A LITTLE OF THIS . . .
The Kamloops Blazers will honour head coach Don Hay in a pregame ceremony on Feb. 16 with the Kelowna Rockets in the house.
Hay became the winningest regular-season coach in WHL history on Saturday when he got No. 743 as the Blazers beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. He had tied the record one night earlier when his guys beat the visiting Winterhawks, 5-2.
The record had been held since 1993 by former Portland head coach Ken Hodge, who retired after the 1992-93 season.
Hay also holds the WHL coaching record for most career playoff victories (108). Hodge (101) is No. 2 on that list, too.
On Feb. 16, the first 4,000 fans will receive commemorative pucks. There also will be a banner raising as part of the celebration.
It likely is safe to assume there will be representation from the WHL office, too, although that isn’t mentioned in the news release.
Kyle Hagel is in his first season as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds; in fact, he’s in the first season of what he hopes will be a long and fruitful coaching career. He admits that it wasn’t easy to leave his playing career behind, but he also admits that his playing career wasn’t easy. . . . Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator has a piece right here on Hagel, who looks back at his career as a middleweight enforcer and wonders what’s ahead.
The CHL’s Top Prospects Game will be played in Red Deer next season. The 24th annual game is scheduled for Jan. 23. This season’s game was played in Guelph, home of the OHL’s Storm, on Jan. 25. . . . The game was last played in a WHL city in 2014 when it was held in Calgary. It also has been played in Calgary in 1999 and 2001, Edmonton in 2008, Saskatoon in 2002, Vancouver in 2005 and 2016, and in Kelowna in 2012.
Meanwhile, the WHL has scheduled its annual awards show and the 2018 bantam for Red Deer. The awards luncheon is scheduled for May 2, with the bantam draft on May 3.
The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Alex Thacker to a WHL contract. Thacker, a sixth-round selection by the Broncos in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, plays for the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. He told Lindsay Morey of the Fort Saskatchewan Record that he signed on Jan. 23. . . . With the Rangers, he has 13 goals and 17 assists in 30 games.
The junior B Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have a new general manager. Jamie Cominotta, the assistant GM for three years, has moved up to the GM’s position. Terry Jones, a former WHL player, had been GM and head coach; he now will focus on his head-coaching duties. He has been the head coach since 1997. . . . “Over time we’ve been looking at the process of our entire coaching staff and we’ve worked hard to delegate all the duties,” Jones told Jim Bailey of the Trail Times.“We’re doing this all largely as a hobby, so with all of us breaking down our duties it makes the job more manageable, and it also creates a team approach to building a hockey team.” . . . Jones played two seasons (1982-84) with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Bailey’s story is right here.
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No Games Scheduled.
FRIDAY (all times local):
Red Deer at Moose Jay, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Prince George at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Swift Current at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Spokane vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Everett at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Calgary vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.