Ice responds to City of Cranbrook lawsuit . . . Portland’s McCleary had interesting night . . . Four WHL teams facing elimination tonight

The City of Cranbook filed a lawsuit claiming breach of contract in December 2020 after a WHL franchise that had been located there left for Winnipeg. Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has discovered that the owners of the Winnipeg Ice filed a response to that lawsuit last month. . . . Of course, that response presents a different version of the facts than does Cranbrook’s lawsuit. . . . Crawley’s story is right here.



The IIHF’s 2023 World men’s hockey championship was to have been decided in St. Petersburg, Russia, from May 5-21. That won’t happen now that the IIHF announced that “out of concern for the safety and well-being of participating players, officials, media and fans, the IIHF council has decided to withdraw the hosting rights . . . from Russia . . .” . . . The decision was made during an IIHF council meeting in Zurich on Tuesday. The IIHF said it will confirm “an alternative host” during its 2022 Congress in Tampere, Finland, during the final week of the 2022 World men’s tournament. . . . From a news release: “The decision to relocate the event was taken primarily out of concern for the safety and well-being of all participating players, officials, media, and fans. As was the case with Council’s earlier decision to withdraw the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship that was to be held in Omsk and Novosibirsk, Russia, the Council expressed significant concerns over the safe freedom of movement of players and officials to, from, and within Russia.”


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

There were six playoff games on the ice and there weren’t any surprises as the higher seed won each of the games. . . . There are six more games on tap tonight with four teams already facing elimination. The Prince Albert Raiders, Saskatoon Blades, Kelowna Rockets and Prince George Cougars trail their best-of-seven series, 3-0, as they play on home ice again tonight. . . . Here’s how things went last night. . . .

Western Conference:

In Prince George, G Taylor Gauthier stopped 28 shots in leading the No. 3 PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 2-0 victory over the No. 6 Cougars. . . . Portland has won the first three games of the series and can end it tonight in Prince George. . . . The Winterhawks acquired Gauthier, 20, from the Cougars during the season. His first playoff shutout came in his third appearance, all of them this season with Portland. . . . F Gabe Klassen scored both of Portland’s goals — at 2:46 and 13:36 of the second period. . . . F Riley Heidt of the Cougars took a kneeing major and game misconduct for a second-period hit on D Luca Cagnoni, who wasn’t injured on the play. . . . There was something of an oddity on the play as Portland D Ryan McCleary was shown on the online game sheet as having received a game misconduct, along with an instigating minor and a major for a fight with Heidt. McCleary apparently returned to the dressing room, took off his hockey gear, put on his suit and headed up into the stands. He later was told that he hadn’t been ejected, so went back to the dressing room, put his hockey gear back on and returned to the action. The game misconduct later disappeared from the game sheet, to be replaced by misconduct. . . . D Clay Hanus and F Aidan Litke were out of Portland’s lineup, presumably with undisclosed injuries, and didn’t even make the trek north. . . .

In Kelowna, the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds struck for three third-period goals Seattlein the span of 1:32 and went on to beat the No. 5 Rockets, 5-1. . . . The Thunderbirds hold a 3-0 series lead going into tonight’s Game 4 in Kelowna. . . . F Jake Poole of the Rockets opened the scoring when he counted on a penalty shot at 18:22 of the first period. . . . F Reid Schaefer pulled Seattle even, on a PP, at 5:07 of the second. . . . Seattle’s offensive explosion began at 5:57 of the third period when D Kevin Korchinski scored for a 2-1 lead. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky notched his fourth goal of the series, on a PP, at 7:12, and Korchinski added his second goal of the game — and third of the series — at 7:29. That goal also came on a PP; it was Seattle’s 10th goal with the man advantage in the three games. The Thunderbirds are 10-for-19 on the PP in the three games. . . . The two PP goals came after Kelowna F Mark Liwiski was hit with a checking-to-the-head major at 4:00 of the third period. . . . Korchinski has three goals and six assists in the series. F Jared Davidson, who had three assists, has two goals and eight assists.

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Eastern Conference:

In Prince Albert, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice scored four first-period goals and added WinnipegIcefive more in the second en route to a 10-1 victory over the No. 8 Raiders. . . . Winnipeg leads the series 3-0 and gets its first opportunity to wrap it up tonight. . . . The Ice led 2-0 at the 7:03 mark of the first period, having scored two PP goals. . . . F Mikey Milne scored three times for the Ice, completing his hat trick with a shorthanded score at 19:15 of the second period. He also had an assist. . . . F Connor McClennon had a goal and three assists. . . . Winnipeg had a 36-19 edge in shots. . . . The Ice was 3-for-5 on the PP, and now is 7-for-12 in the three games. . . . The Raiders had Ozzy Wiesblatt back in their lineup. Wiesblatt, who had 41 points in 43 regular-season games, hadn’t played since March 12. . . . Winnipeg F Matt Savoie, who was injured in Game 1 and missed Game 2, was on the ice for the pregame warmup. Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com tweeted that Savoie “is visibly favouring his left leg.” Savoie ended up being a scratch. . . .

In Lethbridge, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first three goals Edmontonand went on to a 4-1 victory over the No. 7 Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings now hold a 3-0 edge and can sweep the series Thursday night in Lethbridge. . . . F Jalen Luypen had a goal and two assists for Edmonton, opening the scoring at 2:21 of the first period. . . . D Kaiden Guhle upped the lead to 2-0 at 1:56 of the second period. . . . F Carter Souch made it 3-0, on a PP, at 11:03. . . . The Hurricanes counted at 3:18 of the third period when F Yegor Klavdiev scored on a PP, but F Dylan Guenther got that one back — it was his third of the series — at 6:13. . . . G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots to record the victory over Bryan Thomson, who blocked 34 shots. . . .

In Brandon, the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels got third-period goals from F Arshdeep RedDeerBains and F Ben King as they beat the No. 6 Wheat Kings, 3-1. . . . Red Deer holds a 2-1 lead now with Game 4 in Brandon tonight. They’ll be back in Red Deer for Game 5 on Friday. . . . Bains, who won the WHL scoring race, broke a 1-1 tie, on a PP, at 6:35, with King, who led the WHL in goals, adding insurance at 15:26. . . . Bains also had two assists. . . . Red Deer was 2-for-7 on the PP; Brandon was 0-for-6. . . .

In Saskatoon, F Cordel Larson scored in OT to give the No. 4 Moose Jaw MooseJawWarriors a 3-2 victory over the No. 5 Blades. . . . The Warriors lead the series 3-0 with Game 4 in Saskatoon tonight. . . . Saskatoon took a 1-0 lead at 3:20 of the first period when F Jayden Wiens scored. . . . The Warriors grabbed a 2-1 lead on goals from F Eric Alarie, at 18:15 of the first, and F Martin Rysavy, at 4:43 of the second. . . . The Blades forced OT at 19:15 of the third period when F Brandon Lisowsky scored with G Nolan Maier on the bench in favour of the extra skater. . . . Larson won it at 9:40 of extra time with his second goal of the series. (NOTE: The online game sheet credits F Atley Calvert with the winner, but it would seem a change is in the works.) . . . The Warriors got 27 saves from G Carl Tetachuk, while Maier blocked 34 for Saskatoon. . . . F Tristen Robins, Saskatoon’s captain, returned to the lineup after missing six games with an undisclosed injury.


Clown


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The City of Revelstoke and the junior B Grizzlies of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League will play host to the 2023 Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament. The four-team event, featuring a host team and champions from the KIJHL, Pacific Junior Hockey League and Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, is scheduled for April 13-16. This will be first time the tournament will have been played in Revelstoke. . . . Mike Leone is the new general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. He spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. Leone takes over from Pat Mikesch, who spent eight seasons with the Gamblers. He and the organization parted company after the Gamblers missed the playoffs for the fourth time in eight seasons.


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


Lasagna


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Zombie

Remembering 1945-46 USAHA-champion Vancouver Canucks . . . Russians stun Americans in Texas . . . Some twin history for Royals

Sign


Some baseball numbers to chew on. . . . I watch a fair amount of baseball, so obviously am aware that there are a whole lot of strikeouts in today’s game. In fact, I would suggest that the numbers have become mind-numbing. . . .

John Shea is the national baseball writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. A couple of days ago, I read a story he had written about what the headline referred to as “baseball’s rising tide of strikeouts” and the numbers were out of this world. . . . The gist of the story was how the Giants and Oakland A’s were adding flame-throwers to their pitching staffs because of the preponderance of strikeouts in MLB. . . . The numbers are stunning. . . .

