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

Will this trade deadline change WHL’s direction? . . . Johnston sheds light on Wiesblatt situation . . . Berezowski sparks Everett explosion

We are going to have to wait a few seasons to find out, but it could be that the WHL entered into a new era in the past few days.

There always have been buyers and sellers at the trade deadline, with the top WHLteams buying and the bottom ones selling. But never have we seen the buyers so willing to part with rather large packages of draft picks.

If this is to continue, it could set up a cycle that the WHL hasn’t experienced.

For years, the theory has been that major junior hockey is cyclical — a team scouted and drafted well, made the odd trade, mostly to add depth, and would be a championship contender every three or four years. Then another rebuild would being. At least, that was the theory.

A few years ago, the word ‘rebuild’ was replaced by ‘reload.’ It was then that some of the trades started to get bigger and involved better and better players.

But it wasn’t until this trade deadline that the league saw trades involving eight and nine draft picks. There was a time when teams treated draft picks like nuggets of gold rather than confetti.

Those days appear to have left us, at least for a few teams.

It will be worth watching now to see if the teams that traded away voluminous draft picks this year will be moving out players to recoup draft picks at the next deadline.

And then will it be rinse and repeat . . . rinse and repeat.

The thing to remember, too, is that when the WHL playoffs come to an end only one team will be holding the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

As well, one of the Kamloops Blazers or Seattle Thunderbirds, two of this deadline’s biggest spenders, won’t even get out of the Western Division come playoff time.


In a conversation with Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) of @pnwhockeytalk, Mike Johnston, the vice-president, general manager and head coach of the Portland PortlandWinterhawks, weighed in with some thoughts on what went down at the trade deadline and in which direction things may be moving:

“It is concerning, but every organization has the right to build their organization how they want to build it. They have to take the risks if they will win or lose and then rebuild. Certainly, that has never been our philosophy on how we do it. We try to be a contender every year, but not unload and not load up.

“What happened (in 2017-18) when Swift Current traded a lot of their young guys, the league put in the rule that you couldn’t trade 16-year-olds, so this year you are starting to see the effect of that rule. You can’t trade a signed 16-year-old now, so what else are other teams going to ask for? They are gong to ask for a lot of picks since you can’t acquire a good, young guy.

“I agree with not trading 16-year-olds, but I hope it doesn’t get to the point where in order to be a playoff team, or (have) a chance to win the league, you have to give up a lot of first-round picks. I hope it doesn’t move too far in that direction.”

——

You will recall that the Winterhawks acquired the rights to F Ozzy Wiesblatt from the Prince Albert Raiders just before Tuesday’s deadline. Portland gave up three conditional WHL draft picks in the exchange.

Critzer asked Johnston about the chances of Wiesblatt, a first-round draft pick of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, who is with their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda, reporting to Portland:

“It was presented to us to obtain his rights, and I thought it made sense for the risk. Whether we get him or not, that will be determined by (the Sharks). He can’t play another game in the American League or the deal is done.

It isn’t a number of games but rather a Jan. 10 deadline. That is the deadline for all of hockey except the NHL players. So if a player is playing in the NHL like Seattle traded for Dylan Guenther, he can be sent back later. If (Wiesblatt) plays beyond Jan. 10 in the American League, he can’t be sent back to our league.”

While the Winterhawks were beating the Blades, 3-1, in Saskatoon on Wednesday night, Wiesblatt was scratched by the Barracuda. Wiesblatt has a goal and four assists in 17 games with the Barracuda, but he now has sat out three straight games. The Barracuda is next scheduled to play on Saturday and Sunday against the visiting Abbotsford Canucks.

Wiesblatt is a 20-year-old, but the Winterhawks are only carrying two — G Dante Giannuzzi and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme — so have room for him.


The OHL deal in which F Shane Wright, who had just captained Team Canada to OHLgold at the World Junior Championship in Halifax, moved from the Kingston Frontenacs to the Windsor Spitfires may well be a sign of things to come to the WHL. . . . The Spitfires surrendered two players, five draft picks and two conditional picks in that exchange. The interesting thing is that not one of those seven draft picks originated with Windsor.


Here is part of what Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered wrote about the trade deadlines that passed us by on Tuesday:

“. . . one thing is for sure, the numbers are crazy. With the trade deadlines having expired in all three of Canada’s major junior hockey leagues, the sheer number of deals and players involved is staggering. And while the days of a teenager showing up at the rink for practice and being told to pack his hockey bag and jump on a bus to Sault Ste. Marie are long gone, the reality is players who opt to chase their NHL dreams through junior hockey are exposing themselves to the possibility that they’ll be traded at some point in their careers.

“It should be pointed out that all three junior leagues are far more sensitive to players’ needs now than they’ve ever been, with the exception of the need to make minimum wage, of course. A good number of deals that happen in major junior hockey these days are either at the request of the player or are done to give him a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere. First-round picks generally have no-trade clauses, which essentially means they have control over their destination. Players in high school cannot be dealt without their approval. And there are a good number of junior executives who will simply not trade a player to another team without his consent, whether he has a no-trade clause or not.

“But even with those restrictions, GMs in junior hockey are wheeling and dealing at a level that would put a used car salesman to shame.”

According to Campbell, 108 players have changed teams in the OHL since Sept. 5, either by waivers or trades. There also were 217 draft picks on the move. In the same stretch, the WHL had 97 players moved and the QMJHL had 80.

Campbell continued: “Trades have been part of junior hockey for decades, so this is nothing new. And while players are no longer uprooted from school and compromising their academic careers, they are required to adapt to a whole new set of teammates and billet families when they get traded. And the fact that it happens to literally hundreds of players in the Canadian Hockey League every season should be a concern.”

You are able to check out Campbell’s work at kencampbell.substack.com. A subscription is well worth it, too.


BlueWhale


If you visited this site looking for trade rumours involving junior hockey players, well, I’m sorry but you came to the wrong place.

Yes, there was a time back in the day when I trafficked in such rumours, but that bad habit came to an end more than a few years ago.

Let me tell you about it . . .

If was early in the WHL’s 2007-08 regular season when two teams cut a two-player deal. I was the sports editor at the late Kamloops Daily News and had learned about the trade well after the next day’s paper had been put to bed.

So I drove home and, assuming that both players had been made aware of the deal, sat down at my computer and posted a short story on my blog. If memory serves all these years later it was about 1 a.m.

Shortly after hitting the publish button, the phone rang.

Yes, it was one of the players who was involved in the trade.

“Is it true?” he asked.

I knew then that he hadn’t been told about the deal.

I assured him that it was.

“Are you sure?” he said, and by now it was apparent that he was in tears.

He had been selected in the WHL draft by the team that now was trading him away. He would go on to be a first-round NHL draft pick and go on to play a few seasons in the big league.

But this was the first time he had been traded.

He was sobbing as he hung up the phone.

I remember taking a long time to fall asleep that night, the sound of his weeping walking through my mind. It was then that it really hit home . . . these are young men, the vast majority of them teenagers and away from home, and while junior hockey operators might treat them like chattel, I decided then that I no longer would fall into that trap.

And that’s why you won’t find any such rumours or speculation on this site.

——

And then there’s the other side of junior hockey trade deadlines. . . . Here are three tweets on that subject. . . .

“WHL and CJHL trade deadline tomorrow. Understand teams trying to get better.  But trades impact a lot of people … players, teammates, families, billet families.”

“So hard — just hope the teams have someone the kids can talk to . . . some have been friends — family members and teammates for 3+ years.”

