . According to a news release, one tournament package covering eight games plus a possible tiebreaker will set you back “$600 plus GST and applicable fees.” . . . The tournament is to run from May 26 through June 4. . . . There is more info, along with a tournament schedule, right here.


I have referred to Andrei Lupandin and his family a couple of times over the past few days. You will recall that Lupandin, who spent four seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings, his wife and their two sons have left Ukraine and now are in Saskatoon hoping to get a fresh start. . . . Jim Matheson of Postmedia takes a really good look right here at Lupandin and the situation in which he and his family find themselves.


Pets


A couple of tweets about a former WHL player from The MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport):

“Antti Boman (Kamloops, 1991-1992) refereed his 800th Liiga (Finland) game on Friday evening. He is the third referee in Liiga history to reach the 800-game mark and is first among active referees. Timo Favorin is the leader with 1,000 games and Jari Levonen is second at 979.

Boman is in his 15th season as a referee in Liiga, Finland’s top pro league. He ended his playing career in 2004-05 with Frisk Asker (Norway, GET-Ligaen). He also played in Germany, France, Sweden, and Scotland, in addition to Finland and the WHL.”

Boman played one game with the Kamloops Blazers in 1991-92. He didn’t record a point.


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.


Pizza

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