With the BCHL having announced that it is leaving Hockey Canada at month’s end, the national governing body is giving indications that it isn’t about to bend any of its rules.
Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Friday that Hockey Canada has written its members in an attempt to let them know just what’s what and what they all can expect.
“Postmedia obtained a copy of the Hockey Canada letter,” Ewen wrote. “Among what is stated is that any player or coach on a non-sanctioned team after Sept. 30 is ineligible to participate in activities sanctioned by Hockey Canada for the remainder of the season pending a hearing from the reinstatement committee, and that’s even if they are released by their non-sanctioned team during the season. That includes ineligibility to be considered for selection to national teams or to attend other Hockey Canada high-performance activities.
“That also means that the BCHL can’t bring in players from junior B leagues to fill in for a game here or there due to injuries and have the players return to their original squads afterward like they have in the past.”
Get out the popcorn, and lots of it, folks, because this is going to be quite a show.
The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you are interested in helping, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.
SATURDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:
#WHLPlayoffs#SEAvsKAM: @blazerhockey still have a fire doubling Seattle to stay alive. Matthew Seminoff and Ryan Hofer both pot a pair including both with solos 23 seconds apart to start 3rd. Hofer had scored once over last 8 after notching two to close out Giants.
Kamloops (2) at Seattle (1) — The Kamloops Blazers broke a 1-1 tie with three goals early in the third period as they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-2, in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle leads the best-of-seven conference final, 3-2, with Game 6 in Kamloops on Monday. If they need a seventh game, it would be played on Tuesday in Kent. . . . F Jared Davidson (9) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 6:25 of the second period. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (8) sacred at 16:00 and the teams were all even going to the third. . . . Seminoff (9) broke the tie 43 seconds into the third period. . . . F Ryan Hofer then scored his seventh and eighth goals, the latter while shorthanded, at 1:06 and 5:31, and just like that Kamloops held a 4-1 lead. . . . F Reid Schaefer (5) got Seattle to within two, on a PP, at 5:48. . . . Davidson’s goal set a franchise record for career playoff goals. He has 22, one more than F Scott Eansor (2013-17). . . . D Olen Zellweger and F Logan Stankoven, the Blazers’ offensive stars, each had one assist. . . . Seattle was 1-for-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-for-2. . . . Kamloops got another big night from G Dylan Ernst, with 36 saves, 10 more than Seattle’s Thomas Milic. . . . D Logan Bairos was back in Kamloops’ lineup, while D Ryan Michael remains sidelined. . . . The Thunderbirds remain without F Jordan Gustafson.
Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News:
“For the last time . . .
“LeBron is the greatest all-around player in the history of the league, whether you’d make Michael the first pick or not if you were choosing up sides to play for the championship of the world or not.
“LeBron could have been an All-Star at all five positions, and has done more positive basketball things, game to game, to help his team win than anybody ever has.
“He has scored more points than anybody in history, he has won titles with three different teams, and he is still playing at this level after two decades, and at the age of 38.
“He’s on my Mt. Rushmore with Michael and Bill Russell and Kareem. Steph can be on the other side of the mountain with Kobe and Magic and Bird.”
Lupica, again: “Well, at least Gerard Gallant can stop complaining that people are speculating about his job security.”
The QMJHL final will feature the Quebec Remparts against either the Halifax Mooseheads or Sherbrooke Phoenix. That series will open in Quebec City with Games 1 and 2, and both sold out within a couple of hours of going on sale. The Videotron Centre’s capacity is 18,259. . . . The Mooseheads hold a 3-2 lead in their semfinal, having beaten the visiting Phoenix, 5-0, on Saturday. G Mathis Rousseau stopped 26 shots to record the shutout. They’ll play Game 6 today in Sherbrooke. The two communities are 993 km apart, according to CanadaDistance.com. . . .
The Regina Pats have hired Andrew Kutnikoff as their athletic therapist. He spent the past four seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, first as athletic therapist/equipment manager, and then for the past two seasons strictly as athletic therapist. . . . Greg Mayer had filled the position for 19 years before moving to the Saskatchewan Roughriders during this season, with Brennan McConaghy taking over on an interim basis. He now has returned to the CFL’s Edmonton Elks. . . .
The Penticton Vees wrapped up their second straight BCHL championship on Friday night, beating the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks, 7-4, to win the best-of-seven final, 4-1. . . . F Bradly Nadeau had two goals and an assist, giving him 30 points in 13 playoff games. . . . The Vees and Alberni Valley Bulldogs will open the Fred Page Cup final on Friday night in Penticton.
