Burzan, Langan fill hats in wins . . . Cutler has Royal birthday . . . Ams eke out victory over ‘Tips


MacBeth

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Tours (France, Division 1). This season, with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had four goals and three assists in games. He was released by mutual agreement by Odense on Dec. 17. . . .

F Petr Vala (Seattle, 1997-98) announced his retirement, effective immediately. This season, he had three goals and nine assists in 12 games with Zell am See (Austria, Alps HL). He also is a coach of the Zell am See U12 team and will continue in that role.


ThisThat

KOOTENAY KOUNTDOWN

For the bulk of this season, there has been speculation that the Kootenay Ice will leave Cranbrook, B.C., after this season and set up shop in Winnipeg.

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was on TSN Radio (1260) in Edmonton on Dec. 19.

Asked by host Dean Millard about the situation involving the Ice, Robison responded in part that “we’ll be very soon making an announcement as to what the future of that franchise is.”

I don’t pretend to know the definition of “very soon,” but we are into our 17th day since Robison made that statement, and there has yet to be an announcement of any kind.


The WHL’s Canadian teams are preparing to take part in the second season of RE/MAX whlPresents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation. . . . The 17 teams first got involved in his promotion last season and it was a resounding success. . . . It is used to promote organ donation and to generate support for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Last season, it raised more than $265,500, which, according to a news release, represents “the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.”

This time around, teams again will be wearing specially-designed Don Cherry-themed sweaters, only they will sport nicknames on the backs rather than surnames. Yes, sweaters will be available via auction after each game.

Here are the dates of these special nights:

Sat., Jan. 19 – Edmonton Oil Kings

Fri., Jan. 25 – Red Deer Rebels

Fri. Feb. 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors

Sat., Feb. 2 – Prince Albert Raiders

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.


G Kyle Dumba has been picked up by the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. Dumba, 20, will fill the spot created when the Seattle Thunderbirds signed G Roddy Ross on Tuesday. . . . Seattle immediately added Ross to its roster, replacing G Liam Hughes, who was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Dumba, 20, had been with the Victoria Grizzlies, who got future considerations from Camrose. . . . Dumba has spent time with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats in the WHL, along with the junior A Okotoks Oilers, Calgary Mustangs, Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and the Grizzlies.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Luka Burzan scored three times and added two assists to lead the host Brandon Wheat BrandonWKregularKings to a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Brandon (16-14-6) had lost its previous four games. The Wheat Kings are two points shy of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Seattle (11-20-4) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1) and is five points out of a playoff spot. . . . F Cole Reinhardt gave the home guys a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:40 of the first period, and Burzan upped it to 2-0 at 9:21. . . . F Noah Philp halved the deficit, on a PP, at 11:07. . . . Brandon took control with four second-period goals, two of them from Burzan and another from Reinhardt (9), who also had an assist. . . . Philp later added his 13th goal for Seattle. . . . Brandon got a goal, his fourth, and two assists from D Chase Hartje. . . . Burzan has two career hat tricks — he had a five-goal game on Sept. 29 in an 8-4 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Stelio Mattheos was back in Brandon’s lineup — he had two assists — after completing a three-game suspension. His line, with Reinhardt and Burzan, combined for 10 points. . . . The Thunderbirds opened a six-game East Division trip with this game. . . . G Jiri Patera, who played with Czech Republic at the WJC, started for the Wheat Kings and stopped 37 shots. . . . Seattle starter Cole Schwebius was beaten four times on 13 shots in 24:32. Roddy Ross, who joined the Thunderbirds from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks this week, came on in relief. He stopped 19 of 22 shots in 35:28. . . . Seattle was without D Cade McNelly, who is serving a three-game suspension, and F Matthew Wedman, who sat out a one-game suspension. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and D Zach Ashton, who came over from the Saskatoon Blades, both were in Seattle’s lineup. . . . Seattle also had F Conner Roulette, 15, make his WHL debut. From Winnipeg, he was a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2018 bantam draft. Roulette has 22 goals and 34 assists in 29 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. . . . The Wheat Kings and Thunderbirds met in the 2015-16 WHL final, with Brandon winning in five games. Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun pointed out in pre-game coverage that there are three Wheat Kings left who played in that series — Mattheos, F Connor Gutenberg and F Linden McCorrister. Seattle also has three players left on its roster — Wedman, F Nolan Volcan and D Jarrett Tyszka.


F Tristin Langan scored three times to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-2 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Moose Jaw (21-8-6) has points in six straight (5-0-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, five points behind the Saskatoon Blades. However, Moose Jaw has five games in hand. . . . Prince Albert (34-4-1) now has lost two in a row at home where it is 17-2-0. It leads the East Division by 16 points over Saskatoon. . . . Langan gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:58 of the first period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (8) tied it, on a PP, at 19:35. . . . Langan put the Warriors ahead again, at 12:05 of the second period. . . . D Brayden Pachal (10) got the home team back into a tie at 19:43. . . . Warriors F Brayden Tracey (15) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 7:31 of the third period, and Langan completed the hat trick into an empty net at 19:50. . . . Langan now has 66 points, including 30 goals, in 35 games. He went into this season with 71 points, including 25 goals, in 174 games. . . . Langan has four career hat tricks, three of them this season, two in his last six games. . . . The Warriors got three assists from D Josh Brook, their captain, in his first game back after playing for Canada at the WJC. . . . The Raiders were  credited with winning 46 of 65 faceoffs. . . . G Brodan Salmon stopped 38 shots for Moose Jaw, including 14 in the third period. . . . F Dante Hannoun was in the Raiders’ lineup one day after being acquired from the Victoria Royals. The Raiders also had G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason back from their stint with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Scott made 27 saves.


