Record isn’t Stankoven’s just yet . . . Makaj, Ice freeze out Broncos . . . Almeida sparks Warriors past Blazers

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MacBeth

G Brett Jaeger (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Saskatoon, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Bayreuth Tigers (Germany, DEL2). This season, in 22 games, he is 10-10-0, 3.72, .892.

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Whoops!

It seems that F Logan Stankoven doesn’t own the major midget Thompson Blazers’ thompsonblazerssingle-season points record. At least, not yet.

The Kamloops-based Blazers, who play in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, sent out a tweet on Monday that indicated Stankoven, now with 63 points, had broken the record of 59 that had been set by F Riley Nash in 2005-06.

Except it seems that F Alex Rodgers finished that season with more points than did Nash, and it seems that Nash actually finished with 60.

Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week asked a few questions and got a response from Nash, who now plays for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Nash told Hastings that Rodgers “actually holds the scoring record.”

Hastings got in touch with Rodgers “who thinks he had 67 in 2005-06.”

Or as a laughing Rodgers told Hastings: “Who is this kid coming after my record? Just write down 87 to keep him motivated.”

So, for now, the record doesn’t belong to Stankoven. But it will in time.

While Stankoven keeps piling up the points, the search for evidence of Rodgers’ 67-point season will continue.

Hastings’ story is right here.

Meanwhile, Stankoven played his second career WHL game on Tuesday night. His hometown Kamloops Blazers selected him fifth overall in the 2018 bantam draft. He had one assist in his first WHL game. Last night, he played his second game as the Blazers dropped a 5-2 decision to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

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Notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report:

F Jake Kryski of the Calgary Hitmen is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Kryski, 20, is in his fifth WHL season and this one was shaping up as the best of them all. He has 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games. His goal total is one off his single-season high from 2016-17. . . .

The Everett Silvertips have dropped F Bronson Sharp from their roster. Sharp, who turned 19 on Dec. 29, is from Mission, B.C. He was pointless in seven games with Everett, but hadn’t played since Oct. 13 because of a concussion. . . . His junior A rights were traded on Thursday, going from the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials to the Langley Rivermen. . . .

The Regina Pats are showing G Max Paddock as being out indefinitely with an illness. With him out, G Matt Pesenti, 17, has been backing up Dean McNabb. . . . Pesenti, from Saskatoon, plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . .

F Eli Zummack of the Spokane Chiefs is out week-to-week with a lower-lower-body injury. Zummack, 18, is in his third WHL season and already has single-season career highs in assists (33) and points (45), in 41 games. . . . He had a goal and an assist in an 8-3 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Jan. 12.

The weekly roster report is right here.

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The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have signed Nigel Dube, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract. Dube, 30, joined the Bobcats in mid-November, replacing the fired Travis Clayton, who was in his third season in Lloydminster. . . . At the time he joined the Bobcats, Dube was in his second season as the associate coach with the aJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . The Bobcats are 8-33-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra AJHL North.

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The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that assistant coach Dean Maynard has been named interim head coach. . . . He replaces Mark Chase, who was fired on Monday.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Jesse Makaj stopped 16 shots to help the Kootenay Ice to a 2-0 victory over the Broncos Kootenaynewin Swift Current. . . . Kootenay (9-29-7) had lost its previous nine games (0-8-1). . . . The Broncos (9-31-3) now trail the Ice by four points in the race to stay out of the WHL’s cellar. . . . Makaj, who will turn 18 on Jan. 27, posted his first career WHL shutout by making 16 saves. It came in his 27th appearance, 26 of them this season. . . . The Broncos got 32 stops from G Isaac Poulter. . . . F Jaeger White (17) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 0:51 of the second period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (16) added insurance, on a PP, at 4:55 of the third period. . . . F Alex Thacker made his WHL debut with the Broncos. Thacker, 16, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., and was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is in his second season with the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. . . . Thacker is the 37th player to have suited up for the Broncos this season. . . . The Ice has had 43 players dress for at least one game.

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F Justin Almeida scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors MooseJawWarriorsto a 5-2 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . Moose Jaw (22-11-7) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). The Warriors, who began a seven-game road trip with this one, are 13-3-1 on the road. They are third in the East Division, seven points behind Saskatoon but with five games in hand on the Blades. . . . Kamloops (15-23-3) has lost five in a row, and remains two points away from the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff berth. . . . F Tristin Langan (33) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:26 of the first period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (13) tied it at 6:40. . . . Moose Jaw took a 3-1 lead before the period ended on goals from Almeida, on a PP, at 9:59, and F Daniil Stepanov (4), at 16:01. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (15) got the Blazers to within a goal at 12:03 of the second period. . . . The Blazers hung around but weren’t able to get the equalizer past Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff, who finished with 34 saves. . . . Moose Jaw put it away with two late third-period goals from Almeida (13), at 15:27, and D Dalton Hamaliuk (3), on a PP, at 17:55. . . . Moose Jaw had either D Josh Brook or D Jett Woo, or both of them, on the ice for every shift in the third period until the score was 5-2. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson allowed three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Dylan Garand played the last two periods, stopping 17 of 19 shots. . . . Almeida enjoyed his third four-point game this season. He has 55 points, including 42 assists, in 36 games this season. . . . F Logan Stankoven, the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft, played his second game with the Blazers. . . . F Carson Denomie, who was acquired Thursday by the Warriors, played his third game with his new teammates and his first against his ex-teammates. Yes, head coach Tim Hunter had him in the starting lineup. . . . Blazers F Jeff Faith sat out the third game of a five-game WHL suspension. . . . With Faith, who can also play on the back end, and the injured Quinn Schmiemann out, the Blazers dressed five defencemen. . . . The Warriors are without D Daemon Hunt, who is listed as being out week-to-week. . . . According to the Warriors’ Twitter account, this road trip will involve playing seven games in 14 days, and spending 51 hours on the bus to travel 4,629 km.

