Ice and T-Birds make deal . . . No holiday for WHL disciplinarian . . . Scott, McGovern post shutouts . . . Humboldt families angered by book

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D Tomáš Voráček (Prince Albert, 2007-2009) has been assigned on loan by Sparta Prague to Mladá Boleslav (both Czech Republic, Extraliga) for one month. Voráček hasn’t appeared in any games for Sparta this season. Last season, he had three assists in 53 games with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), and one goal in five games with Sparta Prague.


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The Seattle Thunderbirds have acquired D Loeden Schaufler, 18, from the Kootenay Ice in exchange for F Eric Fawkes, 17, a ninth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft and undisclosed conditional future considerations. . . . Schaufler, from DeWinton, Alta., was a third-round pick by the Ice in the 2015 bantam draft. He is pointless in one game this season. In 37 career regular-season games, he has six assists. . . . Fawkes was a second-round selection by Seattle in the 2016 bantam draft. He now is playing with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers. From Winnipeg, he totalled 47 goals and 68 assists in 87 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild over the previous two seasons.


The WHL’s Department of Discipline, under chief custodian Kevin Acheson, was busy on Monday, despite it being Thanksgiving Day in Canada.

The suspension of Everett Silvertips F Sean Richards was set at five games, while F Jermaine Loewen of the Kamloops Blazers got four games.

Richards was suspended for a headshot major and game misconduct during a 2-1 OT loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night. Seattle D Reece Harsch, who absorbed the hit, sat out Seattle’s 4-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night.

Loewen was suspended after taking a headshot major and game misconduct for a first-period hit on D Matthew Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks in Kamloops on Friday. Quigley left the game and didn’t return to what was a 5-3 Portland victory. He also sat out Portland’s 4-1 victory in Everett on Saturday.

The Regina Pats were fined $500 after F Sergei Alkhimov instigated a fight in the last five minutes of a 7-3 loss to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday.

The Pats also had two players suspended — Alkhimov got one game for his indiscretion, while F Jake Leschyshyn also drew a one-game sentence after taking a spearing major in the same game.

F Josh Maser of the Prince George Cougars drew a TBD suspension after taking a slew-footing major and game misconduct on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif during a 3-2 loss to the visiting Giants on Saturday.


Stewart Kemp, the president of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, checked in with an update on Monday. He continues to make progress as he rehabs after a couple of strokes.

“Still fighting issues from strokes,” he writes. “I go for CT Scan on Nov. 6 to see how stent is working.  Am doing Neuro Optometry just to see how eyes are. Blood pressure check Tuesday as I had a couple instances of very low and I hear it’s part of stroke. I have speech therapy Wednesday and nutrition call on Friday. Games Wednesday night and Sunday. Seeing how these go.”

If you happen to be at one of those games, stop by the Booster Club’s table and say hi to Stewart.


MONDAY NIGHT NOTES:

G Ian Scott stopped 23 shots to help the visiting Prince Albert Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . It was Scott’s first shutout of this season and the fourth of his career. His first three shutouts all were against the Kootenay Ice. . . . Scott is off to quite a start this season, at 7-1-0, 1.63, .941. . . . F Brett Leason had a goal and two assists. He pulled into a tie for the WHL points lead with F Joachim Blichfeld of the idle Portland Winterhawks. Each has 17 points. . . . Last season, Leason finished with 33 points in 66 games. . . . While the Raiders improved to 8-1-0, the Hitmen, who went 6-0-0 in the exhibition season, now are 0-5-1.


G Duncan McGovern blocked 45 shots to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 5-0 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . McGovern has one shutout this season and three in his career. . . . The Ice acquired McGovern from the Tigers on Oct. 23, 2017, surrendering a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft in the exchange. . . . The Ice got goals from five different players.


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A father says thanks to Portland . . . Winterhawks complete sweep in Kamloops . . . Raiders perfect after seven . . . Royals now 5-0-0


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F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Gyergyói HK Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga) after being released by Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga). He was pointless in two games with Michalovce. . . .

D Colby Robak (Brandon, 2006-10) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sport Vaasa (Finland, Liiga). Last season, the with the Stockton Heat (AHL), he had three goals and nine assists in 45 games. He was named the Man of the Year by the Heat for his outstanding contributions to the Stockton community and charitable organizations.


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When a junior-aged hockey player gets traded, sometimes we are inclined to read about the transaction and then go on to the next one. But there is a lot that goes on when a player is moved from one team to another.

Earlier this week, the Portland Winterhawks traded F Ty Kolle, 18, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft.

After the deal was done, Kolle’s father, Matt, took the time to visit the Winterhawks Booster Club’s Facebook page and leave the following message, which might provide some insight (a tip of the fedora to Pat Nolan in Kanagawa, Japan, for the lead):

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To Portland Winterhawks, Billets, Fans:

I have been very quiet during Ty’s time in Portland, but I want to ensure the Kolle family’s appreciation is heard.

As a family, the Kolles would like to thank you all.

Mike Johnston and staff have done nothing short of providing Ty a first-class opportunity in hockey. In conversation with Ty as he drove towards Lethbridge, he spoke of how much respect he has for Mike. We thank Mike and we assure Portland you are in great hands.

As far as billets go, Vandy, you made Ty a part of your family and your family went far and above what a billet family needs to do. Your family has a special place in our hearts and we look forward to keeping things going in the future.

Dante (Giannuzi), enjoy these folks as as they will ensure you are in the best environment to succeed.