Going into last weekend, MLB teams had played 576 games. There had been 5,263 strikeouts and 4,414 hits, a difference of 849. As Shea reported, “From 1900 through 2017, hits always outnumbered strikeouts. . . . In 1998, the year the sport expanded to 30 teams, there were 12,596 more hits than strikeouts.” . . . In 2018, there were 189 more strikeouts than hits, the first time that had occurred. That number was 784 in 2019 and last season, in only 60 games, it was 1,147.

As I said . . . mind-numbing numbers.


The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23. But, yes, there are questions, lots of questions. . . . If you’re a Canadian, you know that tennis star Bianca Andreescu won’t play in the Madrid Open after testing positive, and Canada won’t compete in the World track relays in Poland in May. And now there have been two positive tests on one of the teams that was entering the Calgary bubble to play in the women’s World Curling Championship. . . . As Myles Dichter of CBC writes: “It remains unclear how positive tests and cases like Andreescu’s would be handled, and it also remains to be seen if Japanese citizens will come around to hosting, as the latest polling reveals that at least 70 per cent are opposed. Meanwhile, just one per cent of the Japanese population is vaccinated and the torch relay has been rerouted to avoid hot spots on multiple occasions as the country lives under its third state of emergency.”


Are you aware that the Vancouver Canucks once won the Walter A. Brown Cup as United States Amateur Hockey Association champions? Yes, they did. . . . The Canucks played in the Pacific Coast Hockey League in 1945-46, winning the league championship by beating the Hollywood Wolves, 4-1, in a best-of-seven final. . . . The Canucks then challenged the Boston Olympics, who had won the Eastern Hockey League title, for the U.S. crown. Boston’s lineup included future Hockey Hall of Famers Fern Flaman and Allan Stanley. . . . The series was played in Vancouver with the Canucks losing three of the first four games before storming back to win the title. . . . There’s more on this story, from Jason Beck of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, right here.

The late Andy Clovechok was the scoring leader on that Vancouver team, winning the PCHL scoring title with 103 points, 56 of them goals, in 54 games. In September 2012, I wrote a bit about him and the 1945-46 Canucks as they were about to be inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. . . . “The next season,” Clovechok said of the Olympics, “eight of Boston’s 14 players were in the National Hockey League. That’s how good they were.” . . . That story is right here.


Farmer


The 2021 IIHF U18 World Hockey Championship opened Monday in Frisco and Plano, Texas, and there was a shocker in the opening draw. . . . F Nikita Chibrikov, Russia’s captain, went end-to-end in OT and scored at 1:25 to give Russia a 7-6 victory over the U.S. Russia had trailed 5-1 in the second period. . . . Lucas Aykroyd has the game story right here. . . .

In the other Group B game on opening day, Czech Republic beat Germany, 3-1. . . . In Group A, Sweden bounced Belarus, 5-1, and Switzerland doubled Latvia, 4-2. . . . Canada plays its first game today when it meets Sweden (TSN, 6 p.m. PT). The other Group A game has Switzerland against Belarus. . . . In Group B, it’s Finland versus Russia and Germany against the U.S.


While the U18 teams began battling it out in Texas, there were three WHL games on Monday night . . .

The Winnipeg Ice scored three third-period goals to beat the Prince Albert WinnipegRaiders, 4-3, in the Regina hub. . . . Winnipeg (17-5-1) has points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . The Raiders are 8-11-4. . . . Prince Albert scored three PP goals to take a 3-1 lead into the third period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (6) got it started at 11:16 of the first period. . . . F Jackson Leppard (2) pulled the Ice into a tie at 6:36 of the second. . . . The Raiders went up 3-1 on goals from F Spencer Moe (2), at 10:29, and F Justin Nachbaur (6), at 17:07. . . . F Conor Geekie (8) started the Winnipeg comeback at 9:28 of the third and F Zachary Benson (9) tied it, on a PP, at 10:48. . . . D Karter Prosofsky got the winner, his first WHL goal, at 15:20. . . . A second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, Prosofsky was playing in his 57th game. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs drew an assist on the game’s final goal to run his point streak to 22 games. That is a Kootenay/WInnipeg Ice franchise record, breaking the previous record that was set by F Mike Comrie with Kootenay in 2000-01. . . . Winnipeg got 24 saves from G Daniel Hauser, who is 7-0-1, 3.10, .898. He was a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . .

D Rhett Rhinehart’s OT goal gave the Saskatoon Blades a 5-4 victory over the BladesMoose Jaw Warriors in the Regina hub. . . . The Blades (15-5-3) had lost their previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Warriors (8-13-3) finished their 24-game schedule by dropping four straight (0-2-2). . . . F Kyle Crnkovic had two goals and two assists for the Blades, with F Colton Dach, who assisted on the winner, scoring once and adding three helpers. . . . Crnkovic, who has 10 goals, gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:49 of the first period, with Moose Jaw F Logan Doust (2) equalizing at 7:27. . . . Crnkovic scored a shorthanded goal at 11:24 of the second period for a 2-1 lead, only to have the Warriors tie it on a goal by F Jagger Firkus (6) at 12:02. . . . The Blades broke the tie on goals from Dach (9) and D Chase Wouters (9) at 0:08 and 5:29 of the third. . . . D Daemon Hunt (8), on a PP, and F Calder Anderson (3) scored for the Warriors at 7:02 and 15:43 to get proceedings into OT. . . . Rhinehart won it at 1:27. . . . Despite nine goals, 12 minor penalties and OT, the game took only two hours 12 minutes to complete. . . .

In Kamloops, the Prince George Cougars opened a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 PGvictory over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Cougars (5-7-2) had lost its previous four games. . . . The Royals (1-12-1) have dropped nine in a row. . . . F Kyren Gronick (5) and F Ethan Browne (4), on a PP, scored first-period goals for the Cougars, with F Jonny Hooker (6) making it 3-0 at 11:11 of the second. . . . F Trentyn Crane (2) got the Royals on the board at 5:44 of the third period but F Craig Armstrong (6) got that one back for Prince George at 7:30. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 25 shots for the Cougars. . . . Ryan Spizawka made his WHL debut with the Royals, joining his twin brother, Jason, in the lineup. The brothers, from Victoria, are defencemen. Jason, the 19th overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft, has three assists in 12 games. Ryan was a seventh-round selection in that draft. . . . According to Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist, they are the “fourth set of identical twins” to play on the same WHL team. Dheensaw writes: “Jeremy and Josh Schappert skated with the Seattle Thunderbirds from 2005 to 2007, future NHLers Ron and Rich Sutter with the Lethbridge Broncos from 1980 to 1983, and Ted and Brent McAneeley with the Edmonton Oil Kings from 1968 to 1970.”


Dorothy, my wife of almost 49 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and now is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. It happens virtually on June 6. You are able to join her team with a donation right here.

——

——

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: Colin Campbell, who has been with the Seattle Thunderbirds since 1994, has been promoted to president. He had been the team’s vice-president for business operations for 19 seasons. According to a news release, he will “oversee all hockey and business operations” for the organization. That news release is right here. . . . Brandin Cote, an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos, will leave after this season to become the associate coach with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. The Broncos and Huskies confirmed the move on Monday. Cote is in his third season with the Broncos. Cote will work alongside Mike Babcock, the Huskies’ new head coach. Cote spent three seasons (1997-2000) as a player under Babcock with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.


Daylighttime

Winterhawks sale would be ninth since 2007 . . . WHL GM tells Ewen ‘lineup’ of shoppers is expected . . . What’s the price tag?

Sooner or later, the Portland Winterhawks likely will be sold.

Why likely? Because never say never, and perhaps owner Bill Gallacher will end up keeping the WHL franchise.

But if the Winterhawks are sold, it will mark the ninth time a WHL franchise has Portlandchanged hands since the Kamloops Blazers went from community to private ownership during the summer of 2007. Of course, it also will be the second time the Winterhawks will have changed hands since 2008.

However, as of Tuesday night, there didn’t appear to be anything new regarding the Winterhawks’ situation, The WHL’s top regular-season team in the shortened 2019-20 regular-season is in receivership after a number of Gallacher-owned companies filed for bankruptcy last week.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia, who covers the Vancouver Giants, writes that “a WHL general manager, who requested anonymity, says he expects a ‘lineup’ of interested buyers for the Winterhawks . . .”