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Blazers move vets, get four picks . . . Americans add Hyman from Pats . . . More on Carcillo’s hazing story

MacBeth

F Garrett Mitchell (Regina, 2006-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with the Hershey Bears (AHL), he had seven goals and one assist in 47 games. He was the Bears’ team captain.


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The Kamloops Blazers’ new braintrust waited until the regular-season was one-third done before acting.

On Monday, the Blazers moved out two veterans — F Luc Smith and D Nolan Kneen — in exchange for two players and four selections in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

Smith, 20, was dealt to the Spokane Chiefs for F/D Jeff Faith, 20, a third-round selection Kamloops1and one in the sixth round.

Kneen, 19, went to the Saskatoon Blades for D Jackson Caller, 19, who is from Kamloops, a second-round pick and a third-rounder. The second-rounder was acquired by the Blades from the Regina Pats on Jan. 10, while the third-rounder originated with Kelowna, moving to Saskatoon on Oct. 11 in a deal that had F Michael Farren go to the Rockets.

Interestingly, the Blades are scheduled to visit the Blazers on Friday night.

The Blazers traded away two players with 12 goals and 27 assists between them, getting three goals in exchange.

Obviously, this trade wasn’t made for this season, nor was it made because general manager Matt Bardsley is infatuated with either Faith or Caller. Bardsley replaced the displaced Stu MacGregor — he now scouts for the NHL’s Dallas Stars, who are owned by Blazers’ majority owner Tom Gaglardi — on June 1. And, 22 games into this season, Bardsley has seen enough.

Still, Bardsley is adamant that he hasn’t given up on this season.

“I’m not suggesting that we’re selling,” Bardsley told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week for a story that is right here. “I don’t believe we’re selling. Some people are probably going to look at it like we are.

“We’re a bit inconsistent, not so much in how we play, I guess a little bit, but also just with where we’re at. I just felt for the organization it was time to make a change.”

As of now, according to Alan Caldwell, who tracks these things right here, the Blazers hold two firsts and two fourths in the 2019 draft, and they have two seconds and three thirds in 2020. In 2019, they hold Everett’s first- and fourth-round selections. In 2020, the Blazers have Regina’s second-rounder, and third-round picks that originated with Kelowna and Spokane.

At the same time, Bardsley and head coach Serge Lajoie, who also is in his first season with Kamloops, are trying to figure out this edition of the Blazers, a team that is 2-6-1 on home ice and 7-5-0 on the road.

Still, at 9-11-1, the Blazers are only three points out of third place in the B.C. Division and three points shy of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.

“I believe we should be further up in the standings,” Bardsley told Hastings. “I’d like to see our team more consistent in how we play night in and night out.

“I wanted to address it now, rather than wait to closer to the deadline. By that time, we might have a better feel about where we’re at. I want to correct it and we still give ourselves time to do anymore changes. If we need to add or whatever, then we can do that, as well.”

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Smith is from Stony Plain, Alta. He was a third-round selection SpokaneChiefsby Regina in the 2013 bantam draft. In 270 regular-season WHL games, he has 47 goals and 53 assists. This season, he has eight goals and 11 assists in 22 games. Last season, he had career highs in goals (21) and assists (23) in 62 games.

Smith will bring some offence and a lot of physical play to the Chiefs’ forward ranks, especially on the forecheck.

Faith, 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, is from Wilcox, Sask., and has played his entire career with the Chiefs, who picked him in the first round of the 2013 bantam draft. This season, he has one goal in 24 games. Last season, he had five goals and 12 assists, both career highs, in 60 games. A defenceman by trade, he has been playing up front this season.

The Blazers selected Kneen, who is from Kelowna, with the third overall pick of the 2014 Saskatoonbantam draft; that is the earliest selection they have made in the draft’s history. The 6-foot-0, 190-pounder is off to a fine start this season, with four goals and 16 assists in 22 games, after finishing last season with seven goals and 30 assists in 68 games.

This season, Kneen’s 20 points have him eighth among all WHL defencemen. In Saskatoon, he will be reunited with D Dawson Davidson, with whom he partnered at times in Kamloops. Davidson has 26 points, leaving him fourth among defencemen.

Kneen should be in the Blades’ lineup tonight as they meet the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. The Blades are scheduled to play in Victoria on Wednesday, before heading for Kamloops and Friday’s engagement.

