Ice opens by blanking Blades . . . Seattle, Kamloops start tonight . . . Brooks wins another AJHL title


WHL

WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:

The Eastern Conference final opened in Winnipeg last night with the Ice skating to a 3-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. They’ll play Game 2 today in Winnipeg, then head for Saskatoon and games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Saskatoon has had eight home games in these playoffs and drawn seven of the top 10 crowds. The other three were for games that featured the Blades against the host Regina Pats. . . . The announced attendance last night in Winnipeg was 1,613, which was lower than the Ice’s average of 1,650 for 34 regular-season games. . . .

And the Western Conference final gets started tonight with the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers visiting the No. 1 Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . This will be the second straight season in which the conference final has featured these two franchises; Seattle won in seven games a year ago.

You are free to wonder how whether rust — or perhaps nerves — will be a factor in Game 1 tonight. Each of these teams is 8-0 this spring, but Seattle hasn’t played since April 19, while the Blazers have been off since April 20. The Thunderbirds swept aside the No. 8 Kelowna Rockets and No. 4 Prince George Cougars. The Blazers took care of the No. 7 Vancouver Giants and the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks.

Seattle and Kamloops met twice in the last week of the regular season — the Thunderbirds won, 6-3, in Kent on March 21; the Blazers won, 6-5, in Kamloops the next night. Kamloops also won, 3-2, in a shootout in Kent on March 7. . . . Earlier, Seattle won, 2-1 in OT, in Kamloops on Nov. 9.

If you want a whole lot more on this series, there is an in-depth preview available on the WHL website.

They’ll play Game 2 in Kent on Sunday, and then head to Kamloops for games on Tuesday and Thursday. Interestingly, should this series go seven games, they’ll play Games 6 and 7 on back-to-back nights — May 8 in Kamloops and May 9 in Kent.


The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . Things are rolling right along, too, as she now has surpassed $3,400 thanks to help from people like the former WHL coach who checked in on Friday. . . . If you are interested in helping, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.


FRIDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon (2) at Winnipeg (1) —  The Winnipeg Ice scored two first-period WinnipegIcegoals 1:26 apart en route to a 3-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final. . . . They’ll play Game 2 today in Winnipeg, starting at 4 p.m. . . . D Ben Zloty (1) opened the scoring at 14:39 of the first period. He went into the game with no goals and a WHL-leading 15 assists. . . . The Ice went ahead 2-0 at 16:05 when F Zach Ostapchuk (8) scored a shorthanded penalty-shot goal, putting the puck off a post and in. He has goals in eight of the 10 games in which he has played in these playoffs. . . . D Carson Lambos (1) upped the lead to 3-0 at 7:45 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon was 0-for-4 on the PP; Winnipeg was 0-for-1. . . . G Daniel Hauser recorded the shutout with 16 saves. He is 9-1, 2.56, .907 in the playoffs, after going 37-4-1, 2.28, .917 in the regular season. . . . The Blades got 25 stops from G Ethan Chadwick. . . . Were the Blades, coming off two seven-game series, showing signs of fatigue in the latter part of the game? The Ice outshot them 8-4 in the second period and 10-4 in the third. . . . Saskatoon F Justin Lies was back in action after having served a three-game suspension. . . . The Blades continue to be without D Blake Gustafson, who was injured in the previous series. . . . With D Ben Saunderson also injured, Saskatoon had D Morgan Tastad make his playoff debut. The 6-foot-4 Tastad, a 17-year-old from Loreburn, Sask., played in one regular-season game. He was a ninth-round pick by the Blades in the WHL’s 2021 draft.


Slingshot


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The WHL will be well-represented on the officiating front at the IIHF World men’s hockey championship in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia. Referees Adam Bloski and Mike Langin, along with linesmen Brett Mackey and Tarrington Wyonzek, will be working games in what is the biggest tournament of the season in some countries. Each of the foursome will be working his first world championship. . . . The tournament is scheduled to open on May 12 and run through May 28. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their playoff winning streak to 25 on Friday night with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks. This was Game 1 of the Interior Conference final. The Vees lost their first playoff game a year ago, then won 16 in a row as they skated to the championship. This spring, they now are 9-0. . . . In the Coastal Conference, the host Alberni Valley Bulldogs opened with a 9-5 victory over the Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . Game 2 in both series will be played tonight in the same venues. . . .

In the AJHL, the Brooks Bandits beat the visiting Spruce Grove Saints, 3-2 in OT, on Friday night to win the championship in five games. F Brendan Poshak’s third goal of the playoffs won it at 5:10 of extra time to give the Bandits their seventh AJHL title. . . . Brooks will represent the AJHL in the Centennial Cup tournament in Portage la Prairie, Man., and the Bandits go in as the two-time defending champions. The tournament runs from May 11 through May 21.


THE COACHING GAME:

Brien Gemmell is the new head coach of the junior B White Rock Whalers of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. Gemmell has been coaching for more than 30 years, most recently in the Cloverdale, B.C., minor hockey ranks. This season, his U18 Tier 1 team won bronze at the provincial championship. . . . Gemmell takes over from Jason Rogers, who, according to the team, “is stepping down from his role as head coach.” Rogers is to remain with the organization as senior advisor. He had been the team’s head coach since its first season (2018-19).


THINKING OUT LOUD: The first round of the NFL draft on Thursday had 11.29 million TV viewers in the U.S. Yes, the NFL is No. 1 and it isn’t even close. As Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) pointed out, “That’s more than the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, Stanley Cup final, World Series Games 2 & 3, Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open, U.S. Open, PGA Championship and British Open.” . . . In case you missed it, this was Rick Bowness, the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets after a season-ending 4-1 loss to the host Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday: “I’m so disappointed and disgusted right now. There has to be pride. You have to be able to push back when things aren’t going your way. We had no pushback. Their better players were so much better than ours tonight. They deserved to win.” So who goes before a new season arrives . . . the head coach or some players? . . . F Matthew Phillips, who was a thrill to watch when he played with the WHL’s Victoria Royals, scored 36 goals for the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers this season and 15 of them were game-winners. On Friday night, he scored in OT to give the Wranglers a 4-3 victory over the Abbotsford Canucks. The Wranglers lead the best-of-five series, 2-0. The NHL’s Calgary Flames lost 30 one-goal games this season and missed the playoffs, but somehow Phillips wasn’t able to play for them.


——

——

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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Doctor

Advertisement

Blades complete improbable comeback . . . Legend of Spencer (Mr. Game 7) Shugrue grows . . . Winterhawks pondering Memorial Cup bid


It sounds like we can expect the Portland Winterhawks to bid on a Memorial PortlandCup in the near future, perhaps even as early as 2026. . . . Joshua Critzer, who covers the Winterhawks for pnwhockeytalk.com, spent some time chatting with Michael Kramer, one of the franchise’s co-owners. . . . The OHL’s Saginaw Spirit will be the host team for the 2024 tournament, the first time it will have been held in an American city since 1998 when the Spokane Chiefs were the host team. . . . Asked his stance on bidding on a future tournament, Kramer told Critzer: “One hundred percent I do, absolutely. I’m thrilled to hear that Saginaw got it. I was talking with those guys while they were bidding for it. I personally spent a lot of time with the CHL talking about why it is important and why United States-based teams can host. We would absolutely love to host the Memorial Cup. Given the right circumstances, we are going all for it. The first opportunity we will have is three years. I don’t know if we will be able to get it done for that or not, but I’m definitely, definitely focused on hosting.” . . . The complete interview — it’s lengthy and worthwhile — is right here.


WHL

WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:

The WHL playoff schedule will pause to catch its breath now, with no games until Friday night. That is when the Eastern Conference final, featuring the regular-season champion Winnipeg Ice and Saskatoon Blades is to open. It will begin with games in Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday, then shift to Saskatoon for games on Tuesday and May 3. . . .

The Blades advanced on Tuesday night with a Game 7 victory, beating the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 5-2. . . .

The Blades became the third team in WHL history to win a series after losing the first three games. . . . In 1996, the Spokane Chiefs beat the Portland Winterhawks in Game 7, winning 4-3 when F Darren Sinclair scored 58 seconds into OT. . . . In 2013, the Kelowna Rockets beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2 in OT, in Game 7, winning on a goal at 5:10 by F Tyson Baillie. Steve Konowalchuk, now Red Deer’s second-year head coach, was in his second season as Seattle’s head coach at that time. . . .

But not only did the Blades lose the first three games to Red Deer, but they surrendered the first two goals in Game 4 before coming back for a 4-2 victory. . . .

Meanwhile, the Western Conference finalists — the No. 1 Seattle Thunderbirds and No. 2 Kamloops Blazers — no doubt are anxious for Saturday to get here. That’s when they will open their series in Kent, Wash. Game 2 is to be played there on Sunday, with Games 3 and 4 in Kamloops on Tuesday and May 4. . . . Each team was 2-1-1 in the season series. And each team is 8-0 in these playoffs. . . .