To the fans of Portland, all I can say is “Wow!” . . . first class and big league. I truly enjoy the passion of the sport of hockey and coming to Portland to watch my son play was a first-class experience. It was a big-league experience. The passion, flair and true support for the team by the fans is at another level.

Overall, the Portland experience is something Ty and family will relish forever.

In talking with Ty, he is excited about the opportunity in front of him in Lethbridge. He is thankful for Portland for enabling the opportunity and Lethbridge for providing it. He is appreciative of the opportunity and more than excited to get started.

He drove 13 hours to ensure he is in the lineup to play the game he loves on Friday night.

Again, from Ty’s family, we thank you.

Cheers,

Matt Kolle

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If you’re wondering, Pat Nolan wasn’t able to watch the Winterhawks’ 5-3 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers on Friday. He said he was driving from Sagamihara to Osaka for a bowling tournament. However, the Winterhawks are to meet the Silvertips in Everett tonight and Nolan said he’ll be watching. As he pointed out, “Saturday night’s game starts at 11 a.m. Sunday here.)



A new feature popped up on the WHL website this week — at least, it was new to me. Headlined WHL XX Journal: Thanksgiving thoughts & gravy for the Raiders, it was written by Tyler Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, and is loaded with information and tidbits. . . . You will find it right here.

Meanwhile, the SJHL has taken a similar approach with a piece written by Dave Leaderhouse that was posted on its website on Friday. This one is headlined ‘Light schedule leads into short break for Thanksgiving holiday weekend.’ Like the piece on the WHL site, it’s full of tidbits, and it’s all right here.

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Former NHL D Chris Pronger will be the guest speaker at the 10th annual Off The Leash Luncheon in support of the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey program on Nov. 1. The fun is scheduled for Prairieland Park in Saskatoon and it all gets started at 11:30 a.m. . . . There’ll be lots of laughs, too, because comedian Kelly Taylor will be the emcee. . . . Individual tickets are $125, and Friends of the Dogs sponsorship packages, each of which includes a full table, are $1,250. . . . Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased through PICATIC at : http://www.picatic.com/offtheleashluncheon2018. . . . For more information, call Matt at 306-222-7475. . . .

If you aren’t aware, there is much excitement in Saskatoon this weekend as the Huskies women’s team opened the new arena — Merlis Belsher Place — with a 1-0 victory over the Alberta Pandas. G Jessica Vance stopped 24 shots to record the shutout. She is the daughter of Liane and Bruce Vance. Bruce, who now works for the City of Prince Albert, spent more than 20 years working in the WHL, with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders. He is a member of the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame. . . . The U of S men’s hockey team is home to the Calgary Dinos next weekend.


Ron Kraft, who spent one season (1997-98) as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats, now is coaching a pee wee team in Houston, Texas. He has his team in Red Deer this weekend for a Thanksgiving tournament. Sheldon Spackman of rdnewsnow.com has more right here.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Portland Winterhawks erased a 3-2 deficit with two goals in the opening 1:36 of the Portlandthird period and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . The Winterhawks, who have won three straight, had beaten the host Blazers, 7-3, on Wednesday night. . . . Kamloops has lost four straight. . . . Last night, each team scored twice on the PP. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice — once on the PP and once shorthanded — and added an assist for Portland. . . . Blichfeld has six goals and seven assists in six games. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen was tossed with a headshot major at 10:12 of the first period for a hit on Portland D Matthew Quigley, who left the game and didn’t return. The Winterhawks scored twice in the final 30 seconds of Loewen’s major. . . . Loewen could end up being suspended before the Blazers entertain the unbeaten Victoria Royals tonight. . . . Portland F Ryan Hughes scored once in his return to Portland’s lineup. He missed the first five games with an ankle or foot injury, one that at one time required a walking boot. . . . If last night was any indication, both teams have some work to do in the discipline department. . . . The Blazers and Winterhawks will complete their regular-season series in Portland on Oct. 27 and 28. . . .


D Josh Brook scored his third goal of the season 16 seconds into OT to give the host MooseJawWarriorsMoose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Brook also had two assists. . . . D Jett Woo was in Moose Jaw’s lineup for the first time this season. A second-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft, he had what was reported was a minor knee procedure early in September. As a result, he missed Vancouver’s training camp and also sat out Moose Jaw’s. . . . This was the third meeting of the young season between these teams. Brandon is 2-0-1 in the three games; Moose Jaw is 1-2-0. . . .


F Jake Leschyshyn scored twice to lead the Regina Pats to a 6-5 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Leschyshyn has three goals. . . . The outcome left the Pats at 1-4-0, while the Broncos slipped to 0-5-0. . . . D Aaron Hyman and F Nick Henry each had three assists for Regina. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Swift Current D Matthew Stanley was involved in a one-man fight at 5:48 of the third period. Earlier in the week, D Cade McNelly of the Seattle Thunderbirds drew a three-game suspension for just such a penalty during a game in Portland on Sept. 29.


G Dorrin Luding stopped 42 shots to help the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Luding was making his first start of the season. This was his second career shutout, but his first with the Blades. He had one shutout in 11 appearances last season with the Everett Silvertips. . . . F Kirby Dach’s fifth goal of the season, at 7:35 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . D Dawson Davidson of the Blades recorded his 100th regular-season when he got in on his club’s third goal. . . .