Yes, the vultures will be circling.

The last WHL franchise to have changed hands was the Seattle Thunderbirds.

One source who knows his way around the WHL told Taking Note on Tuesday: “Bet Russ Farwell is patting himself on the back . . .”

Farwell was the Thunderbirds’ governor and general manager, and also owned a piece of the action when that deal went down in 2017.

Here’s Ewen:

“WHL teams don’t change hands often and sale prices are rarely made public, as you’d expect. The Seattle Thunderbirds were sold in October of 2017, going from a group led by longtime Thunderbirds general manager Russ Farwell to brothers Dan and Lindsey Leckelt, who own Silent-Aire, an engineering and data centre equipment manufacturing company based in Edmonton.

“Multiple sources say the Thunderbirds were sold for US$12 million. That’s never been confirmed.”

Ewen’s complete piece is right here.

Six months before the Thunderbirds changed hands, the Chynoweth family sold the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell. After two winters in Cranbrook, they moved the franchise to Winnipeg immediately after the 2018-19 season.

The Regina Pats were sold in April 2014 with Russ and Diane Parker of Calgary, who had owned the franchise for 19 years, selling to a local group comprising Jason Drummond, Todd Lumbard, Anthony Marquart, Gavin Semple and Shaun Semple. The Regina Leader-Post reported that the sale price “is believed to be in the neighbourhood of Cdn$7.5 million.”

In March of 2014, Rick Brodsky sold the Prince George Cougars to a group that includes local businessmen Ray Fortier, Ernest Ouellet, John Pateman and Greg Pocock, along with two former Cougars defencemen — Eric Brewer and Dan Hamhuis. The sale price was reported by the Prince George Citizen as being close to Cdn$7 million. Brodsky had bowed out of his family’s ownership of the Saskatoon Blades to purchase the Cougars franchise in 1992 when it was playing out of Victoria.

After owning the Saskatoon Blades for 37 years, the Brodsky family sold the franchise to Mike Priestner of Edmonton, who owns Go Auto, on Aug. 27, 2013. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported the sale price as Cdn$9 million.

On April 4, 2011, the WHL confirmed the sale of the Chilliwack Bruins by owners Jim Bond, Brian Burke, Moray Keith, Darryl Porter and Glen Sather to RG Properties, which was headed up by Graham Lee. He moved the franchise to Victoria where it operates as the Royals.

Bill Gallacher purchased the Winterhawks in August 2008, buying the franchise from John Bryant, Jack Donovan and Jim Goldsmith. The sale price was believed to have been about US$6 million.

The Kamloops Blazers were sold over the summer of 2007, with Tom Gaglardi, the president of Northland Properties and now the owner of the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the AHL’s Texas Stars, partnering with former players Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Mark Recchi and Darryl Sydor to purchase the franchise from community shareholders. The sale price was about Cdn$6.1 million.

So what will be the price tag on the Winterhawks?

Well, if this was four or five months ago, one might have guessed it to be somewhere around US$12 million.

However, in these pandemic times — I mean, can anyone guarantee when/if the next season will begin? — and with the franchise in receivership and the vultures circling, it just might go for something less than that.

Or could the WHL step in and purchase the franchise for a healthy price, if for no other reason than to protect the values of its other 21 franchises, and then try to find new ownership once we find out what things will look like when we get to wherever we are going?

These are bizarre times in which we find ourselves living and there are oh, so many questions, aren’t there?


With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


Here’s Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with his Thought for the Day, this one a zinger from H.L. Mencken: “The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

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There have been reports that Vince McMahon, he of grapplin’ fame, is working to sell his football league, the XFL. If you’re interested, The Sports Curmudgeon has a few words of warning: “If you are thinking that it might be a hoot to put in a bid for ‘3 easy payments of only $39.95,’ let me offer a word of caution and suggest that you might wind up as the owner.”

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One more thing regarding The Sports Curmudgeon . . . if you aren’t a regular reader of his work, you should at least consider taking a look at his Tuesday post. He tackled two questions: 1. What might sports be like in a post-COVID-19 world?, and 2. Are sports important with regard to (a) ‘return to normalcy?’ . . . It’s all right here.


Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said Tuesday that there won’t be any special treatment given to the NHL if it wants to use Vancouver as a hub for its proposed return to play. . . . “I’m not going to compromise safety for any organization, whether it’s the NHL or anything else, as much as I love hockey,” Dr. Henry said during her daily briefing. If the NHL is to bring teams into Vancouver, she said, all people involved with the teams and arriving from outside Canada would have to self-isolate for two weeks. . . .

The Canadian National Exhibition, Canada’s largest annual fair, has been cancelled for 2020. It was to have been held from Aug. 21 through Sept. 7 in Toronto. . . .

The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) announced Tuesday that its schools “have determined that NCAA sport competition will not occur during the fall of 2020.” . . . This news came after the U.S.’s largest four-year college system, the California State University (CSU), announced most classes will be presented online in the fall. CSU has 23 schools. . . .

Doug Ducey, the governor of Arizona, said at a news conference on Tuesday that pro sports can resume in his state, without fans, as of May 16. He said leagues and teams would have to provide public health protections and follow guidelines set down by the Centers for Disease Control. . . .

There are 41 theaters on Broadway in New York City that are part of the Broadway League. They announced Tuesday that they will remain closed through at least Sept. 6, which is Labour Day.


When the Detroit Pistons were winning NBA titles, they were a fearsome aggregation of aggressive players. As Charles Barkley explained on Facebook: “Those guys were out there trying to hurt people. . . . When you were playing the Pistons you had to call home and tell your family you love them just in case you never saw them again.”


Aris Brown, the 18-year-old son of NFL great Jim Brown, who is 84, has committed to play lacrosse at Hampton University. As Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot wrote: “It appears that Jim enjoyed a strong fourth quarter.”


Sheep

Scattershooting on Saturday night while chuckling over Pop’s latest thoughts . . .

Scattershooting

The NHL told its teams on Saturday that they could restrict admission to their dressing rooms in an attempt to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. . . . The league chose NHLnot to impose the restrictions, while leaving the decision up to each of its 31 teams. . . . If a team chooses to close its dressing room to the media, coaches and players will be made available in interview areas. . . . Earlier in the day, the New York Islanders, who lost to the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2 in OT, enforced the media restriction. “We will . . . pro-act to what we’re all going through to try and prevent as much potential associations with anybody who somehow contracted something,” Lou Lamoriello, the Islanders’ president and general manager, said.“We cannot control the amount of press that go in the room who have credentials, who come from everywhere. It’d be different if we knew the people.”

At the same time, the Washington Capitals and Penguins had their dressing rooms open after a Saturday afternoon game in Pittsburgh, which the visitors won, 5-2, and the Anaheim Ducks opened their room to the media after a practice session. The San Jose Sharks didn’t open their room after a pratice, and the Dallas Stars kept their room closed after a 1-0 loss to the visiting Nashville Predators. The Los Angeles Kings also kept their room closed after beating the visiting Minnesota Wild, 7-3.

Later Saturday, the New York Rangers announced that their dressing room will be closed, while Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said on Hockey Night in Canada that the NHL is expected to make the closure league-wide at some time over the next couple of days.

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The WHL and its 22 teams won’t have to act to restrict media from dressing rooms because that’s something that happened prior to the 2002-03 season.

The WHL’s media policy, in place since then, reads in part: “The dressing rooms of each team are considered restricted access — no access is granted without the permission of the team concerned. Access to the dressing room, by the media or other personnel, is strictly at the discretion of each team.”

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Among cancellations related to the COVID-019 virus announced Saturday were the 2020 world women’s hockey championship and the Arctic Winter Games.

The IIHF pulled the plug on the women’s championship that would have brought 10 Halifaxwomenteams to Halifax and Truro, N.S., from March 31 through April 10. It’s expected that Halifax and Truro will play host to the 2021 tournament. The decision to cancel this year’s tournament was made during a conference call on Saturday. . . . The 2003 women’s championship, which was scheduled for Beijing, was cancelled due to the SARS outbreak.

From The Hockey News:

“The Women’s World Championship is also the seventh event the IIHF has cancelled this week. . . . International hockey’s governing body announced Monday the 2020 U18 World Championship Div. II Group B tournament in Bulgaria was set to be cancelled. Other events cancelled included U18 World Championship Div. II Group A in Tallinn, Estonia; U18 World Championship Div. III Group A in Istanbul, Turkey; U18 World Championship Div. III Group B in Kockelscheuer, Luxembourg; Women’s World Championship Div. I Group B in Katowice, Poland; and Women’s World Championship Div. II Group A in Jaca, Spain. Those decisions came on the recommendation of the IIHF’s medical committee.”