Caller, 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, was a seventh-round pick by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2014 bantam draft. He was in his third full season with the Blades; in 157 games, he had five goals and 27 assists. This season, he had two goals in 20 games.

“There’s always a significant price to pay to add a top-end 19-year-old, but we still have Regina’s first, Swift’s second and our third-round picks in 2020, so we feel we had the assets to make a deal like this happen,” Blades GM Colin Priestner said in a news release.


The Tri-City Americans have acquired D Aaron Hyman, 20, from the Regina Pats for F Brett Clayton, 20, and a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

Hyman had five goals and 19 assists in 25 games with the Pats this season. A 6-foot-5, tri-city220-pound Calgarian, he was a third-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2013 bantam draft. The Hitmen dealt him to the Seattle Thunderbirds, and he helped them win the Ed Chynoweth Cup in the spring of 2017. Seattle traded him to Regina last season and he played in the Memorial Cup with the Pats, who were the host team.

In 189 career regular-season games, Hyman has 11 goals and 45 assists.

Hyman could make his Tri-City debut tonight against the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Clayton, from Abbotsford, B.C., was picked by the Saskatoon Blades in the 10th round of Patsthe 2013 bantam draft. In 163 regular-season games, he has nine goals and 21 assists.

The Pats next play Friday when they travel to Brandon to face the Wheat Kings.

The Americans also placed D Anthony Bishop, 20, on waivers.

Bishop played Saturday night for the first time since Sept. 22. His return left the Americans with four 20-year-olds, one more than the mandated maximum.

Bishop has two goals and 23 assists in 174 career regular-season games.

By putting him on waivers, the Americans are left with Hyman, F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin as their 20s.

The Pats’ three 20s now are Clayton, D Brady Pouteau and D Liam Schioler.


After Daniel Carcillo’s stirring weekend tweets detailing the bullying and hazing to which he was subjected during his freshman season with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, John Chidley-Hill of The Canadian Press did a deep dive into the story. Thankfully, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen a whole lot these days, but it used to be pretty standard behaviour, at least in junior hockey. . . . Chidley-Hill’s story is right here and it’s well worth your time.


D Gianni Fairbrother of the Everett Silvertips has drawn a two-game suspension after taking a headshot major and game misconduct during a 2-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night. . . . The penalty came after a hit on Kelowna F Kyle Crosbie. . . . Fairbrother sat out Sunday’s 5-3 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland and will miss Wednesday’s rematch in Everett.


The Vancouver Giants have dropped F Tyler Ho, 18, from their roster, and he is expected to join the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Ho, who is from North Vancouver, had one goal and one assist in 12 games with the Giants this season. . . . Ho was a third-round selection by the Prince George Cougars in the 2015 WHL bantam draft. In 76 regular-season games, he has two goals and 10 assists. Last season, he had one goal and eight assists in 57 games with the Giants.


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.


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Memorial Cup 2020 decision on horizon . . . Ice gets Semchuk from Oil Kings . . . Raiders down to two goaltenders


MacBeth

F Dustin Boyd (Moose Jaw, 2002-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL) after being released by mutual agreement by Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL) on Wednesday. This season, he was pointless in five games with Dynamo. Boyd had played six seasons with Astana (2011-17) before joining Dynamo Moscow last season. . . .

F Pavel Padakin (Calgary, Regina, 2012-15) has been traded by Ak Bars Kazan to Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (both Russia, KHL) for F Razat Tamirov, 19, and F Islam Khasanov, 19. . . . This season, Padakin was pointless in three games with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), while averaging 11:11 TOI. Last season, with Sochi (Russia, KHL), he had nine goals and 22 assists in 53 games while averaging 15:35 TOI.


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The WHL’s board of governors will gather in Calgary on Wednesday and by day’s end we should know which of three cities will play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . The Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes are in the running and they will make their presentations in that order. . . . Marty Hastings has more right here on the process and the Kamloops bid.


If you stop off here and like what you see — or even if you don’t — why not consider donating to the cause. Just click on the DONATE button over there on the right . . . and thank you in advance.


The Kootenay Ice has acquired F Brendan Semchuk, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for Kootenaynewa conditional fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Semchuk, who was raised in Kamloops, was pointless in two games with the Oil Kings this season. He was a healthy scratch on Wednesday when the Oil Kings beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-2. . . . The Vancouver Giants selected Semchuk in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2014 bantam draft. They dealt Semchuk to Edmonton on Jan. 10, along with G Todd Scott and a 2018 third-round bantam pick, for F Davis Koch and a conditional third-round 2019 bantam pick. . . . Last season, Semchuk had eight goals and 11 assists in 33 games with Vancouver, and four goals and three assists in 16 games with Edmonton. . . . In 145 career regular-season games, he has 21 goals and 27 assists. . . . Semchuk could make his Ice debut tonight (Friday) against the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


The Calgary Hitmen reached the maximum of three 20-year-olds by acquiring F Kaden CalgaryElder from the Swift Current Broncos for a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . Elder joins F Luke Coleman and F Jake Kryski as Calgary’s three 20s. . . . Elder, from Saskatoon, was a first-round selection, 22nd overall, by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had 18 goals and 14 assists in 67 regular-season games, then added three goals and six assists in 26 playoff games as he helped the Broncos win the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . In 250 career regular-season games, the first 67 with the Thunderbirds, he has 39 goals and 30 assists. This season, he had one goal in two games with the Broncos. . . . The Hitmen meet the Rebels in Red Deer tonight (Friday), before returning home to face the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday and the Rebels on Sunday. . . .

