Scattershooting on a quiet New Year’s Eve . . . Tracey fills hat for Warriors . . . Americans get three SHG in victory

Scattershooting

It is because of items like this that I never miss reading Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon) . . .

“The Chicago Bears are going to sell beer in cans not plastic cups. The reason is that beer cans are more environmentally friendly — they are recyclable — and plastic cups are now seen as spawn of the Devil. It was not all that long ago when all the momentum was to sell beer in plastic cups because when an angered and inebriated fan threw the beer container at an opposing player or official, the cup was a lot safer than a full can of liquid.

“According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Soldier Field peddles about 20,000 cases of beer a year at the Bears’ home games — including exhibition games — and whatever other ancillary events take place there.  That amounts to 480,000 cans of beer.

“That is a lot of ‘ammunition’ to put in the hands of potentially angry spectators — and that is almost a half-million plastic cups that need not be used.”

——

Take time on this first day of 2019 to visit The Sport Curmudgeon’s site and read his take on the bad ads of 2018. I guarantee that you will find yourself nodding your head in agreement. . . . It’s all right here and it’s good stuff!



Whenever I’m flipping channels and come across The Bourne Identity, well, there goes another couple of hours. Yes, I happen to own the first three Bourne movies. No, I don’t think I have ever put one of them in the DVD player.


A note from Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post, who happens to be correct with this one: “Free, unsolicited advice for the WHL: Stop scheduling games for Dec. 27, thereby allowing players to spend Boxing Day with their families instead of having to travel. Scheduling-wise, this should be a snap now that the regular season has been shortened from 72 to 68 games per team.”

My take: Players shouldn’t be coming back from the Christmas break to a schedule that calls for them to play four games in five nights. Maybe it’s time to cut the schedule to 60 games.



You likely heard by now that Jim Lites, the Dallas Stars’ CEO, unloaded a premeditated and obscenity-laced rant aimed at forwards Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn the other day. The chances are good, I would suggest, that Lites was only the messenger for owner Tom Gaglardi. . . . You may remember a time a few years ago when Craig Bonner, then the general manager of the Kamloops Blazers, was the messenger — via a letter that bore his name — when Gaglardi tried to get a particular newspaper to dump the writer who was covering the Blazers. . . . Yes, this latest performance was deja vu all over again, except that the writer wasn’t being paid millions by Gaglardi.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle had this one among his new year’s resolutions: “To buy myself a pair of $300 sneakers. Because what if it is the shoes? It would be cool to dunk again.”

——

Ostler also had this one: “To invent a ballpark food. Perhaps something inspired by the turducken concept. Like, a churro inserted into a hot dog, inner-tube style, and the hot dog wrapped in a pizza. Churdogza. With a jalapeño hot-fudge ranch dip.”


Fishing


Meanwhile, columnist Dave Barry of the Miami Herald was wrapping up 2018 as only he is capable of doing. It’s all right here.


Are you old enough to remember when an NHL outdoor game was a big deal? Did you even realize that two teams — without going on the Internet, I couldn’t tell you which two — are playing somewhere outdoors today? . . . And now we hear that the NHL is expected to announce that Mosaic Stadium in Regina will be the site of a couple of games next season, one featuring the Winnipeg Jets against the Calgary Flames, with the Pats to play someone, likely the Moose Jaw Warriors, perhaps the day after the NHL game. . . . Sorry, but I just can’t get excited about this stuff. . . . Hey, wasn’t Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post writing about this a year or more ago?


Security


If ever there was a case for the WHL to get rid of the loser points, it is being made right whlnow in the Central Division. . . . Let’s check the standings. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings are 20-12-7, which means they have 20 victories and 19 losses. They also are in first place, two points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and three up on the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge is 19-10-7, meaning it has 19 victories and 17 losses. . . . Red Deer, meanwhile, is 21-12-2, so has 21 victories and 14 losses. . . . In other words, the team with the most victories and the fewest losses is in third place. . . . Of course, Red Deer holds a game in hand on Lethbridge and four on Edmonton. . . . Still, the loser point’s time is up. Please!



Happy New Year and thanks to all you for stopping off and hanging out in these parts in 2019. If you are so inclined, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and follow the instructions. Thank you, in advance.


MacBeth

F Miles Koules (Medicine Hat, Portland, 2012-15) has been released after an unsuccessful tryout with HIFK Helsinki (Finland, Liiga). He had two goals in 13 games. Earlier, he was pointless in two games with the Cleveland Monsters (AHL). . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has been released by the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). He had four goals and six assists in 14 games. . . . Earlier this season, he had one goal in four games with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga), and three goals and three assists in six games with Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL).


ThisThat

The Prince George Cougars, battered and bruised from a brutal schedule, have added D PrinceGeorgeCole Beamin, 17, to their roster. . . . In 28 games with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Saskatoon native has two goals and an assist. . . . Beamin was pointless in two games with the Cougars last season. He played two seasons with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts before joining the Hawks. . . . Beamin was a second-round selection by the Cougars in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Cougars, who are 1-7-0 on an 11-game road trip, will play the Rockets in Kelowna on Wednesday.


