Timing not right for one WHL award . . . Oil Kings draw first blood as playoffs begin . . . Wheat Kings borrow Broncos’ radio voice

Having spent more than 40 years paying close attention to the WHL, mostly as a sports reporter at four different daily newspapers and lately in retirement, I WHLlearned a long time ago not to pay a lot of attention to post-season awards.

While they rarely make everyone happy, they almost always end up as a source for discussion among fans. It also seems that there almost always are one or two that seem to carry with them something of a political odour.

The WHL announced a whole bunch of awards and nominations and all-star teams on Thursday, and one of them was a real eyebrow-raiser.

The way things work in the WHL is that the divisional nominees for various awards are named, then at some point the list is shortened to conference nominees. Then, much later, the league award winners are announced.

On Thursday, then, the Prince Albert Raiders were revealed as the East Division nominee for the WHL Business Award. According to a WHL news release, this award goes annually to the organization “that best exemplifies giving back to the community and producing an electrifying game-day experience for fans.”

While I have no doubt that the Raiders meet the criteria — you are able to read about the group’s accomplishments right here — let us not forget that the organization was guilty of a real mis-step during the season.

It was early in the season when the Raiders revealed that they were revisiting their past to introduce an alternate sweater. That sweater would include a logo that harkened back to the early 1980s, one that no longer is seen as being politically correct.

The end result included an apology from Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, who said in a statement: “On Friday night, the Prince Albert Raiders unveiled an alternate third jersey, which was inspired by a highly successful era in club history. We recognize the dated design is insensitive and offensive. After consultation with the Prince Albert Raiders, this uniform and brand will be discontinued effective immediately. On behalf of the WHL and the Prince Albert Raiders, we regret this uniform design was approved and sincerely apologize for any harm it may have caused.”

(You only have to turn to Google and look for “Prince Albert Raiders logo offensive” to see the reaction to the unveiling of the alternate sweater.)

It should also be remembered that early in the 2013-14 season the Raiders had introduced a new mascot that was fashioned after that same logo. It was met with such a response that it was put back in the closet in short order.

Look, you don’t have to dig very deep these days to find incidents involving racism in various levels of hockey, each of them accompanied with comments about how hockey really has to do better if it is ever to rid itself of these occurrences.

While I don’t doubt that the Raiders have done a whole lot of good work that benefited their community, I would suggest this just wasn’t the right time to salute them by giving them the East Division’s WHL Business Award.

——

If you visit the WHL website at whl.ca you will find all of Thursday’s announcements, including conference first- and second-team all-stars and individual award nominees.


Child


There are few things in life that compare to the histrionics hockey coaches go Everettthrough when asked about injuries to any of their players, especially during playoffs. . . . Take the case of Dennis Williams, the general manager and head coach of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, who will open their first round tonight against the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Everett didn’t have Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, for its last two games, while F Jackson Berezowski, a 46-goal man, sat out the last game. . . . Asked on Wednesday about their status, Williams told Steve Ewen of Postmedia: “You’re just going to have to wait and see on Friday. I won’t be commenting on any injuries.” . . . That came a day after Williams, when asked about Zellweger, told Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald: “Olen will be set to play.” . . . The betting here is that Berezowski and Zellweger both are in the lineup.



Flower


THURSDAY IN THE WHL:

In Edmonton, G Sebastian Cossa stopped 25 shots to lead the Oil Kings to a 4-1 Edmontonvictory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings lead the best-of-seven first-round series, 1-0, with Game 2 scheduled for Edmonton on Saturday. . . . Cossa lost his bid for his first playoff shutout when F Tyson Laventure scored, on a PP, at 18:12 of the third period. . . . Cossa has 14 regular-season shutouts in his career. But with the playoffs being cancelled each of the previous two seasons, this was his first post-season appearance. . . . F Carter Souch scored the game’s first goal, at 9:30 of the second period, with F Dylan Guenther upping the lead to 2-0 at 14:47. . . . The Hurricanes got 44 saves from G Bryan Thomson. . . . There are seven playoff games scheduled for tonight, with eight set for Saturday.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: When Brandon opens its first-round playoff series against the host Red Deer Rebels on Friday night, Craig Beauchemin will be the radio voice of the Wheat Kings. Beauchemin, the play-by-play voice of the Swift Current Broncos, will handle all Wheat Kings playoff games after Branden Crowe left to join Hockey Canada. . . .

G Garin Bjorklund and D Dru Krebs, both from the Medicine Hat Tigers, have joined the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Bjorklund, who will turn 20 on May 28, was a sixth-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2020 draft. Krebs, who turned 19 on Feb. 16, was taken by Washington in the sixth round of the 2021 draft. . . .

D Logan Nijhoff, 20, will finish the season with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls. He was the Regina Pats’ captain this season. . . . Earlier in the week, he was named the 2022 Dayna Brons Honorary Award recipient for his work with Hockey Gives Blood. . . . The Pats also saluted Nijhoff with the Mike Kartusch Community Service Award.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


Peanuts


JUST NOTES: Vaughn Rody was a WHL linesman back in the day, before going on to work 21 seasons in the NHL. Rody is from Winnipeg and now lives in Lake Stevens, Wash. It was only fitting that the final game of his NHL career should come in Seattle on Wednesday as the Kraken beat the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2. . . .

Tom Renney, who once coached with the Kamloops Blazers, is retiring from Hockey Canada, effective July 1, after eight years as the CEO. Sean Smith, already Hockey Canada’s president, will add CEO to his office door. . . . “This is a decision I have been preparing for over the past year and while it is never easy, I know the time is right and I am grateful for the past eight years,” Renney, a Cranbrook native, said in a news release. . . .

Carla MacLeod, the head coach of the U of Calgary Dinos women’s hockey team, has been named head coach of the Czechia national women’s team. She is the first woman to be that team’s head coach. . . .

Jokerit, a pro hockey team that plays out of Helsinki, spent eight seasons in the KHL before pulling out late in February after Russia attacked Ukraine. Now it has announced that, while it won’t operate in 2022-23, it hopes to return to Finland’s top league (Liiga) for 2023-24. It’s also worth noting that former Edmonton Oilers star Jari Kurri now is Jokerit’s sole owner after buying the 40 per cent of the club that had been owned by the Russian company Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta Oy. . . .

Adam DiBella has been named head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He replaces his father, Mario, who has chosen to retire. Adam spent four seasons as an assistant coach alongside his father. . . . Lance Morey remains as the Leafs’ general manager. . . .

Mark Peterson is the new head coach of the U-18 AAA Saskatoon Contacts. He had been the team’s director of scouting and recruitment. Peterson replaces Dale Lambert.