The men’s world championship, scheduled for Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland, from May 8-24, remains a go, at least for now. Rene Fasel, the IIHF’s president, has said the tournament would be cancelled rather than play in empty arenas.

Also still on tap, at least for now, is the men’s U-18 World championship that is scheduled for Plymouth, Mich., from April 16 through April 26.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Arctic Winter Games that were to have been held in Whitehorse, from March 15 through March 21, also were cancelled. The event would have drawn more than 2,000 participants, some of them from such countries as Finland, Greenland, Norway and Russia. . . . Catherine Elliott, Yukon’s acting chief medical officer of health, had recommended the move.

——

Daryl Wolski, a player agent with 2112 Hockey Agency who specializes in international placements, had four interesting tweets on Saturday:

“NLA and NLB leagues in Switzerland may considering cancelling both seasons on March 15.”

“KHL and VHL to meet to discuss 2020-21 season potential options for teams based in China.”

“Asia Hockey League will stream final playoff games and will have no fans allowed.”

“NLA teams in Switzerland get 1.6 millions Swiss (about Cdn $2.2 million) per team for TV rights therefore will consider playing with no fans.”


Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, and Gregg Popovich, who fills the same position with the San Antonio Spurs, are men of strong opinions, opinions they aren’t afraid to share.

And, I say, good for them.

On Friday, Kerr, along with players Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, attended an anti-gun rally in Oakland that shone a spotlight on, what Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, called “the city’s progress in combatting gun violence.”

Kerr told Ostler: “I do some work with the Giffords Center. Gabby Giffords was there, the former congresswoman from Arizona, who has become a friend. We put together the event with the Giffords Center. It was really a chance for us to learn what Oakland is doing to reduce gun violence, and it’s remarkable. They’re doing work that is groundbreaking, they’ve reduced gun violence by 50 percent over the last five years.”

Ostler’s story is right here.

Meanwhile, Popovich was, according to Kristian Winfield and Dennis Young of the New York Post, ripping “into Donald Trump’s response to coronavirus.”

Popovich said: “I think most people understand the situation we’re in. Anything we can do in any facet of our lives, either as groups or individuals that can bring honor to our country, that can make us not be embarrassed about the way our government performs its job, would be wonderful.”

“Today,” Popovich said on Friday, “it was our president blaming Barack Obama for the fact that we don’t have the (testing) kits that we need right now. Seriously.”

Popovich then came up with a quote for all-time. “I think,” Popovich said, “he thinks Barack Obama tripped Mary Decker.”

In the 1984 Olympic Summer Games, Decker fell in the 3,000-metre race.

The Post’s story is right here.



The Kootenay Ice are gone. Again. . . . This time it’s the Ice from the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. The 14-year-old franchise, which played out of Trail, has been suspended by BC Hockey, apparently because of low player numbers. . . . Keegan Goodrich, BC Hockey’s vice-president of communications, told Jim Bailey of the Trail Daily Times: “It’s not cancelled; we just aren’t operating it until numbers change.” . . . Bailey’s story is right here.


The WHL honoured a couple of familiar faces with Distinguished Service Awards this weekend. . . . Bernie Burtney, the supervisor of off-ice officials for the Saskatoon Blades, was saluted on Friday night. Burtney has been a volunteer with the Blades for 30 seasons. . . . On Saturday night, it was Dean (Scooter) Vrooman’s turn to be honoured. Vrooman, who has retired, spent 32 seasons with the Portland Winterhawks, and was the team’s radio voice for 26 of those. He also handled corporate sponsorships and made numerous appearances on behalf of the club in the community. . . . The WHL presents two such awards each season, one to someone from each conference who has made “an extraordinary contribution.” . . . Perhaps next season the WHL will consider honouring the late Pat Rozek, who was the Kamloops Blazers’ scorekeeper for 25 seasons at the time of his death on Dec. 22, 2016, at the age of 64.

Scattershooting on a Tuesday night as Cranbrook celebrates the birth of the Bucks . . .

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As of Saturday evening, Const. Mike Seel of the Regina Police Service Traffic Unit, who goes by the nickname Hawkeye, had written 1,097 cell-phone related tickets in 2019 and, he told me via Twitter, “over 1,500 total tickets for the year.” Think about those numbers for a moment. . . . What’s with the nickname? According to a story by Michaela Solomon of CTV News Regina, it was “given to him by the former face of RPS traffic, Const. Curtis Warnar, for his ability to catch drivers on their cell phones.” . . . Meanwhile, more than 2,000 speeding tickets were handed out to drivers in Regina school zones in the month of September, with the speed limit having been dropped from 40 km/h to 30. . . . “It is ridiculously high,” Sgt. Rob Collins of the RPS’s Traffic Safety Unit told Lynn Giesbrecht of the Regina Leader-Post. “In all reality, most of the tickets that I’ve seen issued would’ve been a ticket even if it was still 40, so we’ve still got a lot of work to do.” . . . It seems the drivers of Regina have a lot of work to do, too.


If you are a follower of the WHL, there was good news on Friday when Corey Graham revealed via Twitter that “I’m back calling Edmonton Oil Kings home games on TSN 1260.” . . . Graham, who continues his recovery from some major health issues, will handle home games, with Andrew Peard providing analysis. Peard will call the play of all road games. . . . Graham added that he is “really excited to get back in the booth!” . . . Corey, we’re all excited for you. Welcome back!


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“Jim (Mattress Mack) McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston, placed a $3.5-million bet on the Astros to win the World Series,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “And, doubling down, he rolled out his latest mattress, the George Springer.”

——

Perry, again: “Scientists at the National Defense Medical College in Japan say they’ve created artificial blood that works better than the real stuff. Didn’t pro rasslers already do that?”


Is the WHL thumbing its nose at Hockey Canada, while at the same time inviting 15-year-whlolds to come to its teams and play at least 30 games? . . . According to a story by Jason Bell of the Winnipeg Free Press, the WHL has granted an exemption to the Winnipeg Ice so that F Matt Savoie, 15, can play 34 games this season. Ordinarily, 15-year-olds are allowed to play five games before their club team’s season ends, at which time they may join the WHL team on a full-time basis. . . . Prior to this season, Hockey Canada rejected the Savoie family’s application for exceptional status. . . . Savoie played his third WHL game of this season on Friday night; he wasn’t in the lineup on Saturday.



The Winnipeg Ice played two home games, its second and third of this season, last weekend. The announced attendances were 1,373 (7-0 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings) and 1,327 (4-0 loss to the Vancouver Giants). . . . In its home-opener, the Ice announced 1,621 for a 4-2 loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . If you were wondering, the Kootenay Ice announced crowds of 2,862, 2,375 and 2,287 for its first three home games last season. . . . You remember the Kootenay team, don’t you? It played out of Cranbrook.


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The brand new Cranbrook Bucks of the BCHL have merchandise ready for fans at Western Financial Place.
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The Kootenay Ice sign on a wall at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook is gone, marking the end of an era.
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Hockey fans in Cranbrook gathered Tuesday morning to welcome the junior A Bucks to their Kootenay community. (Photos: Darren Cottingham/Taking Note)

Speaking of Cranbrook, a group headed by former WHL G Nathan Lieuwen announced Tuesday that it will bring the junior A BCHL to the city next season when the Bucks begin operation. . . . In reading the story by Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Townsman, I was struck by this: “The city was left reeling after a messy break-up with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice last January. After 21 years in Cranbrook, new ownership relocated the team to Winnipeg and still (has) an outsanding lease agreement valid until 2023. (Mayor Lee) Pratt confirmed the city remains in negotiations with the Ice over the agreement.” . . . The WHL and the Ice announced on Jan. 29 that the franchise was relocating to Winnipeg. Of course, observers had realized long before then that the Ice owners were going through the motions and that they were done with Cranbrook. . . . Here we are, almost nine months later, and the lease still hasn’t been settled. You are free to wonder if anyone in the WHL is embarrassed by any of this.


Hey, Edmonton, that 100 km/h speed limit on Anthony Henday Drive . . . that’s not the speed limit; it’s a guideline. Right?


After driving more than 4,000 km through the Prairies and back, I can tell you that the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding contains far more election signage than any other one we passed through. . . . Yes, it’s all a blight on the scenery.


