Sillinger gets first goal as pursuit of his father begins . . . Canada West series postponed by COVID-19 . . . Royals add goalie from Chiefs

F Cole Sillinger, 18, scored his first NHL goal last night in his fourth game with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him 12th overall in the 2021 draft.

Sillinger now has two points in his four games.

He is 239 goals and 1,045 games behind his father, Mike, the former Regina Pats star who played with an NHL-record 12 different teams — he was traded a record-tying nine times. Mike was the 11th overall selection, taken by the Detroit Red Wings, in the NHL’s 1989 draft. Cole was born in Columbus while Mike was playing with the Blue Jackets.

Mike scored his first NHL goal in his eighth regular-season game. He was pointless in three games in 1992-93 before scoring Detroit’s third goal in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Dallas Stars on Oct. 25, 1993. That was Sillinger’s fifth game of the season. (Dean Evason, now the head coach of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, scored twice for Dallas.)

Cole had 53 points, 22 of them goals, with the Medicine Hat Tigers in 2019-20. Then, with the WHL stalled, he spent 2020-21 with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede, finishing with 46 points, including 24 goals, in 31 games.

Because he was drafted off the Stampede roster, he is eligible to play this season in the AHL, according to the CBA that governs the NHL-NHLPA relationship. A move to the AHL isn’t possible for an 18-year-old selected off the roster of a WHL team.

There weren’t any games in the WHL on Thursday night, but there was one on Wednesday night . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice scored seven — count ’em, seven — goals in the third Winnipegperiod en route to a 10-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Yes, the Ice led 3-2 going into the third period. . . . Winnipeg (8-0-0) was 4-for-9 on the PP. . . . F Cole Muir (3) scored twice and added two assists, with D Nolan Orzeck (1) helping out with a goal and two assists. . . . The Ice has outscored its oppostion, 53-13. . . . The Warriors (3-4-0) lost D Daemon Hunt, their captain, to a headshot major and game misconduct at 14:19 of the third period.

I got to know Bob Turner, a former head coach with the Regina Pats, during my 17 years at The Leader-Post. In fact, he was our realtor. He also was a greater teller of tales, but I don’t ever remember him telling me this one. . . . I can, however, easily see him turning down that particular NHL head-coaching job. . . . It was a sad day when Turner, who coached the Pats to the 1974 Memorial Cup title, died on Feb. 7, 2005.


JUST NOTES: The host MacEwan Griffins and Calgary Dinos were to have played a Canada West hockey series tonight and Saturday. But it has been postponed after what Canada West said in a new release is “multiple positive cases of COVID-19” within the Griffins. . . . The Winnipeg Jets played their home-opener last night — they beat the Anaheim Ducks, 5-1— without F Blake Wheeler and F Mark Scheifele, both of whom have had positive tests and are in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. . . . F Jeff Carter of the Pittsburgh Penguins has tested positive and is in COVID protocol. G Tristan Jarry also is in the protocol, but it isn’t know if he tested positive or is a close contact of someone who did.

JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Victoria Royals have acquired G Campbell Arnold, 19, and a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft from the Spokane Chiefs for a third-rounder in 2023. Arnold was 13-15-4, 3.17, .889 in 37 games over five seasons with the Cheifs. He became the fourth goaltender on the Royals’ roster, joining Austrian Sebastian Wraneschitz, 19; Connor Martin, 19; and Tyler Palmer, 18. That number will become three when Martin is dropped from the roster. . . . The trade leaves the Chiefs with Mason Beaupit, 18, and Manny Panghli, 17, as their goaltenders. . . .

Jake Wagman is leaving the Kelowna Rockets to join the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. He had been the Rockets’ director of video/hockey operations since January 2019. Tucson has hired him as director of hockey operations/video.


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Graham fighting to get back in booth. . . . Ice unveils plans for its temporary home. . . . Raiders can close out WHL final tonight


D Martin Bodák (Kootenay, 2017-19) has signed a one-year contract with Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Kootenay, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 58 games. . . .

D Brent Regner (Vancouver, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract extension with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 11 goals and 23 assists in 44 games.


As he had for more than 650 Edmonton Oil Kings games, Corey Graham was calling the play on March 18, 2018. That was the Oil Kings’ final game of the 2017-18 season because they missed the playoffs. . . . That also was Graham’s last game to date. What happened? . . .