You will note that the top two seeds in each conference are the only teams still standing. They also are the only four of the WHL’s 22 teams that enjoyed 100-point seasons.


The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . Things are rolling right along, too, as she surpassed $3,200 on Tuesday. . . . If you are interested in helping, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.


TUESDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Red Deer (3) at Saskatoon (2) — The Saskatoon Blades broke a 2-2 tie with two Saskatoonthird-period goals 40 seconds apart and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Blades, who had lost the first three games of the series, the first two at home, won the series, 4-3. . . . Saskatoon now is 5-0 in elimination games this spring. . . . The Eastern Conference final will open in Winnipeg on Friday night. The Ice, which won the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as regular-season champions, ousted the Moose Jaw Warriors on Monday night, winning Game 6, 8-2, on the road. . . . The Ice was 4-2-0 in the regular-season series; the Blades were 2-3-1. . . . If you are looking for a Game 7 hero look no further than Blades D Spencer Shugrue. The 19-year-old from Vancouver went into these playoffs with three goals in 125 regular-season games. He scored his first playoff goal in a Game 7 victory over the Regina Pats. Last night, he scored twice, breaking a 1-1 tie at 5:41 of the second period and snapping a 2-2 deadlock at 4:29 of the third period. . . . D Hunter Mayo (2) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead at 12:10 of the first  period, only to have F Conner Roulette (2) get Saskatoon even at 14:45. . . . Shugrue (2) gave the Blades a 2-1 lead at 5:41 of the second period, and F Ryker Singer (1) pulled the Rebels even at 7:35. . . . Shugrue (3) put the Blades in front for good at 4:29 of the third, and Roulette (3) added insurance at 5:09. . . . F Vaughn Watterodt (4) got the empty-netter at 19:32. . . . The announced attendance was 9,489. . . . Saskatoon was 0-for-3 on the PP (7-for-26 in the series); Red Deer was 0-for-2 (2-for-20). . . . The Blades got 23 stops from G Austin Elliott. . . . G Kyle Kelsey stopped 23 for the Rebels. . . . With the score 2-2, Red Deer had what it thought was a second-period PP goal disallowed because of contact with Elliott. . . . The Rebels had F Kalan Lind back after he missed two games with an undisclosed injury. . . . Saskatoon F Justin Lies sat out as he completed a three-game suspension for a high hit on Lind in Game 4. . . . Red Deer F Jhett Larson didn’t play as he served a one-game suspension, while Rebels F Frantisek Formanek returned from a one-game suspension. . . . Saskatoon D Blake Gustafson, who was the subject of the hit that earned Formanek that suspension from Game 5, missed a second straight game.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

D Marek Alscher of the Portland Winterhawks will finish his season with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Alscher, who turned 19 on April 7, is from Czechia. He was selected by the Florida Panthers in the third round of the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . This season, his second with Portland, he had eight goals and 16 assists in 60 games. . . .

The SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves have signed Kyle Schneider to a three-year extension through the 2025-26 season. An assistant coach there for the past two seasons, he now is assistant general manager and assistant coach. Schneider played three seasons with the Ice Wolves (2017-20). . . .

In the OHL, the host North Bay Battalion beat the Barrie Colts, 3-1, in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal. The No. 2 Centennials will meet the No. 4 Peterborough Petes in the conference final. That series is to open in North Bay on Friday. . . . The Western Conference final will feature the No. 2 London Knights and No. 3 Sarnia Sting. Game 1 is scheduled for Friday in London. . . . Terry Doyle (@Terry_Doyle) reports that this is the “first time since the 1999 playoffs the conference finals do not include a regular-season top seed from either conference.” . . .

There was a Game 7 in the BCHL last night, too. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs used two early first-period goals as the springboard to a 3-1 victory over the host Surrey Eagles. . . . The No. 3 Bulldogs will meet the No. 5 Chilliwack Chiefs in Coastal Conference final. . . . The BCHL’s Interior Conference semifinal has the No. 4 Salmon Arm Silverbacks meeting the No. 1 Penticton Vees.




——

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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Phone

Lazaruk solves mystery surrounding scoring change . . . Struch signs on with Notre Dame . . . Truitt gets Hockey Canada gig

BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

THE BEDARD REPORT — You thought the Bedard Report was done just because he and his Regina Pats have been eliminated, didn’t you? Au contraire! . . . You may recall reading here about one of Bedard’s goals turning into an assist sometime on Monday, the day the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Pats, 4-1, to win Game 7 of their first-round series. . . . Bedard went into that game with 11 goals and eight assists, or so many of us thought. But after he picked up an assist on Regina’s only goal in Game 7, the WHL website showed him with 10 goals and 10 assists. . . . So what happened? . . . Det. Les Lazaruk, who doubles as the veteran radio voice of the Blades, took on the case and was able to figure it out. . . . Here’s how he explained it: “On the Pats’ first goal in Game 5, Bedard’s PP shot ticks Zack Stringer on the way in. Stringer gets credit for the goal, Bedard an assist, and Alexandre Suzdalev lost a helper on the play.” . . . That game was played on April 7 in Saskatoon. The goal in question was scored at 11:24 of the first period and cut Saskatoon’s lead to 2-1. The Blades eventually won the game, 4-2, to take a 3-2 lead in the series. . . .

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Gino De Paoli, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers (@GDP_PXP), tweeting about Bedard: “That young man alone might’ve saved junior hockey in Western Canada post-COVID. Attendances were up and the post-Bedard buzz will hopefully continue into next season with other great talents coming in. Guy should have a statue and a couple of cars for his body of work in the WHL.” . . .

——

Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered: “Take this to the bank. Both Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli will receive invites for Canada’s World Championship team, which will have whichever team picking second beating a path to Finland. There are scouts out there — a good number of them — who believe that Russian phenom Matvei Michkov will ultimately be the second-best player after Bedard. If you’re willing to wait until 2026, when Michkov’s contract expires, it will be well worth the wait. But if you need someone to inspire and energize your fan base now, Fantilli will be a ridiculously good consolation prize.”


WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:

The Saskatoon Blades have two goaltenders on their roster who put up similar regular-season stats. Freshman Austin Elliott was 25-6-3, 2.20, .911 in 37 appearances, while sophomore Ethan Chadwick went 23-9-2, 2.61, .899. . . . So how did head coach Brennan Sonne decide who to start in Game 7 against the visiting Regina Pats on Monday night. Here’s Sonne: “Chaddy gets us to (Game 7) like a middle reliever and we had an all-star goalie that was fresh, so bring in the closer.” . . . Chadwick was 3-1, 3.23, .847 in the first round; Elliott went 1-1, 3.95, .841. . . .

From Troy Gillard (@Troy_Gillard), the play-by-play voice of the Red Deer Rebels: “Can confirm Jayden Grubbe set a Rebels playoff game record with five assists vs. Calgary on Friday. Michael Spacek had the previous record of four (vs. Lethbridge 03/30/2017).” . . .

The WHL’s second round begins on Friday on four fronts, and there are previews of all series on the league’s website. Check them out!



Ants


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Dave Struch is the new director of hockey at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask. Struch, who steps into his new position on July 1, also will be the head coach of the Hounds male U15 prep team. . . . Struch, 52, spent this season as the associate coach with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. Prior to that he worked with the Regina Pats for seven-plus seasons (2014-22), as assistant coach, assistant GM/assistant coach and assistant GM/head coach. He also spent eight seasons (2006-14) with the Saskatoon Blades, first as assistant coach, then associate coach and head coach. . . . While he worked in Everett, his family remained at their home in Regina. Wilcox is located a few slapshots south of Regina. . . .

Jeff Truitt, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, has been named the head coach of Canada’s entry in the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship. The tournament is scheduled to run April 20-30 in Basel and Porrentruy, Switzerland. . . . This will be Truitt’s first head-coaching position with Hockey Canada; he won gold and silver as a video coach with the 2005 and 2004 national junior teams. . . . Former WHL G Justin Pogge will be on Truitt’s staff as goaltending consultant. Pogge, who played with the Prince George Cougars and Calgary Hitmen, played this season with the DEL’s Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams. He has played professionally for the past 17 seasons. . . . Also on Team Canada’s staff will be athletic therapist Jimmy McKnight (Edmonton Oil Kings), team physician Dr. Michael Conrad (Victoria Royals) and education consultant Nic Renyard (Victoria). . . . Canada opens the tournament against Sweden on April 20. . . .

D Stanislav Svozil of the Regina Pats has joined the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Svozil, a 20-year-old from Czechia, was a third-round pick by Columbus in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . In 115 regular-season games with the Pats over two seasons, he put up 119 points, including 98 assists. This season, he finished with 11 goals and 67 assists in 56 games, then added four goals and nine assists in seven playoff games. . . . He is expected to make his NHL debut tonight (Thursday) against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. . . .

