NHL Central Scouting likes WHLers. . . . Former Pats sniper dead at 42. . . . BCHL coach of the year makes move


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F Milan Bartovič (Brandon, Tri-City, 1999-2001) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). An alternate captain, he had 15 goals and 25 assists in 54 games this season. . . .

F Kris Foucault (Swift Current, Kootenay, Calgary, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). This season, with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL), he had five goals and two assists in seven gams. He missed most of the season after suffering a concussion. . . .

F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) announced his retirement via his Twitter account. This season, with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite), he had 23 goals and 23 assists in 58 games. . . .

F Jordan Knackstedt (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dresden (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 21 goals and 50 assists in 41 games. He led his team in assists and points. He was second in the league in assists and fourth in points.


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NHL Central Scouting issued its final rankings prior to the 2019 draft and three of the top whlfive-rated North American skaters are out of the WHL. . . . D Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants moved from No. 4 in the midseason rankings to No. 2. F Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades is at No. 3, and F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is ranked fifth. . . . F Jack Hughes of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program U-18 team is the top-ranked North American skater. . . . Central Scouting has seven NTDP skaters rated as potential first-round picks. . . . F Kaapo Kakko of TPS in Finland is atop the list of international skaters. . . . All told there are 50 WHLers in the final rankings. . . . The draft is scheduled for Rogers Arena in Vancouver, June 21 and 22. . . . There is more on the rankings right here.


F Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips has joined the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of Everettthe NHL’s Washington Capitals. Sutter, who will turn 20 on Oct. 25, was a third-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . This season, Sutter had 14 goals and 27 assists in 38 games. He missed 37 consecutive games with an undisclosed injury, before returning for Game 3 of a second-round series against the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs won that series in five games. . . . In 204 career regular-season WHL games, Sutter had 137 points, including 60 goals. . . . Hershey is scheduled to open the AHL playoffs on Friday. . . . If you’re wondering, Riley is a member of the famed hockey family. His father, Ron, is one of the Sutter twins and played 19 seasons in the NHL.


Three skaters from the WHL are on the roster for the Czech team that will play in the IIHF U-18 World Championship that is to begin on Thursday. . . . F Martin Lang of the Kamloops Blazers, F Matej Toman of the Prince George Cougars and D Simon Kubicek of the Seattle Thunderbirds are on the final roster that was revealed on Monday. . . . The tournament is to run through April 28 in the Swedish cities of Ornskoldsvik and Umea. . . .

Team Canada won its second pre-tournament game on Monday, beating Russia, 5-4, in Umea. Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), who had three assists in a 6-5 OT victory over Belarus on Sunday, scored twice, one on a penalty shot. F Peyton Krebs (WInnipeg Ice) had two assists. G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stopped 32 shots. . . . Team Canada is to open tournament play on Thursday against Finland.



Joe Martin, the BCHL’s coach of the year for this season, has left the Merritt Centennials AlberniValleyto sign on as the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ general manager and head coach. Martin, 38, spent four seasons as the Centennials’ general manager and head coach. This season, the Centennials were 36-15-4-3 and finished second in the Interior Division. They lost a first-round series, 4-1, to the Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Martin had been with Merritt since signing on as an assistant coach prior to the 2011-12 season. . . . In Alberta Valley, Martin replaces Matt Hughes, who, according to the Bulldogs, “resigned his position from the club by mutual agreement” late in March. . . . Taking Note actually was told by a reliable source on April 4 that “Joe Martin is going to Alberni Valley.” On Friday, that same source told Taking Note: “It’s happening. Joe Martin to Alberni Valley.” . . . That same day, when Bulldogs business manager David Michaud was asked about Martin, his response was: “Joe Martin is under contract with the Merritt Centennials. If you want to write gossip about a man who just gave birth to a newborn have at it. Get better sources or call me.” . . . If Martin was under contract to Merritt on Friday and my source was feeding me gossip, it would seem that the deal between him and the Bulldogs got done in a hurry.


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Raiders have chance to oust Blades today. . . . Chiefs finish off Silvertips. . . . Lacombe hoists fourth Allan Cup


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D Filip Kral of the Spokane Chiefs sat out Game 5 of their series with the visiting Everett whlSilvertips on Saturday night with a one-game suspension. According to the WHL, he was suspended “for game misconduct” in Game 4 on Friday night. Kral was ejected from the game, which Everett won, 4-1, at 19:28 of the third period. In many situations, and this is one of them, the WHL is as transparent as tinfoil. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to keep the fans informed by letting them know the nature of the transgression. Perhaps the player had a stickboy go to a concession area to get him a hotdog and the referees were upset that he forgot to order for them, too.

At the same time, the Chiefs were fined $500 for what the WHL termed “warm up violations.” Again, the WHL chooses, as it usually does, not to let the sun shine in on these decisions, but these infractions usually involve players staying on the ice too long at the end up the pregame warmup, or a player or players crossing the centre line into enemy territory during the warmup. In this instance, though, perhaps the hotdogs weren’t warmed up properly in the officials’ room.

The WHL also handed down one other suspension on Saturday, as it gave F Justin Nachbaur of the Prince Albert Raiders two games for an interference major and game misconduct he incurred in Game 5 of their series with the Saskatoon Blades on Friday night. He was penalized for a  hit on Blades D Dawson Davidson at 14:52 of the third period in a game that the host Raiders won, 6-1. . . . Nachbaur will sit out Game 6 in Saskatoon tonight, and also will miss either Game 7 against the Blades or the first game of the Eastern Conference final.


F Jesse Todd scored twice to help the Lacombe Generals to a 5-2 victory over the Innisfail Eagles in the championship final of the Allan Cup tournament on Saturday. The Generals were the host team for the six-team senior AAA tournament that also included the South East Prairie Thunder, Stoney Creek Generals, who were the defending champions, Haut-Madawaska Panthers and Rosetown Red Wings. . . . F Chase Norrish, F Dylan Nowakowski and F Cody Cartier also scored for Lacombe. Cartier’s goal and Todd’s second score were empty-netters in the game’s final minute. . . . Lacombe got 26 saves from G Tyler Weiman. . . . The Eagles got two goals from F Justin Cox. . . . G Allen York stopped 37 shots for Innisfail. . . . The Generals, who were in the final for a fifth straight season, now have won four Allan Cup titles — 2009, 2013, 2016 and now 2019.


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NOTES: The Prince Albert Raiders have their first opportunity to wrap up their Eastern Conference semifinal today when they meet the Blades in Saskatoon. The Raiders hold a 3-2 lead in the series after beating the visiting Blades, 6-1, on Friday night. . . . Should the Blades win tonight — and they are expecting somewhere around 10,000 fans in the SaskTel Centre — the teams would settle the issue with Game 7 in Prince Albert on Tuesday. . . .

