Lowry next GM for Wheat Kings? . . . Pats, Thunderbirds sign prospects. . . . Remembering the NHL’s Saskatoon Blues


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F Jamie Crooks (Saskatoon, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). This season, he had 15 goals and 19 assists in 53 games.


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There has been speculation involving Dave Lowry and the Brandon Wheat Kings for a couple of weeks now.

The Wheat Kings announced on May 7 that Grant Armstrong’s contract wouldn’t be BrandonWKregularrenewed after he had spent three seasons there. Armstrong had been the assistant GM with the Victoria Royals before signing with Brandon. Prior to joining the Royals, he had been the Portland Winterhawks’ director of scouting.

A source has told Taking Note that Armstrong was in Penticton on Tuesday. It could be that he is a candidate for an opening with the Okanagan Hockey Group, which is looking for a general manager for its academy in Penticton.

Lowry, 54, has ample WHL coaching experience. He has been on staff with the Calgary Hitmen, Calgary Flames, Victoria Royals and Los Angeles Kings.

He was the Royals’ head coach for five seasons (2012-17) before leaving to join Los Angeles as an assistant coach. He spent two seasons with the Kings before being dismissed on April 17 after Todd McLellan was hired as head coach.

David Anning has been the Wheat Kings’ head coach for three seasons, after spending four seasons as an assistant coach. McGillivray has been on staff as an assistant coach through three seasons.

Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, has yet to announce whether the contracts of Anning and McGillivray will be extended.


The CHL import draft is scheduled for June 27 with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos holding the first selection. . . . The complete order of selection for the two-round draft is right here.


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The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed D Spencer Penner to a WHL contract. Penner, from Blumenort, Man., was a second-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . This season, Pennder had 14 goals and 26 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Eastman Selects. . . . The Thunderbirds now have signed each of their first three selections from the 2019 bantam draft. D Kevin Korchinski and F Jordan Gustafson, both first-round picks, signed WHL contracts earlier this month.

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The Regina Pats have signed F Zane Rowan to a WHL contract. The Pats held three third-round picks in the 2019 bantam draft, and used the first one to take Rowan, who is from Torrance, Calif. . . . Last season, he had 18 goals and 18 assists in 53 games with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings.



Tyson Ramsey is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. Ramsey, 42, spent seven seasons on the coaching staff of the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings, the last four as head coach. He joined the Oil Capitals as an assistant coach prior to this season. . . . Ramsey, who is from Brandon, also has been scouting for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Ramsey replaces Troy Leslie, whose contract wasn’t renewed following the end of this season.


The Lacombe Generals, winners of the 2019 Allan Cup as Canada’s senior AAA champions, have folded. The decision, combined with a similar one by the Rosetown Red Wings, has left Allan Cup Hockey West with two remaining teams — the Innisfail Eagles and Stoney Plain Eagles. . . . Ashli Barrett of the Lacombe Globe has more right here.


It was in 1983 when the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, then owned by Ralston Purina, were sold to a Saskatoon group headed up by Bill Hunter, one of the WHL’s founding fathers. Of course, the whole thing fell apart when the NHL board of governors voted 15-3 against allowing the sale to go through. . . . But the tale of how Hunter worked to pull off the purchase is a great read, and it’s all right here from Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Enjoy!


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Raiders have chance to oust Blades today. . . . Chiefs finish off Silvertips. . . . Lacombe hoists fourth Allan Cup


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D Filip Kral of the Spokane Chiefs sat out Game 5 of their series with the visiting Everett whlSilvertips on Saturday night with a one-game suspension. According to the WHL, he was suspended “for game misconduct” in Game 4 on Friday night. Kral was ejected from the game, which Everett won, 4-1, at 19:28 of the third period. In many situations, and this is one of them, the WHL is as transparent as tinfoil. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to keep the fans informed by letting them know the nature of the transgression. Perhaps the player had a stickboy go to a concession area to get him a hotdog and the referees were upset that he forgot to order for them, too.

At the same time, the Chiefs were fined $500 for what the WHL termed “warm up violations.” Again, the WHL chooses, as it usually does, not to let the sun shine in on these decisions, but these infractions usually involve players staying on the ice too long at the end up the pregame warmup, or a player or players crossing the centre line into enemy territory during the warmup. In this instance, though, perhaps the hotdogs weren’t warmed up properly in the officials’ room.