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.


Dawn

Broncos’ goaltender detailing U-18 team’s adventures . . . Zellweger, Toporowski expected back on Friday . . . Hlinka Gretzky Cup, WJC have their dates

The WHL’s Swift Current Broncos will have seven players off their roster playing in the IIHF’s U-18 World championship when it opens in Germany on HockeyCanadaSaturday. . . . Six of those players will skate with Team Canada, the first time one team has had that many players on the roster. G Reid Dyck, D Owen Pickering, F Josh Davies, F Josh Filmon, F Connor Hvidston and F Mathew Ward all are part of Canada’s 25-man roster. . . . D Rayan Bettahar of the Broncos is on the host team’s roster. . . . Other WHLers on Team Canada’s roster are G Ethan Buenaventura, Calgary Hitmen; D Lukas Dragicevic, Tri-City Americans; D Kalem Parker, Victoria Royals; D Grayden Siepmann, Calgary; F Connor Bedard, Regina Pats; F Tanner Howe, Regina; and F Brayden Schuurman, Victoria. . . . I will be curious to see how F Matthew Wood of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies stacks up here. Wood, who turned 17 on Feb. 6, is from Lethbridge He led the WHL in goals (45) and points (85) in 46 games. He has committed to attend the U of Connecticut for 2023-24. The Regina Pats selected Wood in the second round of the WHL’s 2020 draft.. . . Canada will open Saturday against Team USA. . . . The tournament will be played in Kaufbeuren and Landshut, and is to run through May 1. . . . Team Canada’s roster is right here.

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Team Canada already is in Germany, and G Reid Dyck of the Swift Current Broncos is blogging for the WHL team’s website, and his first posting is most entertaining and includes photos. He reports that Monday began with a 2:45 a.m. wakeup call in Regina. . . . You can read all about his day right here, a long travel day that ended when luggage belonging to Dyck and two teammates didn’t make it.



An email from a WHL fan who is a regular visitor to Taking Note:

“Your pet peeve loser points . . . Everett gets rewarded getting 10 loser points. Kamloops gets punished for having more regulation-time victories. . . . The WHL should do one or the other — copy the IIHF by giving the winner in regulation-time three points or go back and only give points to the winner.”

Or dump overtime and that silliness that is the shootout and bring tie games back into existence.

You ask, what’s this all about? It’s all about rewarding teams for losing — aka the loser point.

The Everett Silvertips finished atop the Western Conference with a record of 45-13-10. The two teams that finished one point behind them — the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks — each had more victories (48 and 47) but far fewer loser points. While Everett cashed in 10 of those, Kamloops had three and Portland five.

Of course, Everett finished with fewer regulation-time losses (13) than Kamloops (17) and Portland (16).



F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats finished the WHL’s regular season with 51 goals. He was born on July 17, 2005, so hasn’t yet turned 17. As a result, he is the youngest player in WHL history to reach the 50-goal mark. . . . F Glen Goodall scored 63 goals with the 1986-87 Seattle Thunderbirds. He was born on Jan. 22, 1970, so had turned 17 before season’s end. BTW, he was a regular with Seattle at the age of 14, so already was in his third season when he hit for 63. . . . F Dan Lucas of the Victoria Cougars scored 57 goals in 1974-75. He was born on Feb. 28, 1958, so also had turned 17 before season’s end. That was his second season with the Cougars; he had played 29 games in 1973-74. . . . Bedard, of course, played with the Pats in the 2021 development season, scoring 12 goals in 15 games before heading off to play for Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF World U-18 championship in Texas. Canada won that tournament, beating Russia 5-3 in the final. Bedard had seven goals and seven assists in seven games.



Fred


The Everett Silvertips expect to have Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-Everettscoring defenceman, back in the lineup on Friday when they open the playoffs against the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . “Olen will be set to play,” Dennis Williams, Everett’s general manager and head coach, told Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald. . . . Zellweger led defencemen in assists (64) and points (78), all in 55 games. . . . He hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury on April 10. He sat out Everett’s last two games, both road losses — 5-1 to the Portland Winterhawks and 4-1 to the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Silvertips go into the playoffs having lost three in a row while being outscored 13-3. In fact, they are just 2-3-2 in their last seven outings.


The Kamloops Blazers expect to have F Luke Toporowski, 20, back in their Kamloopslineup when they open against the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Friday. Toporowski, who was acquired from the Chiefs on Jan. 17, has been out with a leg injury since March 11. In 22 games with Kamloops, he had 34 points, including 20 goals. . . . F Nick McCarry, who was part of the package that went to Spokane in that deal, put up 16 goals and 19 assists in 36 games with the Chiefs. . . . Interestingly, Ryan Smith, the Chiefs’ interim head coach, spent one season on the coaching staff of the Medicine Hat Tigers working alongside Shaun Clouston. At that time, Clouston was the Tigers’ general manager and head coach; today, he wears both hats for the Blazers. . . . Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has a chat with Smith right here.


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.


Waldo


JUST NOTES: There now are official dates for the eight-team 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the 10-team 2022 World Junior Championship. The former, for U-18 teams, is scheduled for Red Deer, July 31 through Aug. 6. Canada will be in Group A, along with Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. Group B is to comprise Czechia, Finland, Germany and the U.S. The WJC is scheduled for Rogers Place in Edmonton, Aug. 9-20. You will recall that the WJC actually got started in December before a number of positive tests among players and on-ice officials resulted in its being cancelled. From a news release: “The results from games played in December will not be carried over to this summer’s World Juniors, and players born in 2002 or later will remain eligible to represent their respective countries.” Canada is to play in Group B with Czechia, Finland, Latvia and Slovakia. Group A is to feature Austria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. . . .

Manny Viveiros, a former WHL player and coach, is on leave from his position as head coach of the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights as he progresses into “the next steps of his recovery,” according to a news release. Viveiros is fighting prostate cancer. . . . In his absence, assistant coach Jamie Heward takes over as interim head coach. . . . Viveiros was the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos, with Heward as assistant coach, when they won the WHL’s 2017-18 championship. . . .

D Gannon Laroque of the Victoria Royals will finish this season with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. He could be in their lineup tonight against the host Bakersfield Condors. Laroque, from Edmonton, was a fourth-round selection by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . F Tarun Fizer, the Royals’ 20-year-old captain, will finish up with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies. . . . Adam Nugent-Hopkins has joined the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., as the head coach of the the U-18 prep team. He spent the 2021-22 season as head coach of the U-18 AAA Greater Vancouver Canadians. He is the older brother of Edmonton Oilers F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.