John Fisher, the owner who is trying to move his Oakland A’s to Las Vegas, isn’t awfully popular in the Bay area. Here’s Bruce Jenkins in the San Francisco Chronicle: “I was playing golf just outside the Strip many, many years ago when a hellacious sandstorm appeared, erasing all visibility and driving everyone to cover. Let’s hope that whenever A’s owner John Fisher heads out to inspect the prospective Vegas ballpark, he gets slammed by one of those.”
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
As Riley Ginnell took what would be the final shift of his WHL career on April 10, I wondered it if was the end of a long-running chapter.
After all, it would appear that there won’t be a member of hockey’s Ginnell family involved with the WHL next season; in fact, there apparently isn’t even one in the pipeline.
To date, the WHL has been home to Riley, Brad, Erin, Kevin and Pat (Paddy) — the first four players, the latter a legendary owner, general manager and coach from back in the day.
Riley, 20, played out his junior eligibility with the Regina Pats this season, bringing an end to a four-season stint that also included stops with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors. He has hopes of continuing his career in the professional ranks.
“I enjoyed every single moment of my time in the Western League,” Ginnell told Dante De Caria of the Pats for a story that you will find right here. “It’s pretty difficult to walk away from it, but you gotta be happy that it happened, not sad that it’s over.”
Riley’s brother, Brad, concluded a five-season career in the spring of 2021, having played for the Portland Winterhawks, Kootenay/Winnipeg Ice, Spokane Chiefs and Moose Jaw. Brad, 22, played for the senior Eston, Sask., Ramblers this season.
By playing in the WHL, they were following in the footsteps of their father, Erin, who spent four seasons in WHL arenas. He spent time with the New Westminster Bruins, Calgary Wranglers, Seattle Thunderbirds, Regina and the Swift Current Broncos. Early in 1987, following the bus crash that resulted in the deaths four Swift Current players, Erin was moved from the Pats to the Broncos as teams helped to fill holes in the Swift Current roster.
Erin, 54, has been an NHL scout since 2000, working with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights. He is in his seventh season with Vegas.
The first Ginnell to play in the WHL was Erin and Brad’s older brother, Kevin. He spent four seasons (1978-82) in the league, playing with the Lethbridge Broncos, Medicine Hat Tigers and Calgary Wranglers. After battling health issues for a year, Kevin died in Vancouver on May 2, 2020, at the age of 58.
As I wrote at the time of his death:
“When his mother, Wanda, was battling cancer, he promised that if she beat it he would leave the ice and go back to school.
“Wanda recovered and Kevin . . . resumed his education. Dr. Ginnell went on to leave an indelible impression in the world of academia as a professor at Simon Fraser University and Douglas College.”
The Ginnells are more than a WHL family, though; this is a hockey family.
A third Ginnell brother, Dan didn’t play in the WHL, but has been in the NHL since 2005. Dan, 56, is in his 18th season as an amateur scout with the St. Louis Blues.
Derek, Dan’s son, also didn’t play in the WHL, but he spent time in the Alberta and Saskatchewan junior A and junior B ranks before moving into the scouting game. Derek, 32, has been in the NHL for nine seasons — five seasons with Columbus and the past four with the New York Rangers.
Interestingly, Brad and Derek both got a taste of Flin Flon hockey. Derek played four games with the Bombers in 2009-10; Brad played two games with them in 2020-21.
Of course, it was in Flin Flon where the patriarch of the Ginnell family first made his mark in hockey.
Paddy was a key contributor with the Bombers when they won the 1957 Memorial Cup. And if the Flin Flon Bombers winning the Memorial Cup isn’t one of hockey’s best stories, I don’t know what is!
A true character when the WHL was populated with more than a few of them, Paddy would go on to coach the Bombers, stepping into that role prior to the 1968-69 season and staying there until purchasing the Victoria Cougars during the 1973-74 season. He was in Victoria through 1977 before moving on to spend time with the Lethbridge Broncos, Medicine Hat, Swift Current and New Westminster.
He later moved into the NHL as a scout with St. Louis. He was with the Blues for 14 seasons, until he died of cancer on Nov. 17, 2003, in Vernon, B.C. He was 66.
So . . . what about it? Was Riley’s final game the end of the line for the Ginnell family in the WHL?
When I asked Erin via email, he responded with:
“I guess the next batch will be our grandkids. LOL.”
Time will tell.
A hilarious photo of Bruins coach Paddy Ginnell attempting to sneak into a preseason game in Victoria while under suspension from @TheWHL. He wasn't in New Westminster long, but he certainly was entertaining.
