Hughes leaves Hurricanes, cites ‘personal reasons’; Tetachuk starter in Lethbridge . . . Philly writers honour Propp


The Lethbridge Hurricanes, in a heated race for the Central Division pennant, lost their Lethbridgestarting goaltender on Monday when Liam Hughes left the WHL team.

In a statement released by the team, Hughes, a 19-year-old from Kelowna, said:

“”At this time I have decided to leave hockey for personal reasons. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but for me, personally, it is the right time to step away from a game that I love.

“I want to thank all of my family, friends and fans for your support, as I pursued my hockey dreams. I leave with fond memories from the game and I am excited to start the next chapter in my life.”

In the same news release, the Hurricanes said they “respect the decision made by Liam and his family.”

The statement continued: “The entire organization wishes Liam the best moving forward. There will be no further comment from the hockey club.”

This leaves the Hurricanes with Lethbridge native Carl Tetachuk, who turned 18 on Jan. 8, as their starting goaltender. A list player, he moved up through the Lethbridge minor hockey ranks, playing bantam AA and AAA, and midget AA and AAA there.

This season, his first in the WHL, he is 10-5-0, 3.05, .903.

The Hurricanes have added G Bryan Thomson, a 16-year-old from Moose Jaw, to their roster for the remainder of this season. A second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, Thomson had been playing with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. With the Hounds, Thomson was 6-9-0, 2.94, .890.

Hughes was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

On Sept. 18, 2017, the Oil Kings dealt Hughes to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes acquired Hughes and an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft from Seattle on Jan. 1 in exchange for veteran F Keltie Jeri-Leon, F Michael Horon and a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He has since played one game with the Thunderbirds.

This season, Hughes was 2-3-1, 3.44, .892 in six appearances with the Hurricanes. He had started six of their last eight game. In 29 games with Seattle, he had been 10-16-3, 3.67, .899.

In 78 career regular-season games, Hughes is 29-35-12, 3.38, .903.

Prior to acquiring Hughes, the Hurricanes had been going with Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old sophomore from Cloverdale, B.C., and Tetachuk as their goaltenders. The day after the trade for Hughes, the Hurricanes dealt Klassen to the Spokane Chiefs for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes (24-13-8) and Medicine Hat Tigers (26-16-4) are tied for third in the Central Division, two points behind the first-place Oil Kings (25-14-8) and one behind the Red Deer Rebels (27-14-3).

The Hurricanes are next to play on Friday when they meet the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash.

There’s more right here on former Brandon Wheat Kings’ star Brian Propp, this award and all that he has been through of late.

D Egor Zamula of the Calgary Hitmen has been suspended for one game after being hit with a headshot major and game misconduct during a 4-1 loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Sunday. . . . Zamula was tossed for a hit on Red Deer F Oleg Zaytsev at 3:47 of the third period. . . . Zamula won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars.

The Calgary Hitmen have returned G Brayden Peters and F Sean Tschigerl to their midget AAA teams. . . . Tschigerl, 15, is from Whitecourt, Alta., and was the fourth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in one game with the Hitmen, and now is back with the prep team at OHA Edmonton. . . . Peters, a 17-year-old from Taber, Alta., was brought in to back up starter Jack McNaughton with Carl Stankowski (ankle) out of action. Peters didn’t see any playing time, and now is back with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hitmen selected Peters in the fifth round of the 2017 bantam draft.

The Kootenay Ice has returned D Carson Lambos to the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Lambos, 15, was the second-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Lambos, who is from Winnipeg, now has played five games with the Ice. He scored his first WHL goal on Saturday night in a 7-5 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon. Interestingly, he scored the goal while his brother, Jonny, a freshman defenceman with Brandon, was in the penalty box.


Hitmen get goalie from T-birds . . . Seattle playoff hero off to Calgary . . . Rockets sign Finnish defender


F Radim Valchar (Portland, Lethbridge, 2007-10) signed a one-year extension with Csíkszereda (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 32 games. He led his team in goals, assists and points, and was third in the league’s points race.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have traded G Carl Stankowski, who shone as they won the 2016-17 WHL championship but then didn’t play in 2017-18, to the Calgary Hitmen.

