Hey, Kelowna, have you heard? Blazers want 2023 Memorial Cup . . . Thunderbirds’ home getting new scoreboard . . . QMJHL to retire Lafleur’s number


You will recall that the Kelowna Rockets were to have played host to the 2020 Memorial Cup. However, the virus had other ideas and the four-team tournament was cancelled. Later, the 2021 event, which was to have been played in an OHL centre, also was cancelled. The 2022 tournament belongs to the QMJHL with a host city yet to be declared.

That brings us to the 2023 Memorial Cup, with the rights belonging to the WHL. KamloopsOne would think that it might be a fait accompli to return hosting rights to Kelowna. In fact, Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ owner and general manager, has agreed to another two-year stint as the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors. So you might think things are in place for the Rockets to get another chance to be the host team.

Not so fast, my friends.

Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, has let it be known that his franchise is interested . . . very interested.

“If that’s the right thing to do, then that could be the right thing to do,” Gaglardi, who also owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “I haven’t been involved in any formal conversation around that, but if that happens, we’ll deal with it as it comes. Just because you have the market size and ability financially to host a Memorial Cup, I don’t think is enough, so if Kelowna is going to want the Cup again in 2023, they’re going to need to have a competitive team, and so we’ll see if they do.”

Don’t forget that Gaglardi wasn’t happy with the decision to award the 2020 Memorial Cup to Kelowna. No, not at all!

Here’s what he told Hastings in February 2020: “Yeah, it was our turn. It should have been ours. It was the wrong thing. The league did the wrong thing. It’s the 25th anniversary (of the Blazers’ 1995 Memorial Cup victory, right in Kamloops), we were judged to have probably the best team of the host bids and it was our turn. We put together a heck of an offer and we didn’t win. Yeah, I’m sour, for sure. I’m disappointed.”

The bidding for the 2020 tournament also included the community-owned Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Hastings’ latest story on Gaglardi and the Memorial Cup is right here.


Toeprints


The accesso ShoWare Center, the Kent, Wash., home of the WHL’s Seattle SeattleThunderbirds, lost US$1.14 million in 2020, a year in which it was only open for the first two months. . . . Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter writes that “the 6,200-seat arena had expenses of $2.45 million and revenue of $1.3 million, according to the ShoWare Center income statement released last week by SMG, which operates the $84.5 million facility.” . . . All told, the facility had 58 events cancelled. It also has lost $162,635 in the first quarter of 2021. . . . Still, Hunter reports, the arena will have a new $500,000 scoreboard in place when the Thunderbirds open the 2021-22 season in October. . . . Hunter’s story is right here.


The UBC Thunderbirds revealed the names of four members of their newest recruiting class on Tuesday, and each of them is a former WHL player. . . . F Scott Atkinson played the past four seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings and is coming off two seasons as the team’s captain. . . . F Liam Kindree split four-plus WHL seasons between the Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Chris Douglas spent his entire WHL career, all four-plus seasons of it, with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . G Ethan Anders played the past four seasons with the Rebels. . . . The Thunderbirds’ head coach is Sven Butenschon, a former WHLer (Brandon Wheat Kings, 1993-96). He has been UBC’s head coach since 2016-17. . . . UBC’s news release is right here.


Hockey Canada has announced the sites for three 2022 championship Canadatournaments, each of which was cancelled for 2020 and 2021. . . . The Esso Cup, the women’s U18 club championship, is scheduled for the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert, April 17-23. . . . The Telus Cup, the U18 men’s club championship, is to be played in Cape Breton, N.S., at Sydney’s Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre, April 18-24. . . . The Centennial Cup, the national junior A men’s championship, is scheduled for Estevan’s Affinity Place, May 20-29. . . . Previously announced sites and dates for 2021 championships: National women’s U18, Dawson Creek, B.C., Oct. 31 through Nov. 6; Para Hockey Cup, Bridgewater, N.S., Dec. 5-11; and World Junior A Challenge, Cornwall, Ont., Dec. 12-18.


It wasn’t a good day for the lacrosse world as the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) in Ontario and B.C.’s Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) cancelled their 2021 seasons, including the Mann Cup senior men’s box lacrosse championship. . . . Both organizations had been forced by the pandemic to cancel their 2020 regular seasons and the national championship, too. The Peterborough Lakers are the last team to win the Mann Cup, in 2019. . . . A news release is right here.


OT


Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Lafleur

JUST NOTES: The QMJHL announced Tuesday that it is taking No. 4 out of use across the league in honour of Guy Lafleur. He played two seasons (1969-71) with the Quebec Remparts, putting up 233 goals and 146 assists in 118 regular-season games. He helped the Remparts to the 1971 Memorial Cup championship, the first won by a QMJHL team. This will be the second number to have been taken out of circulation by the QMJHL, which retired Sidney Crosby’s No. 87 in September 2019. . . . Tim Green is the new head coach of the Augustana Vikings men’s hockey team that plays in the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference. Green, the 14th-overall selection in the WHL’s 1996 bantam draft by Tri-City, split four seasons (1998-2002) between the Americans and Lethbridge Hurricanes. He also spent two seasons as a player with the Vikings. He grew up in Camrose, which is home to Augustana, and played minor hockey there. He also played with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. He has coached minor hockey in Camrose and with Hockey Alberta. Green takes over from Blaine Gusdal, the Vikings’ head coach for the previous 13 seasons.


Stupid

QMJHL team hit with 24 positive tests; playoffs still set to open April 23 . . . Hall sparks Hurricanes . . . Armstrong roars for Cougars

The QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, perhaps not wanting to be outdone by the qmjhlnewNHL’s Vancouver Canucks, had at least 24 people in their organization test positive. . . . The results are from the latest round of testing on April 8. . . . On April 3, the QMJHL announced that Gatineau had one positive test, so team activities were being placed on hold. . . . It would seem that one positive has transmitted into a whole lot more. . . .

Jean-Francois Plante of leDroit wrote: “Head coach Louis Robitaille has not escaped the spread of the virus. Since the first case was reported on April 3, almost the entire team has been afflicted by the variant, which is believed to be of South African origin. Other club staff were also inconvenienced.” . . . Plante wrote that some players had “minor symptoms, but others would struggle with much more serious side effects. Usually, we talk about fever, headache, vomiting, shortness of breath, chest pain and a marked drop in energy.” . . . The Olympiques are carrying 25 players, some of whom have escaped unscathed to this point. . . .

The Olympiques entire organization now is in quarantine, but there could be some players back on the ice later this week. The QMJHL maintains that it will begin its playoffs on April 23. . . .

The Olympiques aren’t the only QMJHL team with COVID-19 issues at the moment. The Quebec Remparts have three new positives, giving them a total of seven, while the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have at least two. . . . The QMJHL has has a number of teams hit with positive tests this season. In the early days, the Armada was hit with 20 positives, while the Sherbrooke Phoenix had eight. The Drummondville Voltigeurs and Victoriaville Tigers also have experienced outbreaks.



The WHL has three teams on hold at the moment, two of them — the Kelowna Rockets and Calgary Hitmen — because of positive tests, and the Medicine Hat Tigers, who were deemed close contacts after playing the Hitmen on April 5. . . . As a result, three games originally scheduled for Monday were postponed, but there still were three played. . . .