A few Twitter tidbits from Wednesday’s WHL playoff games . . .
Geoffrey Brandow (@Geoffrey_Brandow): “Zack Ostapchuk capitalizes on a power play in overtime for Winnipeg as it is back to a best-of-3.Ostapchuk did not have a winning goal with the ICE since being acquired.Ben Zloty helps out on all three tallies, 13 for postseason without a goal.” . . .
Brandow, again: “Saskatoon survives to play another day coming back from two down past the halfway point of regulation (trailed after 2nd break in 8 of 11 games thus far). Defenders Aidan De La Gorgendiere and Tanner Molendyk both turn in a goal and assist.” . . .
More from Brandow: “Kamloops has Portland teetering after earning the win in Game 3. Logan Stankoven and Fraser Minten collect power-play markers, team’s 11th and 12th of postseason to lead the League. Minten tied for 4th with 17 power-play goals in regular season.” . . .
Brandow, again: “Make way for Seattle as it reaches the Western Conference final scoring 16 times in 2 road games in series. Eight different marksmen do the job, including Colton Dach who delivers game-winner in back-to-back tilts, tacks on 2 assists in Game 4.”
WHL PLAYOFF NOTES:
And then there were six . . .
There was only one game on Thursday night, as the Kamloops Blazers beat the Winterhawks, 10-4, in Portland to sweep that series. The Seattle Thunderbirds are next up for the Blazers, who will be the host team for the Memorial Cup. . . . Seattle and Kamloops both are 8-0 in the playoffs as they head into the Western Conference final for a second straight spring. . . . One year ago, the Thunderbirds beat the Blazers in seven games. . . .
There still are four teams alive in the Eastern Conference, but that could get whittled down with tonight’s lone game. That one has the Red Deer Rebels taking their 3-1 series lead into Saskatoon for Game 5 with the Blades. . . . As of 10 p.m. PT on Thursday, there wasn’t anything on the WHL website to indicate whether Saskatoon F Justin Lies will be suspended after taking a headshot major and game misconduct at 3:24 of the first period on Wednesday night. You would have to think that Red Deer F Kalan Lind won’t be able to play. He left the ice on a stretcher after that hit and was taken to hospital. He was released shortly after game’s end. . . .
In the other series, which is tied, 2-2, the Moose Jaw Warriors will meet the Ice in Winnipeg on Saturday night. They’ll be back in Moose Jaw for a sixth game on Monday night.
THURSDAY IN THE WHL PLAYOFFS:
Also finding himself with a new hat is Matthew Seminoff who notches two of team's 4 power play goals of contest as part of it in 25th career playoff outing. Had found back of the net just one time this postseason, was only goal prior since 4G, 8 point effort back on March 15. https://t.co/4wPFjrwh8d
Kamloops (2) at Portland (3) — The Kamloops Blazers scored a PP goal 31 seconds into the first period after Portland was penalized for a lineup infraction on the opening faceoff and went on to beat the Winterhawks, 10-4. . . . The Blazers, who were 10-for-17 on the PP in the series, swept the Winterhawks, 4-0, and will open the Western Conference final with games against the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on April 29 and 30. . . . F Matthew Seminoff scored three times for the Blazers, including the game’s first goal. He has four goals in these playoffs after scoring 31 in the regular season. . . . Goals from D Kyle Masters (1) and F Logan Stankoven (9), on a PP, got the Blazers into a 3-0 lead. . . . Portland closed the gap to one on goals from D Ryan McCleary (1), on a PP, and F Diego Buttazzoni (1) before the first period ended. . . . However, Seminoff, who also had one assist, completed his hat trick with goals at 2:29 and 5:24, the latter via the PP, to start the second period and school was out. . . . Kamloops D Olen Zellweger finished with three goals and three assists, his six points one shy of the WHL record for most points in a playoff game by a defenceman. Darryl Sydor holds the record (7), having scored once and added six assists in an 11-5 victory by the Blazers over the visiting Tri-City Americans on March 22, 1991. Sydor now owns a chunk of the Blazers. . . . Zellweger had 12 points, eight of them assists, in the four games with Portland and now has 20 points in these playoffs. That trails only teammate Logan Stankoven, who had two goals and an assist in Game 4. He leads the WHL with 21 points, 10 of them goals, one more than F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats, whose season ended on April 10. Stankoven, who led last season’s playoff scoring race with 31 points, has put up 52 points in his last 25 post-season games. . . . Stankoven had six goals and six assists in the series with Portland. . . . The Blazers also got a goal and two assists from F Caedan Bankier. . . . F Diego Buttazzoni scored his first two playoff goals for Portland. . . . At one point in the second period, Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) tweeted: “6th post of the night for Kamloops and (it has) seven goals on the board.” . . . The Blazers, who had a 48-27 edge in shots, later hit a seventh post. . . . G Dylan Ernst earned the victory with 23 saves. . . . Portland G Dante Giannuzzi made his first start of the playoffs, but left at 10:24 of the first period, having been beaten three times on 11 shots. Jan Špunar finished up, stopped 30 shots.