“January 10th . . . awful day for players . . . very mentally draining for them . .  same for billet families that love the billet kids as (if) they are family . . . it sucks!”


Here’s Elliotte Friedman in his latest 32 Thoughts: “No issues with (Connor) Bedard staying in WHL Regina, even if they aren’t a huge postseason favourite. If that’s his wish, that’s his wish. Depending on how the Pats do in the playoffs, curious to see if he plays at the World Championship.”

The IIHF’s 2023 World Championship is scheduled for May 12-28 in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia. 


Facebook


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Tri-City Americans have added former WHL goaltender Ty Rimmer to their staff as the goaltending coach. Rimmer, who played with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Prince George Cougars, Tri-City and the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 2009-13, replaces Eli Wilson who, according to the Americans, “has professional responsibilities that necessitate he move on.” According to Kelowna’s website, Wilson remains on staff as the Rockets’ goaltending coach. . . . The Americans also have brought Vanessa Hettinger on board as power-skating coach.


WEDNESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS: F Nico Myatovic (15) scored at 3:26 of OT to give the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Ice in the only regular-season meeting between two of the biggest buyers leading up to the trade deadline. . . . The Kamloops Blazers, one of the other big spenders, got a goal (19) and four assists from F Logan Stankoven and a goal (21) and three assists from F Caedan Bankier in a 6-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. D Olen Zellweger, acquired from the Everett Silvertips on Sunday, scored an empty-netter for Kamloops. F Ryan Hofer, who moved to Kamloops with Zellweger, sat out a one-game suspension. . . .

F Jackson Berezowski (24) struck four times and added an assist as the Everett Silvertips beat the Chiefs, 9-3, in Spokane. . . . F Blake Swetlikoff scored his second goal in as many games since being acquired from the Chiefs to help the host Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 5-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos, whose seven-game winning streak was snapped. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored his WHL-leading 34th goal in the first period then added the winning in a shootout as the Rebels beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3, in Red Deer. . . . F Braeden Jockims, playing in his hometown, scored his first WHL goal in his second game and it stood up as the winner as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Blades, 3-1, in Saskatoon.


Password


THINKING OUT LOUD: If someone were to add up the number of major junior, junior A and junior B hockey players who changed teams in the past two weeks, I’m betting the number would be somewhere around 500. . . . Hey, Clay Matthews, if I haven’t bought that Tide stuff by now, I won’t be making the leap. So you can leave my TV screen any day now. . . . The value of SS Carlos Correa’s contract went from US$350 million (San Francisco Giants) to $315 million (New York Mets) to $200 million (Minnesota Twins). Such a sad, sad story.


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.


TVcords

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

Rebels still perfect, tie WHL record . . . Thunderbirds unbeaten, too . . . What happened in the JPHL?

The Red Deer Rebels ran their record to 12-0-0 with a 4-0 victory over the RedDeervisiting Vancouver Giants on Friday. . . . G Rhett Stoesser, a 17-year-old freshman from Carstairs, Alta., stopped 18 shots as he recorded his first WHL shutout in his fourth start. He is 4-0-0, 1.25, .938. . . . The Rebels have tied the WHL record for most victories to open a season. The 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos opened 12-0-0 before dropping a 2-1 decision to the Blades in Saskatoon on Oct. 30, 1988. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to visit the Edmonton Oil Kings (1-11-1) on Sunday. . . .

Meanwhile, in Prince George, the Seattle Thunderbirds stayed perfect (9-0-0) Seattlewith a 5-4 victory over the Cougars. They’ll play there again tonight and resume the triple-dip in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. . . . Last night, Seattle got two goals from each of Jared Davidson and Jordan Gustafson as they got out to a 5-2 lead. The Cougars scored twice in the game’s last two minutes.


The Brandon Wheat Kings drew their largest crowd (5,141) of the young season Brandonon Friday with the Winnipeg Ice in town. According to the Wheat Kings, it also was equipment manager Scott Hlady’s 500th game with the organization. . . . According to Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun, it was the first crowd of more than 5,000 “since 5,621 fans were in the building for a 5-4 shootout win over Moose Jaw on March 17, 2018.” . . . The Ice skated home with a 4-1 victory, ending its season-opening road schedule with a 12-1 record. The same two teams will meet in Winnipeg tonight as the Ice stages its home-opener.



Starbucks


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion) — Jose Altuve Still Can’t Get Over How Small He Looks Out There.


——

Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered addressing rumblings that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be in line for a coaching change, perhaps with Barry Trotz replacing Sheldon Keefe: “It’s interesting to note though, that (general manager) Kyle Dubas has been a GM for three teams in three leagues — the Soo Greyhounds (OHL), the Toronto Marlies (American Hockey League) and the Leafs. In all that time, he has hired only one person to coach his teams, and that’s Keefe.”
You are able to check out Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell right here.

——

One more from Campbell: “The (OHL’s) Mississauga Steelheads, who are off to a great start this season, are once again struggling to attract fans. Their lease with the city-run Paramount Foods Centre expires after this season. Steelheads president Elliott Kerr would prefer to stay, but it’s a situation that bears watching. When Kerr bought the team, he said he would give it three years and this is his 11th. He’s lost seven figures easily.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings are down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds after releasing F Cole Carrier on Friday. Carrier, who is from Strathcona, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2017 draft. He had four assists in seven gams with Edmonton after coming over from the Lethbridge Hurricanes early in the season. In 117 regular-season games, 101 of them with the Regina Pats, he totalled 19 goals and 21 assists. . . . That move leaves Edmonton with D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golder and F Jaxsen Wiebe as its 20-year-olds. Wiebe is serving a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline after going knee-on-knee with F Josh Pillar of the Saskatoon Blades on Oct. 23. The Blades say Pillar is out week-to-week. Wiebe was given a tripping minor on the play in question. . . . Later in the day, the Oil Kings were beaten, 5-0, by the visiting Calgary Hitmen, who got 18 saves from G Brayden Peters. The defending-champion Oil Kings now are 1-11-1. . . .

In Portland, the Kelowna Rockets lost D Noah Dorey to a slew-footing major and game misconduct at 9:41 of the first period. Chances are good that Dorey will miss Game 2 of the weekend double-dip tonight. . . . The Winterhawks weren’t able to score on the five-minute power play, and it came back to haunt them when F Andrew Cristall scored in OT to give the visitors a 4-3 victory. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s last three goals, with Cristall getting them within one at 16:46 of the third period and F Nolan Flamand tying it with 5.6 seconds left. . . .

Prior to meeting the visiting Spokane Chiefs last night, the Kamloops Blazers announced that they had release F Kobe Verbicky, 19. From Victoria, he was a second-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He had one assist in six games this season. In 64 career regular-season games, 38 with Kamloops, he scored three times and added five assists. . . . Later that night, the Blazers, who had lost three straight, scored four first-period goals while outshooting the Chiefs, 24-4, en route to a 5-1 victory. F Logan Stankoven had two goals for the Blazers, who finished with a 62-23 edge in shots. The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . Stankoven now has 17 points, including eight goals, in seven games since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades ran their winning streak to seven games as they beat the Tigers, 2-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . F Tyler Parr scored both of Saskatoon’s goals and they came via the PP. . . . Parr, a 17-year-old sophomore from La Salle, Man., has three goals in 12 games this season. Last season, he scored three times in 58 games. . . . The game was scoreless until Parr struck at 9:52 of the third period. . . .

The host Moose Jaw Warriors got 46 stops from G Connor Ungar in beating the Everett Silvertips, 4-1. F Jagger Firkus scored twice. . . . The Silvertips opened an East Division trip with the loss. . . . The Warriors have won four in a row. . . .