The Broncos, meanwhile, still have five 20-year-olds on their roster — F Andrew Fyten, Russian D Artyom Minulin, who is injured at the moment, F Tanner Nagel, D Ryan Pouliot, and D Matthew Stanley, who was claimed on waivers from the Lethbridge Hurricanes earlier in the week.


The Prince Albert Raiders are down to two goaltenders after releasing veteran Curtis PrinceAlbertMeger. The move leaves them with Ian Scott, 18, who was a fourth-round selection by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL’s 2017 draft, and Donovan Buskey, 18, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs on Aug. 31 for a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Meger, 20, is from Regina. He was a freshman with the Raiders last season, and went 8-10-6, 3.43, .886. Meger had been on the Raiders’ protected list since he was 16. . . . With Meger out of the picture, the Raiders are down to three 20-year-olds — F Parker Kelly, F Kody McDonald and F Sean Montgomery.


The Portland Winterhawks acquired F Rylan Bettens, 18, from the Brandon Wheat Kings Portlandon Thursday for an undisclosed conditional selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft. . . . Bettens was taken by Brandon in the third round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . He was pointless in one game this season. . . . Last season, he had seven goals and seven assists in 49 regular-season games. . . . In 114 career games, he has 11 goals and eight assists.

Earlier in the day, the Wheat Kings dropped D Ty Ettinger, 18, from their roster. Ettinger, from Ardrossan, Alta., had two goals and five assists in 45 games as a freshman with the Wheat Kings last season. This season, he was pointless in one game. . . . He was fifth-round pick by Brandon in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Wheat Kings now have eight defencemen on their roster, along with two goaltenders and 13 forwards. . . .

Joshua Critzer of dubnetwork.ca reported later Thursday that Portland F Lukus MacKenzie “is back home and as of right now is still on the roster.” It’s not clear whether the Winterhawks sent him home to await a trade or if MacKenzie asked for a deal and left on his own. . . . MacKenzie, 19, is from Calgary. He got into each of Portland’s first two games, but was pointless. Last season, he played with three teams, putting up four assists in 13 games with the Saskatoon Blades, and four assists in 17 games with the Red Deer Rebels, who dealt him to Portland. In 29 games with the Winterhawks, he had two goals and three assists. . . . A skater who brings a strong physical presence to a lineup, he has 10 goals and 23 assists in 169 career regular-season games.


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A special Kidney Walk for Dorothy . . . A milestone for the Blades’ voice . . . Some tidbits from opening weekend

MacBeth

G Matt Hewitt (Regina, 2010-13) signed a one-year contract with Fassa Canazei (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, with University of British Columbia (Canada West, U Sports), he got into 20 games, going 12-5-2, 2.85, .920 with one shutout. . . . This summer, Hewitt played with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). In 26 games, he drew three assists, while going 23-2-0, 1.95, .925 with three shutouts. He led the league in wins, shutouts, GAA and SP. . . . CBR Brave won the AIHL championship, beating the Sydney Bears 4-3 in OT in the league’s Grand Final on Sept. 2 in Melbourne. . . .

F Marcel Noebels (Seattle, Portland, 2010-12) has been released from his PTO with the Boston Bruins (NHL) and will rejoin Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL), where he is an alternate captain for this season. Last season, he had 11 goals and 19 assists in 52 games with Eisbären. . . .

F Nikita Popugayev (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2015-18) has been traded by CSKA Moscow to Amur Khabarovsk (both Russia, KHL) for D Denis Nedilko (1999 born, playing for Amur’s junior team, Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk). Popugayev had two goals and one assist in three games this season with Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (Russia, MHL). . . . Krasnaya Armiya is CSKA’s junior team. MHL is Russia’s junior league.


ThisThat

I’m back after being away for a few days while we put the finishing touches on the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you hadn’t guessed, Dorothy and I were among the organizers for the Kidney Walk that was held on Sunday at McDonald Park.

Yes, it was a success! Oh, was it!!

Let me tell you a little bit about it . . .

Dorothy had her kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, after almost four years of doing peritoneal dialysis, so this Kidney Walk marked the fifth anniversary of her new life.

Drinnanfamily
The Drinnan family, with the cake (donated by the North Shore Safeway) that celebrated the fifth anniversary of Dorothy’s kidney transplant.

We knew it was going to be special because our granddaughter Kara brought her parents — our son Todd and his wife, Joanna — to the Walk from their home in Burnaby.