The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks have assigned F Jalen Luypen of the Tri-City Americans to their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. . . . Luypen, 20, had 18 goals and 21 assists in 38 regular-season games with the Americans after missing the start of the season following off-season shoulder surgery. . . . Chicago selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

G Bryan Thomson of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has signed an ATO with the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Thomson, 21, went 59-42-6, 3.06, .901 in 117 appearances with Lethbridge. This season, after recovering from off-season hip surgery, he was 13-8-2, 2.64, .919.


Groceries


With the 10th anniversary of her kidney transplant within in sight, Dorothy is taking part in her 10th straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. So, yes, she is fund-raising. . . . The 2023 Walk is scheduled for June 4. . . . If you would like to donate to her cause, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


LeftLane

Blades win Game 7 . . . No miracle for Bedard, Pats . . . WHL’s second-round matchups set, series open Friday

WHL

A few Twitter tidbits from Sunday’s lone WHL playoff game in which the host Prince George Cougars scored a 5-4 OT victory over the Tri-City Americans to move into the second round for the first time since 2007 . . .

Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow): “Riley Heidt doubles point output in series after recording a goal and 2 assists. 12th game of at least three points this season, 7th this side of 2023. Ty Young stops series high 34 of 38, becomes first Cougars goalie with 3+ wins in playoffs since Real Cyr in 2007 (8).” . . .

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WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:

The stage now is set for the second round of the playoffs, with all four series scheduled to open on Friday. There weren’t any upsets in the first round, as each of the top four seeds in each conference advanced for the first time since 2015. . . .

In the Eastern Conference, the pennant-winning Winnipeg Ice, which swept the Medicine Hat Tigers, will be at home to the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors, while the No. 2 Saskatoon Blades entertain the No. 3 Red Deer Rebels. . . .

In the Western Conference, the No. 1 Seattle Thunderbirds and No. 4 Prince George Cougars will open in Kent, Wash., with the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers entertaining the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks. . . .

Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Radio NL on Monday that F Fraser Minten should be back in the lineup for Friday’s opener against Portland. Minten, a 31-goal man in the regular season, hasn’t played since March 22. . . . At the same time, F Daylan Kuefler, who missed the last game of the four-game sweep of the Vancouver Giants, is day-to-day. He also scored 31 times in the regular season.

——

MONDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:

BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

THE BEDARD REPORT — F Connor Bedard ran out of miracles for the Regina Pats last night in Saskatoon as the Blades posted a 4-1 victory in Game 7 of a first-round series. . . . Yes, he drew an assist on Regina’s lone goal. . . . Bedard finished the series with 10 goals and 10 assists; he was in on 20 of his side’s 26 goals in the seven games. . . . BTW, at some point on Monday there was a scoring change made that impacted Bedard. Prior to Game 7, Bedard was shown with 11 goals and eight assists. He picked up an assist in Game 7, and after the game was shown with 10 goals and 10 assists. . . . On Monday, Bedard was named the WHL’s player of the week for a second straight week. . . . Most points in a WHL playoff series? Who knows? But Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun pointed out earlier that F Jamie Black of the Tacoma Rockets had 22 points, including 15 assists, in a seven-game first-round loss to the Spokane Chiefs in 1993. . . . Bedard was blanked in five of 57 regular-season games; he had at least one point in each of the seven playoff games. . . . In 64 regular-season and playoff games this season, Bedard had 163 points, including 81 goals. . . . Including his performance at the World Junior Championship, he had 186 points, including 90 goals, in 71 games. . . . In his WHL career, he totalled 291 points, including 144 goals, in 141 regular-season and playoff games. . . . What’s next for Bedard? Well, Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ well-connected play-by-play voice, said last night that he has heard that Bedard won’t play for Canada at the IIHF World Championship that is scheduled for  Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia, from May 12-28. . . . Bedard almost certainly will be the first overall selection in the NHL draft that is to run in Nashville on June 28 and 29. . . . All this and he won’t turn 18 until July 17. Amazing!

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EASTERN CONFERENCE

Regina (6) at Saskatoon (3) — The Saskatoon Blades scored three third-period Saskatoongoals as they beat the Regina Pats, 4-1, in Game 7 of their first round series. . . . The Blades will open the second round at home to the Red Deer Rebels on Friday night. . . . This game was goalless until Saskatoon D Spencer Shugrue scored on a redirection off a 3-on-2 break with 13.3 seconds left in the second period. The 19-year-old Vancouver native had one goal and six assists in 55 regular-season games. He was pointless in the first six games of the series. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-0 at 7:56 of the third period when F Jake Chiasson (2) scored. . . . F Stanislav Svozil (4) got the Pats to within a goal at 13:10. . . . The Blades put it away on goals from F Vaughn Watterodt (3), at 17:50, and F Trevor Wong (3), into an empty net, at 18:11. . . . Wong finished the series with 10 points, as did Saskatoon F Egor Sidorov, who had five goals. . . . Saskatoon got 25 stops from G Austin Elliott, while Regina’s Drew Sim blocked 36. . . . Saskatoon was 0-for-2 on the PP to finish 5-for-18. Regina’s PP didn’t get on the ice in Game 7 and finished 5-for-14. . . . If you were wondering who was the WHL Supervisor for this game, it was Kevin Muench, the league’s veteran senior director of officiating. . . . The announced attendance at Monday’s game was 14,768. The four playoff games in Saskatoon drew 47,729 fans. The seven-game series finished with a total attendance of 67,226. . . . The Pats’ last six trips to Saskatoon drew 77,265 fans to SaskTel Centre.



Carts


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

G Jesper Vikman of the Vancouver Giants has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and has joined their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights, on an ATO. . . . From Stockholm, Sweden, Vikman, 21, was 19-21-1, 3.29, .903 with the Giants this season. . . . Vegas selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . .

D Dru Krebs of the Medicine Hat Tigers has joined the AHL’s Hershey Bears on an ATO. Krebs, who turned 20 on Feb. 16, had eight goals and 33 assists in 67 regular-season games this season. He was a sixth-round selection by the Washington Capitals, the Bears’ parent club, in the 2021 NHL draft. . . . 

F Jett Jones of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has joined the ECHL’s Savannah Ghost Pirates. He is coming off a regular season in which he finished with 50 points, 21 of them goals, in 67 games. . . . Jones, 20, is an NHL free agent. . . .

The NHL’s New York Rangers have assigned G Talyn Boyko of the Kelowna Rockets to the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. . . . Boyko, who played out his junior eligibility this season, was 13-24-1, 3.55, .898 with Kelowna this season. . . . The Rangers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

The SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers have signed Clayton Jardine as their general manager and head coach. He spent the past four seasons as head coach of the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Jardine, 32, was the Klippers’ head coach in 2018-19 when he was honoured as the SJHL’s coach of the year. . . . When the 2022-23 season began, Ken Plaquin was the Klippers’ GM/head coach. He was fired on Feb. 22 with assistant coach Tyler Traptow finishing up on an interim basis. . . . The Klippers went 13-34-9 this season and didn’t qualify for the playoffs. . . . 

F Justin Sommer scored in OT to give the Kimberley Dynamiters a 3-2 victory over the host Princeton Posse in Game 7 of the junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s championship final. . . . Sommer, who is from Kimberley, had three goals and three assists in 37 regular-season games. He scored his third goal of these playoffs at 14:36 of OT. . . . Princeton F Brayden Bablitz scored his 12th goal of the playoffs to tie the score at 18:42 of the third period. G Peyton Trzaska was on the bench for the extra attacker at the time. . . . The Posse had been playing with heavy hearts since assistant coach Mort Johnston was killed in a single-vehicle auto accident on March 26.


THINKING OUT LOUD — Whenever I listen to Les Lazaruk call a Saskatoon Blades games, I get bothered. Why? Because someone like Jack Edwards gets to call NHL games and Les doesn’t. It’s true that there are times when life just isn’t fair. . . . A quick note to WHL head coaches . . . Kevin Dudley of the Mankato, Minn., News reports that Minnesota State men’s hockey coach Luke Strand, who just signed a five-year deal, will be paid US$340,000 annually. . . . The Mavericks played 39 games this season.


Kongs


With the 10th anniversary of her kidney transplant within in sight, Dorothy is taking part in her 10th straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. So, yes, she is fund-raising. . . . The 2023 Walk is scheduled for June 4. . . . If you would like to donate to her cause, you are able to do so right here.

——

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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


LeafBlower

Bedard, Howe spark Pats’ victory . . . Hitmen move into playoff spot . . . Seminoff, Bankier bury Royals


BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

THE BEDARD REPORT: After a brief respite it would appear that F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats is back on track. He had just two points, both goals, in his previous four games, but came up with two goals and two assists on Wednesday in a 6-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (63) and points (129), all done in 52 games. . . . Bedard and F Riley Heidt of the Prince George Cougars are tied for the lead in assists (66). . . . According to Quant Hockey (@QuantHockey), only F Sidney Crosby scored more goals in one CHL season as a 17-year-old than Bedard. Crosby had 66 with the 2004-05 Rimouski Oceanic. . . . Bedard’s 63 goals are the most in one season for a Regina skater since 1997-98 when F Ronald Petrovicky scored 64. . . .

