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.


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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.


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Looking at Hurricanes’ finances . . . Silvertips and Tigers make trade . . . Former WHL coach, exec dies in Moose Jaw

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In 2016-17, the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ announced average attendance for 36 home regular-season games was 3,709. In 10 home playoff games, the average was 4,730.

In 2017-18, the Hurricanes’ announced average attendance for 36 home regular-season games was 3,773, an increase of 64 from the previous season. For nine home playoff games, the number was 4,316, a decrease of 414.

For 2016-17, the community-owned Hurricanes announced a profit of $737,710.

For 2017-18, the Hurricanes revealed a profit of $422,443, after a payment of $167,000 to the City of Lethbridge to help pay for arena improvements.

Lethbridge

A few interesting notes as we compare the two seasons, using figures from the Statement of Operations that the Hurricanes presented to shareholders on Monday night.

As you can see from the above photo of that statement, most of the revenues were up. (Keep in mind that the financials are unaudited.)

Regular-season ticket sales were up more than $29,000, but were almost $50,000 under budget. At the same time, inventory sales were up $20,000; fund-raising, including that from the Hockey Hounds booster club, showed an increase of almost $63,000; and the sales of advertising was up more than $20,000 and was almost $70,000 over budget.

However, there was quite a difference in playoff-related revenues, despite the fact the Hurricanes reached the Eastern Conference final in each season. As noted earlier, the announced attendance was down 414 per game, leading to a season-over-season decrease of more than $250,000.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ledger, the hockey operations’ expenses were up more than $210,000 over the previous season. In total, the organization’s expenses showed an increase of $307,503, and that was more than $550,000 over budget.

Still, the Hurricanes were able to put more than $400,000 in the bank, and hand $167,000 to the city.

All-in-all, it was another good season for a franchise that not too long ago was hanging on by its fingernails.

The Swift Current Broncos, who eliminated the Hurricanes and went on to win the WHL championship last season, are up next, with their AGM scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 25.


The Everett Silvertips have acquired F Jalen Price, 17, from the Medicine Hat Tigers in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft. . . . From Campbell River, B.C., Price was selected by the Tigers in the third round of the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had 18 goals and 23 assists in 44 games with the junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He added seven goals and nine assists in 16 playoff games as the Storm won the VIJHL title. . . . Price got into four exhibition games with the Tigers this time around, recording three assists.


The WHL’s first weekly roster report is right here. Released each Tuesday during the regular season, it includes roster moves and injury information, as provided by each team.

You are able to find updated news about WHL suspensions right here.


Bruce Luebke, who was the radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings for more than 20 years, has entered the world of civic politics. Luebke will run for city council in a ward in Brandon’s South Centre ward. . . . The election is scheduled to be held on Oct. 24. . . . Luebke started as the play-by-play man for Wheat Kings games in 1993 and stayed at it until he and radio station CKLQ parted company in July 2016.


Harvey Roy, a longtime WHL executive, died Friday in Moose Jaw from complications due to diabetes. He had been on dialysis for more than nine years. . . . At various times, during his long hockey career, Roy was involved with the Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Oil Kings, Kamloops Chiefs, New Westminster Bruins, Kamloops Junior Oilers, Kamloops Blazers and Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . There is an obituary right here.


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk — a walk, I should point out, that she is helping to organize — you may do so right here. Thank you!

Hurricanes bank more than $400,000 . . . Winterhawks, Ice, Blades trim rosters . . . Ex-WHLer joins coaching ranks


MacBeth

G Andrei Makarov (Saskatoon, 2011-13) has cleared KHL waivers and been assigned by Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Russia, KHL) to CSK VVS Samara (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Nizhnekamsk, he got into one game playing 33 minutes and allowing three goals on 14 shots, for a 5.36 GAA and a.786 SP.


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The Lethbridge Hurricanes reported to shareholders on Monday that they made a profit Lethbridgeof $422,443 in 2017-18. . . . That was down from the $737,710 profit the previous season. However, the 2017-18 financials included a payment of $167,000 to the City of Lethbridge that was due after improvements were made to their home arena. . . . The Hurricanes lost out in the Eastern Conference final in each of the past two seasons. . . . There was other interesting item to come out of the annual meeting. The Hurricanes will be out of their arena early in the playoffs next spring, what with the World men’s curling championship in the ENMAX Centre from March 30 through April 7. General manager Peter Anholt told shareholders that the tentative plan is for the team to play early home playoff games, if necessary, in the Nicolas Sheran Arena. . . . According to the City of Lethbridge’s website, the Nicolas Sheran Ice Centre has a seating capacity of 978. It is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s hockey teams. . . . “We’ve talked to a lot of other teams that have moved from their venue to another venue outside of their city, and it doesn’t work,” Anholt said. “We’ve got the Nicolas Sheran. It’s not perfect, there’s going to be some unhappy fans and unhappy advertisers, but we’ll deal with it.” . . . Aaron Mahoney of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here. . . . Interestingly, Mahoney reported that the Hurricanes didn’t make as much in 2017-18 as the previous season, despite “an increase in ticket sales by $30,000.”


The Portland Winterhawks appear to have gotten down to three 20-year-olds by releasPortlanding F Connor Barley, who no longer appears on their roster. Barley, from St. Andrews, Man., played last season with the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers, putting up 35 goals and 32 assists in 58 games. . . . His departure leaves the Winterhawks with D Brendan De Jong, just back from a stint in camp with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, F Conor MacEachern and D Jared Freadrich as the three 20s. . . . The Winterhawks also got down to two goaltenders — sophomore Shane Farkas, who turns 19 on Dec. 1, and freshman Dante Giannuzzi, 16 — by releasing Evan Fradette, a 17-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., who was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Giannuzzi, from Winnipeg, was a fifth-round selection in the 2017 draft.


