Rebels (12-0-0) actually chasing Estevan record (22-0-0) . . . Ice get defenceman from Chiefs . . . Cougars hand Thunderbirds first loss

The 1967-68 Estevan Bruins opened the Western Canada Junior Hockey League — now WHL — season by going 22-0-0. (Photo:

Something had been nagging at me amid all the chatter about the Red Deer Rebels and their run at the WHL record for most victories to start a season.

The Rebels got to 12-0-0 on Friday night with a 4-0 blanking of the visiting Vancouver Giants. It was reported in various places, including right here, that the Rebels had tied a WHL record that had been set by the 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos. (The Rebels will go for No. 13 on Sunday afternoon when they face the 1-11-1 Oil Kings in Edmonton.)

But even as I referenced the Rebels’ streak there was something buzzing in the back of my mind . . .

Then I saw a Saturday morning tweet from Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun that had the Estevan Bruins as holders of that record, and it all fell into place. I had written about that very thing less than a year ago.

Yes, the Bruins won 22 straight games to open the 1967-68 season, the second EstevanBruinsin the existence of what now is the WHL.

The Bruins of general manager Roderick Neil (Scotty) Munro and head coach Ernie (Punch) McLean got to 22-0-0 by going into Swift Current and beating the Broncos, 9-6, on Dec. 10, 1967.

The interesting thing about that game is that Estevan G Gord Kopp suffered a broken nose and a bad facial cut in the pregame warmup. Teams carried only one goaltender in those days, which likely is why Kopp went ahead and started the game. In fact, he played through the second period before having to bow out.

F Jim Harrison, perhaps the Bruins’ best player and one of the league’s top skaters, had scored three goals through two periods, but that didn’t keep him from taking over for Kopp. With Harrison in goal, the Bruins outscored the Broncos, 3-2. Unfortunately, the number of saves he made has been lost to history.

As I wrote almost a year ago, “When is the last time a WHL player — or any junior player for that matter — had a hat trick and played goal in the same game?”

And so it was that the Bruins ran their season-opening record to 22-0-0, with a game against the host Saskatoon Blades next on the schedule.

“You have to concede the Bruins win No. 23 tonight when they take on the Blades in Saskatoon,” wrote Ron Campbell in that day’s Regina Leader-Post as he looked ahead to the Dec. 12 game. The Blades were 6-12-3 at the time.

You guessed it . . . the Blades won, 4-3, bringing the Bruins’ streak to a halt in front of 1,410 fans.

Kopp wasn’t able to answer the bell, so the Bruins started Ed Dyck, a 17-year-old from the junior B North Battleford Beaver-Bruins. Harrison and D Dale Hoganson gave Estevan a 2-0 first-period lead, with F Orest Kindrachuk pulling the Blades to within one before the period ended.

F Ron Fairbrother got Saskatoon into a 2-2 tie with the only goal of the second period, then gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 5:46 of the third. F Greg Polis scored for Estevan at 6:18, only to have F Jim Nicholls score what proved to be the winner, at 10:59.

“Young Dyck, playing in his first junior A game, was remarkably calm and had little chance on the four shots that beat him,” Jack Cook of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reported.

The Bruins went on to finish the regular season at 45-13-2, good for second place, seven points behind the Flin Flon Bombers (47-8-5). Harrison, the only player in WHL history to score three goals and play goal in the same game, was named the league’s MVP.

Estevan swept a best-of-seven first-round series from the Winnipeg Jets, then took out the Moose Jaw Canucks in five games, winning four and tying another.

The Bruins finished their unbeaten run to the championship by beating the Bombers, 4-0 with a tie. At this point, the Bruins were riding a 23-game unbeaten streak.

Estevan followed that by ousting the Fort William, Ont., Westfort Hurricanes, 4-1, and then sweeping the Penticton Broncos, 4-0, to qualify for the Memorial Cup.

In those days, the Memorial Cup was an East vs. West affair featuring two teams in a best-of-seven series. In this case, it was two teams affiliated with the NHL’s Boston Bruins — Estevan and the Niagara Falls Flyers. They played one game (Game 2) in the Montreal Forum and the other four in Niagara Falls’ Memorial Arena. The Flyers won the series, 4-1.

