Scattershooting on a rainy Sunday . . . Rasmussen on Wings’ roster . . . Raiders win fifth straight . . . It’s a milestone for Mayer

Scattershooting

Brad Rock of the Deseret News proved that he’s ready for NBA training camps with this:

“The NBA season is nearly here, but there’s nothing to see until the playoffs.

“Well, maybe a few things.

“Last season went like this: Kawhi Leonard dissed Gregg Popovich, Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic’s face, Dwane Casey was fired before being named Coach of the Year, and Kobe Bryant won an Oscar.

“Next they’ll be telling us a player is dating a Kardashian.

“Never mind. That’s not news.”

——

Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post:

“The hockey community as a whole should dispense with the dopey double talk and fully embrace the concept of player safety. Severe sanctions should be imposed for fighting. The pugilism is especially appalling at the major-junior level, with people paying money to watch barely compensated teenagers punch each other in the head. Hockey should have evolved far beyond that by now, but so many coaches, general managers and administrators are woefully stuck in the 1970s.”

——

You may have heard that HBO has decided boxing no longer will be a part of its programming. Larry Merchant, a long-time boxing insider with HBO, put it like this: “Once upon a time we were a promising kid. Then a challenger. Then a champion. A great champion. A long-time champion. And then a has-been who finally retired. So long, champ.”

——

Paul Gosar is a Republican candidate in Arizona who has six siblings endorsing his opponent. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “And you think your Thanksgiving family dinner might be awkward.”

——

The Saskatoon Blades are two games into a stretch of four games in five nights and six in eight nights, with the last five of those on the road. I guess I was rather naive to think that kind of scheduling would disappear when the WHL cut its regular-season schedule from 72 games to 68.

——

“Richard Mietz of Germany broke a Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a guy dressed as a landmark,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “It was a monumental achievement.”

——

It would seem that Currie is a big fan of marathons. After Jamie Buckland of Great Britain broke the Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a man dressed as a French maid, Currie noted: “Not only that, he dusted the competition.”

——

Who knew there were such records? Other than Currie, that is?

——

Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express passes along this one from a fake John Gruden account on Twitter: “I’ll tell ya what. Watching Patrick Mahomes throw the football is like music to my ears, man. He reminds me of that one West Virginia song. Take Mahomes country road.”

——

Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette: “I’m looking for a smartphone that tells you to get off the stupid phone and get a life.”


ThisThat

If you were an early visitor to this site after I posted on Saturday night, you will have seen a lead item that was critical of the WHL for its focus on video at the expense of what whlI referred to as “old-fashioned news releases.”

I also posted a tweet in which there was a link to a season-opening interview with Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner.

Shortly after that post went live, I heard from Taylor Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, pointing out that the WHL did post an old-fashioned news release on its website, one that included most, if not all, of what Robison touched on in his video appearance.

Apologies to all involved for my having missed that news release, which was posted on Sept. 20.

A couple of things from that news release, which you are able to find right here . . .

On the trading of young players: “The WHL has adopted new restrictions on the trading of 15- and 16-year-old players. Effective this season, a 15- or 16-year-old player who has signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement cannot be traded under any circumstance.”

The trading of first-year import players, which has been prohibited prior to now, apparently will be allowed between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trade deadline. But there isn’t any mention of this in the news release.

On new disciplinary standards: “The WHL has taken further steps to address player safety by introducing new supplemental discipline regulations and raising its standard on illegal checks to the head. The WHL Seven Point Plan was first adopted in 2011 to establish a comprehensive education and prevention plan to address player safety issues.

“In strengthening the WHL’s Player Safety Seven Point Plan, Kevin Acheson was appointed the WHL Director, Player Safety and is responsible to oversee all on-ice discipline and supplemental discipline matters during pre-season, regular season and playoff games. In addition, new standards have been implemented with a particular focus on repeat offenders and checks to the head.”

There also was a paragraph further down that I was thrilled to see. It had to do with a promotion the WHL was involved with last season and will do again in 2018-19: “The WHL is proud to give back to its communities through a number of community initiatives scheduled for throughout the 2018-19 season, including the second run of RE/MAX presents WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.”

Last season, the WHL’s 17 Canadian franchises took part in this promotion and raised $265,500 on behalf of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.


The Saskatoon Blades played without F Brad Goethals, 20, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Raiders in Prince Albert on Sunday night. According to Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, Goethals has left the team. . . . A native of Ile Des Chenes, Man., Goethals had one goal in three games this season after recording 15 goals and 17 assists in 69 games last season. . . . Without Goethals, the Blades are down to a pair of 20-year-olds — F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson.


The Tri-City Americans are going to be without F Michael Rasmussen for a while, perhaps even for the remainder of the WHL season. Rasmussen, 19, will be on the Detroit Red Wings’ roster when they open the NHL’s regular season against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. . . . Rasmussen, 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, is from Vancouver. The Red Wings selected him with the ninth overall pick of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Last season, he had 31 goals and 28 assists in 58 games with the Americans. In 161 regular-season WHL games, he has 81 goals and 76 assists.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders struck for three goals in 16 seconds en route to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Raiders broke open a scoreless game with second-period goals from F Justin Nachbaur (7:30), F Ozzy Wiesblatt (7:39) and F Parker Kelly (3) as they ran their record to 5-0-0. . . . That established a club record for fastest three goals and was four seconds off the WHL record. The Raiders’ record of 22 seconds had been set by F Wayde Bucsis, F Mike Modano and F Pat Elyniuk on Feb. 25, 1987 in Brandon. . . . The Blades went into the game at 3-0-0. . . . 

F Brayden Watts tied the game at 19:15 of the third period and then won it in a shootout as the host Vancouver Giants beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-4. . . . Watts also had two assists. . . .

F Tristin Langan scored twice to lead the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors to a 2-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Langan, 20, has two goals and four assists in four games. . . . The Pats now are 0-4-0. . . . G Brodan Salmond, who played last season with the Kelowna Rockets, stopped 31 shots in winning his first start with the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw had D Brandon Schuldhaus back in the lineup after he served a three-game suspension left over from last season. . . .

F Brandon Hagel had a goal and three assists, and D Dawson Barteaux had four assists as the Red Deer Rebels beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 6-5, in OT. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev, a Russian freshman, won the game 31 seconds into OT. Hagel and Barteaux drew assists on the winner. . . . Hagel, 20, has 10 points, including seven assists, in five games. . . . Calgary F Tristen Nielsen took a boarding major and game misconduct at 2:04 of the second period for a hit on Red Deer D Carson Sass.


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note coffee fund.


If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players, such as this one from Saturday night:

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A special Kidney Walk for Dorothy . . . A milestone for the Blades’ voice . . . Some tidbits from opening weekend

MacBeth

G Matt Hewitt (Regina, 2010-13) signed a one-year contract with Fassa Canazei (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, with University of British Columbia (Canada West, U Sports), he got into 20 games, going 12-5-2, 2.85, .920 with one shutout. . . . This summer, Hewitt played with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). In 26 games, he drew three assists, while going 23-2-0, 1.95, .925 with three shutouts. He led the league in wins, shutouts, GAA and SP. . . . CBR Brave won the AIHL championship, beating the Sydney Bears 4-3 in OT in the league’s Grand Final on Sept. 2 in Melbourne. . . .