D Stanislav Svozil of the Regina Pats has been invited by Czech Ice Hockey to participate in their national team training camp for the 2023 IIHF World Championship. . . . Svozil, 20, made his NHL debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 13 after the Pats were eliminated from the WHL playoffs. He was a third-round selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Czechia camp opens Monday in Brno. The World Championship is to run from May 12-18 in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia.
THINKING OUT LOUD — What do you think? Is it safe to assume that fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs put away the panic buttons, at least for a day or two? . . . Is there anything more predictable than cross-checking being removed from the NHL rule book for the playoffs? . . . You know what NHL playoff games need? More scrums, that’s what.
Wilson Du shared his story at National Kidney Foundation events for years in the hopes of spreading awareness of kidney disease and dialysis. What he didn't know is this is where he would meet the woman who would give him a second chance at life. https://t.co/O7JpuIUlsX
The four-team Memorial Cup tournament is headed to an American city for the first time since 1998.
The CHL announced on Wednesday that the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit will be the host team for the 2024 Memorial Cup. This will be the fifth time the tournament has been played in an American city, but the first since 1998 when it was decided in Spokane. It also has twice been held in Portland (1983, 1986) and once in Seattle (1992).
The Spirit plays in the Dow Event Center that seats 5,527 for hockey.
The Kingston Frontenacs, Niagara IceDogs and Soo Greyhounds — all of whom missed the playoffs this season — also entered bids on the 2024 tournament.
The Spirit has been in the OHL since 2002 but has yet to win a championship. This season, the Spirit was 36-27-5 and will meet the Flint Firebirds in the first round of playoffs starting on Friday.
From a CHL news release: “On the ice, the Spirit are highlighted by exceptional status forward Michael Misa, whose 56 points (22G, 34A) this season were the most by an OHL rookie. The first pick of the 2022 OHL (draft) also averaged 1.24 points-per-game this season — the highest of any OHL exceptional status player and ahead of John Tavares’ 1.18 points-per-game average with the Oshawa Generals in 2005-06.”
Here’s Jamie Tozer of the Station Nation blog:
“This is a bit of a bold move by the CHL, awarding the tournament to Saginaw over traditional (and historic) junior hockey markets Kingston and the Soo. But as we saw with Connor Bedard, the CHL is clearly putting a focus on promoting its stars. Misa will likely become the most talked about junior player when Bedard departs this summer, and awarding Saginaw the hosting rights guarantees the biggest spotlight for its biggest player. Whether you agree with that or not, the CHL is in a place right now where it needs to start making some bold moves — especially with the Memorial Cup.”
The 2023 Memorial Cup tournament is to be played in Kamloops, from May 25 through June 4.
After Kamloops, the WHL next will be the host league in 2026. Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, already has indicated that his organization is interested in putting together a bid, assuming some upgrades are made to Prospera Place. And now, after Saginaw being named host city, you have to think that the wheels are turning in Everett, Portland, Seattle and Spokane.
Meanwhile, in Kamloops, city council has turned down a request for $200,000 in late funding for the 2023 Memorial Cup, choosing instead to cough up a maximum of 100 grand.
The request came from tournament organizers with the money to be used for what Kamloops This Week said is “a pre-designed elevated platform to be situated on the east side of Sandman Centre, creating private suite spaces for Canadian Hockey League officials, sponsors, and broadcast and media partners. It would also create individual team executive spaces, as well as space for the TSN broadcast centre.”
Before this request arrived, the City of Kamloops already was on the hook for $940,000, most of which is going into upgrades to the arena.
Organizers now are looking to find the extra money needed for the installation of this platform.
The WHL held its draft lottery on Wednesday in Calgary, with the Prince Albert Raiders emerging as the big winners.
The Raiders moved from fourth to second — the six teams in the lottery could move up a maximum of two spots — and now hold the first two selections for the 2023 WHL draft. The Raiders got the first pick from the Edmonton Oil Kings in a swap that had D Kaiden Guhle move west last season.