Interestingly, the Flyers wore Montreal Jr. Canadiens’ uniforms for the first two games and those belonging to the St. Catharines Teepees in the final three. That’s because the Estevan and Niagara Falls kits were identical, other than the logo.

Harrison, meanwhile, wasn’t able to do much in the five games. It seems that he suffered a broken hand in the final minute of Game 1. There was a brawl behind the Estevan net and he got into it with a fan, who turned out to be the father of Niagara Falls D Rick Thompson.

In an essay on the 1968 series, I wrote: “Harrison, who was already in the penalty box, tangled with a fan. The gentleman happened to be Thompson’s father. And, according to one report, Mr. Thompson ‘left the arena battered and bleeding.’ The fan was also reported to be stripped to the waist.”

Munro, for his part, pointed a finger at the fans, saying they “are nothing but animals.”

Ahh, those were the days!


BTW, the Bruins beat the visiting Weyburn Red Wings, 5-1, for their 20th straight victory on Dec. 5, 1967. The next day, The Leader-Post reported: “The Bruins moved one step closer to the all-time junior hockey win streak mark set at 25 by the now-defunct Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 1942.”

I saw this in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 32 Thoughts: “Growing complaint among fans who gamble: changes to shots on goal well after initially awarded. You’d be surprised at the number of people who comb these odds much more carefully than I comb my hair. If you’re going to take gambling money, you’ve got to make sure the changes are minimal.”

Yes, fans, this is where we’re at with gambling having become so pervasive.

BTW, Friedman also wrote that he no longer is going to be producing one of these 32 columns per week during the season.

“My initial thought,” he explained, “is to write a little more often (maybe two-to-three times per week), but shorter. You might get 32 Thoughts, but in smaller bunches. Hopefully, you find it a fair trade-off. I’m open to ideas.”

His latest 32 Thoughts is right here.


If there were any doubts about the Winnipeg Ice’s goal this season, they were erased early Saturday evening when it was announced that D Graham Sward WinnipegIcewas on his way to the Manitoba capital from the Spokane Chiefs.

Yes, the Ice’s management badly wants to have its team in Kamloops in May.

In the exchange, the Ice surrendered D Jaren Brinson, 18, and four WHL draft picks — a first-rounder in 2023, a third in 2025 and second and fourth-rounders in 2026.

Sward, 19, is from Abbotsford, B.C. He has 14 goals and 52 assists in 132 games with the Chiefs. Last season, he put up 10 goals and 33 assists in 57 games. This season, he has four assists in eight games.

Sward was a fifth-round pick by the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s 2022 draft. The Chiefs selected him in the first round of the WHL’s 2018 draft.

Brinson, from Airdrie, Alta., was a second-round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the WHL’s 2019 draft. He had two goals and seven assists in 72 games with the Cougars. This season, in 13 games with the Ice, he has a goal and three assists.

The Ice may have the best top six forward group in the WHL, if not in the entire CHL. Sward allows them to upgrade their back end in a big way.

Winnipeg opened this season with 13 straight road games and went 12-1-0. The Ice finally were able to hold its home-opener on Saturday and it moved to 13-1-0 with a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. This was the first of 10 straight home games for the Ice.

The Ice, now 3-0-0 against Brandon this season, got goals from F Conor Geekie (9), F Ty Nash (5), F Zach Benson (7) and F Owen Peterson (7). The Ice already has nine players with at least 10 points each, including three with 19, while four have at least seven goals.



The Seattle Thunderbirds fell from the ranks of the unbeaten on Saturday night as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Cougars in Prince George. The Thunderbirds had opened the season with nine straight victories. . . . F Riley Heidt scored twice for the Cougars (6-6-0), giving them leads of 1-0 and 2-1. . . . F Jared Davidson had Seattle’s goal. He is riding a five-game goal streak. . . . These teams will complete their tripleheader in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. . . .

The Tri-City Americans skated out of Moose Jaw with a 6-2 victory over the Warriors. The Americans have won four in a row since getting drubbed twice at home — 11-3 by the Medicine Hat Tigers on Oct. 12 and 7-1 by the Kamloops Blazers two nights later. . . . The Warriors had a four-game winning streak come to an end. . . .