F Connor McClennon scored twice as the Winnipeg Ice skated to a 3-1 victory Winnipegover the Regina Pats in the Regina hub. . . . The Ice (12-4-0) have won six in a row. . . . Regina now is 6-7-3. . . . McClennon, who has 10 goals, broke a 1-1 tie at 17:27 of the first period, then added his second goal at 6:09 of the second. . . . F Conor Geekie (6) gave Winnipeg a 1-0 lead at 5:09 of the first period. . . . Regina F Logan Nijhoff (7) tied it at 16:08. . . . Ice F Peyton Krebs drew the primary assist on McClennon’s second goal, running his point streak to 15 games. Since being blanked in his first game, he has put up nine goals and 20 assists. He leads the Regina hub in assists and points (29). . . . G Carl Stankowski earned the victory with 22 saves, eight more than Regina’s Roddy Ross. . . .

F Justin Hall scored twice and added three assists to lead the host Lethbridge LethHurricanes to an 8-5 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Yes, it was the first five-point game of Hall’s career. He has eight points over his last two games. . . . Hall broke a 4-4 tie with his second goal of the game and 11th of this season at 3:43 of the third period. . . . F Jett Jones (4) gave Lethbridge a two-goal lead at 9:29, before F Ben King (5) got the Rebels to within one at 14:46. King finished with two goals and two assists. . . . D Trevor Thurston (3), at 16:34, and F Ty Nash (1), with the empty-netter, put away the victory. Thurston had two goals. . . . Hall has 21 points, including 10 assists, in 14 games. He went into this season with 16 goals in 102 career regular-season games. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from each of F Liam Kindree and F Alex Thacker. . . . The Rebels got a goal, his fifth, and three assists from F Arshdeep Bains. . . . The Hurricanes (6-6-2) have points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Rebels (2-12-2) have lost nine in a row. . . . The Hurricanes swept the three-game weekend set, having won 6-3 in Red Deer on Friday and 5-2 at home on Saturday. . . . Lethbridge is (5-1-0) against Red Deer this season; they will meet three more times this weekend. . . .

F Craig Armstrong, who had two goals in his first 72 WHL regular-season games, scored four times in No. 73 as the Prince George Cougars dumped the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops. . . . Armstrong scored the game’s first three goals — at 13:00 of the first period, and 5:26 and 9:48 of the second. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (7) got Vancouver’s goal at 3:24 of the third. . . . Armstrong finished it off with an empty-netter. . . . Armstrong, a 17-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., has five goals and two assists in seven games. . . . Last season, he finished with one goal and seven assists in 62 games. . . . The Cougars got 37 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . The Cougars (3-2-2) have points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Giants are 5-3-0.


With D Carson Lambos of the Winnipeg Ice unable to play for Canada’s U18 Canadateam because of an undisclosed injury, Hockey Canada has added D Denton Mateychuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors to the roster. . . . The team’s players now are in isolation as they prepare for the IIHF World championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6. . . . Mateychuk, 16, was the 11th overall selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. He has two goals and seven assists in 16 games in the Regina hub this season.


Ankle


The Chicago Cubs have had two coaches test positive — bullpen coach Chris Young and first-base coach Craig Driver. . . . Because Young is positive, three relievers were deemed to be close contacts so are in isolation. Jason Adam, Dan Winkler and Brandon Workman, all right-handers, are on the COVID-19 protocol list. . . . The Cubs were the only MLB team not have even one positive test last season. . . . The Cubs opened a three-game series with a 6-3 loss to the host Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.


——

My wife, Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Peppers

Sutter steps down as Rebels’ head coach . . . Winterhawks win a wild one . . . Cougars end Miner’s shutout streak

I’m guessing that Brent Sutter went to bed on Friday night and spent the next few hours arguing with himself.

His Red Deer Rebels had been beaten, 6-3, by the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes a few hours earlier, their seventh straight loss dropping their record to 2-10-2.

After the game, Brent talked with Shaun Sutter, a nephew who is the Rebels’ RedDeerassistant general manager and director of personnel, and Merrick, his son who is the senior vice-president. The decision for him to step aside, Brent said, basically was reached at that time.

But there still was time for him to change his mind. After all, he’s the boss and he was born to coach.

As Sutter tossed and turned, the owner, governor, president and general manager titles were perched on one shoulder; on the other was the coach.

The argument, I’m thinking, raged all night long.

Sutter has owned the Rebels since 1999. He has been their head coach for all but five seasons since then. He spent two seasons (2007-09) as the head coach of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. And for the following three seasons, he was the Calgary Flames’ head coach.

This season, though, has been unlike any other. On the ice, it started in February for the Alberta teams. But for the likes of Sutter, with all their titles and responsibilities, it started long before then and it has gone on seemingly forever.

And then COVID-19 found the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks and Sutter’s son, Brandon, ended up sick — perhaps with the P.1 variant — and quarantined in his basement, with a pregnant wife and two children, ages 2 and 3, upstairs. There isn’t a more-helpless feeling than being the parent of an ailing child, even a 32-year-old NHL player, and being unable to provide help.

Combine everything — oh, and I should mention that the injury bug has hit the Rebels hard, leaving them almost out of defencemen — and it could be that Brent Sutter simply wore down.

As he told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com: “Everthing (negative) that could happen has happened.”

So, at some time in the wee hours of Saturday, Sutter, the husband and father, the owner, governor, president and general manager, won out over the coach.

Early Saturday afternoon, the Rebels announced that Sutter was out as the team’s head coach. Shaun will join assistant coaches Ryan Colville and Brad Flynn in running the coaching side of things.

Once the organization gets this season behind it, a decision will be made on the next head coach.

“You have to put so much time into it, and when you’re doing that plus the management side of it . . . because you’re so dialled in on the coaching side you’re not there to help out with some of the other side,” Sutter told Meachem. “Mentally it’s been really tough for everyone with the whole environment we’re in. We need to get the players upbeat again.”

Including this screwy season, Sutter has 526 regular-season WHL coaching victories, eighth on the all-time list. The Rebels won the Memorial Cup under him in 2001.

Sutter also won back-to-back World Junior Championship gold medals in 2005 and 2006 as the head coach of Canada’s national team.

“I’ve been coaching for 22 years and two months and I’ve been so dialled into it, so passionate about it,” he told Meachem. “Yet you can’t be selfish. The players and the front of the jersey always come first, no matter what. The right thing for this hockey team and this organization is for me to step down right now. For me personally, it’s the right thing.”


Spy


Please don’t forget that Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant more than seven years ago, is preparing to take part in her eighth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. Unfortunately, it will be a virtual walk for a second straight year, but that won’t keep her from fund-raising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation. If you would like to help her out, you are able to make a donation right here.


LethOn the ice, the Rebels were involved in one of six games played in the WHL on Saturday night. Playing in Lethbridge, the Rebels dropped a 5-2 decision to the Hurricanes, who got a goal, his third, and three assists from F Liam Kindree. . . . Lethbridge (5-6-2) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Rebels (2-11-2) have lost eight in a row. . . . If you’re wondering, the online game sheet didn’t list a Red Deer head coach. . . . F Logan Barlage scored his fourth goal and added two assists for Lethbridge, which also got goal No. 9 and two assists from F Justin Hall. . . . The Rebels lost D Trey Patterson, perhaps for the remainder of this season, with an undisclosed injury in Friday’s 6-3 loss to the visiting Hurricanes. The Rebels, with nine games remaining, are down to four healthy defencemen — Kyle Masters, Joel Sexsmith, Mason Ward and Jace Weir. Due to COVID-19 protocol, they aren’t able to bring in reinforcements, either. . . .