F Marcel Noebels (Seattle, Portland, 2010-12) has been released from his PTO with the Boston Bruins (NHL) and will rejoin Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL), where he is an alternate captain for this season. Last season, he had 11 goals and 19 assists in 52 games with Eisbären. . . .

F Nikita Popugayev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) has been traded by CSKA Moscow to Amur Khabarovsk (both Russia, KHL) for D Denis Nedilko (1999 born, playing for Amur’s junior team, Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk). Popugayev had two goals and one assist in three games this season with Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (Russia, MHL). . . . Krasnaya Armiya is CSKA’s junior team. MHL is Russia’s junior league.


ThisThat

I’m back after being away for a few days while we put the finishing touches on the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you hadn’t guessed, Dorothy and I were among the organizers for the Kidney Walk that was held on Sunday at McDonald Park.

Yes, it was a success! Oh, was it!!

Let me tell you a little bit about it . . .

Dorothy had her kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, after almost four years of doing peritoneal dialysis, so this Kidney Walk marked the fifth anniversary of her new life.

Drinnanfamily
The Drinnan family, with the cake (donated by the North Shore Safeway) that celebrated the fifth anniversary of Dorothy’s kidney transplant.

We knew it was going to be special because our granddaughter Kara brought her parents — our son Todd and his wife, Joanna — to the Walk from their home in Burnaby.

Then, as Dorothy and I got out of our car at McDonald Park, a couple came walking in our direction. It turned out to be our best friends from Brandon — Darlene and Alan Silvius, who arrived completely unannounced. They actually had arrived in town on Saturday, but didn’t breathe a word about it. In fact, at one point, Darlene actually had sent a text to Dorothy indicating that they were in Portage la Prairie, Man., visiting with friends.

DrinnanSilvius
Darlene and Alan Silvius joined us at the Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sunday. Darlene and Dorothy have a special relationship.

Back in the day, Darlene was adamant that she would be the person to give a kidney to Dorothy. But it turned out that she wasn’t a match. Still, she refused to give up, and turned to the Kidney Paired Donation program.

So it was that five years ago she donated a kidney to a stranger in order to allow Dorothy to receive a true gift of life from someone else.

These two women have long had a strong relationship, but for the past five years they have grown even closer.

The look on Dorothy’s face when her brain finally recognized what her eyes were trying to tell her was priceless indeed.

All of you who read this blog and have donated on Dorothy’s kidney page were a big part of our day, too. In the end, Dorothy raised $3,250, which left her No. 1 in Kamloops for a fifth straight year.

Thank you all so much for your support. It really does mean a lot.

Now let’s get back to hockey . . . although it’ll be a bit spotty this week because, well, we’ve got some company to tour around.


In the meantime, here are some notes from the past few days. . . .

Old friend Les Lazaruk, who I may (or may not) have owned on the Strat-O-Matic field back in the day, opened the regular season with something of a milestone broadcast . . .


Aside from that milestone, the weekend’s biggest story may have been in Moose Jaw where the 50-50 draw at the Warriors’ home-opener on Saturday night reached $383,450.

There were two unclaimed winning pots from last season, so the carryover to this season was $166,615.

The winning ticket on Saturday was Z423428. As of Sunday morning, the jackpot apparently had yet to be claimed.

Now wouldn’t that be a carryover!


On the eve of the regular season, Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman provided this note on the Kootenay Ice:

“The current season-ticket count rests at 1,670, a drop of 247 from last year. The club had set a goal for 2,500 as part of it’s Drive to 25 campaign that kicked off in May 2017.” . . . The announced attendance at the Ice’s home-opener — a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday — was 2,862. . . . F Connor McClennon, the second overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, scored twice for the Ice. A 16-year-old from Wainwright, Alta., he was pointless in five games with the Ice last season.


The Brandon Wheat Kings opened by sweeping a home-and-home series with the Moose BrandonWKregularJaw Warriors, winning 2-1 in the Wheat City and 4-2 on the road. . . . G Jiri Patera, a 19-year-old rookie from Praha, Czech Republic, recorded both victories. A sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft, Patera stopped 56 of 59 shots in the two victories. . . . Patera is the first European goaltender to play for the Wheat Kings in the franchise’s 52-year history. . . . The Wheat Kings have had at least one American-born goaltender in their history — Scott Olson, from Bloomington, Minn., got into 63 games over three seasons and was a part of the 1978-79 championship team that lost only five regular-season games.


A couple of WHLers signed three-year entry-level NHL deals on the weekend. . . . D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Brook, 19, is from Roblin, Man. He was picked in the second round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. Brook scored both Moose Jaw goals as the Warriors dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday night. . . . F Jake McGrew, a 19-year-old from Orange, Calif., signed with the San Jose Sharks after being a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. McGrew has been with the Spokane Chiefs for two seasons, although knee problems kept him from playing in 2016-17.



The Red Deer Rebels released D Colin Paradis on Saturday in order to get down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Releasing Paradis left them with F Brandon Hagel, F Reese Johnson, who is the team captain, and F Jeff de Wit as their 20-year-olds. . . . Paradis, from Sherwood Park, Alta., has played 194 regular-season games — the first 165 with the Moose Jaw Warriors — over four seasons.


F Owen Blocker of the Lethbridge Hurricanes left the ice on a stretcher in the first period of Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat.

According to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Blocker “targeted Dalton Gally Lethbridgefor a hit in the corner and went awkwardly into the boards. Blocker was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a lengthy delay and did not return.” . . . However, after being checked out at hospital and released, Blocker returned to the arena and returned to Lethbridge with his teammates after the game.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes added G Akira Schmid to their roster on the weekend, after he was assigned by the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Schmid, 18, is from Nesslau, Switzerland, and was a fifth-round selection by the Devils in the NHL’s 2018 draft.

He joins Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., and Carl Tetachuk, 17, from Lethbridge, as goaltenders on the Hurricanes’ roster. Klassen went the distance in the Hurricanes’ first two games as they split a home-and-home with Medicine Hat. The Tigers won 5-2 in Lethbridge on Friday.


The Portland Winterhawks got Danish F Joachim Blichfeld, 20, back from the NHL’s San PortlandJose Sharks as the WHL regular-season opened. Blichfeld, a seventh-round pick by the Sharks in the NHL’s 2016 draft, has signed a pro contract so is eligible to play with the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks’ AHL affiliate. . . . Blichfeld’s arrival left the Winterhawks with four 20-year-olds and three imports on their roster. . . . Blichfeld joined F Conor MacEachern, D Brendan De Jong and D Jared Freadrich as the 20-year-olds. . . . MacEachern didn’t play in a 5-3 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, while MacEachern sat out Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Silvertips in Everett. . . .