The Everett Silvertips beat the Pats, 3-2, in Regina as F Austin Roest broke a 2-2 tie at 18:41 of the third period. . . . Roest has 10 goals, as does teammate Jackson Berezowski, who also scored once. . . . F Connor Bedard of the Pats had a goal and an assist to run his points streak to 13 games. He won’t turn 18 until July 17, but leads the WHL in goals (11), assists (13), points (24) and shots (84). . . . The Pats (6-7-1) have lost four in a row. . . .

D Kyle Masters enjoyed his second straight three-point game with a goal and two assists as the Kamloops Blazers dropped the host Spokane Chiefs, 7-1. . . . The Blazers are 3-0-0 against Spokane this season, having outscored the Chiefs, 16-4. . . . Masters also had a goal and two assists on Friday as the Blazers beat the Chiefs, 5-1, in Kamloops. He went into Friday having played 118 regular-season games, the first 109 with the Red Deer Rebels, without a three-pointer. . . . F Logan Stankoven scored twice, and now has 19 points, including 10 goals, in eight games. He leads the WHL in points-per-game (2.38). Last season, Stankoven finished with 104 points in 59 games; he led the WHL in points-per-game (1.76). . . .

D Carter Sotheran’s first WHL goal, at 17:13 of the third period, snapped a 3-3 tie and the host Portland Winterhawks went on to a 5-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Winterhawks held a 36-9 edge in shots through two periods with the teams even at 2-2. . . . At game’s end, Portland had outshot the visitors, 47-15. . . . Sotheran, 17, is from Sanford, Man., which has a population of about 900. He has a goal and six assists in 10 games. He was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft. . . . The Rockets were without D Noah Dorey, who drew a one-game suspension for his slew-footing major in Friday’s contest. . . .

F Mathew Ward’s sixth goal of the season, at 17:51 of the third period, gave the visiting Swift Current  Broncos a 5-4 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Ward, who played his 100th regular-season game last night, has six goals and nine assists in 12 games this season. . . .

In Lethbridge, the Saskatoon Blades had a seven-game winning streak snapped as they were beaten, 2-1, by the Hurricanes. . . . The victory skein lifted the Blades’ record to 10-3-0. . . . Lethbridge, which got 29 stops from G Harrison Meneghin, led 2-0 after one period. . . .

F Jake Poole struck for three goals — his second hat trick in four games — to lead the Victoria Royals to a 4-3 OT victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Poole’s eighth goal of the season won it at 1:28 of OT. . . . Poole, 20, was acquired from the Kelowna Rockets earlier in the month and has seven goals and four assists in 11 games with the Royals. . . .

In the BCHL, the host Penticton Vees ran their record to 14-0-0 with a 9-3 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters. The Vees are scheduled to play their next three games at home against the Prince George Spruce Kings (Friday), Wenatchee Wild (Saturday) and Vernon Vipers (Nov. 11).


THINKING OUT LOUD — If you’re like me, you’re wondering why the Seattle Kraken have F Shane Wright on their roster. Wright, 18, was the fourth-overall selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft after two seasons with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. He has one assist in five NHL games, but has been scratched five times. The Kraken played at home three times this week — Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday — and Wright, with grandparents visiting for the week, was scratched from each game. Because he’s 18, he has to play in the NHL or be returned to Kingston. Hey, those are the rules. . . . I strongly suggest that it’s time to retire the cliche “teamwork makes the dream work.” Thank you. . . . There are some things in the sporting world that just shouldn’t be allowed. One of those is the Toronto Maple Leafs wearing black uniforms. . . . I’m still trying to understand why Wayne Gretzky is doing gambling commercials. Any ideas? . . . The Edmonton Oilers beat the Calgary Flames, 3-2, last night in the latest edition of the Battle of Alberta. Who knows why but the NHL schedule has these teams meeting only once more this season.

Heartfelt condolences to Stewart Kemp, the longtime president of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club, on the death of his wife, Cathy Schave Kemp, late Saturday afternoon. . . . If you are so inclined, there is a GoFundMe set up right here that will help with the expenses.