F Conor Geekie scored at 2:13 of OT to give the Winnipeg Ice a 4-3 victory over Winnipegthe Prince Albert Raiders in Regina. . . . Geekie’s fifth goal allowed Winnipeg (11-4-0) to run its winning streak to five games. . . . The Raiders (4-9-2), who have lost three straight, had erased a 3-1 deficit with second-period goals from F Michal Horon (2) and F Evan Herman (4). . . . F Peyton Krebs scored his ninth goal for the Ice, running his point streak to 14 games. He was blanked in the season’s first game, and has nine goals and 19 assists in his past 14 games. . . . Ice F Zachary Benson, 15, had a goal and an assist. The 14th overall pick in the 2020 bantam draft, he’s got six goals and seven assists in 15 games. . . .

F Tristen Robins scored twice and added an assist to help the Saskatoon Blades Bladesto a 4-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors in Regina. . . . F Brayden Yager (4) gave Moose Jaw (7-8-1) at 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the first period. . . . Robins, who has 10 goals, tied it at 10:20 and gave the Blades (11-2-2) the lead at 14:11. . . . F Wyatt McLeod (2) upped the lead to 3-1 at 1:25 of the second. . . . F Tate Popple (5) got the Warriors to within a goal at 17:57, but Saskatoon F Kyle Crnkovic (6) scored shorthanded at 1:10 of the third. . . .

On most nights, you would think a five-goal period would guarantee a team PortlandAlternatevictory. That wasn’t the case with the host Spokane Chiefs who, despite scoring five times in the third period, dropped a 7-6 decision to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Winterhawks (5-4-2), who had lost three straight, scored three second-period goals and took a 4-1 lead into the third. . . . The Chiefs tied it by scoring three times in 2:19 early in the period. . . . Portland responded with three straight goals to take a 7-4 lead. . . . The Chiefs (2-5-3) finished the scoring with two goals in the final 36 seconds. . . . Portland F Simon Knak (8) was credited with the game-winner and it was rather fitting that it came into an empty net. . . . F Seth Jarvis (6) had two goals and an assist for the winners, with F Jaydon Dureau (3) adding a goal and two helpers. . . . F Adam Beckman ran his goal-scoring streak to four games with his sixth of the season. . . . The Chiefs’ last two goals came from F Ty Cheveldayoff and D Chase Friedt-Mohr, the first WHL score for each. . . .

The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first three goals and the last three to Americanstake a 6-2 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . F Samuel Huo (7) and F Jake Sloan (2) each had a goal and two assists for the Americans (5-5-0). . . . Everett (9-2-0), which had won its previous four games, got PP goals from F Cole Fonstad (7) and G Gage Goncalves (8) in the second period to get within a goal. . . . But F Booker Daniel (2) restored Tai-City’s two-goal lead at 16:07 of the second and Huo scored shorthanded at 11:16 of the third. . . .

F Jonny Hooker had a goal and three assists as the Prince George Cougars skated PGto a 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops. . . . Hooker drew the lone assist on F Craig Armstrong’s first goal, shorthanded, that broke a 2-2 tie at 4:40 of the second period. . . . Hooker (3) scored on a PP at 19:55, and D Hudson Thornton (1) made it 5-2 at 9:55. Thornton scored in his first WHL game. . . . D Mazden Leslie, who turns 16 on Thursday, had two goals for the Giants. He has four goals in his first six WHL games. . . . F Eric Florchuk drew three assists for Vancouver. . . . F Ethan Browne (3) scored for Prince George at 8:43 of the first period. That ended G Trent Miner’s shutout string at 234:31. Each of his previous three starts had ended in a shutout. Chris Worthy of the 1967-68 Flin Flon Bombers holds the record (265:13). . . . The Cougars (2-2-2) had lost their previous three games (0-1-2). . . . The Giants (5-2-0) had won five straight. . . . G Tyler Brennan stopped 26 shots for the Cougars. It was his final WHL game of this season as he now will join Canada’s U18 team at the IIHF World championship that opens in Frisco and Plano, Texas, on April 26.


The NHL has decreed that the Vancouver Canucks, who are still recovering from Canucksan ugly run-in with COVID-19, will return to game action on Friday. Yes, this Friday. . . . They are to play host to the Edmonton Oilers that night, and it is to start the Canucks on a schedule that calls for them to play 19 games in 31 nights. Seriously! . . . The Canucks last played on March 24. . . . The Canucks had seven games postponed. Their schedule now is to end on May 16. . . . The Canucks still had 19 players on the COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday and some of them, judging from reports, have been quite ill. If Saturday’s tests come back OK, the Canucks will re-open their facilities today, 12 days after F Adam Gaudette was identified as the first of their positive tests. . . . Today’s activities are to include some training and individual practice sessions. The team isn’t likely to practice as a team until Wednesday. . . . All told, the organization had 21 players and four coaches test positive.


joy


The UMass Minutemen won the NCAA men’s hockey championship on Saturday, beating the St. Cloud State Huskies, 5-0, in the final game in Pittsburgh. . . . This was UMass’s first NCAA hockey title. . . . Anthony Travalgia of College Hockey News has all the details right here.


If everything falls into place, the World men’s curling championship, which postponed all of Saturday’s games in its Calgary bubble, could hold three draws today. . . . The competition ground to a halt after four people from three different teams tested positive for COVID-19 during exit testing. Participants have to be tested before leaving the bubble, and they can’t go without a negative result. . . . Players on four other teams were deemed close contacts. Some of those teams were to have played on Saturday had play gone on as scheduled. . . . Still to be played are a qualification game between Switzerland and the U.S., the semifinals, a third-place game and the championship game. . . . The tests carried out on Friday were the first in the bubble since April 1. Dr. Bob McCormack, the event’s chief medical officer, was asked if there should have been more testing. His response: “What I would say to that is that we had a lot of discussion with experts and also Alberta Health to come up with the protocols that we felt were safe to establish a clean bubble. The bottom line is the protocols were established with experts and Alberta Health, saying this is reasonable, appropriate and safe.” . . . There are three more events scheduled for the Calgary bubble — two Grand Slam of Curling competitions and the World women’s championship that is to run from April 30 through May 9.


The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association was to have held a Secret Dream Gap Tour showcase in St. Louis this weekend, but it had to be postponed because “of a COVID exposure one of our teams,” according to the PWHPA. The St. Louis event was to have included two games. It is expected to be rescheduled.


DST


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


HorseGames

Scattershooting on a Thursday night while waiting to steal the first signs of spring . . .

Scattershooting

ESPN continues to use Jessica Mendoza as a baseball analyst despite her being on the payroll of the New York Mets as a baseball operations special adviser. Of course, that is a conflict of interest, something that was very much in evidence on Thursday as Mendoza chose to speak out on at least three ESPN programs about the cheating scandal that has enveloped MLB.  . . . She pointed a finger at pitcher Mike Fiers, now of the Oakland A’s, for going public, something that sparked MLB’s investigation. Mendoza later tried to backtrack, but the genie was out of the bottle and her credibility has since taken a terrible beating, as it should have. . . . The Mets, of course, found themselves hip deep in it because their new manager, Carlos Beltran, was involved in the cheating while playing for the Astros. On Thursday, the Mets and Beltran parted company before he had managed even one game. While Beltran may be gone, Mendoza continues to cash cheques from ESPN and the Mets.


Astros


It was on Jan. 4 when former WHL player/assistant coach Kevin Sawyer, now a broadcaster for TSN on games involving the Winnipeg Jets, related a story involving a hazing. Sawyer, then an assistant coach with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, talked of Saran-wrapping a 15-year-old Jared Spurgeon to a pillar in an arena. Spurgeon wsa “about six feet up in the air . . . he was tiny,” Sawyer said. “He looked like he was 12.” . . . Paul Friesen, a columnist with the Winnipeg Sun, has some questions about all of this but has discovered a cone of silence seems to have been placed over everyone involved. Friesen, however, was able to speak with Akim Aliu, who is no stranger to hazing incidents. . . . Friesen’s column is right here.