F Kirby Dach of the Blades left Friday’s game in the second period with an apparent injury to his left leg after an awkward looking collision with Raiders F Brett Leason. He missed about half of the second period, then returned for the third. . . . Blades D Dawson Davidson was helped off the ice late in the third period after taking a hit from Raiders F Justin Nachbaur, who has been suspended for two games. I would expect Davidson to play today, otherwise I’m thinking Nachbaur would have been hit with one of those TBD suspensions. . . .

The winner of this series will meet the well-rested Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. That series is expected to open in Saskatchewan with games on Friday and Saturday nights. . . .

In Saturday’s only playoff game, the host Spokane Chiefs beat the Everett Silvertips, 2-1, to win that series 4-1. . . . The Silvertips had gone 47-16-5 to finish atop the U.S. Division, 12 points ahead of the Chiefs (40-21-7). . . . Spokane will meet the Vancouver Giants in the Western Conference final, starting with games in Langley, B.C., on Friday and Saturday nights, with Games 3 and 4 in Spokane on April 23 and 24. . . . The Giants went 48-15-5 in the regular season to finish atop the conference. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 3-1-0; Spokane was 1-2-1. . . . The Giants won two of three games since the trade deadline — 6-4 in Spokane and 5-4 in Langley. The Chiefs won 4-1 on home ice on March 8.

——

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Riley Woods’ second-period goal stood up as the winner as the Spokane Chiefs beat the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Everett Silvertips, 2-1. . . . The Chiefs won the series, 4-1, and move into the Western Conference final against the Vancouver Giants. That series is to open Friday in Langley, B.C. . . . Last night, F Robbie Holmes (4) gave the Silvertips a 1-0 lead at 1:32 of the first period. . . . Spokane D Nolan Reid (1) tied it, on a PP, at 10:00. . . . Woods scored his sixth goal of these playoffs at 5:24 of the second period, on a PP, and it ended up being the winner. . . . D Ty Smith assisted on both Spokane goals. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs were 6-14 on the PP in the five games; Everett was 2-15. . . . The Silvertips spent the final 3:27 of the third period on the PP after Chiefs F Luc Smith was given a double-minor for boarding. However, Everett wasn’t able to beat G Bailey Brkin, who finished with 34 saves. The Chiefs were outshot 13-5 in the second period and 16-4 in the third. . . . Everett got 19 saves from G Dustin Wolf. . . . With D Filip Kral serving a one-game suspension, the Chiefs moved Matt Leduc up to play alongside Reid. They had D Egor Arbuzov in the lineup to fill the vacancy created by Kral’s absence. . . . Leduc set an early tone when he stepped up and hit Everett F Connor Dewar with a thundering check at 8:24 of the first period. Dewar went to the dressing room and missed a few shifts before returning to finish the game.


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WHL’s War of the Words continues. . . . Blades skate back into series. . . . Oil Kings, Giants win in OT, go ahead 3-0

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D Blake Orban (Vancouver, Edmonton, 2010-15) has signed a one-year contract with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with the U of Lethbridge (USports, Canada West), he had one goal and five assists in 25 games.


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OK. Let’s review . . .

Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders and one of eight men with more than 500 regular-season WHL victories, got his club’s second-round series with whlSaskatoon really going by accusing the Blades of doing more diving than members of the Saskatoon Diving Club.

Mitch Love, the Blades’ first-year head coach, waited until after the second game and, with his club trailing 2-0, suggested that the Raiders’ players dish out more headshots than competitors with the Prince Albert Boxing Club.

Love, though, went a step further and suggested that the WHL, a league whose pooh-bahs love to talk about the importance of player safety, has “turned a blind eye to that kind of thing . . .”

Love added that he had expressed his concerns to the WHL, but “it falls on deaf ears, and here we are.”

That brings us to Game 3, which was played Tuesday night in Saskatoon.

Prior to the game, it was Habscheid’s turn to fire a volley in the WHL’s latest War of the Words.

“This is all fun and games, but it comes to a bigger issue,” Habscheid told Trevor Redden of panow.com for a story that is right here. “The fact that he’s questioning the integrity of our league about player safety, that crosses the line. I did not think that was an appropriate comment.”

You will remember that it was Habscheid — aka Mark (The Entertainer) Habscheid — who started all this.

Yesterday, he told Redden that it’s all gamesmanship.

“That’s just a weak ploy to try to change the narrative,” Habscheid said. “He’ll probably start yelling at me from his bench, too, just to add to it . . . so whatever, we don’t care.”

For the record, Love wasn’t seen yelling at Habscheid as the Blades skated to a 1-0 victory last night.

——

With Habscheid and Love both having mentioned the importance of player safety, allow me to point out a thing or two.

The WHL issued a news release on March 28 announcing that F Sean Richards of the Seattle Thunderbirds had been suspended indefinitely.

Richards had taken a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a game the previous night.

In that news release, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was quoted thusly: “Player safety is the first priority for the WHL at all times.”

That quote was recycled last week when the WHL announced that Richards’ suspension had been set at eight games.

One on-line dictionary defines hypocrisy like this: “The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behaviour does not conform.”

A league that condones fighting simply cannot trumpet the importance of player safety.

A league that continues to hand out measly two-game suspensions for checking-from-behind fouls and headshots cannot trumpet the importance of player safety. It just can’t.

After D Jake Lee of the Thunderbirds drew a two-game suspension

for a hit from behind on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif in Game 1 of a first-round series, Giants head coach Michael Dyck told Steve Ewen of Postmedia:

“I played with Brad Hornung. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. It was the same type of play. The only thing that saved Justin Sourdif was the net. It’s a terrible play. He (Lee) is a young guy. But somebody has to teach him. All two games is … I don’t know.

“It’s one of the worst plays in hockey. It had nothing to do with making a play. It’s emotion. I understand that. But you have to learn.”

Dyck, as I mentioned here after he was fined $1,000 for his comments, is right. But is anyone listening?

The time has long since passed by for the WHL to ban fighting and to issue suspensions to those who choose to engage in fisticuffs.

And it’s time for the WHL to get serious about suspensions for headshots and checks from behind. No more of this two-game stuff. Let coaches and players know that such a foul means a player could sit for a month.

Yes, start with 10 games, and then the league can puff out its chest and tell people that player safety is a priority in the WHL.

And when it comes to the neanderthals who continue to insist that hockey needs fighting, well, . . .

Patti Dawn Swanson, aka The River City Renegade, blogged about ‘the code’ the other day:

“You hit me with a cheap shot — or hit me legally but too hard for my liking — and I now must knock your block off. If not me, one of my guard dogs will take care of business. Might not do it immediately. Might not do it that same night. Might have to wait a year. But someone is coming after you and you better not turn tail when challenged. You want the respect of friend, foe and fan? Only way is to ‘man up.’ That’s the ‘code.’

Well, the ‘code’ is stupid and so are hockey players for following it.”