The Victoria Royals’ starting lineup featured five Saskatchewan-born skaters as they met the host Swift Current Broncos last night. The lone exception was G Logan Cunningham of Sherwood Park, Alta., who was making his WHL debut. The starting skaters were forwards Carter Briltz of Regina, Cole Reschny of Macklin and Anthony Wilson of Swift Current, along with defencemen Nate Misskey of Melfort and Kalem Parker of Clavet. Reschny, the Royals’ top pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, third overall, was playing his second WHL game. . . . Things didn’t go well for the Royals, though, as the Broncos struck for two shorthanded goals and one on the PP in a 6-1 victory. . . . F Raphael Pelletier scored twice for the Broncos. . . .

The Ottawa 67’s, the OHL’s last unbeaten team, dropped a 5-3 decision to the host Peterborough Petes on Friday night. The 67’s had opened with nine straight victories. The Petes now are 8-3-1. . . .

In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees now are 13-0-0 after scoring a 4-1 victory over the host West Kelowna Warriors. . . . Next up for the Vees? The Trail Smoke Eaters (6-5-1) are to visit Penticton tonight.


Paper


THINKING OUT LOUD — Now that was a terrific opener for the World Series. It would have been a whole lot better if Fox’s broadcast crew — Joe Davis and John Smoltz — stopped talking on occasion and just let the game breathe. Please, guys, why not allow the viewers to experience the atmosphere a bit. Baseball is a game that sometimes doesn’t need chatter. . . . Late in Game 1, writer Joe Posnanski tweeted: “Nobody in baseball can hit any reliever.” He’s not wrong. . . . What could be more fitting than having Shane Doan and his son, Josh, drop the ceremonial first puck as the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes played their first game at Arizona State U’s Mullett Arena last night? While Shane, who owns a chunk of the Kamloops Blazers, played for the Coyotes, Josh, 20, captains the ASU Sun Devils. . . . The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 28-2 at home over the last two CFL seasons. The Edmonton Elks have lost 17 straight home games. Hmmm.


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.


Drawer

Hasek speaking out against Russian invasion . . . Clouston: Pats ‘going to try to add’ . . . TWU adds Beach as assistant coach

As another hockey season arrives and dictator Vladimir Putin’s Russia continues its war on Ukraine, the impact, or lack of same, on professional hockey hasn’t been much of a story.

But former NHL goaltender Dominik Hasek is working to get it into the headlines.

Here’s a chunk from Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered:

More than a decade after his Hall of Fame career, Hasek has not stopped taking the road less travelled. He’s one of the very few athletes, past or present, who has the courage to speak out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying Russian NHLers should be suspended and Czech players should be barred from playing in the KHL, the league in which he played in the final season of his career. He also thinks that the government in Czechia should bar any Russians playing for the Nashville Predators (winger Yakov Trenin) and San Jose Sharks (wingers Alexander Barbanov and Evgeni Svechnikov) from playing in Prague when the two teams kick off the NHL’s regular season there Oct. 7 and 8.

“It will be a beautiful hockey celebration,” Hasek told Hockey Unfiltered in a telephone interview. “At the same time, however, I am doing everything to ensure that no Russian players can play here and that they cannot make multimillion-dollar advertisements for Russia and its war and killings in Ukraine.”

Hasek also has thoughts on Russians playing in the NHL. Campbell writes: “Hasek believes all Russian-born NHL players should be suspended by the NHL, with the suspensions lifted only if and when they denounce Russia’s actions.”

Of course, there are people in the hockey community who don’t agree with Hasek.

If you haven’t already, you should hunt up Campbell’s Hockey Unfiltered site and check out stories like this one.


——

Are you waiting for the Regina Pats to trade F Connor Bedard, who is the favourite to be the No. 1 selection in the NHL’s 2023 draft? Well, perhaps you Reginashouldn’t be holding your breath. In fact, what if the Pats are working to add to their roster in the hopes of making a run this season? . . . The Kamloops Blazers will be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup and there has been ample speculation that they are eager to land Bedard. Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, isn’t so sure that Bedard will come available. “I think Regina is going to evaluate things,” Clouston told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “The information we have is they’re not trading him right now. They believe they have a generational-type player and they’re going to try to add. So, right now, that’s the direction they’re going and I guess time will tell if they’re able to get to a place where they feel confident kind of going all-in at some point with Connor Bedard as the centrepiece or whether they change that mindset. But that, right now, from our understanding, is their mindset They’re looking to add right now.” . . . Hastings’ complete story is right here.


Cotton


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added F Alex Drover, 20, to their roster. Drover, from Port-aux-Basques, Nfld., spent the previous four seasons in the QMJHL. MedicineHatHe played with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Saint John Sea Dogs and Rimouski Oceanic, totalling 29 goals and 48 assists in 178 regular-season games. Last season, he put up 37 points, including 14 goals, in 44 games with Rimouski. . . . Drover is one of four 20-year-olds in camp with the Tigers, the others being F Brendan Lee, F Dallon Melin and Finnish F Oskari Kuntonen, who was selected by Medicine Hat in the CHL’s 2020 import draft. Last season, he had six goals and 20 assists in 24 games with KooKoo’s U20 side. Melin is coming off four seasons with the Red Deer Rebels; he had 11 goals and 13 assist in 67 games in 2021-22. Lee was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades last season; he finished with 10 goals and 11 assists in 52 games, 22 of them with the Tigers. . . . Melin had two assists Friday in a 6-3 victory over the host Swift Current Broncos. Lee had one assist; Drover was pointless.


WillieNelson


Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the retirement announcement from tennis great Roger Federer:

“Once a teenage brat who would throw his racket on the court, Federer grew up and evolved and became the definition of class and sportsmanship.

“He was doing that in an era of what often seemed relentlessly boorish and unbecoming behavior by professional athletes. When star athletes too often seemed to do something to let their public down, to embarrass themselves or to fail to understand the privilege and position they have.

“Federer never did that. In a modern era of scrutiny and social media, he was a safe harbor.”


The Tofino Resort and Marina, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is owned by a group that includes retired NHLers Willie Mitchell and Dan Hamhuis. The latter also is one of the six men who own the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. . . . Something happened at the resort on Sunday night that has resulted in a management change, the closure of the place for a week or so, and a whole lot of speculation as to what caused it all. . . . Patrick Johnston of Postmedia has that story right here.


THINKING OUT LOUD — F Nick Suzuki may have been given the captain’s ‘C’ this week, but isn’t F Brendan Gallagher really the captain? Gallagher is one of those players who doesn’t need the ‘C’ to be the captain. . . . If F Connor Bedard really is a generational talent — and all signs point to that being an accurate evaluation — how would the Regina Pats explain it to their fans were they to trade him away? . . . There looked to be a lot of empty seats at Mosaic Stadium on Friday night, but the ticket holders who did show up didn’t hesitate to let their feelings be known as their favourites dropped a 26-24 decision to the Edmonton Elks. Yes, it was ugly. . . . The Roughriders are 3-5 at home. They once were 3-0. Whoops!



THE COACHING GAME:

Former WHL F Kyle Beach has joined the Trinity Western U Spartans of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League as an assistant coach. . . . From Ian Kennedy of The Hockey News: “Last fall, Beach made headlines stepping forward as ‘John Doe’ in a case in which Beach was sexually assaulted by Chicago Blackhawks video coach Brad Aldrich during the 2009-10 season. The case made international news headlines, and eventually resulted in a confidential settlement between the Blackhawks and Beach made in December of 2021.” . . . Beach, 32, is from Kelowna. He played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Spokane Chiefs (2005-10). . . . Beach and TWU head coach Ben Walter, who is in his first season, were teammates with EC Salzburg in Austria’s EBEL and won championships together in 2015 and 2016. . . . Beach spent the past two seasons with the Ten Art BlackDragons in Austria, playing in Germany’s Oberliga. In those two seasons, he totalled 110 points, including 58 goals, in 68 games.