In return for Stankowski, an 18-year-old who played minor hockey in Calgary, and a Seattleconditional fourth-round selection, year undisclosed, in the WHL’s bantam draft, the Thunderbirds acquired D Mike Koster, 17, an eighth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft and a conditional pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft.

“Carl’s medical needs have become very significant and we felt that being close to his home in Calgary would allow his family to more closely monitor his needs,” Seattle GM Bil La Forge said in a news release.

Stankowski, then in his 16-year-old season, took over from injured starter Rylan Toth late in the 2016-17 regular season and sparkled as Seattle won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. CalgaryStankowski, a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2014 bantam draft, was 3-0-0, 2.18, .910 in seven regular-season appearances, then went 16-4, 2.50, .911 in the playoffs. However, hip problems and health issues kept Stankowski from playing last season.

Andy Side of 710 ESPN Seattle detailed Stankowski’s issues in a February story that is right here. . . .

Koster, from Chaska, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2020-21. Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 21 games with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. He also captained the Chaska High Team, and put up 14 goals and 41 assists in 25 games. Koster is playing for Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this week.

“Koster is an elite defenseman who is NCAA committed,” La Forge said. “We feel that we will provide him with a very viable option going forward. We look forward to opening the lines of communication with him.”

In Seattle, the trade means that G Liam Hughes, 19, is alone atop the depth chart. Last season, after being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings, he was 16-12-6, 3.15, .909. It is likely that Cole Schwebius, 17, and Eric Ward, 17, will battle for the No. 2 spot. Schwebius, from Kelowna, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft; Ward is a list player from Edmonton.

In Calgary, the Hitmen, who didn’t make the playoffs last season, are looking to replace Nick Schneider, who completed his eligibility by making 61 appearances.

The Hitmen acquired G Nick Sanders, 20, who was limited by injuries to four games with the Prince Albert Raiders last season. Interestingly, Sanders, like Stankowski, has had hip-related problems. Also in the hunt will be Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30. A fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2014 bantam draft, he got into 19 games with Calgary last season (4-7-1, 3.55, .890).

There wasn’t anything on the Kelowna Rockets’ website as of Tuesday night, but if Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, says they have signed Finnish D Lassi Thomson, well, that’s good enough for me. . . . Thomson will turn 18 on Sept. 24. . . . He is from Tampere. . . . Last season, he had 12 goals and 15 assists in 49 games with Ives U-20 in the Jr. A SM-liiga. He also played six games with the Ives U-18 team, putting up four goals and three assists. On top of that, he played 20 games with the U-18 national team, scoring three goals and adding seven assists. . . . The Rockets selected him in the CHL’s 2018 import draft.

The Calgary Hitmen are looking for an athletic therapist with the news that Kyle Vouriot has signed on with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose as assistant athletic trainer and assistant strength and conditioning trainer. . . . The Winnipeg-based Moose is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Vouriot, who is from Winnipeg, was with the Hitmen for three seasons.

Spiros Anastas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. He spent the previous four seasons as head coach of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . . With the Stingrays, Anastas, 33, takes over from Ryan Warsofsky, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. . . . The Stingrays are coming of the best regular season (48-16-7-1) in franchise history. . . . Anastas was 36-68-8 with the Pronghorns. The school’s athletic department announced his departure on Friday, and now is searching for a replacement.

Matt Thomas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. Thomas, a 42-year-old native of Maple Ridge, B.C., spent 11 seasons (2002-13) coaching in the ECHL, with the Atlantic Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons and Stockton Thunder. . . . From a news release: “He enters the 2018-19 campaign as the ECHL’s sixth-winningest coach with a career record of 342-225-80, just one win back of fifth place all time. He is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 97, and ranks third with 49 playoff wins.” . . . Thomas spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. . . . In Cincinnati, Thomas replaces Matt Macdonald, who left after four seasons to join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins as an assistant coach.

Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


That’s 60 for Halbgewachs . . . Rebels stretch lead over Ice . . . Blazers romp as Royals scratch top forwards . . . Cougars sweep Rockets


D William Wrenn (Portland, 2010-12) has been assigned on loan by Sport Vaasa to Lukko Rauma (both Finland, Liiga) for the rest of this season. He had three goals and five assists in 25 games. Sport cannot make the playoffs, while Lukko is in eighth place with four games left in the regular season. The top 10 make the playoffs. . . . Wrenn started the season with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL), and had one assist in 21 games. He was released on Oct. 27 by mutual agreement, and signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sport on Nov. 27. . . .

F Rihards Bukarts (Brandon, Portland, 2013-16) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL) after being released by mutual agreement from Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). He had one goal in 14 games. Dinamo has one game left in the regular season, and won’t make the playoffs. . . . Eisbären has two regular-season games left after tonight and are in third place. . . . Bukarts started the season with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga), and had two goals and two assists in 17 games. He signed with Dinamo Riga on Nov. 23.


The University of Alaska-Anchorage announced on Wednesday that it won’t renew the contract of head coach Matt Thomas. . . . Thomas spent five seasons as head coach of the Seawolves, going 48-105-21 overall, including 39-92-27 in the WCHA. This season, the Seawolves went 4-26-4. . . . Before joining the Seawolves, Thomas spent nine seasons coaching in the ECHL, including four-plus seasons with the Stockton Thunder. In the ECHL, he was 342-225-80. . . . Thomas is from Mississauga, Ont.



Saskatoon/Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge



Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria



At Cranbrook, B.C., F Jayden Halbgewachs scored his 60th goal of the season to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Moose Jaw (47-13-3) leads MooseJawWarriorsthe overall standings by two points over Swift Current. The Warriors have one game in hand. . . . Kootenay (25-37-3) has lost six in a row. The Ice, with seven games remaining, is fourth in the Central Division, six points behind Red Deer. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (17), who was acquired from the Ice earlier in the season, gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 13:23 of the first period. . . . D Brandon Schuldaus (7) upped it to 2-0 at 19:55. . . . Halbgewachs got No. 60, on a PP, 52 seconds into the second period. He is the first WHLer to get to 60 since 2014-15 when F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored 63 for Portland. . . . F Alec Baer (26) got the Ice on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 7:41. . . . The Warriors got third-period goals from F Justin Almeida (36), on a PP, at 0:34, and D Kale Clague (11), at 4:50. . . . F Cole Muir (2) scored the Ice’s second goal, at 5:15. . . . The Warriors got two assists each from F Brayden Burke, F Tristin Langan and F Brett Howden, with Halbgewachs and Loschiavo getting one apiece. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-7. . . . G Adam Evanoff earned the victory with 23 saves, one more than the Ice’s Duncan McGovern. . . . Announced attendance: 2,088.

At Red Deer, F Reese Johnson scored a PP goal at 2:12 of OT to give the Rebels a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Red Deer (23-28-13) has won two in a row. It has Red Deerplayed in a WHL-high 20 OT games. . . . The Rebels are third in the Central Division, nine points behind Lethbridge, which clinched a playoff spot with Kootenay’s loss to visiting Moose Jaw. . . . Calgary (19-35-8) has lost three in a row. . . . With one game remaining in the season series, Calgary is 3-1-2); Red Deer also is 3-1-2. . . . The Rebels took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Mason McCarty (34), at 9:10, and F Chris Douglas (8), on a PP, at 14:07. . . . Calgary tied it as F Riley Stotts (15) scored at 6:39 of the second period, and F Conner Chaulk got his 15th at 14:57 of the third. . . . Johnson won it with his 20th goal of the season. . . . The Rebels got three assists from D Jacob Herauf, and Johnson got one. . . . Red Deer was 2-5 on the PP; Calgary was 0-1. . . . The Rebels got 18 stops from G Riley Lamb. . . . Calgary G Nick Schneider blocked 35 shots. . . . D Alex Alexeyev of the Rebels left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. . . . Announced attendance: 3,546.

