Hughes leaves Hurricanes, cites ‘personal reasons’; Tetachuk starter in Lethbridge . . . Philly writers honour Propp


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The Lethbridge Hurricanes, in a heated race for the Central Division pennant, lost their Lethbridgestarting goaltender on Monday when Liam Hughes left the WHL team.

In a statement released by the team, Hughes, a 19-year-old from Kelowna, said:

“”At this time I have decided to leave hockey for personal reasons. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but for me, personally, it is the right time to step away from a game that I love.

“I want to thank all of my family, friends and fans for your support, as I pursued my hockey dreams. I leave with fond memories from the game and I am excited to start the next chapter in my life.”

In the same news release, the Hurricanes said they “respect the decision made by Liam and his family.”

The statement continued: “The entire organization wishes Liam the best moving forward. There will be no further comment from the hockey club.”

This leaves the Hurricanes with Lethbridge native Carl Tetachuk, who turned 18 on Jan. 8, as their starting goaltender. A list player, he moved up through the Lethbridge minor hockey ranks, playing bantam AA and AAA, and midget AA and AAA there.

This season, his first in the WHL, he is 10-5-0, 3.05, .903.

The Hurricanes have added G Bryan Thomson, a 16-year-old from Moose Jaw, to their roster for the remainder of this season. A second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, Thomson had been playing with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. With the Hounds, Thomson was 6-9-0, 2.94, .890.

Hughes was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

On Sept. 18, 2017, the Oil Kings dealt Hughes to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes acquired Hughes and an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft from Seattle on Jan. 1 in exchange for veteran F Keltie Jeri-Leon, F Michael Horon and a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He has since played one game with the Thunderbirds.

This season, Hughes was 2-3-1, 3.44, .892 in six appearances with the Hurricanes. He had started six of their last eight game. In 29 games with Seattle, he had been 10-16-3, 3.67, .899.

In 78 career regular-season games, Hughes is 29-35-12, 3.38, .903.

Prior to acquiring Hughes, the Hurricanes had been going with Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old sophomore from Cloverdale, B.C., and Tetachuk as their goaltenders. The day after the trade for Hughes, the Hurricanes dealt Klassen to the Spokane Chiefs for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes (24-13-8) and Medicine Hat Tigers (26-16-4) are tied for third in the Central Division, two points behind the first-place Oil Kings (25-14-8) and one behind the Red Deer Rebels (27-14-3).

The Hurricanes are next to play on Friday when they meet the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash.


There’s more right here on former Brandon Wheat Kings’ star Brian Propp, this award and all that he has been through of late.


D Egor Zamula of the Calgary Hitmen has been suspended for one game after being hit with a headshot major and game misconduct during a 4-1 loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Sunday. . . . Zamula was tossed for a hit on Red Deer F Oleg Zaytsev at 3:47 of the third period. . . . Zamula won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars.


The Calgary Hitmen have returned G Brayden Peters and F Sean Tschigerl to their midget AAA teams. . . . Tschigerl, 15, is from Whitecourt, Alta., and was the fourth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in one game with the Hitmen, and now is back with the prep team at OHA Edmonton. . . . Peters, a 17-year-old from Taber, Alta., was brought in to back up starter Jack McNaughton with Carl Stankowski (ankle) out of action. Peters didn’t see any playing time, and now is back with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hitmen selected Peters in the fifth round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Kootenay Ice has returned D Carson Lambos to the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Lambos, 15, was the second-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Lambos, who is from Winnipeg, now has played five games with the Ice. He scored his first WHL goal on Saturday night in a 7-5 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon. Interestingly, he scored the goal while his brother, Jonny, a freshman defenceman with Brandon, was in the penalty box.


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Seattle reboot underway in earnest . . . Moves out veteran goaltender, sniper . . . Everett, Lethbridge deal with T-Birds


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When you look at where F Zack Andrusiak was two years ago, it’s hard to believe how far he has come.

Andrusiak, who totalled six goals and five assists in 60 WHL games in 2016-17, was Everetttraded by the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Everett Silvertips on Tuesday, bringing back a veteran forward, a prospect, two WHL bantam draft selections and a conditional pick.

In the exchange, Seattle added F Sean Richards, 20, F Brendan Williamson, 16, a second-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft, a third-rounder in 2021, and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022.

Andrusiak, 20, has 124 points, including 69 goals, in 173 regular-season games.