Shifter


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Gino De Paoli is the new play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. The team made the announcement on Friday, three days after he announced he was leaving the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. He had been the voice of the Oilers for 11 seasons. . . . Scott Roblin handled the Tigers’ play-by-play on CHAT last season after Bob Ridley, the only radio voice the team had known since it entered the WHL for the 1970-71 season, took time off for health-related reasons. . . . Roblin left Medicine Hat over the summer and now is covering sports for Global TV in Saskatoon. . . .

Kevin Kaminski, the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves, begins the regular season by starting a 10-game suspension. From the Ice Wolves: “The suspension is the result of reports received by the league after the final playoff game of last season that was played March 27. The sanction is under appeal but until this is finalized, we will comply with the suspension and assistant coach Kyle Schneider will lead the bench.” . . . Playing at home on March 27, the Ice Wolves dropped a 5-3 decision to the Humboldt Broncos in Game 6. The Broncos won the series, 4-2. . . . The Ice Wolves opened their regular season on Friday night with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Nipawin Hawks.


Sales


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.


Milkshake

MacDougall ready to chase more titles . . . Blades, Giants swing a trade . . . Thunderbirds add assistant coach

The big man is back on campus at the U of New Brunswick. Yes, he is!

Hey, Gardiner MacDougall, how did you spend your summer vacation?

Well, let’s see, I went on over to Saint John for a couple of weeks and helped the Sea Dogs win the Memorial Cup.

OK. Now what’s next?

Time to chase an eighth Canadian university men’s championship and a 10th conference title. But, hey, who’s counting?


After the interim chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors gave the stamp of approval to the embattled organization’s leadership, Ken Campbell of Hockey HockeyCanadaUnfiltered tried to answer the question: “Why?” . . . Here’s what he wrote: “Because it’s a hockey thing and it involves hockey people, a group that, generally speaking, loves to wear its status as an outlier like a badge of honour. It’s such an insular, tribal group and it believes the problems that plague the game can only be solved by people who are deeply involved in it, people who are well-versed in the supposed complex and unique nuances involved in a game where players chase a black disc around the ice. Even if those are the same people who cause the problems in the first place.”

Bingo!

And, ICYMI, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said that it’s “fairly clear that both the government and Canadians in general have lost confidence in the leadership at Hockey Canada.”

Sheldon Kennedy, who knows a thing or two about what’s going on here, told The Canadian Press: “For the betterment of the game and kids, the leadership group at Hockey Canada must resign as they have lost the trust of Canadians in their ability to lead. That is crystal clear.

“If we care about the game like we say we care about the game, I think that’s the best thing to do right now. Canadians are asking for the leadership group to step down. I don’t know how they’re not hearing that.”

They likely have some championship rings stuck in their ears.


Unfriend


The Saskatoon Blades have acquired F Justin Lies, who will turn 19 on Nov. 24, from the Vancouver Giants for F Kyren Gronick, 18, and a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2025 draft. . . . Lies, from Flin Flon, had eight goals and eight assists in 50 games last season. In 120 games with the Giants over three season, he scored 12 goals and added 18 assists. . . . The Giants picked Lies in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . .

The Blades, who dealt their leading scorer from last season, Kyle Crnkovic, 20, to the Seattle Thunderbirds for F Conner Roulette on Tuesday, are looking for some physical play from the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Lies. “Justin is the exact type of player we’ve been coveting over the last year to help add size, ability and tenacity to our forward group,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and GM, said in a news release. . . .

Gronick, from Regina, was picked by the Prince George Cougars in the second round of the 2019 bantam draft. He was dealt to the Blades on Dec. 29 in a three-team deal that also involved the Medicine Hat Tigers. Saskatoon gave up a third-round pick in the 2023 WHL draft and a 2015 seventh-rounder in that exchange. . . . In 38 games over two seasons with the Cougars, Gronick had eight goals and 12 assists. In 37 games with the Blades last season, he had four goals and 10 assists.


Blinker


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, has a question: “When we are all driving electric cars will be still call that thing on the car floor the ‘gas pedal?’ ”

——

Here’s the curmudgeonly on at his curmudgeonly best: “Am I the only one who is fed up to my earbrows with irrelevant ‘advanced stats’ from baseball broadcasts and telecasts? This has really gotten a bit out of hand. I do not care even a little bit about the velocity of the ball as it comes off the bat, nor do I care about the launch angle of a batted ball. I have a passing interest in the length of a home run that made it to the seats, but the exit velocity of a single to right field is stats for the sake of stats. Here is what I want to know from broadcasters/telecasters about batted balls: Was it fair or foul? Was it a hit or an out? That’s it; that’s the list!” . . .

I can only disagree with one part of that rant. It hasn’t “gotten a bit out of hand.” It is completely out of hand. I am so tired of hearing broadcasters refer to “exit velo” that I want to scream.



“A B.C. judge has frozen the assets of a former Vancouver Canucks draft pick who is being sued over allegations he defrauded a realtor of more than $2.8 million,” Keith Fraser of Postmedia wrote earlier this week. “Harpreet Singh Khela, the realtor, claims that Prab Rai, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 NHL draft, held himself out to be a successful and wealthy business person, purporting to have important connections with prominent local and international business people and retired hockey players.” . . . In freezing Rai’s assets, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick “noted that the only substantive assets of Rai are two Lamborghini luxury vehicles with a combined value of about $1.2 million.” . . . Rai, now 32, played five seasons (2005-10) in the WHL, getting into 62 games over one-plus seasons with the Prince George Cougars and then playing 238 with the Seattle Thunderbirds, who acquired him during 2006-07. The Cougars selected him in the seventh round of the 2004 bantam draft. In 300 regular-season games, he totalled 98 goals and 130 assists. . . . Fraser’s story is right here.


Printer


THE COACHING GAME:

The Seattle Thunderbirds have added Carter Cochrane to their organization as an assistant coach. . . . Cochrane, 25, is from Kamloops. He spent the past three seasons with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the last two as an assistant coach, the first one as skills coach. . . . As a defenceman, he played 43 games in the WHL — 33 with the Everett Silvertips (2013-15), nine with the Tri-City Americans (2014-15) and one with the Vancouver Giants (2015-16). . . . With the Thunderbirds, Cochrane fills the vacancy created when Kyle Hagel left in July after being in Seattle for five years. He now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.


Lost


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Kamloops Blazers have added Morris Boyer to their organization as athletic therapist. He was the head athletic therapist with the Calgary Flames from 1998-2015, and also has extensive experience with Hockey Canada teams. In Kamloops, he will be working with Colin Robinson, who is into his 27th WHL season, 18 of those with the Blazers. . . .

The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs have traded D Sam Dickinson to the London Knights for seven — yes, SEVEN — draft picks. The IceDogs picked up second-rounders in 2024, 2025 and 2026, third-rounders in 2023, 2025 and 2026, and a fifth-round pick in 2023 in the exchange. . . . Dickinson, from Toronto, was selected by the IceDogs with the fourth overall pick in the OHL’s 2022 draft. He was the first defenceman taken in the draft. . . . From Ryan Pyette of Postmedia: “The 16-year-old was listed on the IceDogs’ training-camp roster this week, but, as has been rumoured for months, does not want to play for the club and did not report. That made him a defected player and eligible to be moved to the highest bidder.” . . .