She’s right and that piece is right here.


It seems that the Swift Current Broncos no longer have a radio rights holder.

Shawn Mullin, the Broncos’ play-by-play voice for the past nine seasons, indicated in a SCBroncosTuesday afternoon tweet that talks on a new agreement have broken down between the Broncos and The Eagle 94.1

“Despite what I believe were the best intentions on all sides,” Mullin tweeted, “the Broncos and the radio station have been unable to reach an agreement to continue our broadcasts.”

Mullin, who is from Ottawa, moved to Swift Current after four seasons as the radio voice of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters.

Regan Bartel, who calls the Kelowna Rockets’ games, and Jon Keen, the Kamloops Blazers’ broadcaster, both are former Swift Current play-by-play voices.


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NOTES: There were three second-round games on Tuesday night, and there will be three more tonight. The difference is that there is one team facing elimination tonight. . . .

Last night, the Edmonton Oil Kings went into Calgary and beat the Hitmen, 2-1 in OT. That means the Oil Kings can move into the Eastern Conference final with a victory over the host Hitmen tonight. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Blades rode the goaltending of Nolan Maier to a 1-0 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. Still, the Raiders hold a 2-1 lead going into Game 4 in ’Toontown tonight. . . .

In Victoria, the Vancouver Giants beat the Royals, 5-4 in OT, and now lead that series, 3-0. Game 4 is scheduled for Victoria on Thursday night. . . .

The Everett Silvertips and Spokane Chiefs didn’t play last night. Their series resumes tonight in Spokane with the Chiefs holding a 2-0 lead. Remember that this series is following a 2-3-2 format because Cirque du Soleil is in Everett’s Angels of the Wind Arena through Sunday.

——

TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Nolan Maier stopped 26 shots to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 1-0 victory over the Saskatoonvisiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Saskatoon tonight. . . . The teams will be back in Prince Albert for Game 5 on Friday night. . . . This was only the second time the Raiders have been blanked this season and Maier has been the goaltender both times. On Dec. 9, he stopped 32 shots in a 1-0 victory in Saskatoon. F Tristen Robins scored the only goal, at 5:14 of the second period. . . . Last night, the game’s lone goal came from F Kirby Dach (5), who was able to fight off a check, reach into the crease and backhand a loose puck into the net at 4:21 of the first period. . . . The Raiders came within inches of equalizing in the dying seconds when F Sean Montgomery had a redirection go off the right post. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott also was stellar, with 26 saves. . . . Despite the ongoing verbiage from the head coaches, the game included only five minor penalties. The Blades were 0-2 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-1.


D Wyatt McLeod scored from the left point to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory EdmontonOilKingsover the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton holds a 3-0 lead in the series and gets its first chance to close it out tonight in Calgary. . . . F Zach Russell (1) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 7:57 of the second period. . . . The Oil Kings nursed that lead into the last three minutes of the third period when they were hit with back-to-back minor penalties. . . . Calgary scored on the ensuing 5-on-3 advantage, with F Mark Kastelic getting his sixth goal, at 18:53, to force OT. That goal came one second before the first minor was to expire. . . . McLeod won it with his second goal of these playoffs, at 2:46 of OT. Russell had the lone assist on the winner. . . . Calgary was 1-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-5. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Calgary was 38-19 on faceoffs, with Kastelic going 20-10. . . . G Dylan Myskiw blocked 24 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . The Hitmen got 27 saves from G Jack McNaughton. . . . The Hitmen had F Jake Kryski back in their lineup. He had been out since Jan. 11 with an undisclosed injury.


F Owen Hardy’s second goal of the night, this one in OT, gave the Vancouver Giants a 5-4 Vancouvervictory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . The Giants, with a 3-0 lead in the series, will have the opportunity to end it in Game 4 on Thursday in Victoria. . . . Last night, Vancouver went ahead 1-0 at 3:32 of the first period when F Jared Dmytriw, a former Royals skater, scored his second goal of the playoffs. . . .  The Royals responded with goals from F Sean Gulka (2), at 9:10, and F Igor Martynov (2), on a PP, at 19:31. . . . F Milos Roman (2) tied it for Vancouver, on a PP, at 3:44 of the second period. . . . D Mitchell Prowse (1) put Victoria back in front at 13:06 on the Royals’ first shot of the period. . . . That lead lasted until Hardy (1) scored 14 seconds into the third period. . . . The Royals went back out front at 10:15 on a goal from F Carson Miller (5). . . . The Giants forced OT when D Alex Kannok Leipert (2) scored at 15:40. . . . Hardy, who had nine goals in 64 regular-season games, won it with his second goal of the game — and of the playoffs — at 13:34 of OT. He’s from Nanaimo, so no doubt had some familiar faces in the crowd, too. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Victoria was 1-3. . . . Vancouver held a 28-9 edge in shots through two periods. An interested observer told Taking Note that “of the Royals’ nine shots, three have gone in and two were clearing attempts from their own end of the ice that hit the net.” . . . In the end, the count was 57-20, including 15-5 in OT. . . . Vancouver G Trent Miner stopped 16 shots, but the story was Victoria G Griffen Outhouse and his 52 stops. . . . In the three games, the Giants hold a 124-45 edge in shots, but are only ahead 10-5 in goals. . . . Vancouver won Game 2, 2-1 in OT. . . . The Giants were without F Aidan Barfoot, who was injured in the first round and has yet to play in this series. . . . D Ralph Jarratt, who didn’t finish Game 2, was among Victoria’s scratches. The Royals also were without F Tanner Sidaway for a third straight game, while F Kody McDonald served the fifth of a six-game suspension. As well, D Jake Kustra began serving a two-game suspension. . . . With their lineup depleted by injuries and suspensions, the Royals had two APs in the lineup — D Noah Lamb and F Alex Bolshakov. . . . On top of all that, the Royals may have lost F Phillip Schultz, who has two goals and seven assists in nine playoff games, with some sort of arm injury. About a minute before the game ended, Schultz went hard into the boards at the Vancouver bench. The gate was open and he hit an edge of the boards. Schultz dropped his gloves and stick and appeared to be in serious pain as he went to the dressing room.


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Some info on Kootenay’s lease . . . Dach, Haden, Gerlach burn Wheat Kings . . . Americans bury ‘Hawks in third

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If you’re wondering what’s in the lease between the City of Cranbrook and the WHL’s Kootenay Ice involving Western Financial Place, here’s a taste . . .

Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman obtained a copy of the lease, which Kootenaynewruns through 2023, through an FOI request.

“The Kootenay Ice must pay an occupancy fee for each year of the term equal to two per cent of gross game receipts for each hockey season, as well as an additional fee that scales based on attendance,” Crawley writes. “For example, the fee would be $20,000 if the average paid attendance exceeds 2,600. If that attendance were to increase to 2,800, the fee also increases to $25,000. Attendance exceeding 3,000 pushes the fee to $30,000, 3,200 to $80,000 and 3,500 to $120,000.”