F Kyle Crnkovic scored on a PP in OT to give the host Saskatoon Blades a 2-1 victory over Saskatoonthe Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (24-11-5) has won three in a row. . . . Regina (12-25-2) has lost two straight (0-1-1). . . . F Max Gerlach (23) gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 13:16 of the second period. . . . Regina tied it at 4:38 of the third when F Austin Pratt (15) scored, on a PP. . . . Crnkovic won it with his third goal of the season at 1:19 of OT. . . . F Gary Haden had the primary assist on both Saskatoon goals. . . . Saskatoon got 32 saves from G Nolan Maier, while Regina’s Max Paddock was outstanding in blocking 36 shots. . . . D Reece Harsch, acquired this week from the Seattle Thunderbirds, made his Saskatoon debut. . . . F Kirby Dach (undisclosed injury) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. . . . D Tyson Feist, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs, was in Regina’s lineup, as was F Blake Allan, who came over from the Kootenay Ice.


F Jaydon Dureau broke a 3-3 tie in the third period and the Portland Winterhawks went Portlandon to a 5-3 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Portland (22-11-5) has points in seven straight (4-0-3). The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Swift Current (7-27-3) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . This was the start of Portland’s six-game East Division trip. . . . F Lane Gilliss (8) gave the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 2:13 of the first period. . . . Broncos F Ethan O’Rourke (3) tied it at 10:11. . . . Portland took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Joachim Blichfeld (35), at 14:41, and F Michal Kvasnica (6), at 16:54. . . . F Matthew Culling pulled the home side to within a goal at 17:36. . . . Culling now has eight goals, seven of them in his past nine games. . . . F Ethan Regnier (7) got the Broncos into a 3-3 tie at 2:46 of the second period. . . . Dureau snapped the tie at 7:28 of the third period, and F Jake Gricius (16) got the empty-netter at 19:10. . . . F Cody Glass, who played for Canada at the WJC, wasn’t in Portland’s lineup. . . . Portland held a 48-23 edge in shots — 16-8, 16-9 and 16-6, by period. . . . Yes, Broncos G Josh Hofer stood tall, again. . . . G Shane Farkas started for Portland, with Dante Giannuzzi backing him up. G Evan Fradette, 17, who was added to Portland’s roster from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders on Thursday, wasn’t dressed. . . . Portland got back D John Ludvig, who was out with a two-game suspension. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley, who served the second of a four-game suspension, and D Brendan De Jong, who is in concussion protocol.


F Brandon Cutler celebrated his 19th birthday with a goal and two assists to spark the VictoriaRoyalsVictoria Royals to a 3-2 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Victoria (19-15-1) is 3-2-0 on its six-game Central Division swing. It is second in the B.C. Division, one point ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Edmonton (21-13-7) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). The Oil Kings lead the Central Division, by one point over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who have three games in hand. . . . Cutler (9) opened the scoring at 1:03 of the first period, and F Logan Doust (2) made it 2-0 at 15:04. . . . Edmonton got to within a goal at 18:01 when F Vince Loschiavo (18) scored. . . . F D-Jay Jerome’s 16th goal gave Victoria a 3-1 lead at 3:32 of the second period. . . . F Andrew Fyten (11) got the Oil Kings back to within a goal at 16:11. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse blocked 35 shots, 15 of them in the second period. . . . The Oil Kings had D Will Warm back for the first time since Sept. 29 — he missed 35 games with an undisclosed injury — and F Brett Kemp returned after a two-game absence. . . . F Kody McDonald and F Carson Miller, who came over in a deal with the Prince Albert Raiders, made their Victoria debuts. Also in the Royals lineup for the first time was D Jake Kustra, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on Dec. 10. He last played on Oct. 14. . . . D Noah Lamb, who is from Edmonton, also made his debut with the Royals. Lamb, who turned 17 on Tuesday, was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Knights of Columbus Pats in Edmonton.


F Jake Elmer scored twice and added an assist, and G Liam Hughes posted his first Lethbridgevictory with Lethbridge as the Hurricanes edged the visiting Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . Lethbridge (20-10-8) has points in four straight (2-0-2). The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, one point behind Edmonton and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Vancouver (23-12-2) has lost four straight; it is 1-4-0 on its six-game Central Division trip. The Giants lead the B.C. Division by 11 points over Victoria. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from Elmer, at 1:01, and F Jordy Bellerive (19), at 4:18. . . . The Giants tied it on goals from F Owen Hardy (8), on a PP, at 14:24, and F Justin Sourdif (9), just 33 seconds later. . . . F Taylor Ross (22) gave Lethbridge the lead at 3:31 of the third period, with Elmer (18) making it 4-2 at 7:53. . . . D Bowen Byram (10), on a PP, got Vancouver to within a goal at 16:14. . . . Ross added two assists to his goal. . . . Hughes stopped 33 shots in his second consecutive start since Lethbridge acquired him from the Seattle Thunderbirds earlier in the week. . . . Vancouver had three newcomers in its lineup — D Dallas Hines, who was acquired earlier in the day from the Kootenay Ice; F Jadon Joseph, who came over from the Regina Pats earlier in the day; and D Seth Bafaro, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. . . . The Giants also had F Milos Roman back from his stint with Slovakia at the WJC. . . . F Scott Mahovlich was in Lethbridge’s lineup after being acquired from the Regina Pas on Thursday. . . . Michael Dyck, in his first season as the Giants’ head coach, has a long history in Lethbridge, having coached the Hurricanes and, most recently, the bantam AAA Golden Hawks, and minor midget and midget AAA Hurricanes.


The Calgary Hitmen snapped a 2-2 tie with two goals early in the third period en route to Calgarya 5-3 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Calgary (18-16-4) has won three straight. Calgary holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Red Deer (22-13-2) now is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind Medicine Hat. The Rebels are in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . F Cael Zimmerman gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 3:41 of the second period, only to have Red Deer F Brett Davis (11) tie it at 5:59. . . . Calgary went back out front at 15:50 on a goal by F Bryce Bader (3). . . . D Dawson Barteaux tied it for Red Deer, on a PP, at 1:08. . . . The Hitmen broke the tie on goals from F Luke Coleman (10), at 2:00, and F Kaden Elder (16), at 4:19. . . . F Reese Johnson (18) scored for Red Deer at 16:16. . . . Zimmerman (4) iced it at 18:24. . . . Zimmerman also had an assist, for a three-point outing.


