On Oct. 11, in this very space, I wrote a short piece about the Kamloops Blazers looking to put together a cheerleading team in the hopes of improving the atmosphere in their home arena, the Sandman Centre.
I ended the piece with this: “Might I be so bold as to suggest a trumpet player? If it was good enough for the Montreal Forum . . .”
I am pleased to report that on Friday at 6:17 p.m., while seated in the cozy confines of the press box, I heard a trumpeter — Jerome Lidster — break out the theme from Hockey Night in Canada.
Later, he played a darn fine O Canada!
Unfortunately, the man and his horn weren’t heard from again.
Please give us more.
The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that “the Western Hockey League’s long-rumoured return to Winnipeg could be only months away from coming to fruition.” . . . Veteran sports reporter Mike Sawatzky, who is familiar with the WHL having covered the Brandon Wheat Kings more than a few years ago, writes: “Owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice are believed to be considering a plan to move their franchise to Winnipeg in time for the start of the 2019-20 season, sources have told the Free Press.” . . . According to Sawatzky, the relocated Ice would play at the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena until a new 5,000-seat arena is built in conjunction with “the Rink Hockey Academy’s new training facility currently under construction at the west end of South Landing, just off McGillivray Boulevard.” . . . Sawatzky’s complete story is right here.
The Kelowna Rockets settled on their three 20-year-olds by adding F Lane Zablocki to their roster and releasing Ryan Bowen. . . . They had acquired Zablocki’s rights from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 29, giving up a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021. Zablocki, who won’t turn 20 until Dec. 27, was injured at the time of the trade and didn’t get into a game until Friday night in Victoria. . . . Zablocki played for three teams last season. He had nine goals and 10 assist in 31 games with the Red Deer Rebels, two goals and four assists in nine games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and a goal and five assists in 25 games with Victoria. In 201 regular-season games, he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Bowen was pointless in seven games with the Rockets. He also has played with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge. In 150 career games, he has 21 goals and 36 assists. . . . The Rockets also own the WHL rights to Bowen’s brother, Ethan, 16. Kelowna selected Ethan in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. He has committed to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21 and presently is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . The Rockets’ other 20-year-olds are D Braydyn Chizen and D Dalton Gally.
At least three players have been released by their WHL teams. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds have dropped D Payton McIsaac, who will turn 18 on Dec. 26, from their roster. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he was pointless in four games this season. He was a second-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. He had one assist in 12 games over three seasons with the Blades. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors have released F Brecon Wood, who is to turn 18 on Dec. 5. From Edmonton, he had one goal in seven games this season. In the previous two seasons, he had four goals and two assists in 84 games with the Warriors, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have dropped F Logan Moon, 18, from their roster. From Beaverlodge, Alta., he had yet to get into a game this season and was dropped after the team returned from its U.S. Division trip. He played last season with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. The Oil Kings selected him in the ninth round of the 2015 bantam draft.
F Lukas Sillinger, a sixth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, has committed to attend North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. From Regina, Sillinger, 18, is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. . . . Lukas is in his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. This season, he has one goal and one assist in one game. Last season, he finished with seven goals and 13 assists in 56 games.
The Prince George Cougars have released F Max Kryski, 18, and he has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Kryski, from Kelowna, will remain on the Cougars’ protected list. This season, Kryski was pointless in four games with the Cougars. Last season, he had eight goals and two assists in 62 games. . . . He is a younger brother of Calgary Hitmen F Jake Kryski, 20.
The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline was busy again on Thursday as three more playes drew suspensions. . . . F Riley Bruce of the Tri-City Americans was hit with a four-game sentence under supplemental discipline for something that happened during a 5-4 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the WHL doesn’t add explainers to suspensions such as these so fans are left to wonder what happened. . . . D Max Martin of the Prince Albert Raiders got a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something that happened during an 8-4 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Again, because the WHL doesn’t add explainers, you are free to guess at what happened. . . . F Brady Nicholas of the Saskatoon Blades has been suspended for two games after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct during a 5-4 OT loss to the visiting Hitmen on Wednesday night. He hit Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who missed a couple of shifts but came back to finish the game.
ICYMI, F Ryan Vandervlis has rejoined the Lethbridge Hurricanes as he continues to recover from horrendous burns he suffered on June 15 in a campfire explosion at a home near Calgary. Vandervlis, 20, has lost about 30 pounds and is a long ways from returning to game action, but he has come miles from when he was in a medically induced coma after the accident. . . . Lara Fominoff of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here.
The OHL’s Flint Firebirds introduced Eric Wellwood, 28, as their new head coach on Thursday. He takes over from Ryan Oulahen, who was in his third season when he resigned earlier this month. At that point, the Firebirds were 0-7-0. Then then lost two more games under interim head coach Greg Stefan. . . . Wellwood, whose NHL career was halted by injuries, was an associate coach with the Firebirds in 2016-17, under Oulahen. As a player with the Windsor Spitfires, Wellwood won two Memorial Cups. He won another as an assistant coach with the Oshawa Generals.
F Mackenzie Wight, 19, who left the Swift Current Broncos earlier this month, has joined the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Wight, who is from Burnaby, B.C., was pointless in two games with the Broncos this season, after recording a goal and three assists in 55 games last season. . . . In 74 regular-season games, six with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 68 with the Broncos, he has two goals and three assists. . . . This is his second stint with the Bulldogs; he had six goals and six assists in 27 games with them in 2016-17.
We’re back after one day away. Yes, the laptop came back from a checkup; yes, it passed all the tests. . . . If you missed us, why not consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and making a donation to the Taking Note cause?
FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:
F Stelio Mattheos scored three times, the last one into an empty net, as the host Brandon Wheat Kings dumped the Everett Silvertips, 5-2. . . . Everett (6-4-0), which had won three in a row, started its East Division swing with the game. . . . Mattheos now has 11 goals for Brandon (6-1-2). . . . G Jiri Patera continued his fine start for Brandon, this time with 36 stops. The Czech freshman is 6-1-1, 3.00, .919. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:32 of the third period. . . . Jordin Tootoo, who played his major junior career with the Wheat Kings, announced his retirement from hockey at a pregame news conference, then took part in the ceremonial faceoff.
The Tri-City Americans erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) had points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Americans improved to 4-4-0. . . . F Parker AuCoin broke a 2-2 tie at 14:51 of the third period, then added the empty-netter for his sixth goal. . . . F Nolan Yaremko drew three assists for the winners. . . . The Americans will play their next 11 games on the road, starting tonight against the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. The road trip also includes a six-game swing through the East Division. They won’t play at home again until Nov. 23.
F Brandon Hagel scored four times to lead the visiting Red Deer Rebels to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Hagel has eight goals this season. He gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead at 1:08 of the first period, made it 3-1 at 1:16 of the second, completed his fourth career hat trick at 8:04 of the second for a 4-2 lead, and rounded out the scoring with his fourth goal, at 7:25 of the third. . . . G Ethan Anders blocked 41 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels (6-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Edmonton (5-7-1) opened the season with five victories, but has gone 0-7-1 since then.
F Kirby Dach scored two goals, including the winner in OT, and added an assist to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dach tied the game, 2-2, at 19:59 of the second period and won it with his seventh goal of the season just 37 seconds into extra time. . . . Dach, who almost certainly will be a top 10 pick in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has 22 points, including 15 assists, in 12 games. . . . The Blades (8-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Chiefs (6-2-3) are 3-1-1 on their East Division swing. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson ran his point streak to nine games with an assist. He has 19 points, including 15 assists, this season. . . . Saskatoon got 41 saves from G Nolan Maier.
The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting Vancouver Giants, 5-3. . . . F Cody Glass (4) tied the score, 3-3, at 12:29 of the third period and F Reece Newkirk (7) have Portland its first lead at 13:39. . . . F Ryan Hughes (3) added the empty-netter. . . . Glass also added an assist, while linemate Joachim Blichfeld had two helpers. . . . F Jake Gricius scored two Portland goals in his 150th career game. . . . Portland (6-3-1) will meet the Giants again tonight, this time in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (9-2-1) had points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Winterhawks had D Matthew Quigley back for the first time since he was injured during a game in Kamloops on Oct. 5. Blazers F Jermaine Loewen drew a four-game suspension for the high hit, a suspension he completed Friday night.
The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . F Mark Kastelic (8) scored twice and added an assist for Calgary (3-6-2) which has won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (4-3-2) had points in each of their previous six games (4-0-2). . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 30 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Calgary was 2-for-3 on the PP.
The Medicine Hat Tigers forced OT with two late third-period goals and then won it on a penalty shot as they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . The Hurricanes had a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes left in the third period when F Tyler Preziuso (4) scored at 18:09 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . F Ryan Jevne (4) tied it at 19:06. . . . F James Hamblin (6) won it on a penalty shot at 4:08. . . . Tigers D Linus Nassen finished with a goal, his second, and two assists. . . . Medicine Hat (6-5-1) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (4-4-3) has lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Lethbridge.
F Josh Pillar broke a 3-3 tie at 16:48 of the third period and the Kamloops Blazers went on to a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 16-year-old Pillar, from Warman, Sask., was a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, drew an assist, his first WHL point in his first game, on the winner. Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He will be back with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops, for a Saturday afternoon game. . . . Kamloops had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1) after opening the season with a pair of victories. . . . The Broncos (1-10-0) have lost three in a row, all on a B.C. Division swing. They have been outshot 146-52 over those three losses. . . . Broncos F Max Patterson, who is from Kamloops, had a goal and an assist. He pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie at 6:38 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Kamloops D Luc Zazula left in the first period after taking a hard hit against the end boards that left him woozy. He didn’t return. . . . Blazers F Jermaine Loewen sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. . . . It was Mark Recchi Hall of Fame Night as the Blazers saluted the local star who went on to win three Stanley Cups during a lengthy NHL career. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Recchi now is an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is a co-owner of the Blazers. . . . Rick Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was in attendance and presented Recchi with a WHL Alumni Achievement Award during a 30-minute pregame ceremony.
D Lassi Thomson and F Liam Kindree had four-point outings as the Kelowna Rockets whipped the Royals, 8-2, in Victoria. . . . F Dante Hannoun (6) gave the Royals a 2-1 lead at 10:47 of the second period but it was all Rockets after that. . . . Thomson finished with two goals, giving him six, and two assists, with Kindree adding his second goal and three assists. . . . Kelowna (3-9-0) was 4-for-6 on the PP and 6-for-6 on the PK. . . . The Royals (8-2-0) are 6-2-0 at home. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, who had started eight of the team’s first nine games. With him out, Brock Gould made his second start, stopping 16 of 22 shots in 40:51. Joel Grzybowski was brought in from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars to back him up and came on in the third period to stop eight of 10 shots. . . . A note from the Royals’ post-game news release points out that Gould “stopped Kelowna’s Leif Mattson on a penalty shot. Since their inaugural season in 2011-12, Victoria has had 19 penalty shots taken against it and has only allowed three goals.”