Broncos win first WHL title since ’93 . . . Take out Silvertips in six games . . . Skinner ties shutout record; Gawdin is MVP

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D Dan Gibb (Prince George, 2009-13) signed a one-year contract with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with the University of Calgary (Canada West), he had two goals and six assists in 19 gams. He was the team captain. . . .

F Alexander Chirva (Moose Jaw, Kootenay, 2013-15) signed a two-year contract extension with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, he had two assists in eight games. . . .

F Vitali Karamnov (Everett, 2007-08) signed a one-year contract extension with Dynamo St. Petersburg (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). The team captain, he had seven goals and 21 assists in 38 games. . . .

F Chase Witala (Prince George, 2010-16) signed a one-year contract extension with Starbulls Rosenheim (Germany, Oberliga). He signed with Rosenheim on Jan. 22, and put up six goals and 11 assists in 12 games. . . . This season, prior to signing with Rosenheim, he had three goals and seven assists in 11 games with the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL); was pointless in five games with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL); and was pointless in two games with Zilina (Slovakia, Extraliga).


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The Swift Current Broncos scored two first-period goals, the second one with 0.6 seconds remaining, en route to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips on Sunday night. SCBroncosThe Broncos won the best-of-seven WHL final, for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 4-2. . . . This was the third championship in Swift Current’s history. The Broncos won it all in 1989, then went on to win the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon, beating the Blades in the final 29 years ago. In 1993, they won their second WHL title, but didn’t fare as well at the Memorial Cup in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. This also was the first time since 1993 that a Saskatchewan-based team has won the WHL championship. . . . This was Everett’s second trip to the WHL final. It first got that far in 2004, which was its first season — yes, it’s first season — in the WHL. That time, it was swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Last night, F Giorgio Estephan (13) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:41 of the first period. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi, who drew the primary assist on Estephan’s goal, made it 2-0 with his fifth goal at 19:59. . . . F Beck Malenstyn added the empty-netter with 6.4 seconds remaining in the third period. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 31 shots as he recorded his sixth shutout of these playoffs and his second in the last three games of the final. He now shares the WHL record for shutouts in one playoff with Dustin Slade (Vancouver, 2006). . . . Everett got 22 stops from G Carter Hart. . . . Broncos F Glenn Gawdin, the team captain, was named the playoff MVP. He finished with 32 points, including 14 goals. . . . F Brad Morrison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes led all playoff scorers with 37 points. F Morgan Geekie of the Tri-City Americans was No. 1 in goals (17) and Heponiemi was tops in assists (25). . . . Swift Current was 1-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Reagan Vetter. . . . The attendance was 2,890.


Two of the men who coached in the WHL final may be on the move shortly.

There is speculation in NHL circles that the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks all have at least some interest in Manny Viveiros, the Broncos’ director of player personnel and head coach. All three NHL teams are, or will be, looking to fill assistant coach vacancies.

Viveiros is the WHL’s reigning coach of the year. His situation is certain to be a big story during the Memorial Cup in Regina.

Meanwhile, sources indicate that Mitch Love, who has been on Everett’s coaching staff since 2011-12, has been interviewed by the Saskatoon Blades, who are looking to replace Dean Brockman, who was fired when their season ended.

The Blades also have shown interest in Serge Lajoie, who spent the past three seasons as head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears. This season, Lajoie guided the Golden Bears to the Canadian university championship.

Lajoie is looking now because Ian Herbers has returned to the U of A after being dropped by the Oilers. Herbers had been on sabbatical while with the Oilers.

Lajoie’s son, Marc, a defenceman, was selected by the Tri-City Americans with the 14th overall selection of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


The four teams are set for the 100th running of the Memorial Cup tournament that opens Friday in Regina. Interestingly, none of the four teams won its league’s regular-season title.

The Regina Pats, of course, are the host team. They finished seventh in the WHL’s overall standings. The Moose Jaw Warriors were first overall, then lost out to the Swift Current Broncos in the second round. The Broncos, who were second overall, six points behind the Warriors, won the WHL title at home on Sunday night.

In the OHL, the Hamilton Bulldogs, who were second overall, beat out the No. 1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Sunday, winning Game 6, 5-4, on Sunday. In the 68-game regular season, the Greyhounds finished 13 points ahead of the Bulldogs.

