Blazers add Sydor to coaching staff . . . Prince George city council wants Cougars to help with renos . . . Smith wins it in OT


ThisThat

The Kamloops Blazers have added co-owner Darryl Sydor to their coaching staff for the remainder of this season.

Sydor, 46, has been named a full-time assistant coach, and will join head coach Serge Kamloops1Lajoie and assistant coach Dan Kordic, both of whom are in their first season as WHL coaches, on the staff.

Chris Murray, a former NHLer who also played for the Blazers, is a part-time assistant coach, while Dan De Palma handles the goaltenders.

With 16 games remaining in their regular season, the Blazers (20-27-5) are three points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (21-26-6), who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff berth. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, six points behind the Kelowna Rockets (23-26-5), but with two games in hand.

The Blazers, who have lost their past three games (0-2-1), next will play tonight when they are to entertain the Victoria Royals.

Sydor played four seasons (1988-92) with the Blazers, helping them to the 1992 Memorial Cup title. He then went on to a pro career that included 1,291 games in the NHL and Stanley Cup championships with the Dallas Stars (1999) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2004). He retired after the 2009-10 season.

Sydor has worked as an NHL assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. He left the Blues in May, having spent last season with them.

“It was just time to take a step back,” Sydor told CFJC-TV of Kamloops at the time. “I’ve been(coaching) for only eight years, but playing the game of hockey a lot longer. It’s time to give back to the family, give back to myself, and just take a step back.”

Sydor, his wife and four sons moved back to Kamloops, and he has been a regular at Blazers games, watching from the press box. He also has been on the ice with them at some practices.

Sydor has been one of the Blazers’ owners since before the 2007-08 season. He joins majority owner Tom Gaglardi, along with ex-players Shane Doan, Jerome Iginla and Mark Recchi.

The WHL now has two owners who also are working as full-time coaches. Brent Sutter owns the Red Deer Rebels, and also is the team’s general manager and head coach.


City council in Prince George has decided that it won’t foot the entire bill for new boards PrinceGeorgeand glass in the CN Centre, as requested by the WHL. The tab for new boards and glass will come to $578,000. . . . The WHL wants the renovations made in time for the 2019-20 season. . . . Mark Nielsen of the Prince George Citizen reports right here that “council directed staff to negotiate a deal that would see the Prince George Cougars cover half the cost.” . . . Coun. Kyle Sampson said: “I think it’s a large amount of money for us to pay. It’s the user group (Cougars) that are going to require this, the other user groups in this facility don’t require this and it’s their league that has mandated this change so the request for us to pay 100 per cent seems to be a bit steep.” . . . Sampson’s motion to have staff negotiate with the Cougars passed unanimously.


The B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame’s 2019 induction dinner will have a WHL flavour with Ron BChallDelorme, Barret Jackman, Shane Heyer and Mark Holick among the inductees. . . . Delorme, a long-time scout with the Vancouver Canucks, played for the Swift Current/Lethbridge Broncos (1973-76). He will go into the hall as a builder. . . . Jackman played four seasons (1997-2001) with the Regina Pats, before going on to a lengthy NHL career. . . . Heyer came out of the WHL to work 386 regular-season NHL games as a referee and 1,630 as a linesman. He also worked the lines in six Stanley Cup finals. . . . Holick was the head coach of the Surrey Eagles, who won the 1998 Royal Bank Cup as national junior A champions. The Eagles will be inducted in the team category. Holick coached in the WHL with the Kootenay Ice and Prince George Cougars, and now is the head coach of the prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . Also going into the hall will be former Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and the late Karen Wallace, who will be inducted as a builder for her work with female hockey in B.C. and nationally. . . . The 2019 induction dinner is scheduled for July 19 in Penticton, which is where the Hall of Fame is located.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Tri-City Americans erased a 3-1 deficit with three second-period goals and beat the tri-citySeattle Thunderbirds, 4-3, in Kent, Wash. . . . Tri-City (29-20-3) is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. It also is fourth in the U.S. Division, five points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Seattle (21-27-6) holds the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Americans took a 1-0 lead when F Parker AuCoin (31) scored while shorthanded, at 3:34 of the first period. . . . F Andrei Kukuca (19) tied it, on a PP, at 19:35. . . . Seattle went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from F Michael Wedman (28), at 4:29, and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (8), at 5:39. . . . The Americans got to within a goal at 7:54 when F Krystof Hrabik (14) scored. . . . D Aaron Hyman, a former Thunderbirds player, tied it, on a PP, with his 10th goal, at 10:02. . . . F Sasha Mutala (13) snapped the tie at 11:42 and that goal stood up through a scoreless third period. . . . G Beck Warm earned the victory with 30 saves, two more than Seattle’s Roddy Ross. . . . Seattle was credited with winning 42 of the game’s 59 faceoffs. . . . D Mitchell Brown was back in Tri-City’s lineup after last playing on Jan. 25. . . . The Americans were without D Dom Schmiemann, who drew a two-game suspension after being penalized for a one-man fight during a 7-4 loss to the visiting Victoria Royals on Saturday night. . . . The Thunderbirds remain without F Nolan Volcan and D Simon Kubicek.