A tip of the Taking Note fedora to a pair of WHL teams — the Prince George Cougars and Victoria Royals. . . . The Cougars announced on Thursday that they now are making sensory kits available at all home games. From a news release: “In partnership with AutismBC, the Cougars have purchased sensory kits that will be loaned out to families, at no cost, that have sensory issues. The sensory kit includes protective earmuffs, colouring book, crayons, ear plugs, sunglasses, and several different fidget / stress items.” . . .

Meanwhile, the Royals, with their home city and environs hit with some ugly weather, are rewarding fans who were able to get to their Wednesday game and ticket holders who couldn’t make it with freebies for a future game. . . . The Royals announced attendances of 2,519 and 2,901 for Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, as they swept the Tri-City Americans, 3-1 and 6-1. However, it’s believed the miserable weather limited the actual attendance at each game to much closer to 1,000 people.


Christmas


The AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons fired Bob Beatty, their general manager and head OilBaronscoach, on Tuesday. Beatty, a veteran of the junior A coaching scene, was in his first season with the Oil Barons, who were 15-27-2 and in seventh place in the North Division in what is clearly a rebuilding/reloading season. . . . Mike Brodeur and Justin Rose, the team’s assistant coaches, ran things on an interim basis for a couple of days. . . . On Thursday, the Oil Barons announced that Gord Thibodeau had returned to the organization as GM and head coach. He had filled both positions with the Oil Barons for 11 seasons (2003-14). . . . Thibodeau is the winningest coach in AJHL history, having put up number 833 in February 2017 while with the Whitecourt Wolverines. He and the Wolverines parted company shortly after he put up that victory. . . . Thibodeau also has battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on four separate occasions since 1989, most recently in 2016.


Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press tweeted Wednesday that F Connor McLennon wpgicewill be out of the Winnipeg Ice’s lineup for up to eight weeks with a broken collarbone. . . . McLennon was injured Tuesday night in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars. He leads the Ice in goals (21), assists (28) and points (49), all in 42 games for the East Division-leading club. . . . Interestingly, the Ice didn’t list its two 2004-born forwards — Matt Savoie and Connor Geekie — on the WHL’s weekly roster report. Savoie, who has five assists in 12 games, is out with a concussion; Geekie, pointless in seven games, has mononucleosis. . . . The Ice selected Savoie with the first overall pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, and took Geekie with the next selection.


After Seattle had its season come to an end on Sunday in Green Bay, Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch offered some advice for young NFLers: ““It’s a vulnerable time for a lot of young dudes, you feel me? So, you feel me? Start takin’ care of y’all mentals and y’all bodies and y’all’s chicken. So, when y’all ready to, you know, walk away, you be able to do what you want to do.” . . . By chicken, of course, he meant money. . . . All of that got lots of play, and by early in the week you could visit his website (beastmode.com) and purchase hoodies and T-shirts emblazoned with “Take Care Yo’ Chicken” across the chests. . . . Yes, Lynch practises what he preaches.


Micro


If you watched the video of the battling goaltenders on Saturday night, you will have noticed Roman Basran of the Kelowna Rockets holding his right arm in a gingerly KelownaRocketsfashion after he and Dylan Garand of the Kamloops Blazers got up off the canvas, er, ice. . . . Well, the Rockets listed Basran as out day-to-day with an upper-body injury on Tuesday’s WHL roster report. . . . Basran has been the Rockets’ No. 1 goaltender. . . . The Rockets (21-17-3), the host team for the Memorial Cup, are third in the B.C. Division and sixth in the Western Conference. . . . With Basran unavailable, the Rockets have added G Cole Tisdale, 17, to their roster from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. Tisdale, an eighth-round pick by the Rockets in the 2017 bantam draft, will back up Cole Schwebius as the Rockets visit the Everett Silvertips tonight (Friday) and then go into Portland for a Saturday-Sunday doubledip with the Winterhawks. . . .

The Rockets also have lost F Liam Kindree, 19, for up to two months — i.e., the remainder of the regular season — with a broken collarbone. He had surgery on Thursday. . . . As well, Kelowna F Nolan Foote showed up on the weekly roster report as being out week-to-week with an undisclosed lower-body injury. . . . Foote was injured in a 4-1 loss in Kamloops on Friday. . . . Kindree went down in a 7-2 loss to the visiting Blazers on Saturday. The Rockets were adamant that it was a second-period hit on Kindree by Kamloops F Jeremy Appelt that resulted in some late-game fisticuffs. Kindree was given a boarding minor on the play.


Here is Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice on the spate of NHL firings:

“It’s a very painful experience. It’s a very personal, yet very public, experience.

“I think this is the best analogy: You’re in a marriage, you love the woman but it’s getting a little bit rocky. Then you come home one day and she says ‘Paul, we’re going in a different direction and there’s gonna be a press conference in three hours and we’re gonna talk about how great the new husband’s gonna be.’

“So, it’s tough. You put your heart and soul into it and then you’re out.”


JUST NOTES: The Minnesota Twins signed 3B Josh Donaldson to a four-year deal said to be worth US$92 million. Donaldson turned 34 on Dec. 8. Hey, gang, it’s only money. . . . Of course, with Donaldson at the hot corner, the Twins now will move Miguel Sanó, who will be 27 in May, to first base. . . . Donaldson hit 37 dingers with the Atlanta Braves last season; Sano hit 34 in only 380 ABs with the Twins. . . . If you’re like me, you’re wondering: How much of Subway does Martha Stewart own? . . . Do the people who had a problem with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow smoking a victory cigar also have issues when championship teams celebrate by pouring beer and champagne all over the place? . . . A final thought on MLB’s latest cheating scandal: Is this a case of a business that has turned a blind-eye — wink! wink!! — to different kinds of cheating over more than 100 years finally having the chickens come home to roost? . . . The first pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Feb. 12.

Trumpeting Recchi in Kamloops . . . Winnipeg report has Ice ‘months away’ from possible move . . . Lots of notes from around the WHL


ThisThat

On Oct. 11, in this very space, I wrote a short piece about the Kamloops Blazers looking to put together a cheerleading team in the hopes of improving the atmosphere in their home arena, the Sandman Centre.

I ended the piece with this: “Might I be so bold as to suggest a trumpet player? If it was good enough for the Montreal Forum . . .”

I am pleased to report that on Friday at 6:17 p.m., while seated in the cozy confines of the press box, I heard a trumpeter — Jerome Lidster — break out the theme from Hockey Night in Canada.

Later, he played a darn fine O Canada!

Unfortunately, the man and his horn weren’t heard from again.

Please give us more.


The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that “the Western Hockey League’s long-rumoured Kootenaynewreturn to Winnipeg could be only months away from coming to fruition.” . . . Veteran sports reporter Mike Sawatzky, who is familiar with the WHL having covered the Brandon Wheat Kings more than a few years ago, writes: “Owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice are believed to be considering a plan to move their franchise to Winnipeg in time for the start of the 2019-20 season, sources have told the Free Press.” . . . According to Sawatzky, the relocated Ice would play at the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena until a new 5,000-seat arena is built in conjunction with “the Rink Hockey Academy’s new training facility currently under construction at the west end of South Landing, just off McGillivray Boulevard.” . . . Sawatzky’s complete story is right here.