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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Wheat Kings have their GM . . . Blazers deal top-end defenceman after he asks out . . . Ex-WHL goalie moves west to play volleyball

Marty Murray is the new general manager of the Brandon Wheat Kings. Murray, 47, takes over from Doug Gasper, who resigned on May 6, citing personal reasons in leaving after one season as GM. Gasper spent the two seasons before that as the club’s assistant general manager. . . . Kelly McCrimmon had been the Wheat Kings’ general manager for 27 seasons (1989-2016) before joining the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. McCrimmon sold the franchise to the J&G Group of Companies, headed up by president and CEO Jared Jacobson, on Sept. 8, 2020. Murray is the Wheat Kings’ third general manager since then, following Darren Ritchie (2019-21) and Gasper. . . .

Murray was the general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede for the past two seasons. Prior to that, he spent nine seasons with the NAHL’s Minot Minotaurus, the first five as head coach and the last four as GM and head coach. . . . From Lyleton, Man., Murray is a former Wheat Kings star, having totalled 132 goals and 260 assists in 264 regular-season games over four seasons (1991-95). He twice played for Canada at the World Junior Championship, winning gold twice and leading the 1995 tournament in scoring. . . . There is a complete news release right here.


The Kamloops Blazers have traded D Mats Lindgren, 18, to the Red Deer Rebels RedDeerfor D Kyle Masters, 19, and a lottery-protected first-round selection in the 2025 WHL draft. . . . Lindgren, the son of former NHL F Mats Lindgren, had asked for a trade after being a fourth-round pick by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . The Blazers, the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament, had selected Lindgren, a North Vancouver native, with the seventh pick of the first round in the WHL’s 2019 draft. He had five goals and 39 assists in 68 regular-season games in 2021-22, then added seven assists in 17 playoff games. . . .

The Minnesota Wild selected Masters, who is from Edmonton, in the fourth round of the 2021 NHL draft. Last season, he had three goals and 11 assists in 65 regular-season games with the Rebels. In 109 games over three seasons, he has five goals and 22 assists. Red Deer selected him 16th overall in the 2018 WHL draft. . . .

Under the conditions of the trade, the first-round pick acquired by Kamloops will move to 2026 if the Rebels are part of the draft lottery prior to the 2025 draft. The draft lottery includes the six non-playoff teams. . . . The Blazers now hold two first-rounders in each of the 2023 and 2025 drafts. . . . During the WHL’s 2021 draft — it had been moved from May to Dec. 9 because of the COVID-19 situation — the Blazers dealt their 2021 first-round selection to Regina for the Pats’ first-rounder in 2023. Regina used the pick to take F Jaxsin Vaughan, who has played the past two seasons at the Rink Hockey Academy in Kelowna. Vaughan 16, was pointless in six games with the Pats last season. . . .

The trade on Monday leaves the Blazers without a defenceman who likely would Kamloopshave led them in minutes played and played on the first PP unit. It gives the Blazers one more chip to be used in what undoubtedly will be more than one or two future moves. . . . I would suggest that the Blazers are going to have to ascertain the status of F Logan Stankoven, 19, before deciding where to go from here. From all reports, he was really good at the just-completed World Junior Championship in Edmonton. So what are his chances of playing his way onto the roster of the Dallas Stars, who selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft? All is well if he comes back. If he doesn’t return, Kamloops will need to go shopping for a high-end forward. . . . Also, is G Dylan Ernst, 18, capable of leading a team on a march to the Memorial Cup after getting into 24 games last season? Or do the Blazers need to go out and acquire some experience at that position? . . . No matter how you look at it Blazers’ fans are in for some interesting times.


In 1991, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card — his rookie card — sold for US$50,000. That same card sold for a record $12.6 million on Sunday. The previous record was $7.25 million, paid earlier this month for an American Tobacco Co. T206 Honus Wagner card that was produced somewhere around 1910. . . . BTW, you can’t make this part up: Bobby Caina Calvan of The Associated Press reported that “the auction netted a handsome profit for Anthony Giardino, a New Jersey waste management entrepreneur who bought it . . . at a New York City show in 1991.” . . . A different 1952 Mantle sold for $5.2 million in 2021. That was the record for a Mantle card prior to Sunday. . . . Sunday’s sale also set a record for any single item of sports memorabilia, surpassing the $9.3 million paid earlier this year for the uniform top worn by soccer’s Diego Maradona when he scored the “Hand of God” goal at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico City. . . . With that kind of memorabilia in mind, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times informs us that “Ty Cobb’s dentures are up for auction for the first time in 23 years.” The last time they were on the block, in 1999, they sold for $7,475.