The Calgary Hitmen continue to play musical goaltenders as they fill the back up spot Calgarybehind Jack McNaughton, who is seeing the bulk of the action with Carl Stankowski on the shelf with an ankle injury. . . . On Sunday, the Hitmen had Brayden Peters of the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes on the bench during a 4-0 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. With Peters returning to the Hurricanes, who are playing in the Mac’s tournament in Calgary, the Hitmen now have added Ethan Hein of the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires to their roster. Hein, 16, is from Saskatoon, and was a third-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Hitmen acquired him in a Nov. 25, 2017, deal in which seven players and two bantam draft picks changed hands. . . . Calgary is at home to the Victoria Royals this afternoon.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Monday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

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


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

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

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

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

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

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

——

MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brayden Tracey scored three times to lead the host Moose Jaw Warriors to a 3-1 victory MooseJawWarriorsover the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Moose Jaw (20-8-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . Brandon (15-14-6) has lost four in a row. . . . The Warriors had beaten the Wheat Kings, 6-2, in Brandon on Sunday. . . . This was the fourth game in five nights for both clubs. Moose Jaw went 3-0-1; Brandon finished 0-4-0. . . . Last night, D Chase Hartje (3) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead at 10:31 of the first period. . . . Tracey, who has 14 goals, tied it at 11:54. . . . He gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 5:07 of the second, then added insurance, on a PP, at 5:45 of the third. . . . Tracey, a 17-year-old from Calgary, was a first-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He had two assists in five games with Moose Jaw last season. This season, he has 38 points in 34 games. . . . This was his first career hat trick and his second multi-goal game. . . . G Connor Ungar, 16, made his first WHL start for the Wheat Kings after coming on in relief and stopping nine of 10 shots in the third period of a 6-2 loss to the visiting Warriors on Sunday. Ungar finished this one with 24 saves. He plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . Brandon F Linden McCorrister returned after a two-game absence, but D Schael Higson was scratched. That left Brandon with two 20-year-olds. . . . Brandon Crowe, the radio voice of the Wheat Kings, tweeted before the game that he was told Higson’s absence was a “coach’s decision . . . he did not make the trip.” . . . F Stelio Mattheos, who leads Brandon in goals, assists and points, sat out the third of a three-game WHL-issued suspension.


The Victoria Royals coughed up a 3-1 lead and then needed OT to beat the Kootenay Ice, VictoriaRoyals4-3, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Victoria (18-14-1) is 2-1-0 on a six-game Central Division tour. . . . Kootenay (8-24-7) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . F Dino Kambeitz (6) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 8:46 of the first period. . . . F Davis Murray (6) tied it at 17:01. . . . Victoria F Dante Hannoun (18) put the Royals ahead at 4:15 of the second period and F Kaid Oliver (16) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 6:17. . . . Kootenay tied it on goals from F Brad Ginnell (9), at 15:28 of the second, and D Dallas Hines (4), at 3:37 of the third. . . . The Royals won it when D-Jay Jerome scored his 15th goal of the season, on a breakaway at 3:37 of OT. . . . The Ice opened the game with the first four shots on goal, but then surrendered 15 in a row. . . . Victoria finished with a 52-29 edge in shots, including 5-1 in OT, as they set a Royals franchise record for shots in one game. The previous record (50) was set on Jan. 14, 2012, in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. (The franchise record of 68 was set by the Chilliwack Bruins in a 4-3 loss to the Winterhawks in Portland. G Kurtis Mucha stopped 65 shots for Portland.) . . . G Jesse Makaj, who was named the Ice’s player of the month for December, finished with 48 saves, 22 more than Victoria’s Brock Gould. . . . Kootenay was credited with wining 49 of 80 faceoffs. . . . The Ice had both Ginnell and F Peyton Krebs in the lineup. Ginnell wasn’t suspended after taking a charging major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jordy Bellerive doing an 8-4 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday. Bellerive wasn’t injured on the play; in fact, he picked up an assist on a goal just 45 seconds later. . . . Krebs left Saturday’s game late in the third period.


F Ryan Hughes had a goal and three assists to help the host Portland Winterhawks to a 6-Portland3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (21-11-5) has points in six straight (3-0-3). . . . Seattle (11-19-4) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Seattle actually took a 3-1 lead into the second period on two goals by F Zack Andrusiak and one from F Tyler Carpendale (4). . . . Andrusiak, who has 27 goals, has 12 goals and two assists in six games against Portland this season. He has scored six times over the past two games. . . . Hughes, who had the third four-point game of his career, scored his 17th goal, on a PP, for Portland’s first tally. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals (34) and points (72), pulled Portland even by scoring twice, at 0:39 and 5:59 of the second period, the second goal coming on a PP. . . . F Michal Kvasnica (5) snapped the tie at 8:56, and D Jared Freadrich (5) added insurance, on a PP, at 16:09. . . . F Seth Jarvis (8) got Portland’s final goal, at 8:03 of the third period. . . . Freadrich also had two assists, and Blichfeld added one. . . . Portland was 3-6 on the PP; Seattle was 1-7. . . . Seattle lost D Cade McNelly to a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on Kvasnica at 13:28 of the second period. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman was given a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jake Gricius at 8:55 of the third period. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley and D John Ludvig, both of whom are serving suspensions, and D Brendan De Jong (concussion). . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk was scratched. Quigley drew a TBD suspension after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on Hamaliuk in Portland’s 8-6 victory over Seattle in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. . . . Seattle opens an East Division trip in Brandon on Saturday, while Portland begins its swing in Swift Current that same night. It remains to be seen who will be missing from both teams due to suspensions and injuries.


The Tri-City Americans scored three times while shorthanded en route to a 6-1 victory tri-cityover the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (19-13-2) had dropped a 2-1 decision in Spokane on Sunday night. . . . The Chiefs (20-13-4) are third in the U.S. Division, four points ahead of the Americans who hold three games in hand. . . . F Paycen Bjorklund got the Americans started with his first goal of the season — in his 22nd game — at 6:58 of the first period. . . . D Jarod Newell made it 2-0 with his first WHL goal — in his 21st game — just 44 seconds later. . . . F Kyle Olson (9) upped the lead to 3-0 at 17:45. . . . The Americans put it away with three shorthanded goals — F Parker AuCoin had two of them, with F Blake Stevenson (7) adding the other. . . . AuCoin now has 20 goals, one shy of his career high from 2016-17. . . . F Jake McGrew (13) scored for Spokane at 19:30 of the third period. . . . Olson had two assists and AuCoin one as both had three-point games. . . . G Arnold Campbell, who plays for the junior B Spokane Braves, made his WHL debut with the Chiefs by playing the third period. He stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 22 shots to record the victory. . . . D Nolan Reid of the Chiefs played in his 301st regular-season game. He got to No. 300 — 138 with the Chiefs after playing 162 with the Saskatoon Blades — on Sunday.