D Ty Smith scored twice, including the winner in OT, as the host Spokane Chiefs got past SpokaneChiefsthe Red Deer Rebels, 4-3. . . . Spokane (30-17-6) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Red Deer (28-19-5) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. It also is fifth in the Central Division, one point behind the Calgary Hitmen and four behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Arshdeep Bains (6) gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 1:59 of the first period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (9), who also had two assists, tied it at 6:10. . . . Red Deer went back ahead as F Brandon Hagel (31) scored at 7:17 of the second period. . . . Smith tied it, on a PP, at 8:49, and F Adam Beckman (23) put the Chiefs out front at 18:42. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev’s 10th goal, at 2:06 of the third period, forced OT. . . . The Rebels were penalized for too many men at 19:48 of the third period, and Smith scored his sixth goal of the season, on the ensuing PP, at 0:30 of extra time. . . . G Bailey Brkin stopped 29 shots for the Chiefs, three more than the Rebels’ Ethan Anders.


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Scattershooting: Ex-player starts Hockey Gives Blood . . . Bruins win emotional opener . . . Holick signs with Yale

Scattershooting


Stu Middleton was playing for the junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies in 2000-01 when his father was killed in a car accident in the Rogers Pass while en route to a game. Since then, Middleton has been wanting to do something with his father’s memory in mind. Following the tragedy involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, Middleton hooked up with some former teammates and now a project is underway. It involves the Canadian Blood Services Partners for Life Program and a website — hockeygivesblood.ca. . . . If you are with a team or league, you will want to check this out and you also will want to make this a full-time part of your program. . . . Pam Cowan of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.



The SJHL issued its players-of-the-week news release on Friday. . . . If you haven’t yet read the news release, it’s right here and it is well worth your time.


When there are tragedies such as the one involving the Humboldt Broncos, major media outlets often send in long-form writers who will attempt to capture the atmosphere in the community. Sports Illustrated assigned Greg Bishop to the story. . . . The top reads: “An unthinkable tragedy struck Humboldt when a bus crash killed 16 members of the Broncos junior hockey team. As the small city recovers, it doesn’t want to be defined by the crash; it wants to be defined by how its heartbroken community responds.” . . . If you haven’t seen it, Bishop’s piece is right here.

Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail gave the assignment to Marty Klinkenberg, who writes that these days “there is no normal” in Humbolt. His piece is right here.


The Estevan Bruins opened the SJHL’s best-of-seven championship final with a 5-2 victory over the Hawks in Nipawin on Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 1,199 fans. They’ll play Game 2 tonight (Sunday) in Nipawin. . . . The Bruins put the game away with two late empty-net goals. . . . This was the first game for both teams since the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crashed en route to Nipawin for a playoff game on April 6. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was in Nipawin and filed two pieces. His game story is right here, while a piece looking at the overall scene is right here.



Meanwhile, there is quite a story being written in the AJHL where the Spruce Grove Saints have taken a 2-0 lead over the Okotoks Oilers in the best-of-seven championship final. . . . On Saturday night, the visiting Saints got an OT goal from F Chris Van Os-Shaw, who played the previous two seasons with the Humboldt Broncos, to beat the Oilers, 3-2. That was his second goal of the game. The Saints had tied the game on goal from F Josh Harris with 47 seconds left in the third period. . . . Van Os-Shaw, a 20-year-old from Regina, is ticketed for Minnesota State-Mankato next season. . . . One night earlier, Van Os-Shaw, the AJHL’s regular-season MVP, scored on a penalty shot and drew an assist on Harris’s OT winner in a 4-3 victory. . . . They’ll play Games 3 and 4 in Spruce Grove on Monday and Tuesday nights.



TheCoachingGame

Mark Holick is back in the coaching game, this time in Canada. He has been named head coach of the Yale Hockey Academy’s midget prep team and the director of the midget programs. According to a news release, Holick “will also be working with students this off-season on skill development and will be assisting with student recruitment.” . . . Holick has extensive coaching experience, including more than six seasons as a WHL head coach. . . . Most recently, he spent more than one season as the head coach of Pustertal/Val Pusteria, an Italian entry in the Alps Hockey League. . . . The Yale Hockey Academy is located in Abbotsford, B.C.


The AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys have signed Garry VanHereweghe to a two-year deal as general manager and associate coach, while removing the interim head coach tag from Joe Murphy, who also got a two-year deal. . . . The Grizzlys finished last in the South Division, at 18-37-5, this season, and head coach Adam Redmond and Doug Hergenhein, the director of player personnel and head coach left late in the season. Murphy, who had been associate coach and assistant GM, was named interim head coach at that time. . . . VanHereweghe had been the vice-president of hockey operations with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles.


The junior B Ridge Meadow Flames of the Pacific Junior Hockey League have signed Derek Bedard as their new general manager, replacing Jamie Fiset, who has joined the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Fiset, who had been with the Flames through 12 seasons, starting as the goaltending coach, will be the Hawks’ general manager. . . . The Flames also announced that Bayne Ryshak will return as head coach.


The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League need a new head coach after Ken Law’s contract wasn’t renewed. The Coyotes have been in Osoyoos for eight years, and Law had been there from the beginning. Owner Randy Bedard told Richard McGuire of the Osoyoos Times that “it’s just sometimes you know when it’s time to make a change. You get that feeling where it’s time to freshen up.” . . . Law told McGuire: “I was planning on coming back and was negotiating my contract. Randy just said that he decided to change things up. These things happen.” . . . This season, the Coyotes finished 32-11-2, with two ties, leaving them atop the Okanagan Division, nine points ahead of the Kelowna Chiefs. Osoyoos dropped the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference final in seven games to the Revelstoke Grizzlies. . . . McGuire’s story is right here.