A father says thanks to Portland . . . Winterhawks complete sweep in Kamloops . . . Raiders perfect after seven . . . Royals now 5-0-0


MacBeth

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Gyergyói HK Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga) after being released by Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga). He was pointless in two games with Michalovce. . . .

D Colby Robak (Brandon, 2006-10) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sport Vaasa (Finland, Liiga). Last season, the with the Stockton Heat (AHL), he had three goals and nine assists in 45 games. He was named the Man of the Year by the Heat for his outstanding contributions to the Stockton community and charitable organizations.


ThisThat

When a junior-aged hockey player gets traded, sometimes we are inclined to read about the transaction and then go on to the next one. But there is a lot that goes on when a player is moved from one team to another.

Earlier this week, the Portland Winterhawks traded F Ty Kolle, 18, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft.

After the deal was done, Kolle’s father, Matt, took the time to visit the Winterhawks Booster Club’s Facebook page and leave the following message, which might provide some insight (a tip of the fedora to Pat Nolan in Kanagawa, Japan, for the lead):

——

To Portland Winterhawks, Billets, Fans:

I have been very quiet during Ty’s time in Portland, but I want to ensure the Kolle family’s appreciation is heard.

As a family, the Kolles would like to thank you all.

Mike Johnston and staff have done nothing short of providing Ty a first-class opportunity in hockey. In conversation with Ty as he drove towards Lethbridge, he spoke of how much respect he has for Mike. We thank Mike and we assure Portland you are in great hands.

As far as billets go, Vandy, you made Ty a part of your family and your family went far and above what a billet family needs to do. Your family has a special place in our hearts and we look forward to keeping things going in the future.

Dante (Giannuzi), enjoy these folks as as they will ensure you are in the best environment to succeed.

To the fans of Portland, all I can say is “Wow!” . . . first class and big league. I truly enjoy the passion of the sport of hockey and coming to Portland to watch my son play was a first-class experience. It was a big-league experience. The passion, flair and true support for the team by the fans is at another level.

Overall, the Portland experience is something Ty and family will relish forever.

In talking with Ty, he is excited about the opportunity in front of him in Lethbridge. He is thankful for Portland for enabling the opportunity and Lethbridge for providing it. He is appreciative of the opportunity and more than excited to get started.

He drove 13 hours to ensure he is in the lineup to play the game he loves on Friday night.

Again, from Ty’s family, we thank you.

Cheers,

Matt Kolle

——

If you’re wondering, Pat Nolan wasn’t able to watch the Winterhawks’ 5-3 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers on Friday. He said he was driving from Sagamihara to Osaka for a bowling tournament. However, the Winterhawks are to meet the Silvertips in Everett tonight and Nolan said he’ll be watching. As he pointed out, “Saturday night’s game starts at 11 a.m. Sunday here.)



A new feature popped up on the WHL website this week — at least, it was new to me. Headlined WHL XX Journal: Thanksgiving thoughts & gravy for the Raiders, it was written by Tyler Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, and is loaded with information and tidbits. . . . You will find it right here.

Meanwhile, the SJHL has taken a similar approach with a piece written by Dave Leaderhouse that was posted on its website on Friday. This one is headlined ‘Light schedule leads into short break for Thanksgiving holiday weekend.’ Like the piece on the WHL site, it’s full of tidbits, and it’s all right here.

——

Former NHL D Chris Pronger will be the guest speaker at the 10th annual Off The Leash Luncheon in support of the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey program on Nov. 1. The fun is scheduled for Prairieland Park in Saskatoon and it all gets started at 11:30 a.m. . . . There’ll be lots of laughs, too, because comedian Kelly Taylor will be the emcee. . . . Individual tickets are $125, and Friends of the Dogs sponsorship packages, each of which includes a full table, are $1,250. . . . Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased through PICATIC at : http://www.picatic.com/offtheleashluncheon2018. . . . For more information, call Matt at 306-222-7475. . . .

If you aren’t aware, there is much excitement in Saskatoon this weekend as the Huskies women’s team opened the new arena — Merlis Belsher Place — with a 1-0 victory over the Alberta Pandas. G Jessica Vance stopped 24 shots to record the shutout. She is the daughter of Liane and Bruce Vance. Bruce, who now works for the City of Prince Albert, spent more than 20 years working in the WHL, with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders. He is a member of the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame. . . . The U of S men’s hockey team is home to the Calgary Dinos next weekend.


Ron Kraft, who spent one season (1997-98) as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats, now is coaching a pee wee team in Houston, Texas. He has his team in Red Deer this weekend for a Thanksgiving tournament. Sheldon Spackman of rdnewsnow.com has more right here.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Portland Winterhawks erased a 3-2 deficit with two goals in the opening 1:36 of the Portlandthird period and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . The Winterhawks, who have won three straight, had beaten the host Blazers, 7-3, on Wednesday night. . . . Kamloops has lost four straight. . . . Last night, each team scored twice on the PP. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice — once on the PP and once shorthanded — and added an assist for Portland. . . . Blichfeld has six goals and seven assists in six games. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen was tossed with a headshot major at 10:12 of the first period for a hit on Portland D Matthew Quigley, who left the game and didn’t return. The Winterhawks scored twice in the final 30 seconds of Loewen’s major. . . . Loewen could end up being suspended before the Blazers entertain the unbeaten Victoria Royals tonight. . . . Portland F Ryan Hughes scored once in his return to Portland’s lineup. He missed the first five games with an ankle or foot injury, one that at one time required a walking boot. . . . If last night was any indication, both teams have some work to do in the discipline department. . . . The Blazers and Winterhawks will complete their regular-season series in Portland on Oct. 27 and 28. . . .