The Winnipeg Ice had the first two selections in the 2019 draft and came out of it with two ace forwards — Matt Savoie and Conor Geekie.
The Raiders also own the seventh selection, a pick that originated with the Kelowna Rockets.
The Spokane Chiefs hold the third selection, followed, in order, by the Victoria Royals, Brandon Wheat Kings and Vancouver Giants. The Giants acquired that selection from the Swift Current Broncos.
The Raiders, as mentioned, will pick seventh, followed by Vancouver, the Medicine Hat Tigers, Everett Silvertips, Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton (from the Regina Pats), Tri-City Americans, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Prince George Cougars, Moose Jaw Warriors, Portland Winterhawks, Red Deer Rebels, Brandon Wheat Kings (from the Saskatoon Blades), Everett (from the Kamloops Blazers), Saskatoon (from the Seattle Thunderbirds) and Spokane (from Winnipeg).
The draft is scheduled for May 11.
On Wednesday morning, Rick Westhead of TSN tweeted: “OHL Commissioner David Branch confirms league hired an investigator to probe allegations that several hockey parents paid for their sons to be selected in 2022 OHL draft.
“Three GTHL coaches have told me they have evidence (txt msgs) of parents paying $30K+.”
Attached to that was this statement from Branch:
“Last year we conducted an independent third-party investigation into the allegations that you mention and could find no evidence of any team tampering with the draft nor teams acting in a manner prejudicial of the League . . . I would that . . . the people you have spoken to please provide it to the League and we will review it an determine if further investigation is required.”
Westhead added: “Branch did not respond to questions about who was hired to scrutinize claims that parents were paying for their sons to be drafted, the scope of the OHL’s investigation and how long it lasted, or how much the OHL paid its investigator.”
And then came the comments . . . oh my goodness, the comments . . .
Former NHLer Marc Methot, who is a TSN analyst: “That’s the GTHL in a nutshell. Lots of crazy rich parents living vicariously thru their children.”
From an account labelled ‘dynasty worrier’ (@luis-saladbar): “So they pay for the kid to be drafted but then what? Doesn’t he still have to be good enough to be on the team? What’s the end goal here? Just buy an OHL jersey with their name on it at the team shop and save 29.9k.”
From Marvin Matthews (@krimar): “This is hockey’s version of the Felicity Huggman/Lori Loughlin debacle.”
From Europe71 (@Europe711): “This has been going on for ever. Not about the talent but how much money parents are willing to pay. It’s about the status. My kid got drafted to OHL. It opens up a lot off doors even if the kid doesn’t make the actual team. Sad. Not surprised what so ever.”
From Thane MacEachern (@of_the_Island): “Sounds like the CHL needs a certified player association, and collective agreement. It’s a for profit business, the kids are employees, only certain people profit. Don’t get me started on this bogus ‘education fund,’ it’s just another line on the corporate balance sheet.”
From jeff (@IH_HamiltonEast): “In related news, the sky is blue and water is wet.”
And the comments go on and on and on . . . but I’m sure you get the idea.
We can't even get an advance clip on the baseball season without odds breakdowns for every team. Sports gambling is like the cute little reptile you bring home as a pet and a month later it's a T-Rex who has devoured the entire household.
ICYMI, the Flin Flon Bombers beat the visiting Estevan Bruins, 2-1 in OT, in Game 7 of their first-round SJHL playoff series on Tuesday night. F Cole Duperreault won it with a PP goal at 1:35 of the first OT period. His dump-in from the neutral zone bounced off a stanchion on the right-side glass and somehow got past Estevan G Cam Hrdlicka. F Kade Runke had given Estevan a 1-0 lead at 10:58 of the second period, with F Ethan Mercer equalizing, on a PP, at 12:28. . . . Attendance was announced at 1,005, so you know the Whitney Forum’s ghosts were dancing. . . . The Bombers will meet up with the Humboldt Broncos in Round 2. They will start with games in Humboldt on Friday and Saturday. . . .
The Sask Entertainment Group (SEG), which owns the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades and the NLL’s Saskatchewan Rush, now owns the Saskatoon Baseball Club, an as-yet unnamed team that will begin play in the Western Canada Baseball League in 2024. . . . SEG is owned by Mike Priestner and his son, Colin, who is the Blades’ president and general manager. . . . Steve Hildebrand, who is the Blades’ associate GM, is president of the Saskatoon Baseball Club. . . . It will play in the East Division with the Medicine Hat Mavericks, Moose Jaw Miller Express, Regina Red Sox, Swift Current 57’s and Weyburn Beavers. Saskatoon will play out of 2,200-seat Cairns Field. . . .