The Edmonton Oil Kings have yet to make an announcement but veteran hockey writer Jim Matheson tweeted on Monday that former NHL D Ladislav Smid “is going to be working” with them “in a coaching capacity.”. . . He will be working with head coach Luke Pierce and Serge Lajoie, who recently signed on as assistant coach and director of player development. . . . Smid, 36, is from the Czech Republic. He played seven-plus seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and then spent three seasons in the Calgary Flames organization. . . . He has played the past five seasons in his home country. . . .

Charlie Mattersdorfer has been named the Lethbridge Hurricanes as the skills and development coach. Mattersdorfer, 41, has spent the past two seasons as the club’s power skating coach. He played one season (1997-98) with the Hurricanes. . . .

The OHL has its first female assistant coach with the Hamilton Bulldogs having hired Laura Fortino as an assistant coach and the director of player development. Fortino, 31, is from Hamilton. She played university hockey at Cornell, is heavily involved with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association and has won Olympic gold and silver medals with Canada’s national team. . . . In the WHL, Olivia Howe has been a “coaching assistant” with the Moose Jaw Warriors since Oct. 11, 2019.


G Max Paddock, who played four seasons in the WHL, is leaving hockey to play volleyball. Paddock, 22, played nine games in goal for the Acadia Axemen last season (2-6-0, 3.17, .898), but now has chosen to transfer across the country to the U of Fraser Valley where he will play on the Cascades men’s volleyball team. . . . He was a volleyball star with the Neelin Spartans while in high school in Brandon. . . . His father, Russ, was an international-calibre volleyball player, who is the athletic director at Brandon University. . . . Max is a nephew to John Paddock, the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats.


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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Will WHL team hire Parker? . . . BCHL has new commissioner . . . Rebels, Cougars sign goaltending coaches


F Tomáš Vincour (Edmonton, Vancouver, 2007-10) signed a one-week ‘introductory’ contract with Lukko Rauma (Finland, Liiga). Lukko has a one-week camp starting Monday (June 11) with practices, off-ice activities, and an inter-squad scrimmage. If both the team and Vincour are happy with each other after the camp, the contract rolls into a one-year deal. Last season, with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga), Vincour had 10 goals and 10 assists in 39 games. . . . Lukko has started doing this with new players. It gives each party a chance to feel each other out and for the new player to see what the team and city are like. Club management feels this process leads to a higher success rate for both the team and the player. . . .

D Justin Hamonic (Tri-City, 2011-15) signed a one-year contract with Angers (France, Ligue Magnus). Last season, with the Worcester Railers (ECHL), he had one goal and eight assists in 69 games. He also was pointless in one game while on loan to the Utica Comets (AHL). . . .  Angers’ head coach is Brennan Sonne (Everett, Red Deer, Edmonton, 2005-08; assistant coach Everett 2014-17). . . .

F Jack Walker (Victoria, 2012-17) signed a one-year contract with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, he was pointless in three games with the Iowa Wild (AHL), and had 11 goals and 18 assists in 40 games with the Rapid City Rush (ECHL). . . .

F Quinton Howden (Moose Jaw, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, in 56 games, he had 17 goals and 15 assists, averaging 18:43 TOI per game. He led his team in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) signed a one-year contract extension with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He started last season with UTE Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga), going pointless in two games, and was released on Sept. 28. He signed with Odense on Jan. 22, then had five goals and five assists in 10 games. . . .

F Evan Bloodoff (Kelowna, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract extension with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, in 38 games, he had 27 goals and 12 assists, then was selected as Fife’s forward of the year. . . .

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) signed a one-year contract with the Blackburn Hawks (England, National League). Last season, with Ertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan, Kazakh Vysshaya), he had five goals and eight assists in 28 games.