F Connor Dewar’s fourth goal of the season, 17 seconds into OT, gave the host Everett EverettSilvertips a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . G Cole Schwebius stopped 39 shots for the Thunderbirds in first WHL start. Schwebius, 17, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . G Liam Hughes, the Thunderbirds’ No. 1 guy, is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. With Hughes out, Seattle had Eric Ward, 17, on the bench in a backup role. . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk (4) tied the game at 19:03 of the third period. He has goals in four straight games. . . . Everett F Sean Richards took a headshot major and game misconduct at 14:02 of the third period. That was for a hit on Seattle D Reece Harsch, who needed on-ice help from trainer Phil Varney and didn’t return to the game and is doubtful for a game tonight against the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . .


F Peyton Krebs scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Kootenay Ice a 5-4 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (2) of the Oil Kings forced OT with a goal at 19:55 of the third period. . . .


The Prince Albert Raiders ran their season-opening record to 7-0-0 with a 5-1 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . F Noah Gregor scored his first two goals of the season and added an assist. Both of his goals were shorthanded, the last one into an empty net. . . . Prince Albert got 39 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders, who opened the 1985-86 season with eight straight victories, visit the Red Deer Rebels tonight. . . .


F Josh Williams scored the only goal of a shootout to give the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Tigers (2-4-1) had lost their previous five games. . . . F Riley Woods (5) pulled Spokane into a 2-2 tie at 18:55 of the third period. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard blocked 39 shots through OT and then was perfect in the three-round shootout. . . .


G David Tendeck turned aside 24 shots as the Vancouver Giants opened a weekend doubleheader with a 3-0 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . That was Tendeck’s fourth career shutout. . . . The teams played through two scoreless periods before F Owen Hardy (2) scored at 5:11 of the third period. . . .


The Victoria Royals built up a 4-1 lead and hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Rockets in VictoriaRoyalsKelowna. . . . F D-Jay Jerome (3) gave the Royals a 4-1 lead at 10:18 of the second period, on the PP. . . . The Rockets got close on goals from D Lassi Thomson (3) and F Leif Mattson (6), the latter at 12:31 of the third, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . Victoria now is 5-0-0 as it travels to Kamloops for a Saturday night date with the Blazers. . . . F Liam Kindree scored once in his return to the Kelowna lineup after missing the first six games. He was injured during an exhibition game in Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (1-6-0) visit the Seattle Thunderbirds of Kent, Wash., tonight.


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Food news: Blades’ Beuf is back! . . . Lethbridge adds forward in deal . . . Hitmen trim two from roster . . . Ice drops an import


MacBeth

F Masi Marjamäki (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2002-05) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 24 games with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland, KHL), and four goals and two assists in 14 games with Almtuna Uppsala (Sweden, Allsvenskan).


ThisThat

The biggest news in the WHL on Thursday, an off-day on the schedule, came from the Saskatoon Blades, and it is explained in the following tweets . . . If you don’t know the origin of Jerome Engele’s nickname, you should know that he is a former Saskatoon police officer and you need to watch Smokey and the Bandit. . . .


When a WHL team puts together a bid package in the hopes of bringing the Memorial Cup tournament to its city, one of the things that must be included is a guaranteed profit.

For example, in winning the right to play host to the 2013 tournament, the Saskatoon KelownaRocketsBlades guaranteed a profit of $3.5 million. When all was said and done, the event fell a bit short of that, so the Saskatchewan government, which had agreed to underwrite the guarantee, shelled out $668,000 to the CHL. The 2013 tournament drew 82,503 fans to nine games, at the time the fourth-highest attendance in the event’s history.

So what kind of profit did the Kelowna Rockets guarantee as part of their successful bid for the 2020 Memorial Cup?

We may never find out, but Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, told Ron Seymour of the Kelowna Daily Courier that it was a “heck of a lot less” than the Blades’ guarantee.

Seymour also reported that the City of Kelowna is to hear a funding request in December and that the organizing committee is expected to apply to the provincial government for grants to help with tournament costs.

Seymour’s complete story is right here.

The WHL announced Wednesday, following a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary, that the Rockets would be the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup. That night, the Rockets dropped a 5-0 decision to the visiting Vancouver Giants before, according to Wayne Moore of castanet.net, “just 4,008 fans, the smallest announced crowd at Prospera Place since October of 2002.”



The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired F Ty Kolle, 18, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes Lethbridgefor a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Kolle, from Kamloops, was scratched on Wednesday night when the Winterhawks went on to score a 7-3 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Kolle was picked by Portland in the fourth round of the 2015 bantam draft. In 77 regular-season games with the Winterhawks, he has seven goals and 11 assists. Last season, he put up seven goals and seven assists in 60 games. . . . Kolle could make his Lethbridge debut tonight (Friday) against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.



The Calgary Hitmen have released F Orca Wiesblatt, 18, and G Matthew Armitage, 19, from their roster. . . . Wiesblatt had five goals and eight assists in 49 games as a freshman Calgarywith the Hitmen last season. This season, he was pointless in two games. He joined the Hitmen in late October from the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. Prior to then, he had been committed to attend the U of Vermont and play for the Catamounts. . . . Armitage will turn 19 on Oct. 30. He got into 19 games with the Hitmen last season (4-7-1, 3.55, .890) as a freshman, and had played in one game this season (0-1-0, 5.05, .839). The Spokane Chiefs selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . Armitage’s departure leaves the Hitmen with two goaltenders — Carl Stankowski, 18, and freshman Jack McNaughton, who turns 17 on Oct. 30. The move also would appear to signal that the Hitmen are feeling good about Stankowski’s health. Then with the Seattle Thunderbirds, he sat out all of last season due to injury and health issues.