D Josh Brook scored his third goal of the season 16 seconds into OT to give the host MooseJawWarriorsMoose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Brook also had two assists. . . . D Jett Woo was in Moose Jaw’s lineup for the first time this season. A second-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft, he had what was reported was a minor knee procedure early in September. As a result, he missed Vancouver’s training camp and also sat out Moose Jaw’s. . . . This was the third meeting of the young season between these teams. Brandon is 2-0-1 in the three games; Moose Jaw is 1-2-0. . . .


F Jake Leschyshyn scored twice to lead the Regina Pats to a 6-5 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Leschyshyn has three goals. . . . The outcome left the Pats at 1-4-0, while the Broncos slipped to 0-5-0. . . . D Aaron Hyman and F Nick Henry each had three assists for Regina. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Swift Current D Matthew Stanley was involved in a one-man fight at 5:48 of the third period. Earlier in the week, D Cade McNelly of the Seattle Thunderbirds drew a three-game suspension for just such a penalty during a game in Portland on Sept. 29.


G Dorrin Luding stopped 42 shots to help the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Luding was making his first start of the season. This was his second career shutout, but his first with the Blades. He had one shutout in 11 appearances last season with the Everett Silvertips. . . . F Kirby Dach’s fifth goal of the season, at 7:35 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . D Dawson Davidson of the Blades recorded his 100th regular-season when he got in on his club’s third goal. . . .


F Connor Dewar’s fourth goal of the season, 17 seconds into OT, gave the host Everett EverettSilvertips a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . G Cole Schwebius stopped 39 shots for the Thunderbirds in first WHL start. Schwebius, 17, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . G Liam Hughes, the Thunderbirds’ No. 1 guy, is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. With Hughes out, Seattle had Eric Ward, 17, on the bench in a backup role. . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk (4) tied the game at 19:03 of the third period. He has goals in four straight games. . . . Everett F Sean Richards took a headshot major and game misconduct at 14:02 of the third period. That was for a hit on Seattle D Reece Harsch, who needed on-ice help from trainer Phil Varney and didn’t return to the game and is doubtful for a game tonight against the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . .


F Peyton Krebs scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Kootenay Ice a 5-4 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (2) of the Oil Kings forced OT with a goal at 19:55 of the third period. . . .


The Prince Albert Raiders ran their season-opening record to 7-0-0 with a 5-1 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . F Noah Gregor scored his first two goals of the season and added an assist. Both of his goals were shorthanded, the last one into an empty net. . . . Prince Albert got 39 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders, who opened the 1985-86 season with eight straight victories, visit the Red Deer Rebels tonight. . . .


F Josh Williams scored the only goal of a shootout to give the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Tigers (2-4-1) had lost their previous five games. . . . F Riley Woods (5) pulled Spokane into a 2-2 tie at 18:55 of the third period. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard blocked 39 shots through OT and then was perfect in the three-round shootout. . . .


G David Tendeck turned aside 24 shots as the Vancouver Giants opened a weekend doubleheader with a 3-0 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . That was Tendeck’s fourth career shutout. . . . The teams played through two scoreless periods before F Owen Hardy (2) scored at 5:11 of the third period. . . .


The Victoria Royals built up a 4-1 lead and hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Rockets in VictoriaRoyalsKelowna. . . . F D-Jay Jerome (3) gave the Royals a 4-1 lead at 10:18 of the second period, on the PP. . . . The Rockets got close on goals from D Lassi Thomson (3) and F Leif Mattson (6), the latter at 12:31 of the third, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . Victoria now is 5-0-0 as it travels to Kamloops for a Saturday night date with the Blazers. . . . F Liam Kindree scored once in his return to the Kelowna lineup after missing the first six games. He was injured during an exhibition game in Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (1-6-0) visit the Seattle Thunderbirds of Kent, Wash., tonight.


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


MacBeth

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.


ThisThat

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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Paddock: Pats will play their best . . . Chico’s the man for Cougars . . . Tigers’ Shaw back on blades . . . Storm’s days numbered in Kamloops?


MacBeth

D Stefan Warg (Seattle, Prince Albert, 2008-10) has signed a two-year contract extension with Malmö (Sweden, SHL). This season, he has two goals and 10 assists in 44 games, while averaging 16:39 ice time per game.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The situation staring the Regina Pats squarely in the face is the elephant in the WHL’s room at the moment.

The Pats, as you are aware, will be the host team for the Memorial Cup when it opens in May.