Up next for Bedard and the Pats? Three games in fewer than 48 hours — the Moose Jaw Warriors visit on Friday, and the teams play in Moose Jaw on Saturday, then it’s into Saskatoon for a Sunday date with the Blades. . . .

The Blades say they are expecting a crowd of “around 15,000” on Sunday, which would be their first-ever sellout crowd. Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ radio voice, tweeted: “Ticket sales for Sunday’s visit by Connor Bedard . . . have surpassed 14,000! Just a few hundred remain. Sales for the following Friday rematch are at 13,600!”

On Wednesday, the Blades issued a release informing fans exactly what they can expect in terms of doors opening, a park-and-ride service, transit availability, parking and a whole lot more. If you’re interested, it’s all right here.


BarSign


Le Journal de Quebec reported last week that the QMJHL is moving to ban qmjhlnewfighting from its games. Tony Ferrari of The Hockey News added to that story on Wednesday. A QMJHL spokesperson told Ferrari: “The QMJHL is planning to have a rule in place that will ban fighting, making it black and white that it is no longer a part of our game. The punishments have not been decided as of yet. We will be looking to have a rule in place in June when the next general annual assembly of the members of the board of governors takes place.” . . . The aim is to have these changes in place for the start of the 2023-24 season. . . . With all that is known about concussions and CTE, the time has come. You have to think it won’t be long before the OHL and WHL follow suit. . . . Ferrari’s story is right here.



The Vancouver Giants and Kelowna Rockets are involved in a scrap for seventh Vancouverplace in the Western Conference as the WHL’s regular season heads down the stretch. The prizes? The seventh seed gets the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers in the first round; the eighth seed draws the No. 1 Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Giants, though, are likely to be without F Samuel Honzek until at least Tuesday as he recovers from a headshot he absorbed from Kelowna F Carson Golder on Friday. Golder was later suspended for four games. . . . Honzek, who has 21 goals and 31 assists, isn’t expected to play this weekend as the Giants suit up three times in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Giants are at home to the Portland Winterhawks on Tuesday. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on the Giants and their injuries right here.



If the WHL playoffs started today:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Winnipeg (1) vs. Calgary (8)

Red Deer (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)

Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)

Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)

Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)

Portland (3) vs. Everett (6)

Prince George (4) vs. Tri-City (5)

——

WEDNESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

F Matteo Danis scored four times to lead the host Calgary Hitmen to a 7-1 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Danis, 17, is from Calgary. A freshman, he now has 11 goals in 59 games. . . . His first goal, at 8:55 of the first period, turned into the winner. . . . Danis got his second goal on a PP at 1:00 of the second period, then got the game’s last two goals, at 8:45 and 15:40 of the third period. . . . F Maxim Muranov helped out with three assists. . . . G Koen Cleaver, 15, made his WHL debut with Lethbridge when he entered in the third period in relief of starter Bryan Thomson. Cleaver, from Port Alberni, B.C., gave up two goals on seven shots in 18:25. He was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . . Calgary (27-27-8) moved into eighth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Swift Current and Brandon, both of whom lost last night. . . . Lethbridge (33-24-6) clinched a playoff spot despite the loss when Saskatoon beat host Swift Current. The Hurricanes are fifth in the conference, four points ahead of Regina. . . .

The Regina Pats scored the game’s first four goals, two of them by F Tanner Howe, en route to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Howe, who has 33 goals as a 17-year-old, made it 3-0 at 11:39 of the first period and 4-0, while shorthanded, at 10:42 of the second. . . . Brandon got to within 5-3 on F Nolan Ritchie’s 26th goal at 13:34 of the third period, but Regina F Connor Bedard got the empty-netter at 18:27. . . .  This season, Howe had 78 points in 62 games; last season, he finished with 69 points, including 42 assists, in 64 games. . . . Regina (32-27-4) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). It remains sixth in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Lethbridge and five ahead of Medicine Hat. . . . Brandon (26-30-8) has lost two in a row and now is two points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Trevor Wong had a goal and two assists to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 3-2 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Wong got his guys into a 1-1 tie at 12:51 of the first period, then was in on goals from D Aidan De La Gorgendiere (12), at 2:49 of the second, and D Tanner Molendyk (9), at 19:54, for a 3-1 lead. . . . F Josh Filmon’s 44th goal got the Broncos to within one at 1:59 of the third but the home team wasn’t able to equalize. . . . Wong’s second assist was the 100th of his career. This season, he has 81 points, 57 of them assists, in 64 games. In 114 games with Saskatoon, since coming over from Kelowna, he has 123 points, 82 of them assists. . . . G Austin Elliott earned the victory with 29 saves. In his freshman season, he is 23-5-3, 2.15, .913. . . . Saskatoon (45-14-5) will be the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed for the first round of the playoffs. . . . Swift Current (28-31-4) has lost five straight (0-4-1) and is two points from a playoff spot. . . . 

The Kamloops Blazers scored five times in the first period and added five more in the second en route to an 11-1 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . F Matt Seminoff finished with eight points, including four goals, while F Caedan Bankier had three goals and three assists. . . . That was Seminoff’s first hat trick this season and the second of his career. This season, he has 79 points, including 31 goals, in 56 games. . . . The WHL record for points in one game is 10; it has been done five times. . . . Bankier put up his fourth career hat trick, the second this season. This season, he has 78 points, 35 of them goals, in 51 games. Bankier also is riding the WHL’s longest active point streak at 14 games. . . . At one point in the second period, Kamloops was leading 7-0 with a 34-4 edge in shots. At game’s end, it was 48-20. . . . G Dylan Ernst stopped 19 shots in earning his WHL-leading 37th victory. That is the most in one season by a Kamloops goaltender since Corey Hirsch put up 48 in 63 appearances in 1989-90. Hirsch and Grant Fuhr (Victoria Cougars, 1980-81) share the WHL single-season record. . . . The Blazers continue to be without injured forwards Logan Stankoven and Daylan Kueffler, who have combined for 62 goals and 89 assists. . . . Kamloops (45-11-6) has won seven in a row and 18 of 19. It is second in the Western Conference, seven points behind Seattle. Each team has six games remaining. . . . Victoria (15-42-7) has lost 11 in a row (0-10-1). . . .

F Chase Wheatcroft scored twice, added three assists and surpassed the 100-point mark to lead the host Prince George Cougars to a 6-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Wheatcroft, who has 46 goals, broke a 1-1 tie with goals at 16:26 of the first period and 0:38 of the second. . . . The Cougars were never headed after that point. . . . Wheatcroft, 20, went into the season with 82 points, including 31 goals, in 137 games. This season, he has 101 points in 64 games. He is the second WHL player to surpass 100 points this season. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer added a goal (37) and two assists for the Cougars. . . . Prince George (34-24-6) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It is headed to a fourth-place finish in the Western Conference. . . . Kelowna (26-35-3) had won its previous three games. It is eighth in the conference, three points behind Vancouver, which has two games in hand.


Needle


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Package

Lazaruk’s WHL tour makes 40th stop . . . Lies and Bell both out of hospital . . . Ice, Winterhawks win first-place battles


The Saskatoon Blades visited the Calgary Hitmen for a Saturday matinee that was played in the Tsuu’tina Seven Chiefs Sportsplex. . . . I would hope the in-house DJ, if there was one, played some I’ve Been Everywhere, perhaps by Johnny Cash, in honour of Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Blades. . . . Before the game, he tweeted: “By my foggy memory count, (it’s) the 40th building I’ve called WHL regular-season and/or playoff games from.” . . . When I asked him which building was first, he said: “Agridome in Regina.” The date! Sept. 23, 1994. . . . He has provided a list that shows Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre and the 39 others, from east to west:

Three in Winnipeg

Brandon

Regina

Two in Moose Jaw

Prince Albert

Swift Current

Two in Medicine Hat

Lethbridge

Two in Calgary

Red Deer

Three in Edmonton

Two in Cranbrook

Two in Prince George

Kamloops

Two in Kelowna

Chilliwack

Two in Vancouver

Victoria

Two in Spokane

Tri-City

Everett

Three in Seattle

Tacoma

Two in Portland

And how many other people can say that they have been in each of those hockey facilities?

The time has come for the WHL to present Lazaruk with the Bob Ridley Award and for the folks in Saskatoon to name the SaskTel Centre’s broadcast booth in his honour.


So . . . you want to be a hockey player, do you? Well, you best buy some good luggage. . . . Let’s take a look at the career of F Lane Pederson, a Saskatoon native who spent three seasons (2014-17) in the WHL. . . . The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks recalled Pederson a few weeks ago from their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks. They placed him on waivers on Friday, and he played in Vancouver’s 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets later that evening. On Saturday, those same Blue Jackets claimed him off waivers. . . . Despite being only 25 years of age, Columbus will be Pederson’s 11th team since he first played in the WHL. He played with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Red Deer Rebels and Swift Current Broncos in the WHL, then made AHL stops with the Tucson Roadrunners, San Jose Barracuda, Chicago Wolves and Abbotsford. In the NHL, he now has belonged to the Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver and Columbus. . . . This season alone, he has been with the Wolves, Abbotsford, Vancouver and now Columbus. And there still is lots of season to be played.