WHL teams have until mid-October to declare a maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Should the Winterhawks choose to keep Blichfeld, they would have to release either Czech F Michael Kvasnica, 18, or Swiss F Dean Schwenninger. . . . Kvasnica and Schwenninger are first-year players, but teams are allowed to trade freshman imports only between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trading deadline. Prior to this season, teams were permitted to trade first-year imports. . . . Schwenninger didn’t play in either of the two weekend games. . . .

D Henri Jokiharju, a 19-year-old from Finland, is in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was named to the WHL-Western Conference’s second all-star team last season, and may still end up back in Portland.

Should that happen . . . well, I’m sure the Winterhawks won’t concern themselves with that until it actually does happen.


The Kelowna Rockets went 8-0-0 against the Kamloops Blazers last season. The Blazers Kamloops1showed on opening weekend that things are different now. Kamloops swept a home-and-home series, winning 4-1 at home on Friday and 3-1 in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ first-year head coach, picked up his first WHL victory on Friday and his family — wife Kelly and their children (Isabelle, 17, and Marc, 15) were there to witness it, having made the trip from their home in St. Albert, Alta. . . . “Up until (Thursday) night, I was texting with my daughter and my son and they made me believe they were both getting ready for bed and they were going to get up to go to school this morning,” Lajoie told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “It’s nice to be able to share this with them. I’m not here if it isn’t for them. I don’t lose sight of that.”


The Prince Albert Raiders opened with a two-game sweep of Regina, snapping a 15-game losing skid to the Pats with the first victory. The Raiders got started with a 7-2 victory on home ice on Friday, then travelled to Regina and beat the Pats 3-1 on Saturday. . . . The Raiders last beat the Pats on Sept. 23, 2016, when they posted a 4-3 OT victor in Regina on a goal by F Simon Stransky.


The Saskatoon Blades opened with a two-game sweep of the defending-champion Swift Current Broncos, winning 2-1 on the road and 8-0 at home, behind 17 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . F Kirby Dach put up seven points in the two games, including three goals and two assists in Saturday’s shutout victory. . . . Only time will tell if this is a sign of things to come for the Blades, who have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, and the Broncos, who went all-in last season in putting together the team that would win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.


Tweetoftheday

Americans turn to Buchberger . . . Silvertips add two coaches, lose one . . . Hitmen to introduce their guy today


MacBeth

D Corbin Baldwin (Spokane, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had one goal and 12 assists in 67 games with the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL). . . .

F Dalibor Bortňák (Kamloops, 2008-11) signed a tryout contract with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had seven goals and seven assists in 31 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .

D Victor Bartley (Kamloops, Regina, 2003-09) signed a two-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). Last season, with Örebro (Sweden, SHL), he had two goals and 13 assists in 44 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .

D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) signed a tryout contract with Kölner Haie (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had five goals and eight assists in 45 games, and also had one goal in six games with Leksand (Sweden, Allsvenskan). . . . His tryout deal runs until the Deutschland Cup break (Nov. 5). . . .

D Spencer Humphries (Tri-City, Calgary, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, he had nine goals and eight assists in 40 games with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway, GET-Ligaen). . . .

F Michal Řepík (Vancouver, 2005-08) signed a one-year contract with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). Last season, he had 12 goals and 11 assists in 51 games with Slovan, and three goals and three assists in seven games with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga).


ThisThat

Kelly Buchberger is the new head coach of the Tri-City Americans. Buchberger, with no WHL coaching experience, takes over from Mike Williamson, who left the organization tri-citylast month after four years as head coach. . . . Williamson is the fifth-winningest regular-season coach in WHL history. . . . The length of Buchberger’s contract wasn’t disclosed. . . . Buchberger, 51, was an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Islanders last season. However, they chose to clean house following the season. Prior to that, he was with the Edmonton Oilers since 2004, spending six of those seasons as an NHL assistant coach. He also spent three seasons (2014-17) as the Oilers’ director of player personnel. . . . His only head-coaching experience is from 2007-08 when he was with the Springfield Falcons, then the AHL affiliate of the Oilers. . . . From Langenburg, Sask., Buchberger was a ninth-round pick by the Oilers in the NHL’ s 1985 draft. He went on to play 1,182 regular-season NHL games, splitting time with the Oilers, Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes and Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . He played two seasons (1984-86) with the Moose Jaw Warriors, recording 26 goals, 39 assists and 320 penalty minutes. . . .

Brian Pellerin, 48, who has been the team’s associate coach for four seasons, will remain with the club and work alongside Buchberger. Pellerin is believed to have one year left on his contract. . . .

With the Americans having unveiled their head coach, the Calgary Hitmen remain the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams without a head coach. However, they have scheduled a news conference for today (Tuesday) to announce the 10th head coach in franchise history.


The Everett Silvertips have signed Louis Mass and Harry Mahood as assistant coaches to work alongside head coach Dennis Williams. . . . Mass, 41, is from Anchorage and has Everettspent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach through five seasons with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. . . . Mahood, from Thompson, Man., played four seasons (1979-83) in the WHL, spending time with the Great Falls Americans, Spokane Flyers, Billings Bighorns and Nanaimo Islanders. Yes, that is an amazing quarter of WHL teams. . . . Mahood, who will turn 56 on Aug. 8, has been in the coaching game since 1996 in Germany. Of late, he coached with Williams with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls and USHL’s Bloomington Thunder, both of which were under the umbrella of Consolidated Sports Holdings, which owns the Silvertips. . . . Shane Clifford, who spent a total of 11 seasons, including the last four, as Everett’s goaltending coach, has left to coach goaltenders with the OHL’s Erie Otters. Last season, he also worked with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers and Youngstown Phantoms. . . . The Silvertips had room on their coaching staff after Mitch Love, the assistant to the GM and assistant coach, signed on as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades.


There haven’t yet been any announcements, but Taking Note has been told by sources familiar with the WHL that Ryan Smith and Jamie Heward, both of whom have left the Swift Current Broncos’ coaching staff, will be joining other WHL teams. . . . Smith, who spent three seasons as the Broncos’ associate coach, is moving to the Medicine Hat Tigers to work with GM/head coach Shawn Clouston and assistant coach Joe Frazer. . . . Heward will be joining the Vancouver Giants where he will work with first-year assistant coach Michael Dyck. Heward had been with the Broncos for six seasons as an assistant coach and director of player development.


The Saskatoon Blades and the Saskatoon Media Group have agreed to a four-year Saskatooncontract extension that involves the broadcast rights to the team’s WHL games. Under the new deal, the broadcasts will move from 92.9 The BULL FM to 98 COOL FM. . . . That’s good because no one is cooler than Les Lazaruk, who is preparing for his 25th season as the radio voice of the Blades. . . . The Blades also announced that “Lazaruk will host a live one-hour pre-game show from the concourse at SaskTel Centre prior to home games. Fans also will get a chance to hear from the players and staff every Thursday morning on 98COOL FM.”