G Garin Bjorklund won his second straight start as the Medicine Hat Tigers dumped the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Kootenay Ice, 5-3. . . . Medicine Hat (22-15-3) has won five in a row and moved into third spot in the Central Division. . . . Kootenay (8-25-7) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Bjorklund, 16, is from Calgary where he plays for the midget AAA Buffaloes. The Tigers, with G Mads Sogaard with Denmark at the WJC, brought in Bjorklund to partner with Jordan Hollett. . . . Last night, Bjorklund stopped 29 shots. . . . The Tigers took a 1-0 lead when D Hayden Ostir (9) scored at 11:17 of the first period. He left the game with an apparent leg injury late in the second period, and didn’t return, following a collision with Ice D Martin Bodak. . . . F Josh Williams made it 2-0 at 1:43 of the second period. . . . The Ice tied it on second-period goals from F Austin Schellenberg (2), on a PP at 8:30, and F Jaeger White, at 10:49. . . . Medicine Hat went ahead 4-2 before the period ended, on goals from F Ryan Chyzowski (14), at 11:46, and F Tyler Preziuso, at 12:45. . . . White’s 16th goal of the season, at 17:53 of the third period, pulled the Ice to within a goal, but Preziuso (15) put it away at 18:20. . . . White’s stepfather, Shaun Clouston, is the Tigers’ general manager and head coach. . . . Tigers F James Hamblin had one assist in running his point streak to 10 games. He has 10 goals and five assists one that stretch. . . . The Ice had F Connor McClennon in the lineup for the first time since he suffered an undisclosed injury on Nov. 24. McClennon, 16, was the second-overall pick in the 2017  bantam draft. . . . The Ice also had D Marco Creta and F Cyle McNabb make their Kootenay debuts. Creta was acquired from the Regina Pats and McNabb from the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Tigers are without F Bryan Lockner (concussion).


F Tyson Upper’s shootout goal gave the Prince George Cougars a 2-1 victory over the PrinceGeorgeRockets in Kelowna. . . . Prince George (13-21-3) had lost its previous two games. It is two points shy of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Cougars are 2-7-0 on an 11-game road trip that continues on Tuesday against the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kelowna (17-17-4) has points in four straight (2-0-2). The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, one point behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand. . . . The Cougars are 4-1-1 against Kelowna, which is 2-2-2 against Prince George. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (4) scored, on a PP, for Kelowna at 14:28 of the second period. . . . F Jackson Leppard (8) got the Cougars’ goal, on a PP, at 10:47 of the third. . . . F Nolan Foote, leading off the second round of the shootout, scored for Kelowna. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk and Upper followed with goals for Prince George. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, who was forced from Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops by dehydration after two periods. . . . Prince George had a 9-1 edge in third-period shots; Kelowna led 5-1 in OT. . . . G James Porter stopped 27 shots for the Rockets. . . . D Tyson Phare, who last played on Nov. 18, returned to Prince George’s lineup. . . . Cougars D Cole Moberg (leg) sat out after being injured a week ago in Everett, and F Ilijah Colina left the game in Kamloops on Sunday with an undisclosed injury. D Cam MacPhee (undisclosed injury), F Reid Perepeluk (ill) and D Tyson Phare, who last played on Nov. 18, also were scratched. . . . F Craig Armstrong, 15, made his debut with the Cougars in this one. He was the ninth overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. The Cougars also had D Cole Beamin, 17, in the lineup after adding him from the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks. He was a second-round pick in the 2016 draft.


The Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last three goals and beat the visiting Kamloops SpokaneChiefsBlazers, 4-1. . . . Spokane (21-13-4) is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Kamloops (14-18-3) is fourth in the B.C. Division seven points behind Kelowna. The Rockets are in Kamloops tonight. . . . F Riley Woods (24) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:43 of the first period. . . . F Kobe Mohr (4) scored, on a PP, for Kamloops at 18:52. . . . Spokane broke the tie on a goal by F Jake McGrew (14), on another PP, at 1:28 of the second period. . . . D Filip Kral (4), who had played for Czech Republic at the WJC, added insurance at 7:02. . . . F Luke Toporowski (12) added an empty-netter. . . . The Chiefs were 2-6 on the PP; the Blazers were 1-3. . . . The Chiefs had three players back in their lineup who had been at the WJC — F Jared Anderson-Dolan and D Ty Smith (Canada), and D Kral. . . . This was the first game between the teams since the Nov. 26 deal in which the Chiefs acquired F Luc Smith from the Blazers for F Jeff Faith and two 2020 bantam draft picks — a third-rounder and a sixth-rounder.


The Tri-City Americans erased an early 2-0 deficit and beat the Everett Silvertips, 3-2, in tri-cityKennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (20-13-2) has won two in a row. The Americans are fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind Spokane and in control of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Everett (29-8-2) had been 14-0-2 in its previous 16 games. This was its first regulation-time loss since it was beaten 5-2 by the host Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 16. Everett leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland. . . . F Zack Andrusiak, in his first game with Everett since being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds, scored the game’s first goal. His 28th goal of the season and seventh in seven periods came at 3:51 of the first period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (9) made it 2-0 at 7:12. . . . F Krystof Hrabik, in his first game since playing for Czech Republic at the WJC, got Tri-City started with his ninth goal, on a PP, at 18:57. . . . D Aaron Hyman (9) got the Americans even at 3;23 of the second period, and F Blake Stevenson (8) broke the tie at 15:31. . . . The Silvertips had a 39-18 edge in shots, including 17-4 in the third period. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm blocked 37 shots. . . . Everett was 0-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-1.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday with thoughts of Lennon and Breslin . . . Maier, Blades stop Leason and Raiders . . . Wolf howls against Chiefs

Scattershooting

The Edmonton Oilers’ roster may include the player some observers consider to be the best in the world, Connor McDavid, but they still are offensively challenged. When the visiting Calgary Flames beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 9-6, on Tuesday, they scored as many goals in one game as the Oilers had scored in their previous five outings. . . . Of course, the Oilers beat the visiting Flames, 1-0, on Sunday night. If you don’t give up any goals, chances are you’ll win every time.