F Matthew Seminoff of the Kamloops Blazers has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Dallas Stars. He was a sixth-round selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . Seminoff, who turned 19 on Dec. 27, finished this season with 82 points, including 31 goals, in 62 games. That included an eight-point game — four goals, four assists — on March 15 as the Blazers beat the visiting Victoria Royals, 11-1. . . . In 196 career regular-season games, he has 73 goals and 97 assists. . . . Seminoff was born in Leesburg, Va., and raised in Vancouver. . . .
The BCHL’s Surrey Eagles have signed Cam Keith, their general manager and head coach, to a five-year contract. Keith, 42, joined the Eagles on May 29, 2019, as associate GM and head coach. Two years later, the Eagles signed him to a three-year extension that was to run through the 2023-24 season. . . . This season, the Eagles finished 35-16-3, good for second spot in the Coastal Division. They will open a first-round playoff series against the Powell River Kings in Surrey on Friday.
My wife, Dorothy, will be taking part in the 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk on June 4 and, for a 10th straight year, is fund-raising. In September, she will celebrate 10 years as a transplant recipient. . . . If you would like to make a donation and be part of Team Dorothy, you may do so right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The WHL announced Saturday afternoon that four players off the Moose Jaw Warriors’ roster “have been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation into possible violations of team rules and the WHL Standard of Conduct policies.”
The WHL made the announcement in a one-paragraph statement posted on its website.
The suspended players are D Marek Howell, 16, of Calgary; F Lynden Lakovic, 16, of West Kelowna, B.C.; G Connor Ungar, 21, of Calgary; and D Maximus Wanner, 19, of Estevan, Sask.
All four played in the Warriors’ 2-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary on Feb. 5. All four were scratched from a 6-3 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Wednesday. Those were the Warriors’ last games before Saturday night when they met the Pats in Regina.
The announcement from the WHL comes with the WHL’s board of governors holding its annual Super Bowl meeting in Las Vegas. Every year, rather than hold the meeting in a WHL city, the governors choose to gather in Las Vegas. Such was the case again this weekend.
When asked about the situation by Randy Palmer of moosejawtoday.com on Saturday afternoon, Jason Ripplinger, the Warriors’ general manager, chose not to comment, saying “the WHL has advised us and we’re not making a comment at this time.”
“The WHL Standard of Conduct covers a number of issues that have been a concern for the league in recent years, including racial and derogatory comments, bullying and harassment, social media and networking conduct, personal conduct detrimental to the WHL and diversity and inclusion so participants are respected, valued and welcomed at all times.
“The Standard of Conduct states that all participants are obligated to report violations, and all participants are required to co-operate with investigations initiated by the WHL.”
Howell, the 16th overall selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft, had one goal and three assists in 44 games. He got into five games last season, picking up a goal and an assist.
Lakovic, a freshman, was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft. He had two goals and five assists in 37 games.
Ungar, who was acquired from the Red Deer Rebels on May 19, was having a terrific season. In 38 appearances, he was 26-7-3, 2.58, .925. He is tied for second in victories and leads the WHL in save percentage.
Wanner was a seventh-round selection by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s 2021 draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract in September. This season, he had eight goals and 22 assists in 44 games. In 121 career regular-season games, all with Moose Jaw, he had 14 goals and 44 assists.
The Warriors had three new faces in their lineup for a Saturday game in Regina — F Owen Berge of the U18 Northern Alberta Xtreme; G Justen Maric from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars; and D Brady Ness of the U18AAA Edmonton Jr. Oilers. The Pats won the game, 8-4.
Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with some pertinent thoughts on today’s Super Bowl:
“Yes, this game will be the culmination of the 2022 NFL season and indeed the NFL season is the biggest deal of all in US sports. But the coverage is once again hugely overblown and obfuscates for some people that this is still at its core a freaking football game. It is not a cataclysmic event; it is not the rapture anticipated by many of the folks who will put the imminence of said rapture on hold for about four hours while they watch the game; it is a football game. It is a big deal in the world of professional football in the US to be sure; simultaneously, it is an event of no consequence in the world of people trying to dig their way out of devastating earthquakes in the Middle East today. As we all get ready to enjoy the biggest game of the season, please remember to keep it in perspective: It’s a football game, Folks!”