The Portland Winterhawks have signed two import forwards — Dean Schwenninger, 17, who is from Switzerland, and Michal Kvasnica, 18, from Czech Republic. . . . Last season, PortlandSchwenninger had 13 goals and 24 assists in 19 games with Zug U-17 in the Elite Novizen. In 20 games with Zug’s U-20 side, he had five goals and three assists. In 15 games with Switzerland’s U-17 team, he added five goals and four assists. . . . Kvasnica had six goals and 10 assists in 45 games with HC Frydek-Mistek in Czech2. He also played eight games with HC Trinec U-20, putting up five goals and four assits. In seven games at the World U-18 championship, he had two goals and two assists. . . . The Winterhawks finished last season with two imports — Danish F Joachim Blichfeld and Finnish D Henri Jokiharju. . . . Blichfeld, who turns 20 today (Tuesday), is expected to play with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda this season. . . . Jokiharju has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. If he doesn’t make the Blackhawks, well, here’s what Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote on Sunday: “The Winterhawks are moving on without him, so he likely will end up in Chicago or Rockford this season. It’s also possible Jokiharju will go to the Finnish Elite League for a year. It’s unlikely, but Jokiharju has some history with it. His father, Juha, played for more than a decade in the Liiga.” . . . The Rockford IceHogs are the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate. . . . Lazerus’s complete story is right here.Tweetoftheday

Scattershooting: Blades’ voice has idea to honour Tyler Bieber . . . Guy Charron? Call him commissioner . . . Virden up 2-0 in MJHL final

Scattershooting

Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, caught a ride with Blades assistant coach Jerome Engele on Thursday morning and the two headed for Humboldt.

They went to the Elgar Petersen Arena for the funeral of Broncos’ radio voice Tyler Bieber, who was killed in Friday’s bus crash.

While in the seats, just prior to the service starting, Lazaruk had an idea.

“One other thing I feel as I sit and look at Tyler Bieber’s spot in the 107.5 Bolt FM broadcast booth,” he tweeted, “. . . I want to honour Tyler’s memory by calling Humboldt Broncos game on Bolt-FM. For free! No talent fee! No gas money! No meal money! I don’t care where the game is.

“There are 58 regular-season games in 2018-19 and I hope 57 other broadcasters step up and do the same in Tyler’s memory.”

If there is a way to make this work, you can bet on it happening.

Chris Cuthbert, Gord Miller, Peter Loubardias, Phil Andrews, Kelly Moore, Shawn Mullin, Ryan Switzer, James Gallo, Troy Gillard, Dave Randorf, John Fraser, Ben Holden, Joey Kenward, Tim Edmonds, Jason Gregor, Lee Jones, Tony Brar, Rob Mahon, Nick Gismondi, Brendan Parker, Peter Mills, Pete Krupsky and Cameron Birnie were among those to respond in a resoundingly positive fashion.


Tyler Bieber was a huge fan of the NFL’s New England Patriots.

Upon hearing that, Robert Kraft, the Patriots’ owner, called Bieber’s family — he ended up leaving a voicemail expressing condolences, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan — and also made sure that flowers were sent.



Bob Wilkie was a defenceman with the 1986-87 Swift Current Broncos. He survived the Broncos’ bus crash on Dec. 30, 1986, and went on to win the 1989 Memorial Cup with SCBroncosthem.

Wilkie later co-authored a book about the Broncos and that accident — Sudden Death: The Incredible Saga of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos.

On Sunday, he was in Saskatoon and Humboldt as he, Sheldon Kennedy, Peter Soberlak and Darren Kruger worked to spread hope among those impacted by the Humboldt bus crash.

This week, Wilkie dug up a souvenir of that 1989 Memorial Cup championship.



Elsewhere . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have signed three members of their organization to contract extensions, the lengths of which weren’t released. Assistant coach Scott Burt, equipment manager Tim Lindblade and Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, all have new deals. . . . Burt is preparing for his sixth season with the Chiefs. . . . Lindblade joined the Chiefs for the 2013-14 season. . . . Baird just completed his first season as equipment manager after 10 seasons as the Chiefs’ video co-ordinator.


Jeff Wagner is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He had been assistant GM/associate coach with the KIJHL’s Creston Valley Thunder Cats. . . . Wagner replaces Craig Mohr, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the Ghostriders were first-round playoff casualties. This was his fourth season as the club’s GM/head coach.


Guy Charron, a former NHLer who did a couple of turns as the head coach of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, is the new commissioner of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League. . . . You can bet that Charron will be a busy man because, as Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week writes, “The league has never been short on fiery personalities and hot-button issues — and this year is no different.” . . . Hastings has more right here.


JUST NOTES: If you’re following the WHL playoffs, you will be aware that the Tri-City Americans completed a four-game sweep of the Victoria Royals on Wednesday night. The Americans play in the U.S. Division and were a wild-card entry into the playoffs. They have swept the B.C. Division’s top two teams — the Kelowna Rockets, who finished atop the division, and the Royals, who were second. Does this mean the Americans get to hoist a B.C. Division championship pennant prior to next season? . . . In the MJHL, Rylee Zimmer had a goal and two assists to help the host Virden Oil Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the Steinbach Pistons. Zimmer tied the game at 14:07 of the third period and drew an assist on Landyn Cochrane’s winner at 15:48. . . . Virden won the opener, 2-1, in Steinbach on April 6. Game 2 had been scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed out of respect for the Humboldt Broncos. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday in Steinbach. . . . The winner of the MJHL championship will meet the SJHL champ, either the Estevan Bruins or Nipawin Hawks, in the ANAVET Cup series. The SJHL final opens Saturday in Nipawin. . . .


A really interesting hockey book was published a year ago, but somehow I missed it. That book is Father Bauer and the Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey. I came upon it last month, and simply devoured it. Written by Greg Oliver, it details all that went on as Canadian hockey moved into the national team era and beyond. When I was growing up in northern Manitoba, among my hockey heroes were the likes of Roger Bourbonnais, Terry O’Malley, Barry MacKenzie, Fran Huck, Seth Martin, Ken Broderick, Jean Cusson et al. These were the Canadian players who would venture to Europe and get in the face of the great Soviet machine. The stories of all that went into getting the national program off the ground — no, Clarence Campbell’s NHL didn’t like it at all — all are right here. Great stuff!

Let’s help Hirsche leave his legacy . . . No playoffs so Blades fire Brockman . . . Second season next for WHL

Scattershooting

Scattershooting . . . following the end of another WHL regular season:

I don’t think there is a playoff format out there that would make everyone happy. But you are free to ask about the fairness of the format now being used by the WHL. Under it, eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. But the Saskatoon Blades, with the seventh-most points in the 12-team Eastern Conference, didn’t make it.