While it’s great to see Seattle be awarded an NHL franchise — yes, for US $650 million — you really have to wonder why the NHL won’t go into Quebec City, don’t you?


John Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980. If you haven’t read the column written by the late Jimmy Breslin, you have cheated yourself. It’s a classic and it’s right here.


F Tyler Steenbergen scored the Teddy Bear goal for the Swift Current Broncos last season, then later scored the goal that won gold for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championship. This season, he’s with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. He scored their Teddy Bear goal on Saturday night.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Should the NFL prohibit players from appearing in hotel security footage?



“The U.S. Postal Service, in honor of former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, suspended regular mail deliveries Wednesday,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Pistons apparently forgot and mailed it in anyway, getting outscored in every quarter in a 115-92 loss to the Bucks.”


A note from RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com: “Head coach Jay Gruden said exiled QB Colin Kaepernick wasn’t a good option for Washington. I’ll say! The poster boy for minority injustice in America playing for a team called the Redskins?”


Here’s a groaner from Currie: “Barbara Streisand’s two Coton de Tulear pooches are both clones of her previous pet, Samantha. If Elvis were alive, he’d say “You ain’t nothing but a cloned dog.”


ThisThat.

Maybe F Brett Leason and the Prince Albert Raiders are human after all.

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots on Sunday to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 1-0 victory PrinceAlbertover the visiting Raiders, handing Prince Albert, the CHL’s top-ranked team, its first regulation-time loss of this season.

The Raiders (28-2-1) went into the game with one other regulation loss; they were beaten 4-3 by the Rebels in Red Deer on Oct. 6. They also suffered a 3-2 shootout setback at the hands of the Broncos in Swift Current on Dec. 4.

When Sunday’s game ended, the Raiders still led the East Division by 16 points over the Blades. Still, the Saskatoon players had reason to like their performance.

 “This is huge,” Maier told blogger Darren Steinke. “We were talking about it before in the room saying that this was a statement game to be heard around the whole league.

The 17-year-old goaltender also helped bring an end to Leason’s 30-game point streak. Yes, Leason had recorded at least one point in each of his club’s first 30 games. He put up 28 goals — he leads the league in goals — and 36 assists during that stretch, and his 64 points have him atop the WHL scoring race, by two points over F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Leason’s lead isn’t likely to last, though, as he now is on his way to Victoria and the selection camp for Canada’s national junior team. Should he earn a spot on that team, he would miss at least nine of the Raiders’ games.


You can’t accuse the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club of not thinking big.

The club already is planning for the 2020-21 season when all signs point towards it Portlandmaking the East Division swing with its favourite team.

How avid are club members? Even with barely any planning done, the bus was already two-thirds full.

No, fans aren’t going to ride a bus all the way to the Prairies. Rather, they will fly to Regina, stay in the Saskatchewan capital and take a bus from there to games in other cities.

“The cost is estimated to be $2,400 to $3,500, including flight, bus, game ticket(s) and hotel,” Stuart Kemp, the club’s president, told Taking Note in an email. “There is no other WHL booster club that can do this . . .

“So far, enough have committed to go on the swing based on current costs, that the planning for the trip is in full-swing mode. Currently, we are close to having a waiting list as the trip is nearly sold out!”


“It was a sham all along,” writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun. “That’s the bitter conclusion supporters of the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice have come to as the Kootenaynewjunior franchise is poised to move to Winnipeg.

“At first, John Hudak wanted to believe in Winnipeggers Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the Ice a year and a half ago.

“But Hudak, a retired RCMP officer who spearheaded a local drive to save the team, says it turns out he was banging his head against the wall.”

Friesen’s complete column — it carries the headline: WHL move to Winnipeg ‘a done deal’ — is right here.

——

Meanwhile, Ian Cobb, the owner/editor of e-KNOW.ca, has provided an overview of things from the perspective of a hockey fan in the Kootenays. He suggests that it’s time for the fans in the area to start attending games in large numbers. . . . Cobb’s piece is right here.


Let’s be honest. The WHL’s playoff format stinks to high heaven. So, too, does the NHL’s, which is identical.

Here’s Larry Brooks of the New York Post:

“Imagine Wimbledon every year matching up the top two seeds in each half of the draw in the second round. Imagine the World Cup placing the four most powerful squads in the same group. Imagine March Madness placing the top four seeds in the country in the same region.

While you’re at it, you may as well imagine there’s no heaven, because it’s easy if you try to imagine the NHL cutting off its own knees by matching up its best teams in the first or second round of the playoffs in a made-for-marketing scheme, because that is exactly what Sixth Avenue and its band of clueless co-conspirators on the Board do year after year after year.”

As you read this, just substitute NHL with WHL and go from there.

The complete column is right here.


G Kyle Dumba got his first taste of junior hockey in 2013-14 when he played one game with each of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers.

Since then he has had stints with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs, the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats, and the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and Victoria Grizzlies.

The 20-year-old Calgarian made his 106th junior appearance on Saturday night and recorded his first shutout. He’s with the Grizzlies now, sparked by his 43 saves, they beat one of his former teams, Salmon Arm, 2-0.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Sunday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

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


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots and F Tristen Robins scored the game’s only goal as the Saskatoonhost Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 1-0. . . . The Blades (19-10-3) have won two straight. . . . The Raiders (28-2-1) had been 21-0-1 in their previous 22 games. This was their first regulation loss this season. . . . This was the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both of these teams and each went 2-1-0. . . . The Raiders had won the first two meetings with the Blades — 4-1 in Prince Albert and 6-2 in Saskatoon on Sept. 30 and Oct. 14, respectively. . . . Maier posted his second shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. This season, he is 15-8-2, 2.70, .912. . . . Robins’ goal, his fifth of the season, came at 5:14 of the second period and also was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason had his 30-game point streak come to an end, despite having five shots on goal. . . . Leason and G Ian Scott, who stopped 26 shots, will be on the ice in Victoria on Tuesday as the selection camp opens for Canada’s national junior team. . . . When the Raiders next play, on Wednesday against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, they will be missing Scott, Leason, F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergei Sapego. The latter two are with the Belarus national junior team at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at home Sunday for his third game in fewer than 48 hours, too, and his post is right here.