Andrusiak, a native of Yorkton, Sask., began his WHL career by going pointless in seven games with the Tri-City Americans in 2014-15. He split 2015-16 between the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers (two assists in 15 games) and the junior  B Kamloops Storm (32 goals and 19 assists in 32 games).

Two seasons ago, he managed a goal and an assist in eight games with the Prince Albert Raiders, who then dealt him to Seattle, along with a third-round pick in 2018, for F Cavin Leth. Andrusiak proceeded to score five goals and add four assists in 52 games with the Thunderbirds.

Andrusiak took flight last season, scoring 36 goals and earning 38 assists in 72 games.

This season, he has 27 goals and 12 assists in 34 games, including six goals in his past two games, both against the Portland Winterhawks.

“Zack has been having a very good (season) for us, which made making this trade difficult,” Bil La Forge, Seattle’s first-year general manager, said in a news release. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, La Forge had been with Everett since 2008, most recently as director of player personnel. That no doubt helped in making a deal with the arch-rival Silvertips.

In a news release, Garry Davidson, Everett’s general manager, said: “We set a goal leading up to the trade deadline to make a significant offensive upgrade for our club and Zack Andrusiak was a player we’ve targeted for a while who meets our needs.

“He’s a finisher and respected as a proven goal scorer in the WHL. His capabilities to produce against familiar competition within our division and experience two years ago on a team that won a WHL championship are valuable elements we’re excited to add to a group we’re already very proud of.”

Andrusiak is likely to make his Everett debut this weekend in a home-and-home series with Tri-City. They’ll play in Kennewick, Wash., on Friday and in Everett on Saturday. (The really good news for Andrusiak is that, while Seattle begins its East Division swing this week, Everett made that trip in October.)

Andrusiak’s arrival should help the Silvertips ride out an injury to veteran F Riley Sutter, who is listed as week-to-week. At the same time, F Akash Bains is to have probable season-ending surgery on an undisclosed injury.

Sutter, 19, has 40 points, including a team-leading 26 assists, in 38 games. Bains, also 19, has five goals and four assists in 25 games.

The Thunderbirds get back Richards, who has 10 goals and eight assists in 27 games. In Seattle212 career games, he has 41 goals and 67 assists. He began his WHL career by playing 54 games with the Regina Pats, who had listed him. The Pats traded Richards and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft to Everett for F Dawson Leedahl and the rights to F Tyson Jost, who went to the U of North Dakota, then joined the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

However, Richards is six games into an eight-game suspension he incurred after taking a boarding major and game misconduct in a game against host Seattle on Dec. 8. On the play in question, he hit D Loeden Schaufler, who now is a teammate, but according to the WHL’s Dec. 28 roster report remains out week-to-week with an “upper-body injury.”

Earlier this season, Richards sat out a five-game suspension; last season, he drew four- and two-game suspensions.

Richards, from St. Alberta, Alta., will be eligible to return to play on Jan. 8 when the Thunderbirds are to meet the Blades in Saskatoon. He will miss the first two games of Seattle’s East Division trip — against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday and Regina on Sunday.

Williamson, 16, is from Chilliwack, B.C. An undrafted list player, he hasn’t signed a WHL contract. In 24 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, he has 10 goals and 26 assists. His 36 points have him tied for third in the league’s scoring race.

Seattle now has three selections in the second round of the 2018 draft — its own, one that originated with Regina and now Everett’s. Seattle landed Regina’s second-round pick as part of deal that had D Aaron Hyman go to the Pats.

——

Earlier in the day, the Seattle Thunderbirds signalled that something more might be in the works when they added G Roddy Ross to their roster.

The Thunderbirds announced his signing on Tuesday and immediately added the 18-year-old, who is from Meadow Lake, Sask., to their roster.

Later in the day, Seattle dealt G Liam Hughes, 19, and an eighth-round selection in the Lethbridge2019 bantam draft to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Keltie Jeri-Leon, who will turn 19 on Jan. 19, F Michael Horon, 17, and a 2019 fourth-round bantam draft pick.

Hughes becomes one of three goaltenders on Lethbridge’s roster, joining sophomore Reece Klassen, 19, and freshman Carl Tetachuk, 17, who was scratched from a Saturday game with an undisclosed injury, but was back on the bench Sunday night.

In 26 games, Klassen is 11-4-7, 3.57, .891. Tetachuk has gotten into 12 games, going 7-5-0, 3.49, .892.