The Kootenay Ice has released F Gilian Kohler, who was the third-overall selection in the KootenaynewCHL’s 2017 import draft. The move allows the Ice to keep Slovakian D Martin Bodak, 20, and Finnish D Valterri Kakkonen, who is in his first WHL season. . . . Kohler, 18, is from Biel, Switzerland. He had eight goals and 11 assists in 55 games as a freshman last season. He had one assist in one game this season. . . . Kohler has cleared the 48-hour import waivers and is expected to return to Switzerland and play for Biel-Bienne in the Elite Jr. A League. He had eight goals and 42 assists in 43 games there in 2016-17.


THURSDAY NIGHT NOTES:

If you are a follower of the Prince George Cougars, or a WHL fan in general, you should know that Hartley Miller is two episodes into a new podcast called Hartley’s Cat Scan. . . . The second episode finds Miller, the analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts and the sports director at 94.3 The Goat, involved in an entertaining conversation with G Taylor Gauthier. It’s all right here.

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The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have acquired the rights to F Sebastian Streu from the Cowichan Capitals for future considerations. Streu, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 22, was released by the Kootenay Ice last month. Last season, as a freshman, he had nine goals and three assists in 54 games with the Ice. . . . Streu is from Germany, but his father, Craig, has Canadian roots, so Sebastian, who has dual citizenship, wasn’t considered an import by the WHL.

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In another BCHL deal, the Surrey Eagles have added G Kyle Dumba, 20, and F Brady Lynn, 19, from the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations. . . . Dumba, from Calgary, has played in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats. He started this season in camp with the Pats but was released. . . .

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In the OHL, G Michael DiPietro tied the league record for most career shutouts as the Windsor Spitfires beat the visiting London Knights, 2-0. DiPietro, in his fourth season with Windsor, stopped 32 shots in recording his 16th shutout, tying the record set by Tom McCollum, who played two-plus seasons with the Guelph Storm and half a season with the Brampton Battalion (2006-09). . . . DiPietro was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . McCollum now is with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. . . . The WHL career record of 26 is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 2013-18).


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note book fund. Just finished Hockey Fight in Canada, by David Shoalts. Next up is Jeff Pearlman’s Football for a Buck, about the rise and fall of the USFL.


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Kootenay puts some seats on ice . . . Broncos, Pats struggling early . . . Smith back to Chiefs after NHL stint


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Cranbrooktarps

A few weeks ago, Taking Note received an email from a reader who reported that the Kootenay Ice had blocked off some seats in one end of the 4,268-seat Western Financial Place.

According to the emailer, some season-ticket holders had been asked to relocate to seats Kootenaynewelsewhere in the arena.

“The past three seasons, attendance in sections F, G and H was pretty sparse,” the emailer continued. “Now, if one goes to the website and tries to buy season tickets, almost every seat in those three sections is unavailable.”

As you can see from the above photo, the Ice has indeed closed off some seats; in fact, there now are tarps over those seats.

During the offseason, the Ice, which has worked hard as an organization on community involvement and raising its visibility in the Cranbrook area, mounted a season-ticket campaign — Drive to 25 — in an attempt to sell 2,500 before this season opened. Last week, Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman reported that the count was at “1,670, a drop of 247 from last (season).”

When the Ice played their home-opener a week ago, the announced attendance was 2,862. The Ice beat the Calgary Hitmen, 5-3, in that one.

On Friday night, the announced attendance was 2,375 as the Ice dropped a 7-4 decision to the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


It appears that F Lukus MacKenzie’s WHL career is over. MacKenzie, 19, has returned home after being in camp with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . According to someone familiar with the situation, MacKenzie “lost his interest in playing.” It is expected MacKenzie soon will be going back to school. . . . MacKenzie, from Calgary, was one of the WHL’s toughest players over the previous three seasons. A third-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in 2014 WHL bantam draft, he played two seasons (2015-17) there before being dealt to the Red Deer Rebels early last season. The Winterhawks later acquired him from the Rebels. . . . In 169 regular-season games, he put up 10 goals and 23 assists.


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D Dan Gatenby, who was released by the Tri-City Americans, has joined the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Gatenby, 20, is from Kelowna. He also has played in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers. . . . Last season, he had five assists in 57 games with the Americans. . . . In 120 regular-season WHL games, he has one goal and 12 assists. . . . Prior to joining Nanaimo, his junior A experience comprised two games with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors in 2014-15.


Barry Wolff, a long-time junior coach, has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. . . . Wolff spent the previous four-plus seasons with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, the first as head coach and then as general manager and head coach. He was fired by the Express, with whom he won the BCHL’s 2014 playoff championship, in late November with their record at 3-21-2. . . . He has been involved in junior B or junior hockey as a coach since at least 1996-97, spending most of that time in the BCHL. . . . He did spend one season (2004-05) in the MJHL, as the head coach of the OCN Blizzard. . . . The Stampeders had been looking for a GM/head coach since Taurean White resigned prior to beginning his second season with them. . . . Darren Webster, who will stay on as a part-time director of player personnel, has been working as the interim GM/head coach. . . . The Stampeders went into Friday’s action at 2-1-0.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES: The NHL’s New Jersey Devils have returned D Ty Smith to the Spokane Chiefs. The Devils selected Smith with the 17th overall pick of the NHL’s 2018 draft after he put up 73 points, including 59 assists, in 69 games. He is expected to be in Spokane’s lineup tonight as the Chiefs open their home schedule against the Kootenay Ice. . . . Two players off the Tri-City Americans’ 2017-18 roster remain with NHL teams. D Juusu Valimaki, who is to turn 20 on Oct. 6, is with the Calgary Flames. If he doesn’t start with them, he likely will be with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. F Michael Rasmussen, 19, is with the Detroit Red Wings; if he doesn’t stick there, he must be returned to the Americans. . . .