The Kootenay Ice dropped three veteran skaters from their roster on Monday, leaving it Kootenaynewwith 26 players on its roster, including two goaltenders and 10 defencemen. . . . F Gunnar Wegleitner, 20, F Sebastian Streu, who turns 19 on Nov. 22, and F Eli Lieffers, 18, all were released. . . . The Ice had acquired Wegleitner from the Brandon Wheat Kings on July 20 for a conditional sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. From Vancouver, he has also played for the Everett Silvertips and Victoria royals. In 112 regular-season games, he has 11 goals and nine assists. . . . From Neuwied, Germany, Streu had nine goals and three assists in 54 games as a freshman last season. He has dual Canadian/German citizenship so wasn’t classified as an import. . . . From Saskatoon, Lieffers was fourth-round pick by the Ice in the 2015 bantam draft. He had one goal and one assist in 11 games over three seasons with the Ice. Lieffers was pointless in two games with the Ice last season. . . . Two of the 10 defenceman on Kootenay’s roster are imports — veteran Martin Bodak, a Slovakian who will turn 20 on Nov. 28, and Finnish freshman Valtteri Kakkonen. The Ice also has sophomore F Gilian Kohler, who is from Biel, Switzerland, on its roster.


The Saskatoon Blades are down to two goaltenders after returning G Koen MacInnes, 16, Saskatoonto the Burnaby Winter Club where he is expected to play for the Burnaby Winter Club’s midget prep team. A second-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, MacInnes started three exhibition games and went 3-0-0, 2.27, .929. . . . His departure leaves the Blades, as expected, with Nolan Maier, 17, atop the depth chart and Dorrin Luding, 19, as the backup, at least to open the regular season. . . . The Blades also dropped F Braden Plaschewsky, 16, from their roster. A second-round pick in that 2017 bantam draft, he is expected to play for the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. He had two goals in six exhibition games with the Blades. . . . Saskatoon is carrying 26 players, including two goaltenders and nine defencemen.


Among the players making their way back to WHL teams from NHL camps on Monday — D Vladislav Yeryomenko to the Calgary Hitmen from the Nashville Predators; G Liam Hughes to the Seattle Thunderbirds from the Philadelphia Flyers; F Brett Davis to the Kootenay Ice from the Dallas Stars; and D Wyatte Wylie to the Everett Silvertips from Philadelphia. . . . Yeryomenko was a fifth-round pick by Nashville in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Hughes was on an amateur tryout with the Flyers. . . . Dallas selected Davis in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft. . . . The Flyers grabbed Wylie in the fifth round of the 2018 NHL draft.


Logan Proulx, who played two-plus seasons in the WHL, has joined the junior B Fairview, Alta., Flyers of the North West Junior Hockey League as an assistant coach. A defenceman, Proulx, who is from Trail, B.C., played 137 games over three seasons (2007-10) with the Edmonton Oil Kings, putting up nine goals and 13 assists.


You will recall mention here late last week of the junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League after they incurred a one-year suspension to owner Barry Dewar, a 20-game suspension to a head coach who wasn’t really the head coach, and a $10,000 fine, all for tampering. . . . Now comes word that Jassi Sangha, the club’s real head coach, has been suspended for a game after playing an ineligible player in a 4-3 loss to the visiting Princeton Posse on Saturday. . . . Larry Martel, the KIJHL’s first-year president, told Kamloops This Week that it was a clerical era. . . . KTW’s piece is right here.


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk — a walk, I should point out, that she is helping to organize — you may do so right here. You might even be the person to push her total over $3,000. Thank you!


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Scattershooting on Sunday . . . Petes trade one player, get nine draft picks . . . Goaltenders in WHL news . . . Schlenker’s movin’ on up

Scattershooting

“San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt named his newborn son August,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “in honor of his college coach at Texas, the late Augie Garrido. Just be thankful the Longhorns hired Garrido instead of Oil Can Boyd.”



Jack Finarelli, who is at sportscurmudgeon.com, had this analysis of a recent trade between the Green Bay Packer and Seattle Seahawks: “The Packers sent backup QB, Brent Hundley to the Seahawks where he will carry a clipboard for Russell Wilson instead of Aaron Rodgers. Hundley showed last season that he might someday become a journeyman QB who will not throw up on his shoes.”



College football players are being ejected when ruled to have targeted another player’s head for a helmet-to-helmet hit. In the WHL, meanwhile, teenagers are allowed to punch each other in the face and get only major penalties.



Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, writing about the mess at Ohio State: “Read the public documents Ohio State collected in its investigation of Urban Meyer and you will never again be able to view him as anything but boneless.”

The complete column is right here. After reading it you will never look at a plucked chicken the same way again.


Surely it is only a coincidence that Chris Jones, the vice-president of football operations, general manager, head coach and defensive co-ordinator, and his Saskatchewan Roughriders are 3-0 since ridding themselves of Duron (The Distraction) Carter. Right?


Here’s Janice Hough, who can be found at leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Bottled water has an expiration date?! So what happens when it expires?”



With Air Canada and WestJet having increased the fees to check bags, perhaps it’s time people flew in the baggage compartment and the bags were strapped into the seats.


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F Kris Versteeg (Lethbridge, Kamloops, Red Deer, 2002-06) signed a one-year contract with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had three goals and five assists in 24 games with the Calgary Flames (NHL). . . .

