Scattershooting: Blades’ voice has idea to honour Tyler Bieber . . . Guy Charron? Call him commissioner . . . Virden up 2-0 in MJHL final

Scattershooting

Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, caught a ride with Blades assistant coach Jerome Engele on Thursday morning and the two headed for Humboldt.

They went to the Elgar Petersen Arena for the funeral of Broncos’ radio voice Tyler Bieber, who was killed in Friday’s bus crash.

While in the seats, just prior to the service starting, Lazaruk had an idea.

“One other thing I feel as I sit and look at Tyler Bieber’s spot in the 107.5 Bolt FM broadcast booth,” he tweeted, “. . . I want to honour Tyler’s memory by calling Humboldt Broncos game on Bolt-FM. For free! No talent fee! No gas money! No meal money! I don’t care where the game is.

“There are 58 regular-season games in 2018-19 and I hope 57 other broadcasters step up and do the same in Tyler’s memory.”

If there is a way to make this work, you can bet on it happening.

Chris Cuthbert, Gord Miller, Peter Loubardias, Phil Andrews, Kelly Moore, Shawn Mullin, Ryan Switzer, James Gallo, Troy Gillard, Dave Randorf, John Fraser, Ben Holden, Joey Kenward, Tim Edmonds, Jason Gregor, Lee Jones, Tony Brar, Rob Mahon, Nick Gismondi, Brendan Parker, Peter Mills, Pete Krupsky and Cameron Birnie were among those to respond in a resoundingly positive fashion.


Tyler Bieber was a huge fan of the NFL’s New England Patriots.

Upon hearing that, Robert Kraft, the Patriots’ owner, called Bieber’s family — he ended up leaving a voicemail expressing condolences, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan — and also made sure that flowers were sent.



Bob Wilkie was a defenceman with the 1986-87 Swift Current Broncos. He survived the Broncos’ bus crash on Dec. 30, 1986, and went on to win the 1989 Memorial Cup with SCBroncosthem.

Wilkie later co-authored a book about the Broncos and that accident — Sudden Death: The Incredible Saga of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos.

On Sunday, he was in Saskatoon and Humboldt as he, Sheldon Kennedy, Peter Soberlak and Darren Kruger worked to spread hope among those impacted by the Humboldt bus crash.

This week, Wilkie dug up a souvenir of that 1989 Memorial Cup championship.



Elsewhere . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have signed three members of their organization to contract extensions, the lengths of which weren’t released. Assistant coach Scott Burt, equipment manager Tim Lindblade and Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, all have new deals. . . . Burt is preparing for his sixth season with the Chiefs. . . . Lindblade joined the Chiefs for the 2013-14 season. . . . Baird just completed his first season as equipment manager after 10 seasons as the Chiefs’ video co-ordinator.


Jeff Wagner is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He had been assistant GM/associate coach with the KIJHL’s Creston Valley Thunder Cats. . . . Wagner replaces Craig Mohr, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the Ghostriders were first-round playoff casualties. This was his fourth season as the club’s GM/head coach.


Guy Charron, a former NHLer who did a couple of turns as the head coach of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, is the new commissioner of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League. . . . You can bet that Charron will be a busy man because, as Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week writes, “The league has never been short on fiery personalities and hot-button issues — and this year is no different.” . . . Hastings has more right here.


JUST NOTES: If you’re following the WHL playoffs, you will be aware that the Tri-City Americans completed a four-game sweep of the Victoria Royals on Wednesday night. The Americans play in the U.S. Division and were a wild-card entry into the playoffs. They have swept the B.C. Division’s top two teams — the Kelowna Rockets, who finished atop the division, and the Royals, who were second. Does this mean the Americans get to hoist a B.C. Division championship pennant prior to next season? . . . In the MJHL, Rylee Zimmer had a goal and two assists to help the host Virden Oil Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the Steinbach Pistons. Zimmer tied the game at 14:07 of the third period and drew an assist on Landyn Cochrane’s winner at 15:48. . . . Virden won the opener, 2-1, in Steinbach on April 6. Game 2 had been scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed out of respect for the Humboldt Broncos. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday in Steinbach. . . . The winner of the MJHL championship will meet the SJHL champ, either the Estevan Bruins or Nipawin Hawks, in the ANAVET Cup series. The SJHL final opens Saturday in Nipawin. . . .


A really interesting hockey book was published a year ago, but somehow I missed it. That book is Father Bauer and the Great Experiment: The Genesis of Canadian Olympic Hockey. I came upon it last month, and simply devoured it. Written by Greg Oliver, it details all that went on as Canadian hockey moved into the national team era and beyond. When I was growing up in northern Manitoba, among my hockey heroes were the likes of Roger Bourbonnais, Terry O’Malley, Barry MacKenzie, Fran Huck, Seth Martin, Ken Broderick, Jean Cusson et al. These were the Canadian players who would venture to Europe and get in the face of the great Soviet machine. The stories of all that went into getting the national program off the ground — no, Clarence Campbell’s NHL didn’t like it at all — all are right here. Great stuff!

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‘Canes to Calgary for 2019 playoffs? . . . Tigers hope to get back veterans . . . Spike becomes a Hall-of-Famer

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

It turns out that the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes aren’t completely pleased about having to turn their home arena — the ENMAX Centre — over to the 2019 World men’s Lethbridgecurling championship.

That event runs from March 30 through April 7, 2019, meaning the Hurricanes will have to be out of their facility for perhaps as long as two weeks, including time needed for set up and teardown.