Crawley also writes:

“According to the agreement, net advertising generated at hockey games within the premises is shared 80 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 20 per cent to the City of Cranbrook.

“All occupancy fees for luxury boxes, but not including ticket revenue, is split 70 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 30 per cent to the city.

Revenue collected from parking fees and concession sales are also 100 per cent allotted to the city, according to the agreement.”

On Monday, Crawley, who is listed on the Ice’s website as the team’s photographer, reported that “two groups have approached” the junior A BCHL “to look at getting a franchise in Cranbrook for the fall . . .”

That piece is right here.


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The 2020 World Women’s Curling Championship is scheduled to be held at the CN Centre PrinceGeorgein Prince George, from March 14-22. The facility is home to the Prince George Cougars, meaning that they will be on the road late in the 2019-20 regular season and perhaps into the first round of the playoffs, should they qualify. . . . This season, the WHL’s regular season concludes on March 17, with the playoffs to begin on March 22. . . .

The 2019 World Men’s event is to be held in Lethbridge’s ENMAX Centre, from March 30 through April 7, meaning the Hurricanes may be out of their facility for a playoff game or two. Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes’ general manager, already has stated that, if necessary, playoff games will be moved to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, which has about 1,000 seats and is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s teams. . . .

In Prince George, the junior A Spruce Kings, who skate in the B.C. Hockey League, play their home games in the 1,800-seat Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, a facility that might be considered as a Plan B for the Cougars, depending on how things turn out. . . .

Interestingly, Cougars general manager Mark Lamb was the GM/head coach of the Swift Current Broncos in the spring of 2010 and again in 2016 when the World Women’s event was held in the Saskatchewan city.

In 2010, the Broncos played two first-round ‘home’ playoff games — Games 3 and 4 — in Regina’s Brandt Centre. They ended up being swept by the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Broncos didn’t make the playoffs in 2015-16, so their schedule wasn’t impacted.


The WHL has suspended D Montana Onyebuchi of the Kamloops Blazers and F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Kelowna Rockets for two games each for their involvement in an whlincident during a Saturday night game.

Onyebuchi was suspended for being involved in what the WHL says was a “one-man fight” at 2:09 of the third period in a game won, 2-1 in OT, by the host Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL says were his “actions” that apparently precipitated Onyebuchi’s attempt to involve him in a fight.

At the time, Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct, while Bruggen-Cate wasn’t penalized.

“There’s not really much to comment on,” Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ head coach, told CFJC-TV in Kamloops. “Happy that it was in the hands of the WHL office . . . the kind of research that they needed to do and came down with a ruling. We’re just happy that it was addressed.

“It was a situation where it really got to Montana. My approach was that we wanted to make sure that Montana was supported, wanted to make sure that he felt he was supported by his teammates, by the organization, by the league.

“That’s why it was important for the league to do the due diligence . . . for us to be there to support Montana regardless of what transpired.” 

Onyebuchi will sit out two home games — Friday night versus the Vancouver Giants and Saturday against the Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate also will miss two home games — tonight against the Spokane Chiefs and Friday against the Prince George Cougars — but will be eligible to play Saturday in Kamloops.


The Trinity Western U Spartans really, really want to be accepted into Canada West, the U Sports-governed conference that covers the four Western Canadian provinces.

“We treated it like an Olympic bid,” Spartans head coach Barret Kropf told Taking Note TWUin reference to the presentation that TWU made to Canada West in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday.

Kropf said that TWU had its president, vice-president, the Township of Langley’s general manager and a councillor, the athletic director, one of the players and himself all involved in the presentation.

“It went well,” said Kropf, whose club plays in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and plays out of the Langley Events Centre, the same facility that is home to the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.

TWU and the Edmonton-based Grant MacEwan Griffins, who are to make their presentation this morning, are both hoping to be admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

TWU and Grant MacEwan already are members of U Sports, but their hockey teams have continued to play in the BCIHL and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, respectively. They now are hoping to make a switch.

The difference between recruiting for a Canada West team as opposed to a BCIHL club would be “like night and day,” Kropf said, adding that he already is hearing from WHL players who have expressed interest in 2020-21.

This season, the Spartans’ roster includes the likes of F Jarrett Fontaine, F Spencer Gerth, D Travis Verveda, F Brayden Brown and F Brandon Potomak, all of whom have WHL experience.

Asked how close the Spartans are right now to being competitive with Canada West teams, Kropf replied: “I think we’re right there . . . we’re in the mix.”

Canada West is expected to vote on whether to add TWU and Grant MacEwan when it holds its annual general meeting in Whistler, B.C., from May 5-8. Interestingly, it is TWU’s turn to play host to the AGM.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Kirby Dach scored three times and the Saskatoon Blades counted the game’s last four Saskatoongoals as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 7-3. . . . Saskatoon (31-13-8) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division, six points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who now hold four games in hand. The teams are to meet tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Brandon (22-21-7) has lost two in a row and is six points away from a wild-card playoff berth. . . . With Brandon’s loss, the Eastern Conference-leading Prince Albert Raiders (43-7-2) became the first WHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season. . . . F Max Gerlach gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:19 of the first period as he hit the 30-goal mark for a fourth straight season. He has 130 goals in 262 regular-season games. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (32), who also had two assists, pulled Brandon even, on a PP, at 3:24 of the second period. . . . Dach shot the Blades in front, 3-1, with goals at 7:45 and 8:04. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on second-period PP goals from F Luka Burzan (30), at 11:05, and F Cole Reinhardt (16), just 51 seconds later. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-3 as F Eric Florchuk scored at 15:22. . . . Dach completed his second career hat trick, both this season, on a PP, at 5:02 of the third period. . . . Gerlach, who also had an assist, added his 31st goal, at 13:27, and Florchuk got his 17th, on a PP, at 15:54. . . . Saskatoon was 2-3 on the PP; Brandon was 3-6. . . . The Blades got four assists from F Gary Haden, who has 13 points, including nine goals, in a five-game point streak. . . . F Ryan Hughes added three assists for the Blades, with D Dawson Davidson picking up one to run his point streak to 10 games. He has 14 points, 13 of them assists, over that stretch. . . . Brandon D Braydyn Chizen sat this one out as he completed a four-game WHL suspension. . . . D Aiden De la Gorgendiere was among the Blades’ scratches after being injured on a hit by F Jake Neighbours of the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night. Neighbours drew a four-game suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct on the play.