Policy


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.


Eating

Remembering when Ginnell left the Bombers . . . Blades’ Maier king of WHL goaltenders . . . Bedard sets two Pats’ records

These days I am spending time going through more than 40 years worth of files. As pages and pages of clippings, news releases and more, most of them related to the WHL and various teams, go into the recycling bin there are memories, lots of memories involving personalities.

Like Patty Ginnell, or Paddy Ginnell, who was Pat Ginnell when he took over as head coach of the Flin Flon Bombers on June 1, 1966. Quick now . . . who did he succeed? That would be Tom Baird, who stayed on as the general manager.

The Bombers were in the SJHL at the time, but that changed when they moved FFBombersto what was then the Western Canada Junior Hockey League for its second season (1967-68). It had been the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League for its inaugural season (1966-67).

Anyway, Ginnell was 29 when he took over the Bombers. He had spent the previous three seasons playing for the IHL’s Des Moines Oak Leafs. You know that putting Ginnell behind the bench was a popular choice in Flin Flon because he had played for the Bombers when they won the 1958 Memorial Cup.

Ginnell coached the Bombers through Dec. 9, 1973, his final game a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats.

Why was that his final game?

He had purchased 40 per cent of the Victoria Cougars and was about to step in as general manager and head coach.

PatGinnell
PAT GINNELL

Ginnell told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post that he had been trying to purchase a piece of the Bombers but hadn’t met with any success.

“I’ve been manager-coach in Flin Flon for nine years,” he told Isaac, “and I don’t have a thing to show for it. I don’t even own a stick.” (If you did the math, you know that he actually was in his eighth season with the Bombers, but, hey, facts didn’t get in the way of a lot of stories back in the day.)

“It’s always been my desire to own and operate my own club and that was something I was unable to do in Flin Flon,” Ginnell continued. “Now I’ll have my own team.”

Interestingly, Ginnell’s impending move leaked with the Bombers on the road and before he was able to inform the team’s board of directors.

With the Cougars, Ginnell bought out Eric Bishop, who said he was quitting as the team’s general manager. The Cougars, who started that season with Ollie Dorohoy as their head coach, were in their third WCHL season, hadn’t made the playoffs in their first two and were struggling again.

Victoria finished that season at 22-40-6, which left it fifth in the six-team Western Division.

At some point before Ginnell bought a piece of the Cougars, he had been asked how long it would take him to turn the team into a contender. “One year minimum,” he replied.

Well, the Cougars, led by Mel Bridgman, finished the 1974-75 season atop the West Division with a 47-18-5 record but dropped a best-of-seven semifinal series to the New Westminster Bruins, 4-2.

The Bombers’ board of directors, meanwhile, accepted Ginnell’s recommendation that Mel Pearson, a teammate on the 1958 Memorial Cup-winning team, be the next GM/head coach. Pearson had spent the 1972-73 season with the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints.

Pearson didn’t get to Flin Flon in time for the Bombers next game, on Dec. 13 against, yes, the Cougars. So trainer Nick Oklobdzija — he was known as Nick Alphabet — served as the interim head coach and posted one of his dozen or so career coaching victories, this one by a 10-2 score. Ginnell watched from the Whitney Forum stands as Dorohoy continued for the moment as the Cougars’ coach.

(Bruce Penton, writing in the Brandon Sun of March 7, 1974, noted that Oklobdzija “is undefeated in 12 tests as coach of the WCHL Bombers.”

“That goes back about eight or nine years,” Oklobdzija told Penton. “I’ve filled in here and there when (Ginnell) was away or suspended, or something. And we’ve never lost while I’ve coached.” The WHL’s coaching records show Oklobdzija with a 2-0-0 coaching mark.)

Pearson made his Flin Flon coaching debut on Dec. 18 with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. (One of Brandon’s goals came from John Paddock, now the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach.)

Pearson, who had signed a contract taking him through 1974-75, was gone early in the 1975-76 season, fired on Oct. 29. At the time, the Bombers had two victories in 12 games.

The Bombers then hired Mickey Keating to replace Pearson, thus ending Ginnell’s connection to the Flin Flon franchise.

As an aside, my favourite Keating quote emerged late in the 1976-77 season. At one point, I wrote a few stories detailing the history of the WHL and it included this:

A nine-hour meeting in Calgary resulted in a new playoff format. Under the original format, the Flin Flon Bombers, third in the East, were 20 points ahead of Regina and all but had a playoff spot locked up. Suddenly, there was a new format and the Bombers were fighting for a spot. Oh yes, they were also on a 15-game West Coast road trip.

“In this league, you need two pieces of equipment,” said Flin Flon boss Mickey Keating. “You need a face-guard when you play some of the teams on the ice and a back protector for the committee room. I had inklings that there may be changes in the playoffs but I had confidence there were intelligent hockey men in this league. I was shown different.”

Ahh, yes, those were the days.


Cats


If you have time on your hands, you could track down the Twitter account belonging to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) and check out the ‘apology’ from the Burke brothers — Billy and Joey. And then see if you can find the screen shot of the WhatsApp chat that got them into trouble with David Branch, the OHL commissioner. . . . And after you have done all that, you are free to wonder why the Burke boys weren’t suspended for life.

Meanwhile, there is ample speculation that the IceDogs are soon to be sold to, as Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered reported, “a group headed by Darren DeDobberlaer, an insurance magnate from nearby Brantford, who owns both the Brantford 99ers Jr. A team and the Brantford Bandits Jr. B team.”

Campbell also wrote: “Oh, yes, and the selling price is rumoured to be in the range of $20 million, which should disavow anyone of the notion that major junior hockey operators in Canada are mom and pop operations that require millions of dollars in tax money to meet their scholarship commitments and provincial government laws to help them skirt minimum wage requirements. Teams make money when they are strong and struggle financially when they aren’t. If the operators know what they’re doing, they can make it work. And as we’re seeing with the IceDogs, they can cash out when they sell the team.”

Campbell’s piece is right here and it’s because of reports like this that I subscribe to his site.



“The Greater Toronto Hockey League has hired a private investigator to scrutinize allegations that Jewish players with the U-13 Avenue Road Ducks and their family members were targeted with anti-Semitic slurs during games this season,” reports Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . That story is right here.

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Meanwhile, CBC Ottawa reports that “after some Black minor hockey players in western Quebec alleged they were racially abused, a Gatineau, Que., team has suspended six of its players and the provincial governing body cancelled weekend games.” . . . That story is right here.

——

And, from Oakland, Mich., comes this from clickondetroit.com: “A 15-year-old boy is suing three players on an under 16 youth hockey team, their parents and the coach after he said he endured antisemitic bullying until he quit the team.” . . . That story is right here.


Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . You are able to support her by making a donation right here.


Spider


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

G Nolan Maier became the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL Saskatoonhistory as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . Maier stopped 20 shots in posting his 121st career regular-season victory, breaking a record he had shared with Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Hirsch tweeted: “Congrats Nolan! Your perseverance, resilience and dedication is nothing short of inspirational. Enjoy the moment; you’ve earned it!” . . . The Blades won it with two third-period goals, from F Egor Sidorov (23), at 12:17, and F Trevor Wong (16), at 18:01. . . . Maier has three shutouts his season; he holds the franchise career record, with 11. . . . Saskatoon (37-26-4) moved into fourth place, one point ahead of the idle Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Raiders (26-34-5) are 10th, two points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Jake Chiasson had two goals and two assists as the Brandon Wheat Kings Brandondoubled the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Chiasson, who has six goals, struck twice in the second period as Brandon took a 5-1 lead. Chiasson missed a huge chunk of the season with an injury and only began play on March 4. He now has 15 points in 16 games. . . . D Mason Ward added two goals, giving him six, and an assist for Brandon, with D Chad Nychuk getting a goal, his 21st, and two assists. Nychuk has 68 points in 60 games. . . . Brandon (34-25-5), which has won four in a row, is sixth, four points behind Moose Jaw. Each team has four games remaining. . . . Medicine Hat (11-50-4) has lost nine straight games. . . .

In Red Deer, F Ben King, who leads the WHL in goals, scored in OT to give the RedDeerRebels a 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . King, who also had two assists, scored his 49th goal of the season at 2:56 of OT. . . . King has a WHL-leading 15 game-winning goals this season. F Brian Propp of the 1978-19 Brandon Wheat Kings holds the WHL record of 16. . . . F Logan Wormald scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 14. His second goal, at 8:33 of the third period, gave his side a 4-3 lead. . . . D Christoffer Sedoff (7) forced OT with a goal at 12:04. . . . Red Deer (44-17-4) is third, four points behind the idle Edmonton Oil Kings, who have a game in hand. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-5) is headed for a seventh-place finish. . . .

F Connor Bedard set two franchise records as his Regina Pats beat the Broncos, Regina4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Bedard scored twice to give him 47 this season. His 46th goal, a shorthanded effort, set the Pats’ record for most goals by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Jeff Friesen scored 45 times in 1992-93. . . . Bedard now has 89 point in 58 games, and that also is a Pats’ franchise record for a player in his 16-year-old WHL season. F Doug Wickenheiser finished the 1977-78 season with 88 points. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Kelton Pyne. . . . Regina (25-34-5) is 11th and, with four games remaining, trails the eighth-place Broncos (26-34-7) by four points.

——

Western Conference:

F Matthew Seminoff scored with four seconds remaining in the third period to Kamloopsgive the Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kamloops. . . . The goal came one second after the end of a Victoria PP opportunity. . . . F Logan Stankoven had three assists for the Blazers, including the only one on the winner. . . . Seminoff has 25 goals. . . . F Bailey Peach (36) scored twice and added an assist for Victoria, which came back to tie the score three times but wasn’t able to grab the lead. . . . Stankoven now has 99 points, leaving him three behind F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels, who leads the points race. . . . Stankoven, who has played 56 games, leads the WHL in points-per-game (1.77). . . .  Kamloops (47-16-2) is second, four points behind the Everett Silvertips. Each team has three games remaining. . . . Victoria (22-37-6) is tied for seventh with the Vancouver Giants, one point behind the idle Spokane Chiefs. . . .

F Alex Swetlikoff scored three times and added an assist as the host Everett EverettSilvertips dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the U.S. Division regular-season pennant, scored the game’s last four goals, the first two from Swetlikoff, who has 33 goals. . . . Everett was 3-for-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-for-2. . . . Everett had a 50-13 edge in shots. According to the online game sheet, shots were 10-0 in the third period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski had an empty-net goal and two assists for Everett. He’s got 46 goals. . . . Everett (45-10-10) leads the conference by four points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-42-7) has been eliminated from playoff contention. . . .

F Jack O’Brien had two goals to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-2 victory Portlandover the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . O’Brien has 13 goals. . . . F Cross Hanas scored his 25th goal and added two assists for the winners. . . . There was something of a brouhaha at 19:17 of the third period that resulted in 97 penalty minutes being handed out. . . . Portland (44-16-5) is third, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (23-36-4) is tied for seventh with Victoria, one point behind Spokane and one ahead of the idle Prince George Cougars.


JUST NOTES: F Logan Nijhoff, the Regina Pats’ captain, has signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. Nijhoff, 20, had 20 goals and 23 assists in 52 games when the signing was announced on Thursday. He is completing his fifth season with Regina. Nijhoff attended the Ducks’ rookie camp in September. . . . The EIHL’s Cardiff Devils have fired head coach Jarrod Skalde, who was in his first season there. Assistant coaches Brodie Dupont and Neil Francis will run things through the end of the season. With four games left in the regular season, the Devils are third at 27-15-3.


War


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.


Dog

Scattershooting on a Saturday night while waiting for another football Sunday . . .

Scattershooting2

Ice Cube, the actor and not the thing at the bottom of your glass of Chivas, bailed on a movie project the other day. He chose not to get vaccinated so really didn’t have any choice. Not taking the inoculation cost him US$9 million. As Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News tweeted: “He can shoot hoops with Kyrie.”


Another sign the apocalypse is upon us: TMZ reported that “PETA is urging MLB to stop using the term ‘bullpen’ to describe the place where pitchers warm up.” . . . Seriously. The good folks at PETA must have been having a slow Thursday. Apparently, they issued a news release suggesting a change to “arm barn.”


Halloween


“PETA wants baseball to stop using the term ‘bullpen,’ saying it is a holding place for cattle about to be butchered and no place for pitchers,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “But still passing muster, for now: ducks on the pond, dying quail, gopher ball and dog days of summer.”

——

One more from Perry: “The Braves’ Ozzie Albies won Americans free tacos when he stole second base in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series. How come Jorge Soler’s homer that same inning didn’t earn us free tater tots?”


Headline from @TheOnion: Poll Finds Most Americans Would Swap Democracy For $100 Best Buy Gift Card.


One more headline from @TheOnion: Texas School Censors All Of ‘Huck Finn’ Except The N-Words.