The Calgary Hitmen broke a 2-2 second-period tie with four goals in a span of 4:02 en Calgaryroute to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Calgary (14-14-3) has won four straight. . . . The Blazers (12-12-3) had points in each of their previous four games (3-0-1). . . . Kamloops now is 0-1-1 on a six-game Central Division trek. . . . Calgary went ahead 1-0 at 4:18 of the first period when F Kaden Elder (12) scored the Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Martin Lang (6), who also had two assists, pulled Kamloops even at 1:42 of the second period, but F Jake Kryski (14) got that one back, on a PP, at 4:11. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (4) got the Blazers back into a tie, on a PP, at 10:31. . . . It was all Calgary after that, with F James Malm (15) counting at 10:47, F Tye Carriere (3) at 11:13, and D Egor Zamula scoring twice, at 12:34 and 13:49. . . . Zamula, who has seven goals, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his WHL career. . . . Kamloops F Zane Franklin (17) closed out the scoring at 13:55 of the third period. . . . Zamula, who also had an assist, enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his career. . . . Calgary F Riley Stotts had three assists. He’s got a goal and seven assists over his past three games. . . . The Blazers were without F Jermaine Loewen and F Kobe Mohr, both of whom were suspended by the WHL earlier in the day. Loewen drew a TBD suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a 3-2 OT loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Saturday, while Mohr got one game under supplemental discipline from the same game.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots to help the host Everett Silvertips to a 2-0 victory over the EverettSpokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (25-7-1) now has points in 11 straight (10-0-1). . . . Spokane (16-11-4) had won its previous two games. . . . Everett leads the Western Conference by seven points over the idle Vancouver Giants (21-6-2), who have four games in hand. . . . Everett is atop the U.S. Division by 13 points over the Portland Winterhawks (18-10-2), who hold three games in hand. . . . This season, Wolf, a 17-year-old sophomore, is 23-7-1, 1.84, .928. He has three shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . The shutout yesterday lowered his career GAA to 1.99 in 51 appearances, 31 of them this season. . . . F Bryce Kindopp scored both goals, at 14:34 and 19:48 of the third period. The second one was into an empty net. He’s got 13 goals. . . . Spokane got 38 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . The Chiefs were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They went 2-1-0. They also were in their fourth game in five nights. They were 2-2-0 in those four games, with the other loss also at the hands of the Silvertips, 4-2 in Everett on Wednesday. . . . The Silvertips were without F Sean Richards, who drew a TBA suspension after he took a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday night against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Richards hit D Loeden Schaufler at 10:10 of the second period; Schaufler left the game and didn’t return. . . . The Silvertips also were without F Martin Fasko-Rudas, who has missed two straight games.

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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Scattershooting on Sunday . . . Petes trade one player, get nine draft picks . . . Goaltenders in WHL news . . . Schlenker’s movin’ on up

Scattershooting

“San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt named his newborn son August,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “in honor of his college coach at Texas, the late Augie Garrido. Just be thankful the Longhorns hired Garrido instead of Oil Can Boyd.”



Jack Finarelli, who is at sportscurmudgeon.com, had this analysis of a recent trade between the Green Bay Packer and Seattle Seahawks: “The Packers sent backup QB, Brent Hundley to the Seahawks where he will carry a clipboard for Russell Wilson instead of Aaron Rodgers. Hundley showed last season that he might someday become a journeyman QB who will not throw up on his shoes.”



College football players are being ejected when ruled to have targeted another player’s head for a helmet-to-helmet hit. In the WHL, meanwhile, teenagers are allowed to punch each other in the face and get only major penalties.



Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, writing about the mess at Ohio State: “Read the public documents Ohio State collected in its investigation of Urban Meyer and you will never again be able to view him as anything but boneless.”

The complete column is right here. After reading it you will never look at a plucked chicken the same way again.


Surely it is only a coincidence that Chris Jones, the vice-president of football operations, general manager, head coach and defensive co-ordinator, and his Saskatchewan Roughriders are 3-0 since ridding themselves of Duron (The Distraction) Carter. Right?


Here’s Janice Hough, who can be found at leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Bottled water has an expiration date?! So what happens when it expires?”



With Air Canada and WestJet having increased the fees to check bags, perhaps it’s time people flew in the baggage compartment and the bags were strapped into the seats.


MacBeth

F Kris Versteeg (Lethbridge, Kamloops, Red Deer, 2002-06) signed a one-year contract with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had three goals and five assists in 24 games with the Calgary Flames (NHL). . . .

F Ryan Hollweg (Medicine Hat, 1999-2004) has been released by Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga) by mutual agreement due to “long-term health problems.” Hollweg signed a one-year extension with Plzeň in April. Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 41 games.


ThisThat

When the OHL held what it calls its priority selection — most of us call it a draft — the Peterborough Petes selected F Will Cuylle in the first round.

Cuylle, who played last season with the minor midget AAA Toronto Marlboros, and his ohlfamily had told the Petes that he wouldn’t report if they selected him. The Petes rolled the dice and took him anyway, then tried to convince him to report.

When that failed, they traded him to the Windsor Spitfires on Friday in a deal that resulted in the Petes acquiring nine draft picks. Yes, NINE!