G Max Paddock stopped 38 shots and two more in a shootout as the Regina Pats got past Patsthe Hurricanes, 2-1, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina (14-35-3) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Lethbridge (27-15-9) had won its past two games. It is second in the Central Division, three points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Hurricanes held an 11-5 edge in shots in the third period, and it was 5-1 in OT. . . . F Blake Allan, who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice, scored his first goal in 14 games with the Pats to give them a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes tied it when F Taylor Ross (24) scored at 13:57. . . . Regina got shootout goals from F Ty Kolle and F Sergei Alkhimov, with F Jordy Bellerive scoring for the home team. . . . C Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge. . . . This was the first time that F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry of the Hurricanes had faced their former team. They were acquired from the Pats on Nov. 29 in a deal that had Kolle and F Jadon Joseph, along with as many as seven bantam draft picks, go the other way. . . . Regina had F Cale Sanders, 16, make his WHL debut. From Claresholm, Alta., he has 16 goals and 17 assists in 28 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary. . . . F Cole Dubinsky of the Pats sat out Game 2 of a four-game suspension.


G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots and picked up an assist to lead the Vancouver Giants to a Vancouver4-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Vancouver (34-13-3) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 18 points over the Victoria Royals and now is five points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips. . . . Prince George (16-30-5) has lost 10 straight (0-8-2) and is eight points away from a playoff spot. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Prince George. . . . Miner, a freshman from Brandon, turned 18 on Tuesday. He now is 18-4-1, 1.85, .931. . . . Miner picked up an assist as F Davis Koch (21) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 16:14 of the first period. . . . F Owen Hardy (9) made it 2-0 at 5:22 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal at 13:41 when F Josh Curtis (9) scored. . . . The Giants went ahead 4-1 on goals from F Justin Sourdif (14), at 14:38, and D Bowen Byram (20), at 15:14. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (19) got the Cougars’ second goal, on a PP, at 16:53 of the third period. . . . The Cougars had G Tyler Brennan, 15, on the bench in support of Taylor Gauthier, with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. Brennan, from Winnipeg, plays for the prep team at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy. He was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Gauthier finished with 27 stops.


The Tri-City Americans struck for five third-period goals as they beat the visiting tri-cityPortland Winterhawks, 5-3. . . . Tri-City (27-19-3) has won two straight. It is comfortably in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, but also is fourth in the U.S. Division, just one point behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (32-15-5) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Jaydon Dureau (11), at 6:42, and F Josh Paterson (19), at 11:19. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Americans opened the third with four straight goals — from F Parker AuCoin (27), at 0:37; F Samuel Huo (4), on a PP, at 8:06; F Nolan Yaremko (18), at 11:33; and F Connor Bouchard, on a PP, at 16:13. . . . D Jared Freadrich (9) kept Portland’s hopes alive at 17:12, but Bouchard iced it with his fourth goal, into an empty net, at 18:40. . . . Bouchard also had an assist, giving him his first three-point night in 109 career regular-season games, 49 of them this season. . . . Portland remains without F Cody Glass (knee), who is shown as day-to-day on the WHL’s weekly roster report.


G Roddy Ross turned aside 41 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 victory over Seattlethe host Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle (20-24-6) had lost its past two games. It is one point behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Victoria (25-21-3) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). It is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Thunderbirds and Royals will meet again tonight in Victoria. . . . The Royals outshot the visitors 12-6, 14-7 and 18-8 by period, but couldn’t put enough pucks behind Ross to win. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman, at 16:36, and D Jake Lee (3), on a PP, at 18:35. . . . F Kaid Oliver (20) got the Royals to within a goal, on a PP, at 4:44 of the second period. . . . D Owen Williams (3) got that one back for Seattle at 10:43. . . . The Royals got back to within a goal at 9:39 of the third period as F Kody McDonald (11) scored. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly replied at 11:27 with his first WHL goal in 47 games, 32 of them this season. . . . Again, Victoria got to within a goal, this time when D Scott Walford (8) scored at 13:37. . . . Wedman iced it with his 25th goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:36. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 16 shots for the Royals. . . . D Jarret Tyszka and F Nolan Volcan were among Seattle’s scratches, while the Royals were without veteran D Ralph Jarratt, who is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. Jarratt has battled injuries all season and has played in only 25 games.


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McNabb, Pats stun Raiders in P.A. . . . McNaughton, Hitmen pull blank job . . . Garand leads Blazers to victory


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If you missed it Sunday night, Switzerland was awarded two penalty shots on one play 2019wjcduring a game against Russia at the World Junior Championship. F Marco Lehmann of Switzerland was hacked down on a breakaway, got up to continue the play, and was brought down again. While Lehmann took the first penalty shot, the Swiss had F Philipp Kurashev take the second one. Neither one was successful. . . . Kurashev, who is in his third season with the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, is the son of Konstantin Kurashev, who played for Russia in the 1981 and 1982 WJC. Konstantin has been coaching in Switzerland since 1998.


D Matthew Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks has drawn a TBD suspension after whltaking a kneeing major and game misconduct during at 3:30 of the second period of an 8-6 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Saturday night. Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk was injured on the play and didn’t return to the game. . . . Quigley won’t be in Portland’s lineup when they play host to Seattle tonight.

F Riley Sawchuk of the Tri-City Americans was given a one-game suspension after he took a game misconduct at 17:08 of the third period of a 2-1 loss to the Chiefs in Spokane. No reason for the game misconduct was provided by the WHL. . . . He won’t play in tonight’s rematch in Kennewick, Wash. . . .

Kevin Acheson, the WHL’s new sheriff, has handed out seven suspensions from the 28 games that teams have played since the Christmas break ended on Dec. 27.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Sunday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

——

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Moose Jaw Warriors snapped a 1-1 tie with five straight goals and went on to a 6-2 MooseJawWarriorsvictory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . The Warriors (19-8-6) have points in four straight (3-0-1). They are third in the East Division, eight points ahead of Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings (15-13-6) have lost three in a row, all since played resumed after Christmas, and six of seven. They now are tied with the Calgary Hitmen for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. . . . The Warriors are scheduled to entertain the Wheat Kings tonight. This will be the fourth game in five nights for both teams. . . . F Justin Almeida scored twice for Moose Jaw, giving him 11 goals. He made it 1-0 just 23 seconds into the game. . . . Brandon F Nolan Ritchie tied it at 3:32 with his first WHL goal. . . . The visitors scored twice before the period ended — D Jett Woo (7) and F Tristin Langan (27) found the range — and then got later goals from F Kaeden Taphorn (4), Almeida, and F Tate Popple (8), who is from Brandon. . . . D Braden Schneider (4) had Brandon’s other goal, at 10:06 of the third period. . . . The Warriors held a 40-29 edge in shots, including 19-8 in the first period. In its three-game losing skid, Brandon had been outshot 46-16 and outscored 6-1 in first periods. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos sat out the second of a three-game suspension.