F Ryan Hollweg (Medicine Hat, 1999-2004) has been released by Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga) by mutual agreement due to “long-term health problems.” Hollweg signed a one-year extension with Plzeň in April. Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 41 games.


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When the OHL held what it calls its priority selection — most of us call it a draft — the Peterborough Petes selected F Will Cuylle in the first round.

Cuylle, who played last season with the minor midget AAA Toronto Marlboros, and his ohlfamily had told the Petes that he wouldn’t report if they selected him. The Petes rolled the dice and took him anyway, then tried to convince him to report.

When that failed, they traded him to the Windsor Spitfires on Friday in a deal that resulted in the Petes acquiring nine draft picks. Yes, NINE!

Here are the particulars from a Petes news release:

In the deal, Peterborough acquires one first-round pick, four second-round picks, three third-round picks, and one fifth-round pick, as follows:

  • Kingston’s 2nd round pick in 2019
  • Kingston’s 3rd round pick in 2020
  • Windsor’s 5th round pick in 2020
  • Windsor’s 3rd round pick in 2021
  • Barrie’s 2nd round pick in 2022
  • Windsor’s 3rd round in 2023
  • Kitchener’s 2nd round pick in 2024* (conditional)
  • 1st round pick (5th overall) in 2019 (OHL Compensatory Pick)
  • 2nd round pick (end of round) in 2019 (OHL Compensatory Pick)

* Should Windsor acquire a 2nd round pick in 2020 or 2021, Peterborough will receive that pick and return Kitchener’s 2nd round pick in 2024.

The Petes also will receive the 5th overall pick and the last pick in the 2nd round of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection as compensation from the Ontario Hockey League.

——

In the OHL, if a team’s first-round selection doesn’t report to training camp he is considered to be a “defected” player and the team will get a compensatory pick if it trades the player prior to Sept. 15. The drafting team also gets a second-round pick if the player in question was a top five pick.

——

With the restrictions that the WHL apparently has placed on the trading of young players, we are left to wonder if we will start to see these kinds of deals happen in the WHL.

(ICYMI, I wrote about those restrictions right here.)

When a team is loading up because it is to play host to a Memorial Cup, will it be prepared to trade away six or seven bantam draft picks in order to land a star player who just might put that team over the top?


Chris Schlenker, a former WHL player and on-ice official, has been promoted by the NHL and will be a full-time referee this season.

Schlenker, 34, worked in the AHL and NHL last season.

From Medicine Hat, he played four seasons (2001-05) in the WHL, playing two-plus seasons with the Regina Pats and one-plus with the Prince Albert Raiders.

He also spent 10 years as a member of the Medicine Hat Police Service.

There is more on Schlenker right here, from scoutingtherefs.com.


The Prince Albert Raiders have added G Donovan Buskey, 18, from the Spokane Chiefs in PrinceAlbertexchange for a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

Buskey, from Vancouver, was a third-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he was 10-10-0, 3.56, .871, with one shutout, in 22 appearances with the Spokane.

Adding Buskey adds to the Raiders’ goaltending depth and could figure in the 20-year-old decision-making process as the start of the regular season grows near.

Ian Scott, 19, who will go to camp with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, is No. 1 on the depth chart. Curtis Meger, 20, and Brett Balas, 17, also are on the Raiders’ roster.

The other 20-year-olds on the roster are F Kody McDonald and F Sean Montgomery. They also hold the WHL rights to F Noah Gregor, 20, who could end up with the San Jose Barracuda, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. The Raiders acquired Gregor’s rights from the Victoria Royals earlier in the summer.



The Prince George Cougars will open the regular season with Isaiah DiLaura, 18, and Taylor Gauthier, 17, as their goaltenders.

Gauthier is atop the depth chart. Last season, he was 8-18-3, 3.96, .885. This summer, he PrinceGeorgeplayed with the Canadian U-18 team that won the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In fact, Gauthier, from Calgary, was the winning goaltender in the final, coming on with his side down 2-0 and stopping 16 shots as Canada beat Sweden, 6-2.

The 10th overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft, Gauthier was 8-18-3, 3.96, .885 last season.

DiLaura, from Elko New Market, Minn., was 3-3-2, 3.94, .888, in 14 appearances.

The third goaltender on their roster at the moment is Tyler Brennan, a first-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft who won’t turn 15 until Sept. 27. From Winnipeg, he will return to the Rink Hockey Academy and play for the midget prep team.

Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen has more right here.


Because of injuries, the Edmonton Oil Kings used five goaltenders last season as they went 22-42-8 and missed the playoffs.

This season, with exhibition games just having started, they already are down to three EdmontonOilKingsand one of those, Sebastian Cossa, won’t turn 16 until Nov. 21.

Chances are that the Oil Kings, under first-year head coach Brad Lauer, will open the regular season with Todd Scott, 18, who was acquired last season from the Vancouver Giants, and Boston Bilous, 17, a fourth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, as their goaltenders.

Scott, from Albertville, Minn., was 4-5-0, 3.89, .883 after joining the Oil Kings last season. He had been 8-7-4, 4.11, .869 with the Giants when they sent him east.

Bilous, from Langley, B.C., got into 16 games and went 0-10-1, 4.72, .838.

Cossa, from Fort McMurray, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he played for the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, going 3.37, .915 in 19 games. In seven playoff games, he was 2.28, .943.

With the three young goaltenders, Lauer told Derek Van Diest of Postmedia that age won’t have much to do with which two make the roster.