The Hurricanes, of course, expect to be in the early days of the WHL playoffs at that time.

Doug Paisley, the Hurricanes’ president, told CJOC-FM in Lethbridge that the Hurricanes found out about the Worlds “after the fact.”

“We’re not thrilled with this (situation), but we’re dealing with it,” Paisley told CJOC-FM.

At the same time, Paisley said the Hurricanes are working with the City of Lethbridge to find another venue in which to play hockey games.

Paisley also admitted that the Hurricanes “have a blueprint to show what it will cost us to not be (in the ENMAX Centre).”

In other words, the Hurricanes are going to be wanting some financial compensation as they will have to move from their 5,479-seat home arena to a smaller venue. It also seems that should they be in the playoffs, the Hurricanes will be playing home games in another community.

“There’s nowhere else to play in Lethbridge,” Paisley told Patrick Burles of lethbridgenewsnow.com. “I mean, I just don’t think you can do that to your fans and say, ‘We’re holding a draw and only a thousand of you get to come and watch us at Nicholas Sheran (Arena).’

“Are we going to try to move to Calgary to play, would we have to go into Medicine Hat, Kootenay, depending on their schedules? There’s nowhere in (southwestern) Alberta that can accommodate even our season-ticket holders . . . there’s no rink that holds 2,200, and honestly, we need room for over 5,000.”

Last spring, the Hurricanes averaged 4,730 fans for 10 playoff games.

Burles’ story is right here.


The Medicine Hat Tigers are getting ready to — they hope— get a pair of veterans back into their lineup. . . . F Mason Shaw (knee), who has yet to play this season, is awaiting Tigers Logo Officialclearance from the medical staff of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. . . . Shaw was injured on Sept. 10 while playing for a team of Wild prospects and subsequently underwent surgery. He has been skating for about a month. Last season, Shaw had 27 goals and 67 assists in 71 games, so having him healthy and in the lineup would be a huge boost for the Tigers as the playoffs being. . . . Meanwhile, G Jordan Hollett, who last played on Feb. 3, has been cleared by the Ottawa Senators’ medical staff to return from an undisclosed injury and may play this weekend. . . . There’s more right here from chatnewstoday.ca.


Spike Wallace, one of the most popular figures in the recent history of the Kamloops Kamloops1Blazers, will be inducted into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame on April 28. . . . Wallace was a long-time trainer and equipment manager with the Blazers. In his latter years with the team, he was the community and sponsorship co-ordinator. . . . Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, presented Wallace with a Distinguished Service Award on March 7, 2012. The next morning, the Blazers announced that “by mutual agreement Spike will be leaving the team to pursue other initiatives.” . . . These days, he is a cashier in a Kamloops grocery store, and also works part time at Dolson’s Source for Sports. . . . Wallace was shown on the big screen at a recent Blazers game and the crowd responded with one of the loudest ovations heard in the Sandman Centre this season.


You will remember earlier this season when a man named Mike Gould said he would Dynamitersgive $7.5 million to the junior B Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and the Kimberley Minor Hockey Association. Gould claimed to have won a whack of money in a Euro Millions Lottery draw. . . . The Dynamiters and KMHA have yet to see any of that pledged money. . . . After making the pledge, Gould played host to a party at a Cranbrook restaurant, then paid for it with $8,000 worth of cheques that bounced due to insufficient founds. On Thursday, Gould was sentenced in a Cranbrook courtroom for fraud. He was fined $4,000, placed on probation for six months, and ordered to do 60 hours of community service. . . . Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Townsman has more right here.


JUST NOTES . . .

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week tweeted Thursday afternoon that Blazers D Joe Gatenby, 20, will join the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators once his WHL season ends with a game against the host Prince George Cougars on Saturday. . . . Despite the Blazers not qualifying for the playoffs, Gatenby is having a marvellous season. In 70 games, he has careers highs in goals (13), assists (46) and points (59) with one of the WHL’s lowest-scoring teams. He also is plus-16 on a team that has allowed 24 goals more than it has scored. . . .

The Prince George Cougars have had two players suspended for penalties they incurred during a 6-3 loss to the host Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday. . . . D Joel Lakusta drew a three-game sentence for a headshot major and game misconduct. The Cougars have two games remaining in their season, meaning he will sit out the first game of the 2018-19 season. . . . D Cam MacPhee got a one-game suspension after being hit with a match penalty for attempt to injure. He won’t play in Kamloops on Friday, but will be eligible to dress for the rematch in Prince George on Saturday. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have added G Blake Lyda, 15, to their roster. Lyda, a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, played this season for the midget AAA Edmonton Canadian Athletic Club. In three earlier appearances with the Silvertips, he is 0-1-1, 3.29, .896. With the Canadians, he was 13-6-5, 2.46, .931. . . . Lyda joins Carter Hart and Dustin Wolf as goaltenders on Everett’s roster. . . .

Noah Geekie, a pitcher/outfielder from Strathclair, Man., has committed to attend Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kansas, and play baseball for the Cougars. Geekie, 17, is from Strathclair, Man., and has been playing baseball at the Okotoks Dawgs Baseball Academy. His father, Craig, is a former WHL player, while his brother, Morgan, plays for the Tri-City Americans. . . . Noah knows his way around a hockey rink, too — the Calgary Hitmen selected him in the second round of the 2015 WHL bantam draft.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Victoria at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Kootenay, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

Spokane vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Everett at Victoria 7:05 p.m.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m

END OF REGULAR SEASON


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