G Dean McNabb turned aside 43 shots to lead the Regina Pats to a 2-1 victory over the PatsRaiders in Prince Albert. . . . Regina (12-24-1) has won three in a row, but still is 11 points away from a playoff spot. . . . Prince Albert (33-3-1) had won its previous five games; it also had been 17-0-0 at home. . . . The Raiders lead the overall standings by seven points over the idle Everett Silvertips (29-7-2). . . . F Logan Nijhoff (3) gave Regina a 1-0 lead just 18 seconds after the opening faceoff. . . . D Liam Schioler (2) upped the lead to 2-0 at 8:01. . . . F Noah Gregor (24) scored for the Raiders at 12:37. . . . Gregor has 10 goals and four assists over his past six games. . . . This one was McNabb’s show, though, as the Raiders outshot the Pats 14-7, 13-4 and 17-2 by period. . . . The Raiders won 47 of the game’s 63 faceoffs. . . . The Pats had D Brady Pouteau and F Robbie Holmes back in the lineup after both served one-game WHL suspensions.


F Kirby Dach and F Chase Wouters each had a goal and two assists as the Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades dumped the Broncos 9-3 in Swift Current. . . . Saskatoon (22-11-5) had lost its previous three games (0-1-2). It is second in the East Division, five points ahead of Moose Jaw, which has five games in hand. . . . The Broncos had points in each of their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . These two teams hadn’t met since the season’s opening weekend, when the Blades won 2-1 in Swift Current and 8-0 in Saskatoon. They’ll meet again Tuesday afternoon, this time in Saskatoon. . . . The Blades had a 47-15 edge in shots — 16-4, 19-8 and 12-3 by period. . . . F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (10) gave the Blades a 1-0 lead 11 seconds in, and F Max Gerlach (21) made it 2-0 at 5:43. . . . The Blades weren’t headed after that. . . . D Majid Kaddoura, a freshman from Chestermere, Alta., scored his first WHL goal for the Blades in his 17th game. . . . Dach, who has 15 goals, ran his career point total to 101, including 28 goals, in 109 games. . . . Wouters has six goals. . . . D Billy Sowa, a freshman from Calgary, scored his first career goal for Swift Current. It came in his 26th game. . . . Broncos F Matt Culling ran his goal streak to five games. He has seven goals on the season, with one in each of those five games. . . . Saskatoon D Brandon Schuldaus served a one-game suspension after he took a kneeing major a game misconduct on Friday in Prince Albert. . . . The game was played on the 32nd anniversary of a bus accident in which four Broncos were killed while on the way to Regina for a game with the Pats.


G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots to lead the host Calgary Hitmen to a 4-0 victory over Calgarythe Vancouver Giants. . . . Calgary (16-16-4) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1), but now is tied with the Brandon Wheat Kings for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Vancouver (23-9-2) has won its previous two games. It now is 1-1-0 on a six-game swing through the Central Division. The Giants lead the B.C. Division by 11 points over the Kelowna Rockets, and Vancouver holds three games in hand. . . . F Riley Stotts opened the scoring at 3:30 of the first period, and F Jake Kryski made it 2-0, on a PP, at 6:44. . . . F Mark Kastelic (26) added more insurance at 5:29 of the second period. . . . Stotts, who has 12 goals, closed out the scoring at 4:48 of the third. . . . F James Malm, who was acquired by Calgary from Vancouver on Oct. 31, drew four assists. He has 23 points, including 17 assists, in 21 games with Calgary. He had put up nine goals and six assists in 13 games with Vancouver at the time of the trade. . . . With G Carl Stankowski sidelined, the Hitmen had brought in Matt Armitage from the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks to back up McNaughton, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary. Armitage has since been returned to Salmon Arm, so the Hitmen had Brayden Peters of the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes on the bench. Earlier in the day, he had stopped 14 shots to record the shutout as the Hurricanes scored a 7-0 victory over the Brampton, Ont., 45’s at the Mac’s tournament in Calgary.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored four times in the third period and beat the visiting Red EdmontonOilKingsDeer Rebels, 5-4. . . . Edmonton (20-12-7) has points in six straight (4-0-2) and now leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer (21-12-2) had beaten the Oil Kings, 2-1 in a shootout, on Saturday night at home. The Rebels are third in the division, one point behind Lethbridge. . . . Last night, it was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both teams. Red Deer went (1-2-0); Edmonton was (2-0-1). . . . F Jake Neighbours (8) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 2:21 of the first period. . . . Red Deer scored the only three goals of the second period, with F Oleg Zaytsev (6), D Dawson Barteaux (3) and F Reese Johnson, on a PP, finding the range. . . . F Andrei Pavlenko (7) got Edmonton to within a goal at 2:25 of the third period, but Johnson restored the two-goal lead with his 16th goal, at 3:20. . . . Edmonton pulled even on two goals from F Trey Fix-Wolansky, at 4:52 and 8:52. He’s got 23 goals. . . . He drew an assist on the winner, too which went to F Vince Loschiavo (17), on a PP, at 13:30. . . . Johnson also had an assist for Red Deer, giving him a three-point game. . . . Red Deer had a 17-4 edge in second-period shots, but Edmonton was ahead 17-8 in the third.


F Ryan Jevne scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 5-Tigers Logo Official4 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Medicine Hat (20-15-3) has won three in a row. It is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind Red Deer, which has three games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (19-11-6) is second in the division, two points behind Edmonton and with three games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat and Lethbridge were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Tigers went (3-0-0); the Hurricanes were (1-1-1). . . . The Hurricanes led 4-2 after third-period goals from F Dylan Cozens (21) at 2:07, and F Jake Leschyshyn (25), on a PP, at 2:54. . . . D Joel Craven (3) cut the Tigers’ deficit to one at 11:40, and F Elijah Brown (5) tied it, on a PP, at 17:58. . . . F Jordy Bellerive scored for Lethbridge in the first round of the shootout, but Medicine Hat tied it when F Josh Williams scored in the second round, and then won it on Jevne’s goal. . . . Craven scored twice for the Tigers. He has four goals in 53 career games, 20 of them this season.