Hughes, from Kelowna, was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the 2014 bantam draft. He was traded to Seattle for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. This season, he is 10-16-3, 3.67, .899 in 29 games with Seattle. Last season, Hughes got into 36 games with the Thunderbirds, going 16-12-6, 3.15, .909.

Hughes could be available to play tonight when the Hurricanes visit the Red Deer Rebels. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one in front of Red Deer.

Jeri-Leon, also from Kelowna, joins his fourth WHL team, having previously played for the Tri-City Americans and Kamloops Blazers. This season, he has five goals and nine assists in 30 games. In 130 career games, he has 15 goals and 17 assists.

Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the ninth round of the 2016 bantam draft. At the time, Seattle general manager Bill La Forge was Everett’s director of player personnel. The Hurricanes acquired Horon for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft on Jan. 10 and signed him to a WHL contract.

Horon is playing with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. He is leading the Alberta Midget Hockey League with 50 points, including 25 goals.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Ross joins freshman Cole Schwebius, 17, as Seattle’s two goaltenders.

Schwebius, from Kelowna, is 1-3-1, 3.27, .899 in six appearances.

Ross had been playing with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks (8-5-5, 2.93, .921). Last season, he was an all-star with the midget AAA Tisdale, Sask., Trojans.

Ross will be available on Friday when Seattle opens its six-game East Division swing in Brandon.

The Thunderbirds (11-19-4) are fifth in the U.S. Division, 14 points behind the fourth-place Americans. Seattle also is five points behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Tuesday’s action:

No. of trades: 2.

Players: 6.

Bantam draft picks: 4.

Conditional draft picks: 1.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 17.

Players: 37.

Bantam draft picks: 28.

Conditional draft picks: 10.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


F Dillon Hamaliuk of the Seattle Thunderbirds isn’t expected to play again this season. According to a Tuesday afternoon tweet from Andy Eide, who covers the team for 710 ESPN, the Thunderbirds will show Hamaliuk as “out for remainder of season” when the WHL issues its weekly roster report. . . . Hamaliuk was injured on Saturday night when he was hit by D Matthew Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks. Quigley was given a kneeing major and game misconduct and has since been handed a TBD suspension. . . . Hamaliuk, 18, has 11 goals and 15 assists in 31 games. Last season, he finished with 15 goals and 24 assists in 72 games.


For the second weekend in a row since returning from the Christmas break, the Kamloops Blazers are to play three games in fewer than 48 hours.

Last weekend, the Blazers went 2-1-0, beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 3-2 in OT, on Kamloops1Dec. 28; losing 2-1 in Kelowna on Dec. 29; and edging the visiting Prince George Cougars, 2-1, on Sunday.

However, this weekend presents the Blazers with one of those punishing quirks that the WHL seems unable to get out of its schedule.

The Blazers are scheduled to meet the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday night. Kamloops will ride the bus home right after that game, because it is to entertain the Rockets on Saturday night. After that game, it’ll be right back on the bus for the Blazers because they are to meet the Silvertips in Everett on Sunday in a game that has a 4:05 p.m. start time.

Scheduling like that makes one wonder if darts and a Wheel-of-Fortune wheel are part of the process.


It’s true! The NHL is coming to Regina next season.

The Winnipeg Jets will be the host team for a game with the Calgary Flames that is to be played at Mosaic Stadium, the home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, on Oct. 26.

There is more on the story right here.


Russian F Oleg Saprykin, who played two seasons in the WHL, ended up in jail when he allegedly became unruly on a flight from Sochi to Moscow. Saprykin, 37, apparently was upset when a flight attendant stopped serving him booze. . . . Saprykin played with the Seattle Thunderbirds (1998-2000) before going on to play 325 games in the NHL. . . . There’s more right here.


The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos have added Troy Smith to their staff as an assistant coach HumboldtBroncosat least for the rest of this season. Smith, 40, was in his second season as head coach of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit when he was fired on Nov. 18. . . . He had coached in the OHL since 2006-07. . . . In Humboldt, Smith will work alongside Scott Barney, who took over as interim head coach last week after the departure of general manager/head coach Nathan Oystrick. . . . The Broncos (21-13-3) are third in the four-team Global Ag Risk Solutions Division, two points out of second and five from first. However, they are 2-7-1 in their past 10 outings.