Annie Fowler, who spent 16 seasons covering the Tri-City Americans for the Tri-City Herald, has joined the WHL team’s staff. She will supply feature stories to the team’s website — amshockey.com. . . . From a news release: “Fowler’s articles will be a part of the Americans News Center . . . They will be published on amshockey.com and distributed in print form at Americans home games.” . . . The Americans’ announcement on Wednesday came on the fourth anniversary of her final day at the Herald. She was laid off, caught up in cutbacks, after having worked at the newspaper for 18.5 years.


Stairs


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.


Law

Flames, Hitmen to get company from Heat . . . Sourdif, Oil Kings work OT for win . . . Blazers, Thunderbirds back at it tonight

It seems that hockey fans in Calgary are in for some interesting times with the news that the NHL’s Flames are moving their AHL affiliate, the Heat, from StocktonStockton, Calif., to Calgary. . . . The AHL announced on Monday that its board of governors has approved the relocation of the franchise in time for next season. . . . With the exception of the 2020-21 season that was impacted by the pandemic, the Heat had been in Stockton since 2015. . . . The Flames and Heat are owned by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., which also owns the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the National Lacrosse League’s Calgary Roughnecks. . . . All four teams play out of the Scotiabank Saddledome. . . . “At this point,” wrote Danny Austin of the Calgary Sun, “it remains unclear whether the Heat will play at the Scotiabank Saddledome. It’s already a busy rink, so one of the CSEC tenants may need to move.” . . . Former WHL player and coach Mitch Love is the Heat’s head coach and has them in the third round of the AHL playoffs. They opened a best-of-five Pacific Division final against the visiting Colorado Eagles on Monday night. The Heat won that game, 5-0, behind 23 saves from G Dustin Wolf and two goals from F Justin Kirkland.


WHLplayoffs2022After taking Sunday off, the WHL playoffs resumed on Monday night with the Winnipeg Ice meeting the Oil Kings in Edmonton in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. They will play Game 4 in Edmonton on Wednesday and Game 5 there on Friday. . . . The Western Conference final will be back on the ice tonight with the Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds tied, 1-1, in Kent, Wash.

——

MONDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

In Edmonton, F Justin Sourdif scored in the first OT period to give the No. 2 Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Oil Kings, who held a Edmonton55-21 edge in shots, have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven conference final. . . . They’ll play Games 4 and 5 in Edmonton on Wednesday and Friday. Because of the distance between the cities, this series is following a 2-3-2 format. . . . This was the second game in the series to be decided in OT; the Oil Kings won Game 1, 5-4, in Winnipeg on Friday. F Tyler Horstmann scored the winner at 1:07 of the first OT period. . . . Last night, the teams were tied 1-1 after the first period for the third time in as many games. . . . The home side went ahead 1-0 when F Dylan Guenther (12) struck at 14:28, with F Jack Finley (7) pulling Winnipeg even, on a PP, at 18:02. . . . The Oil Kings went back in front at 2:12 of the second period when D Kaiden Guhle (4) scored. . . . The visitors scored a pair of third-period goals — by F Connor McLennon (7), at 9:00, and F Zach Benson (9), at 16:14 — to take a 3-2 lead. . . . But Edmonton F Jayden Luypen (4) tipped in a Guhle shot at 18:42 to force extra time. . . . Sourdif scored the winner off a rush through the neutral zone. He split two defencemen at the top of the circles in the Ice zone and sent in to beat G Gage Alexander at 8:04 of OT. . . . F Jake Neighbours, Edmonton’s captain, drew an assist on each of his club’s last two goals. . . . Alexander finished with 51 saves, 33 more than Edmonton’s Sebastian Cossa. . . . Winnipeg was 1-for-2 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-for-4. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who also will sit out Game 4. He was suspended for two games after being tossed from Game 2 for a headshot on Winnipeg D Max Streule, who wasn’t injured on the play. . . . Winnipeg had McClennon in the lineup, but F Matt Savoie was scratched with an undisclosed injury. Neither player finished Game 2. . . . The Ice had to scratch F Owen Pederson, who drew a one-game suspension under supplemental discipline for high-sticking D Luke Prokop. Pederson was given a double minor on the play at 17:25 of the first period.


Leaving


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


Ken Campbell at Hockey Unfiltered wrote on Monday about the impending sale of the OHL’s Niagara Falls IceDogs to Darren DeDobbelaer and speculation that Wayne Gretzky is in for five per cent. Both men are from Brantford, Ont. . . . Campbell also had this:

“DeDobbelaer also declined to comment on the purchase price, which is believed to be $18 million, which is actually 10 percent less than the $20 million owners Bill and Denise Burke were seeking for the franchise. And that makes sense, since the league had suspended GM Joey Burke and coach Billy Burke, the sons of the owners, until at least 2024 for violating the league’s harassment, abuse and diversity policy. And while the Burkes were not forced to sell, they were definitely a motivated seller, which served to bring the price down.

“(And, once again, the next time you hear these junior hockey owners complain that they have to pay their players poverty wages in order to keep the lights on — and the government of the day agrees with them by allowing them to skirt minimum-wage laws — remember that they do just fine. When their teams are competitive and enjoy long playoff runs, they make plenty of money. And as the Burkes did, they always, always cash out when they sell.)”

If you aren’t already, you should consider subscribing to Hockey Unfiltered.


Gas


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.


Zombie

Gustafson free to return to WHL . . . Memorial Cup host replaces head coach . . . Remembering Bill Hunter, the coach


The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks announced on Sunday that two of their assistant coaches — Scott Walker and Kyle Gustafson — won’t be returning to head coach Bruce Boudreau’s staff.

The move clears the way for the anticipated move of Gustafson to the WHL’s SpokaneSpokane Chiefs as head coach.

Gustafson had spent 18 seasons on the Portland Winterhawks’ coaching staff before joining the Canucks. Travis Green was Vancouver’s head coach at the time; he and Gustafson had worked together in Portland for five seasons (2008-13).

However, Green was fired on Dec. 6 and replaced by Boudreau, who has one year left on his contract and is shaping his own coaching staff.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, hired Matt Bardsley as their general manager on May 3. Bardsley is quite familiar with Gustafson, having spent 18 seasons with the Winterhawks himself, before joining the Kamloops Blazers as general manager prior to the 2017-18 season. He left after the 2020-21 season, citing a desire to be closer to family during the pandemic, and had been scouting for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers when the Chiefs came calling following Scott Carter’s decision to leave.

While Bardsey was in Kamloops, he attempted to hire Gustafson as head coach prior to the 2018-19 season. Taking Note has reported that Bardsley offered Gustafson a four-year contract. However, the job ended up going to Serge Lajoie, who was gone after one season.

The Chiefs have been in the market for a head coach since firing Adam Maglio on Feb. 10. Associate coach Ryan Smith finished the season as interim head coach. The Chiefs tied for sixth in the Western Conference, ended up seventh after tiebreakers, and were swept from the first round by Kamloops.


The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, who will be the host team for next month’s SJSeaDogsMemorial Cup tournament, fired head coach Gordie Dwyer on Sunday.

Yes, they did. Seriously.

Why?

Well, as Sunaya Sapurji, now with The Athletic, loves to say: “Because it’s the Q.”