Jason Gregor has the story right here . . .

“I met Corey and his wife Nicole in their new home last month. Corey greeted me at the front door of their newly renovated bungalow. Freshly painted walls and three gorgeous white pillars showcased a welcoming open area for the kitchen and living room.

“Instead of calling Oil Kings games, Corey has been battling to stand up. Literally.

“He moved his wheelchair close to the couch and we talked about the events of the previous 10 months.”

While they were preparing to move from Cranbrook, B.C., to Winnipeg, the owners of the wpgiceteam that now is the Winnipeg Ice had said they would spend $400,000 on dressing up Wayne Fleming Arena, the 38-year-old arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba. On Thursday, Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, announced that figure will be closer to $1.2 million. . . . As Paul Friesen wrote in the Winnipeg Sun: “You can buy a lot of lipstick for $1.2 million.” . . . That will allow them, Cockell said, to increase the arena’s capacity by 200, to 1,600, and to add such things as a new clock with video boards, as well as new glass and netting. . . . The Ice has said it will spend two seasons playing in the Wayne Fleming Arena as it awaits construction of a new facility. That new arena is to be built in the Rural Municipality of Macdonald, but a shovel has yet to be put in the ground because some rezoning apparently has yet to be done. . . . Friesen’s complete piece is right here.

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The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies scored a pair of empty-net goals to finish off a 6-3 victory over the visiting Halifax Mooseheads in Game 5 of the QMJHL’s championship final on Thursday night. . . . The Huskies lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 in Halifax on Saturday. . . . Halifax is the host team for the Memorial Cup so both teams will be playing in the tournament regardless of who wins this series. . . .

The OHL championship series is scheduled to resume tonight in Ottawa with the 67’s and Guelph Storm tied, 2-2. Ottawa won the first two games; Guelph followed by holding serve on home ice. . . . Game 6 is to be played in Guelph on Sunday.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News pretty much summed up the NHL playoffs with this:

“A blown major penalty that leads to four power-play goals in a crucial game can’t be reviewed, but a play where a guy’s DNA is on the wrong side of the blueline can.”

He’s right, and his entire piece is right here.

Men’s and women’s hockey teams from Trinity Western U in Langley, B.C., and MacEwan U in Edmonton will begin play in Canada West, one of U Sports’ top conferences, in 2020-21. . . . The applications were accepted on Thursday as Canada West’s annual general meeting wrapped up in Whistler, B.C. . . . The TWU Spartans men’s team is coming off back-to-back championship seasons in the B.C. International Hockey League. The women’s team plays in the South Coast Women’s Hockey League. . . . Both of MacEwan’s teams, the Griffins, play in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference where both teams have won three straight championships.

Brad Elliott Schlossman covers the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks and NCAA hockey for the Grand Forks Herald. He regularly writes a feature that he calls The Daily Skate, and it’s a really good read. . . . On Thursday, he wrote, among other things, about the number of standalone diving calls this season in NCAA Division I hockey. . . . He also had some info on college teams moving the starting times for Saturday games up to 6 p.m. Minnesota State U-Mankato is one of those teams. Here’s what Kevin Buisman, the athletic director, told Schlossman: “This is a strategy that has been effective in other markets and after consulting players, coaches, fans, event staff and other program supporters, we decided to move forward with immediate implementation. I think this change will be particularly appealing to families with younger children and this is a demographic we need to grow as they represent the future fan base of Maverick hockey.” . . . Schlossman’s complete piece is right here.

Rikard Grönborg is one of the hot names in the coaching community these days. Grönborg, the head coach of the Swedish national team, spent one season (2004-05) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. These days, it was thought that he was high on the Buffalo Sabres’ list of prospective head coaches. However, his day in the NHL is going to have to wait as he has signed a two-year deal with the ZSC Lions of the Swiss National League.


NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup could conclude tonight as the Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Giants meet in Game 5 in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders, who have posted 4-0 and 1-0 shutouts in two of the past three games, hold a 3-1 lead. In between the shutouts, they beat the Giants, 8-2. . . . Should the Giants win tonight, Game 6 would be played in Prince Albert on Sunday. A seventh game, if needed, would be played on Monday.


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