Tweetoftheday

Advertisements

All quiet on the Kootenay front . . . Raiders roll to another victory . . . ‘Tips win battle of U.S. Division leaders


MacBeth

D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, as an alternate captain with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), he had one goal and 10 assists in 43 games. He also had three assists in 10 games with Sochi (Russia, KHL). . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) has been released by mutual agreement by Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). He had two goals and two assists in 25 games. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). He had been released by Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL) after the end of a tryout contract on Nov. 11. He had three goals and three assists in six games. . . . Tvrdoň started the season with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga), scoring once in four games.


ThisThat

As readers stopped by here late Tuesday night and on through Wednesday, they learned that the Green Bay Committee had shut it down in Cranbrook, B.C., having started to whlbelieve that the Kootenay Ice, the WHL franchise its members had been working to save, is in its final season there.

The committee had been selling tickets and raising money through sponsorships for the Ice in the hopes of keeping the team in the 4,264-seat Western Financial Place.

With all signs pointing to a departure at season’s end, readers started to suggest possible landing spots, other than Winnipeg. Among those mentioned, in no particular order, were New Westminster, Billings, Chilliwack, Anchorage, Wenatchee, Penticton and Vernon.

None of those will be a destination, of course, as it seems the Ice is destined to end up in Winnipeg playing out of the East Division, while the Swift Current Broncos would slide back into the Central Division.

When that happens, Cranbrook will be home to an arena that meets WHL standards — including new lighting, boards and glass, and with plans for a new scoreboard with video boards to be installed in time for 2019-20.

Perhaps the one thing missing would be a team.

But there already are people in Cranbrook who are wondering if there might be another WHL team interested in relocating.

For starters, you can forget about the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos. These are the four remaining community-owned franchises and they aren’t going anywhere.

But . . .

New owners took over the Prince George Cougars in time for the 2014-15 season and admit that they have been bleeding money. This season, the announced average attendance in Prince George is 2,521 through 11 games. Last season, the final figure was 3,024.

Might the Cougars’ ownership be interested in at least kicking some tires?

Meanwhile, the Tri-City Americans averaged 3,053 fans for seven playoff games last spring after a regular season in which that figure was 3,649. But the Toyota Center, which opened in 1988, needs help

A year ago, the Tri-City Herald published a story that centred on the needed improvements and included this:

“Neither (WHL commissioner Ron) Robison nor (Americans general manager Bob) Tory suggested the Americans might leave Kennewick. But they didn’t deny the possibility either.

“Tory said team expenses have doubled under current ownership while revenue has been flat.

“ ‘There comes a time when that doesn’t make sense any more,’ Tory said.”

Voters in Kennewick, Wash., have twice rejected a sales tax that would have had money directed to Toyota Center improvements.

A year ago, there really wasn’t another option for teams like the Cougars or Americans. That changes if/when the Ice heads for the Manitoba capital.

Interestingly, Tory is quite familiar with Cranbrook, having worked as Kootenay’s general manager for two seasons (1998-2000).


All was quiet on the Kootenay Ice front on Wednesday, the day after a local committee that was working towards ensuring that the WHL franchise stays in Cranbrook, B.C., chose to cease operations.

In a letter to Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, as well as one of its Kootenaynewtwo owners, the Green Bay Committee cited a lack of support from the Ice’s owners, Greg Fettes and Cockell, in its decision.

Fettes and Cockell, both with ties to Winnipeg, purchased the franchise prior to last season. This season has been loaded with speculation that the franchise will be relocated to Winnipeg before another season arrives.

Of late, however, there has only been silence from the Ice.

“The silence is deafening,” John Hudak, the committee’s marketing director, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. “I can’t speak for the owners of the team, I’m not a mind-reader and I don’t know what they are planning on doing, but it’s just highly unusual that people who have been in town for a very short period of time are not making that comment. If they have attendance problems (and) then they aren’t making any comments here to us and (aren’t) willing to engage with us . . . It’s disturbing.”

Hudak’s committee had invited Cockell to attend meetings. Hudak told Taking Note on Wednesday that Cockell’s refusal to attend “surprised” the committee.

Hudak said there was a “representative of the Ice, but not a decision-maker” at the committee’s first meeting on Oct. 25.

Hudak told Global News-Winnipeg on Wednesday that the Ice’s lack of engagement is “probably the single biggest thing that has impacted our ability to lock up some ticket sales.

“Why should we support this if these people aren’t going to remain in the community.

“(We) haven’t heard from the Ice ownership if it will remain . . . their silence on the subject has become deafening.”

Global News reported that “Fettes has also partnered with Brad Rice, who opened Winnipeg’s The Rink Training Facility in 2009, and is building a new facility south of the city. Sources have told Global News a new 5,000-seat arena is planned to be developed on the site to accommodate the WHL team.”

In September, Fettes told Global: “As a fan, parent, and owner, I am passionate about hockey development in Winnipeg and across Canada. Because of this passion, I am involved with The Rink Player Development and their new facility at McGillivray and Loudon, including their expansion and development in the surrounding area.”

Kootenay’s next home game is scheduled for Friday night when the Calgary Hitmen are in town. Jeff Chynoweth is Calgary’s general manager. Fettes and Cockell purchased the Ice from Chynoweth, his brother, Dean, and their mother, Linda.