G Dylan Garand stopped 35 shots to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops1visiting Prince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers (14-17-3) were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours, after splitting a home-and-home series with the Kelowna Rockets, winning 3-2 in a shootout and then dropping a 2-1 decision on the road. Kamloops is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Victoria Royals, who have two games in hand. The Blazers also hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of Prince George. . . . The Cougars (12-21-3) have lost two in a row; they are 1-7-0 on an 11-game road trip. . . . The Cougars were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours after beating the host Seattle Thunderbirds 2-1 on Friday, then dropping a 6-1 decision to the Silvertips in Everett on Saturday. . . . The Cougars headed home after last night’s game, then will drive to Kelowna on Thursday for a Friday night engagement with the Rockets. They will hang out in the Okanagan for a couple of days after that, before heading to Kennewick, Wash., to play the Tri-City Americans on Jan. 8 and then it’s on to Spokane for a date with the Chiefs on Jan. 9. . . . The Cougars then will hustle home because they are to play host to the Rockets on Jan. 11 and 12, their first games in the CN Centre since Dec. 2. . . . D Montana Onyebuchi (3) gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 16:12 of the first period, and F Brodi Stuart (11) made it 2-0 at 8:53 of the second. . . . F Josh Maser (12) had the Cougars’ goal, on a PP, at 17:51 of the third. . . . Garand was especially strong in the third period when his guys were outshot 19-4. . . . The Blazers had D Joonas Sillanpaa back after a one-game injury-related absence. . . . The Cougars were able to dress only 19 players, including five defencemen. Then they lost F Ilijah Colina to an undisclosed injury during the game and G Taylor Gauthier left after becoming ill. He had stopped 20 of 22 shots through two periods. Isaiah DiLaura came on to play the third period and stopped four shots.


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Scott, Raiders run win streak to 13 . . . Kastelic sparks Hitmen in Spokane . . . Everett wins battle of division leaders

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F Miles Koules (Medicine Hat, Portland, 2012-15) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with HIFK Helsinki (Finland, Liiga) after obtaining his release from the Cleveland Monsters (AHL). He was pointless in two games with Cleveland. . . .

G Marek Langhamer (Medicine Hat, 2012-15) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Maur Khabarovsk (Russia, KHL). This season, in eight games with Kometa Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was 2.38 and .916. . . .

D John Negrin (Kootenay, Swift Current, 2004-09) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). Last season, with Lørenskog (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had two goals and 13 assists in 24 games. . . .

F Zack Hamill (Everett, 2003-08) has signed a contract through Jan. 1 with Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2). Last season, he had 11 goals and eight assists in 27 games with Lørenskog (Norway, GET-Ligaen), and four goals and five assists in 21 games with Dukla Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga).


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Hey, is that a quintessential Canadian photo, or what?

I saw this photo early Saturday and it about knocked me over. What a grand photograph.


The WHL’s Official Guide for 2018-19 now is available for download. You are able to find it right here.

Here are a few dates of note that you will find in the Guide . . .

Dec. 15-27 — WHL trade moratorium for roster players.

Jan. 10 — WHL trade deadline (3 p.m. MT).

Jan. 23 — CHL Top Prospects Game, Red Deer.

March 22 — Start of WHL playoffs.

May 1 — WHL awards luncheon, Red Deer.

May 2 — WHL bantam draft, Red Deer.

May 17-26 — Memorial Cup, Halifax.

June 11-12 — WHL annual meeting, Kelowna.

June 21-22 — NHL draft, Vancouver.

June 26 or 27 — CHL import draft.


By now, you will be familiar with the story of the players from the Ottawa Senators who took a Uber ride and had their conversation go viral when the driver put the video online. . . . Well, there is an interesting story right here about how a lot of the online outrage that was aimed at two Postmedia newspapers turned out to be from fake Twitter accounts. . . . Yes, you may chalk this up as one more sign of the times.


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


SATURDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

One night after becoming the eighth WHL goaltender to score a goal, Ian Scott stopped 26 shots to help the visiting Prince Albert Raiders to a 6-0 victory over the Brandon Wheat PrinceAlbertKings. . . . The Raiders (20-1-0) became the first CHL team to 20 victories this season as they ran their winning streak to 13 games. . . . Brandon (10-5-6) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . Scott has four shutouts this season and seven in his career. He didn’t put up a shutout in 50 appearances last season. He made his 18th appearance of this season last night. He now is 17-1-0, 1.39, .950. . . . The Raiders took control in the first period with a pair of PP goals. F Sean Montgomery started it at 9:34 and F Carson Miller (8) made it 2-0 at 15:44. . . . Montgomery added his second goal, and 11th of the season, on a PP in the third period. . . . D Sergei Sapego had three assists, and F Brett Leason ran his point streak to 21 games with his 19th goal and an assist. . . . The Raiders were 3-8 on the PP and got another shorthanded goal. Prince Albert has scored 22 PP goals, while surrendering one shorthanded score. At the same time, it has struck for 12 shorthanded goals while giving up just seven PP goals. . . . Brandon D Braden Schneider left in the first period and didn’t return.


The host Saskatoon Blades scored three goals in the second half of the third period to beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-3. . . . Saskatoon (14-7-2) has won four in a row. . . . Tri-City Saskatoon(12-8-0) has lost two straight. The Americans went 7-4-0 on an 11-game road trip. They finished 2-4-0 in the East Division. . . . Tri-City, which last played at home on Oct. 19, is scheduled to entertain the Kamloops Blazers on Friday. . . . D Dom Schmiemann (1) pulled the Americans into a 2-2 tie at 9:53 of the second period, and F Parker AuCoin (12) gave the visitors the lead at 10:13 of the third. . . . F Eric Florchuk got the Blades into a 3-3 tie at 13:53. . . . D Randen Schmidt’s first WHL goal, at 15:32, turned into the winner, and Florchuk added insurance with his seventh goal at 17:34. . . . Schmidt, a 18-year-old from Regina, had seven assists in 36 games with the Blades last season. This season, he has one goal and one assists in 17 games. . . . The Blades got a goal and three assists from F Kirby Dach. The second-overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft now has 13 goals and 26 assists in 23 games. He finished last season with seven goals and 39 assists in 52 games. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 29 shots for Saskatoon. . . . Tri-City Beck Warm blocked 35 shots in his 13th straight start.


Mads Søgaard recorded his first WHL shutout as the Medicine Hat Tigers went into Swift Tigers Logo OfficialCurrent and beat the Broncos, 2-0. . . . Medicine Hat (10-11-3) had lost is previous five games (0-4-1). . . . The Tigers went 1-3-0 in playing four road games in five nights. . . . Swift Current (3-18-2) has lost five straight (0-4-1) and has been blanked in three of its last four outings. . . . Søgaard blocked 48 shots. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski scored both goals, at 8:34 and 13:47 of the first period. He’s got nine goals.


F Nolan Foote scored twice and added an assist to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 3-1 KelownaRocketsvictory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Kelowna (9-13-1) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Rockets went 2-3-1 on a six-game road trip. . . . The Oil Kings (13-8-3) had points in each of their previous 10 games (8-0-2). . . . F David Kope (4) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 9:11 of the first period. . . . The Rockets scored the next three goals, with F Liam Kindree (4) equalizing on a PP at 11:53. Foote, who has 13 goals, counted at 10:06 and 10:38 of the second period. . . . F Leif Mattson had three assists for Kelowna. . . . The Oil Kings held a 27-13 edge in shots. Kelowna had two, seven and four shots, by period. . . . F Zach Russell, a 19-year-old from Calgary, made his Edmonton debut. Russell played one game with the Brandon Wheat Kings last season, but spent most of it with the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks, putting up 16 goals and 20 assists in 43 games. In 2016-17, he had three goals and two assists in 40 games with Brandon.