“They’re all young, so I don’t think the age part of it comes into play,” Later said. “It’s going to be how you’re playing that comes into play. I know we’ll be good defensively and responsible so, for me, goaltending is going to be how the exhibition seasons goes and how they develop through that.”

Van Diest’s complete story is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades are down to three goaltenders after releasing Cameron Beson, 16, who is from Grande Prairie, Alta. He has been in two Blades’ training camps now, and Saskatoonhas been placed on their protected list.

Sophomore Nolan Maier, a 17-year-old from Yorkton, is the Blades’ starter after going 23-17-2, 3.31, .895 in 43 appearances last season. He spent part of his summer winning gold with Canada’s U-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, going 3.12, .872 in four games.

The other two goaltenders on the roster are Dorrin Luding, 19, of Prince George, and Koen MacInnes, a 16-year-old from Burnaby, B.C.

The Blades re-acquired Luding on June 21, getting him from the Seattle Thunderbirds on June 21 for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Saskatoon had selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.

Last season, Luding got into 11 games with the Everett Silvertips (3-6-0, 3.64, .891) and 17 with Seattle (6-9-1, 3.81, .881). In 30 career games, he is 9-15-1, 3.75, .886.

Saskatoon picked MacInnes in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he played with the Burnaby Winter Club’s Elite 15s, going 2.36, .926 in 17 regular-season games.

The Blades have opened the exhibition season by going 3-0-0.


The Brandon Wheat Kings, who wrapped up training camp with their intrasquad game BrandonWKregularon Sunday, also are down to three goaltenders after releasing Connor Ungar, 16.

That leaves the Wheat Kings with Ethan Kruger, Dylan Myskiw and Jiri Patera as the remaining goaltenders.

Myskiw, 19, got into 22 games with Brandon last season, going 11-5-2, 3.41, .887. He spent the season backing up Logan Thompson, who was playing out his eligibility.

Patera, 19, is from Praha, Czech Republic. He played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, after the Vegas Golden Knights selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has yet to sign a pro contract, and will leave later this week to attend the Golden Knights’ camp.

Kruger, who turns 17 on Sept. 27, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he played with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings.


F Ryan Vandervlis of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who was badly burned during an incident involving a firepit on June 15, is back home after being released from a Calgary hospital on Friday.

Vandervlis, 20, suffered burns to as much as 60 per cent of his body and spent four weeks in a medically induced coma. For the last part of his hospital stay, he was in the burn unit at Foothills Hospital.

Two other hockey players — Jordy Bellerive and Matt Alfaro — were injured in the incident that took place at the home of former Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong near Calgary. Bellerive, the Hurricanes’ captain, is in camp with his club. Alfaro will be going into his second season with the U of Calgary Dinos.

Bellerive scored twice, including the OT winner, as Lethbridge opened its exhibition season with a 5-4 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night.



The junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats found themselves without a general manager and head coach earlier this week when Brad Tobin left to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach. . . . Tobin, 29, worked as an assistant with the Eagles for six seasons (2010-16) before leaving to join the Thunder Cats. . . . In Surrey, Tobin will work alongside Peter Schaefer, who took over as head coach on Aug. 28 following the departure of Brandon West. . . . One week before Tobin handed in his resignation, the Thunder Cats lost assistant coach Carter Duffin, who left to join the KIJHL’s Castlegar Rebels. . . . Earlier, Jeff Wagner, another Creston assistant coach, joined the Fernie Ghostriders as GM and head coach. After he left, Tobin hired Duffin, who had been with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins, as an assistant coach.


G Kyle Dumba, 20, had his junior A rights swapped this week when the Nanaimo Clippers acquired them from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, who got back D Sam MacBean, 20. . . . Dumba, who has split 41 career regular-season WHL games between the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips, is in camp with the Regina Pats. He finished last season on the Pats’ roster, but didn’t get into any regular-season games. Last season, he also got into 30 regular-season and three playoff games with Salmon Arm.


Karablog
Kara is answering the phone and taking pledges as her grandma, Dorothy Drinnan, prepares for her fifth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23. (Todd Drinnan photo)

Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


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WHL teams now allowed to trade first-year imports? . . . Gorda doesn’t report; deal is off . . . Did your team sign anyone on Tuesday?


MacBeth

F Tomáš Karpov (Moose Jaw, Calgary, 2007-09) has announced his retirement through the Bracknell Bees (England, National). According to the club, he has accepted a position as CEO of an unnamed company in the Czech Republic. Karpov had signed with Bracknell in June. . . . Last season, Karpov, an alternate captain, had 29 goals and 38 assists in 32 games with the Basingstoke Bison (England, National). He led the team in goals and points. . . . Karpov completed his Master of Science in marketing innovation from the University of Winchester earlier this year.


ThisThat

Could it be that there has been another rule change made involving trades in the WHL, this one concerning the moving of players who are first-round selections in the CHL import draft?

Andrew McCormack of swiftcurrentonline.com wrote a training camp-related story whlinvolving the Swift Current Broncos on Aug. 2. In the story, he checked in with Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ new director of hockey operations and head coach. Here’s an excerpt:

The Broncos also now have signed both their CHL import draft picks from this year and will be bringing F Joona Kiviniemi and D Roope Pynnonen to camp. Both should start the season with the Broncos as they wait for (D Artyom) Minulin to recover from post-season shoulder surgery.

“We know (Minulin) is out for quite some time,” Brockman said. “Plan A is to bring both guys in and make sure they were everything we were told. We know that (Minulin) is available to us; we know what kind of a player he is. We just have to see what the other guys bring to the table and see if they’re going to fit in the way we want them to.