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

——

TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen opened a 5-1 lead midway through the second period and went on to Calgaryscore a 6-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals in a game played on Tuesday afternoon. . . . Calgary (17-16-4) has won two straight. It now is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Victoria (18-15-1) is 2-2-0 on its six-game Central Division tour. It remains tied with the Kelowna Rockets for second in the B.C. Division. . . . The Royals were playing their fourth game in five days and their second in fewer than 24 hours. While the Hitmen were enjoying a quite New Year’s eve, the Hitmen were beating the Kootenay Ice, 4-3 in OT, on Monday in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . F James Malm (16) and F Carson Focht gave Calgary a 2-0 first period lead, with Victoria F Kaid Oliver (17) halving the deficit at 18:40. . . . The Hitmen took control with three second-period PP goals — from F Mark Kastelic, at 0:25; Focht (9), at 9:58; and F Luke Coleman (9), at 10:17. . . . F Brandon Cutler (8), at 13)1 of the second, and F Dante Hannoun (19), at 1:11 of the third, got Victoria two within two goals, but Calgary F Kaden Elder (15) put it away with an empty-netter at 19:41. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 23 shots for the Hitmen. F Tarun Fizen wasn’t able to beat him on a first-period penalty shot. . . . Calgary was 3-5 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3.


The Saskatoon Blades held a 46-19 edge in shots as they beat the visiting Swift Current SaskatoonBroncos, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (23-11-5) has won two in a row. It is second in the East Division, five points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (7-27-3) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . The Blades, who held period leads of 1-0 and 2-1, outshot the Broncos 10-7, 16-6 and 20-6 by period. . . . F Max Gerlach (22), on a PP, put the home side ahead at 13:33 of the first period. . . . F Josh Paterson (12) made it 2-0 at 2:31 of the second. . . . D Billy Sowa, with his second career goal and second in two games, got the Broncos on the scoreboard at 19:46. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-2 on third-period goals from F Chase Wouters (7), at 8:58, and F Kirby Dash (16), at 13:13. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (13) pulled the Broncos within two at 15:05, but F Riley McKay (7) made it 5-2 at 18:58. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who had a goal and three assists when the Blades won 9-3 in Swift Current on Sunday, had two assists. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 41 shots, 24 more than Nolan Maier of the Blades.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored two first-period goals and went on to a 3-1 victory over EdmontonOilKingsthe visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Edmonton (21-12-7) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes and five on the Red Deer Rebels. Lethbridge has four games in hand on Edmonton, while Red Deer has five. . . . Vancouver (23-10-2) is 1-2-0 on a six-game Central Division trip. . . . F Carter Souch (7) got Edmonton started at 1:29 of the opening period, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (24) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 12:45. . . . D Bowen Byram (10) scored for the Giants, on a PP, at 12:52 of the second. . . . F David Kope (8) scored Edmonton’s other goal, at 13:10 of the second. . . . Vancouver won 32 of 51 faceoffs and held a 35-17 edge in shots. . . . The Oil Kings got a solid game from G Dylan Myskiw, with 34 saves. . . . F Dylan Guenther, the first overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, is back with the Oil Kings, who were without seven players, including three forwards. Despite being 15, Guenther has played in eight games — he has three goals and an assist — with the Oil Kings. A player his age is limited to five games while his club team’s season is in progress, unless brought up under emergency conditions. . . . Guenther has 38 points, 20 of them goals, in 18 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . The Oil Kings scratched G Boston Bilous, D Jacson Alexander, whose season is over, D Matt Robertson, D Will Warm, F Quinn Benjafield, F Jake Neighbours and F Brett Kemp.


The Prince Albert Raiders erased a 3-2 deficit in the last half of the third period to beat PrinceAlbertthe Pats, 5-3, in Regina. . . . Prince Albert (34-3-1) had dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Pats on Sunday night. The Raiders now are 5-1-0 in the season series. . . . Regina (12-25-1) had won its previous three games. . . . The Raiders took a 1-0 lead 19 seconds into the second period as F Parker Kelly scored while shorthanded. . . . The Raiders have scored a WHL-leading 18 times while shorthanded; the Red Deer Rebels are second, with eight. . . . F Robbie Holmes (8) pulled Regina into a tie at 18:37. . . . The teams combined for six third-period goals. . . . F Cole Fonstad gave the Raiders a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 4:04. . . . Regina tied it 14 seconds later when D Liam Schioler (3) scored, and took the lead at 5:40 on a goal by F Riley Krane (7). . . . However, the Raiders scored the game’s last three goals. F Sean Montgomery (17) tied it at 11:04. D Sergei Sapego (7) got the winner, on a PP, at 15:39. Kelly (17) got the empty-netter, at 19:59. . . . The Raiders outshot their hosts, 56-23. By periods, it was 18-4, 15-12 and 23-7. . . . Yes, Regina G Max Paddock stood tall in this one. . . . Raiders G Brett Balas, a third-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, stopped 20 shots to win his first WHL start. . . . Parker added an assist to his two goals, while Montgomery had two helpers. . . . F Noah Gregor drew three assists for the Raiders. He has 53 points, including 29 assists, in 33 games. He has 17 points, 10 of them goals, in a seven-game point streak.