The Kelowna Rockets settled on their three 20-year-olds by adding F Lane Zablocki to their roster and releasing Ryan Bowen. . . . They had acquired Zablocki’s rights from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 29, giving up a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021. Zablocki, who won’t turn 20 until Dec. 27, was injured at the time of the trade and didn’t get into a game until Friday night in Victoria. . . . Zablocki played for three teams last season. He had nine goals and 10 assist in 31 games with the Red Deer Rebels, two goals and four assists in nine games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and a goal and five assists in 25 games with Victoria. In 201 regular-season games,  he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Bowen was pointless in seven games with the Rockets. He also has played with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge. In 150 career games, he has 21 goals and 36 assists. . . . The Rockets also own the WHL rights to Bowen’s brother, Ethan, 16. Kelowna selected Ethan in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. He has committed to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21 and presently is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . The Rockets’ other 20-year-olds are D Braydyn Chizen and D Dalton Gally.


At least three players have been released by their WHL teams. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds have dropped D Payton McIsaac, who will turn 18 on Dec. 26, from their roster. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he was pointless in four games this season. He was a second-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. He had one assist in 12 games over three seasons with the Blades. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors have released F Brecon Wood, who is to turn 18 on Dec. 5. From Edmonton, he had one goal in seven games this season. In the previous two seasons, he had four goals and two assists in 84 games with the Warriors, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have dropped F Logan Moon, 18, from their roster. From Beaverlodge, Alta., he had yet to get into a game this season and was dropped after the team returned from its U.S. Division trip. He played last season with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. The Oil Kings selected him in the ninth round of the 2015 bantam draft.


F Lukas Sillinger, a sixth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, has committed to attend North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. From Regina, Sillinger, 18, is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. . . . Lukas is in his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. This season, he has one goal and one assist in one game. Last season, he finished with seven goals and 13 assists in 56 games.


The Prince George Cougars have released F Max Kryski, 18, and he has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Kryski, from Kelowna, will remain on the Cougars’ protected list. This season, Kryski was pointless in four games with the Cougars. Last season, he had eight goals and two assists in 62 games. . . . He is a younger brother of Calgary Hitmen F Jake Kryski, 20.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline was busy again on Thursday as three more playes drew suspensions. . . . F Riley Bruce of the Tri-City Americans was hit with a four-game sentence under supplemental discipline for something that happened during a 5-4 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the WHL doesn’t add explainers to suspensions such as these so fans are left to wonder what happened. . . . D Max Martin of the Prince Albert Raiders got a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something that happened during an 8-4 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Again, because the WHL doesn’t add explainers, you are free to guess at what happened. . . . F Brady Nicholas of the Saskatoon Blades has been suspended for two games after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct during a 5-4 OT loss to the visiting Hitmen on Wednesday night. He hit Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who missed a couple of shifts but came back to finish the game.


ICYMI, F Ryan Vandervlis has rejoined the Lethbridge Hurricanes as he continues to recover from horrendous burns he suffered on June 15 in a campfire explosion at a home near Calgary. Vandervlis, 20, has lost about 30 pounds and is a long ways from returning to game action, but he has come miles from when he was in a medically induced coma after the accident. . . . Lara Fominoff of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here.


The OHL’s Flint Firebirds introduced Eric Wellwood, 28, as their new head coach on ohlThursday. He takes over from Ryan Oulahen, who was in his third season when he resigned earlier this month. At that point, the Firebirds were 0-7-0. Then then lost two more games under interim head coach Greg Stefan. . . . Wellwood, whose NHL career was halted by injuries, was an associate coach with the Firebirds in 2016-17, under Oulahen. As a player with the Windsor Spitfires, Wellwood won two Memorial Cups. He won another as an assistant coach with the Oshawa Generals.


F Mackenzie Wight, 19, who left the Swift Current Broncos earlier this month, has joined the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Wight, who is from Burnaby, B.C., was pointless in two games with the Broncos this season, after recording a goal and three assists in 55 games last season. . . . In 74 regular-season games, six with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 68 with the Broncos, he has two goals and three assists. . . . This is his second stint with the Bulldogs; he had six goals and six assists in 27 games with them in 2016-17.


We’re back after one day away. Yes, the laptop came back from a checkup; yes, it passed all the tests. . . . If you missed us, why not consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and making a donation to the Taking Note cause?


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Stelio Mattheos scored three times, the last one into an empty net, as the host Brandon BrandonWKregularWheat Kings dumped the Everett Silvertips, 5-2. . . . Everett (6-4-0), which had won three in a row, started its East Division swing with the game. . . . Mattheos now has 11 goals for Brandon (6-1-2). . . . G Jiri Patera continued his fine start for Brandon, this time with 36 stops. The Czech freshman is 6-1-1, 3.00, .919. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:32 of the third period. . . . Jordin Tootoo, who played his major junior career with the Wheat Kings, announced his retirement from hockey at a pregame news conference, then took part in the ceremonial faceoff.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and beat the Seattle tri-cityThunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) had points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Americans improved to 4-4-0. . . . F Parker AuCoin broke a 2-2 tie at 14:51 of the third period, then added the empty-netter for his sixth goal. . . . F Nolan Yaremko drew three assists for the winners. . . . The Americans will play their next 11 games on the road, starting tonight against the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. The road trip also includes a six-game swing through the East Division. They won’t play at home again until Nov. 23.


F Brandon Hagel scored four times to lead the visiting Red Deer Rebels to a 5-2 victory Red Deerover the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Hagel has eight goals this season. He gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead at 1:08 of the first period, made it 3-1 at 1:16 of the second, completed his fourth career hat trick at 8:04 of the second for a 4-2 lead, and rounded out the scoring with his fourth goal, at 7:25 of the third. . . . G Ethan Anders blocked 41 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels (6-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Edmonton (5-7-1) opened the season with five victories, but has gone 0-7-1 since then.


F Kirby Dach scored two goals, including the winner in OT, and added an assist to give Saskatoonthe Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dach tied the game, 2-2, at 19:59 of the second period and won it with his seventh goal of the season just 37 seconds into extra time. . . . Dach, who almost certainly will be a top 10 pick in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has 22 points, including 15 assists, in 12 games. . . . The Blades (8-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Chiefs (6-2-3) are 3-1-1 on their East Division swing. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson ran his point streak to nine games with an assist. He has 19 points, including 15 assists, this season. . . . Saskatoon got 41 saves from G Nolan Maier.


The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting PortlandVancouver Giants, 5-3. . . . F Cody Glass (4) tied the score, 3-3, at 12:29 of the third period and F Reece Newkirk (7) have Portland its first lead at 13:39. . . . F Ryan Hughes (3) added the empty-netter. . . . Glass also added an assist, while linemate Joachim Blichfeld had two helpers. . . . F Jake Gricius scored two Portland goals in his 150th career game. . . . Portland (6-3-1) will meet the Giants again tonight, this time in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (9-2-1) had points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Winterhawks had D Matthew Quigley back for the first time since he was injured during a game in Kamloops on Oct. 5. Blazers F Jermaine Loewen drew a four-game suspension for the high hit, a suspension he completed Friday night.


The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Warriors in CalgaryMoose Jaw. . . . F Mark Kastelic (8) scored twice and added an assist for Calgary (3-6-2) which has won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (4-3-2) had points in each of their previous six games (4-0-2). . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 30 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Calgary was 2-for-3 on the PP.


The Medicine Hat Tigers forced OT with two late third-period goals and then won it on a Tigers Logo Officialpenalty shot as they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . The Hurricanes had a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes left in the third period when F Tyler Preziuso (4) scored at 18:09 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . F Ryan Jevne (4) tied it at 19:06. . . . F James Hamblin (6) won it on a penalty shot at 4:08. . . . Tigers D Linus Nassen finished with a goal, his second, and two assists. . . . Medicine Hat (6-5-1) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (4-4-3) has lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Lethbridge.