The Blades also finished with more victories (35) than two Eastern Conference teams that did qualify — the Prince Albert Raiders (32) and Red Deer Rebels (27). So what happened to the Blades? They got bit in the ass by the dreaded loser point. The Blades finished with four of them, while the Raiders and Rebels each finished 13.


The Blades, of course, fired head coach Dean Brockman on Sunday morning. You are free to discuss among yourselves if he lost his job because of the playoff format.


If the WHL playoff format called for the top eight teams in each conference to qualify, the Red Deer Rebels would have been on the outside, instead of preparing for a first-round set-to with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Had the Rebels missed, do you suppose the general manager would have fired the head coach? Hey, just asking.


Perhaps during the off-season the WHL pooh-bahs will take a look at a format that rewards losing in such a grand fashion. . . . Perhaps they also will take a serious look at banning fighting, because the time is long past for adults to stop allowing teenagers to punch each other in the face. There simply is too much evidence that cumulative blows to the head simply aren’t good for the brain. . . . And while they’re at it maybe they’ll get rid of that stupid trapezoid behind each goal and allow the goaltenders to get back to handling the puck.


Jayden Halbgewachs of the Moose Jaw Warriors is the WHL’s 2017-18 scoring champion, thanks to 129 points. The last time one of the Warriors won the WHL scoring title? Troy Brouwer, in 2005-06, with 102 points. Of course, Halbgewachs also led the WHL in goals, with 70. . . . In his past two seasons, Halbgewachs put up 230 points, 120 of them goals, in 143 games.


The Warriors acquired Halbgewachs from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 6, 2012. The Blazers had selected him 19th overall in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. They acquired D Joel Edmundson and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft for D Tyler Bell, then, 18, Halbgewachs, who was 15, and a first-round selection in the 2015 draft. . . . That first-rounder turned out to be the fourth-overall pick and the Warriors used it to take D Jett Woo, who might be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Kamloops later traded the fourth-round pick and a sixth in 2017 to Calgary for F Mike Winther, a 20-year-old who played 39 games with the Blazers before being dealt to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmundson played 34 regular-season and 15 playoff games with the Blazers, helping them to the Western Conference final where they lost in five games to the Portland Winterhawks.


Is it fair that Winnipeg is home to Canada’s best football play-by-play man — Bob Irving of CJOB — and a hockey play-by-play voice — TSN’s Dennis Beyak — who is at the top of his field, too?


Thank you to everyone who has stopped by here or at one of the earlier homes of Keeping Score. We have had a good time over the past few years and it’s been a great ride, but I have decided to step back.

I have been writing about the WHL for a long time and it’s time. There is no other reason for this decision than that — it simply is time.

I have been writing for 45 years, so I am sure that I will continue to post on this blog, but not in anything resembling a daily fashion. Nor will I be doing WHL roundups or reporting regularly on WHL-related news.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be behind the cover of a book. First up, it’s Roy MacGregor’s Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada, then Father Bauer and the Great Experiment, by Greg Oliver, and the just-published A Matter of Confidence: The Inside Story of the Political Battle for B.C., by journalists Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman.

And, of course, the baseball season is about upon us.

So . . . farewell, stay safe and, please, if you haven’t already, take a few minutes and think about signing on as an organ donor.


ThisThat

Two years ago, Brock Hirsche, the captain of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. That was one year after two other team members had been diagnosed with it. They both were able to beat it.

It looked like Hirsche had beaten it, too, but it wasn’t to be. The cancer is back and has spread. Treatment has been unsuccessful and Hirsche has been told his cancer is terminal.

Hirsche, 26, is from Lethbridge. He played four seasons (2009-13) with the Prince George Cougars, wearing an ‘A’ for two seasons and serving as captain in his final season. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 26 games over his last two seasons.

He moved on to the U of L and was the Proghorns’ captain in 2015-16, his third season there.

He didn’t play last season and, of course, didn’t play this season.

So what did he do after getting the latest diagnosis? He started a scholarship fund in his name.

“He wants to leave a legacy behind,” Pronghorns head coach Spiros Anastas tells Taking Note. “It’s a testament to the type of person he is. In one night we raised $11,000.”

If you would like to help, the link is right here. The U of Lethbridge will provide tax receipts.


The Saskatoon Blades announced Sunday morning that they had fired head coach Dean Brockman “effective immediately.”

The move came the morning after the Blades ended their season with a 5-4 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Brockman had two seasons left on a multi-year contract extension that was announced on Aug. 24.

The Blades finished 35-33-4, as they missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season, the last two under Brockman. He spent two seasons on the coaching staff as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach.

“While this was a difficult decision for us to make, we felt our performance over the last month of the season was very disappointing and the team did not meet the expectations we set out for them,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said in a news release. “We have been in a playoff position two years in a row coming down the stretch and just haven’t been able to take that next step, which ultimately led us to this decision.”

The news release didn’t make any mention of the status of assistant coaches Ryan Keller and Bryce Thoma, both of whom also are signed through 2019-20.

The Blades seemed to be comfortably in the conference’s second wild-card spot on Feb. 20, when they led the Raiders by eight points. The Raiders then went on a 9-0-2 rip, while the Blades were going 2-6-1. With everything decided, the Blades closed out the season by beating the Raiders twice.

The Blades were 63-68-13 over the past two seasons. Brockman is credited with 62 of those victories; he missed one while attending a funeral.

Priestner and Steve Hildebrand, the associate general manager, held exit interviews with the players on Sunday. Three players were provided to the media for interviews.

Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ veteran radio voice, reported at dubnetwork.ca that F Chase Wouters, when asked if he was surprised by the firing, “stammered” and said: “I actually can’t comment on that, sorry.”

According to Lazaruk, team captain Evan Fiala responded with: “Sorry, no comment on it.”

F Braylon Shymr said, “Yeah, definitely surprised.” But he quickly added: “No further comments other than that.”

Lazaruk’s story is right here.

Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at Priestner’s media availability and offered up this entry right here.


The U of Alberta Golden Bears, with a roster comprising former WHL players, won their 16th Canadian university men’s hockey championship Sunday, beating the St. Francis Xavier U X-Men, 4-2, in Fredericton, N.B. . . . D Will Tomchuk, who played in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Prince George Cougars (2012-15), scored his only goal of the season at 4:18 of the second period and it stood up as the winner. That goal snapped a 2-2 tie as the Golden Bears erased a 2-0 deficit. . . . Alberta’s other goals came from F Stephane Legault (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2009-13), F Luke Philp (Kootenay Ice, Red Deer Rebels, 2011-2016) and F Jamie Crooks (Saskatoon Blades, Chilliwack Bruins, Victoria Royals, 2008-13). . . . G Zach Sawchenko, who joined the Golden Bears rather than return for a 20-year-old season with the Warriors this season, earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Jason Hills of Postmedia has more right here.


The Kamloops Blazers’ season came to an end with a 6-5 shootout victory over the host Prince George Cougars on Saturday night.