The Regina Pats played in front of the third straight sellout crowd (6,499) at the Brandt Centre on Saturday night. There isn’t any doubt that Pats F Connor Bedard is the attraction, especially since he returned from the World Junior Championship where he led Team Canada to the gold medal. . . . But exactly what has he been worth to the WHL? . . . From a story by Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “Cliff Mander, a Vancouver-based agent with CKM Sports Management, told CJME/CKOM that Bedard’s estimated value to the league is $1.5 million. . . . Interviewed by CTV Saskatoon’s Tyler Barrow, Edwards School of Business dean Keith Willoughby said that Bedard’s financial impact ‘is in the millions of dollars.’ ” . . . Gotta think some of the WHL pooh-bahs had some Beard-related funds in their jeans as they enjoy Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas. . . . Vanstone’s latest Beard-related story is right here.
SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
Playing in front of a third straight sellout crowd (6,499), the host Regina Pats got three goals and two assists from F Connor Bedard en route to an 8-4 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Martin Rysavy (6) got Moose Jaw into a 4-4 tie at 15:15 of the second period. . . . Regina F Borya Valis (18) put the Pats back in the lead at 18:08. Valis also had two assists. . . . Bedard completed his hat trick with goals at 3:56 and 11:17, and F Tanner Howe (24) finished the scoring at 17:42. . . . Bedard now has a WHL-leading 48 goals. He has five three-goal games and a four-goal outing this season. He has scored five points in a game on five occasions and also has a six-pointer to his credit. . . . Bedard leads the WHL with 96 points in 39 games. He finished last season with 51 goals and 49 assists in 62 games. Bedard won’t turn 18 until July 17. . . . F Brayden Yager had a goal (22) and an assist for Moose Jaw, the goal, at 14:50 of the first period, opening the scoring. . . . Regina (25-22-3) is tied with the Calgary Hitmen for sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . . Moose Jaw (33-17-3) had won its past three games. The Warriors are fourth in the conference, three points behind the Saskatoon Blades. . . .
In Brandon, the Wheat Kings scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Calgary Hitmen, 3-2. . . . F Brett Hyland (24) got Brandon into a 2-2 tie at 2:23 of the third period and F Dawson Pasternak (9) got what proved to be the winner at 4:56. . . . Hyland and Pasternak each had an assist. . . . F Chase Valliant scored his first WHL goal for the Hitmen, opening the scoring at 3:39 of the first period. A 16-year-old from Surrey, B.C., he was playing in his seventh game this season. . . . Brandon (21-22-7) has won two in a row. The Wheat Kings are 10th in the Eastern Conference, three points from a playoff spot. . . . Calgary (23-22-7) has lost nine straight (0-6-3). The Hitmen and Regina Pats are tied for sixth in the conference. . . .
F Austin Roest scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Everett Silvertips a 2-1 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Roest was the fifth shooter in the circus. . . . D Brayden Crampton (2) gave Spokane a 1-0 lead at 7:11 of the first period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (35) tied it at 7:08 of the third. . . . G Tim Metzger stopped 32 shots through OT for the Silvertips, while Spokane’s Cooper Michaluk blocked 36. . . . Everett (27-22-2) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is tied with the Tri-City Americans for fourth in the Western Conference. . . . Spokane (9-35-6) has lost nine in a row (0-6-3). . . .
F Matthew Seminoff opened and closed the scoring as his Kamloops Blazers got past the visiting Prince George Cougars, 5-4. . . . Seminoff, who also had an assist, got his 21st goal at 4:39 of the first period, for a 1-0 lead. He snapped a 4-4 tie at 19:52 of the third period. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer (31) had pulled the visitors into that tie at 12:22 of the third period. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven ran his point streak to 34 games with three assists. He now has 76 points, 49 of them assists, in 34 games. Yes, he has at least one point in each game he has played this season. . . . The Blazers also got three assists from D Olen Zellweger. He has seven goals and 16 assists in 13 games since the Blazers acquired him from the EverettSilvertips. . . . F Ryan Hofer, who also came to Kamloops in that deal, gave the Blazers a 4-3 lead with his 33rd goal, on a PP, at 8:22 of the third period. However, he got tossed with a headshot major and game misconduct at 12:39 of the third period. . . . F Ondrej Becher (11) had two goals and an assist for the Cougars. . . . G Matthew Kieper earned the victory with 39 saves. . . . F Jakob Demek took the pregame warmup with the Blazers, but didn’t play in the game. He was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings earlier this season, but has yet to play after undergoing shoulder surgery after last summer’s World Junior Championship. . . . Kamloops (33-10-6) has won six straight. It will finish atop the B.C. Division. . . . The Cougars (24-22-4) had a five-game winning streak snapped. They are sixth in the Western Conference. . . .