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Broncos, Pats pay price of going all-in . . . Rockets get Wong signed . . . Leason and Raiders continue to dominate

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Is it too early to wonder if it is worth it for a major junior hockey team to really — make that really, really, really — go all-in as it attempts to win a championship?

Is it worth it even if that team wins the championship?

What about the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament? Is it worth it for that team to do the same thing?

Yes, this is all about the Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats.

The Broncos, of course, wheeled and dealed their way to the 2017-18 WHL SCBroncoschampionship. As one observer told Taking Note the other day, “They sold the farm, animals, crop and the dirt.”

And now the Broncos are paying the price. After dropping a 4-1 decision to the visiting Everett Silvertips on Saturday night, they are 1-13-0 and have lost six in a row. They are 0-4-0 at home; they are 1-9-0 on the road, the only victory a 3-2 shootout triumph over the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Oct. 13.

Surely, the Broncos won’t challenge the WHL record for fewest victories in a season, but early indications are that they will be hard-pressed to win 20 games. That is the number of victories posted by the 2010-11 Calgary Hitmen, to date the fewest in one season by a defending champion. (The 1998-99 Portland Winterhawks are No. 2, with 23.)

Meanwhile, the Pats, who lost in the Memorial Cup final last spring, were 6-2 losers to Patsthe Raiders in Prince Albert last night. The Pats are 3-11-0 and have lost five straight games. They are 0-8-0 at home and 3-3-0 on the road.

The Pats and Broncos have met once this season, with Regina posting a 6-5 victory in Swift Current on Oct. 5.

They will play Game 2 of the six-game season series in Regina today, with the teams having a combined 4-24-0 record.

Of course, the question remains as to just how long the Broncos and Pats will pay for all the moves leading into last season’s playoffs?

The Saskatoon Blades went all-in as they prepared for their role as the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup. Some people will tell you that the franchise still is in the process of recovering.


The Kelowna Rockets announced the signing of F Trevor Wong on Saturday, hours before they met up with the visiting Prince George Cougars. Wong, 15, made his WHL debut in KelownaRocketsthat game. . . . From Vancouver, the 5-foot-8, 135-pound Wong was selected by Kelowna with the 18th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Many observers felt he would have been selected sooner had he not made a verbal commitment to attend the U of Denver and play for the Pioneers starting in 2020-21. . . . Last season, Wong had 64 goals and 77 assists in 30 games with the bantam varsity team at St. George’s School in Vancouver. . . . This season, he has four goals and seven assists in 10 games with the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. . . .

With Wong signed, you can bet that the Rockets, who will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, will turn their attention to attempting to sign F Ethan Bowen, who was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Bowen, 16, is from Chilliwack and is playing in his hometown for the BCHL’s Chiefs. He went into last night with six goals and five assists in 11 games. . . . Bowen has made a verbal commitment to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21. . . . His older brother, Ryan, began this season with Kelowna but was released as the Rockets got down to the league-mandated maximum of three 20-year-olds.


No one in the WHL is having a better season than F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. Leason, a 19-year-old Calgarian, had a goal and an assist, both in the first period, as the host Raiders beat the Regina Pats, 6-2, on Saturday night. That put him at 34 points in 16 games, breaking his career high of 33 from last season when he had one goal in 12 games with the Tri-City Americans and 32 points, 15 of them goals, in 54 games with the Raiders. . . . This season, Leason leads the WHL in goals (15), assists (19) and points (34). . . .

The Raiders acquired Leason from the Americans on Oct. 26, 2017, giving up a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. That pick had originated with the Americans, who traded it to the Raiders as part of a deal in which G Rylan Parenteau moved to Tri-City. . . . In 2016-17, as a freshman, Leason had eight goals and 10 assists with the Americans, who picked him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.


SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to eight games as they bounced the PrinceAlbertvisiting Regina Pats, 6-2. . . . Prince Albert scored the game’s first six goals as it improved to 15-1-0. . . . Regina (3-11-0) has lost five in a row. . . . The Raiders’ last two goals both were of the shorthanded variety, from F Eric Pearce (2) and F Jakob Brook (4). Brook drew an assist on Pearce’s goal and, yes, Pearce had an assist on Brook’s tally. Those goals came 2:58 apart midway through the second period. . . . Prince Albert got 19 saves from G Ian Scott, who now is 13-1-0, 1.57, .943.


F Connor Dewar scored two goals and added two assists in leading the Everett Silvertips Everettto a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Everett (10-5-0) has won three in a row; it went 4-2-0 on its East Division tour. . . . The Broncos (1-13-0) have lost six in a row. . . . This was the first meeting between these two franchises since last season’ WHL championship final. The Broncos won that best-of-seven series in six games. . . . Dewar, Everett’s captain, was playing his first game after serving a four-game suspension. He opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at 2:15 of the first period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (3) pulled the Broncos even at 11:43. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother (1) of the Silvertips broke the tie with another shorthanded goal, at 16:54 of the second period. . . . Dewar scored his 10th goal of the season, on a PP, 15 seconds into the third period.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky had a goal and two assists as the host Edmonton Oil Kings scored a EdmontonOilKings5-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Oil Kings (8-7-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Blades (8-5-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Edmonton took control with the game’s first three goals. . . . F Quinn Benjafield got the first two, scoring on a PP at 18:33 of the first period and shorthanded at 5:16 of the second. He’s got five goals. . . . Fix-Wolansky got his 10th goal into an empty net at 19:06 of the third period. He has 28 points in 16 games this season, including four goals and six assists over his past four games. His 28 points trail only the 34 of F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Gary Haden, who was acquired Thursday from the Medicine Hat Tigers, scored both Saskatoon goals, the first while shorthanded. He’s got three goals this season. . . . D Keegan Slaney, the 20th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Oil Kings. From Airdrie, Alta., he has six assists in 11 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary this season.


The Moose Jaw Warriors erased a 3-0 deficit and got past the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-MooseJawWarriors3, in a shootout. . . . The Warriors (6-4-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Tigers (8-6-2) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . F Tristin Langan won this one with the only goal of the shootout. He was the second shooter in the third round. . . . F Brayden Tracey (4) pulled the Warriors into a 3-3 tie at 19:41 of the third period. . . . F Jaxon Steele (2) had given Medicine Hat a 3-0 lead at 2:25 of the third. . . . F Tate Popple (3) got Moose Jaw started at 4:39, and D Josh Brook (5) got the Warriors to within a goal at 12:13. . . . Moose Jaw took the game’s only two penalties — both minors.


F Nolan Foote scored on a PP just 43 seconds into OT to give the host Kelowna Rockets a KelownaRockets4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Rockets (6-10-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Cougars (5-6-3) have lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . Foote was back in the Rockets’ lineup after a brief absence. This was his first game with his father, Adam, as the Rockets’ head coach. The senior Foote is 2-0-0 as a WHL head coach since taking over from the fired Jason Smith on Tuesday. . . . F Kyle Topping (6) had given the hosts a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 1:08 of the third period. . . . D Ryan Schoettler (3) got the Cougars into a tie at 4:52.


F Jermaine Loewen scored three goals to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 6-2 victory over Kamloops1the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . The Blazers (5-6-1) are on their first three-game winning streak of the season. . . . The Winterhawks (7-5-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The same teams will play again today in Portland as they conclude their season series. The Winterhawks won twice in Kamloops early in October. . . . Loewen was playing his second game after serving a four-game suspension for a high hit on Portland D Matthew Quigley in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Winterhawks on Oct. 5. Loewen returned Friday with a goal and an assist in a 7-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. That was Loewen’s first game as team captain; he was named captain while he was suspended. . . . F Joachim Blickfeld (10) gave Portland a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:20 of the first period. . . . The Blazers scored the next four goals, three of them before the first period ended. . . . Loewen scored PP goals at 8:19 of the first period and 2:10 of the second, the latter providing a 4-1 lead. He completed his first career hat trick at 5:17 of the third. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary had a goal, his fifth, and an assist, giving him six points over two games. . . . Portland lost D Jared Freadrich to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 18:40 of the first period.