Here are the particulars from a Petes news release:

In the deal, Peterborough acquires one first-round pick, four second-round picks, three third-round picks, and one fifth-round pick, as follows:

  • Kingston’s 2nd round pick in 2019
  • Kingston’s 3rd round pick in 2020
  • Windsor’s 5th round pick in 2020
  • Windsor’s 3rd round pick in 2021
  • Barrie’s 2nd round pick in 2022
  • Windsor’s 3rd round in 2023
  • Kitchener’s 2nd round pick in 2024* (conditional)
  • 1st round pick (5th overall) in 2019 (OHL Compensatory Pick)
  • 2nd round pick (end of round) in 2019 (OHL Compensatory Pick)

* Should Windsor acquire a 2nd round pick in 2020 or 2021, Peterborough will receive that pick and return Kitchener’s 2nd round pick in 2024.

The Petes also will receive the 5th overall pick and the last pick in the 2nd round of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection as compensation from the Ontario Hockey League.

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In the OHL, if a team’s first-round selection doesn’t report to training camp he is considered to be a “defected” player and the team will get a compensatory pick if it trades the player prior to Sept. 15. The drafting team also gets a second-round pick if the player in question was a top five pick.

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With the restrictions that the WHL apparently has placed on the trading of young players, we are left to wonder if we will start to see these kinds of deals happen in the WHL.

(ICYMI, I wrote about those restrictions right here.)

When a team is loading up because it is to play host to a Memorial Cup, will it be prepared to trade away six or seven bantam draft picks in order to land a star player who just might put that team over the top?


Chris Schlenker, a former WHL player and on-ice official, has been promoted by the NHL and will be a full-time referee this season.

Schlenker, 34, worked in the AHL and NHL last season.

From Medicine Hat, he played four seasons (2001-05) in the WHL, playing two-plus seasons with the Regina Pats and one-plus with the Prince Albert Raiders.

He also spent 10 years as a member of the Medicine Hat Police Service.

There is more on Schlenker right here, from scoutingtherefs.com.


The Prince Albert Raiders have added G Donovan Buskey, 18, from the Spokane Chiefs in PrinceAlbertexchange for a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

Buskey, from Vancouver, was a third-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he was 10-10-0, 3.56, .871, with one shutout, in 22 appearances with the Spokane.

Adding Buskey adds to the Raiders’ goaltending depth and could figure in the 20-year-old decision-making process as the start of the regular season grows near.

Ian Scott, 19, who will go to camp with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, is No. 1 on the depth chart. Curtis Meger, 20, and Brett Balas, 17, also are on the Raiders’ roster.

The other 20-year-olds on the roster are F Kody McDonald and F Sean Montgomery. They also hold the WHL rights to F Noah Gregor, 20, who could end up with the San Jose Barracuda, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. The Raiders acquired Gregor’s rights from the Victoria Royals earlier in the summer.



The Prince George Cougars will open the regular season with Isaiah DiLaura, 18, and Taylor Gauthier, 17, as their goaltenders.

Gauthier is atop the depth chart. Last season, he was 8-18-3, 3.96, .885. This summer, he PrinceGeorgeplayed with the Canadian U-18 team that won the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In fact, Gauthier, from Calgary, was the winning goaltender in the final, coming on with his side down 2-0 and stopping 16 shots as Canada beat Sweden, 6-2.

The 10th overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft, Gauthier was 8-18-3, 3.96, .885 last season.

DiLaura, from Elko New Market, Minn., was 3-3-2, 3.94, .888, in 14 appearances.

The third goaltender on their roster at the moment is Tyler Brennan, a first-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft who won’t turn 15 until Sept. 27. From Winnipeg, he will return to the Rink Hockey Academy and play for the midget prep team.

Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen has more right here.


Because of injuries, the Edmonton Oil Kings used five goaltenders last season as they went 22-42-8 and missed the playoffs.

This season, with exhibition games just having started, they already are down to three EdmontonOilKingsand one of those, Sebastian Cossa, won’t turn 16 until Nov. 21.

Chances are that the Oil Kings, under first-year head coach Brad Lauer, will open the regular season with Todd Scott, 18, who was acquired last season from the Vancouver Giants, and Boston Bilous, 17, a fourth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, as their goaltenders.

Scott, from Albertville, Minn., was 4-5-0, 3.89, .883 after joining the Oil Kings last season. He had been 8-7-4, 4.11, .869 with the Giants when they sent him east.

Bilous, from Langley, B.C., got into 16 games and went 0-10-1, 4.72, .838.

Cossa, from Fort McMurray, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he played for the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, going 3.37, .915 in 19 games. In seven playoff games, he was 2.28, .943.

With the three young goaltenders, Lauer told Derek Van Diest of Postmedia that age won’t have much to do with which two make the roster.

“They’re all young, so I don’t think the age part of it comes into play,” Later said. “It’s going to be how you’re playing that comes into play. I know we’ll be good defensively and responsible so, for me, goaltending is going to be how the exhibition seasons goes and how they develop through that.”

Van Diest’s complete story is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades are down to three goaltenders after releasing Cameron Beson, 16, who is from Grande Prairie, Alta. He has been in two Blades’ training camps now, and Saskatoonhas been placed on their protected list.

Sophomore Nolan Maier, a 17-year-old from Yorkton, is the Blades’ starter after going 23-17-2, 3.31, .895 in 43 appearances last season. He spent part of his summer winning gold with Canada’s U-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, going 3.12, .872 in four games.

The other two goaltenders on the roster are Dorrin Luding, 19, of Prince George, and Koen MacInnes, a 16-year-old from Burnaby, B.C.

The Blades re-acquired Luding on June 21, getting him from the Seattle Thunderbirds on June 21 for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Saskatoon had selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.

Last season, Luding got into 11 games with the Everett Silvertips (3-6-0, 3.64, .891) and 17 with Seattle (6-9-1, 3.81, .881). In 30 career games, he is 9-15-1, 3.75, .886.

Saskatoon picked MacInnes in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he played with the Burnaby Winter Club’s Elite 15s, going 2.36, .926 in 17 regular-season games.

The Blades have opened the exhibition season by going 3-0-0.


The Brandon Wheat Kings, who wrapped up training camp with their intrasquad game BrandonWKregularon Sunday, also are down to three goaltenders after releasing Connor Ungar, 16.

That leaves the Wheat Kings with Ethan Kruger, Dylan Myskiw and Jiri Patera as the remaining goaltenders.