The victory snapped a five-game skid for the Blazers and left head coach Don Hay with whl750 career regular-season victories. Earlier in the season, Hay broke the record of 741 that had been held by Ken Hodge since he retired after the 1992-93 season.

Unfortunately for Hay, after he broke Hodge’s record, the Blazers weren’t able to gain traction and they finished 7-14-2, which wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (following 2017-18):

1. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 750

2. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 720

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 468

9. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

11. Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

12. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 456

      Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 456

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 356

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326

23. Mike Johnston (Portland) 315

——

Victory totals of the remaining head coaches who finished the 2017-18 regular season:

John Paddock, Regina 165

Tim Hunter, Moose Jaw 145

Brent Kisio, Lethbridge 121

Steve Hamilton, Edmonton 110

Dan Lambert, Kelowna, Spokane 93

Jason Smith, Kelowna 88

Emanuel Viveiros, Swift Current 85

David Anning, Brandon, 79

Richard Matvichuk, Prince George 69

Dean Brockman, Saskatoon 62

Jason McKee, Vancouver 56

Dennis Williams, Everett 47

Dan Price, Victoria 39

Matt O’Dette, Seattle 33

James Patrick, Kootenay 27

Dallas Ferguson, Calgary 23



JUST NOTES . . .

F Alec Baer, who played out his 20-year-old season with the Kootenay Ice, will be joining the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. Baer, who is from St. Louis Park, Minn., finished this season with 30 goals and 31 assists in 72 games. . . . He played 342 regular-season games — he also skated with the Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes — and finished with 187 points, including 86 goals. . . .

Everett’s last goal of the regular season, in an 8-1 victory over the host Victoria Royals on Saturday, was scored by F Matt Fonteyne, with assists to F Patrick Bajkov and D Kevin Davis. They are the club’s three 20-year-old players. . . .

Not to be outdone, the Seattle Thunderbirds got one goal from each of their 20-year-olds — D Austin Strand, D Turner Ottenbreit and F Donovan Neuls — in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. . . .

A tweet from Caden Fanshaw (@cfanner4) of Prince George’s front office, points out that Cougars F Jared Bethune “has only missed one regular-season game in the past three seasons, and played every playoff game possible in his career. That’s a combined 230 of 231 possible games.” . . .

Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald points out that the Silvertips won their third U.S. Division title in the last four years “and sixth in the franchise’s 15-year history, but the first without Kevin Constantine as head coach.” . . .

F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon, made his WHL debut with the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night. Yes, he had family in attandance. In fact, according to a tweet from Jeff Helperl, Saleski’s father went home with a cool $53,250 in his jeans after winning the 50/50 draw.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Calgary, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored five PP goals in the first period en route to a 7-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Neither Edmonton (22-42-8) nor Calgary (24-37-11) EdmontonOilKingsqualified for the playoffs. . . . Calgary went 3-2-1 in the season series; Edmonton was 3-3-0. . . . F Riley Stotts (19) gave the Hitmen the lead just 49 seconds into the first period. . . . It didn’t last long. . . . F Tomas Soustal got Edmonton’s first PP goal, at 5:47, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (32) put the Oil Kings ahead at 10:00. . . . Soustal (22) added a second goal at 12:41, and F Brett Kemp (17) made it 4-1 at 13:04. . . . D Matthew Robertson upped it to 5-1 at 17:54. . . . F Cael Zimmerman (7) got the Hitmen to within three goals, on a PP, at 19:38. . . . Robertson’s second goal of the game, and seventh of the season, put Edmonton ahead 6-2 at 16:34 of the second period. . . . Calgary D Egor Zamula (2) struck on a PP at 0:17 of the third period, before Edmonton F Colton Kehler (32) closed out the scoring on, yes, another PP, at 7:57. . . . The Oil Kings got two assists from each of F Jake Neighbours and Kemp, with one each going to Soustal, Robertson, Kehler and Fix-Wolansky. . . . Neighbours, the fourth overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, recorded four assists in 11 games with the Oil Kings. . . . Stotts added an assist to his goal for Calgary. . . . Edmonton finished 6-7 on the PP; Calgary was 2-6. . . . The WHL record for PP goals by one team in a single game is 10. The Tri-City Americans set that mark on Sept. 30, 1990, in a 16-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Cougars. . . . The Oil Kings got 34 stops from G Todd Scott, while Nick Schneider blocked 19 for the Hitmen. . . . Announced attendance: 13,075.


At Portland, F Riley McKay scored the only goal of a four-round shootout to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Spokane (41-25-6) finished third SpokaneChiefsin the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland (44-23-5). . . . The Winterhawks won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . These teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, starting Saturday in Portland. . . . McKay opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, at 9:46 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks scored the next four goals, the first three coming in the second period from F Mason Mannek (10), at 2:48; F Kieffer Bellows (41), at 12:15; and F Skyler McKenzie (47), at 16:07. . . . F Ryan Hughes (17) upped the lead to 4-1 at 2:11 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs got three goals in the last nine minutes of the period. . . . F Jake McGrew (19) scored, on a PP, at 11:43, and F Milos Fafrak (9) moved the visitors to within a goal at 12:20. . . . D Nolan Reid (14) tied it, 4-4, on a PP, at 19:39. . . . McGrew also had an assist. . . . Spokane was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 0-3. . . . G Donovan Buskey earned the victory with 33 saves, 14 more than Portland’s Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Lukus MacKenzie, who is injured, along with F Alex Overhardt and D Brendan De Jong. . . . Among Spokane’s scratches were F Kailer Yamamoto, who missed his third straight game, G Dawson Weatherill, F Zach Fischer (undisclosed injury), D Ty Smith, F Hudson Elynuik and D Dalton Hamaliuk. . . . With all the scratches, the Chiefs had 11 freshmen in their lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 8,170.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin each scored twice to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Tri-City (38-25-TriCity309) is the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will open the playoffs in Kelowna on Thursday, against the Rockets, who finished atop the B.C. Division. . . . Seattle (34-28-10) will meet the U.S. Division-winning Everett Silvertips. That seres starts Friday in Everett. . . . Tri-City finished 6-3-1 in the season series with Seattle, which was 4-4-2. . . . On Sunday, Yaremko gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 3:55 of the first period, only to have Seattle F Zack Andrusiak (36) tie it at 5:06. . . . The Americans went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from D Jake Bean (12), at 13:41, and Yaremko (22), at 19:51. . . . Seattle got to within a goal when F Dillon Hamaliuk (15) scored, shorthanded, at 7:13 of the third period. . . . AuCoin iced it with two PP goals, at 7:57 and 15:10. He finished with 19 goals. . . . The Americans got two assists from D Juuso Valimaki, and one each from Bean and Yaremko. . . . Tri-City was 2-8 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . G Patrick Dea started for the Americans and stopped nine of 10 shots in 31:26. Beck Warm finished up by allowing one goal on 10 shots in 28:33. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 37 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . F Michael Rasmussen, F Max James and D Dylan Coghlan were among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Seattle scratched D Turner Ottenbreit, F Noah Philp, who left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury, F Donovan Neuls, F Tyler Carpendale and F Nolan Volcan, along with F Blake Bargar (undisclosed injury). . . . Announced attendance: 3,708.