“You can move your first-year Euros after Dec. 1. We may not get to that point, but it gives us more options.”

——

Prior to this season, there has been a one-season moratorium on the trading of players selected in the import draft.

Using the Broncos’ situation as an example, under what now appears to be the old rule, should a healthy Minulin be ready to return to the roster, the team would have had two options: (a) trade or release Minulin; (b) release Kiviniemi or Pynnonen, both of whom are freshmen. Teams WERE NOT allowed to trade import players who were in their first season.

Now, judging by Brockman’s comment, if/when Minulin returns, the Broncos would be able to trade him, or wait until Dec. 1 and then trade either of the other two.

We await word from the WHL to enlighten us one way or the other on this situation.


D Brayden Gorda hasn’t reported to training camp with the Victoria Royals and it would seem his playing career, at least in the WHL, is over.

The Royals acquired the rights to Gorda, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings on July 25, VictoriaRoyalsgiving up a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft in return.

Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, confirmed to Taking Note that Gorda won’t be reporting.

“At the time of the trade,” Hope told Taking Note, “both clubs were aware that he was considering whether or not to continue his WHL career. It seems that he has now made that decision. The trade becomes nullified as a result. . . . We wish Brayden the best in his next steps.”

Gorda, who is from Edmonton, was a third-round selection by the Oil Kings in the 2014 bantam draft. In 151 regular-season games, all with Edmonton, he had six goals and 26 assists. Last season, he was late reporting following the death of a close friend over the summer. Gorda ended up playing 30 games and finished with a goal and three assists.

After returning to the Oil Kings, he told Derek Van Diest of Postmedia:

“Now that I’m here and reconnected with the boys, it feels pretty good to see everyone and see a lot of smiles. I started thinking about coming back about a month ago, maybe a little over a month ago. I was doing a lot working out and stuff and getting dedicated and I just wanted to get back into it.”



The Saskatoon Blades have signed D Emil Malysjev, 17, whose rights were selected in the SaskatoonCHL’s 2018 import draft. The 6-foot-3 Malysjev, who has dual Swedish/Russian citizenship, played last season with HV71’s J18 and J20 teams, putting up two goals and five assists in 15 games with the former and four assists in 29 games with the latter. . . . Malysjev’s parents are from Russia, but he was born in Sweden — thus the dual citizenship. Interestingly, he has never lived in Russia. . . . Malysjev, who is fluent in English, was to arrive in Saskatoon late Tuesday. He could make his WHL debut in Regina at an exhibition tournament this weekend. . . . Earlier this week, the Blades signed their other 2018 import draft selection — Norwegian F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, 19, whose NHL rights belong to the Washington Capitals, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2017 draft.


The Prince George Cougars have signed G Tyler Brennan of Winnipeg, who was the 21st PrinceGeorgeoverall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Brennan, who will turn 15 on Sept. 27, played at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy last season, going 11-3-1, 1.52, .947 with the bantam prep team. He led the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s bantam prep division in GAA, save percentage and shutouts (5). . . . With Brennan signed, it means that 21 of the WHL’s 22 first-round selections in the 2018 bantam draft are under contract. The only unsigned first-round pick is F Trevor Wong, who was taken 18th overall by the Kelowna Rockets. He has been in Kelowna’s camp, but has made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver for 2021-22.



The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed D Joe Arntsen, F Nick Dorrington and F Jett Jones Lethbridgeto WHL contracts. . . . Arntsen, 15, is from Swift Current and was a second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he had 19 goals and 31 assists in 31 gams with the bantam AA Swift Current Raiders. He added two goals and six assists in six playoff games, and was pointless in six games with the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires. . . . Dorrington, a list player, is from Langley, B.C. Last season, he played for the Yale Hockey Academy Elite 15s in Abbotsford, B.C., scoring 17 goals and adding 15 assists in 33 games. He then had two goals and five assists in four playoff games. . . . Jones, 16, was placed on the Hurricanes’ protected list last year. From Olds, Alta., he played last season with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons, putting up 16 goals and six assists in 33 games. . . . All three players remain with the Hurricanes, who open the exhibition season on Friday against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.


The Victoria Royals have signed G Keegan Maddocks, 15, to a WHL contract. Maddocks, from Langley, B.C., was an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Maddocks played last season with the bantam prep team at the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in Langley, B.C. In 19 games, he was 9-7-0, 3.60, .896, with one shutout. . . . This summer, at the BC Hockey U-16 camp at Shawnigan Lake, he put up five shutouts in as many games.


The Everett Silvertips have signed D Olen Zellweger, a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, to a contract. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he spent last season with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team, putting up 10 goals and 22 assists in 30 games. He added three goals and two assists in five playoff games as his team won the league title. . . . Zellweger will turn 15 on Oct. 9.


The Moose Jaw Warriors, who signed two players on Monday, signed three more skaters MooseJawWarriorsto WHL contracts on Tuesday. . . . D Braden Miller, 16, is a list player who was added after attending the 2017 training camp. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he had four goals and nine assists in 28 games last season with the minor midget Sherwood Park Squires. . . . F Cade Hayes of Leader, Sask., was an eighth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. Hayes, 16, had 19 goals and 17 assists in 44 games with the midget AAA Tisdale Trojans. While he led the Trojans in scoring, he was tied for second in freshman scoring in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . F Jesse Mistelbacher of Île-des-Chênes, Man., was placed on the Warriors’ protected list in October. Last season, with the midget AAA Eastman Selects, the 17-year-old had 15 goals and 32 assists in 48 games. He led the Selects in points.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed G Thomas Milic, who was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From Coquitlam, B.C., he was 13-7-0, 2.06, .925 in 22 games with the bantam prep team at the Burnaby Winter Club.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Erik Atchison, 16, who was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Originally from Las Vegas, Atchison had eight goals and six assists in 13 games with the Arizona Bobcats U-16 team in the North American Prospects Hockey League last season. . . . Atchison is the fourth American-born player on the Chiefs’ roster at the moment, joining F Luke Gallagher of Spokane, F Jake McGrew of Orange, Calif., and F Luke Toporowski of Bettendorf, Iowa.