The B.C. Sports Hall of Fame revealed Wednesday that Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, will received the 2019 W.A.C. Bennett Award for contribution to sport in the province. . . . The award will be presented during the Hall of Fame’s induction gala on May 23 in Vancouver. . . . Toigo has owned the Giants since purchasing an expansion franchise that began play in the 2000-01 season. He has been instrumental in having the 2006 and 2019 World Junior Championships played in Vancouver, as well as the 2007 Memorial Cup. . . . Toigo already is in the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame and the Delta, B.C., Sports Hall of Fame.


G Gavin McHale, who made 45 WHL appearances over two seasons (2004-06), got to watch an NHL game while wearing the uniform of the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. With starter Braden Holtby a late scratch due to an undisclosed injury that is believed to be minor, the Capitals started Pheonix Copley against the host Winnipeg Jets and brought in McHale, a 31-year-old from Winnipeg, as the emergency backup. . . . The Jets won the game, 3-1. . . . McHale, who made 33 appearances with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 12 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, is the goaltender coach for the women’s hockey team at the U of Manitoba. . . . The 6-foot-7 McHale had been in the backup role once before. In February, he spent the third period on the Colorado Avalanche’s bench in support of Semyon Varlamov, who went in to replace the injured Jonathan Bernier.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Alex Evin, their director of player personnel and associate coach, to a two-year extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. . . . Evin is in his second season with the Spruce Kings. . . . Adam Maglio, the Spruce Kings’ head coach, also is signed through 2020-21, as is general manager Mike Hawes.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott blocked 43 shots to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to their 11th straight PrinceAlbertvictory, this time beating the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0. . . . The Raiders (18-1-0) now lead the overall standings by six points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Tigers (9-10-3) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Scott even took a shot at an empty-net goal, only to have the scoreboard in the Art Hauser Centre get in the way. “He thought he was Marty Brodeur at the end there with the shot,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com. “I thought it had a pretty good chance. He got some good weight on it and she was going. But then the clock obviously got in the way. That was the end of that.” . . . F Brett Leason (18) scored the game’s first goal, while shorthanded, at 8:58 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (9) added insurance at 11:16 of the third. . . . Leason has at least one point in all 19 Prince Albert games this season. He and F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings are tied for the WHL lead in goals. . . . Scott has three shutouts this season and six in his career. On the season, he is 15-1-0, 1.50, .946. . . . BTW, the Raiders now have scored 11 times while shorthanded; their WHL-leading penalty-killers have surrendered only seven goals. . . . D’Andrea’s story is right here.

G Beck Warm turned aside 24 shots to help the Tri-City Americans to a 3-0 victory over tri-citythe Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Americans now are 12-6-0. This was Game 9 of an 11-game road trip on which they are 7-2-0, including 2-2-0 in the East Division. . . . The Broncos (4-16-2) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Warm had one shutout this season and two in his career. . . . F Kyle Olson (4) opened the scoring at 4:20 of the first period, with F Krystof Hrabik (5) made it 2-0 at 19:15. . . . F Isaac Johnson scored his seventh goal into an empty net at 19:56 of the third period. . . . The Broncos remain without D Matthew Stanley, while F Eric Houk now has missed two games since being injured in a fight with F Carter Massier during a 2-0 loss to the Pats in Regina on Saturday.


F Josh Maser scored the winner in OT and also had two assists to lead the Prince George PrinceGeorgeCougars to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (9-8-3) has won two in a row. . . . Kelowna (8-12-1) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . F Matej Toman (3) gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 10:05 of the second period. . . . Kelowna took a 3-2 lead on third-period goals from F Lane Zablocki (2), at 0:55, and F Kyle Topping (9), shorthanded, at 12:07. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (4) pulled the Cougars even at 19:43. . . . Maser won it with his sixth goal of the season with six seconds left in extra time.


F Riley Sutter’s shootout goal gave the host Everett Silvertips a 3-2 victory over the EverettPortland Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (15-6-0) have won five straight. . . . The Winterhawks (12-6-2) had their five-game winning streak snapped. . . . Everett leads the U.S. Division, by four points over Portland, which holds a game in hand. . . . The Silvertips led this one 2-0 in the first period on PP goals from F Connor Dewar (16), at 2:27, and F Bryce Kindopp (8), at 12:25. . . . The Winterhawks got third-period goals from F Reece Newkirk (13), at 3:14, and F Ryan Hughes (7), at 3:55. . . . Dewar and Portland F Joachim Blichfeld each scored in the first round of the shootout. Sutter, the first shooter in the third round, got the winner. . . . The Silvertips got 39 saves from G Dustin Wolf, while Portland’s Shane Farkas blocked 41.


Tweetoftheday

Silvertips ride bus to three wins . . . Blichfeld, Glass spark ‘Hawks. Again . . . DiLaura posts first shutout


MacBeth

F Matt Pufahl (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Everett, 2010-14) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had one assist in six games with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL), while on loan from the Colorado Eagles (AHL). He had been recalled and released by Colorado on Oct. 30. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has been released by Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL) after the end of a tryout contract. He had three goals and three assists in six games. Earlier this season, he had one goal in four games with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga).


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


SUNDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

F Connor Bouchard scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the Tri-City tri-cityAmericans a 3-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . The Americans improved to 11-5-0. This was Game 7 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans. They are 6-1-0, including 1-1-0 in the East Division. . . . The Wheat Kings are 9-4-6. . . F Stelio Mattheos gave Brandon a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 18th goal, at 18:51 of the first period. . . . The Americans took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Riley Sawchuk (8) and F Blake Stevenson (3). . . . F Luka Burzan (13) got Brandon into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 3:18 of the third period. . . . F Isaac Johnson scored for the Americans in the third round of the shootout, but F Ben McCartney then tied it. . . . That left it for Bouchard, who had two assists, to win it.