Then, as Dorothy and I got out of our car at McDonald Park, a couple came walking in our direction. It turned out to be our best friends from Brandon — Darlene and Alan Silvius, who arrived completely unannounced. They actually had arrived in town on Saturday, but didn’t breathe a word about it. In fact, at one point, Darlene actually had sent a text to Dorothy indicating that they were in Portage la Prairie, Man., visiting with friends.

DrinnanSilvius
Darlene and Alan Silvius joined us at the Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sunday. Darlene and Dorothy have a special relationship.

Back in the day, Darlene was adamant that she would be the person to give a kidney to Dorothy. But it turned out that she wasn’t a match. Still, she refused to give up, and turned to the Kidney Paired Donation program.

So it was that five years ago she donated a kidney to a stranger in order to allow Dorothy to receive a true gift of life from someone else.

These two women have long had a strong relationship, but for the past five years they have grown even closer.

The look on Dorothy’s face when her brain finally recognized what her eyes were trying to tell her was priceless indeed.

All of you who read this blog and have donated on Dorothy’s kidney page were a big part of our day, too. In the end, Dorothy raised $3,250, which left her No. 1 in Kamloops for a fifth straight year.

Thank you all so much for your support. It really does mean a lot.

Now let’s get back to hockey . . . although it’ll be a bit spotty this week because, well, we’ve got some company to tour around.


In the meantime, here are some notes from the past few days. . . .

Old friend Les Lazaruk, who I may (or may not) have owned on the Strat-O-Matic field back in the day, opened the regular season with something of a milestone broadcast . . .


Aside from that milestone, the weekend’s biggest story may have been in Moose Jaw where the 50-50 draw at the Warriors’ home-opener on Saturday night reached $383,450.

There were two unclaimed winning pots from last season, so the carryover to this season was $166,615.

The winning ticket on Saturday was Z423428. As of Sunday morning, the jackpot apparently had yet to be claimed.

Now wouldn’t that be a carryover!


On the eve of the regular season, Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman provided this note on the Kootenay Ice:

“The current season-ticket count rests at 1,670, a drop of 247 from last year. The club had set a goal for 2,500 as part of it’s Drive to 25 campaign that kicked off in May 2017.” . . . The announced attendance at the Ice’s home-opener — a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday — was 2,862. . . . F Connor McClennon, the second overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, scored twice for the Ice. A 16-year-old from Wainwright, Alta., he was pointless in five games with the Ice last season.


The Brandon Wheat Kings opened by sweeping a home-and-home series with the Moose BrandonWKregularJaw Warriors, winning 2-1 in the Wheat City and 4-2 on the road. . . . G Jiri Patera, a 19-year-old rookie from Praha, Czech Republic, recorded both victories. A sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft, Patera stopped 56 of 59 shots in the two victories. . . . Patera is the first European goaltender to play for the Wheat Kings in the franchise’s 52-year history. . . . The Wheat Kings have had at least one American-born goaltender in their history — Scott Olson, from Bloomington, Minn., got into 63 games over three seasons and was a part of the 1978-79 championship team that lost only five regular-season games.


A couple of WHLers signed three-year entry-level NHL deals on the weekend. . . . D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors signed with the Montreal Canadiens. Brook, 19, is from Roblin, Man. He was picked in the second round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. Brook scored both Moose Jaw goals as the Warriors dropped a 4-2 decision to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday night. . . . F Jake McGrew, a 19-year-old from Orange, Calif., signed with the San Jose Sharks after being a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. McGrew has been with the Spokane Chiefs for two seasons, although knee problems kept him from playing in 2016-17.



The Red Deer Rebels released D Colin Paradis on Saturday in order to get down to the maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Releasing Paradis left them with F Brandon Hagel, F Reese Johnson, who is the team captain, and F Jeff de Wit as their 20-year-olds. . . . Paradis, from Sherwood Park, Alta., has played 194 regular-season games — the first 165 with the Moose Jaw Warriors — over four seasons.


F Owen Blocker of the Lethbridge Hurricanes left the ice on a stretcher in the first period of Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat.

According to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Blocker “targeted Dalton Gally Lethbridgefor a hit in the corner and went awkwardly into the boards. Blocker was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a lengthy delay and did not return.” . . . However, after being checked out at hospital and released, Blocker returned to the arena and returned to Lethbridge with his teammates after the game.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes added G Akira Schmid to their roster on the weekend, after he was assigned by the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Schmid, 18, is from Nesslau, Switzerland, and was a fifth-round selection by the Devils in the NHL’s 2018 draft.

He joins Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., and Carl Tetachuk, 17, from Lethbridge, as goaltenders on the Hurricanes’ roster. Klassen went the distance in the Hurricanes’ first two games as they split a home-and-home with Medicine Hat. The Tigers won 5-2 in Lethbridge on Friday.


The Portland Winterhawks got Danish F Joachim Blichfeld, 20, back from the NHL’s San PortlandJose Sharks as the WHL regular-season opened. Blichfeld, a seventh-round pick by the Sharks in the NHL’s 2016 draft, has signed a pro contract so is eligible to play with the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks’ AHL affiliate. . . . Blichfeld’s arrival left the Winterhawks with four 20-year-olds and three imports on their roster. . . . Blichfeld joined F Conor MacEachern, D Brendan De Jong and D Jared Freadrich as the 20-year-olds. . . . MacEachern didn’t play in a 5-3 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday, while MacEachern sat out Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Silvertips in Everett. . . .