The WHL’s two representatives in the 2018 Memorial Cup are having a tough time finding that first victory this season. The Swift Current Broncos, the WHL’s defending champions, are 0-3-0 and have been outscored, 15-1. They were outshot 47-14 and beaten 5-0 by the host Edmonton Oil Kings last night, the second game in a row in which they’ve been blanked. Swift Current’s only goal in three games was scored by F Kaden Elder, who was dealt to the Calgary Hitmen on Thursday. . . . The Regina Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament, also are 0-3-0. Last night, they fell 8-4 at the hands of the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, who got three goals from F Dylan Cozens. . . . The Pats last opened 0-3-0 in 2008-09. . . . The Oil Kings, meanwhile, have started 4-0-0 for the first time since they entered the WHL in 2007-08. . . .

The Hurricanes lost D Igor Merezhko to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 19:31 of the second period for a hit on Regina F Austin Pratt. Pratt left the game at the time, but returned for the third period. . . . The Portland Winterhawks blew a 5-3 third-period lead, then failed to score on a rare 5-on-3 man advantage in overtime before dropping a 6-5 four-round shootout decision to the host Tri-City Americans.


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Memorial Cup 2020 decision on horizon . . . Ice gets Semchuk from Oil Kings . . . Raiders down to two goaltenders


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F Dustin Boyd (Moose Jaw, 2002-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL) after being released by mutual agreement by Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL) on Wednesday. This season, he was pointless in five games with Dynamo. Boyd had played six seasons with Astana (2011-17) before joining Dynamo Moscow last season. . . .

F Pavel Padakin (Calgary, Regina, 2012-15) has been traded by Ak Bars Kazan to Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (both Russia, KHL) for F Razat Tamirov, 19, and F Islam Khasanov, 19. . . . This season, Padakin was pointless in three games with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), while averaging 11:11 TOI. Last season, with Sochi (Russia, KHL), he had nine goals and 22 assists in 53 games while averaging 15:35 TOI.


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The WHL’s board of governors will gather in Calgary on Wednesday and by day’s end we should know which of three cities will play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . The Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes are in the running and they will make their presentations in that order. . . . Marty Hastings has more right here on the process and the Kamloops bid.


If you stop off here and like what you see — or even if you don’t — why not consider donating to the cause. Just click on the DONATE button over there on the right . . . and thank you in advance.


The Kootenay Ice has acquired F Brendan Semchuk, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for Kootenaynewa conditional fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Semchuk, who was raised in Kamloops, was pointless in two games with the Oil Kings this season. He was a healthy scratch on Wednesday when the Oil Kings beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-2. . . . The Vancouver Giants selected Semchuk in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2014 bantam draft. They dealt Semchuk to Edmonton on Jan. 10, along with G Todd Scott and a 2018 third-round bantam pick, for F Davis Koch and a conditional third-round 2019 bantam pick. . . . Last season, Semchuk had eight goals and 11 assists in 33 games with Vancouver, and four goals and three assists in 16 games with Edmonton. . . . In 145 career regular-season games, he has 21 goals and 27 assists. . . . Semchuk could make his Ice debut tonight (Friday) against the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


The Calgary Hitmen reached the maximum of three 20-year-olds by acquiring F Kaden CalgaryElder from the Swift Current Broncos for a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . Elder joins F Luke Coleman and F Jake Kryski as Calgary’s three 20s. . . . Elder, from Saskatoon, was a first-round selection, 22nd overall, by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had 18 goals and 14 assists in 67 regular-season games, then added three goals and six assists in 26 playoff games as he helped the Broncos win the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . In 250 career regular-season games, the first 67 with the Thunderbirds, he has 39 goals and 30 assists. This season, he had one goal in two games with the Broncos. . . . The Hitmen meet the Rebels in Red Deer tonight (Friday), before returning home to face the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday and the Rebels on Sunday. . . .

The Broncos, meanwhile, still have five 20-year-olds on their roster — F Andrew Fyten, Russian D Artyom Minulin, who is injured at the moment, F Tanner Nagel, D Ryan Pouliot, and D Matthew Stanley, who was claimed on waivers from the Lethbridge Hurricanes earlier in the week.


The Prince Albert Raiders are down to two goaltenders after releasing veteran Curtis PrinceAlbertMeger. The move leaves them with Ian Scott, 18, who was a fourth-round selection by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL’s 2017 draft, and Donovan Buskey, 18, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs on Aug. 31 for a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Meger, 20, is from Regina. He was a freshman with the Raiders last season, and went 8-10-6, 3.43, .886. Meger had been on the Raiders’ protected list since he was 16. . . . With Meger out of the picture, the Raiders are down to three 20-year-olds — F Parker Kelly, F Kody McDonald and F Sean Montgomery.


The Portland Winterhawks acquired F Rylan Bettens, 18, from the Brandon Wheat Kings Portlandon Thursday for an undisclosed conditional selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft. . . . Bettens was taken by Brandon in the third round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . He was pointless in one game this season. . . . Last season, he had seven goals and seven assists in 49 regular-season games. . . . In 114 career games, he has 11 goals and eight assists.