F Reese Johnson scored in OT to give the visiting Red Deer Rebels a 3-2 victory over the Red DeerSwift Current Broncos. . . . Red Deer (13-5-1) has won two in a row. . . . The Broncos (3-16-2) has lost three in a row. . . . Swift Current grabbed a 2-0 lead on goals from F Ben King (4) and F Max Patterson (5), the latter at 0:40 of the second period. . . . F Zak Smith (11) got the Rebels on the scoreboard at 1:27 of the second period and F Josh Tarzwell (3) tied it at 19:34. . . . Johnson won it with his ninth goal at 1:00 of OT. . . . The teams had nine shots apiece in the first period; the Rebels held a 39-8 edge after that point, including 19-3 in the second period and 16-5 in the third. . . . Swift Current G Joel Hofer stopped 44 shots. Despite a 2-11-2 record and a 4.32 GAA, he has a .900 save percentage. . . . F Brandon Hagel, the Rebels’ leading scorer, didn’t play. He played Friday and Saturday games and may have tweaked something that had been bothering him, so was rested. . . . D Jacob Herauf, who was injured on Friday and sat out Saturday, played in this one. . . . Swift Current had F Owen Blocker and D Garrett Sambrook back after brief absences. . . . The Rebels played three road games in fewer than 48 hours and went 2-1-0. . . . The Broncos also played three games in fewer than 48 hours. They went 0-2-1.


F Carson Focht and F James Malm each had a goal and three assists to lead the Calgary CalgaryHitmen to a 7-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Calgary (6-12-2) had lost its previous three games. . . . Kootenay (6-12-3) has lost five in a row. . . . F Riley Stotts gave Calgary a 2-1 lead at 9:10 of the second period and the Hitmen took control with two more goals, from Malm (11), at 10:37 of the second and D Egor Zamula (3), on a PP, at 7:09 of the third. . . . The Ice got to within 4-3 on third-period goals from D Martin Bodak (4) and F Brett Davis (7), but Calgary F Tye Carriere (2) scored 15 seconds later and Calgary later got two more goals. . . . Stotts finished with two goals, giving him three, and an assist. . . . Focht has four goals. . . . Calgary outshot the Ice, 44-32, including 23-8 in the third period. . . . Kootenay went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours.


The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last three goals to beat the host Kamloops EverettBlazers, 5-2. . . . Everett (14-6-0) has won four straight. . . . Kamloops (6-9-2) had lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Everett has won all three meetings with the Blazers this season outscoring them 18-5 in the process. . . . The Silvertips won 7-2 in Kamloops on Friday night, then beat the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-1, on Saturday, before getting back on the bus and returning to Kamloops for Sunday’s game. . . . The Silvertips now are 11-0-0 when they score the game’s first goal. . . . F Connor Dewar (15) broke a 2-2 tie at 4:59 of the third period and F Jackson Berezowski (4) added insurance at 14:31. . . . G Max Palaga, who is from Kamloops and spent last season with the Blazers, made his first start with the Silvertips, who acquired him in a trade last week. He stopped 26 shots to earn the victory. . . . G Dustin Wolf had started Everett’s first 19 games. Last season, while backing up Carter Hart, Wolf made 20 appearances. He finished 13-6-0 last season; this season, he is 13-6-0. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson started the game but left at 8:17 of the second period after somehow managing to cut a finger. He stopped 15 of 17 shots. He was replaced by Rayce Ramsay, who was beaten twice on 15 shots. With Dylan Garand set to return from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, Ramsay will return today to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . In a couple of games that promise to be interesting this week, the Portland Winterhawks visit Everett on Wednesday and the Silvertips are in Portland on Friday. . . . The Silvertips lead the U.S. Division by three points over the Winterhawks.


F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice and F Cody Glass had three assists to lead the host PortlandPortland Winterhawks to a 4-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Portland (12-6-1) has won five in a row. . . . Kelowna (8-12-0) has lost two straight. . . . The Winterhawks had beaten the visiting Rockets, 3-0, on Saturday night. . . . The Rockets went 1-2-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. They had beaten host Seattle, 3-1, on Friday. . . . F Mason Mannek (5), at 15:10 of the first period, and Blichfeld, at 5:55 of the second, gave Portland a 2-0 lead. . . . F Kyle Crosby (2) scored for Kelowna at 9:46, but F Reece Newkirk (12) got that one back, while shorthanded, at 11:08. . . . F Mark Liwiski (1) pulled the visitors to within one at 16:01. . . . Blichfeld added insurance with his 17th goal, at 8:12 of the third period. . . . Blichfeld has 39 points, including 22 assists, in 19 games. . . . Glass now has 34 points, 27 of them assists, in 16 games.


G Isaiah DiLaura blocked 26 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 1-0 victory over PrinceGeorgethe Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Cougars (8-8-3) had dropped a 2-1 decision to the Giants on Saturday. . . . Vancouver (13-4-2) had won its previous three games. . . . DiLaura, an 18-year-old from Lakeville, Minn., record his first career shutout. This was his sixth appearance of the season; he got into 14 games last season. This time around, he is 3-2-1, 2.38, .926. . . . F Ethan Browne (4) scored the game’s only goal, on a PP, at 8:00 of the first period. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 31 shots for the Giants.


Tweetoftheday

Broncos add d-man, release forward . . . Giants win 13-round shootout . . . Lambert a winner in return to Swift Current


MacBeth

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Klagenfurt II (Switzerland, Alps HL). This season, he had one goal in four games with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russian Vysshaya Liga). The contract with Klagrenfurt II has a one-month “probationary” period. . . .

G Barry Brust (Spokane, Calgary, 2000-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). Last season, with Fribourg-Gottéron (Switzerland, NL A), he was 2.29, .926 in 38 games. . . . Side note on Kunlun Red Star: The KHL schedule states that Kunlun has played or will play all of its home games in Shanghai until Christmas Day, when they will move their home games to Beijing. . . .

D Brett Carson (Moose Jaw, Calgary, 2001-06) has signed a contract with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga). The contract is for the rest of this season, but there is an unspecified “probationary” period. Last season, he had two goals and five assists in 56 games with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). He was an alternate captain. . . .