Yes, I have returned. It’s grad season, so Dorothy and I had a party to attend in Airdrie. Yes, it rained. (Is there anything more frustrating than the drive between Revelstoke and Golden?) Then it was on to Edmonton to spend some time with a transplant friend. It didn’t rain, at least not much, but it certainly was windy. And there was more rain on Thursday for the drive home through Jasper. If you’re wondering, the wildlife count was one deer (one kilometre from our home in Kamloops), two bighorn sheep (east of Jasper townsite), and one mama black bear with a cub (south of Valemount).

For kicks, we also kept track of the price of gas — one litre of regular — on the trek that began Saturday morning. Here’s what we found:


Kamloops $1.37.9

Salmon Arm $1.43.9

Sicamous $1.43.9

Revelstoke $1.49.9

Golden $1.46.9

Canmore $1.26.9


Airdrie $1.21.4


Edmonton $1.18.9


Edmonton $1.32.9

Edson $1.30.3

Hinton $1.32.9

Valemount $1.39.9

Blue River $1.42.9

Clearwater $1.40.9

Kamloops $1.36.9

One other note of interest: We sure did see a lot of big rigs hauling pipe as we made our way back to Kamloops on the Yellowhead on Thursday. Don’t know what that means, but . . .

OK. Let’s clean out the notebook . . .

While I was away, the WHL released its 2018-19 exhibition schedule. It also held its annual meeting in Vancouver. That meeting wrapped up on Wednesday; the WHL issued a news release on Thursday. . . . The schedule and that news release are on the WHL’s website.

I am hearing rumblings that Brent Parker, the former president, governor and general manager of the Regina Pats, would love to get back into the WHL in a front-office position. You would have to think that he might be a good fit for the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans or Vancouver Giants, teams that are looking to fill player personnel-related vacancies. . . . Parker has been keeping busy, at least in part, as the head scout in Western Canada for ISS Hockey. . . . You have to think that the man who had more to do than anyone else with remaking the Pats organization into one that is high on professionalism would be a good fit for any one of those teams.

The City of Kennewick will spend at least US$350,000 per year as it upgrades the 30-year-old Toyota Center, the home of the Tri-City Americans. Meanwhile, Tacoma City Council is investing at least US$30 million in renovations to the 35-year-old Tacoma Dome, which once was home to the now-Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Americans’ lease is set to expire in 2020. . . . You don’t suppose . . . nah!

The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Troy Mick, their president, parted company on June 8. According to a news release from the team, it was a mutual decision. Mick, 49, had been with the Silverbacks since taking over as head coach for the 2012-13 season. The team had signed Mick to a five-year extension on May 9, 2016. He was then the team’s president and general manager. The extension came shortly after the Silverbacks started the Steamboat Wranglers, a team that plays out of Steamboat Springs, Colo. They played in the Tier 3 junior A Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. However, that league folded earlier this month after three years. . . . The Wranglers, who won the 2017-18 RMJHL playoff title, have since been sold to a local group and have moved to the Tier 2 Western States Hockey League. . . . Mick played three seasons (1985-88) with the Portland Winter Hawks and one (1989-90) with the Regina Pats, totalling 466 points, including 204 goals, in 267 games. His pro career was ended by knee injuries. . . . He has coached in the WHL with the Winter Hawks, Tri-City Americans and Kamloops Blazers.

Congratulations to Phil Varney, the Seattle Thunderbirds’ athletic trainer. Check the times on the following two tweets!

The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Logan Bairos to a WHL contract. From Saskatoon, Kamloops1he was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he had 15 goals and 27 assists in 31 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Stallions. Bairos is expected to spend the 2018-19 season with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts. . . .The Blazers also have signed F Caedan Bankier, who was a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Surrey, B.C., he had 16 goals and 12 assists in 30 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. He will spend 2018-19 with the BWC’s midget prep team. . . . Kamloops now has signed its first three 2018 bantam draft selections. F Logan Stankoven, its first-round pick, also has signed.

The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Kurtis Smythe, 16, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on May 3 for a fourth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. Smythe was a second-round pick by the Blades in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Last season, the native of Cloverdale, B.C., had four goals and nine assists in 33 games with the Delta Hockey Academy midget prep team. He is expected to play with that midget team again in 2018-19.

D Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks has signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round, 29th overall, of the NHL’s 2017 draft. Jokiharju, who will turn 19 on June 17, is from Finland. He has played two seasons with Portland. . . . Last season, he had 12 goals and 59 assists in 63 games, and was named to the Western Conference’s second all-star team.