Earlier in the day, the Wheat Kings dropped D Ty Ettinger, 18, from their roster. Ettinger, from Ardrossan, Alta., had two goals and five assists in 45 games as a freshman with the Wheat Kings last season. This season, he was pointless in one game. . . . He was fifth-round pick by Brandon in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Wheat Kings now have eight defencemen on their roster, along with two goaltenders and 13 forwards. . . .

Joshua Critzer of dubnetwork.ca reported later Thursday that Portland F Lukus MacKenzie “is back home and as of right now is still on the roster.” It’s not clear whether the Winterhawks sent him home to await a trade or if MacKenzie asked for a deal and left on his own. . . . MacKenzie, 19, is from Calgary. He got into each of Portland’s first two games, but was pointless. Last season, he played with three teams, putting up four assists in 13 games with the Saskatoon Blades, and four assists in 17 games with the Red Deer Rebels, who dealt him to Portland. In 29 games with the Winterhawks, he had two goals and three assists. . . . A skater who brings a strong physical presence to a lineup, he has 10 goals and 23 assists in 169 career regular-season games.


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A special Kidney Walk for Dorothy . . . A milestone for the Blades’ voice . . . Some tidbits from opening weekend

MacBeth

G Matt Hewitt (Regina, 2010-13) signed a one-year contract with Fassa Canazei (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, with University of British Columbia (Canada West, U Sports), he got into 20 games, going 12-5-2, 2.85, .920 with one shutout. . . . This summer, Hewitt played with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). In 26 games, he drew three assists, while going 23-2-0, 1.95, .925 with three shutouts. He led the league in wins, shutouts, GAA and SP. . . . CBR Brave won the AIHL championship, beating the Sydney Bears 4-3 in OT in the league’s Grand Final on Sept. 2 in Melbourne. . . .

F Marcel Noebels (Seattle, Portland, 2010-12) has been released from his PTO with the Boston Bruins (NHL) and will rejoin Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL), where he is an alternate captain for this season. Last season, he had 11 goals and 19 assists in 52 games with Eisbären. . . .

F Nikita Popugayev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) has been traded by CSKA Moscow to Amur Khabarovsk (both Russia, KHL) for D Denis Nedilko (1999 born, playing for Amur’s junior team, Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk). Popugayev had two goals and one assist in three games this season with Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (Russia, MHL). . . . Krasnaya Armiya is CSKA’s junior team. MHL is Russia’s junior league.


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I’m back after being away for a few days while we put the finishing touches on the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you hadn’t guessed, Dorothy and I were among the organizers for the Kidney Walk that was held on Sunday at McDonald Park.

Yes, it was a success! Oh, was it!!

Let me tell you a little bit about it . . .

Dorothy had her kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, after almost four years of doing peritoneal dialysis, so this Kidney Walk marked the fifth anniversary of her new life.

Drinnanfamily
The Drinnan family, with the cake (donated by the North Shore Safeway) that celebrated the fifth anniversary of Dorothy’s kidney transplant.

We knew it was going to be special because our granddaughter Kara brought her parents — our son Todd and his wife, Joanna — to the Walk from their home in Burnaby.

Then, as Dorothy and I got out of our car at McDonald Park, a couple came walking in our direction. It turned out to be our best friends from Brandon — Darlene and Alan Silvius, who arrived completely unannounced. They actually had arrived in town on Saturday, but didn’t breathe a word about it. In fact, at one point, Darlene actually had sent a text to Dorothy indicating that they were in Portage la Prairie, Man., visiting with friends.

DrinnanSilvius
Darlene and Alan Silvius joined us at the Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sunday. Darlene and Dorothy have a special relationship.

Back in the day, Darlene was adamant that she would be the person to give a kidney to Dorothy. But it turned out that she wasn’t a match. Still, she refused to give up, and turned to the Kidney Paired Donation program.

So it was that five years ago she donated a kidney to a stranger in order to allow Dorothy to receive a true gift of life from someone else.

These two women have long had a strong relationship, but for the past five years they have grown even closer.

The look on Dorothy’s face when her brain finally recognized what her eyes were trying to tell her was priceless indeed.

All of you who read this blog and have donated on Dorothy’s kidney page were a big part of our day, too. In the end, Dorothy raised $3,250, which left her No. 1 in Kamloops for a fifth straight year.

Thank you all so much for your support. It really does mean a lot.

Now let’s get back to hockey . . . although it’ll be a bit spotty this week because, well, we’ve got some company to tour around.


In the meantime, here are some notes from the past few days. . . .

Old friend Les Lazaruk, who I may (or may not) have owned on the Strat-O-Matic field back in the day, opened the regular season with something of a milestone broadcast . . .


Aside from that milestone, the weekend’s biggest story may have been in Moose Jaw where the 50-50 draw at the Warriors’ home-opener on Saturday night reached $383,450.

There were two unclaimed winning pots from last season, so the carryover to this season was $166,615.

The winning ticket on Saturday was Z423428. As of Sunday morning, the jackpot apparently had yet to be claimed.

Now wouldn’t that be a carryover!


On the eve of the regular season, Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman provided this note on the Kootenay Ice:

“The current season-ticket count rests at 1,670, a drop of 247 from last year. The club had set a goal for 2,500 as part of it’s Drive to 25 campaign that kicked off in May 2017.” . . . The announced attendance at the Ice’s home-opener — a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday — was 2,862. . . . F Connor McClennon, the second overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, scored twice for the Ice. A 16-year-old from Wainwright, Alta., he was pointless in five games with the Ice last season.