F Josh Pillar broke a 3-3 tie at 16:48 of the third period and the Kamloops Blazers went on Kamloops1to a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 16-year-old Pillar, from Warman, Sask., was a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, drew an assist, his first WHL point in his first game, on the winner. Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He will be back with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops, for a Saturday afternoon game. . . . Kamloops had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1) after opening the season with a pair of victories. . . . The Broncos (1-10-0) have lost three in a row, all on a B.C. Division swing. They have been outshot 146-52 over those three losses. . . . Broncos F Max Patterson, who is from Kamloops, had a goal and an assist. He pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie at 6:38 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Kamloops D Luc Zazula left in the first period after taking a hard hit against the end boards that left him woozy. He didn’t return. . . . Blazers F Jermaine Loewen sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. . . . It was Mark Recchi Hall of Fame Night as the Blazers saluted the local star who went on to win three Stanley Cups during a lengthy NHL career. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Recchi now is an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is a co-owner of the Blazers. . . . Rick Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was in attendance and presented Recchi with a WHL Alumni Achievement Award during a 30-minute pregame ceremony.


D Lassi Thomson and F Liam Kindree had four-point outings as the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketswhipped the Royals, 8-2, in Victoria. . . . F Dante Hannoun (6) gave the Royals a 2-1 lead at 10:47 of the second period but it was all Rockets after that. . . . Thomson finished with two goals, giving him six, and two assists, with Kindree adding his second goal and three assists. . . . Kelowna (3-9-0) was 4-for-6 on the PP and 6-for-6 on the PK. . . . The Royals (8-2-0) are 6-2-0 at home. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, who had started eight of the team’s first nine games. With him out, Brock Gould made his second start, stopping 16 of 22 shots in 40:51. Joel Grzybowski was brought in from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars to back him up and came on in the third period to stop eight of 10 shots. . . . A note from the Royals’ post-game news release points out that Gould “stopped Kelowna’s Leif Mattson on a penalty shot. Since their inaugural season in 2011-12, Victoria has had 19 penalty shots taken against it and has only allowed three goals.”


Tweetoftheday

Hurricanes suspend Bowen … Semchuk leaves Giants … Silvertips set franchise record … Wednesday’s WHL roundup

MacBeth

D Jiří Smejkal (Moose Jaw, Kamloops, 2014-16) has been assigned on loan by Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. He had four goals and two assists in 26 games. . . .

D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has been released by Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL) for financial reasons. An alternate captain, he had one goal and 18 assists in 43 games. Later Wednesday, Blum signed with Sochi (Russia, KHL) for the remainder of this season.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

D Kale Clague wasn’t in Team Canada’s lineup on Wednesday night as it ran its World BuffaloJunior Championship record to 2-0 with a 6-0 victory over Slovakia in Buffalo. Clague, who is having a monster season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, blocked a shot with his right foot in Canada’s 4-2 victory over Finland on Tuesday. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, “X-rays were negative, reportedly no fracture.” . . . After beating Slovakia, Canadian head coach Dominique Ducharme said that he expects Clague to play Friday against the U.S., in the outdoor game.


Tim Wharnsby of CBC is in Buffalo for the WJC. He reports that Friday’s outdoor game may be in jeopardy because of a weather forecast that calls for “a frigid temperature of -8 C with a wind-chill making it feel more like -13 C.” . . . He also notes that the attendance woes continue to be a major story. . . . His piece is right here.


A note from Buffalo: If you would like to skate at New Era Field before Canada and the U.S. meet up in a WJC outdoor game on Friday, all you need is US$100. Fans were allowed on the ice Wednesday evening and there will be another 90-minute session today. Maki Becker of the Buffalo News adds: “Skaters must bring their own skates, and helmets are required for anyone under 12. Anyone coming into the stadium must have a ticket, even if they’re not skating.” . . . That $100 also gets you a ticket in the 300 level — the upper deck — to Friday’s game. . . . Sheesh, maybe I’m crazy, but that’s a lot of dough for a short skate.


Remember the Punch-Up in Piestany? Alan Maki of The Globe and Mail revisits the infamous 1987 WJC game between Canada and Russia and it’s all right here.


F Ryan Bowen has been suspended by the Lethbridge Hurricanes after refusing to report after being traded to an unidentified team. According to a news release from the LethbridgeHurricanes, Bowen “was notified of a trade to another team, but has been suspended after informing the Hurricanes and the acquiring team that he would not report.”

Bowen, 19, has 30 points, including seven goals, in 53 games over two seasons with Lethbridge. This season, he had a goal and five assists in 13 games. He didn’t play his first game until Nov. 21, thanks to a shoulder injury.

In 143 career games, split between Lethbridge and the Moose Jaw Warriors, he has 21 goals and 36 assists.

Moose Jaw selected Bowen, who is from Chilliwack, B.C., in the fifth round of the 2013 bantam draft. The Warriors dealt him to the Hurricanes on Nov. 8, 2016, along with a 2017 second-round bantam draft pick and an undisclosed conditional pick in the 2019 draft for F Brayden Burke.


Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Wednesday that “various WHL sources are saying that VancouverRW Brendan Semchuk has left the Vancouver Giants and is requesting a trade.”

Ewen tweeted the news prior to a game between the host Giants and the Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night.

Semchuk, 18, is from Kamloops. He didn’t play last night, a healthy scratch for a third straight game.

According to Ewen, “The Giants are declining comment.”

The Giants selected Semchuk in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2014 bantam draft. This season, he has eight goals and 11 assists in 33 games. In 127 regular-season games, all with the Giants, he has 17 goals and 24 assists.


Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has posted his final 31 Thoughts of 2017. He leads with memories of the late Johnny Bower, who died this week. The Prince Albert native was maybe the most beloved Toronto Maple Leafs player of them all. . . . Friedman’s piece is right here.


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings scored three times in the third period as they beat the Regina Pats, 5-3. . . . The Wheat Kings (25-8-1) have won 16 of their last 18 games. They BrandonWKregularare third in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Swift Current. . . . Regina (16-18-3) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). They are tied with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . The Pats and Wheat Kings will play again tonight, this time in Regina. . . . Last night, the teams were 2-2 after two periods. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (26) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead, while shorthanded, at 13:37 of the first period. . . . The visitors took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Robbie Holmes, at 19:33 of the first, and F Logan Nijhoff (1), at 4:05 of the second. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-2 lead on goals from F Cole Reinhardt (11), at 14:36 of the second, and F Ty Lewis (18), at 3:38 of the third. . . . Holmes (9) pulled the Pats to within a goal at 7:25 of the third, but F Evan Weinger (15) got that one back for Brandon just 30 seconds later. . . . F Linden McCorrister (10) added insurance at 18:28. . . . Mattheos, Lewis and Weinger added an assist each for Brandon. . . . D Cale Fleury had two helpers for Regina. . . . The Pats were 0-3 on the PP; the Wheat Kings were 0-6. . . . Brandon got 27 saves from G Logan Thompson, while Regina’s Max Paddock, playing in his hometown, turned aside 30 shots. . . . The Pats have F Sam Steel (Canada) at the WJC, while Brandon D Kale Clague also is with Team Canada. . . . Regina was without D Josh Mahura, who was released by Team Canada on Tuesday and has gone home to Edmonton for a couple of days. . . . The Pats brought in D Kjell Kjemhus, 16, from PoE and had him in the lineup. He was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 3,919.