I saw two numbers this week that about knocked me out of the recliner, and I don’t know which one was more shocking. . . . First, The New York Times reported that Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, “made $128 million the last two fiscal years.” . . . And then I saw this headline on Entertainment Weekly’s website: “Here’s when all 136 new Christmas movies will premiere.” . . . OK . . . 136 “new” Christmas movies wins. I’m old enough to remember when there were about six Christmas movies out there. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Miracle on 34th Street. Home Alone. It’s A Wonderful Life. Love Actually. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. . . . Better make it seven because we can’t leave Die Hard off the list. . . . And now we get 136 new ones in a single year. Yikes! . . . BTW, if you aren’t aware, the Christmas movies have been available on your TV since Oct. 22. Enjoy!



There were nine WHL games on Saturday night. The Winnipeg Ice responded WHLrather well after having suffered their first loss of the season one night earlier . . .

In Kelowna, F Jake Poole’s OT goal gave the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Poole’s third goal of the season came at 4:45 of extra time. . . . F Pavel Novak scored three times for the Rockets (3-3-0). He’s got five, all of them against Victoria. . . . F Mark Liwiski helped Kelowna with his first goal this season and two assists. . . . The Royals, 1ho are 1-11-0 and have lost 10 in a row, got two goals from F Riley Gannon. . . .

In Prince George, F Matthew Seminoff had a goal and two assists to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 4-1 victory over the Cougars. . . . Seminoff, who has four goals, had scored twice on Friday in a 7-1 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . The Blazers (8-1-0) have won four straight. . . . The Cougars (5-4-0) had won their previous five games, all against the Royals. . . .

In Spokane, the Everett Silvertips skated to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Everett (7-0-1) has yet to lose in regulation time. . . . The Chiefs are 3-6-1. . . . F Michal Gut (3) scored twice, with F Austin Roest’s second goal of the season, at 8:36 of the second period, standing up as the winner. . . . Everett had a 29-15 edge in shots. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Gabe Ludwig’s OT goal gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Ludwig’s second goal of the season came at 2:01 of extra time. . . . Tri-City F Ethan Ernst forced OT with a goal at 16:29 of the third period. . . . The Thunderbirds, who had a 51-21 edge in shots, are 7-2-1 and have won five straight. . . . The Americans (2-5-1), who were 1-for-8 on the PP, have lost six in a row. . . .

In Brandon, F Keaton Sorensen scored the game’s first two goals and the Prince Albert Raiders went on to a 3-1 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Sorensen, who has three goals, scored at 10:45 and 17:06 of the first period. . . . The Raiders (3-7-1) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Brandon slid to 5-7-0. . . .

In Lethbridge, G Daniel Hauser recorded his first career shutout with 29 saves to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 7-0 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . The Ice (12-1-0) had lost its first game of the season in Edmonton on Friday night. . . . Hauser, 17, is from Chestermere, Alta. He now is 7-0-0, 1.72, .929. . . . The Ice got a goal and two assists from each of Conor Geekie (5) and Mikey Milne (9). . . . The Hurricanes (5-4-0) had won their previous two games. . . .

In Red Deer, F Ben King scored a PP goal in OT to give the Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Rebels finished 2-for-9 on the PP. . . . King scored twice, giving him seven, and added an assist. . . . The Rebels (7-4-1) took a 3-1 lead into the third period, only to have Edmonton tie it on two goals from F Jalen Luypen (5), the second one at 16:50. . . . The Oil Kings (7-2-2) have points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Rebels are scheduled to play their next seven games on the road as the Canadian Finals Rodeo takes over their home arena. . . .

In Regina, F Connor Bedard had two goals and an assist as the Pats dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 7-3. . . . The highly touted Bedard has six goals and four assists in 11 games. . . . F Logan Nijhoff scored twice (4) for Regina, with D Ryker Evans adding a goal (2) and two assists. . . . The Pats improved to 4-7-0. . . . The Broncos (2-7-2) have lost nine straight (0-7-2). . . . The Pats had won, 4-1, in Swift Current on Friday. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Kyle Crnkovic scored twice to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Tigers. . . . Crnkovic came out of the night tied for the WHL lead in goals. He and F Connor McClennon of the Winnipeg Ice are at 10. . . . Saskatoon F Tristen Robins had two assists. He leads the WHL in assists (14) and points (21). . . . The Blades (8-2-1) were 4-for-6 on the PP. . . . The Tigers (4-5-2) have lost three in a row (0-2-1).


CarNut


When last we checked in with the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers, the City of St. John’s had punted them from Mile One, their home arena that actually now is Mary Brown’s Centre, and they were headed for Toronto. The Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate was going to play its first six home games in the Coca-Cola Centre. . . . But wait! . . . Now comes word that the Growlers aren’t going to leave The Rock. Instead, they will play at least their first six home games at the Conception Bay South Arena in, yes, Conception Bay South.


JUST NOTES: The San Jose Sharks put head coach Bob Boughner and seven players into COVID-19 protocol on Saturday. The players are F Andrew Cogliano, F Jonathan Dahlen, D Erik Karlsson, D Jake Middleton, F Matt Nieto, D Radim Simek and D Marc-Edouard Vlasic. F Noah Grego of the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda also went into protocol. . . . The Tennessee Titans will be without defensive assistant coach Jim Schwartz when they meet the Indianapolis Colts today due to COVID-19 protocols. . . . G Dryden McKay set an NCAA record for career shutouts on Saturday as the Minnesota State Mavericks’ 7-0 victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats. That was McKay’s 27th career shutout and broke the record he had shared with Ryan Miller, who played 106 games over three seasons (1999-2002) at Michigan State. McKay has played in 105 games for the Mavericks over three-plus seasons. He has three shutouts in eight games this season.


Pancakes


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.


Poll

QMJHL looking at two options; WHL may push start into February . . . Nachbaur leaves Swiss team

The QMJHL, which announced Monday that its season is on hold until January, has a couple of options for when it resumes, but Gilles Courteau, the qmjhlnewcommissioner, says quitting isn’t one of them. . . .The QMJHL began its regular season on Oct. 2. By the time December is over, it will have postponed 161 of 253 scheduled games. . . . As Ken Campbell of The Hockey News wrote: “Like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who gradually has his limbs chopped off and insists they’re merely flesh wounds, the QMJHL vows to forge on.” . . . As things now sit, the QMJHL players are going home for Christmas, then will return to their teams on Jan. 3. If travel is allowed in the four provinces in which the QMJHL has franchises, the teams will resume playing on Jan. 6, but in empty arenas. The other option is to play in a bubble — or, as Courteau calls them, “protected environments.” That type of resumption would begin on Jan. 22. . . . So could the WHL or OHL end up in some kind of bubble environment? Well, the WHL, which has said it will open its regular season on Jan. 8, apparently is on the verge of shifting that date into February. The OHL is aiming for Feb. 4. . . . According to John Shannon in the above tweet, the WHL pooh-bahs were to meet on Tuesday. . . . Of course, as Campbell points out, the QMJHL is playing to a certain extent, with taxpayers’ money. “It’s much easier to stem those wounds when you have $20 million in taxpayer money propping up your business,” Campbell wrote in a piece that is right here.