At Kamloops, the Blazers scored four second-period goals en route to a 5-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kamloops (28-32-5) had lost its previous three games. It is six points from a playoff spot with seven games remaining. Seattle, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, has three games in hand on the Blazers. . . . Victoria (35-24-5) has lost three in a row as it heads for Prince George and a Friday-Saturday doubleheader. It is second in the B.C. Division, seven points behind Kelowna. . . . Victoria won the season series, 6-2-0; Kamloops was 2-5-1. . . . F Connor Zary (7) gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 11:38 of the first period. . . . That lead became 4-0 on second-period goals from F Nick Chyzowski (20), on a PP, at 9:18; F Brodi Stuart (15), on another PP, at 10:33; and F Ryley Appelt (3), at 12:03. . . . Victoria F Andrei Grishakov (19) made it 4-1 at 12:56, only to have Blazers F Jermaine Loewen (33) get that one back at 16:42. . . . D Joe Gatenby had two assists for Kamloops, with Zary adding one. . . . Kamloops was 2-4 on the PP; Victoria was 0-4. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 24 shots for the Blazers, while Victoria’s Dean McNabb turned aside 35. . . . The game featured two penalty shots, neither of which was successful. Victoria F Dante Hannoun lost control of the puck on his attempt, at 9:59 of the second period. Kamloops F Quinn Benjafield got stuff by McNabb on a deke attempt, at 17:30 of the third period. . . . The Royals scratched F Matthew Phillips and F Tyler Soy, who have combined for 180 points. Neither player was listed as injured on Tuesday’s WHL roster report. Both took part in Wednesday’s morning skate. Head coach Dan Price told the Victoria Times Colonist that “it’s nothing major” with either player. . . . Both played in Victoria’s last game, a 3-2 loss to visiting Portland on Saturday night. . . . This likely would have been the last appearance in Kamloops for both players. Soy is 20 and in his final season; Phillips, 19, has signed with the NHL’s Calgary Flames and likely will start next season with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. . . . Referee Brett Iverson and linesman Nathan Van Oosten, both of whom worked the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, are back on home soil and returned to their WHL duties with this game. . . . Dan Courneyea, who works with the Blazers’ off-ice crew, also worked the Winter Games and was back in time for this one. . . . Announced attendance: 3,596.

At Prince George, the Cougars erased a 3-0 first-period lead and beat the Kelowna Rockets, 7-6. . . . Prince George (22-33-8) has won two in a row. . . . Kelowna (38-20-6) leads PrinceGeorgethe B.C. Division, by seven points over Victoria. . . . The Cougars had beaten the visiting Rockets, 4-1, on Tuesday night. . . . Prince George last won back-to-back games on Dec. 2 and 5, when they beat visiting Vancouver, 6-2, and Kootenay, 3-1. . . . Kelowna leads the season series, 5-2-0); Prince George is 2-3-2. They will meet once more, on March 14 in Kelowna. . . . Kelowna F Kole Lind scored the game’s first three goals — at 5:40, 7:10 and, on a PP, 15:59. He’s got 35 goals. . . . That was his third hat trick of the season. . . . F Ilijah Colina scored the Cougars’ first goal, at 17:16. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (18) gave the visitors a 4-1 lead at 6:37 of the second period. . . . The Cougars tied it on goals from F Aaron Boyd (11), at 11:47, and F Brogan O’Brien (12), at 14:45, and F Jared Bethune (21), at 6:05 of the third period. . . . Kelowna went back in front when F Erik Gardiner (6) scored at 11:40. . . . D Austin Crossley (3) got the home side even, 5-5, at 11:56. . . . F Jackson Leppard (14) gave the Cougars a 6-5 lead at 15:45, only to have D Cal Foote (17) get the Rockets back on even footing at 16:34. . . . Colina won it with his 10th goal, on a PP, at 19:42. . . . The Cougars got two assists from each of D Joel Lakusta, Leppard, F Josh Curtis, and F Josh Maser, with Bethune and O’Brien each getting one. . . . F Dillon Dube drew three assists for Kelowna, with D Gordie Ballhorn earning two, and Foote and Lind each getting one. . . . Kelowna was 1-3 on the PP; Prince George was 1-5. . . . Announced attendance: 2,545.

THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.

FRIDAY (all times local):

Prince Albert at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

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

Calgary at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Prince George, 7 p.m.

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

Kelowna at Everett, 7:35 p.m.