At Saskatoon, F Cam Hebig scored twice to lead the Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Blades (16-17-3) have won two in a row. They moved out of a tie Saskatoonwith the Raiders and into a tie with Regina for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths. . . . The Raiders (13-15-7) have lost two in a row. . . . Saskatoon took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Josh Paterson (13), at 4:08, and Hebig, on a PP, at 9:56. . . . The Raiders tied it before the period ended, though, thanks to scores by F Brett Season (5), on a PP, at 12:44, and F Devon Skoleski (8), at 13:22. . . . Hebig, who has 28 goals, broke the tie at 12:16 of the second period and D Jackson Caller (2) added insurance at 13:18. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Braylon Shmyr and one from Paterson. . . . D Max Martin drew two assists for the Raiders. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-5. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 20 saves, 18 fewer than the Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . F Kirby Dach of the Blades didn’t return after the first period. . . . Each team has a defenceman playing with the Czech Republic at the WJC in Buffalo — Vojtech Budik of the Raiders and Libor Hajek of the Blades. . . . F Gage Ramsay returned to Saskatoon’s lineup after missing eight games with an undisclosed injury, while F Michael Farren was back after a two-game absence. However, F Caleb Fantillo won’t play for at least three weeks. . . . With Hajek gone, the Blades have added Majid Kaddoura, 16, to their roster, although he didn’t play last night. A list player from Chestermere, Alta., Kaddoura plays at the Edge School in Calgary. . . . The Raiders and Blades will play again tonight, this time in Prince Albert. . . . Announced attendance: 3,395.


At Swift Current, F Glenn Gawdin and F Matteo Gennaro had shootout goals as the Broncos got past the Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-4. . . . The Broncos (26-7-2) erased a 3-0 deficit SCBroncosin the third period as they ran their victory streak to six. . . . The Warriors slipped to 27-6-3 and now lead the overall standings by three points over the Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw scored twice before the game was two minutes old — F Brayden Burke (17) counting at 1:14 and F Tanner Jeannot (26) following at 1:33 — and made it 3-0 when F Justin Almeida scored, on a PP, at 5:56 of the second period. . . . The Broncos got to within a goal on third-period scores from F Max Patterson (3), on a PP, at 4:56, and F Kaden Elder (7), at 6:29. . . . Almeida (21), on a PP, restored Moose Jaw’s two-goal lead at 7:52. . . . The Broncos forced OT when Gawdin (32) scored at 16:08 and Gennaro (21) tied it at 16:36. . . . Gennaro added two assists and Gawdin one. . . . Burke, F Tristin Langan and F Jayden Halbgewachs each had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . The teams will play tonight in Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors were 2-5 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-3. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Logan Flodell. At the other end, Brody Willms turned aside 23 shots. . . . D Jacson Alexander, who left the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies to sign with the Broncos last week, didn’t make his WHL debut. That may happen sometime on the weekend. . . . F Beck Malenstyn, who was acquired by Swift Current from the Calgary Hitmen, in a rather large trade earlier in the month, made his Broncos debut after being out for all but the season’s first four games with a wrist injury. He was in the starting lineup, alongside Gennaro, who also came over in the deal with Calgary, and Elder. Malenstyn drew the primary assist on Gennaro’s tying goal. . . . D Carter Spenst, who plays with the Northern Alberta X-Treme of the CSSHL, made his WHL debut with the Broncos. . . . The Warriors are missing head coach Tim Hunter and F Brett Howden, both of whom are with Canada at the WJC. . . . The Broncos have three players in Buffalo — D Artyom Minulin (Russia), F Tyler Steenbergen (Canada) and F Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland). . . . Announced attendance: 2,644.


At Red Deer, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s last three goals, with D Conner McDonald in on each of them, and beat the Rebels, 3-1. . . . The Oil Kings (8-22-4) had lost EdmontonOilKingstheir previous four games (0-3-1). . . . The Rebels (10-19-6) had points in three straight (1-0-2). . . . D Alex Alexeyev (4) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead at 1:25 of the first period. . . . Edmonton tied it when F Davis Koch (15) scored, on a PP, at 12:19, then took the lead at 15:16 as F Trey Fix-Wolansky (13) scored. . . . F David Kope (3) added insurance at 2:00 of the second period. . . . McDonald drew three assists, while Koch and Fix-Wolansky each had one. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 27 shots for Edmonton. . . . The Rebels got 30 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel missed his seventh straight game. . . . The Rebels also are missing F Kristian Reichel, who is in Buffalo with the Czech Republic. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 4,826.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Peyton Krebs scored at 1:30 of OT to give the Kootenay Ice a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Ice (16-17-2) has points in four straight games (3-Kootenaynew0-1) and has moved into second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Hitmen (10-18-6) have lost three in a row (0-1-2). . . . This was the third straight game these teams have played — the Ice won the previous two, 2-0 and 5-1. The teams will make it four in a row tonight in Calgary. . . . F Jakob Stukel put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 7:37 of the first period. . . . The Ice took a 2-1 lead on two goals from F Colton Veloso, who has 10. He scored on a PP at 9:12 of the first period and while shorthanded at 8:35 of the second. . . . Calgary F Jake Kryski (9) tied it 11:54. . . . F Cameron Hausinger (10) put the Ice back in front at 14:33. . . . F Orca Wiesblatt (4) got Calgary back into a tie at 17:54 of the third period. . . . Krebs, who has nine goals, won it with a PP goal. . . . F Brett Davis drew three assists for Kootenay, with Krebs adding one. . . . The Ice was 2-6 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . Kootenay got 20 saves from G Duncan McGovern. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 24 shots for the Hitmen. . . . The Hitmen are without D Jake Bean (Canada) and D Vladislav Yeryomenko (Belarus), who are in Buffalo. . . . Kootenay D Martin Bodak is with Slovakia. . . . With G Bailey Brkin (ill) sidelined, the Ice had G Gage Alexander, 15, on the bench in support of McGovern. Alexander, a seventh-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, signed a WHL contract last week. From Okotoks, Alta., he is playing with the minor midget AAA Rockyview Raiders (8-1-1, 1.60, .942). . . . Announced attendance: 2,625.


At Medicine Hat, head coach Shaun Clouston tied the franchise record for regular-season coaching victories as the Tigers beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . The Tigers (19-Tigers Logo Official14-2) have won two straight and lead the Central Division by six points over Kootenay. . . . The Hurricanes (15-17-2) had won their previous game. They are third in the Central Division, two points behind Kootenay. . . . The teams will meet again Friday in Lethbridge. . . . Clouston now has 323 victories with the Tigers, equalling the record held by Willie Desjardins. . . . The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead on a PP goal from F Jordy Bellerive (18) at 5:28 of the second period. . . . The teams combined for five goals in the third period. . . . Medicine Hat took the lead on goals from D David Quenneville, on a PP, at 4:53, and F Max Gerlach (13), at 10:14. . . . F Lane Zablocki pulled Lethbridge into a tie with his 10th goal at 10:36. . . . Tigers F James Hamblin (11) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 17:24. . . . Quenneville (14), who also had an assist, got the empty-netter, at 19:21. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . F Taylor Ross had two assists for the visitors. . . . The Tigers were 2-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 1-1. . . . Tigers G Jordan Hollett made 27 saves, while Lethbridge’s Reece Klassen turned aside 36. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner (ill) was scratched. . . . Announced attendance: 3,688.