Dr. Anthony Fauci may not be No. 1 on the White House’s hit parade, but he remains the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He also is the go-to person in terms of COVID-19. . . . Henry Bushnell of yahoo!sports went to him on Monday and was told that we are months — yes, months! — away from seeing sports stadiums and arenas filled to capacity. . . . That story is right here and there is lots in it to digest, including this from Dr. Fauci:

“We’re gonna be vaccinating the highest-priority people (from) the end of December through January, February, March. By the time you get to the general public, the people who’ll be going to the basketball games, who don’t have any underlying conditions, that’s gonna be starting the end of April, May, June. So it probably will be well into the end of the summer before you can really feel comfortable (with full sports stadiums) — if a lot of people get vaccinated. I don’t think we’re going to be that normal in July. I think it probably would be by the end of the summer.”


Plague


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Fines totalling more than $180,000 were issued to COVID-19 rule breakers in the last week, the government of Manitoba says.

CBC News: Saskatchewan is reporting 181 new cases of COVID-19, 4 more deaths and 237 recoveries. The province now has 8,745 total cases, 51 deaths, 3,819 active cases and 4,875 recoveries.

Marc Smith, CTV News: For the third time in nine days, Saskatchewan has reported four COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours. More people have died in the last 25 days than did in 240 days prior.

CBC News: Alberta reports 10 more COVID-19 deaths, 1,307 new cases. November was by far the worst month of the pandemic, so far.

Janet Brown, CKNW Vancouver: 656 cases, 16 deaths (457), 336 hospital (+20), 76 ICU (+1), 8796 active cases, 10123 self-isolation.

CBC News: Ontario is reporting 1,707 new cases of COVID-19. That sends the 7-day average to 1,666, the highest since the pandemic began. There are 727 new cases in Toronto (also a record high) with 373 in Peel and 168 in York. 7 additional deaths are also reported.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 28 additional deaths and 1,177 new COVID-19 cases. That’s a decrease from the province’s previous 7-day average of 1,309.

CBC News: Quebec’s plan to allow people to gather over the Christmas period may be scrapped, given the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Premier François Legault said Tuesday.

KOMO News: Washington state reported over 2,100 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. In total, the Washington State Department of Health reported 2,197 new COVID-19 cases and 31 more deaths due to the virus. The latest surge pushes the statewide total since the start of the pandemic to 167,216 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 10,920 hospitalizations and 2,774 deaths.

oregonlive.com: 1,233 cases, record 24 reported deaths as state hits ‘grim milestone.’

CBC News: U.S. reported 4.2 million COVID-19 cases in November, as hopes rest on vaccine. Number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 hit record high of nearly 93,000 on Sunday.

Seattle Times: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the ban on nonessential travel with the United States will not be lifted until COVID-19 is significantly more under control around the world.

The New York Times: California has long had one of the nation’s lowest number of hospital beds relative to its population. Now officials say that shortfall may prove catastrophic as the state faces another coronavirus surge, with an average of nearly 15,000 new cases a day.

——

Curling Canada announced Tuesday that it plans on playing the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Tim Hortons Brier, world men’s championship and Canadian mixed doubles in a bubble environment at the Mackin MacPhail Centre in Calgary. Dates for the events have yet to be announced. . . . The Brier had been scheduled for Kelowna, a city that also lost out when the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament was cancelled last spring. . . . The Scotties was to have been held in Thunder Bay, which now will play host in 2022, from Jan. 28 through Feb. 6. . . . The world men’s had been scheduled for Ottawa. . . .

It would seem that the coronavirus can’t wait for NBA teams to open their buffets, er, training camps. The Golden State Warriors have had to push back the opening of their camp by a day after two players tested positive. . . . The NBA completed its 2019-20 season in a bubble in Orlando, Fla., proving that teams can do so without positive tests. Now, however, it is planning on opening its 2020-21 season without putting teams in bubbles. And it is going to be interesting to watch developments. . . . The Warriors will hold individual player workouts today, and hope to start practices on Monday. . . . Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards have had one player test positive, while C Mo Bamba of the Orlando Magic, a 22-year-old who tested positive on June 11, isn’t yet ready to return. . . .

The Baltimore Ravens flew into Pittsburgh on Tuesday evening in advance of meeting the Steelers this afternoon. The Ravens got on the plane despite experiencing two more positive tests on Wednesday — one player, reportedly S Geno Stone, and one staff member. . . . This afternoon’s game had been scheduled to be played last Thursday. It was rescheduled for Sunday and then Tuesday after the Ravens experienced more than a dozen positives. It is to be televised by NBC. . . .

Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One driving champion, has tested positive and will miss Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain. Hamilton tested negative three times last week, but woke up Monday with mild symptoms and tested positive. He took a second test and it, too, was positive. Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday before becoming ill.


Milkshakes


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.




JUST NOTES: Don Nachbaur, the third winningest head coach in WHL regular-season history, has resigned as the head coach of SC Bern of the Swiss National League due to personal reasons. He was replaced by Mario Kogler, an Austrian who is the club’s U-20 coach. . . . The ECHL has yet to receive a franchise application for Trois-Rivières, Que., but the city and Deacon Sports and Entertainment have agreed on a five-year least for a team to play in a new arena that is being built there.


Poll

Rasmussen staying with Red Wings. . . . Wheat Kings move into playoff spot. . . . Kamloops loses ground to Kelowna, Seattle


MacBeth

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). He has three goals and three assists in 47 games. Jobke is a dual German-Canadian citizen. . . .

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Gyergyói Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga). In 36 games, he had 16 goals and 18 assists. He started the season with Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga), going pointless in two games. . . .

F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga Süd). In 43 games, he has 31 goals and 53 assists. He leads the league in assists and points. . . .

F Colton Yellow Horn (Lethbridge, Tri-City, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He has 23 goals and 30 assists, and leads the team in points.

ThisThat

It seems that the debating inside the Detroit Red Wings’ organization is over.

F Michael Ramussen will be staying with the NHL team, meaning he won’t be going back NHLto the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

Rasmussen, 19, was the ninth overall selection by the Red Wings in the NHL’s 2017 draft. The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 49 games.