After the Chicago Cubs dumped manager Joe Maddon, Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot pointed out just what a horrid job Maddon had done: “In five seasons under Maddon, Chicago won 58 percent of its games, reached the playoffs four times and celebrated a long-awaited World Series victory. What a failure he was.”



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OH DEER! Bob Tory, the GM of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, posted the evidence on his Facebook site after hitting a couple of deer while on a scouting trip.

A note from Bob Tory, the general manager of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, to accompany a couple of photos that he put on his Facebook page: “That time of year. Two deer down. One car down.” . . . Thankfully, Tory wasn’t injured in the collision. Word is that Trader Bob, as he once was known, did put brothers John and Jim Deer on the trade wire, though. No word yet on whether he found any takers.


Saw this in a column by Steve Simmons of Postmedia: “If Guy Carbonneau is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame, why not Dale Hunter? And if you want to go back a few years, why not 86-year-old Claude Provost, who won more and scored more playing a defensive role with the great Montreal Canadiens teams back when the Canadiens were great.” . . . I was absolutely flabbergasted to realize that Provost isn’t an honoured member of the Hall. Seriously. Had there been a Frank J. Selke Trophy back in the day, Provost would have owned it.


Headline from @SportsPickle: Have to think we could be a game or two away from Odell Beckham demanding a trade to the Giants.


If you aren’t a fan of the analytics that are sweeping through the world of sports, you just might be a fan of Bill Belichick. Asked the other day how much of a role analytics play in his game-planning, the New England Patriots head coach replied: “Less than zero.”


IceDogs’ situation looks awfully messy. . . . Pats, Hurricanes make a trade. . . . WHL final resumes tonight in Langley

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An Ontario Superior Court judge in Hamilton ruled last month that documents related to ohlthe OHL’s Niagara IceDogs and unauthorized contracts with players would be unsealed on Friday. They were, and TSN’s Rick Westhead has gone over those documents.

According to Westhead:

“The Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs agreed to unauthorized side contracts with the families of two players — one of whom is still in the OHL — and likely had similarly secret and unsanctioned deals with a number of European players, according to an investigation into the team’s recruiting practices.”

Westhead provides a lot of details in this piece, which is particularly damning because the OHL, as he puts it, “is embroiled in a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of current and former players demanding they be paid minimum wage.”

The IceDogs are owned by Denise and Bill Burke.

Westhead continues:

“In connection with that case, Denise Burke testified in a Nov. 14, 2015, affidavit that while her OHL team brought in an average of $2.7 million, it still lost money.

“Seven months before the IceDogs purportedly signed a secret deal with the (Liam) Ham family, Denise Burke said that it would be ‘catastrophic’ if the IceDogs had to pay players.”

At that time, Denise Burke testified: “We knew that we wouldn’t become rich owning a team, but seeing as this is our only business, we have always hoped that we would at least be able to break even and at least make more money than we spend, otherwise sooner or later the ‘Bank of Burke’ will run dry.”

Westhead’s complete story is right here.


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The Regina Pats have acquired F Drew Englot, 16, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a Patsfourth-round selection in the 2022 WHL bantam draft. Englot, who is from Candiac, Sask., was picked by the Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 2017 bantam draft. . . . He has played the past two seasons with  the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds, who have won back-to-back league titles. This season he had 21 goals and 20 assists in 43 regular-season games.


Two former WHL coaches were fired by the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers on Monday as they juggled their staff after the hiring of Alain Vigneault as head coach. . . . Kris Knoblauch and Rick Wilson both were dismissed. . . . Knoblauch, 40, had been with the Flyers for two seasons. He began his coaching career as an assistant with the Prince Albert Raiders in 2006-07. He then spent five seasons with the Kootenay Ice, the last two as head coach. He also spent four-plus seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters. . . . Wilson, 68, joined the Flyers this season, on Dec. 4. He has been an NHL coach, mostly as an assistant since 1988-89. He spent eight seasons (1980-88) on Prince Albert’s staff, the last two as head coach.


Dave Andrews will retire after spending one more season as the president and CEO of the American Hockey League. Andrews, a former head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Cougars, told the AHL’s board of governors on Monday that he is going to retire as of June 30, 2020. He is completing his 25th season as AHL president. . . . Andrews was the Cougars’ head coach for all of 1982-83 and part of 1983-84, when he was replaced by Les Calder. He later spent seven seasons as the director of hockey operations with the Nova Scotia/Cape Breton Oilers, then the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate.


The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s had their 14-game playoff winning streak come to an end on Monday as they were beaten 7-2 by the Storm in Guelph. The 67’s, who were outshot 36-20, lead the OHL championship series, 2-1. . . . They’ll play Game 4 in Guelph on Wednesday. . . . The 67’s had swept their first three series and then opened the final with two victories. . . . Ottawa G Mikey DiPietro, who suffered what is believed to have been a high ankle sprain in Game 2, wasn’t in uniform for this one. . . .

In the QMJHL, the visiting Rouyn-Noranda Huskies dumped the Halifax Mooseheads, 5-2, to take a 2-1 lead in the championship final. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Halifax. . . . Both teams will play in the Memorial Cup because the Mooseheads are the host team. The tournament is to run from May 17 through May 26.


Mike Reagan has signed a new contract as general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers. This deal will take him through the 2020-21 season. . . . Reagan has been with the Bombers for 12 seasons, winning at least 30 games in six of them. The Bombers have been in the playoffs in each of those 12 seasons. . . . There is a news release right here.


Cam Basarab is the new head coach of the Trail-based Kootenay Ice of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He started this season as an assistant coach with the junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He was moved up to head coach in November and then replaced on Jan. 23. . . . Basarab also was a video coach with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes for the previous two seasons. . . . Basarab takes over from Kris Boyce, the head coach for the past three seasons.


F Liam Stewart, who played four seasons (2011-15) with the Spokane Chiefs, has signed on with the SkyCity Stampede of the New Zealand Hockey League. Stewart, born in Great Britain, has a New Zealand passport through his mother, ex-model Rachel Hunter, so won’t be classified as an import. . . . The Stampede, which plays out of Queenstown, is to open the season on May 31 against the Dunedin Thunder. . . . He was to have played this season with the Sheffield Steelers of the Elite Ice Hockey League in Great Britain, but was sidelined by a concussion. . . . Stewart’s father is rock musician Rod Stewart.


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NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup resumes tonight (Tuesday) with the  Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Gains meeting at the Langley, B.C., Events Centre. . . . The series is tied, 1-1. . . . They’ll play again Wednesday and Friday in Langley. . . . The $64,000 question going into Game 3 is whether Prince Albert D Max Martin will play. He left Game 2 in the second period after falling awkwardly into the end boards and appearing to injure a shoulder. . . . Martin is key part of the Raiders’ back end. He had 41 points, including 35 assists, in 59 regular-season games, and has seven assists in 18 playoff games. . . . Here’s Darren Steinke of Stanks’ Sermon explaining the Raiders’ options: “If (Martin) doesn’t play that will likely shake up the Raiders normally locked-in defensive pairings of Martin with Sergei Sapego, captain Brayden Pachal with Zack Hayes, and Jeremy Masella with Kaiden Guhle.” . . . If Martin doesn’t dress, the Raiders likely will insert D Loeden Schaufler into what will be his fifth game of these playoffs.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a look right here at Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, who has learned to change with the times.


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Kootenay Ice (1998-2019), R.I.P.: ‘Most people never moved from the stands as if they couldn’t bring themselves to believe it was all over.’

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Long after Sunday’s game had ended, players from the Kootenay Ice mingled with fans, signing autographs, posing for pictures and bidding farewell to Cranbrook.

They showed up for a funeral at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook on Sunday afternoon. But, in the end, it was a celebration of life and of what used to be, of three WHL championships and the Memorial Cup title that put the city in hockey’s spotlight in 2002.

The Kootenay Ice played its final game in Cranbrook on Sunday, beating the Red Deer Rebels, 5-4, and there were more than 2,600 fans in the pews to witness it.

The franchise had been in Cranbrook for 21 seasons, most of them full of smiles, chuckles and success.

This season, however, has been more heartbreak than anything else. It began with rumours and speculation, with fans in a state of denial. That all ended in January when Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, and Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who is the president and general manager, admitted that, yes, the Ice would be moving to Winnipeg upon the conclusion of this season.
That day came on Sunday.