And because it’s the Q, Gardiner MacDougall, who last coached a junior hockey team in 1998-99, will guide the Sea Dogs through the Memorial Cup. The plan is for him to then return to his full-time post as head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds men’s team that plays out of Fredericton, which is about an hour northwest of Saint John. MacDougall has been the Reds’ head coach for 22 seasons, winning seven national championships.

The Sea Dogs also are bringing in Rocky Thompson as an advisor. A former WHL player and coach, Thompson spent two seasons (2015-17) as head coach of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. They won the 2017 Memorial Cup as the host team after being bounced in the first round of the OHL playoffs.

The Sea Dogs were 47-14-4 in the regular season, good for third place in the Eastern Conference, scoring a QMJHL-leading 311 goals along the way. They lost a best-of-five first-round series to the Rimouski Oceanic.

The Sea Dogs held a 2-1 lead in that series before losing 1-0 in Game 4 — they outshot the Oceanic, 40-14 — and 4-3 in OT in Game 5.

Dwyer had been the Sea Dogs’ head coach since Aug. 4. Before signing with the Sea Dogs he had spent five seasons in Europe, coaching in the Swiss A League and the KHL.

The Sea Dogs are owned by Scott McCain, the chairman of McCain Foods.


This isn’t the first time that a major junior hockey team has fired its head coach before it was to play in the Memorial Cup tournament as the host club. In 2000, the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads dumped Bob Mongrain, replacing him with assistant coach Shawn MacKenzie.

Halifax had gone 41-20-6-5 (wins-losses-ties-OTL) in the regular season to place second, three points behind the Moncton Wildcats in the Maritimes Division. Halifax then was swept by the Rimouski Oceanic in the second round.

The Mooseheads went on to lose, 6-3, to the OHL’s Barrie Colts in the Memorial Cup semifinal. Rimouski beat Barrie, 6-2, in the final.

The WHL’s Kootenay Ice went 0-3 in the Halifax event, the first time the Memorial Cup was held in the Maritimes.


Fishing


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


While ‘Wild’ Bill Hunter never replaced an Edmonton Oil Kings’ head coach that close to a Memorial Cup, the team’s owner and general manager was known to Edmontonstep behind the bench late in a season.

Like in 1970-71, after the Oil Kings, under head coach Harvey Roy, had gone 45-20-1 to finish atop what was then a 10-team Western Canada Hockey League.

In the first round of playoffs, the Oil Kings took out the Saskatoon Blades in five games. But when Edmonton fell behind 2-0 to the Calgary Centennials, Roy apparently asked out and Hunter took over.

Wayne Overland of the Edmonton Journal wrote in the April 10, 1971 edition: “Just as the swallows come back to Capistrano every spring, so Bill Hunter must return to the Oil Kings players’ box.

“It took a little longer this spring. But it finally happened and, as a result, Oil Kings are back in contention in their junior hockey playoff series with Calgary Centennials.”

With Hunter on the bench and Roy in the press box, the Oil Kings won 3-2 to cut Calgary’s lead in the series to 2-1.

“I felt we had about five players who weren’t performing and the best way to get it out of them was to have Bill motivate them,” Roy told Overland. “After all, he is the big boss.”

Hunter insisted the move was temporary — yeah, right! — as he said: “We’ve had some players who were taking advantage of Harvey and myself. Some of them don’t know what it is to work hart yet. I’m 50 years old and doing more yelling out there than some of those 18-year-olds. You’ve got to play this game with enthusiasm.”

The enthusiastic Oil Kings ended up winning four in a row to eliminate the Centennials, 4-2. Hunter rolled the dice in Game 6, starting Larry Hendrick, then 15, in goal, and he responded with 25 saves in a 2-1 victory in Calgary.

(BTW, tickets to the games in Edmonton could be had for $2.25 and $2.50, with student ducats $1.50 each and children’s $1.)

In the league final, the Oil Kings took out the Flin Flon Bombers in six games — Edmonton won four, lost one and there was one tie.

The Oil Kings went on to lose the Memorial Cup to the host Quebec Remparts, whose lineup included Guy Lafleur. It was a best-of-three final, with the Remparts winning, 5-1 — Lafleur had four points — and 5-2.

That was the end of Hunter’s junior hockey coaching days.

Earlier, he had taken over late in seasons for Bill Gadsby and Gerry Melnyk.

In 1967-68, after a 38-16-6 regular season, Hunter waited until two games into the playoffs before replacing Gadsby. Hunter steered the Oil Kings past Saskatoon (3-2-2) before losing to Flin Flon (4-1-1).

Two seasons later, Hunter replaced Melnyk with eight games remaining in a 35-25-0 regular season. The Oil Kings went 5-3-0 under Hunter to end that regular season, before going 8-8-2 in the playoffs. They took out the Swift Current Broncos, 4-1-0, and eliminated Calgary, 4-3-2, before being swept by Flin Flon in the championship final.


“I can’t be the only person out there who couldn’t really care less whether Don Cherry and Ron MacLean patch up their fractured relationship, can I?” writes Ken Campbell at Hockey Unfiltered. . . . No, Ken, you aren’t.



Fridge


Steve Kerr, the head coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, missed the last three games of his club’s playoff victory over the Memphis Grizzlies after COVIDtesting positive for COVID-19.

“It was a huge wakeup call,” he told columnist Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s clearly a surge.”

Killion added: “The world wants to act like the pandemic has ended, but you know it hasn’t. Like clockwork, mask mandates are lifted, protocols are eased and another surge is upon us. You probably know a handful of people right now who are infected and — hopefully — isolating. If they’re vaccinated and boosted, they’re not likely to get very ill.”

The Warriors also had Rick Celebrini, their director of sports medicine, and head performance coach Carl Bergstrom test positive. Now the focus is on making sure it doesn’t spread to players.

“We’ve reinstituted all our COVID policies,” Kerr told Killion. “Internally, coaches are wearing masks. No visitors to practice. The front office is staying upstairs and not coming downstairs unless necessary. And we’ve asked everybody, don’t go out to dinner. Order in. We’re trying to do everything possible.”



Headline at fark.com — Nike to Kyrie Irving: Just do it . . . with another shoe company.


Zoom


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.


Sleeping

Remembering when Ginnell left the Bombers . . . Blades’ Maier king of WHL goaltenders . . . Bedard sets two Pats’ records

These days I am spending time going through more than 40 years worth of files. As pages and pages of clippings, news releases and more, most of them related to the WHL and various teams, go into the recycling bin there are memories, lots of memories involving personalities.

Like Patty Ginnell, or Paddy Ginnell, who was Pat Ginnell when he took over as head coach of the Flin Flon Bombers on June 1, 1966. Quick now . . . who did he succeed? That would be Tom Baird, who stayed on as the general manager.

The Bombers were in the SJHL at the time, but that changed when they moved FFBombersto what was then the Western Canada Junior Hockey League for its second season (1967-68). It had been the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League for its inaugural season (1966-67).

Anyway, Ginnell was 29 when he took over the Bombers. He had spent the previous three seasons playing for the IHL’s Des Moines Oak Leafs. You know that putting Ginnell behind the bench was a popular choice in Flin Flon because he had played for the Bombers when they won the 1958 Memorial Cup.

Ginnell coached the Bombers through Dec. 9, 1973, his final game a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats.

Why was that his final game?

He had purchased 40 per cent of the Victoria Cougars and was about to step in as general manager and head coach.

PatGinnell
PAT GINNELL

Ginnell told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post that he had been trying to purchase a piece of the Bombers but hadn’t met with any success.