F/D Curt Gogol (Kelowna, Saskatoon, Chilliwack, 2007-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Manglerud (Norway, GET-Ligaen). This season, with Kalmar (Sweden, Division 1), he had one assist in four games.


ThisThat

The Swift Current Broncos have acquired D Garrett Sambrook from the Brandon Wheat SCBroncosKings for a conditional ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . From Medora, Man., Sambrook, 18, was a sixth-round pick by Brandon in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Wheat Kings released him earlier this season and he has been playing with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals, recording three assists in seven games. . . . In 70 games with the Wheat Kings over three seasons, he put up one goal and nine assists. . . . Sambrook didn’t play in the Broncos’ 4-1 loss to the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Friday night.

Later Friday, the Broncos announced that they had released F Colum McGauley. The 18-year-old, from Wilcox, Sask., was pointless in two games with the Broncos this season. . . . Last season, he had two goals in 47 games with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Spokane Chiefs selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 WHL bantam draft. . . . The Rockets dealt F Tanner Wishnowski to Spokane for McGauley, on Oct. 27, 2016. On July 10, Kelowna dealt him to the Broncos for an eighth-round selection in the 2021 bantam draft.


Please feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a donation to the Taking Note cause. . . . One regular reader who did just that wrote: “Definitely the best source of info for junior hockey, and really enjoy the writing. It’s one of my first visits every morning.”


The Kamloops Blazers have released D Tylor Ludwar, 19, and he is expected to join the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Ludwar, from Regina, had gotten into only one game with the Blazers this season. . . . Ludwar had one goal and two assists in 53 games last season, after recording two assists in 19 games in 2016-17.


Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette has more on Lyle Odelein and what he has been through right here. Odelein, 50, is from Quill Lake, Sask. He played three seasons (1985-88) with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Odelein was tough, but he also put up 163 points in 189 regular-season games.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed F Josh Hoekstra to a WHL contract. From Edmonton, he was a fourth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, he is played with OHA-Edmonton’s Elite 15s. In five games, he has three assists. Last season, he had eight goals and 18 assists in 30 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team.


Ryan Oulahen has stepped aside from his position as head coach of the OHL’s Flint ohlFirebirds. A post on the team’s website reads that Oulahen has left “due to personal and family reasons. He will be leaving the position effective immediately.” . . . Greg Stefan, the team’s goaltending coach, worked as the head coach on Friday night, with associate coach Darcy Findlay and assistant coach Garrett Rutledge staying in their roles. . . . The Firebirds were 0-7-0 going into Friday’s games, leaving them last in the 10-team Western Conference. Last night, they fell to 0-8-0 with a 5-3 loss to the visiting North Bay Battalion. . . . Oulahen, 33, was in his third season as Flint’s head coach. . . . Brendan Savage of mlive.com has more right here.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

D Kaleb Bulych scored in the 13th round of a shootout as the Vancouver Giants beat the VancouverKamloops Blazers, 4-3, in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants ran their winning streak to five games. . . . The Blazers have lost six in a row (5-0-1). . . . F Luc Smith’s second goal of the game, at 15:33 of the third period, gave Kamloops a 3-1 lead. . . . F Davis Koch got the Giants to within one at 17:33 and F Milos Roman tied it with 10.7 seconds left in the period. . . . The Giants won the shootout, 2-1, getting their other goal from D Bowen Byram in the third round, after F Connor Zary had scored for Kamloops to end the second round. . . . A pregame note from Steve Ewen of Postmedia: “Also of note with Friday’s game is the coaching matchup. Michael Dyck signed on as bench boss with the Giants in June, but not before talking to the Blazers about their open post, if you believe the rumour mill. The Blazers announced Serge Lajoie as their new coach three days ahead of the Dyck addition in Vancouver, but Lajoie had spoken to the Giants, according to scuttlebutt.”


F Max Gerlach scored three times, including the OT winner, as the Saskatoon Blades beat the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 3-2. . . . Gerlach, who has seven goals, tied the game, 2-2, at 19:44 of the third period and won it at 3:44 of OT. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier stopped 23 shots. F Alex Morozoff of the Rebels came up short on a penalty shot at 16:41 of the third period with his guys ahead 2-1. . . . The Blades have won four in a row; the Rebels are 4-0-1 in their past five. . . . D Jackson Caller was back in Saskatoon’s lineup after missing four games with an undisclosed injury.


F Bryce Kindopp broke a 3-3 tie with 2:57 left in the third period as the host Everett Silvertips got past the Edmonton Oil Kings, 5-3. . . . Kindopp’s third goal of the season came via the PP. . . . F Connor Dewar had two goals — giving him six — and two assists for Everett, for his second career four-point game. . . . The Oil Kings have lost six in a row (0-5-1); they are 0-4-0 in the U.S. Division. They wrap up this six-game road trip tonight in Kent, Wash., against the Seattle Thunderbirds.


G Bailey Brkin stopped 28 shots to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, now are 0-7 to open the season. . . . Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) notes that this is the Broncos’ first seven-game losing streak “since an 11-game winless stretch in November and December of 2015.” Brandow adds that the Broncos are the “first defending title holder in Internet Era to lose first six the following season.” . . . The Chiefs have points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . This game marked the return of Dan Lambert to Swift Current for the first time as head coach of the Chiefs. Lambert was an all-star defenceman with the Broncos and helped them win the 1989 Memorial Cup. He is in his second season as the Chiefs’ head coach; they didn’t play in Swift Current last season.


D Linus Nassen had a goal and two assists, his first goal of the season coming 28 seconds into the game, to help the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Tigers improved to 4-5-1. . . . Prince George (2-5-1) has lost four in a row. . . . After the game, Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat Tigers tweeted: “Tigers not commenting on the status of Gary Haden, who was scratched from tonight’s game.” . . . McCracken also tweeted that Tigers skaters “Joel Craven and Trevor Longo both left tonight’s game and are questionable” for Saturday’s game.