WHL teams have until mid-October to declare a maximum of three 20-year-olds. . . . Should the Winterhawks choose to keep Blichfeld, they would have to release either Czech F Michael Kvasnica, 18, or Swiss F Dean Schwenninger. . . . Kvasnica and Schwenninger are first-year players, but teams are allowed to trade freshman imports only between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trading deadline. Prior to this season, teams were permitted to trade first-year imports. . . . Schwenninger didn’t play in either of the two weekend games. . . .

D Henri Jokiharju, a 19-year-old from Finland, is in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was named to the WHL-Western Conference’s second all-star team last season, and may still end up back in Portland.

Should that happen . . . well, I’m sure the Winterhawks won’t concern themselves with that until it actually does happen.


The Kelowna Rockets went 8-0-0 against the Kamloops Blazers last season. The Blazers Kamloops1showed on opening weekend that things are different now. Kamloops swept a home-and-home series, winning 4-1 at home on Friday and 3-1 in Kelowna on Saturday. . . . Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ first-year head coach, picked up his first WHL victory on Friday and his family — wife Kelly and their children (Isabelle, 17, and Marc, 15) were there to witness it, having made the trip from their home in St. Albert, Alta. . . . “Up until (Thursday) night, I was texting with my daughter and my son and they made me believe they were both getting ready for bed and they were going to get up to go to school this morning,” Lajoie told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “It’s nice to be able to share this with them. I’m not here if it isn’t for them. I don’t lose sight of that.”


The Prince Albert Raiders opened with a two-game sweep of Regina, snapping a 15-game losing skid to the Pats with the first victory. The Raiders got started with a 7-2 victory on home ice on Friday, then travelled to Regina and beat the Pats 3-1 on Saturday. . . . The Raiders last beat the Pats on Sept. 23, 2016, when they posted a 4-3 OT victor in Regina on a goal by F Simon Stransky.


The Saskatoon Blades opened with a two-game sweep of the defending-champion Swift Current Broncos, winning 2-1 on the road and 8-0 at home, behind 17 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . F Kirby Dach put up seven points in the two games, including three goals and two assists in Saturday’s shutout victory. . . . Only time will tell if this is a sign of things to come for the Blades, who have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, and the Broncos, who went all-in last season in putting together the team that would win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.


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Vegas assigns goalie to Brandon . . . Blades add Labelle to front office . . . Storm brewing in Kamloops


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D Keaton Ellerby (Kamloops, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) signed a one-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). Last season, he had six assists in 42 games with Mora (Sweden, SHL).


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The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights have assigned Czech G Jiri Patera, 19, to the Brandon BrandonWKregularWheat Kings, which leaves them with three goaltenders on their roster. . . . Patera, 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, was selected by Vegas in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft. He played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. . . . With the CHL lifting its ban on import goaltenders prior to its 2018 import draft, the Wheat Kings selected Patera. . . . Of course, Kelly McCrimmon, the Golden Knights’ assistant general manager, owns the Wheat Kings. . . . Also on Brandon’s roster are veteran Dylan Myskiw, 19, and freshman Ethan Kruger, who will turn 17 on Sept. 27. Kruger, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . While the WHL website shows Patera as having been born on Feb. 16, 2000, he actually was born on Feb. 24, 1999.


The Saskatoon Blades have added Xavier Labelle, 18, to their front office as a hockey Saskatoonoperations assistant. Labelle played the past two seasons with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and is a survivor of the April 6 bus crash. . . . From a Blades news release: “Following the accident, Xavier spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital recovering from his injuries, which included a fractured skull and concussion, internal bleeding, approximately 20 broken bones (including 13 in his spine), plus nerve damage affecting his legs and left arm.” . . . From Saskatoon, he continues to rehab in his hometown. . . . Labelle attended the Blades’ training camp on three occasions and also was on their protected list at one time.


The WHL has signed Zach Hodder as its manager, player development. According to a news release, he will be “responsible to lead the WHL player recruitment and development programs.” . . . From North Delta, B.C., Hodder, 25, played 128 WHL regular-season games over five seasons (2009-14), splitting time between the Vancouver Giants, Saskatoon Blades, Prince Albert Raiders, Medicine Hat Tigers and Moose Jaw Warriors. He went on to use his WHL education policy to attend BCIT and Royal Roads U.


If there is a bigger mess in hockey today than that involving the Kootenay International KamStormJunior Hockey League and the Kamloops Storm, well, I can’t imagine it. . . . “It’s a great city and it’s a great hockey market and it’s just a bit of a mess right now,” KIJHL president Larry Martel told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week.“All franchises go up and down. Right now, we’re in a low point in that city.” . . . This is a story that involves charges of tampering, $10,000 in fines, a one-year suspension to one individual, a head coach who has been suspended for 20 games, except, well, it doesn’t seem that he really is the head coach. . . . It seems that someone else was named the head coach so that he could take the hit instead of the real head coach. Got that?. . . . Oh, it’s all enough to give you a headache. . . . Check out Hastings’ complete story right here.