The Brandon Wheat Kings opened by sweeping a home-and-home series with the Moose BrandonWKregularJaw Warriors, winning 2-1 in the Wheat City and 4-2 on the road. . . . G Jiri Patera, a 19-year-old rookie from Praha, Czech Republic, recorded both victories. A sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft, Patera stopped 56 of 59 shots in the two victories. . . . Patera is the first European goaltender to play for the Wheat Kings in the franchise’s 52-year history. . . . The Wheat Kings have had at least one American-born goaltender in their history — Scott Olson, from Bloomington, Minn., got into 63 games over three seasons and was a part of the 1978-79 championship team that lost only five regular-season games.


A couple of WHLers signed three-year entry-level NHL deals on the weekend. . . . D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Brook, 19, is from Roblin, Man. He was picked in the second round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. Brook scored both Moose Jaw goals as the Warriors dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday night. . . . F Jake McGrew, a 19-year-old from Orange, Calif., signed with the San Jose Sharks after being a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. McGrew has been with the Spokane Chiefs for two seasons, although knee problems kept him from playing in 2016-17.



The Red Deer Rebels released D Colin Paradis on Saturday in order to get down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Releasing Paradis left them with F Brandon Hagel, F Reese Johnson, who is the team captain, and F Jeff de Wit as their 20-year-olds. . . . Paradis, from Sherwood Park, Alta., has played 194 regular-season games — the first 165 with the Moose Jaw Warriors — over four seasons.


F Owen Blocker of the Lethbridge Hurricanes left the ice on a stretcher in the first period of Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat.

According to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Blocker “targeted Dalton Gally Lethbridgefor a hit in the corner and went awkwardly into the boards. Blocker was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a lengthy delay and did not return.” . . . However, after being checked out at hospital and released, Blocker returned to the arena and returned to Lethbridge with his teammates after the game.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes added G Akira Schmid to their roster on the weekend, after he was assigned by the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Schmid, 18, is from Nesslau, Switzerland, and was a fifth-round selection by the Devils in the NHL’s 2018 draft.

He joins Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., and Carl Tetachuk, 17, from Lethbridge, as goaltenders on the Hurricanes’ roster. Klassen went the distance in the Hurricanes’ first two games as they split a home-and-home with Medicine Hat. The Tigers won 5-2 in Lethbridge on Friday.


The Portland Winterhawks got Danish F Joachim Blichfeld, 20, back from the NHL’s San PortlandJose Sharks as the WHL regular-season opened. Blichfeld, a seventh-round pick by the Sharks in the NHL’s 2016 draft, has signed a pro contract so is eligible to play with the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks’ AHL affiliate. . . . Blichfeld’s arrival left the Winterhawks with four 20-year-olds and three imports on their roster. . . . Blichfeld joined F Conor MacEachern, D Brendan De Jong and D Jared Freadrich as the 20-year-olds. . . . MacEachern didn’t play in a 5-3 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, while MacEachern sat out Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Silvertips in Everett. . . .

WHL teams have until mid-October to declare a maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Should the Winterhawks choose to keep Blichfeld, they would have to release either Czech F Michael Kvasnica, 18, or Swiss F Dean Schwenninger. . . . Kvasnica and Schwenninger are first-year players, but teams are allowed to trade freshman imports only between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trading deadline. Prior to this season, teams were permitted to trade first-year imports. . . . Schwenninger didn’t play in either of the two weekend games. . . .

D Henri Jokiharju, a 19-year-old from Finland, is in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was named to the WHL-Western Conference’s second all-star team last season, and may still end up back in Portland.

Should that happen . . . well, I’m sure the Winterhawks won’t concern themselves with that until it actually does happen.


The Kelowna Rockets went 8-0-0 against the Kamloops Blazers last season. The Blazers Kamloops1showed on opening weekend that things are different now. Kamloops swept a home-and-home series, winning 4-1 at home on Friday and 3-1 in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ first-year head coach, picked up his first WHL victory on Friday and his family — wife Kelly and their children (Isabelle, 17, and Marc, 15) were there to witness it, having made the trip from their home in St. Albert, Alta. . . . “Up until (Thursday) night, I was texting with my daughter and my son and they made me believe they were both getting ready for bed and they were going to get up to go to school this morning,” Lajoie told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “It’s nice to be able to share this with them. I’m not here if it isn’t for them. I don’t lose sight of that.”


The Prince Albert Raiders opened with a two-game sweep of Regina, snapping a 15-game losing skid to the Pats with the first victory. The Raiders got started with a 7-2 victory on home ice on Friday, then travelled to Regina and beat the Pats 3-1 on Saturday. . . . The Raiders last beat the Pats on Sept. 23, 2016, when they posted a 4-3 OT victor in Regina on a goal by F Simon Stransky.


The Saskatoon Blades opened with a two-game sweep of the defending-champion Swift Current Broncos, winning 2-1 on the road and 8-0 at home, behind 17 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . F Kirby Dach put up seven points in the two games, including three goals and two assists in Saturday’s shutout victory. . . . Only time will tell if this is a sign of things to come for the Blades, who have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, and the Broncos, who went all-in last season in putting together the team that would win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.


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Hurricanes bank more than $400,000 . . . Winterhawks, Ice, Blades trim rosters . . . Ex-WHLer joins coaching ranks


MacBeth

G Andrei Makarov (Saskatoon, 2011-13) has cleared KHL waivers and been assigned by Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Russia, KHL) to CSK VVS Samara (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Nizhnekamsk, he got into one game playing 33 minutes and allowing three goals on 14 shots, for a 5.36 GAA and a.786 SP.