The WHL also handed down one other suspension on Saturday, as it gave F Justin Nachbaur of the Prince Albert Raiders two games for an interference major and game misconduct he incurred in Game 5 of their series with the Saskatoon Blades on Friday night. He was penalized for a  hit on Blades D Dawson Davidson at 14:52 of the third period in a game that the host Raiders won, 6-1. . . . Nachbaur will sit out Game 6 in Saskatoon tonight, and also will miss either Game 7 against the Blades or the first game of the Eastern Conference final.


F Jesse Todd scored twice to help the Lacombe Generals to a 5-2 victory over the Innisfail Eagles in the championship final of the Allan Cup tournament on Saturday. The Generals were the host team for the six-team senior AAA tournament that also included the South East Prairie Thunder, Stoney Creek Generals, who were the defending champions, Haut-Madawaska Panthers and Rosetown Red Wings. . . . F Chase Norrish, F Dylan Nowakowski and F Cody Cartier also scored for Lacombe. Cartier’s goal and Todd’s second score were empty-netters in the game’s final minute. . . . Lacombe got 26 saves from G Tyler Weiman. . . . The Eagles got two goals from F Justin Cox. . . . G Allen York stopped 37 shots for Innisfail. . . . The Generals, who were in the final for a fifth straight season, now have won four Allan Cup titles — 2009, 2013, 2016 and now 2019.


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NOTES: The Prince Albert Raiders have their first opportunity to wrap up their Eastern Conference semifinal today when they meet the Blades in Saskatoon. The Raiders hold a 3-2 lead in the series after beating the visiting Blades, 6-1, on Friday night. . . . Should the Blades win tonight — and they are expecting somewhere around 10,000 fans in the SaskTel Centre — the teams would settle the issue with Game 7 in Prince Albert on Tuesday. . . .

F Kirby Dach of the Blades left Friday’s game in the second period with an apparent injury to his left leg after an awkward looking collision with Raiders F Brett Leason. He missed about half of the second period, then returned for the third. . . . Blades D Dawson Davidson was helped off the ice late in the third period after taking a hit from Raiders F Justin Nachbaur, who has been suspended for two games. I would expect Davidson to play today, otherwise I’m thinking Nachbaur would have been hit with one of those TBD suspensions. . . .

The winner of this series will meet the well-rested Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. That series is expected to open in Saskatchewan with games on Friday and Saturday nights. . . .

In Saturday’s only playoff game, the host Spokane Chiefs beat the Everett Silvertips, 2-1, to win that series 4-1. . . . The Silvertips had gone 47-16-5 to finish atop the U.S. Division, 12 points ahead of the Chiefs (40-21-7). . . . Spokane will meet the Vancouver Giants in the Western Conference final, starting with games in Langley, B.C., on Friday and Saturday nights, with Games 3 and 4 in Spokane on April 23 and 24. . . . The Giants went 48-15-5 in the regular season to finish atop the conference. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 3-1-0; Spokane was 1-2-1. . . . The Giants won two of three games since the trade deadline — 6-4 in Spokane and 5-4 in Langley. The Chiefs won 4-1 on home ice on March 8.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Riley Woods’ second-period goal stood up as the winner as the Spokane Chiefs beat the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Everett Silvertips, 2-1. . . . The Chiefs won the series, 4-1, and move into the Western Conference final against the Vancouver Giants. That series is to open Friday in Langley, B.C. . . . Last night, F Robbie Holmes (4) gave the Silvertips a 1-0 lead at 1:32 of the first period. . . . Spokane D Nolan Reid (1) tied it, on a PP, at 10:00. . . . Woods scored his sixth goal of these playoffs at 5:24 of the second period, on a PP, and it ended up being the winner. . . . D Ty Smith assisted on both Spokane goals. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs were 6-14 on the PP in the five games; Everett was 2-15. . . . The Silvertips spent the final 3:27 of the third period on the PP after Chiefs F Luc Smith was given a double-minor for boarding. However, Everett wasn’t able to beat G Bailey Brkin, who finished with 34 saves. The Chiefs were outshot 13-5 in the second period and 16-4 in the third. . . . Everett got 19 saves from G Dustin Wolf. . . . With D Filip Kral serving a one-game suspension, the Chiefs moved Matt Leduc up to play alongside Reid. They had D Egor Arbuzov in the lineup to fill the vacancy created by Kral’s absence. . . . Leduc set an early tone when he stepped up and hit Everett F Connor Dewar with a thundering check at 8:24 of the first period. Dewar went to the dressing room and missed a few shifts before returning to finish the game.


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