Taking Note has been told that the WHL has hired Michael Z. Morrissey as a video co-ordinator. . . . This is an interesting story. . . . Morrissey worked as an intern with the Saskatoon Blades during the 2017-18 WHL season. Then, unable to find anything in hockey, he hired on with the CFL’s B.C. Lions as a digital and video associate. . . . Now he is moving to the WHL office in Calgary and is to start there next month. . . . Why is this an interesting story? Because he is from Australia and came to Canada simply to pursue his passion for hockey.



A note from Stuart Kemp, the president of the Portland Winterhawks’ Booster Club:

“Had 3 strokes, 2 in a span of 8 days. Am no longer able to get medical from work, now PortlandI’ll be on Cobra which is expensive. I have had writeups in Portland Tribune and GoFundMe and still have a huge need,.

If you can help, great; if you can’t, please share. I am wanting to go back to work and I can’t, at least not yet. Hoping I can keep ahead of bill collectors. Hospital stay was close to 500K and then there is supplies, more medical stuff that tears you up financially.

I never wanted this, I am worrried can you help?

Stuart

The GoFundMe page is right here.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation, you are able to do so right here.


The BCHL’s Surrey Eagles, who begin the regular season on Sept. 7, are going through a SurreyEaglescoaching change. According to a news release, Peter Schaefer, 41, has taken over as head coach after the Eagles and Brandon West “mutually agreed to part ways.” . . . West, the news release reads, “will be stepping away from the organization because of personal reasons.” . . . The Eagles went 26-22-8 last season, West’s first in Surrey, and got into the second round of the playoffs. . . . Schaefer, the WHL’s player of the year with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1996-97, was the Eagles’ head coach in 2013-14. They had brought him back as an assistant coach for this season. With his promotion, the Eagles now are looking for an assistant coach. . . . One BCHL insider tells me there now have been 14 coaching changes in the BCHL over the past 18 months.


The 2020 national junior A championship will be decided in Portage la Prairie, Man., the home of the MJHL’s Terriers. . . . Portage last played host to the tournament in 2015 when the Terriers won it all. . . . The 2019 tournament is scheduled to be held in Brooks, Alta., home of the AJHL’s Bandits. . . . The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs were the host team for the 2018 RBC Cup and, yes, they won it.


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Victoria bows out, three remain in running for 2020 Memorial Cup . . . Signings, signings, everywhere a signing . . . Murray Westgate dies at 100

ThisThat

And then there were three . . .

The Victoria Royals bowed out of the race for the 2020 Memorial Cup on Monday, leaving the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets still in the hunt.

Victoria, with Vancouver, will play host to the 2019 World Junior Championship. With the VictoriaRoyalshigh costs associated with attending events such as the Memorial Cup and the WJC, and considering that the Royals would be asking their ticket-buying public to support both events, you can bet that the organization and the bid committee grew wary of going to the well once too often.

“Everybody wants to be the very, very best. Not just win the bid but win the bid in a way that the Memorial Cup you put on is the best one that’s ever been put on,” Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, told Marlon Martens, the team’s radio voice. “I think we’re close. I think it’s possible we could win this bid for 2020. But the truth of it is there are a number of boxes that I think we will tick much, much better two or three years down the road.

“Everything from our club and the building of the club, although that’s a secondary issue for us. I think we’ll be competitive in 2020, but the venue . . . there’s some changes we want to make to the arena that would enhance it for the fans and for everybody and the community.

“We are just about to embark on a wonderful World Junior Championship and it’s a significant ask of our fans to buck up every year for season tickets — which they do and our base grows every year — and then go to that market and ask them to pay not an insignificant amount for World Juniors, which is a big tournament, and then ask them again the following season to buck up again for a big tournament like the Memorial Cup.

“Those things are all factors I think we could overcome, but when you combine them we have to think about the reality of the very best time to bid.”

Hope admitted that this decision has been a while coming.

“The bid committee has been working on this for a few months . . . assessing what our bid would look like for 2020 and whether or not we think it’s the right year to go,” Hope said. “The bid committee has decided they are going to focus on 2023.

“We agonized over it . . . spent a lot of time deciding whether or not it was the right thing . . . it’s clearly the right thing to do.”

Martens’ complete interview with Hope is right here.

The Rockets, of course, were the host team in 2004 and it was such a good show that it KelownaRocketswas the benchmark for Memorial Cup tournaments to that point. Obviously, the city and the organization know what it takes, and there isn’t any doubt but that they would put on a terrific show.

Kelowna’s bid committee is headed up by Tom Dyas, a former president of the city’s chamber of commerce. Paul Mitchell and Bill Winter, who headed up the bid committee prior to the 2004 event, also are heavily involved.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, has said that the team will foot the bill for the tournament, including about $100,000 to improve dressing rooms in Prospera Place.

“This is the Kelowna Rockets putting this on,” Hamilton said at a news conference in April. “We’ll get some support I’m sure from other areas, but the city is taking no risk at all except they’ll be very involved in helping to prepare the bid.”