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Ice players salute the fans following the end of Sunday’s game. That’s Ice captain Peyton Krebs, who was ejected in the first period, in the suit at left.

Here are some notes from a few fans who were in the arena, not only for the final game, but for a lot of games over the team’s time in the city:

From one fan . . .

“What a game and what a finish for the Kootenay Ice . . . An emotional game in many respects — 2,654 in attendance — for one of the largest walk-up attended games. Fans were lined up at the ticket window until halfway through the first period. . . .These fans came to watch the last game and were supportive of  the Ice the whole game. The Rebels, with four of their key players left at home, capitalized on Ice penalties — including the captain, Peyton Krebs, taking a major for boarding early in the first and being ejected from the game (deservedly so, I must add) — and then other penalties to the Ice giving the Rebels many chances.

“It was a hard-fought game, back and forth, with the Ice scoring late in the third, breaking a tie and winning, 5-4.

“Fans cheered throughout, and all were on their feet for the last three minutes of the game, the Rebels having pulled their goalie . . . the Ice being called for a penalty with 10 seconds left . . . the referees adding 4.5 seconds to the clock and then the clock goes for an additional 27 seconds instead of just 14.5 seconds until a scrum at the end resulted in the whistle finally being blown and the referees called the game as ended and giving the Ice the win. . . .

“The crowd stayed around and watched a long stick salute by the Ice players, who came up from the dressing room to sign autographs and talk to fans, to talk about how they are going to miss Cranbrook, their billet families, the weather and the fans.

“The crowd remained to meet with the players . . . probably close to 50 per cent stayed. There were many fans in tears uttering less flattering comments about the owners and noting they should have been upfront with us when they arrived.”

——

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There were some fans in attendance on Sunday who showed their unhappiness over losing the hockey team that they had watched play for 21 seasons.

Here’s how another fan viewed it all . . .

“There was one group of season-ticket holders, who sit below the CIBC signs. They watched kids juggle signs reading ‘GO ICE GO.’ After the kids were done, the adults stood up with individual signs that read ‘GONE ICE GONE.’ . . .

“Cam Hausinger, who was traded to Red Deer along with Brett Davis earlier in the season, came upstairs after the game and before our players got there to say hi to everyone and sign autographs. He said he misses everyone in Cranbrook. . . .

“There were tears among the fans and the hosts, and talk of getting the same seats when we hopefully get another hockey team in the arena. . . . We had four young hockey players from the university team in Castlegar (the BCIHL’s Selkirk Saints) sitting beside us who there specifically checking everything out. . . .

“As the game ended most people never moved from the stands as if they couldn’t bring themselves to believe it was all over. . . .

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Ice players, including captain Peyton Krebs, stayed well after the game was over to chat with fans, say ‘Thank You,’ and sign autographs.

“As I was getting autographs I couldn’t help but admire these young men who took the time to sign everything from hockey pucks, to hats, to shirts to programs. Peyton Krebs, who didn’t play the whole game, stood there having his picture taken, talking to even the smallest little one and thanking all the people for supporting the team. . . .

“It was a very class act by the whole team with the exception of Matt Cockell, who never left the box. Some of the stuff that happened over the last couple of games . . . with the awards ceremony, most seasons they set up a table on ice and did the presentations there. This time, they didn’t do that . . . just had people who were doing the presentations standing in the alleyway by the bench. . . .

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Prior to the game’s start, the Ice thanked the volunteers who gave so much to the organization over the franchise’s 21 years in Cranbrook.

“On Sunday, they had teachers and other people, who have contributed to helping the players, on the ice for a round of applause before the game. Also we had two players who were finishing as 20-year-olds, and the coach, James Patrick, gave them their gifts, not the GM or Mr. Fettes. Not that Mr. Fettes has put in an appearance in Cranbrook since the media circus began.”

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From another fan:

“The second and third stars were the two 20-year-olds. As a final slap in the face, the first star was the Kootenay Ice fans, which brought about an audible groan from the crowd. Nuff said!”

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Farewell, Cranbrook. It’s been great. . . . Ice wins its final game before move to Winnipeg. . . . Late assist gives Blichfeld scoring title

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The WHL’s 21-year history in Cranbrook, B.C., ended on Sunday as the Kootenay Ice skated to a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels.

If you’re late to this situation, the Ice is relocating to Winnipeg and will spend at least the wpgicenext two seasons playing out of the 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba while it awaits construction of a new facility. . . .

The Ice, which ended a six-game losing skid with Sunday’s victory, finished 13-45-10. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . .

Before the game, a fan emailed this: “At 4 pm the ticket lineup for the final game is the full length of the building.” . . . The announced attendance at the last WHL game in 4-264-seat Western Financial Place was 2,684.

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“The fans continued to turn out to support the PLAYERS who were caught in a terrible situation through no fault of their own,” John Hudak, the marketing director of the now-defunct Green Bay Committee, told Taking Note via email. “Make no mistake, there were very few fans that were supporting this ownership and to the credit of the fans they turned out to support the players and the good name of the City of Cranbrook and its hockey history.  It could have been ugly but the people of Cranbrook took the high road.”

The Green Bay Committee was formed early in the season to help owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell sell tickets and sponsorships. After selling what it said was $50,000 worth, the committee disbanded in mid-November because of what it said was a lack of co-operation and support from the owners.

Prior to that point, there had been ample speculation that the owners, who are from Winnipeg, planned to move the franchise to the Manitoba capital. When the Green Bay Committee went public about the lack of support it had received, the pieces started to fall into place.

“The vibe in the arena today was a testament to the people of Cranbrook,” continued Hudak, who is running for a spot on city council in a May 11 by-election. “They were respectful of the ownership. They got behind the players and the players reciprocated by not rolling over.”

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The game ended with the clock showing 27.7 seconds still to play. But that was only because the timekeeper inadvertently hit the wrong button, something that caused the clock to count up rather than down.

“It was almost as if he didn’t want to see the game end,” Hudak noted. “In all seriousness, he has run the clock for more than 20 years . . . he won’t live this one down for the rest of his days!”

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This isn’t the first time in recent history that a WHL team has relocated. After the 2010-11 season, the Chilliwack Bruins, who had been sold, left the Lower Mainland city after five seasons and opened up shop in Victoria as the Royals. . . .

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Ice F Peyton Krebs, a sure-fire first-round selection in June’s NHL draft, didn’t finish the first period. He was ejected at 11:57 with a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jacob Herauf, who later returned to the game. Should Krebs be suspended, he will serve his suspension to open the 2019-20 regular season . . . unless he cracks the roster of the NHL team that selects him, that is.


SOME NUMBERS:

F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks earned an assist with 1.1 seconds left in whlthe third period of a 6-5 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday, and that was enough to give him the WHL scoring title. . . . He finished with 114 points, one more than F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Blichfeld had 53 goals and 61 assists in 68 games; Langan was at 53 and 60 in 67 games. . . . Had they ended up tied, they would have shared the title. . . . In 1987-88, Theo Fleury of the Warriors and Joe Sakic of the Swift Current Broncos tied at the top, each with 160 points. Sakic was named the scoring champion on the basis of more goals, 78-68. . . .

Blichfeld and Langan led the league in goals, with six more than F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Moose Jaw F Justin Almeida was tops in assists (78), well ahead of F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings and F Nick Henry of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who tied at 65. . . . Kastelic had a WHL-leading 24 PP goals. . . . Moose Jaw D Jett Woo was No. 1 in PP assists, with 33. . . . Lethbridge F Jake Elmer led in shorthanded goals, with seven. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo and two Warriors — F Brayden Tracey and Langan — tied for the lead in game-winning goals, each with 11. . . .

Tracey was the WHL’s top-scoring freshman, leading in goals (36), assists (45) and points (81). . . .

Among goaltenders, Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips was tops in GAA (1.69), save percentage (.936) and victories (41). . . . Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders was second in all three categories — 1.83, .932 and 38. . . . Scott was No. 1 in shutouts (8), one more than Wolf. . . .

Josh Brook of the Warriors and Dawson Davidson of the Saskatoon Blades led all defenceman in points, each with 75, four more than Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants. . . . Byram led in goals (26), while Davison and Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs were tops in assists (62).