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The Lethbridge Hurricanes reported to shareholders on Monday that they made a profit Lethbridgeof $422,443 in 2017-18. . . . That was down from the $737,710 profit the previous season. However, the 2017-18 financials included a payment of $167,000 to the City of Lethbridge that was due after improvements were made to their home arena. . . . The Hurricanes lost out in the Eastern Conference final in each of the past two seasons. . . . There was other interesting item to come out of the annual meeting. The Hurricanes will be out of their arena early in the playoffs next spring, what with the World men’s curling championship in the ENMAX Centre from March 30 through April 7. General manager Peter Anholt told shareholders that the tentative plan is for the team to play early home playoff games, if necessary, in the Nicolas Sheran Arena. . . . According to the City of Lethbridge’s website, the Nicolas Sheran Ice Centre has a seating capacity of 978. It is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s hockey teams. . . . “We’ve talked to a lot of other teams that have moved from their venue to another venue outside of their city, and it doesn’t work,” Anholt said. “We’ve got the Nicolas Sheran. It’s not perfect, there’s going to be some unhappy fans and unhappy advertisers, but we’ll deal with it.” . . . Aaron Mahoney of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here. . . . Interestingly, Mahoney reported that the Hurricanes didn’t make as much in 2017-18 as the previous season, despite “an increase in ticket sales by $30,000.”


The Portland Winterhawks appear to have gotten down to three 20-year-olds by releasPortlanding F Connor Barley, who no longer appears on their roster. Barley, from St. Andrews, Man., played last season with the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers, putting up 35 goals and 32 assists in 58 games. . . . His departure leaves the Winterhawks with D Brendan De Jong, just back from a stint in camp with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, F Conor MacEachern and D Jared Freadrich as the three 20s. . . . The Winterhawks also got down to two goaltenders — sophomore Shane Farkas, who turns 19 on Dec. 1, and freshman Dante Giannuzzi, 16 — by releasing Evan Fradette, a 17-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., who was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Giannuzzi, from Winnipeg, was a fifth-round selection in the 2017 draft.


The Kootenay Ice dropped three veteran skaters from their roster on Monday, leaving it Kootenaynewwith 26 players on its roster, including two goaltenders and 10 defencemen. . . . F Gunnar Wegleitner, 20, F Sebastian Streu, who turns 19 on Nov. 22, and F Eli Lieffers, 18, all were released. . . . The Ice had acquired Wegleitner from the Brandon Wheat Kings on July 20 for a conditional sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. From Vancouver, he has also played for the Everett Silvertips and Victoria royals. In 112 regular-season games, he has 11 goals and nine assists. . . . From Neuwied, Germany, Streu had nine goals and three assists in 54 games as a freshman last season. He has dual Canadian/German citizenship so wasn’t classified as an import. . . . From Saskatoon, Lieffers was fourth-round pick by the Ice in the 2015 bantam draft. He had one goal and one assist in 11 games over three seasons with the Ice. Lieffers was pointless in two games with the Ice last season. . . . Two of the 10 defenceman on Kootenay’s roster are imports — veteran Martin Bodak, a Slovakian who will turn 20 on Nov. 28, and Finnish freshman Valtteri Kakkonen. The Ice also has sophomore F Gilian Kohler, who is from Biel, Switzerland, on its roster.


The Saskatoon Blades are down to two goaltenders after returning G Koen MacInnes, 16, Saskatoonto the Burnaby Winter Club where he is expected to play for the Burnaby Winter Club’s midget prep team. A second-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, MacInnes started three exhibition games and went 3-0-0, 2.27, .929. . . . His departure leaves the Blades, as expected, with Nolan Maier, 17, atop the depth chart and Dorrin Luding, 19, as the backup, at least to open the regular season. . . . The Blades also dropped F Braden Plaschewsky, 16, from their roster. A second-round pick in that 2017 bantam draft, he is expected to play for the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. He had two goals in six exhibition games with the Blades. . . . Saskatoon is carrying 26 players, including two goaltenders and nine defencemen.


Among the players making their way back to WHL teams from NHL camps on Monday — D Vladislav Yeryomenko to the Calgary Hitmen from the Nashville Predators; G Liam Hughes to the Seattle Thunderbirds from the Philadelphia Flyers; F Brett Davis to the Kootenay Ice from the Dallas Stars; and D Wyatte Wylie to the Everett Silvertips from Philadelphia. . . . Yeryomenko was a fifth-round pick by Nashville in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Hughes was on an amateur tryout with the Flyers. . . . Dallas selected Davis in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft. . . . The Flyers grabbed Wylie in the fifth round of the 2018 NHL draft.


Logan Proulx, who played two-plus seasons in the WHL, has joined the junior B Fairview, Alta., Flyers of the North West Junior Hockey League as an assistant coach. A defenceman, Proulx, who is from Trail, B.C., played 137 games over three seasons (2007-10) with the Edmonton Oil Kings, putting up nine goals and 13 assists.


You will recall mention here late last week of the junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League after they incurred a one-year suspension to owner Barry Dewar, a 20-game suspension to a head coach who wasn’t really the head coach, and a $10,000 fine, all for tampering. . . . Now comes word that Jassi Sangha, the club’s real head coach, has been suspended for a game after playing an ineligible player in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Princeton Posse on Saturday. . . . Larry Martel, the KIJHL’s first-year president, told Kamloops This Week that it was a clerical era. . . . KTW’s piece is right here.


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk — a walk, I should point out, that she is helping to organize — you may do so right here. You might even be the person to push her total over $3,000. Thank you!


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