Myskiw, 19, got into 22 games with Brandon last season, going 11-5-2, 3.41, .887. He spent the season backing up Logan Thompson, who was playing out his eligibility.

Patera, 19, is from Praha, Czech Republic. He played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, after the Vegas Golden Knights selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has yet to sign a pro contract, and will leave later this week to attend the Golden Knights’ camp.

Kruger, who turns 17 on Sept. 27, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he played with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings.


F Ryan Vandervlis of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who was badly burned during an incident involving a firepit on June 15, is back home after being released from a Calgary hospital on Friday.

Vandervlis, 20, suffered burns to as much as 60 per cent of his body and spent four weeks in a medically induced coma. For the last part of his hospital stay, he was in the burn unit at Foothills Hospital.

Two other hockey players — Jordy Bellerive and Matt Alfaro — were injured in the incident that took place at the home of former Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong near Calgary. Bellerive, the Hurricanes’ captain, is in camp with his club. Alfaro will be going into his second season with the U of Calgary Dinos.

Bellerive scored twice, including the OT winner, as Lethbridge opened its exhibition season with a 5-4 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night.



The junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats found themselves without a general manager and head coach earlier this week when Brad Tobin left to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach. . . . Tobin, 29, worked as an assistant with the Eagles for six seasons (2010-16) before leaving to join the Thunder Cats. . . . In Surrey, Tobin will work alongside Peter Schaefer, who took over as head coach on Aug. 28 following the departure of Brandon West. . . . One week before Tobin handed in his resignation, the Thunder Cats lost assistant coach Carter Duffin, who left to join the KIJHL’s Castlegar Rebels. . . . Earlier, Jeff Wagner, another Creston assistant coach, joined the Fernie Ghostriders as GM and head coach. After he left, Tobin hired Duffin, who had been with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins, as an assistant coach.


G Kyle Dumba, 20, had his junior A rights swapped this week when the Nanaimo Clippers acquired them from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, who got back D Sam MacBean, 20. . . . Dumba, who has split 41 career regular-season WHL games between the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips, is in camp with the Regina Pats. He finished last season on the Pats’ roster, but didn’t get into any regular-season games. Last season, he also got into 30 regular-season and three playoff games with Salmon Arm.


Karablog
Kara is answering the phone and taking pledges as her grandma, Dorothy Drinnan, prepares for her fifth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23. (Todd Drinnan photo)

Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


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Changing face of WHL coverage . . . Denver commit to be in Kelowna . . . Broncos reveal full scouting staff


MacBeth

F Sami Sandell (Brandon, 2004-06) signed a one-year contract with Davos (Switzerland, NL A) after a successful tryout. Last season with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga), he had 16 goals and 32 assists in 53 games. He was an alternate captain, and led the team in assists and points.


ThisThat


With WHL teams preparing to open training camps, these are interesting times, especially from the outside looking in on the media that covers the league and its teams.

It’s no secret that the times, they are a changin’ . . .

A sports reporter who isn’t a stranger to covering a WHL team phoned a veteran player whlthe other day for an interview.

Things were fine until shortly after the chat ended. That’s when the reporter received an email from a team informing him that “they want me going through them before talking to anyone in the future.”

The reporter points out that “I had the kid’s number from when he was 14 years old and had nothing to do with the (team in question).”

As well, the reporter was told that “they say it’s a league policy.”

Except that . . .

Another reporter who covers a different team noted that “I haven’t had any trouble with getting through to the players,” adding that he hasn’t had any problems getting cell numbers.

“On the few occasions I have to get those phone numbers through other channels,” he added, he hasn’t heard any repercussions.

As he pointed out, it could be that this particular team sees the logic in not putting clamps on media.”

And yet another reporter informs that he has the cell number “of every kid” on the team he now covers “in my phone, and if something comes up after hours or during the summer, I contact them directly.

“I know they would prefer I go through the team in those circumstances, but they don’t grumble too much because (my paper) covers the team more than anyone else in the market. Since it’s also up to me to find my guys after practice, it would be a bit rich to get too angry in other circumstances.

“My major frustration remains head coaches from visiting teams who consider it below themselves to speak to local media.”

One other veteran of the WHL beat interjected that times are changing in the media world, and not just when it comes to print.

The team that he has covered had a good season in 2017-18, he noted, but “there were nights when there was no media in the press box. TV came far less often than usual, plus no local daily and very sporadic coverage from the weekly. Coverage is stretched incredibly thin and seems to only be trending downward league-wide. If they want to put up barriers to coverage that’s their prerogative, but it’s beyond asinine in my book.”

Mine, too. But it seems that the WHL is turning more and more to its own social media team for coverage, perhaps because it then is able to control the message.


The Kelowna Rockets will get things going on Monday when they open rookie camp. F Trevor Wong, their first-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, is expected to KelownaRocketsbe there, and is expected to stay for the opening of main camp.

Wong, from Vancouver, had 43 goals and 70 assists in 113 games with Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam A1-T1 club two seasons ago. Last season, he put up 64 goals and 77 assists in 30 games with the bantam varsity team at St. George’s School in Vancouver.

However, Wong has made a verbal commitment to attend the U of Denver and play for the Pioneers, starting in 2021-22. Wong made that commitment at the age of 14. He turned 15 on May 4, so isn’t eligible for the NHL draft until 2021.

Meanwhile, the Regina Pats have veteran G Kyle Dumba, 20, on their training camp Patsroster. He is one of three goaltenders and one of six 20-year-olds on the Pats’ main camp roster. . . . G Max Paddock, 18, is atop the depth chart, with Dumba, who has had stints with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips, on there, along with Matthew Pesenti, 17, of Saskatoon. Pesenti played the past two seasons with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Last season, Dumba made stops in Kamloops and Everett, got into 30 games with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, then was with Regina at season’s end. . . . G Jacob Wassermann, 18, was in the Pats’ plans, but the Humboldt native won’t play after being injured in the Broncos’ bus crash. . . .