D Schael Higson had five points, including two goals, as the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings scored a 5-4 OT victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (3) won it 25 seconds into extra time. . . . Higson, 20, has three goals and eight assists in six games. Last season, he had career highs of five goals and 23 assists in 71 games. . . . The Warriors got four assists from F Justin Almeida, with F Tristin Langan adding two goals and an assist. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-0-1) have yet to lose in regulation time. . . . The Warriors are 3-0-2 in their last five. . . . This was the fourth meeting in three weeks between these teams — Brandon is 3-0-1; Moose Jaw is 1-2-1.


In Cranbrook, B.C., the Regina Pats built up a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Pats (2-6-0) had lost their previous two games; the Ice had won its previous two games. . . . Freshman F Sergei Alkhimov gave the visitors a 2-0 lead when he scored his second goal of the season on a penalty shot at 7:46 of the second period. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Regina was 46-for-65 on faceoffs. That’s 71 per cent.


The Kelowna Rockets snapped a four-game losing skid with a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. The Rockets improved to 2-8-0. . . . F Kyle Topping (3) gave the Rockets a 3-1 lead at 5:30 of the third period. . . . F Michael Farren, acquired Thursday from the Saskatoon Blades, wasn’t in Kelowna’s lineup. The Rockets also scratched two 20-year-olds — F Lane Zablocki, who has yet to play, and F Ryan Bowen. . . . The two head coaches — Jason Smith of Kelowna and Tri-City’s Kelly Buchberger — both are former captains of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . The Rockets and Americans will play again tonight, this time in Kelowna.


The Calgary Hitmen won for the first time in seven games, beating the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6-5. . . . Calgary (1-5-1) built up a 6-2 lead, then allowed three goals, two of them by F Logan Barlage (4), in the game’s last 6:05. . . . The Hitmen got two goals and an assist from F Mark Kastelic (5), a goal and two helpers from F Jake Kryski (5), and three assists from D Vladislav Yeryomenko. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 34 shots to earn his first WHL victory.


Tweetoftheday

Americans looking for head coach . . . Lajoie hopes to make hay with Kamloops . . . Broncos are poised to introduce their man

MacBeth

F Levko Koper (Spokane, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had four goals and eight assists in 45 games. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) signed a one-year contract with  Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga). Last season, with the Edinburgh Capitals (Scotland, UK Elite, he had eight goals and seven assists in 15 games, and he had nine goals and 13 assists in 31 games with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). He was tied for second on the Slovakian team in assists. . . .

F Lane Scheidl (Vancouver, Red Deer, Regina, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL), he had 18 goals and 19 assists in 56 games. . . .

F Justin Hickman (Seattle, 2010-15) signed a one-year contract with Lillehammer (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, with the Providence Bruins (AHL), he had five goals and three assists in 32 games. . . . Hickman is Lillehammer’s ‘Public Player’ for the coming season. The club pays the salary of the team’s public player in part from funds raised from fans. As of Monday morning, the club had raised NOK 186,837 (Cdn$30,662.00, US$23,026.00) from 499 donors since May 7. That was 110 per cent of the team’s goal. The donations ranged from NOK 1 (16 cents Cdn, or 12 cents U.S.) up to one donation of NOK 10,000 (Cdn$1,640.00, US$1,232.00). Donors are eligible to win prizes such as game-worn sweaters, game-worn warmup jerseys and free ice time at the team’s arena.

F Tomáš Karpov (Mosse Jaw, Calgary, 2007-09) signed a one-year contract with the Bracknell Bees (England, National). Last season, with the Basingstoke Bison (England, National), he had 29 goals and 38 assists in 32 games. An alternate captain, he led the team in goals and points. . . .

F Karel Hromas (Everett, 2004-06) signed a one-year contract with Montpellier (France, Division 1). Last season, with Annecy (France, Division 1), he had eight goals and 11 assists in 26 games. He was second on his team in points. . . .

F Mads Eller (Edmonton, 2013-15) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Rødovre Mighty Bulls (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). In 38 games, he had 15 goals and 12 assists. He was second on the club in goals.


ThisThat

With the Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos having filled head-coaching vacancies (see below), there now are three WHL teams with empty offices.

The Tri-City Americans have joined the Edmonton Oil Kings and Vancouver Giants on that list. The Americans started their search on Monday after announcing that head tri-citycoach Mike Williamson won’t be returning.

According to the Americans’ news release, “Mike has decided to pursue other opportunities” after four seasons with them.

Later in the day, Bob Tory, the Americans’ co-owner and general manager, told Taking Note that “Mike has being doing this since he was 20; he just wants to do something else.”

Williamson, 44, played three seasons (1991-94) with the Portland Winter Hawks, then began his coaching career as an assistant with them in 1995-96. He later worked as Portland’s head coach, then spent five seasons as the head coach of the Calgary Hitmen, guiding them to a WHL championship in his first season (2009-10).

Williamson is the fifth-winningest head coach in WHL history, his 572 victories trailing only Don Hay (750), Ken Hodge (742), Don Nachbaur (692) and Lorne Molleken (626).

With Hay and Williamson no longer active, Brent Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels is the winningest active WHL head coach, with 468 regular-season victories.

Williamson was only Tory’s third hire as a head coach, following Don Nachbaur (2003-09) and Jim Hiller (2009-14). Nachbaur now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, while Hiller is with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Tory told Taking Note that he had received about 300 resumes by late Monday afternoon. He added that he plans to narrow it to “five or six for interviews” and that he is working on an Aug. 1 timeline, although that isn’t written in stone.

Brian Pellerin, who has spent the past four seasons as the Americans’ associate coach, will be one of those interviewed by Tory.