Under the terms of the CBA between the NHL and NHLPA, Rasmussen, as a 19-year-old, would have to play with the Red Wings or be returned to the Americans. Earlier this month, he spent three games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, on a conditioning stint. In order to be eligible to play for Grand Rapids in the AHL playoffs, he would have to be returned to the Americans. He could then join the Griffins if and/or when Tri-City’s season ended.

The Red Wings have until Monday’s NHL trade deadline to return Rasmussen to the Americans, so there still is time for a mind to change. However, that now seems most unlikely to happen.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rasmussen had 31 goals and 28 assists in 47 games with the Americans last season, then added 16 goals and 17 assists in 14 playoff games.


Joel Craven’s hockey career may be over.

Shaun Clouston, the Medicine Hat Tigers’ general manager and head coach, confirmed Tigers Logo Officialthat the sophomore defenceman has suffered another concussion and this one is “potentially career-ending.”

“I think that’s where Joel is at,” Clouston told Medicine Hat media on Thursday. “I suppose there’s always an opportunity at some point in the future to change that, but I do believe that’s where Joel is at right now . . . that the risk is not worth it.”

Craven, an 18-year-old from Whitefish, Mont., who played minor hockey in Calgary, was in his second season with the Tigers.

Last season, he suffered a concussion and was limited to 33 games. This season, he has three goals and one assist in 32 games.

This season, Craven suffered a concussion in mid-October and didn’t play again until Dec. 2. He suffered yet another concussion on Feb. 10 and hasn’t played again.

“He had a bad concussion on a tough hit last (season), and this is his second one this year,” Clouston said. “It’s obviously a very challenging situation. I think for Joel, he battled hard, he wanted this. He faced some adversity with a ton of courage, and we fully respect where that’s at.”

Craven’s father, Murray, is a Medicine Hat native and played four seasons (1980-84) with the Tigers before going to a pro career that included 1,071 regular-season NHL games. Murray now is the senior vice-president of hockey operations with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

With Joel gone, the Tigers will keep D Damon Agyeman, 16, on their roster for the rest of this season. From Cochrane, Alta., he has played five games with the Tigers this season. He had been with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons.

Charles Lefebvre of chatnewstoday.ca has more on the Tigers right here.


D Mats Lindgren, a top prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, has made a verbal commitment to the U of Michigan Wolverines. Apparently, he made the revelation on his Instagram account on Thursday.

From North Vancouver, B.C., Lindgren will turn 15 on Aug. 26.

Lindgren is playing with the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins bantam prep A team, and has six goals and 37 assists in 47 games.

His father, Mats, played 387 regular-season NHL games in a career that ended with the Vancouver Canucks in 2002-03. He now coaches minor hockey on the Lower Mainland.


The Brooks Bandits beat the visiting Camrose Kodiaks, 6-2, on Friday night to set a single-Brooksseason AJHL record with 54 victories. The Bandits now are 54-3-0, and have won an AJHL-record 30 straight games. . . . The Bandits, under general manager/head coach Ryan Papaioannou, also have set the AJHL record for home victories (29) in one season. . . . The 2012-13 Bandits finished 53-4-3 en route to winning a national championship. . . . The 1976-77 Red Deer Rustlers won 28 straight home games. . . . The Bandits are the host team for the 2019 national junior A championship tournament, May 11-19.


While you’re here, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings continued their late-season run for a playoff spot with a 6-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (29-22-7) has won six in a row, and has moved into a playoff spot. It now holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and one point behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon (37-14-8) had won seven in a row and had at least a point in each of its previous 13 games (11-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division and appear destined to finish there. . . . F Ryan Hughes (13) put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 2:18 of the first period, but the Wheat Kings scored the next five goals. . . . F Ridley Greig (13) tied it at 11:32, with D Zach Wytinck (5) breaking the tie at 15:11. . . . Brandon then added three second-period goals — from F Luka Burzan (35), at 4:03; F Caiden Daley (6), at 4:46; and F Stelio Mattheos (40), at 10:20. . . . F Max Gerlach (37) got Saskatoon’s other goal, on a PP, at 4:47 of the third period, but Brandon F Ben McCartney (19) got that one back, shorthanded, at 10:39. . . . Gerlach ran his point streak to 15 games. He’s got 13 goals and 12 assists in that stretch. . . . Brandon got 37 saves from G Jiri Patera, who has won six straight. His work included a first-period stop on F Gary Haden on a penalty shot with the visitors ahead, 1-0. . . . The Blades had D Aidan De La Gorgendiere back in their lineup after he hadn’t played since Feb. 2. . . . D Nolan Kneen was among Saskatoon’s scratches. Saskatoon head coach Mitch Love told Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, that Kneen is “nicked up.” . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Linden McCorrister (ill).


G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason returned from five-game absences to lead the host Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Prince Albert (48-8-3) has won two in a row, and leads the overall standings by 13 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kootenay (11-38-9) has lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . Scott stopped 21 shots to earn his fifth shutout of this season. He has eight shutouts in his career, four of them against the Ice, including the first three. . . . Leason drew the primary assists on the Raiders’ first, second and fourth goals. . . . D Brayden Pachal (14) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 7:59 of the first period, and F Sean Montgomery made it 2-0 at 12:18. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (14) added a second-period goal, and Montgomery (26) added a shorthanded score in the third. . . . The Ice got 26 saves from G Curtis Meger, who made 27 appearances with the Raiders last season.


F Logan Nijhoff scored in OT to give the Regina Pats a 5-4 victory over the visiting PatsCalgary Hitmen. . . . Regina (18-38-3) has won two in a row and five of their past eight. . . . Calgary (30-22-6) has lost two straight (0-1-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. Calgary also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Mark Kastelic (43) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the first period, only to have Regina take a 2-1 lead on goals from F Garrett Wright (5), at 7:31, and F Duncan Pierce (8), at 10:13. Pierce had missed the previous eight games. . . . F James Malm pulled Calgary even at 18:26, on a PP. . . . The Pats went ahead 4-2 on second-period goals from F Austin Pratt (23), on a PP, at 5:06, and F Carter Massier (4), shorthanded, at 8:56. . . . The Hitmen tied it before the period ended, on goals from D Vladislav Yeryomenko (5), at 15:27, and Malm (25), on a PP, at 18:08. . . . Nijhoff won it with his seven goal just 30 seconds into OT. . . . Kastelic, who added two assists to his goal, left with a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:06 of the third period. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . Ice G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots.