The Tri-City Americans erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in beating the Chiefs, 5-3, in Spokane. . tri-city. . The Americans (9-4-0) have won five straight. . . . The Chiefs slipped to 7-4-3. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s second goal of the game, on a PP, at 7:39 of the third period gave the home team a 3-2 lead. . . . F Sasha Mutala (3) scored a PP goal to pull Tri-City even at 9:59, and F Isaac Johnson (6) got what proved to be the winner at 15:32. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (10), who also had two assists, got the empty-netter. . . . Anderson-Dolan’s goals were his first of this season and came in his second game since being returned by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.


The Seattle Thunderbirds got 41 saves from G Liam Hughes as they skated to a 5-1 Seattlevictory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Thunderbirds (7-3-2) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Giants (10-3-2) had points in their previous two (1-0-1). . . . The Giants had 17 shots in each of the last two periods but could only muster one goal, that from F Milos Roman (6) at 4:36 of the third period. . . . Seattle jumped out to a 4-0 lead on two goals in each of the first two periods. The outburst featured F Noah Philp’s ninth goal of the season, two from F Matthew Wedman, who has five, and F Samuel Huo’s first of the season.


F Kaid Oliver scored twice to help the host Victoria Royals to a 3-1 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Royals (9-3-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Wheat Kings (6-3-4) have lost four in a row (0-2-2). Brandon now is 1-1-1 on a seven-game road swing that continues today against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (13) put Brandon ahead 1-0, on a PP, at 14:50 of the first period. . . . Oliver, who has nine goals, tied it at 19:53 of the first, then broke the tie at 9:46 of the third. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt (2) got the empty-netter while shorthanded. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 28 shots for the Royals. He returned after missing some time with an undisclosed injury. It’s believed that he tweaked something during practice nine or 10 days ago. . . . The Royals are without F Dante Hannoun, a key offensive contributor, as well as F Phillip Schultz, a freshman import from Denmark, and F Logan Doust, all out with undisclosed injuries.


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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.


ThisThat

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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Giants looking to end drought . . . Tigers’ injury list grows . . . Blades back in wild-card spot

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Vancouver Giants are scheduled to meet the Rockets in Kelowna tonight (Wednesday). As Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports, the Giants “haven’t won a road game Vancouveragainst the Kelowna Rockets in 25 straight tries, dating to a 4-3 triumph at Prospera Place on March 19, 2011, when their lineup featured current Montreal Canadiens stalwart Gallagher, as well as the likes of Neil Manning, Wes Vannieuwenhuizen and James Henry.” . . . Tonight’s game, then, will be a good test for a Vancouver team that is third in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Rockets and Victoria Royals. . . . Ewen also reports that Vancouver F Milos Roman has she the walking boot but there’s no timeline for his return. Roman has missed the team’s past nine games. . . . Ewen’s piece is right here. . . . The Rockets list D James Hilsendager as week-to-week, while F Nolan Foote is out up to six weeks, both with upper-body injuries. F Erik Gardiner (UB) remains week-to-week, while G James Porter (UB) is day-to-day, so might soon be back.


The Medicine Hat Tigers are showing six injured regulars, all with long-term injuries. Tigers Logo OfficialThe latest addition to the list is D Kristians Rubins (UB), who will be out up to four weeks. Also out: D Joel Craven (UB), week-to-week; G Jordan Hollett (UB), four-to-six weeks; D Linus Nassen (UB), two-to-three weeks; F Hayden Ostir (broken finger), three-to-five weeks; and F Mason Shaw (knee), indefinite. . . . The Tigers have added D Daniel Baker, 16, to their roster. He has nine goals and 17 assists in 20 games with the Alberta X-Treme prep team of the CSSHL. A second-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, Baker was pointless in three earlier games with the Tigers. . . . With Hollett out, they will be riding G Michael Bullion, 20. The Tigers are scheduled to entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight, and are expected to have Garin Bjorklund backing up Bullion. Bjorklund, 15, was a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes.


The Kamloops Blazers have added F Josh Pillar to their roster, and he is expected to make his WHL debut tonight (Wednesday) against the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Pillar, from Warman, Sask., will turn 16 on Feb. 14. He was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. Pillar has 20 goals and 25 assists in 39 games. . . . Pillar will be returned to the Mintos after tonight’s game.


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Jeff Hollick, over at dubnetwork.ca, has put together different sets of standings, showing how things would like with various options, such as three points for a regulation victory, two for an OT victory, one for a shootout victory and zero points for any kind of loss. . . .