The Oil Kings, meanwhile, have yet to name a replacement for general manager Randy Hansch, head coach Steve Hamilton or assistant coach Ryan Marsh, all of whom no longer are with the club.

It is widely believed that Kirt Hill, a former WHL player who spent last season as a scout with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, has been hired as director of hockey operations, but an announcement has yet to be made.

According to the Oil Kings’ Twitter account, they also are looking to hire a manager, game presentation and digital media, and a manager, communications.

The Giants will be replacing Jason McKee, who was fired on June 15 after two seasons with them. Barclay Parneta, who was hired as GM on May 23, made the announcement, telling Steve Ewen of Postmedia that “for me, I’d like someone I’m more familiar with. I don’t want to be starting a (season) with someone I’m just getting to know.”

Parneta had been Tri-City’s assistant GM and there has been speculation that he might be interesting in Pellerin as head coach.


As expected, the Kamloops  Blazers have signed Serge Lajoie as their newest head coach.

Lajoie takes over from Don Hay, 64, who has more regular-season and playoff victories than any coach in WHL history. Hay remains with the Blazers in an advisory role.

On June 21, you read here that “Lajoie is expected to sign on as head coach of the Kamloops1Kamloops Blazers, if he hasn’t already.”

Here’s what I wrote about Lajoie on June 18:

“Lajoie, now 49, is from Bonnyville, Alta. He played for five seasons with the Golden Bears, then spent four seasons playing in Germany. He returned to the U of Alberta and was an assistant coach for five seasons (2005-10). Lajoie was the head coach at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) for five seasons before stepping in as the Golden Bears’ head coach for the 2015-16 season.

“Lajoie took over the Golden Bears after Ian Herbers, who had been the head coach, joined the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers as an assistant coach. Herbers, who was on a three-year sabbatical, returned to the Golden Bears after last season.

“Lajoie has a tie to the Blazers through Don Moores, the WHL franchise’s president and COO. Moores’ brother, Billy, was on the U of Alberta coaching staff for 17 seasons (1976-85, 1986-94) before going on to work with the NHL’s New York Rangers and the Oilers.

“Billy Moores was the head coach of the Golden Bears in 1992 when they won the Canadian university championship. Herbers and Lajoie were defencemen on that team.

“Last season, the Golden Bears won another Canadian university title, this one with Lajoie as the head coach.

“Lajoie also is a former Blazers player. He had two assists in seven games with Kamloops in 1986-87. Ken Hitchcock was the head coach of that team, with Hay and Don Moores on staff as assistant coaches.”

Lajoie is the first hire by Matt Bardsley, who was named the Blazers’ general manager on June 1. He replaced Stu MacGregor, who was moved to the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Tom Gaglardi is the Stars’ owner and the Blazers’ majority owner.

The Blazers still are without a lead assistant coach and a director of player personnel. Mike Needham, the club’s lead assistant, and Matt Recchi, the director of player personnel, were dismissed when the Blazers moved Hay and MacGregor aside.

The Blazers announced Lajoie’s signing via a news release that is right here. The news release doesn’t give any indication as to length of contract.


The Swift Current Broncos, who are the WHL’s reigning champions, are expected to introduce Dean Brockman as their director of hockey operations and head coach at a SCBroncosnews conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Brockman takes over from Manny Viveiros, whose title was

Here’s what I wrote here on June 21:

“Taking Note has been told that Dean Brockman will be joining the Swift Current Broncos . . .

“Brockman, 51, spent the previous four seasons on the staff of the Saskatoon Blades, the past two as head coach. He was fired following the 2017-18 season.

“Before joining the Blades, Brockman spent 17 seasons with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Many observers thought he would end up back in Humboldt, where he would have taken over from the late Darcy Haugan, the team’s general manager and head coach who was killed in the crash involving the Broncos’ bus on April 6.

Meanwhile, there are rumblings that Jamie Porter, who had been the Broncos’ director of player personnel, has left the organization. Porter has been with the Broncos through 15 seasons.


F Ryan Vandervlis of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is out of a medically induced coma and has been visited by teammates in Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre.

Vandervlis and two other players suffered burns when something went wrong as they Lethbridgesat around a fire at a home near Cochrane, Alta., on June 15.

F Matt Alfaro of the U of Calgary Dinos was released from hospital on Thursday, while F Jordy Bellerive, the Hurricanes’ captain, may be released today (Tuesday).

Peter Anholt, Lethbridge’s general manager, told Vanessa Hrvatin of the Calgary Herald that Vandervlis, who isn’t yet able to speak, has been “responding well” to visitors.

Hrvatin reported that Vandervlis, 20, is expected to “remain in the ICU for some time before moving to the burn unit of a hospital in Calgary for extensive skin grafting.”

Hrvatin’s story is right here.


The Spokane Chiefs have acquired D Bobby Russell, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for a SpokaneChiefsconditional fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft. . . . Russell, from Surrey, B.C., was a sixth-round pick by the Ice in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had one goal and six assists in 41 games. He played most of the previous season with the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, but got into five games with the Ice, going pointless.


F Yegor Zudilov won’t be back for a second season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, which will allow them to pick twice in the CHL import draft on Thursday. . . . Zudilov, who will turn 18 on Sept. 10, is from Russia. Last season, he had seven goals and 16 assists in 23 games with the Hurricanes.


“The growth of European talent is immensely significant for the growth of the game (of hockey); however, it is not widely known that European players are treated differently under the Collective Bargaining Agreement from their North American counterpart,” writes Ryan Lake at forbes.com, referring to the NHL-NHLPA CBA. “Teams that draft a player from a European club have exclusive rights to sign the player to a contract for four years. However, if the player is from a North American club, the NHL team has only two years of exclusive rights.”

Lake’s complete story is right here. It explains the ins and outs of the CBA and its impact on European draft choices.


Tweetoftheday