F Justin Lies of the Saskatoon Blades, who left a Friday game against the host WHLRed Deer Rebels on a stretcher, was released from hospital early Saturday and rejoined his teammates in Calgary where they were playing the Hitmen. He was on the bus for the trip home after the game and is expected to be out a couple of weeks. . . Lies, 19, was injured at 5:29 of the second period. Red Deer F Carson Birnie was given an interference major and game misconduct on the play. . . . Birnie wasn’t suspended on Saturday and was in the lineup as the Rebels dropped a 5-1 decision to the visiting Winnipeg Ice. . . .

F Parker Bell of the Tri-City Americans also was released from hospital after being injured during a Friday night game with the visiting Everett Silvertips. Bell, 19, took a hit from Everett F Andrew Petruk, who was given a charging major and game misconduct. . . . On Saturday, the Americans tweeted that Bell “was taken to the hospital last night and released after undergoing testing. He is at home resting.” . . . Petruk has been suspended for three games. He began serving that suspension as the Americans played host to the Spokane Chiefs last night.


G Cody Creasy of the junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International KamStormnewJunior Hockey League saw a goaltender’s dream come to fruition on Friday night. Yes, he scored a goal. . . . Creasy, a 19-year-old from Brandon, hit the empty neat with two seconds left in the third period, icing a 5-2 victory over the visiting Summerland Steam. . . . Check out the second tweet below because there can’t be anything better than a goaltender’s Mom tweeting about her son having scored a goal. . . . One other note about Creasy’s night in the crease. Larry Read, a well-known Kamloopsian, is the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association’s communications manager by day and usually handles the Storm play-by-play for home games. But he wasn’t able to attend Friday’s game. As he told Taking Note: “I miss one game and the goalie scores. Just my luck! Haha. . . .” In Read’s absence, Kris Armstrong, who usually is the colour guy, handled the play-by-play and he flew solo. You can bet that he won’t forget this one. . . . BTW, this is the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Creasy’s second season with the Storm. Last season, he was 9-3-0, 1.45, .938 in 15 appearances. This season, in 20 games, he is 10-6-0, 2.16, .915.


Debt


SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The top two teams in the Eastern Conference met in Red Deer and the Winnipeg Ice dropped the Rebels, 5-1. . . . The victory allowed the Ice (34-6-1) to move back into first place, one point ahead of the Rebels (32-10-4). Winnipeg still holds five games in hand. . . . D Carson Lambos drew four assists for the winners, who opened up a 4-0 lead in the second period. . . . D Karter Prosofsky’s first goal of the season and his fourth in 112 career games stood up as the winner. . . .

The Western Conference’s top two teams met in Kent, Wash., where the Portland Winterhawks dumped the Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-2. . . . The Winterhawks (33-8-3) now lead the conference by one point over the Thunderbirds (33-8-2). Seattle has one game in hand. . . . F Chaz Lucius had a goal and two assists for Portland, picking up three points for a third straight game. He has played five games with the Winterhawks since being assigned to them by the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets — he had been with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose — and has at least two points in each outing. All told, he now has four goals and nine assists. . . . D Luca Cagnoni (12) scored twice for Portland. . . . Each team took two minor penalties and went 0-for-2 on the PP. . . . The Winterhawks got 36 saves from D Dante Giannuzzi, who now is 20-5-2, 2.97, .904. . . .

F Egor Sidorov’s OT goal gave the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the host Calgary Hitmen. . . . Sidorov scored his 27th goal at 2:30 of extra time. . . . F Carter Yakemchuk (6) had pulled the Hitmen into a tie at 18:52 of the third period with his second goal of the game. . . . The Blades held a 45-26 edge in shots, including 7-1 in OT. . . . Saskatoon (29-11-4) is fourth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

F Jagger Firkus scored 40 seconds into OT to give the host Moose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Firkus, whose winner came via the PP, has 24 goals this season. . . . The Warriors were 2-for-3 on the PP. The Tigers were 0-for-6. . . . Moose Jaw F Martin Rysavy (4) tied the score 2-2 at 15:45 of the third period. . . . G Connor Ungar of the Warriors ran his record to 25-6-3, 2.61, .924 with 34 saves. . . . The Warriors (30-15-3) are third in the Eastern Conference, six points out of first place. . . .

F Ben Hemmerling scored his third OT winner of the month as the host Everett Silvertips got past the Swift Current Broncos, 4-3. . . . Hemmerling, who has 16 goals, also had two assists. . . . His winner came at 1:10 of OT. . . . F Austin Roest (16) also had a goal and two helpers for the winners. . . . F Jackson Berezowski, Everett’s 20-year-old captain, scored his 29th goal of this season in his 250th career regular-season game. He has 205 points, including 111 goals. . . . The Broncos are 0-1-1 in their five-game tour of the U.S. Division. . . . The Silvertips (23-21-1) are fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Broncos (22-19-3) are seventh in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the idle Regina Pats, who are at home to Medicine Hat today. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders opened a trek through the B.C. Division with a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Raiders scored the game’s last four goals, the final two from F Evan Herman (9). . . . G Max Hildebrand blocked 28 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Cougars (19-21-4) are tied with the Vancouver Giants for sixth place in the Western Conference. . . .

G Braden Holt turned aside 35 shots to lead the Victoria Royals to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The visitors had posted a 7-4 victory on Friday night. . . . Holt is 7-2-2, 2.89, .913 since the Royals acquired him from the Everett Silvertips. . . . He had 13 victories with Everett, so this one was No. 20 on the season. . . . F Jake Poole (26) gave the Royals a 3-1 lead at 7:03 of the third period. He also had an assist. . . . Victoria F Teydon Trembecky (6) ran his goal streak to four games. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven had one assist, running his point streak to 29 games. Yes, he has at least a point in every game in which he has played this season. He has 65 points, including 25 goals, in that stretch. . . .  Kamloops (27-10-6) is third in the Western Conference, but leads the B.C. Division by 18 points so is all but certain to be the conference’s No. 2 seed when the playoffs start. . . . Victoria (14-28-5) is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for the conference’s eight and final playoff spot. One of those two teams is going to be left on the outside of the postseason tournament. . . .

The Tri-City Americans took a 5-0 lead into the second period and went to post a 6-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City was 3-for-4 on the PP and also had a shorthanded goal. . . . Lukas Dragicevic of the Americans, who leads all WHL defencemen in goals and points (55), had two goals (13) and an assist. Dragicevic and Denton Mateychuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors lead all defencemen in assists (42). . . . Tri-City (22-16-5) is fourth in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Everett. . . .

F Gabriel Szturc, Kelowna’s new captain, had a goal and two assists to lead the host Rockets to a 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . One night earlier, in Langley, B.C., the Giants had beaten the Rockets, 3-1. . . . Szturc’s 12th goal, at 8:21 of the second period, broke a 1-1 tie. . . . F Carson Golder (19) finished Kelowna’s scoring with three third-period goals. He also had one assist. . . . Kelowna (15-26-3) is tied with Victoria for eighth in the Western Conference. They are nine points behind Vancouver and Prince George.


Taxes


JUST NOTES:

G Matt Berlin, who played in the WHL (2015-18) with the Spokane Chiefs, Seattle Thunderbirds and Kootenay Ice, made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. Berlin was backing up starter Jack Campbell and head coach Jay Woodcroft, in a wonderful moment, sent him in for the final 2:26 of a 7-3 victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. . . . The Oilers had signed Berlin to an amateur tryout because Stuart Skinner was ailing and unable to play. Berlin, 25, now is with the U of Alberta Golden Bears. He is 4-0-1, 2.57, .892. . . . BTW, Berlin stopped the only shot he faced. . . .

Carl Stankowski, another former WHL goaltender, stopped 25 shots on Saturday as the U of Calgary Dinos beat the Mount Royal Cougars, 4-0. . . . The Dinos ran their Canada West-record winning streak to 19 games. They had set the record on Friday night.


StarWars


Dave Albright, a key member of the 1989 Grey Cup-winning Saskatchewan Roughriders, died Thursday in Redondo Beach, Calif., one day after his 63rd birthday. . . . The Roughriders were 9-9 in the CFL’s 1989 regular season and, after beating the Calgary Stampeders, advanced to meet the Edmonton Eskimos in the West Division final. Early in the second quarter, Albright returned a fumble 62 yards for a touchdown, a play that sparked the Roughriders to a 32-21 victory over the 16-2 Eskimos. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has more on Albright right here.