F Justin Almeida figured in Moose Jaw’s first three goals as the Warriors beat the MooseJawWarriorsBroncos, 4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Moose Jaw (32-16-8) is headed for a third-place finish in the East Division, and a first-round meeting with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swift Current (10-41-5) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2). . . . The Broncos took a 1-0 lead when F Ethan Regnier (9) scored, on a PP, at 5:12 of the first period. . . . Almeida (24) tied it, on a PP, at 11:23. . . . F Tristin Langan (42) gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 13:22 of the second period, only to have Broncos F Tanner Nagel (11) tie it, on a PP, at 16:23. . . . F Brayden Tracey scored the Warriors’ last two goals, breaking the tie, on a PP, at 13:14, getting an empty-netter, at 19:43. . . . Tracey now has 29 goals in his freshman season. . . . Almeida added two assists to his goal. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 2-3. . . . The Warriors held a 37-13 edge in shots., including 14-2 in the first period and 13-5 in the third.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first two goals and got 29 stops from G Dylan EdmontonOilKingsMyskiw en route to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Edmonton (33-18-8) has won two in a row. It leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer (29-23-5) has lost four in a row and now is one point out of a playoff spot. . . . These same teams will play again tonight in Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings got first-period goals from F Scott Atkinson (10), at 8:56, and F David Kope (11), at 15:24. . . . F Brandon Hagel (34) scored for Red Deer, at 14:29 of the second period. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 26 shots.


The host Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and went on Lethbridgeto beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Lethbridge (31-17-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (31-23-5) has lost five in a row. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Corson Hopwo, at 3:43, and F Ryan Chyzowski (20), on a PP, at 6:05. . . . Lethbridge tied it before the period ended, on goals from F Jake Elmer (30), at 10:45, and F Logan Barlage (13), on a PP, at 13:41. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (34) gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead at 3:34 of the second period, and F Taylor Ross (30) made it 4-2 at 12:27. . . . Hopwo (6) got the Tigers to within a goal at 15:10. . . . F Jordy Bellerive iced it for Lethbridge with a pair of third-period goals — at 14:50, on a PP, and into an empty net at 19:27. Bellerive has 27 goals. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from F Nick Henry. . . . Lethbridge was 2-6 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-8. . . . The Tigers had F Hayden Ostir (knee) back after he had been out since Jan. 4, but they are without F Ryan Jevne.


The Prince George Cougars ended a 17-game losing skid with a 2-1 shootout victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (17-35-7) hadn’t won since beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-0, on Jan. 12. . . . The Cougars are 13 points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining. . . . Kamloops (22-28-6) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. They’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Kamloops is four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Blazers are 6-0-1 in the season series; the Cougars are 1-5-1. . . . F Josh Maser gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:13 of the first period. . . . The Blazers tied it when F Zane Franklin (26) scored at 13:16 of the third period. . . . Kamloops had a 19-5 edge in third-period shots. . . . The Cougars scored the only goals of the shootout from F Ethan Browne and F Vladislav Mikhalchuk. . . . The Cougars got 41 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, while G Dylan Ferguson stopped 31 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Cougars lost D Cole Moberg to an undisclosed injury during the game. . . . Things don’t get any easier for the Cougars, who are to meet the U.S. Division-leading Silvertips in Everett tonight. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen takes a look at the Cougars’ woes right here.


The Kelowna Rockets scored twice in a shootout to beat the host Spokane Chiefs, 4-3. . . . KelownaRocketsKelowna (25-29-5) is third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Spokane (30-19-7) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, and is fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Leif Mattson (21) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 5:26 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Riley Woods (28) tied it, on a PP, at 7:32. . . . Kelowna went up 3-1 on second-period PP goals by F Nolan Foote (30), at 11:30, and F Alex Swetlikoff (3), at 17:58. . . . F Luke Toporowski (17) got the Chiefs to within one, on a PP, at 14:36 of the third period. . . . F Luc Smith (26) tied it with 27.3 seconds left in regulation time and G Bailey Brkin on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Rockets won it on shootout goals from D Lassi Thomson and Foote. . . . G James Porter blocked 40 shots to earn the victory over Brkin, who made 23 saves. . . . Kelowna F Ted Brennan, who had played one game since Jan. 19, was back in the lineup. . . . The Chiefs used rainbow-coloured tape on their sticks during their pregame warmup in a show of support for the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Portland tri-cityWinterhawks, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (33-21-3) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division nine points behind Portland and two ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (36-17-6) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Americans won the season series, 7-1-0. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin (37) ran his point streak to 10 games by giving his guys a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the game. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on first-period goals from D Jared Freadrich (11), at 10:52, and F Cody Glass (15), at 12:59. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (16) tied it at 15:30. . . . F Samuel Huo (6) broke the tie at 15:32 of the second period, and F Nolan Yaremko (22) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City was 0-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-1. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 34 shots for the winners, while Portland got 27 stops from Joel Hofer. . . . Warm stopped Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, on a penalty shot at 3:00 of the third period to preserve a 3-2 lead. . . . The Winterhawks remain without D Nolan De Jong.


G David Tendeck stopped 26 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-0 victory over the VancouverVictoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (31-24-3) is atop the B.C. Division by 20 points over Victoria. . . . Victoria (30-25-3) looks to be headed to a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . This was the first of three straight games between these teams, as they will clash again tonight and Sunday afternoon in Victoria. . . . Vancouver leads the season series, 5-2-1; Victoria is 3-4-1. . . . The Giants’ first two goals came from defencemen Kaleb Bulych (3), at 11:15 of the second period and Seth Bafaro (6), at 19:45. . . . The winner got insurance in the third period from F Lukas Svejkovsky (7) and F Justin Sourdif (18). . . . Tendeck posted his 20th victory of this season and the 50th of his career. This season, he is 20-10-2, 2.41, .911, with four shutouts. He has seven shutouts in his career. . . . The Royals got 30 saves from G Brock Gould.


D Jarret Tyszka scored in OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the SeattleSilvertips in Everett. . . . Seattle (24-28-6) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (41-14-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by eight points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett held 1-0 and 2-1 leads. . . . D Wyatte Wylie (9) made it 1-0 at 16:49 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it on a goal by F Nolan Volcan (20) at 4:36 of the second period. . . . F Jalen Price (6) put Everett back into the lead at 6:46. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (22) forced OT with a PP goal at 11:25 of the third period. . . . Tyszka won it with his seventh goal at 2:24 of OT. . . . Seattle was 1-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 39 shots for Seattle. . . . Everett got 27 saves from Dustin Wolf. . . . Seattle lost D Cade McNelly to a headshot major and game misconduct at 7:18 of the second period. Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas had to be helped off the ice after the hit. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was scratched for a third straight game.


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