Let’s be honest: The present system, with some games worth two points and others worth three, is terribly unfair.

Anyway, Hollick’s work is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Spokane at Everett

Seattle at Kelowna

Tri-City at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

TUESDAY:

At Brandon, F Jesse Gabrielle and F Cam Hebig each scored twice to help the Regina Pats to a 5-2 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Regina (28-22-5) has won three in a row. It is ReginaPats100fourth in the East Division, but now is just two points behind Brandon (29-19-5). . . . Regina has beaten Brandon three times in a row and won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . F Marcus Sekundiak (2) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 2:52 of the first period. . . . Regina scored the next three goals. . . . Gabrielle, who has nine goals, scored on a PP at 12:53 of the first period, then gave his guys a 2-1 lead 50 seconds into the second. . . . F Jared Legien (19) upped it to 3-1 at 10:13. . . . F Luka Burzan (9) got Brandon to within a goal at 6:14 of the third period. . . . Hebig, who has 38 goals, put it away with goals at 15:25, on a PP, and 17:52, into an empty net. . . . F Sam Steel drew the primary assist on each of Regina’s last three goals. He now has 202 assists in 242 regular-season games. . . . Legien added an assist to his goal. . . . Regina was 2-3 on the PP; Brandon was 1-4. . . . The visitors outshot the Wheat Kings 17-9 in the first period and 21-4 in the second. . . . The Pats got 22 saves from G Max Paddock, who was playing in his hometown. . . . Brandon G Logan Thompson stopped 46 shots. . . . F Baron Thompson was among Brandon’s scratches. He drew a TBD suspension after being hit with a boarding major and game misconduct on Saturday in a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Colin Paradis, who absorbed the hit from Thompson, is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 3,424.


At Saskatoon, F Michael Farren scored twice to lead the Blades to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Saskatoon (26-25-3) had lost its previous two games. It now holds the SaskatoonEastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of Prince Albert, which holds two games in hand. . . . Kootenay (23-27-3), which opened a four-game Saskatchewan tour with this one, has lost four straight. It is third in the Central Division, seven points behind Lethbridge and six ahead of Red Deer. . . . Farren opened the scoring, on a PP, at 2:47 of the second period. . . . The Ice tied it at 5:37 when F Colton Kroeker (11) scored. . . . Farren (6) broke the tie at 7:33, and F Bradly Goethals (10) stretched the lead with a shorthanded goal at 14:13. . . . F Max Gerlach (25), who also had an assist, gave the Blades a 4-1 lead at 5:12 of the third period. . . . The Ice made it interesting on goals from F Colton Veloso (18), at 17:14, and F Peyton Krebs (15), at 18:06. . . . Saskatoon iced it when F Chase Wouters (15) got the empty-netter at 19:06. . . . Veloso added two assists for the Ice, with Krebs and Kroeker each getting one. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-3. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 21 saves. Maier, who turned 17 on Jan. 10, is 17-10-1, 3.24, .902 in his freshman season. . . . G Matt Berlin stopped 29 shots for Kootenay. . . . The Ice was without G Dustin McGovern, who served a one-game suspension for a match penalty he incurred in a 6-3 loss to the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Saturday. Kootenay had Jesse Makaj backing up in this one. . . . The Ice also had F Blake Allan, 16, make his WHL debut. From Humboldt, Sask., he has nine goals and 20 assists in 36 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. He was a third-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (undisclosed injury) was among Kootenay’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 2,861.


At Kent, Wash., F Nolan Volcan scored in the fifth round of a shootout to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Seattle (27-18-7) had lost its Seattleprevious two games (0-1-1). The victory lifted it out of a tie with Spokane and into the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Tri-City (27-17-8) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Seattle and three ahead of Spokane. . . . Tri-City leads the season series, 4-2-1; Seattle is 3-2-2. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (17) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 10:57 of the first period. . . . Seattle went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Donovan Neuls (19), at 13:37 of the first, and Volcan (25), shorthanded, at 14:00 of the second. . . . The Americans forced OT when F Morgan Geekie (20) scored at 18:15 of the third period. . . . Yaremko added an assist to his goal. . . . Seattle was 0-2 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-5. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes earned the victory with 46 saves through OT and four more in the shootout. . . . The Americans got 40 saves from G Beck Warm. . . . Announced attendance: 4,152.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Kootenay at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Spokane at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Portland, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna 7:05 p.m.