The Blazers announced in November that they would be bidding for 2020, which will Kamloops1mark the 25th anniversary of their having won the 1995 tournament.

Norm Daley of Daley and Co., who has been involved in bid committees that have brought numerous events to Kamloops, including the 2016 IIHF World Women’s Championship, heads up the Blazers’ bid committee.

“One thing is, we’ve lost,” Daley told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV in April. “So we understand we didn’t get the 2013 women’s worlds (curling), we didn’t get the 2009 Olympic curling trials. So we’ve lost.

“So we understand where maybe there’s some shortcomings in what the bid process is when we did it those times . . . so we have that understanding of what it takes to win, so we actually have won a number of other ones . . . so that’s the big thing. We can take the information of what we maybe did wrong in those bids and use it for our advantage in this one.”

In Lethbridge, the Hurricanes, with Bill Reddick of Mercer Wilde Group Charter LethbridgeAccountants chairing the bid committee, have received assurances from city council that it will kick in $750,000, along with $250,000 in in-kind services, should the bid be successful. The in-kind package would include such things as costs, including labour, involved with the use of the ENMAX Centre.

While Kelowna no doubt is alone as the favourite now that Victoria is out, you have to think that Lethbridge is at least a sentimental favourite, even with the tournament having been held in Red Deer in 2016. (Prior to that, it hadn’t been held in Alberta since 1974 when it was played in the Calgary Corral.) After all, it was slightly more than three years ago when the franchise was in dire financial straits. The team had missed the playoffs for six straight seasons and had lost well over $1 million in the process. On top of that, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was urging shareholders to sell to private interests.

Since then, well, Peter Anholt has taken over as the general manager, things are looking up on the ice, where the Hurricanes have reached the Eastern Conference final each of the past two seasons. Anholt and the likes of Terry Huisman, the GM of business operations, have got things turned around to the point where the organization announced a profit of $737,710 for the 2016-17 season.

The Blazers, Hurricanes and Rockets will present their bids to the WHL’s board of governors at a meeting in Calgary on Oct. 3. It is expected that the host city will be named later that same day.


This is why you won’t find any scrimmage-related news on this site . . . I am retired and can’t afford to pay the fine.


F Kole Gable, who helped the Swift Current Broncos win a WHL title last season, will SCBroncosopen this season with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. Gable, 20, is from Fort McMurray. . . . Last season, he had six goals and 10 assists in 68 regular-season games with the Broncos, then added one assist in 26 playoff games. . . . Gable was a ninth-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2013 bantam draft. He played 61 games with the Oil Kings before being dealt to the Broncos during the 2016-17 season. . . . In 166 regular-season WHL games, he put up 18 goals and 21 assists. . . . The Broncos have five 20-year-olds on their roster — F Kaden Elder, F Andrew Fyten, Russian D Artyom Minulin, F Tanner Nagel and D Ryan Pouliot. Minulin, who is from Russia, would be a two-spotter should he return.


The Prince George Cougars have signed F Craig Armstrong, a first-round selection, ninth PrinceGeorgeoverall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, to a contract. From Airdrie, Alta., he led his hometown bantam AAA Xtreme in scoring in the regular season and playoffs. He put up 23 goals and 31 assists in 34 regular-season games, then added 14 goals and nine assists in 13 playoff games. He also had three goals and four assists in five games at the Western Canadian bantam AAA championship tournament.

Armstrong’s signing leaves two of the 22 first-round selections without WHL contracts. . . . F Trevor Wong, taken 18th overall by Kelowna, attended the Rockets’ camp but has made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver for 2021-22. . . . The Cougars took G Tyler Brennan of Winnipeg with the second-last pick of the first round and have yet to sign him.

——

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

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.

——

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

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong (committed to U of Denver, 2021-22).

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.


The Saskatoon Blades have signed Sammy May, 15, to a WHL contract. May, from SaskatoonRichmond, B.C., was an 11th-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . “Despite his position in the draft, May quickly earned himself an offer on the final day of training camp,” the Blades said in a news release. . . . Last season, with a bantam prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy, he had 11 goals and 10 assists in 28 games. . . . May is expected to get a taste of WHL action when the Blades open their exhibition season against the host Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed G Mads Sogaard, who will turn 18 on Dec. 13, and F Tigers Logo OfficialCaleb Willms, a 16-year-old from Cochrane, Alta. . . . Sogaard, from Aalborg, Denmark, was selected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. The 6-foot-7, 190-pounder played last season with the NAHL’s Austin Bruins, going 2.64, .909 in 22 appearances. . . . He is expected to push veteran Jordan Hollett, 19, for playing time. . . . Willms, a list player, spent last season with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR  Bisons, putting up three goals and seven assists in 35 games.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed Slovakian F Andrej Kukuca to a WHL contract. SeattleKukuca, who will turn 19 on Nov. 14, scored 43 goals and added 27 assists in 44 games for Trencin’s team in Slovakia’s U-20 junior league last season. He added 18 goals and 10 assists in 18 playoff games. . . . The Thunderbirds have yet to sign their other 2018 import draft selection — Czech D Simon Kubicek, who is to turn 17 on Dec. 19 — but it is believed that he is getting his paperwork in order before joining them. He was pointless in four games with the Czech U-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup earlier this month.