If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk — a walk, I should point out, that she is helping to organize — you may do so right here. Thank you!


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OHL adjusts rule on trading of draft picks . . . Seattle adds d-man from Kootenay . . . Kitchener’s profit tops $400G


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F Travis Ewanyk (Edmonton, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL) after a successful tryout. Last season, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in 60 games with the Wichita Thunder (ECHL). Ewanyk holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

F Konstantin Panov (Kamloops, 1998-2001) signed a one-year contract with SC Csíkszereda Miercurea-Ciuc (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had two goals and one assist in 43 games with Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia, KHL). He was the team captain. . . .

F Tomáš Slovák (Kelowna, 2001-03) signed a one-year contract with DVTK Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). Last season, with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and eight assists in 48 games. . . . Jegesmedvék’ head coach is Glen Hanlon (Brandon, 1974-77; assistant coach Vancouver 2011-13; GM Vancouver 2016-18). . . . Slovák, in the Jegesmedvék news release: “I’ve been working with Glen Hanlon earlier on the Slovakian team, knowing each other, knowing what to expect.” Hanlon was the head coach of the Slovakian national team when Slovák played for the team in 2009-10.


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The OHL issued a news release on Wednesday, passing along information from the board of governors’ annual meeting.

For starters, the league is instituting a rule that will limit the trading of draft choices in ohlwhat it calls the OHL Priority Selection. Whereas this used to be wide open, the OHL wants to get to where teams are able to trade draft picks a maximum of four years away.

Starting on Sept. 1, according to the news release, “teams will be allowed to trade draft choices a maximum of six years into the future, transitioning to five years prior to the commencement of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection and four years prior to the 2021 OHL Priority Selection. At the conclusion of the phase-in period, league policy will stipulate that OHL teams may only trade a draft choice four years into the future.”

The OHL news release is right here.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have acquired D Payton McIsaac from the Kootenay Ice for a Seattleninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . McIsaac, who will turn 18 on Dec. 26, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. He was a second-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . He had one assist in 10 games with the Blades in 2015-16, then was pointless in one game with Saskatoon in each of the past two seasons. . . . It’s believed that the Blades dropped McIsaac from their list sometime after Christmas and the Ice added him. . . . On July 13, his Canadian junior A rights were dealt by the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds signed F Matthew Rempe, who had been added to their protected list on May 11, 2017. From Calgary, Rempe, 16, spent last season with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Elite 15s, putting up six goals and seven assists in 35 games. . . . According to a news release from the Thunderbirds, Rempe’s “older twin sisters, Steph and Alley, both play at Brown University in the NCAA.” As Seattle GM Bil La Forge said: “It is exciting he chose us to develop as a hockey player and to take advantage of the WHL scholarship program.”


A flash from the past . . . Dan Weaver of the Spokane Spokesman-Review on the retirement of Kerry Toporowski:


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Tyson Kozak, 15, who was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Kozan, who will turn 16 on Dec. 29, is from Souris, Man. Last season, he had 10 goals and 25 assists in 44 games with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars. . . . Kozak is expected to make his WHL debut this weekend at an exhibition tournament in Everett.


The Victoria Royals have signed D Carson Golder, who is from Terrace, B.C., and was added to the team’s protected list in June. Golder, who will turn 16 on Oct. 29, played last season with the Pursuit of Excellence Elite 15s, putting up eight goals and nine assists in 34 games. He added one goal and two assists in eight games with POE’s midget prep team.



The Regina Pats have signed F Cale Sanders, 16, and D Steven Zonneveld, 17, both of Patswhom were free-agent invitees to training camp, to WHL contracts. . . . Sanders, from Claresholm, Alta., played last season with the Calgary-based Edge School Elite 15s, putting up 19 goals and 29 assists in 36 games. . . . Zonneveld, from Calgary, had seven goals and 11 assists in 35 games with the midget AAA Calgary Flames. . . . Both players are with the Pats and could see action during an exhibition tournament in Regina this weekend.



The OHL’s Kitchener Rangers got to Game 7 of a conference final before being eliminated from last season’s playoffs. While they didn’t win a championship, they won big at the bank, as they showed a profit of $432,080 for their 2018 fiscal year. It was the 23rd straight season that the franchise has shown a profit, but, as Josh Brown of the Waterloo Region Record writes, “the club hasn’t seen a profit this high since it made about $550K in 2011-12.” . . . Brown’s story is right here and it’s definitely worth a read, just to see where the profits are going.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


The junior B Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have KamStormshaken things up a bit, what with Ed Patterson choosing not to return after five seasons as head coach. . . . All told, Patterson worked as the Storm’s head coach for seven seasons, as he also ran the bench from 2007-09. . . . Former Storm F Jassi Sangha is the new head coach, while majority owner Barry Dewar, who had been the general manager, has stepped back, allowing assistant GM Matt Kolle to take over as GM. . . . Sangha, 30, played two seasons (2006-08) for the Storm and also spent three seasons (2009-12) with the now-defunct Thompson Rivers U Wolfpack. . . . Andrew Fisher, who also played at TRU with Sangha, is the assistant coach, with another one yet to be named, while former WHL G Lucas Gore (Chilliwack Bruins, 2008-11) will handle the goaltenders. . . . Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has the complete Storm story right here. . . . And if you’re like me, you’re wondering how it is that Patterson didn’t end up with a WHL job.