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Moon

Crusaders, Rebels loving their bus drivers . . . Red Deer, Winnipeg set for Manitoba doubleheader . . . Winterhawks, Chiefs share 15 goals

Players and personnel with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders are crediting their bus driver with keeping them out of harm’s way when they were involved SherwoodParkin a multi-vehicle accident on Saturday afternoon.

The Crusaders had played in Olds on Friday night and were en route to Blackfalds for a Saturday night date with the Bulldogs.

The Crusaders didn’t make it as they ended up among numerous vehicles involved in accidents on No. 2 Highway south of Edmonton.

Things were fine until visibly turned sour south of Ponoka and the road iced up.

“We rolled up on a massive pile-up where our bus driver just told everyone to hold on,” Evan McFeeters, the Crusaders’ associate general manager and head coach, told Adam Lachacz of CTV News Edmonton. “He did an incredible job of keeping us safe and upright, weaving through the mayhem in front of us.

“We saw it all . . . cars doing 360s smashing into each other, semis jackknifing, but our bus driver is the hero of the day for us.

“Keeping us upright when we hit the ditch and avoiding collisions along the way till we finally came to a stop.”

(Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to learn the bus driver’s name, just that his first name is Robert. So, Robert, well done!)

There weren’t any injuries to anyone on the Crusaders’ bus.

Eventually, school buses were sent from Ponoka and the team ended up spending the night in the Ponoka Centennial Centre. They returned to Sherwood Park on a different bus on Sunday afternoon.

Lachacz’s complete story is right here.


Inclement weather resulting in horrendous driving conditions prevented two WHL teams from getting home following Saturday night games. . . . The Saskatoon Blades beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-1, and then headed for home along the Trans-Canada Highway. They got as far as Moosomin, before pulling in for the night. The Blades finally arrived home on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

At the same time, the Swift Current Broncos, who had beaten the Pats, 5-2, in Regina, chose not to even try to get home after the game, hunkering down in a local hotel instead.


Boss


The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey CastlegarLeague were in the middle of it all, too, because driving conditions in B.C.’s Interior have been horrendous for a few days now. After playing in Kamloops on Friday night and 100 Mile House on Saturday night, the Rebels arrived home on Sunday and tweeted: “Special thanks to our bus driver Craig Luke for his great work in snowy road conditions.”


How poor were driving conditions in the Regina area. Kevin Gallant made the 45-minute drive from Regina to Moose Jaw for the Saturday night game between the Warriors and Red Deer Rebels. His son, Matthew, is a sophomore defenceman with the Warriors.

When Kevin arrived home after the game, here’s what he wrote on Facebook:

“Made it home, drove 40 kilometres an hour sometimes 30 kilometres an hour. About a 90-minute drive. . . . I will never do another drive like that again, not used to it. Got behind a vehicle and did the slow drive, sometimes no visibility, looked like a few cars in ditch.”

Been there, done that! But I only did it once. When I was with the Regina Leader-Post, I once headed for Moose Jaw for a Saturday night game. Things were fine on the way there. But it was ugly going back with snow and more snow and wind and more wind. I was fortunate to tuck in behind a big rig and follow the taillights all the way to Regina.

Yes, that was a lesson learned.


Bass


Meanwhile, in Kamloops and area, we had a dump of snow late Thursday and into Friday. But it didn’t stick around too long. Then it snowed some more and, yes, there is more in the forecast. People here like to giggle about what goes on in Vancouver on the odd occasion when it snows there. But, truth be told, things are no better in Kamloops on the occasion of that first snowfall. The Sahali and Aberdeen areas have some steep hills that always seem to turn messy when things get slippery. And this time it wasn’t any different. Then, of course, there is the Coquihalla Highway that always seems to end up being shut down a time or three in one or both directions. Such has been the case for the past two or three days, and we now are left to see what Monday brings.

This weekend, however, seems to have brought some ugliness with it.

There is a twitter account — Kamscan (@Kamscan) — whose operator monitors road conditions. On Sunday, the account featured these tweets:

“And the entitled are showing their colours . . . just passed a plow truck on the right and gave the operator the finger.”

“Operator was mentioning vehicles were right on his ass. Guess some can lose the time and deductible on their windshields.”

“And a second one just passed him and probably touched the tip of the plow.”

“Yesterday a plow operator had stuff thrown at him as he was passing a trucker who had hit the ditch.”


ProduceBag


The WHL has eight mid-week games on its upcoming schedule and two stand WHLout among all the rest. Those two games will feature the Red Deer Rebels in Winnipeg to face the Ice on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. . . . The Rebels are on a franchise-record 15-game winning streak. Yes, they have won their first 15 games — the WHL record of 22 is held by the 1967-68 Estevan Bruins. . . . Meanwhile, all the Ice, which has won 10 straight, has done is go 15-1-0, despite opening with 13 consecutive road games. . . . Red Deer’s freshman goaltenders have some pretty fine numbers — Rhett Stoesser is 5-0-0, 1.40, .934, while Kyle Kelsey is 10-0-0, 1.80, .935. . . . Veteran Daniel Hauser of the Ice goes into the doubleheader at 11-0-0, 2.35, .920. His running mate, freshman Dawson Cowan, is 3-1-0, 2.52, .901.


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

The Portland Winterhawks opened an early 4-0 lead — thanks to three PP goals — and then had to go to a shootout to beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 8-7. . . . PortlandF Jack O’Brien’s second goal of the game gave Portland that 4-0 lead at 13:28 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Ty Cheveldayoff tied it, 7-7, at 19:25 of the third period. It was his third goal of the game and seventh of the season. It also was the second multi-goal game of his 92-game WHL career; he had a two-goal outing last season. . . . Portland got shootout goals from F Marcus Nguyen and D Luca Cagnoni, with F Raegan Wiles counting for Spokane. . . . F Gabe Klassen had a goal and three assists for Portland. . . . The Chiefs got two goals and two assists from Wiles and a goal and three helpers from F Blake Swetlikoff. . . . The Winterhawks (11-1-2) moved into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Everett Silvertips (11-5-0). Portland has points in six straight games (4-0-2). . . . The Chiefs (3-10-1) have lost eight in a row (0-7-1).


THINKING OUT LOUD — If you were watching the CFL game from Vancouver on Sunday, were you wondering how much pride Dave Dickenson, the Calgary Stampeders’ head coach, had to swallow before getting QB Bo Levi Mitchell into the game? And if Dickenson was going to send him in to open the fourth quarter, why didn’t he make the change at halftime? . . . One other thing about Mitchell: How do you think he’ll look in Saskatchewan Roughriders’ colours? . . . The Boston Bruins tried to right a wrong on Sunday night. We are left to wonder how long it will be before the stink goes away and they are able to patch the giant hole that has been left in their credibility. . . . The Prince George Cougars (9-7-0) have won three in a row and woke up Sunday morning atop the B.C. Division. They will visit the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday, then head home for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Vancouver Giants. Have to wonder if this early success will create some interest in Cougartown?


Call


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Fish

Rebels still perfect, tie WHL record . . . Thunderbirds unbeaten, too . . . What happened in the JPHL?

The Red Deer Rebels ran their record to 12-0-0 with a 4-0 victory over the RedDeervisiting Vancouver Giants on Friday. . . . G Rhett Stoesser, a 17-year-old freshman from Carstairs, Alta., stopped 18 shots as he recorded his first WHL shutout in his fourth start. He is 4-0-0, 1.25, .938. . . . The Rebels have tied the WHL record for most victories to open a season. The 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos opened 12-0-0 before dropping a 2-1 decision to the Blades in Saskatoon on Oct. 30, 1988. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to visit the Edmonton Oil Kings (1-11-1) on Sunday. . . .

Meanwhile, in Prince George, the Seattle Thunderbirds stayed perfect (9-0-0) Seattlewith a 5-4 victory over the Cougars. They’ll play there again tonight and resume the triple-dip in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday. . . . Last night, Seattle got two goals from each of Jared Davidson and Jordan Gustafson as they got out to a 5-2 lead. The Cougars scored twice in the game’s last two minutes.


The Brandon Wheat Kings drew their largest crowd (5,141) of the young season Brandonon Friday with the Winnipeg Ice in town. According to the Wheat Kings, it also was equipment manager Scott Hlady’s 500th game with the organization. . . . According to Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun, it was the first crowd of more than 5,000 “since 5,621 fans were in the building for a 5-4 shootout win over Moose Jaw on March 17, 2018.” . . . The Ice skated home with a 4-1 victory, ending its season-opening road schedule with a 12-1 record. The same two teams will meet in Winnipeg tonight as the Ice stages its home-opener.



Starbucks


Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion) — Jose Altuve Still Can’t Get Over How Small He Looks Out There.


——

Here’s Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered addressing rumblings that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be in line for a coaching change, perhaps with Barry Trotz replacing Sheldon Keefe: “It’s interesting to note though, that (general manager) Kyle Dubas has been a GM for three teams in three leagues — the Soo Greyhounds (OHL), the Toronto Marlies (American Hockey League) and the Leafs. In all that time, he has hired only one person to coach his teams, and that’s Keefe.”
You are able to check out Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell right here.