END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY

Lazaruk, no Phantom, sings for charity . . . Everett, Seattle gets hot, hot, hot . . . Blazers, Rockets ends in kerfuffle

MacBeth

F Brandon Segal (Calgary, 1999-2004) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). He has 12 goals and 14 assists in 49 games this season.


DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, a member of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice crew, is in Pyeong Chang, where he has been working at men’s hockey games in the Olympic Winter Games. Yes, he Olylogowas part of the off-ice crew that handled Team OAR’s 4-3 OT victory over Germany. He also has been letting us know how things are going. On Saturday, he sent this . . .

“Well, after plenty of heartbreaking plays, it was truly sad to see the end results of both Team Canada’s meaningful games. Both teams worked hard but got away from the true Canadian style of physical crash and bang play. They tried to play that finesse style, which led to their defeat.

“We Canadians don’t play that way!

“There won’t be any North American on-ice officials doing the gold medal game.

“Both referee Brett Iverson and linesman Nathan Van Oosten will be working the Blazers game on Wednesday.”


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, took his game to a different level on Friday night.

With the Blades at home to the Regina Pats, Lazaruk got things started by singing O Canada. Yes, he did.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be too much video of it kicking around the Internet, other than the link that is supplied in the above tweet.

Lazaruk did this as a fund-raiser in support of Pink Day for the Saskatchewan Red Cross.

If you aren interested in donating, you are able to do so right here.

Mike Priestner, the Blades’ owner, has agreed to match every penny that is donated.


Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post takes time out of his busy schedule to interview sporting personalities in a light and personal fashion. His most recent subject was John Paddock, the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats. Paddock, as always, is worth listening to as he recounts a lot about his NHL days. . . . It’s all right here.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Kent, Wash., the Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . Everett (41-17-5) has points in 11 straight (9-0-2). It leads the EverettWestern Conference by five points over Kelowna. . . . Seattle (28-24-9) has lost four in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, by six points over Kamloops. . . . Everett is 4-2-2 in the season series; Seattle is 4-3-1. . . . F Nolan Volcan (26) put Seattle ahead 1-0 at 14:18 of the first period. . . . F Connor Dewar (32) tied it at 11:35 of the second period. . . . G Garrett Pilon (31) broke the tie at 2:44 of the third period. . . . Dewar also had an assist. . . . Seattle was 0-1 on the PP; Everett was 0-4. . . . G Carter Hart recorded the victory with 23 saves. . . . Seattle got 37 stops from G Liam Hughes. . . . Announced attendance: 5,452.


At Red Deer, the Rebels overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the Swift Current Broncos, 5-3. . . . Red Deer (22-28-13) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the Red DeerCentral Division, six points behind Lethbridge. . . . Swift Current (43-14-5) had points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, two points behind Moose Jaw, which holds two games in hand. . . . F Brandon Hagel (12) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:28 of the second period. . . . The Broncos responded with three goals. . . . F Giorgio Estephan (27) scored at 2:39 of the second period, and F Matteo Gennaro (37) put the visitors ahead at 15:26. . . . F Glenn Gawdin (52) ran his point streak to 21 games, giving the Broncos a 3-1 lead at 7:03 of the third period. . . . The Rebels then tied it on two goals from F Grayson Pawlenchuk, who has 18, at 9:05 and 15:53. . . . F Chris Douglas (7) broke the tie at 16:50, and F Kristian Reichel (29) got the empty-netter, at 19:18. . . . The Rebels got two assists from F Mason McCarty, with Hagel adding one. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen had two assists for the Broncos. . . . Gawdin has 20 goals and 20 assists in his 21-game point streak. . . . Swift Current was 0-1 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-2. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 28 shots for the Rebels, one more than Swift Current’s Joel Hofer. . . . Announced attendance: 4,735.


At Moose Jaw, the Warriors jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 3-2 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (45-12-3) has tied its franchise record for victories in a MooseJawWarriorsseason that was set in 2011-12. It leads the overall standings, by two points over Swift Current. . . . Regina (33-25-6) had won its previous four games. It is third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Moose Jaw is 6-2-0 in the season series; Regina is 2-5-1. . . . Head coach Tim Hunter posted the 138th regular-season victory, moving to No. 1 on the Warriors’ career list. He had been sharing the record with Al Tuer. . . . F Tristin Langan (14) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 6:50 of the first period, with F Justin Almeida (34) adding another, on a PP, at 14:25. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs made it 3-0 with his WHL-leading 58th goal, at 12:15 of the second period. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle (11) got Regina on the scoreboard at 17:39. . . . F Robbie Holmes (15) pulled the Pats to within one at 7:28 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw was 1-2 on the PP; Regina was 0-2. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 28 stops. . . . The Pats got 23 saves from G Max Paddock. . . . D Jett Woo served the second of a three-game suspension, while D Dmitri Zaitsev (ill) also was among the scratches. . . . The Warriors have added D Daemon Hunt, 15, to their roster for the weekend. He was a first-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. Hunt has 40 points, including 36 assists, in 40 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Regina D Liam Schioler completed a two-game suspension by sitting out this one. . . . Announced attendance: 4,701.


At Edmonton, F Parker Kelly scored the only goal of the third period to give the Prince Albert Raiders a 5-4 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert (26-25-11) has won three PrinceAlbertin a row. It is two points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Each team has 10 games remaining. . . . Edmonton (18-35-8) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . The Oil Kings had an early 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Trey Fix-Wolansky (26), at 1:44, and D Conner McDonald (6), on a PP, at 5:47. . . . The Raiders took a 3-2 second-period lead on goals from D Vojtech Budik (10), on a PP, at 5:18; F Curtis Miske (21), at 5:52; and F Brett Leason, at 6:39. . . . Edmonton got back into a tie when D Wyatt McLeod scored his first WHL goal at 7:07. . . . Leason, who has goals in six straight games, broke that tie with his 16th goal at 12:04. . . . F David Kope (11) pulled the Oil Kings into a 4-4 tie at 18:34. . . . Kelly, playing in his 200th regular-season game, won it with his 26th goal, at 8:35 of the third period. . . . F Kody McDonald and F Regan Nagy each had two assists for the winners, with Kelly and Miske adding one each. . . . Fix-Wolansky had two assists and Kope one for Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings were 2-4 on the PP; the Raiders were 1-7. . . . Prince Albert got 25 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . G Josh Dechaine made 26 saves for Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 9,723.