The other 20s on the Pats’ main camp roster are D Cale Fleury, D Aaron Hyman, F Bryce Platt, D Brady Pouteau and D Liam Schioler.



Dennis Ulmer is the lone returnee to the scouting staff of the Swift Current Broncos, the team announced on Friday. . . . The remainder of the scouting staff left the organization SCBroncosfollowing the hiring of Dean Brockman as director of hockey operations and head coach on June 27 and the subsequent departure of Jamie Porter, who had been director of hockey operations. . . .  For the past 33 years, Ulmer, from Wilcox, Sask., has been a student, teacher, principal, administrator and coach at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox. . . . Those joining the Broncos’ scouting staff for the first time are Dean Moisan of Lloydminster, Alta., who is the director of player personnel for the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs; Craig Anderson of Brandon, who scouted for the Edmonton Oil Kings for the past nine seasons, and is the head scout and assistant GM with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers; Chad Leslie of Virden, Man., who had been scouting with the Saskatoon Blades (2015-18) and also scouts for Winkler; Kerry Gladson of Surrey, B.C., who spent the past four seasons with the Blades; Blaine Shackleton of Medicine Hat, who spent the past four seasons scouting for the junior B Chase Heat of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and 14 seasons with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles; Chris Olson of Saskatoon, who has coached in that city’s minor hockey system for 16 years; Steve March of St. Albert, Alta., the head coach of the Northern Alberta Xtreme Elite 15s for the past three seasons; Matt Green of Edmonton, who had been an intern with the International Scouting Services; Tyler Oswald of Calgary, a former player with Saskatoon and the Red Deer Rebels, who is an assistant coach with the midget AAA Calgary Northstars while taking sport management at Mount Royal U; and Dan Ruggiero of Kelowna, who has scouted for the BCHL’s Langley Hornets and Nanaimo Clippers. . . . Check out scbroncos.com for the complete news release.


F Gage Ramsay has chosen to retire from the Saskatoon Blades and go to school, rather Saskatoonthan return for his 20-year-old season. Ramsay was acquired by the Blades from the Vancouver Giants on Oct. 19, 2016, in exchange for F Josh Bruce, another 1998-born player. . . . Ramsay, who is from Saskatoon, was a third-round pick by Vancouver in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. He had 15 goals and 18 assists in 123 games with the Blades. In 166 career WHL games, he put up 18 goals and 18 assists. . . . From a Blades’ news release: “Ramsay plans to use his WHL scholarship as he begins his pursuit of a career in business, starting with classes at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in September and the University of Saskatchewan in the new year.”

Ramsay is the second Saskatoon forward to retire this summer. Caleb Fantillo announced on July 19 that he was retiring ahead of what would have been his 20-year-old season.

The Blades now have three 20-year-olds on their roster — D Dawson Davidson, F Max Gerlach and F Bradly Goethals.


Danny Flynn’s time as a WHL assistant coach is over after one season. The veteran major Portlandjunior coach is leaving the Portland Winterhawks to work as an eastern amateur scout for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. . . . Flynn is from Dartmouth, N.S., and joined long-time friend Mike Johnson, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, prior to the 2017-18 season. . . . Flynn had spent the previous two seasons as head coach of the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, guiding them to the league championship in 2016-17. . . . In major hockey alone, Flynn also has coached with the London Knights, Belleville Bulls, Soo Greyhounds and Moncton Wildcats. He also has coached in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders. . . . The Winterhawks are expected to name a replacement within days.


F Jared Legien isn’t returning to the WHL for his 20-year-old season. Instead, he is returning to the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, where he put up 30 goals and 26 assists in 51 games in 2014-15. . . . From Pilot Butte, Sask., he was a first-round selection by the Kootenay Ice in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. In 2012-13, he put up 40 goals and 26 assists in 26 games with the bantam AA Prairie Storm. . . . He went on to play 145 regular-season WHL games, split among the Ice, Victoria Royals and Regina Pats. Last season, he had 13 goals and 20 assists in 36 games with the Royals, then added 10 goals and seven assists in 25 games with the Pats. His career totals show 27 goals and 32 assists.


Jody Hull has signed on as the associate coach with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs. He will work alongside head coach Billy Burke. . . . Hull, 49, is a veteran of 831 regular-season NHL games over 16 seasons. He spent the past 12 seasons with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, the last six-plus as head coach. He was fired by the Petes on Jan. 5, 2018.


The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos have hired former NHLer Scott Barney as their new HumboldtBroncosassistant coach, while adding Tyrol (Skip) Deeg as athletic therapist and equipment manager. . . . The Broncos open training camp on Thursday, Aug. 24. . . . Barney, 39, is from Ennismore, Ont. His pro playing career included 24 games with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and three with the Atlanta Thrashers. He retired as a player after spending the past two seasons in the Asia League. . . . Deeg, 37, is from Wynyard, Sask. He joins the Broncos from the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. . . . Mark Cross, the assistant coach last season, and therapist Dayna Brons died in the April 6 crash involving the Broncos’ bus. . . . The Broncos also have added Rhett Blackmur, a former player with them, as a volunteer assistant coach. He is the service manager at Discover Ford in Humboldt, and has experience in minor hockey in the community.


Former WHL F Dustin Cameron has joined the junior B Delisle Chiefs of the Prairie DelisleChiefsJunior Hockey League as an assistant coach. Cameron, a 29-year-old from Saskatoon, was a third-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2004 WHL bantam draft. He went on to play 87 regular-season games with the Blades before being dealt to the Prince Albert Raiders. He spent three seasons in Prince Albert and was team captain for the last two. In 284 WHL games, he totalled 86 goals and 84 assists. He retired from playing after spending one season in Great Britain and three in Germany. . . . In Delisle, he’ll work with head coach Eric Ditto and assistant coach David Richard. Ditto, from Saskatoon, returns for a fourth full season, while Richard, also from Saskatoon, is back for a second season. Richard played four seasons (2005-09) with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, putting up 42 goals and 60 assists in 256 regular-season games.


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