——

One more from Campbell: “The (OHL’s) Mississauga Steelheads, who are off to a great start this season, are once again struggling to attract fans. Their lease with the city-run Paramount Foods Centre expires after this season. Steelheads president Elliott Kerr would prefer to stay, but it’s a situation that bears watching. When Kerr bought the team, he said he would give it three years and this is his 11th. He’s lost seven figures easily.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings are down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds after releasing F Cole Carrier on Friday. Carrier, who is from Strathcona, Alta., was a fourth-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2017 draft. He had four assists in seven gams with Edmonton after coming over from the Lethbridge Hurricanes early in the season. In 117 regular-season games, 101 of them with the Regina Pats, he totalled 19 goals and 21 assists. . . . That move leaves Edmonton with D Logan Dowhaniuk, F Carson Golder and F Jaxsen Wiebe as its 20-year-olds. Wiebe is serving a four-game suspension under supplemental discipline after going knee-on-knee with F Josh Pillar of the Saskatoon Blades on Oct. 23. The Blades say Pillar is out week-to-week. Wiebe was given a tripping minor on the play in question. . . . Later in the day, the Oil Kings were beaten, 5-0, by the visiting Calgary Hitmen, who got 18 saves from G Brayden Peters. The defending-champion Oil Kings now are 1-11-1. . . .

In Portland, the Kelowna Rockets lost D Noah Dorey to a slew-footing major and game misconduct at 9:41 of the first period. Chances are good that Dorey will miss Game 2 of the weekend double-dip tonight. . . . The Winterhawks weren’t able to score on the five-minute power play, and it came back to haunt them when F Andrew Cristall scored in OT to give the visitors a 4-3 victory. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s last three goals, with Cristall getting them within one at 16:46 of the third period and F Nolan Flamand tying it with 5.6 seconds left. . . .

Prior to meeting the visiting Spokane Chiefs last night, the Kamloops Blazers announced that they had release F Kobe Verbicky, 19. From Victoria, he was a second-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2018 draft. He had one assist in six games this season. In 64 career regular-season games, 38 with Kamloops, he scored three times and added five assists. . . . Later that night, the Blazers, who had lost three straight, scored four first-period goals while outshooting the Chiefs, 24-4, en route to a 5-1 victory. F Logan Stankoven had two goals for the Blazers, who finished with a 62-23 edge in shots. The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . Stankoven now has 17 points, including eight goals, in seven games since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades ran their winning streak to seven games as they beat the Tigers, 2-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . F Tyler Parr scored both of Saskatoon’s goals and they came via the PP. . . . Parr, a 17-year-old sophomore from La Salle, Man., has three goals in 12 games this season. Last season, he scored three times in 58 games. . . . The game was scoreless until Parr struck at 9:52 of the third period. . . .

The host Moose Jaw Warriors got 46 stops from G Connor Ungar in beating the Everett Silvertips, 4-1. F Jagger Firkus scored twice. . . . The Silvertips opened an East Division trip with the loss. . . . The Warriors have won four in a row. . . .

The Victoria Royals’ starting lineup featured five Saskatchewan-born skaters as they met the host Swift Current Broncos last night. The lone exception was G Logan Cunningham of Sherwood Park, Alta., who was making his WHL debut. The starting skaters were forwards Carter Briltz of Regina, Cole Reschny of Macklin and Anthony Wilson of Swift Current, along with defencemen Nate Misskey of Melfort and Kalem Parker of Clavet. Reschny, the Royals’ top pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, third overall, was playing his second WHL game. . . . Things didn’t go well for the Royals, though, as the Broncos struck for two shorthanded goals and one on the PP in a 6-1 victory. . . . F Raphael Pelletier scored twice for the Broncos. . . .

The Ottawa 67’s, the OHL’s last unbeaten team, dropped a 5-3 decision to the host Peterborough Petes on Friday night. The 67’s had opened with nine straight victories. The Petes now are 8-3-1. . . .

In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees now are 13-0-0 after scoring a 4-1 victory over the host West Kelowna Warriors. . . . Next up for the Vees? The Trail Smoke Eaters (6-5-1) are to visit Penticton tonight.


Paper


THINKING OUT LOUD — Now that was a terrific opener for the World Series. It would have been a whole lot better if Fox’s broadcast crew — Joe Davis and John Smoltz — stopped talking on occasion and just let the game breathe. Please, guys, why not allow the viewers to experience the atmosphere a bit. Baseball is a game that sometimes doesn’t need chatter. . . . Late in Game 1, writer Joe Posnanski tweeted: “Nobody in baseball can hit any reliever.” He’s not wrong. . . . What could be more fitting than having Shane Doan and his son, Josh, drop the ceremonial first puck as the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes played their first game at Arizona State U’s Mullett Arena last night? While Shane, who owns a chunk of the Kamloops Blazers, played for the Coyotes, Josh, 20, captains the ASU Sun Devils. . . . The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are 28-2 at home over the last two CFL seasons. The Edmonton Elks have lost 17 straight home games. Hmmm.


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Drawer

Raiders make money in 2021-22 . . . Americans may not see Luypen until 2023 . . . Lazaruk back for 29th season in Saskatoon

The Prince Albert Raiders told shareholders at their annual general meeting on Wednesday night that they had a profit of $152,191 for their 2021-22 fiscal year.

That is a considerable increase from 2020-21, a season that was shortened PrinceAlbertconsiderably by the pandemic. That season, which for East Division clubs featured 24 games and was played entirely in Regina, the Raiders showed a profit of $25,891. However, that included $1,081,179 in government grants, $600,000 of that from the Saskatchewan government.

“From the start of the (2021-22) regular season,” the team said in a news release last night, “the Raiders saw a large number of ticket sales, with the primary reason being it was the first time that the team had played at the Art Hauser Centre since March 6, 2020. The organization also saw a large uptick in promotions, fundraising and advertising, thanks to the ability to host events inside the rink.”

The Raiders’ news release included only three paragraphs on the AGM.

In 2019-20, a season that was halted by the pandemic in March before the regular season was completed, the Raiders lost $331,895. That followed a 2018-19 season in which they won the WHL championship and showed a profit of $633,314.

Four of the WHL’s 22 teams are owned by local shareholders and as such are required to present profit-loss statements at annual general meetings.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have scheduled their AGM for Sept. 19, with the Moose Jaw Warriors going on Sept. 20 and the Swift Current Broncos on Oct. 4.

The WHL’s other 18 teams all are privately owned.



The Tri-City Americans, looking to add some experience and some offence to their lineup, acquired F Jalen Luypen, 20, from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Aug. Tri-City9. The Americans also got two conditional WHL draft picks — a fifth-rounder in 2024 and a second in 2026 — while giving up F Rhett Melnyk, 18, D Bryson Andregg, 19, and a conditional 2023 second-round selection. . . . Luypen had been picked by the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2021 draft and he signed a three-year entry-level deal earlier this summer. . . . But now comes the bad news. Luypen apparently suffered an injury to his left shoulder during last spring’s playoffs and tried to play through it as the Oil Kings made their run to the Memorial Cup. In the end, however, he needed more than offseason rehab, and he now has undergone rotator cuff surgery. The Blackhawks have said that he will be out for up to 18 weeks, which means he won’t be available to the Americans until after Christmas. . . . As a 20-year-old, Luypen is eligible to play in the AHL this season, but one would think the Blackhawks would much prefer him to play with the Americans once he has recovered from the surgery. . . .

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see if the Americans and Oil Kings end up Edmontonrenegotiating any parts of what was an intricate deal. . . . As reported by Alan Caldwell shortly after the deal, here are the original conditions: Edmonton gets the 2023 second if Luypen comes back from the pros by Nov. 15. If he returns after Nov 15 but before Jan 10, it becomes a 2023 third-round pick instead. If he does not return to the WHL this year, Edmonton doesn’t get a 2023 pick at all, and Tri-City gets the Edmonton 2026 second-round pick. The 2024 pick is tied to the 2023 pick — if Edmonton gets Tri-City’s 2023 second, then Tri-City gets Edmonton’s 2024 fifth-round pick. If Edmonton gets the 2023 third-rounder instead, then Tri-City gets the 2024 sixth-rounder instead. . . .

Last season, Luypen put up 64 points, 29 of them goals, in 66 regular-season games. He added four goals and nine assist in nine playoff games as the Oil Kings won the WHL title. He followed that up with a goal and two assists in three Memorial Cup games.


Potholes


There was good — nay, great — news for fans of the WHL and, in particular, the SaskatoonSaskatoon Blades on Tuesday. That’s when Les Lazaruk revealed that he hasn’t retired, nor has he moved on to another job. Yes, he will be back for a 29th season of calling Blades’ games. . . . Lazaruk tweeted that he “did pursue a job opportunity,” but was told on Monday that he wasn’t going to be offered that position. . . . “I may be 63 years old,” he added, “but doing Blades hockey play-by-play makes me feel more like 36!” . . . You likely wouldn’t be wrong if you guessed that Lazaruk had interviewed for the play-by-play opening that TSN has on the TV crew that covers the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. There has yet to be an announcement on who will replace Dennis Beyak, who has retired from the spot he held since 2011.