F Tristin Langan scored twice as the Moose Jaw Warriors skated to a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . The Warriors (9-5-4) have points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Hurricanes are 9-7-4. . . . Langan gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 18:46 of the first period. . . . F Logan Barlage (8) tied it at 1:17 of the second. . . . F Brayden Tracey (6) snapped the tie, on a PP, to put Moose Jaw ahead at 9:57. . . . Langan upped the lead to 3-1 with his 15th goal, at 10:54 of the third. . . . The Hurricanes got back to within one at 16:59 as F Zachary Cox (7) scored on a PP. . . . The Hurricanes got 38 saves from G Carl Tetachuk.


F Reese Johnson completed his hat trick in OT as the Red Deer Rebels beat the visiting KootenaynewKootenay Ice, 5-4. . . . The Rebels (15-5-1) have won four in a row. . . . The Ice (7-13-4) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . Johnson, who has 13 goals, scored Red Deer’s last three goals. He broke a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 13:21 of the second period. . . . F Connor McLennon (4) pulled the Ice back into a tie with his second goal of the game, at 16:07. He also had an assist. . . . Johnson gave Red Deer a 4-3 lead with a shorthanded score at 2:25 of the third. . . . Kootenay D Jonathan Smart (3) tied it, again, on a PP, at 3:40. . . . Johnson won it on another PP, at 2:50 of OT. . . . Red Deer was 3-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-2. . . . F Brandon Hagel drew four assists for the Rebels. He now has 14 goals and 23 assists in 37 games. The four-point game also put him over a point a game for his career. In 213 regular-season games, he now has 214 points. . . . F Owen Pederson scored the game’s first goal, giving the Ice a 1-0 lead at 5:01 of the first period. Pederson, 16, was brought in earlier in the day from the OHA-Edmonton prep team. This was his seventh game of the season with the Ice; the goal was his first point.


The Kamloops Blazers allowed only 14 shots on goal as they skated to a 5-1 victory over Kamloops1the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Kamloops (7-9-2) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). . . . Prince George (9-9-3) had won two in a row. . . . The Blazers held a 36-14 edge in shots, giving up only four, four and six by period. . . . Kamloops was 3-7 on the PP. . . . F Jermaine Loewen scored twice for the Blazers, giving them 2-0 and 3-0 leads. He’s got eight goals. . . . F Zane Franklin got his 13th goal fro Kamloops. . . . F Mike MacLean (2) scored for the Cougars at 16:25 of the third period. . . . Kamloops won 39 of the game’s 59 faceoffs.


The Seattle Thunderbirds erased an early 2-0 deficit with five straight goals and went on to beat the Portland Winterhawks, 6-4, in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (8-9-3) had lost its Seattleprevious seven games (0-6-1). . . . Portland had points in each of its previous seven games (6-0-1). . . . F Jake Gricius, with his first of two goals, and D Clay Hanus (2) put Portland ahead before the game was eight minutes old. . . . Seattle tied it before the first period ended, as F Jared Davidson got his first WHL goal and F Samuel Huo scored his third of the season. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman put his guys out front, 4-2, with goals at 5:10 and 5:47 of the second period. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (5) made it 5-2 at 4:08 of the third and the writing was on the wall. . . . Gricius got the game’s last goal, his 12th, on a PP, at 19:26. . . . Wedman also had an assist for a three-point night, while teammate Nolan Volcan had three assists. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes was busy, with 51 saves, 21 more than Portland’s Dante Giannuzzi. . . . Portland D Brendan De Jong was scratched after leaving Friday’s 5-2 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips in the first period. De Jong went down, needed help getting off the ice and didn’t return. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ GM/head coach, told Joshua Critzer of dubnetwork.ca that De Jong “got a little whiplash with his neck here. It is more of a neck injury . . .” . . . A scoring change after Friday’s game cost Portland F Cody Glass an assist. Originally credited with three, he was left with two. Upon further review, D Matthew Quigley was given the assist, giving him three in the game. Quigley went into the game with two points both assists, in 17 games. In 2016-17, as a freshman, he finished with three assists in 49 games. . . . Glass had two more assists on Saturday night.


F Mark Kastelic scored three times to lead the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-1 victory over the CalgaryChiefs in Spokane. . . . Calgary (8-12-2) has won three straight. . . . Spokane (11-8-3) had won its previous three games. . . . Kastelic gave the Hitmen a 2-0 lead with a pair of PP goals, at 14:26 of the first period and 5:20 of the second. . . . Freshman F Adam Beckman (10) scored a PP goal for the Chiefs at 17:15. . . . Kastelic got that one back as he completed his first WHL hat trick at 19:36. . . . Kastelic, 19, has 19 goals and 11 assists in 22 games. Last season, he finished with 23 goals and 22 assists in 71 games. . . . F Riley Stotts (4, 5) had Calgary’s other two goals. . . . F James Malm had three assists. He’s got two goals and seven assists in seven games since Calgary acquired him from the Vancouver Giants. On the season, he has 11 goals and 13 assists in 20 games. . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 33 shots for the Hitmen.


F Tanner Sidaway broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period to give the Victoria Royals a 2-1 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Victoria improved to 11-6-0. . . . Regina (7-15-0) has lost three in a row. The Pats are (0-2-0) on a seven-game road trip. They won’t play at home again until Dec. 1. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (15) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 12:57 of the first period. . . . Victoria tied it when F Kaid Oliver (13) scored, on a PP, at 17:19. . . . Sidaway, a 19-year-old from Victoria, won it at 17:15 of the third period with his second goal of the season. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 17 shots to earn the victory over Max Paddock, who blocked 25. . . . The Royals continue to be without D Ralph Jarratt and F Dante Hannoun.


F Connor Dewar scored twice and added an assist to help the host Everett Silvertips to a Everett6-5 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Everett (16-7-0) leads the U.S. Division. . . . Vancouver (14-5-2) leads the B.C. Division. . . . D Jake Christiansen (6) gave Everett a 4-1 lead, on a PP, at 18:56 of the second period and this one appeared close to being over. . . . D Matt Barberis (1) scored for Vancouver, on a PP, at 10:04 of the third period, but Everett F Sean Richards (6) got that one back at 12:50. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (4), on a PP, and F Davis Koch (5) pulled the Giants to within a goal, before Dewar scored his 18th goal into an empty net at 18:03. . . . The empty-netter turned into the winner when Giants F Dawson Holt (4) scored at 18:49. . . . D Artyom Minulin had three assists for Everett. . . . Vancouver got three assists from F Milos Roman, with Dmytriw adding two assists to his goal.


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

Scattershooting

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



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



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


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



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


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


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



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


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



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


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

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


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


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


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


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


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


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