At Spokane, F Kailer (Yammi) Yamamoto had a goal and two assists and F Jaret (JAD) Anderson-Dolan had three assists to lead the Chiefs to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay SpokaneChiefsIce. . . . Spokane (35-21-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Kootenay (25-36-3) has lost five straight. It is fourth in the Central Division, four points behind Red Deer. . . . As part of the night’s promotion, the Chiefs had nicknames on the backs of their jerseys. Those nicknames are included in the lineup in the above tweet. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead at 4:55 of the first period on a goal from F Milos (Fafs) Fafrak. . . . F Gillian Kohler (6) tied it for the Ice, at 9:10. . . . The Chiefs went out front 3-1 before the period ended, on goals from F Ethan (Dewey) McIndoe (20) and Yamamoto (18), shorthanded, at 19:06. . . . F Colton Veloso scored for the Ice at 2:10 of the second period, but the home team went up 5-2 on goals from F Jake (McGruber) McGrew (16), at 8:25 of the second, and D Ty (Smitty) Smith (13), at 3:38 of the third. . . . Veloso (23) got the Ice’s final goal, at 14:25. . . . The Chiefs also got two assists from F Riley (Woodsy) Woods, with McGrew and Fafrak each getting one. . . . Kootenay was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs got 12 stops from G Dawson (Weatherman) Weatherill. . . . G Matt Berlin stopped 31 shots for the Ice. . . . Announced attendance: 8,352.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans scored three first-period goals in the span of 2:34 and went on to a 6-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Tri-City (32-21-8) TriCity30has won three in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind Spokane. . . . Prince George (20-33-8) has lost three straight. . . . The Americans took control with three goals in the span of 2:34 early in the first period. . . . F Jordan Topping (35) got it started at 4:11, with D Juuso Valimaki making it 2-0 at 4:51 and F Paycen Bjorklund (2) adding another at 6:45. . . . The Americans went ahead 5-0 before the period ended, as Valimaki scored at 11:41 and F Parker AuCoin (17) counted at 19:20. . . . Valimaki completed his second career hat trick with his 11th goal at 10:18 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got their goal from D Ryan Schoettler (6) at 17:42. . . . D Anthony Bishop drew three assists for Tri-City, with F Isaac Johnson and F Nolan Yaremko each getting two. . . . Each team was 0-3 on the PP. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 19 shots for the Americans. . . . The Cougars started G Isaiah DiLaura, who gave up five goals on 14 shots in the first period. Tavin Grant played the last two periods, stopping 15 of 16 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 5,406.


At Victoria, F Cody Glass, who also had two assists, broke a 2-2 tie at 16:56 of the third period to give the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Royals. . . . Portland (37-Portland20-4) has won two in a row, having beaten the host Royals, 2-1, on Friday. The Winterhawks have clinched a playoff spot. They are second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind Everett. . . . Victoria (35-23-5) has lost two straight. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Kelowna and five ahead of Vancouver. . . . The Winterhawks went ahead 1-0 at 3:50 of the first period when F Kieffer Bellows scored on a PP. . . . Victoria F Noah Gregor got that one back, on a PP, at 17:08. . . . Bellows (32) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead 54 seconds into the second period, only to have Gregor (25) tie it, on a PP, at 6:28. . . . Glass got the winner, his 29th goal this season, on a PP. . . . The Winterhawks got three assists from D Dennis Cholowski. . . . Glass now has 200 career points in 190 regular-season games. . . . F Dante Hannoun had two assists for Victoria. . . . F Matthew Phillips of the Royals had his point streak snapped at 22 games. . . . Victoria was 2-4 on the PP; Portland was 2-6. . . . G Shane Farkas earned the victory with 21 saves. He also went the distance for Portland on Friday. . . . The Royals got 39 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Announced attendance: 7,006.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Kamloops Blazers, 6-5. . . . Kelowna (38-18-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Western KelownaRocketsConference, five points behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (27-31-5) has lost two in a row. It is six points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining. . . . Kelowna is 6-0-0) in the season series; Kamloops is 0-5-1. . . . The Rockets actually led this one 3-0, before giving up four goals in a span of 5:57 in the second period. . . . F Dillon Dube, who has 31 goals, scored for Kelowna at 10:51 and 18:46 of the first period, the latter coming via a PP. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (17) made it 3-0, on another PP, at 5:36 of the second period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (32) got the Blazers’ comeback started at 11:04. F Luc Smith (17), back after a two-week absence, made it 3-2 at 11:25, and F Nick Chyzowski (19) tied it, on a PP, at 14:25. D Nolan Kneen (5) gave Kamloops the lead, at 17:01. . . . The Rockets tied it at 12:50 of the third period as F Leif Mattson scored while shorthanded. . . . Kamloops F Orrin Centazzo (10) gave Kamloops a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 13:11. . . . The Rockets tied it at 13:40 as F Carsen Twarynski (38) struck, on a PP, then took the lead at 17:47 on Mattson’s 21st goal of the season. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of D Gordie Ballhorn and F Kole Lind, with Dube and Brutten-Cate adding one apiece. . . . Loewen had two assists for Kamloops, as did Kneen and F Quinn Benjafield. . . . Loewen went into this season with 14 goals and 18 assists in 170 games. This season, he has developed into one of the WHL’s top power forwards, with 32 goals and 24 assists in 57 games. . . . Kelowna was 3-6 on the PP; Kamloops was 2-6. . . . The Rockets got 23 saves from G Brodan Salmond, while G Dylan Ferguson stopped 31 shots at the other end. . . . The Rockets took 62 of the game’s 120 penalty minutes. Eight game misconducts, including one to Salmond, were handed out following a kerfuffle at the final buzzer. . . . Announced attendance: 5,324.


At Medicine Hat, F Cole Reinhardt’s overtime goal gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victor over the Tigers. . . . Brandon (32-24-5) had lost its previous two games. It is fourth BrandonWKregularin the East Division, three points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points up on Saskatoon. . . . Medicine Hat (31-24-8) is 3-0-1 in its past four games. It leads the Central Division, by four points over Lethbridge. . . . The Wheat Kings got off to a 1-0 lead at 8:44 on a goal by F Stelio Mattheos (37). . . . F Ryan Jevne (17) tied it for the Tigers, on a PP, at 17:31. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Wheat Kings went ahead 3-1 on goals from Reinhardt, at 4:43, and F Evan Weinger (26), shorthanded, at 11:19. . . . D David Quenneville (26) scored at 15:02 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . The home team tied it with 38.2 seconds left and the extra attacker on the ice when F Mark Rassell (46) scored the 100th regular-season goal of his career. . . .  Reinhardt scored his 15th goal of the season to win it at 1:06 of OT. . . . Mattheos added two assists to his goal. . . . Quenneville also had two assists, with Rassell and Jevne adding one each. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-4 on the PP; Brandon was 0-1. . . . The Wheat Kings got 31 saves from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . With G Michael Bullion ill, the Tigers gave Kaeden Lane his first WHL start, and he responded with 10 saves. Lane, 16, is from Burnaby, B.C. He plays for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team in the CSSHL. . . . Announced attendance: 3,226.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Saskatoon, 2:05 p.m.

Brandon at Calgary, 4 p.m.

Swift Current at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

Spokane at Everett, 4:05 p.m.


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