At Portland, the Tri-City Americans broke a 3-3 tie with three third-period goals and beat the Winterhawks, 6-3. . . . The Americans (19-10-3) have won four in a row. They have TriCity30moved into fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind Victoria and Portland. . . . The Winterhawks (21-12-1) have lost three straight. They trail U.S. Division-leading Everett by three points. . . . The Americans and Winterhawks will meet Friday in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans skated to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Isaac Johnson, at 8:00, and F Kyle Olson (4), on a PP, at 12:06. . . . The Winterhawks scored the game’s next three goals. . . . F Cody Glass started it at 14:43 of the first period, with F Jake Gricius (6) twins it at 15:11. . . . Glass (22), on a PP, gave Portland a 3-2 lead at 6:15 of the second period. . . . Johnson (8) tied it at 14:29. . . . The Americans took over in the third period, getting goals from F Morgan Geekie (15), at 6:29; D Dylan Coghlan (11), at 7:17; and F Nolan Yaremko (10), at 9:30. . . . Geekie and Yaremko each had three assists, with D Mitchell Brown adding two and Coghlan one. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Portland was 1-3. . . . G Beck Warm earned the victory with 30 saves, 11 more than Portland’s Cole Kehler. . . . F Michael Rasmussen was among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki is in Buffalo with Finland. . . . The Winterhawks have three players at the WJC — F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark), F Kieffer Bellows (U.S.) and D Henri Jokiharju (Finland). . . . Announced attendance: 5,719.


At Langley, B.C., the Everett Silvertips set a franchise record for goals in one game as they whipped the Vancouver Giants, 11-0. . . . The Silvertips (22-13-2) have won three in a row Everettand lead the U.S. Division. . . . The Giants (18-14-4) had won their previous six games. They are third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . The Silvertips had scored 10 goals once before — in a 10-4 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 11, 2009. . . . The Giants and Silvertips will meet again Friday in Everett. . . . The Silvertips got four goals and an assist from F Riley Sutter and 24 saves from G Dustin Wolf, who has two shutouts and three assists in his eight appearances in his freshman season. He is 6-2-0, 1.75, .947. . . . The visitors scored four goals in the first period and five in the second. . . . Sutter now has 17 goals this season. He scored the game’s first two goals, at 2:28 and 12:43 of the opening period. . . . F Connor Dewar, who has 14 goals, made it 4-0 with goals at 16:00 and 19:05. He also had three assists. . . .F Orrin Centazzo (5) added two goals, with singles from F Matt Fonteyne (17), F Sean Richards (15) and D Jake Christiansen (3). . . . F Patrick Bajkov had three assists, with F Bryce Kindopp getting two and Richards one. . . . Everett was 2-6 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck played the first and third periods, allowing six goals on 19 shots. Todd Scott was beaten five times on 10 shots in the second period. . . . Vancouver F Milos Roman is at the WJC with Slovakia, while Everett G Carter Hart is with Canada. . . . Announced attendance: 4,046.


At Victoria, the Prince George Cougars erased a 3-1 first-period deficit to beat the Royals, 5-3. . . . The Cougars (13-17-5) had lost their previous three games. They are fifth in the PrinceGeorgeB.C. Division, three points behind Kamloops. . . . The Royals (20-14-3) have lost four in a row and are second in the B.C. Division, two points behind Kelowna. . . . They will complete the doubleheader tonight in Victoria. . . . D Joel Lakusta gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 3:58 of the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (16) tied it, on a PP, at 6:31. . . . F Nic Holowko (4) put Prince George back in front just 12 seconds later. . . . F Tyler Soy (14) tied it again, at 10:28, and F Matthew Phillips (25) gave the home side the lead, on a PP, at 12:03. . . . The Cougars tied it when F Jackson Leppard (8) scored, on a PP, at 14:48. . . . F Josh Maser’s 14th goal, on a PP, broke the tie at 2:54 of the second period. . . . Lakusta, who has four goals, put it away with an empty-netter, at 19:56 of the third period. . . . Prince George got three assists from F Kody McDonald, while Maser and Leppard each had one. . . . F Dante Hannoun had two assists for the Royals, with Phillips and Soy adding one each. . . . Soy has 147 career assists, which equals the Royals franchise record that he now shares with Jack Walker. The Victoria/Chilliwack franchise record (151) belongs to F Brandon Magee. . . . The Cougars were 2-8 on the PP; the Royals were 2-7. . . . G Tavin Grant stopped 36 shots for the Cougars, 14 more than Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk of the Cougars is in Buffalo with Belarus. . . . The Royals are missing F Ivan Martynov, who also is with Belarus. . . . Soy, who left Victoria’s last game before the Christmas break with an apparent injury, and Hannoun, who had been ill, both were in the Royals’ lineup. . . . Victoria F Regan Nagy (finger) remains sidelined. . . . This is the sixth straight season in which these teams have returned from Christmas to play twice in Victoria. The Royals are 8-2-1 in the previous 11 meetings. . . . Announced attendance: 5,637.


At Kelowna, F Liam Kindree scored the lone goal of a four-round shootout to give the Rockets a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (21-11-3) has won three in a KelownaRocketsrow and is alone atop the B.C. Division. It is second in the Western Conference, one point behind Everett. . . . Kamloops (16-17-2) has lost two straight (0-1-1) and is one point out of a wild-card spot. . . . Kelowna and Kamloops have met in the first game after the Christmas break for six straight years. The Rockets are 6-0-0; the Blazers are 0-5-1. . . . They will play the rematch in Kamloops on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Kole Lind (17) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead at 1:14 of the second period. . . . Kamloops D Joe Gatenby, who was acquired prior to last season from the Rockets, forced OT with his eighth goal of the season. He scored at 18:42 of the third period on the Blazers’ 43rd shot of the game. . . . Kamloops was 0-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-4. . . . The Rockets got 46 saves through OT — and four in the shootout — from G James Porter Jr. . . . G Dylan Ferguson blocked 21 shots, including a first-period penalty-shot attempt by Lind. . . . Kelowna remains without F Erik Gardiner (concussion). Gardiner, 18, last played on Oct. 28. . . . Each team was missing two players who are in Buffalo at the WJC. Kamloops D Ondrej Vala is with Czech Republic, while F Justin Sigrist is with Switzerland. Kelowna F Dillon Dube is captaining Team Canada, while D Cal Foote also is with Canada. . . . Announced attendance: 6,238.


At Spokane, F Zach Fischer’s goal at 3:46 of OT gave the Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Chiefs (19-13-3) had lost their previous game, 10-3 to the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Thunderbirds. Spokane is tied with Tri-City for third in the U.S. Division. . . . Seattle (15-14-5) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is fifth in the U.S. Division, six points behind Spokane, and holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The rematch — and the third straight game between these teams — is set for Friday in Kent, Wash. . . . F Nolan Volcan (14) put Seattle out front 1-0, on a PP, at 17:54 of the first period. . . . Fischer tied it at 6:16 of the second period. . . . Seattle took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman (5) at 14:14, and D Reece Hirsch (7), on a PP, at 17:20. . . . The Chiefs tied it on third-period goals from F Hudson Elynuik, on a PP, at 6:28, and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (17), at 11:02. . . . F Dillon Hamaliuk (6) put Seattle ahead, again, at 14:18, only to have F Riley Woods (14) force OT by tying it at 16:12. . . . Fischer, who also had an assist, won it with his 16th goal. . . . Anderson-Dolan and Elynuik added an assist each for Spokane. . . . D Turner Ottenbreit had two helpers for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-3 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-6. . . . G Donovan Buskey stopped 25 shots for Spokane, while Seattle got 37 saves from Matt Berlin. . . . F Sami Moilanen didn’t play for Seattle after suffering an undisclosed injury while in the selection camp of the Finnish national junior team. . . . The Chiefs have two players at the WJC — F Kailer Yamamoto (U.S.) and D Filip Kral (Czech Republic). . . . Announced attendance: 5,082.


THURSDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


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