“I’ve been manager-coach in Flin Flon for nine years,” he told Isaac, “and I don’t have a thing to show for it. I don’t even own a stick.” (If you did the math, you know that he actually was in his eighth season with the Bombers, but, hey, facts didn’t get in the way of a lot of stories back in the day.)

“It’s always been my desire to own and operate my own club and that was something I was unable to do in Flin Flon,” Ginnell continued. “Now I’ll have my own team.”

Interestingly, Ginnell’s impending move leaked with the Bombers on the road and before he was able to inform the team’s board of directors.

With the Cougars, Ginnell bought out Eric Bishop, who said he was quitting as the team’s general manager. The Cougars, who started that season with Ollie Dorohoy as their head coach, were in their third WCHL season, hadn’t made the playoffs in their first two and were struggling again.

Victoria finished that season at 22-40-6, which left it fifth in the six-team Western Division.

At some point before Ginnell bought a piece of the Cougars, he had been asked how long it would take him to turn the team into a contender. “One year minimum,” he replied.

Well, the Cougars, led by Mel Bridgman, finished the 1974-75 season atop the West Division with a 47-18-5 record but dropped a best-of-seven semifinal series to the New Westminster Bruins, 4-2.

The Bombers’ board of directors, meanwhile, accepted Ginnell’s recommendation that Mel Pearson, a teammate on the 1958 Memorial Cup-winning team, be the next GM/head coach. Pearson had spent the 1972-73 season with the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints.

Pearson didn’t get to Flin Flon in time for the Bombers next game, on Dec. 13 against, yes, the Cougars. So trainer Nick Oklobdzija — he was known as Nick Alphabet — served as the interim head coach and posted one of his dozen or so career coaching victories, this one by a 10-2 score. Ginnell watched from the Whitney Forum stands as Dorohoy continued for the moment as the Cougars’ coach.

(Bruce Penton, writing in the Brandon Sun of March 7, 1974, noted that Oklobdzija “is undefeated in 12 tests as coach of the WCHL Bombers.”

“That goes back about eight or nine years,” Oklobdzija told Penton. “I’ve filled in here and there when (Ginnell) was away or suspended, or something. And we’ve never lost while I’ve coached.” The WHL’s coaching records show Oklobdzija with a 2-0-0 coaching mark.)

Pearson made his Flin Flon coaching debut on Dec. 18 with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. (One of Brandon’s goals came from John Paddock, now the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach.)

Pearson, who had signed a contract taking him through 1974-75, was gone early in the 1975-76 season, fired on Oct. 29. At the time, the Bombers had two victories in 12 games.

The Bombers then hired Mickey Keating to replace Pearson, thus ending Ginnell’s connection to the Flin Flon franchise.

As an aside, my favourite Keating quote emerged late in the 1976-77 season. At one point, I wrote a few stories detailing the history of the WHL and it included this:

A nine-hour meeting in Calgary resulted in a new playoff format. Under the original format, the Flin Flon Bombers, third in the East, were 20 points ahead of Regina and all but had a playoff spot locked up. Suddenly, there was a new format and the Bombers were fighting for a spot. Oh yes, they were also on a 15-game West Coast road trip.

“In this league, you need two pieces of equipment,” said Flin Flon boss Mickey Keating. “You need a face-guard when you play some of the teams on the ice and a back protector for the committee room. I had inklings that there may be changes in the playoffs but I had confidence there were intelligent hockey men in this league. I was shown different.”

Ahh, yes, those were the days.


Cats


If you have time on your hands, you could track down the Twitter account belonging to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) and check out the ‘apology’ from the Burke brothers — Billy and Joey. And then see if you can find the screen shot of the WhatsApp chat that got them into trouble with David Branch, the OHL commissioner. . . . And after you have done all that, you are free to wonder why the Burke boys weren’t suspended for life.

Meanwhile, there is ample speculation that the IceDogs are soon to be sold to, as Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered reported, “a group headed by Darren DeDobberlaer, an insurance magnate from nearby Brantford, who owns both the Brantford 99ers Jr. A team and the Brantford Bandits Jr. B team.”

Campbell also wrote: “Oh, yes, and the selling price is rumoured to be in the range of $20 million, which should disavow anyone of the notion that major junior hockey operators in Canada are mom and pop operations that require millions of dollars in tax money to meet their scholarship commitments and provincial government laws to help them skirt minimum wage requirements. Teams make money when they are strong and struggle financially when they aren’t. If the operators know what they’re doing, they can make it work. And as we’re seeing with the IceDogs, they can cash out when they sell the team.”

Campbell’s piece is right here and it’s because of reports like this that I subscribe to his site.



“The Greater Toronto Hockey League has hired a private investigator to scrutinize allegations that Jewish players with the U-13 Avenue Road Ducks and their family members were targeted with anti-Semitic slurs during games this season,” reports Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . That story is right here.

——

Meanwhile, CBC Ottawa reports that “after some Black minor hockey players in western Quebec alleged they were racially abused, a Gatineau, Que., team has suspended six of its players and the provincial governing body cancelled weekend games.” . . . That story is right here.

——

And, from Oakland, Mich., comes this from clickondetroit.com: “A 15-year-old boy is suing three players on an under 16 youth hockey team, their parents and the coach after he said he endured antisemitic bullying until he quit the team.” . . . That story is right here.


Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . You are able to support her by making a donation right here.


Spider


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

G Nolan Maier became the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL Saskatoonhistory as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . Maier stopped 20 shots in posting his 121st career regular-season victory, breaking a record he had shared with Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Hirsch tweeted: “Congrats Nolan! Your perseverance, resilience and dedication is nothing short of inspirational. Enjoy the moment; you’ve earned it!” . . . The Blades won it with two third-period goals, from F Egor Sidorov (23), at 12:17, and F Trevor Wong (16), at 18:01. . . . Maier has three shutouts his season; he holds the franchise career record, with 11. . . . Saskatoon (37-26-4) moved into fourth place, one point ahead of the idle Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Raiders (26-34-5) are 10th, two points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Jake Chiasson had two goals and two assists as the Brandon Wheat Kings Brandondoubled the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Chiasson, who has six goals, struck twice in the second period as Brandon took a 5-1 lead. Chiasson missed a huge chunk of the season with an injury and only began play on March 4. He now has 15 points in 16 games. . . . D Mason Ward added two goals, giving him six, and an assist for Brandon, with D Chad Nychuk getting a goal, his 21st, and two assists. Nychuk has 68 points in 60 games. . . . Brandon (34-25-5), which has won four in a row, is sixth, four points behind Moose Jaw. Each team has four games remaining. . . . Medicine Hat (11-50-4) has lost nine straight games. . . .

In Red Deer, F Ben King, who leads the WHL in goals, scored in OT to give the RedDeerRebels a 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . King, who also had two assists, scored his 49th goal of the season at 2:56 of OT. . . . King has a WHL-leading 15 game-winning goals this season. F Brian Propp of the 1978-19 Brandon Wheat Kings holds the WHL record of 16. . . . F Logan Wormald scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 14. His second goal, at 8:33 of the third period, gave his side a 4-3 lead. . . . D Christoffer Sedoff (7) forced OT with a goal at 12:04. . . . Red Deer (44-17-4) is third, four points behind the idle Edmonton Oil Kings, who have a game in hand. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-5) is headed for a seventh-place finish. . . .

F Connor Bedard set two franchise records as his Regina Pats beat the Broncos, Regina4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Bedard scored twice to give him 47 this season. His 46th goal, a shorthanded effort, set the Pats’ record for most goals by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Jeff Friesen scored 45 times in 1992-93. . . . Bedard now has 89 point in 58 games, and that also is a Pats’ franchise record for a player in his 16-year-old WHL season. F Doug Wickenheiser finished the 1977-78 season with 88 points. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Kelton Pyne. . . . Regina (25-34-5) is 11th and, with four games remaining, trails the eighth-place Broncos (26-34-7) by four points.