The Regina Pats erased a 2-0 deficit and beat the Swift Broncos, 4-2, in an exhibition game played in Estevan, Sask., on Tuesday night. The Pats, who got two goals from F Connor Bedard, hung around after the game to sign some autographs and visit with the fans.



Fan


THE COACHING GAME:

The Portland Winterhawks have hired Brendan Burke, one of their former goaltenders, as assistant goaltending coach. Burke, 32, will work with goaltending coach Andy Moog “to assist in the development of Winterhawks goalies and prospects,” according to a news release. . . . Burke, who is from Scottsdale, lives in the Phoenix area and also works as the goaltending director with the Jr. Coyotes program. . . . Burke spent four seasons (2011-15) with the Winterhawks, then played his 20-year-old season with the OHL’s London Knights. And think about this — he won a WHL title with the Winterhawks (2013), an OHL title and a Memorial Cup championship with the Knights (2016), and three Canada West titles and a national championship with the U of Alberta Golden Bears. . . .

The NHL’s Calgary Flames have added Rebecca Johnston, a three-time Olympic gold medal-winner with the Canadian women’s team, as a full-time member of their organization. According to the Flames, Johnston, 32, “will work within the player development team, assisting in prospect evaluations and on-ice instruction and work with (the Flames Foundation) in grassroots, growing (hockey) in our community.” . . . You may have heard of her uncle — Mike Johnston is the vice-president, general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. . . .

The QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders have signed general manager and head coach Jim Hulton to a three-year contract. Hulton has been the QMJHL’s coach of the year each of the past two seasons; he was the CHL coach of the year last season. He is going into his eighth season as the Islanders’ head coach and his seventh as GM. . . . Guy Girouard, Charlottetown’s assistant GM and associate coach, signed a two-year deal, as did assistant coach Kevin Henderson, equipment manager Andrew (Spider) MacNeill and athletic therapist Devin Atkin. . . .

Former WHL F Dane Byers has joined the Prince Albert Mintos of the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League as an assistant coach. Byers, 36, is from Nipawin, Sask. He played four seasons (2002-06) with the Raiders before going on to a pro career that concluded after the 2018-19 season. He spent the last four seasons in Europe. . . . With the Mintos, he’ll be working alongside Tim Leonard, who is into his second season of his second stint as the Mintos’ head coach. another former WHLer, is the Mintos’ head coach. He was the head coach from 2002-12 before joining the Raiders for two seasons as an assistant coach. . . .

The junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Derek Stuart, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract extension that will take him through the 2026-27 season. . . . Stuart has been with the Dynamiters since May 9, 2016.


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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Minivan

Hi ho, let’s go: SMG, Lazaruk on board for three more years . . . Pats sign intriguing import . . . Blazers promote Sandland

Les Lazaruk will be back for his 29th season of calling the play-by-play of Saskatoon Blades’ games. Oh, and he’ll be there for seasons 30 and 31, too, Saskatoonassuming all goes well and the creek don’t rise. . . . That’s because the Saskatoon Media Group (SMG) and the Blades have agreed to terms on a new three-year agreement that will run through the 2024-25 season. . . . This new agreement has the Blades’ games on CJWW, an AM station, for a second straight season. Being on the AM dial, Tyler Wawryk, the team’s director of business operations, said in a news release, creates “some consistency.” Prior to last season, the Blades had bounced among a handful of FM stations. . . . “We’ve appreciated being on some of the different stations at Saskatoon Media Group,” Wawryk added, “but moving back over to 600, which was the original home of Blades hockey on the radio, just has a wider range to cover.” . . . Lazaruk, who at one time was a pretty fair Strat-O-Matic baseball player, said: “Doing Blades’ radio broadcasts is what makes me want to wake up and greet each day, especially when one considers all we have gone through in the last 30 months! However, as the late, great broadcast legend Vince Scully used to say, ‘I need you more than you need me.’ I look forward to bringing you Saskatoon Blades’ action with all the professionalism and excitement I can muster.” . . . There is a complete news release right here.



Math


The Regina Pats have signed Russian F Alexander Suzdalev, 18, whose NHL rights belong to the Washington Capitals. The Pats selected him in the 2021 CHL Reginaimport draft; Washington took him 70th overall in the NHL’s 2022 draft after he put up 51 points, including 15 goals, in 45 games with the HV71 junior club in Sweden. He signed a three-year deal with the Capitals in July. . . . From a Pats news release: “Born in Khabarovsk, Russia, Suzdalev moved to Sweden when he was seven years old after his father Anatoly Suzdalev had signed a bandy contract with Swedish bandy club, Vetlanda Bandyklubb. He holds dual citizenship, but has represented Sweden at the international level, winning a gold medal with Sweden at the 2022 IIHF World U18 Championships, skating in six games.” . . . Suzdalev also is quite familiar with Pats star Connor Bedard, who played in Sweden during a time when the pandemic had shut down the WHL. “When Connor Bedard played in Sweden, he played for my team (HV71 J18 and J20),” Suzdalev said, “so we know each other pretty well, so that’s where it all started. So when the opportunity came, I thought it was a great one.” . . .

It would seem that the Pats now hold the rights to four imports, the other three being Czech F Stanislav Svozil, who had 10 goals and 31 assists in 59 games with them last season; Austrian F Luca Auer, who was selected in the 2022 import draft, and Czech G Michael Hrabal, who also was selected in the 2022 import draft. . . . Svozil, 19, put up a goal and two assists in three games with Czechia at the 2022 WJC in Edmonton. A third-round pick by Columbus in the 2021 NHL draft, he has signed with the Blue Jackets and could play with their AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters. . . . Auer, 18, was pointless in four games with Austria at the 2022 WJC. He is expected to play at home this season. . . . Hrabal, 17, is expected to play with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers this season. He has committed to the U of Massachusetts for 2025-26.


ANOTHER SIGN THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US — From The New York Times on Thursday: An infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba most likely killed a child who swam in a Nebraska river over the weekend, health officials said Thursday. It would be the first such death in the state’s history and the second in the Midwest this summer.


Proposal


THIS IS WHY WE LOVE BASEBALL — After the host Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Boston Red Sox, 8-2, on Thursday, ESPN Stats & Info tweeted this: “This is just the third time the Pirates have scored at least 7 runs on the Red Sox. The others were a 9-1 win on Sept. 17, 2014 and a 7-3 win in Game 1 of the 1903 World Series, when the Red Sox were the Boston Americans. . . . Cy Young pitched for Boston that day.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Kamloops Blazers have promoted Robbie Sandland to assistant general manager. He had been the director of player personnel. Sandland has been with the club since 2018, first as the head scout in B.C. He was named director of player personnel in 2019. . . . He will continue to work alongside Shaun Clouston, the team’s general manager and head coach, and Tim O’Donovan, the organization’s other assistant GM. . . .

The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks have an opening after assistant coach Carter Cochrane left the team, having, according to a news release, “accepted a new opportunity.” Cochrane had been with the Silverbacks for three seasons. . . .

Alec Dillon has joined the junior B Victoria Cougars of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League as goaltending coach. The 6-foot-5 Dillon, 26, played seven games with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 2015-16 (2-2-1, 3.81, .871) after having been a fifth-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL’s 2014 draft. But he was plagued by injuries — he underwent at least four hip surgeries — and retired after playing two seasons at the U of Victoria.


THINKING OUT LOUD — OK. You didn’t watch much, if any, of the 2022 World Junior Championship that is soon to wrap up in Edmonton. It’s August. You’re fed up with Hockey Canada. Whatever. Will you be back on the bandwagon when the 2023 tournament opens in Halifax and Moncton on Dec. 26? . . . Is it just me or are there far more gravel trucks on our streets and highways than there used to be? . . . QB Nathan Rourke of the B.C. Lions was lighting it up again on Friday, this time in Regina, before he left in the fourth quarter with an injury to his right foot. The Lions were up 28-10 at the time, and they won by that same score. Lions fans now will hold their breath and hope that Rourke can answer the bell for B.C.’s next game — at home to the Roughriders on Friday. BTW, there isn’t a QB controversy in Regina. Cody Fajardo is the starter . . . unless that sore knee doesn’t allow him to play, which may have contributed to his exit late in the first half of this one.


Nudist


RORY WITH AN ACE — Rory McIlroy has been outspoken against those golfers who turned their backs on the PGA Tour for the Saudi Arabian cash of the LIV circuit. To which Patrick Reed, who isn’t the most-liked golfer in the world, said: “He’ll never win a Masters to complete a career Grand Slam.” . . . That is said to have brought this response from McIlroy: “The only chance Reed has of getting a Grand Slam is at Denny’s.”



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

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Drunk

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