The U of New Brunswick Varsity Reds won the Canadian university (U Sports) UNBchampionship on Sunday, beating the Alberta Golden Bears, 4-2, in Lethbridge. . . . The Golden Bears went into the tournament as the top-ranked of the eight teams; UNB was ranked No. 2. . . . In the final, UNB got goals from Samuel Dove-McFalls, Oliver Cooper, Kris Bennett and Mark Rassell, the latter a former Medicine Hat Tigers sniper. . . . Steve Owre and Brandon Magee, both ex-WHLers, replied for the Golden Bears. Owre also played in Medicine Hat; Magee played for the Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royas. . . . G Alex Dubeau stopped 32 shots for the winners. . . . Alberta got 27 saves from Zach Sawchenko, who played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Golden Bears lost F Luke Philp, the Canadian university player of the year, to an undisclosed injury in the first period. . . . UNB now has won eight national titles. . . . Each of the past seven titles has been won by UNB (2017, 2016 and 2013) or Alberta (2018, 2015 and 2014).


SUNDAY  HIGHLIGHTS:

F Vince Loschiavo scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsHitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton (42-18-8) closed out the regular-season on an 11-game winning streak that tied a franchise record. It had been done on three previous occasions, most recently in 2013-14. . . . Calgary (36-26-6) has lost four in a row. . . . The Oil Kings finished atop the Central Division and will open the playoffs against the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The third-place Hitmen will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who wound up second, in the first round. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 7-0-1; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (4) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 10:07 of the first period. . . . Loschiavo tied it at 7:14 of the second period, then gave his guys the lead at 10:47 with his 37th goal of the season, on a PP. That also turned into his 11th game-winner this season, a franchise record. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours (11) wrapped up the scoring with an empty-netter, at 19:35 of the third period. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 25 shots for Edmonton. . . . Calgary got 33 saves from G Carl Stankowski.


F Michael Milne broke a 4-4 tie in the third period as the Kootenay Ice closed out its Everetthistory in Cranbrook, B.C., with a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice (13-45-10), which is relocating to Winnipeg, snapped a six-game losing streak. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . . Red Deer (33-29-6) has lost four in a row. The Rebels, who finished in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, will meet the Prince Albert Raiders, the WHL’s top regular-season team, in the first round. . . . F Jaeger White (28) put the Ice in front 1-0 at 6:48 of the first period. . . . The Rebels responded with three straight goals — from F Cam Hausinger, on a PP, at 12:20; F Brett Davis (20), on a PP, at 14:46; and Hausinger (21), on yet another PP, at 0:19 of the second period. . . . The Rebels acquired Hausinger and Davis, who also had two assists, from the Ice earlier this season. . . . The Ice came back with the next three goals, in the span of 1:45 early in the second. . . . F Nolan Orzeck (4) got it started at 3:01. F Holden Kodak (3) tied the score at 3:56. F Connor McClennon (14) gave the Ice a 4-3 lead at 4:46. . . . The Rebels tied it at 17:40 when F Jordan Borysiuk, an AP, scored his first goal. He was playing in his seventh WHL game, but his first this season. . . . Milne, a 16-year-old freshman from Abbotsford, B.C., broke the tie with his third goal at 14:16 of the third period. . . . Red Deer was 3-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger earned the victory with 25 saves, one fewer than Red Deer’s Byron Fancy. . . . The Ice lost F Peyton Krebs to a boarding major and game misconduct at 11:57 of the first period. . . . The Rebels scratched G Ethan Anders, D Dawson Barteaux, F Jeff de Wit, F Reese Johnson, F Josh Tarzwell and F Brandon Hagel. . . . They also dressed four APs — G Eric Ward, F Jordan Borysiuk, F Ethan Rowland and F Jace Isley. . . . F Austin Schellenberg, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday, was among the Ice’s scratches.


The Seattle Thunderbirds erased a 4-3 deficit with three straight goals and beat the SeattleWinterhawks, 6-5, in Portland to bring down the curtain on the WHL’s 2018-19 regular season. . . . Seattle (31-29-8) has won three in a row. As the Western Conference’s second wild-card entry, it will go up against the conference-champion Vancouver Giants in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Portland (40-22-6) has lost two in a row. It finished third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Spokane Chiefs, who won 10 of their final 12 games. Those two teams will meet in the first round with Spokane having home-ice advantage. . . . Portland went 8-4-0 in the season series; Seattle was 4-6-2. . . . Last night, Portland took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Reece Newkirk (23), on a PP, at 1:47, and F Jake Gricius (27), at 5:35. . . . Seattle scored the next three goals. . . . F Jared Davidson (2) scored at 19:32, with F Kai Uchacz getting his first WHL goal at 13:03. D Simon Kubicek (9) gave Seattle a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 15:14. . . . Uchacz, 15, was the 10th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Winterhawks tied it 42 seconds later as D Clay Hanus (8) scored. . . . Again, Seattle scored three in a row, this time to take a 6-4 lead. . . . F Brecon Wood (4) tied it at 4:27 of the second. . . . F Sean Richards (16) gave the Thunderbirds a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 4:30 of the third, and D Jarret Tyszka (8) made it 6-4 at 8:00. . . . D Jared Freadrich (15) of Portland got the game’s final goal, on a PP, with 1.1 seconds left in the third period. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld drew an assist on Freadrich’s goal for his only point of the game. That gave him 114 points on the season, enough to win the WHL scoring title by one point over F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Andrej Kukuca had three assists for Seattle. . . . Freadrich added two assists to his goal, for his fifth career three-point outing. . . . Seattle got 40 saves from G Cole Schwebius, while Portland’s Joel Hofer stopped 27 shots. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Cody Glass (knee) for an eighth straight game. They say the plan is for him to be back in time for Friday’s playoff opener, but, hey, it’s that time of year when you can’t believe anything you might hear about injuries. . . . F Matthew Wedman, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan, Seattle’s top three scorers, all were scratched.


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Rebels’ Radar reaches milestone. . . . Ice’s run in Kootenays almost over. . . . Chiefs add a Bear to their roster

MacBeth

Wednesday was the last day of the regular season in Finland’s Liiga. . . . F Malte Strömwall (Tri-City, 2011-13), playing for KooKoo Kouvola, finished the season leading the league in goals and points. In 52 games, he put up 57 points, including 30 goals. . . . Strömwall is the first player from KooKoo to win either title. He also is the first points leader in 31 years and the first goal leader in 24 years from a team that missed the playoffs. KooKoo finished in 13th place. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current, 2016-18), playing for Kärpät Oulu, led all Liiga rookies in assists (30) and points (46), in 50 games. . . . Heponiemi led his team in points, tied for the lead in assists for first-place Kärpät, finished in 12th place overall in points & 13th place overall in assists.


ThisThat

Dave (Radar) Horning was in Cranbrook for the Kootenay Ice’s first WHL game, and he’ll be there Sunday for the last one. . . . Horning is the equipment manager for the Red Deer Rebels, and he worked his 2,000th game on Tuesday night. . . . Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate has more on one of the WHL’s good guys right here.


F Tristan Zandee has made a commitment to the Colorado College Tigers. Zandee, 15, is from Chestermere, Alta., and was a second-round selection by the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Zandee made the announcement via Twitter on Thursday evening. . . . He had 20 goals and 14 assists in 32 games with the midget Airdrie CFR Bisons this season. He also was pointless in one game with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints.


The Kootenay Ice’s first home game? On Sept. 26, 1998, F Jarret Stoll had two goals and two assists to lead the Ice to a 6-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Steve McCarthy, F Andy Penny, F Kyle Wanvig and F Mike Green also scored for Kootenay. . . . Red Deer goals came from F Kevin Marsh, with two, and F Shawn McNeil. . . . G Clayton Pool stopped 38 shots for the Ice. . . . Dustin Schwartz and Shane Bendera combined for 26 saves for the Rebels.

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The Kootenay Ice is to entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers tonight in Cranbrook, B.C., and the Red Deer Rebels come calling on Sunday.

After that game, the curtain will drop on 21 seasons of the WHL in the Kootenays.

Owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell are taking the Ice to Winnipeg, choosing to leave Cranbrook’s 4,264-seat Western Financial Place to spend at least two seasons in the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena, which right now has about 1,400 seats, as they await construction of a new facility.

The Ice (12-44-10) is in the process of missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Last season, its first under the ownership of Fettes and Cockell, it finished 27-38-7.