——

Western Conference:

F Matthew Seminoff scored with four seconds remaining in the third period to Kamloopsgive the Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kamloops. . . . The goal came one second after the end of a Victoria PP opportunity. . . . F Logan Stankoven had three assists for the Blazers, including the only one on the winner. . . . Seminoff has 25 goals. . . . F Bailey Peach (36) scored twice and added an assist for Victoria, which came back to tie the score three times but wasn’t able to grab the lead. . . . Stankoven now has 99 points, leaving him three behind F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels, who leads the points race. . . . Stankoven, who has played 56 games, leads the WHL in points-per-game (1.77). . . .  Kamloops (47-16-2) is second, four points behind the Everett Silvertips. Each team has three games remaining. . . . Victoria (22-37-6) is tied for seventh with the Vancouver Giants, one point behind the idle Spokane Chiefs. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff scored three times and added an assist as the host Everett EverettSilvertips dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the U.S. Division regular-season pennant, scored the game’s last four goals, the first two from Swetlikoff, who has 33 goals. . . . Everett was 3-for-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-for-2. . . . Everett had a 50-13 edge in shots. According to the online game sheet, shots were 10-0 in the third period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski had an empty-net goal and two assists for Everett. He’s got 46 goals. . . . Everett (45-10-10) leads the conference by four points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-42-7) has been eliminated from playoff contention. . . .

F Jack O’Brien had two goals to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-2 victory Portlandover the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . O’Brien has 13 goals. . . . F Cross Hanas scored his 25th goal and added two assists for the winners. . . . There was something of a brouhaha at 19:17 of the third period that resulted in 97 penalty minutes being handed out. . . . Portland (44-16-5) is third, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (23-36-4) is tied for seventh with Victoria, one point behind Spokane and one ahead of the idle Prince George Cougars.


JUST NOTES: F Logan Nijhoff, the Regina Pats’ captain, has signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. Nijhoff, 20, had 20 goals and 23 assists in 52 games when the signing was announced on Thursday. He is completing his fifth season with Regina. Nijhoff attended the Ducks’ rookie camp in September. . . . The EIHL’s Cardiff Devils have fired head coach Jarrod Skalde, who was in his first season there. Assistant coaches Brodie Dupont and Neil Francis will run things through the end of the season. With four games left in the regular season, the Devils are third at 27-15-3.


War


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.


Dog

Winnipeg ices playoff spot . . . Raiders, Chaika blank Hurricanes . . . Royals put hurt on Winterhawks


You have to wonder if we will be seeing any new Russian or Belarusian players headed this way for the next season — or longer — because of the decision by Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator, to invade Ukraine.

On Monday, the NHL revealed that it has suspended a Memorandum of KHLUnderstanding that it had with the KHL, the Russia-based professional league that involves a number of Putin friends and Russian oligarchs.

As Aaron Vickers of the Daily Hive reported, the move effectively ends communication between the KHL and NHL.

Frank Seravalli of Daily Face-off obtained a memo that went from the NHL to its teams, in which teams were told to “immediately cease all dealings (direct or indirect) with the KHL and KHL clubs (and all representatives of both), as well as with player agents who are based in and continue to do business in Russia.”

Meanwhile, the CHL, which oversees the 60 major junior teams in the OHL, QMJHL and WHL, met last week and one of the items on the agenda was the 2022 import draft. There was speculation that the CHL would ban Russian and Belarusian players from the draft. However, after the meeting, the CHL announced that “the date and format for the 2022 CHL import draft have yet to be determined and will be announced at a later date.”

The CHL and its leagues often operate in lockstep in a lot of ways, so it will be interesting to see the end result of the major junior deliberations, especially in light of the NHL’s decision to at least temporarily sever relationships with the KHL.

It also will be interesting to see how NHL teams deal with Russian and Belarusian players who are eligible for the 2022 draft. Considering the uncertainty surrounding those two countries at the moment, how many NHL teams will even consider drafting Russians or Belarusians? And should the CHL choose to include those players in the annual import draft, will major junior teams shy away from selecting them?

If you are wondering, there presently are six Belarussians and three Russians listed on WHL team rosters.



TUESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL: G Daniel Hauser stopped 14 shots to earn the shutout as the host Winnipeg Ice beat the Calgary Hitmen, 2-0. Hauser has four career shutouts, all of them this season. In 32 appearances over two seasons, he is 26-2-2, 2.48, .904. . . . The Ice became the seventh WHL team to clinch a playoff spot. . . . F Evan Herman scored twice, giving him 21 goals, and G Tikhon Chaika stopped 23 shots as the Prince Albert Raiders beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-0, for their third straight victory. Chaika, an 18-year-old freshman from Belarus, has two shutouts this season. He is 16-15-2, 2.92, .902. . . . The Raiders (22-28-3), Calgary (20-26-7) and Swift Current Broncos (20-28-78) are tied for the Eastern Conference’s eight and final playoff spot. . . . F Bailey Peach scored his 30th goal of the season on a penalty shot and added two assists as the host Victoria Royals dumped the Portland Winterhawks, 5-3. Victoria closed to within one point of the Spokane Chiefs, who hold down the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. The Winterhawks had won five in a row. They remain three points behind the conference-leading Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips, each with 80 points.


The Swift Current Broncos have made Devan Praught the ninth head coach in the franchise’s history. Praught, a native of Summerside, P.E.I., had been the interim head coach since Oct. 14 when Dean Brockman resigned as general manager and head coach. The Broncos are 18-25-7 under Praught. . . . There is a news release right here. . . . The Broncos named Chad Leslie as their general manager on Jan. 31 when they removed the interim from his title.



The QMJHL has suspended F Lou-Félix Denis of the Shawinigan Cataractes for qmjhlnewfive games for remarks he made in the direction of Russian D Evgenii Kashnikov of the Gatineau Olympiques during a game on Sunday. The incident occurred late in the first period, referee Pascal Saint-Jacques heard the comments, and Denis was handed a game misconduct for, according to the online game sheet, “discriminatory taunts, gestures and slurs.” Denis also will have to take part in a workshop about the QMJHL’s anti-discrimination policy. . . . Denis is the third QMJHL player to have been suspended under that policy this season.

Meanwhile, the OHL investigated allegations of inappropriate comments OHLhaving been made by a member of the Sudbury Wolves towards a player with the North Bay Battalion on March 3. On Tuesday, the OHL issued a statement that read, in part: “The league has done a thorough investigation of the allegation, including speaking to players and team officials of both teams in addition to the on-ice officials, and the allegation cannot be substantiated.”

The OHL also said it “will treat any discrimination against Russian and Belarusian players as we would with all allegations in accordance with our Harassment & Abuse/Diversity Policy. Further, last week we advised all of our on-ice officials to be aware of any inappropriate conduct among players including any anti-Russian/Belarusian discrimination and are working with the Canadian Mental Health Association through our Talk Today program to ensure supports are in place for our Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian players.”


Steve Hogle isn’t going to settle the dispute between MLB and the MLBPA, but he is getting into baseball. The West Coast League’s Edmonton Riverhawks have announced that they have hired Hogle, a former president of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, as their first general manager. Prior to working with the Blades, he was vice-president communications and broadcast with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Since returning to Edmonton from Saskatoon, Hogle had been working with Hockey Edmonton.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.



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.


Peanuts

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