You also will be aware that they got off to a horrendous start this season, and have ReginaPats100known for some time that they won’t finish first or second in the East Division, the Moose Jaw Warriors (40-9-3) and Swift Current Broncos (37-13-4) simply being too far ahead. The Pats (28-22-5) trail the Warriors by 22 points and the Broncos by 17.

For a while, the third-place Brandon Wheat Kings (29-19-5) had a healthy lead, too, but that was before they turned into sellers at the trade deadline. Since then, they have gone 2-7-3 and now resemble a middle-of-the-pack squad rather than one that was running third in the overall standings.

Going into weekend games, then, the Pats are two points behind the Wheat Kings.

And there’s the rub. . . .

The third-place finisher in the East Division will play No. 2 in the opening round of the playoffs, which is likely to be Swift Current.

Finish fourth and chances are you will be the first wild-card team, meaning a first-round date with the first-place team in the Central Division, either the Medicine Hat Tigers or Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The injury-riddled Tigers have a five-point edge on the hard-charging Hurricanes.

You don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to know which is the easiest route.

Just don’t suggest to John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, that maybe, well, just maybe . . . you know . . .

“There’s a lot of hypotheticals,” he told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post.“One, be careful what you might wish for. Two, you can’t step on the ice as a player and you can’t go behind the bench as a coach without trying to win the game. It’s really just a joke (to suggest otherwise). You can’t go out and not play your best. . . .

“We’re not going to catch those top two teams. I’ve known that since October. But we’re going to have to play one or both at some point (in the playoffs). You want to play good and we also know we’re going to play in May and nobody else does. It’s very important to be playing better and better as the season goes on.”

Harder’s complete story is right here.


Chico Dhanjal worked his 700th WHL game with the Prince George Cougars on Jan. 31 while the team was on its East Division swing. A native of Saskatoon, the Cougars’ equipment manager celebrated 700 games during a game against the Pats in Regina.

Dhanjal, who seems to wear a perpetual smile, started with the Cougars in 2008-09, after working with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He has degrees in kinesiology and psychology from the U of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

The Cougars signed him to a three-year extension on Nov. 24, 2016.


The access ShoWare Centre in Kent, Wash., home of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, lost US$361,861 in 2017, up from a loss of $155,268 the previous year. But, as Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter writes, city officials are “confident that the numbers show better days are ahead” for the facility. . . . Hunter’s story is right here.


F Mason Shaw, who has yet to play for the Medicine Hat Tigers this season, skated on Thursday for the first time at home since he suffered a knee injury in early September.

Shaw suffered a torn ACL while playing for the Minnesota Wild’s rookie team at an NHL Tigers Logo Officialpreseason tournament in Traverse City, Mich. He subsequently underwent surgery and only recently was cleared to resume skating.

CHAT News reported yesterday that Mason was wearing a non-contact jersey as he “skated several laps . . . by himself. It’s the first time he’s been on skates at his home rink, and the first time he was in full equipment since September.”

Shaw, 19, isn’t likely to play in the regular season, but hopes to be cleared for game action in time for the start of the playoffs.

It would be huge for the Tigers to get him back for playoff action. Last season, he finished with 27 goals and 67 assists in 71 games, then added 12 assists in 11 playoff games.

The Tigers (27-22-7) go into the weekend atop the Central Division, five points ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes (25-21-6), who hold four games in hand.

Medicine Hat is really banged up, and is 3-4-3 in its last 10 games, while Lethbridge is 5-2-3.

The Tigers will play home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen (16-30-7) this weekend, opening tonight (Friday) in Medicine Hat and finishing Sunday afternoon in Calgary.

The Hurricanes are in Moose Jaw tonight and Regina on Saturday.


There is an interesting hockey story unfolding in Quesnel, B.C., where a group has been trying to land a junior B franchise, preferably in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

The West Fraser Centre will be home to a pair of games tonight (Kamloops Storm vs. 100 KamStormMile House Wranglers) and Saturday (Kamloops Storm vs. Myles Mattila and his Kelowna Chiefs in a game that also will promote mental health awareness).

Matt Kolle, the Storm’s assistant GM, is part of Parallel Sports Group, which has been working to bring junior B hockey to Quesnel. The KIJHL has twice rejected Quesnel-based expansion applications.

Kolle has told Melanie Law of the Quesnel Observer that the group now is looking at the possible relocation of an existing franchise. In that vein, Kolle told Law that the Storm’s management team has spent the past while reviewing its financial picture.

“In the next few weeks,” Kolle said, “we’ll know where Kamloops’ team stands. And (Parallel Sports Group) has also been having conversations with other (KIJHL) teams in financial strain that might be better off in Quesnel.

“It has always been something we would consider, but we wanted to see how the expansion bid would play out first.”

The Storm, owned by Barry Dewar, has played in Kamloops since relocating from Osoyoos, B.C., prior to the 2006-07 season.

Law’s complete story is right here.


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IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Spokane at Kelowna

Tri-City at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Lethbridge at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Regina, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

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

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Portland, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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

Spokane at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


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