The Vancouver Giants have signed G Drew Sims to a WHL contract. Sims, from Tees, Alta., was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he was 13-0-1, 2.05, .916, with three shutouts, in 16 regular-season games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team. He helped his club to the playoff title by going 4-0, 1.00, .966, with one shutout.

The Red Deer Rebels have signed their first four selections from the WHL’s 2018 bantam Red Deerdraft. . . . F Jayden Grubbe, the seventh overall selection, had 29 goals and 37 assists with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . D Kyle Masters, the 16th overall pick, had seven goals and 17 assists in 29 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team. . . . D Trey Patterson, a second-round pick, had one goal and 24 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . F Josh Medernac, from Lloydminster, Alta., had 16 goals and 20 assists in 30 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team.


WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.


The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.

Roger Millions, a former radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, has chosen to leave Sportsnet to enter the world of politics. Millions, who was born in Deloraine, Man., spent 39 years in the sports broadcasting game. He had been with Sportsnet since 2002, mostly calling and covering the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Millions, 59, joined the staff at CFQC, an AM radio station in Saskatoon, and called Blades’ games for seven seasons.

Chris Hebb has succeeded John Grisdale as the commissioner of the junior A B.C. Hockey League. . . . Grisdale, who joined the BCHL in 2003, retired following the 2017-18 season. . . . Hebb has been president of Starting Five Media Consulting Ltd., and has worked at advising such organizations as Hockey Canada, Canada Soccer, the Oilers Entertainment Group and Curling Canada. . . . He also has worked for Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, as well as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. . . . Harrison Mooney of Postmedia has more right here.


Mitch Love, who is preparing for his first season as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, has been named to the coaching staff of the U-18 Canadian team that will play in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. . . . Gilles Bouchard, the general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, will be the head coach. . . . The other assistant coach will be Ryan Oulahen, the head coach of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. . . . Love spent the past seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips.

The Red Deer Rebels have signed Kraymer Barnstable as their goaltending coach. The move came after they let Taylor Dakers out of his contract, a move that allowed him to join the Prince George Cougars as their goaltending coach. . . . Barnstable, 28, is from Kelowna. He played two seasons in the WHL — with th the Vancouver Giants in 2007-08 and with the Rebels in 2009-10. . . . Dakers, 31, is from Langley, B.C. He becomes the first full-time goaltending coach in the history of the Prince George franchise. Sean Murray was the goaltending coach on a part-time basis for the past two seasons. . . . Dakers spent five seasons on the Rebels’ coaching staff after being on staff with the Everett Silvertips for two. He played four seasons (2003-07) with the Kootenay Ice.

The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars have signed Brayden Klimosko as their new general manager and head coach. He takes over from Brandon Heck, who parted ways with the team after a semifinal loss to the Estevan Bruins. The North Stars were 43-14-2 during the regular season. . . . Klimosko was an assistant GM/assistant coach with the Humboldt Broncos for four seasons (2013-17). He also was the Broncos’ marketing manager. . . . Last season, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. . . . Klimosko is the North Stars’ third GM/head coach in as many seasons.

Greg Walters is the new head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. Walters, 47, had been the head coach of the OJHL’s Georgetown Raiders for the past eight seasons. He twice was named the OHL’s coach of the year, including in 2017 after the Raiders won their first championship. Prior to joining the Raiders, he spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. . . . In Oshawa, Walters replaces Bob Jones, who missed the 2017-18 season with what has been reported as a life-threatening illness. His contract was to expire during the off-season, and he left the club on April 25 when the two parties weren’t able to reach agreement on an extension. . . . Brian McNair of Oshawa This Week has more right here.

Doug Christiansen is the new general manager and head coach of the Manchester Monarchs, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He spent the previous four seasons with the USHL, as the director of player development and recruitment. Prior to that, he coached in the Elite Ice Hockey League for seven seasons. . . . With Manchester, Christiansen replaces Richard Seeley, who now is the GM of the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ AHL affiliate. Seeley, 39, spent three seasons as the Monarch’s head coach. He played three seasons (1996-99) in the WHL — three games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and 144 with the Prince Albert Raiders. He is from Powell River, B.C.


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