Murray Nystrom has signed on as the 10th head coach in the history of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns program. . . . Nystrom was the head coach of the St. Catharines, Ont.,-based Brock Badgers for 18 years, going 191-227-18-39 and making the playoffs on 14 occasions. . . . Nystrom left the Brock program in July 2017. . . . In Lethbridge, he will take over from Spiros Anastas, who left the Pronghorns earlier this month to sign on as head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays.


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Mooseheads set 2019 Memorial Cup prices . . . Vees, Harbinson agree on extension . . . Americans sign top draft pick


MacBeth

F Kruise Reddick (Tri-City, 2006-11) signed a two-year contract extension with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). This season, he had 27 goals and 39 assists in 54 games. He led the Flames in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Sami Moilanen (Seattle, 2016-18) signed a two-year-plus-option contract with Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Seattle, he had 22 goals and 23 assists in 50 games. . . .

F Dylan Stanley (Tri-City, 2000-05) signed a two-year contract extension with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). He had 24 goals and 42 assists in 40 games, leading his team in goals, assists and points. He was second in the league in assists and points. . . . Next season will be fifth in Feldkirch.


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The WHL lost in court last week when, as Rick Westhead of TSN tweeted, “The Court of Appeal of Alberta has dismissed the WHL’s request to overturn a decision certifying this minimum wage lawsuit as a class action. Case will no move forward.” . . . Ken Campbell of The Hockey News later weighed in with some thoughts on this situation. Campbell’s piece is right here.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads will be the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup. They have sent a letter to season-ticket holders detailing the price of ticket packages to the event, which result in some social media chatter. . . . One ticket package apparently will go for $320, plus taxes. . . . The Mooseheads haven’t yet detailed when ticket packages will be available to the general public. . . . The 2018 Memorial Cup begins today (Friday) in Regina.

The Memorial Cup schedule (all times local):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Semifinal – Friday, May 25, 8 p.m.

Final — Sunday, May 27, 5 p.m.


Surely it is a mere coincidence that neither Ken Hitchcock nor Don Hay, perhaps the two most-successful coaches in the history of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, aren’t employed as coaches today. . . . Both, however, remain in the employ of the teams they coached last season. . . . Hay is an advisor to hockey operations with the Blazers, having said last week that he has retired from them but still is interested in continuing his lengthy coaching career. . . . Hitchcock, the third-winningest coach in NHL regular-season history, spent this season as head coach of the Dallas Stars. He stepped aside after the season and now is a “consultant” with the team. . . . Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News has more on Hitchcock and his situation right here.

Marty Hastings, who covers the Blazers for Kamloops This Week, offers up his view of all that went on with Hay right here.


If you thought that Fred Harbinson might end up as a WHL general manager this off-season, you can forget about it. Harbinson is the president, general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. Coming out of 2017-18, he had one season remaining on his contract. The Vees announced Tuesday that he now has been extended through the 2023-24 season. Next season will be Harbinson’s 12th with Penticton. The Vees are 481-144-14-40 during that time. . . . Also on Tuesday, the Vees revealed that F Massimo Rizzo will be the team captain next season. Rizzo, who will turn 17 on June 13, just completed his first season with Penticton. The Kamloops Blazers selected him in the first round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft; his family informed the Blazers prior to the 2018 bantam draft that Rizzo wouldn’t be signing with them, choosing instead to pursue an NCAA scholarship.


JUST NOTES:

You can forget about Cam Russell as a WHL general manager. The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads have given him a four-year extension. The Halifax native and former NHL defenceman has been with the Mooseheads since 2000-01 and has been the GM through the past 10 seasons. . . .

The Tri-City Americans have signed D Marc Lajoie, who was a first-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. From St. Albert, Alta., the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder had 12 goals and 18 assists in 20 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team. . . . He is the son of Serge Lajoie, the head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears for the past three seasons. . . .

The 2020 World Junior Championship will be played in the Czech Republic cities of Ostrava and Trinec, running from Dec. 26, 2019, through Jan. 5, 2020. . . . The 2019 tournament is scheduled for Vancouver and Victoria, from Dec. 26, 2018, through Jan. 5, 2019. . . . The WJC last was held in Czech Republic in 2008 when Pardubice and Liberec shared it. . . .

Veteran coach Ted Nolan is looking for work after having been fired as the head coach of Poland’s national team. Poland was 1-4 at the IIHF World Championship (Division 1, Group A) in Budapest, and will be demoted to Division 1, Group B. . . .

The SJHL and the Humboldt Broncos are in the process of resolving that dispute over trademarks. Broncos president Kevin Garinger has said that the SJHL’s board of governors met and the trademarks will end up belonging to the team. . . . There is more right here.


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