In the QMJHL, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan beat the visiting Blainville-Boisbriand Aramada, 2-1, in Game 6 on Sunday night. In the regular season, the Armada finished first overall, with 107 points, 11 more than the second-place Titan.

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The Memorial Cup schedule (all times local):

Game 1, Friday – Hamilton vs. Regina, 8 p.m.

Game 2, Saturday – Swift Current vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 2 p.m.

Game 3, Sunday – Regina vs. Acadie-Bathurst, 5 p.m.

Game 4, Monday, May 21 – Swift Current vs. Hamilton, 6 p.m.

Game 5, Tuesday, May 22 – Acadie-Bathurst vs. Hamilton, 8 p.m.

Game 6, Wednesday, May 23 – Regina vs. Swift Current, 8 p.m.

Tiebreaker (if necessary) – Thursday, May 24, 6 p.m.

Semifinal – Friday, May 25, 8 p.m.

Final — Sunday, May 27, 5 p.m.


The legendary Clare Drake, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, died on Sunday morning. He was 89. Drake was a long-time coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears, and his coaching tree is as large as anyone who has ever been involved in hockey. . . . Jim Matheson, the hall-of-fame hockey writer, has more right here.


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Skinner, Sissons get Broncos to within one victory of title. . . . Can end it all on Friday . . . VIJHL to give three points for regulation win

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F Marcin Kolusz (Vancouver, 2003-04) signed a one-year contract extension with Podhale Nowy Targ (Poland, PHL). The team captain, he had 11 goals and 20 assists in 38 games. . . .

D Max Ross (Lethbridge, 2008-11) signed a one-year contract with Poprad (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he had five goals and 12 assists in 36 games. He was the team captain.


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The Swift Current Broncos are one victory away from their third WHL championship after beating the host Everett Silvertips, 1-0, on Wednesday night. . . . The Broncos lead SCBroncosthe best-of-seven championship final, 3-1, and can wrap up the Ed Chynoweth Cup on Friday night in Everett. . . . If the Silvertips win on Friday, they’ll head back to Swift Current for games on Sunday and, if necessary, Monday. . . . Last night, G Stuart Skinner stopped 32 shots to record the shutout, while D Colby Sissons scored the game’s only goal. . . . Sissons scored his fifth goal of the playoffs, on a PP, at 14:35 of the second period, beating G Carter Hart from the left side of the high slot. . . . Hart finished with 18 saves. . . . Skinner has faced 139 shots in four games, and has stopped 132 of them, for a .950 save percentage. . . . Referees Mike Campbell and Chris Crich gave the Broncos six of the game’s 11 minor penalties. Swift Current was 1-4 on the PP; Everett was 0-5. . . . Everett scored on its first PP of this series, but is 0-13 since then. . . . The announced attendance was 5,081. . . . The Broncos also won the WHL championship in 1989, when they went on to win the Memorial Cup, and 1993.


In his second season as the head coach of the Swift Current Broncos, Manny Viveiros has his club one victory away from winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions. The Broncos hold a 3-1 lead over the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final. . . . Robert Tychowski of Postmedia takes a look at Viveiros and his career right here.


Meanwhile, back in Swift Current, fans have gathered in the pews at the Credit Union iPlex to watch the game on the big screen. The fans were there for Game 3 on Tuesday night and again for Game 4 on Wednesday night. Of course, it wouldn’t be game without having fresh ice for each period. As you can see from the above tweet, the Zamboni driver has been taking care of that, and you can bet he and the fans will be back on Friday night.


The Young Stars Classic, the annual preseason tournament that takes place in Penticton, B.C., each September, will have a markedly different look this year. In the past, it has included prospect teams from four NHL teams. This time around, it will feature two games between prospects from the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets, along with a two-game series between the UBC Thunderbirds and U of Alberta Golden Bears. . . . The Classic is scheduled to run Sept. 7-9 at the South Okanagan Events Centre, the home of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. . . . The collegians are scheduled to meet on Sept. 7 (4 p.m.) and Sept. 8 (6 p.m.), with the Canucks and Jets facing each other on Sept. 7 (7:30 p.m.) and Sept. 9 (2 p.m.).


A tip of the Taking Note cap to the junior B Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Starting in 2018-19, it will award three points for a regulation-time victory. An overtime victory will be worth two points with a loss in overtime garnering one point. . . . The nine-team VIJHL plays two OT periods and now will go back to using a shootout if there isn’t a decision.