The Victoria Royals have signed F Trentyn Crane, 15, who was a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. From Morden, Man., he had 46 goals and 24 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Pembina Valley Hawks, who are based in Morden and play in a Winnipeg league.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed D Lucas Brenton, 15, and D Cole Jordan, who will MooseJawWarriorsturn 16 on Sept. 21, to WHL contracts. . . . From East St. Paul, Man., Brenton was a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, with the bantam AAA Winnipeg Sharks, he had nine goals and 15 assists in 32 games. . . . Jordan, from Brandon, was added to the Warriors’ protected list in January. He had three goals and 15 assists in 46 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings last season.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Owen MacNeil, 15, to a WHL contract. He was selected in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . From Calgary, he had 15 goals and 32 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Royals, and also had a goal and two assists in five games with the minor midget CRAA Blue.


The Tri-City Americans have signed three players — D Bryan McAndrews, 17, from tri-cityEdmonton; F Parker Bell, who will turn 15 on Sept. 26, from Campbell River, B.C.; and F Sequoia Swan, 16, from Winnipeg. . . . The 6-foot-5 McAndrews was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. McAndrews played last season with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s midget prep Red team, putting up five goals and six assists in 25 games. . . . Last season, Bell scored three goals and added seven assists in 20 games with the Yale Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C. He was a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Swan, a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, had eight goals and 14 assists in 32 games with the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy’s elite 15s last season.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation, you are able to do so right here.


“With football already underway and hockey starting soon,” writes Jack Todd in the pages of the Montreal Gazette, “it’s a good time to talk about toxic parents on the sideline.” . . . This right here is a good piece, and there are a handful of rules, all of them worth following, at the end of it.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday: Boxberger tops . . . Will you pay for Phil vs. Tiger? . . . Regina has had quite a year

Scattershooting

“When I heard the Leafs had signed Hayley Wickenheiser,” writes Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express, “my first thought was, ‘She doesn’t play defence, does she?’ ”


No, I’m not a fan of MLB’s players’ weekend in which players are outfitted in (in some cases) horrid-looking uniforms and allowed to put nicknames on the namebars. But Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Brad Boxberger gets full marks for having fun with it.


“Semi-retired Chris Berman could return to ESPN in a reduced role on ‘SportsCenter’ and NFL-related programming, the New York Post reported,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “In other words, Berman might be . . . nah, too easy.”


RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com had this take: “Chris Berman reportedly may return to ESPN, but only in a reduced role. So he . . . won’t . . . go . . . all . . . the . . . way!”


Perry, again: “Corey Bellemore, winner of this year’s Beer Mile World Classic in Vancouver, B.C., was disqualified when race officials ruled he didn’t consume enough beer during the race’s four mandatory brew stops. It’s believed to be the first time in sports history in which a runner was stripped of his title for failing to fail a drug test.”



One more from Currie: “A golfer reportedly had a finger bitten off at the knuckle in a fight at a Massachusetts club. You can read about it in Golf Digits — er — Digest.”


I can agree with Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun on these items from his Sunday column: “Is there anything more ridiculous than the French Open banning Serena Williams’ tennis outfit? . . . Might be in the minority on this, but I wouldn’t pay 10 cents to watch Tiger Woods play Phil Mickelson head-to-head on pay-per-view.”


I have a feeling Simmons would agree with me when I say that there is something wrong about junior hockey teams playing games in August.


After Puerto Rico beat Canada, 9-4, eliminating the team from Whalley, B.C., at the Little League World Series, Vancouver comedian Torben Rolfsen noted: “Donald Trump said, ‘See, I told you Puerto Rico had power.’ ”



After Carmelo Anthony signed a one-year contract with the Houston Rockets, Janice Hough (aka The Left Coast Sports Babe) wrote: “This is great news for the Warriors, Lakers and Spurs.”


One more from Hough, who is at LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “Due to rule technicalities, Robinson Cano, returning from a 90-game PED suspension, is ineligible for any playoff games, while  Roberto Osuna, returning from a  75-game domestic violence suspension, is eligible. If Cano had only beaten his girlfriend instead of taking PEDs he could play in the postseason. Is this really how MLB wants to compete with the NFL?”


After Caesar’s Palace Sports Book in Vegas revealed that it had taken more bets on the Cleveland Browns to win the AFC North than the other three division teams combined, Hough commented: “Beam me up, Scotty.”




Over the past four-plus years, former NBA star Kobe Bryant has invested US$6 million in BodyArmor, the producer of a sports drink. Sources have told ESPN that Bryant’s investment now is worth about US$200 million. . . . And how are your investments doing these days?


Receiver Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns has missed 56 of 96 NFL games, mainly due to drug-related suspensions. As old friend Jack Finarelli, who can be found at SportsCurmudgeon.com, noted: “To say that Gordon has had an ‘unorthodox career’ to date would be akin to saying that Frank Sinatra ‘could sing a little.’ ”


I will assume that you are familiar with the look on the face of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick prior to the postgame interview. Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle describing it: “The dude at your gym waiting impatiently for you to get your wimpy ass off the bench-press machine.”


ThisThat


It seems I got my minor midget and major midget Thompson Blazers hockey teams mixed up in this space on Saturday night. . . . The minor midget Blazers are a first-year team and will have Neil Pilon and Darryl Sydor on board as assistant coaches, alongside head coach Chris Murray, who is a former WHL/NHL skater. . . . Meanwhile, Carter Cochrane is the first-year head coach of the major midget Blazers. Mitchell Barker has returned as an assistant coach and is joined by James Friedel and Devin Gannon. . . . Apologies to all involved for the confusion.


The Moose Jaw Warriors played their annual Black-White game on Sunday at Mosaic Place to bring an end to their training camp. A tip of the fedora to the Warriors for keeping alive the memory of Ethan Brown.

If you aren’t aware of Ethan Williams, you should click right here.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation, you are able to do so right here.


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