The Spokane Chiefs have added F Bear Hughes, a 17-year-old native of Post Falls, Idaho, SpokaneChiefsto their roster. . . . Hughes, who signed a WHL contract in January, spent this season with the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He led the team with 66 points, including 41 goals, and was named the league’s top rookie. . . . In the playoffs, he added six goals and four assists in seven games. . . . Hughes is the second player off the Braves to have been added to the Chiefs’ roster this week. G Campbell Arnold, who turned 17 on Jan. 2, is from Nanaimo, B.C. He was a second-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2017 WHL bantam draft.



The MJHL’s Neepawa Natives have signed Craig Anderson as head scout and assistant Neepawageneral manager, while adding Kori Pearson as director of U,S. scouting. . . . Both are former Neepawa players. . . . Anderson, from Brandon, played two seasons (1993-95) with the Natives, then played for the Brandon U Bobcats. . . . Anderson served in a similar capacity with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers when Ken Pearson was the GM/head coach there. Pearson now is the Natives’ GM/head coach. . . . Kori Pearson played three seasons (1993-96) with the Natives, then played with Dakota College in Bottineau, N.D., and Concordia, Minn., College. He now is an assistant coach with the East Ridge Raptors of the Minnesota High School Hockey League, while living in Cottage Grove, Minn. He also worked under Ken Pearson as Winkler’s director of U.S. scouting.


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Everett captain gets NHL contract. . . . McKinstry details battles with concussions. . . . Blades continue to roll along


MacBeth

G Patrik Bartošák (Red Deer, 2011-14) has signed a contract beginning next season with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, in 45 games with Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was 25-17-3, 2.20, .935, with one shutout. He led the league in save percentage. . . . http://iSport.cz reports that with the Třinec contract, Bartošák will make 700,000 Czech crowns (~$31,000 US) a month; 30,000 crowns (~$1,300 US) for each standing point; and 90,000 crowns (~$4,000 US) for each regulation win. . . . Czech Extraliga awards three points for a win in regulation, two points for an overtime or shootout win, one point for an overtime or shootout loss, and no points for a loss in regulation. . . .

F Spencer Machacek (Vancouver, 2005-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). He has 18 goals and 13 assists in 49 games. . . .

F Johannes Salmonsson (Spokane, 2005-06) has signed a two-year contract extension with Timrå (Sweden, SHL). He has three goals and 15 assists in 31 games.


ThisThat

The NHL’s Minnesota Wild has signed F Connor Dewar of the Everett Silvertips to a NHLthree-year entry-level contract. . . . Dewar, from The Pas, Man., was a third-round pick by the Wild in the NHL’s 2018 draft. The 19-year-old is the Silvertips’ captain. . . . This season, Dewar has career highs in assists (41) and points (75), in 54 games. He has 34 goals, four shy of his career high. . . . In 265 regular-season games, Dewar has 97 goals and 94 assists. . . . He has added 14 goals and 15 assists in 41 playoff games. . . . Everett selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.


F Mark Liwiski of the Kelowna Rockets has drawn a TBD suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct during a 4-3 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Sunday. . . . Portland F Seth Jarvis, who absorbed the hit from Liwiski, isn’t shown as being injured on the WHL’s weekly roster report that was issued on Tuesday. . . . Kelowna’s next game is scheduled for Friday against the Blazers in Kamloops. The teams also will meet on Saturday in Kelowna. . . . The Winterhawks are to meet the Cougars in Prince George on Friday and Saturday nights.

The WHL roster report is right here.


Ryely McKinstry was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the second round, 23rd overall, of the 2013 WHL bantam draft. A defenceman from Calgary, he played 43 games with the Giants — two in 2013-14, 30 in 2014-15 and 11 in 2015-16. . . . He didn’t play at all in 2016-17. . . . He had to leave hockey behind after playing one game with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers last season. . . . Yes, he was forced out of the game by concussions. Eight of them, by his count. . . . McKinstry has written a detailed account of what he’s been through and it’s all right here.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

D Brandon Schuldhaus scored twice to help the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 4-2 victory Saskatoonover the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Saskatoon (42-14-8) has won five in a row. . . . The Blades won for the 12th time in 13 games and clinched second place in the process. That gives them home-ice advantage in what almost certainly will be a first-round series with the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw (25-19-8) is third in the East Division, 14 points behind the Blades with six games remaining. . . . F Tristin Langan (48) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead just 56 seconds into the game. . . . Schuldhaus, who has seven goals, tied the game at 15:02, then put his guys out front at 6:24 of the second period. . . . F Justin Almeida (27) got the Warriors into a 2-2 tie, while shorthanded, at 11:55. . . . Blades D Dawson Davidson broke the tie with his 11th goal, on a PP, at 12:15. . . . F Kirby Dach (24) iced it at 19:17. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 26 saves. . . . G Brodan Salmond also stopped 26 shots for the Warriors.


G Ian Scott turned aside 24 shots to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 6-0 victory over PrinceAlbertthe visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . With the victory, Prince Albert (51-9-4) clinched the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy that goes to the WHL team with the best regular-season record. The only other time in franchise history when the Raiders had the league’s best record was in their Memorial Cup-winning season of 1984-85. . . . The Raiders’ first-round playoff opponent hasn’t yet been decided. . . . Swift Current (10-46-6), the WHL’s defending champion, has lost 15 games in a row (0-12-3). . . . The Raiders and Broncos will meet again Friday in Prince Albert and Sunday in Swift Current. The Broncos also will meet the Blades in Saskatoon on Saturday. . . . Scott put up his sixth shutout of the season and the ninth of his career. He has tied the franchise’s single-season record and shares it with Luke Siemens (2012-13) and Rejean Beauchemin (2003-04). . . . D Sergei Sapego (9) got the Raiders started at 5:30 of the first period. . . . F Dante Hannoun (29) made it 2-0 at 7:00 and the Raiders never were threatened. . . . F Justin Nachbaur, who turned 19 on Monday, added two goals, giving him 18, with F Aliaksei Protas (11) and F Eric Pearce (7) also scoring. . . . Hannoun also had two assists. . . . The Ice got 33 stops from G Riley Lamb. . . . The Raiders had D Max Martin back after he sat out six games, while F Parker Kelly returned after serving a three-game suspension.


FanClub
The booth belonging to the Kootenay Ice’s booster club looks as though it’s ready to lose its hockey team to Winnipeg.

G Jiri Patera put up his first WHL shutout as the Brandon Wheat Kings dumped the BrandonWKregularKootenay Ice, 7-0, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Brandon (30-24-8) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). The Wheat Kings moved into a tie with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Kootenay (12-42-10) has lost three in a row. It has been blanked five times this season, with three of them coming on home ice. . . . The Ice has two homes games remaining, on March 15 and 17, before it leaves Cranbrook for Winnipeg. . . . Patera, an 18-year-old freshman from Praha, Czech Republic, stopped 29 shots. He is 22-15-5, 3.20, .910. . . . The Wheat Kings got two goals from each of F Baron Thompson and F Luka Burzan. . . . Thompson, who has eight goals, made it 1-0 at 9:11 of the first period. . . . Burzan, who has 37 goals, upped it to 2-0 at 16:06. . . . F Ridley Greig (14), F Stelio Mattheos (41) and F Connor Gutenberg (15) also scored for Brandon, which is 1-1-1 on a six-game trip through the Central Division while the Tim Hortons Brier — the Canadian men’s curling championship — is being played in its home arena. . . . Burzan added an assist for a three-point game. . . . Kootenay D Martin Bodak has played his final WHL game. He is returning to his native Slovakia to write a mandatory high school exam, so will miss the Ice’s final four games. . . . Bodak, 20, put up 11 goals and 14 assists in 58 games this season. In 117 regular-season games over two seasons, he had 18 goals and 38 assists.


The Everett Silvertips erased a 1-0 deficit with three third-period goals and beat the host EverettSpokane Chiefs, 3-1. . . . Everett (45-14-4) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). It leads the Western Conference by two points over Vancouver, but the Giants have one game in hand. While Everett is idle tonight, the Giants are to meet the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Spokane (35-20-7) had points in each of its past six games (5-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (15) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:40 of the second period. He has goals in five straight games. . . . D Ronan Seeley got the Silvertips even with his first career WHL goal, at 1:38 of the third period. . . . F Dawson Butt (8) broke the tie at 3:33, and F Reece Vitelli (10) added insurance at 16:03. . . . Seeley, the 20th overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft, scored in his 48th career game, all of them this season. . . . Everett got 24 saves from G Dawson Wolf, who won for the 40th time this season. He now is 40-13-3, 1.71, .936. . . . G Bailey Brkin turned aside 24 shots for the Chiefs.


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