F Jordan Keller scored twice to help the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Keller, the son of Kamloops Blazers assistant coach Aaron Keller, enjoyed the third two-goal game of his freshman season. . . . F Jayden Wiens, in his second game since Dec. 10, scored once and added two assists. . . . Wiens (11) broke a 2-2 tie with a PP goal at 8:36 of the third period. . . . Keller (11) added insurance, on a PP, at 14:15. . . . F Trevor Wong, who began his WHL career with the Rockets, drew two assists for the Blades. . . . F Gabriel Szturc (17), a native of Czechia, scored twice with his parents in the stands. . . . Saskatoon finished with a 39-18 shot advantage. . . . After Kelowna was beaten, 9-2, by the visiting Prince George Cougars on Friday, Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice, updated the injury situation, noting that freshman F Logan Peskett didn’t return after a first-period fight and F Will Munro, another freshman, left after absorbing an early hit. As well, “Andrew Cristall missed his 13th straight game with injury (and) Ty Hurley missed his 12th, while Max Graham is still no less than three weeks away from getting back in the lineup.” All five sat out Saturday’s game, too, as did D John Babcock and D Marek Rocak, both of whom also are injured. . . . The Blades remain without injured forwards Josh Pillar, Justin Lies, Tyler Parr and Misha Volotovskii. . . . Pillar is on the B.C. trek and skating with the Blades so would seem close to a return. . . . Saskatoon (34-13-4) is 1-1-0 in the B.C. Division. The Blades are third in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Kelowna (17-30-3) has lost four in a row. It holds down eight in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Victoris Royals. . . .
F Shane Smith scored in a shootout to give the Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Medicine Hat. . . . The Hurricanes had beaten the Tigers, 3-0, in Lethbridge on Friday night. . . . The Tigers took a 2-1 lead into the second period. . . . F Joe Arntsen (9) got Lethbridge into a 2-2 tie with a PP goal at 13:07 of the second. . . . Arntsen also drew an assist on F Jett Jones’ 18th goal of the season in the first period. . . . D Rhett Parsons (4) and F Brendan Lee (21) also scored for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat (22-22-8) moved into eighth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Regina Pats and Calgary Hitmen, and one ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Lethbridge (28-18-6) is fifth in the conference. . . .
G Tomas Milic stopped 36 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 3-0 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . The battle of Western Conference leaders drew an announced attendance of 8,057, the second- largest crowd in Portland this season. The same two teams drew 9,863 fans on Dec. 10. The Winterhawks won that one, 4-3 in a shootout. . . . Milic has two shutouts this season and six in his career. . . . D Kevin Korchinski’s seventh goal, on a PP at 11:58 of the second period, stood up as the winner. . . . F Brad Lambert had a goal (6) and an assist. . . . Seattle (38-9-2) has won three in a row and now leads the conference by two points over Portland (36-11-4). . . . Portland is 4-3-0 in the season series; Seattle is 3-3-1. . . .
The Prince Albert Raiders surrendered a goal 34 seconds into the game, then scored the last four goals to beat the visiting Swift Current Broncos, 4-1. . . . One night earlier, the Broncos had beaten the Raiders, 4-0, in SwiftCurrent. . . . Last night, F Harrison Lodewyk (6) pulled the Raiders even at 10:13 of the first period. . . . F Ryder Ritchie (14) got the eventual winner at 4:04 of the second. . . . The Raiders got a goal (18) and two assists from F Keaton Sorensen. . . . G Max Hildebrand got the victory with 33 stops. . . . Prince Albert lost F Hayden Pakkala to a boarding major and game misconduct at 18:09 of the first period. . . . Prince Albert (20-28-3) had lost its previous three games. It is nine points from a playoff spot. . . . Swift Current (24-22-3) had won two straight. It is ninth in the Eastern Conference, one point out of eighth. . . .
F Frantisek Formanek scored in the fifth round of a shootout to give the Red Deer Rebels a 2-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Adam Mechura put Tri-City ahead in the shootout’s second round, but Red Deer F Ben King quickly tied it. . . . The Rebels had taken a 1-0 lead on F Jace Isley’s 24th goal, shorthanded, just 44 seconds into the second period. . . . Mechura (17) tied it at 9:02 of the second. . . . Red Deer (36-12-4) went 3-2-0 on its U.S. Division swing. It leads the Central Division by 14 points. . . . Tri-City (25-19-6) has lost three in a row (0-2-1), but has moved into a tie with the Everett Silvertips for fourth in the Western Conference. . . .
The Victoria Royals counted the game’s last four goals to beat the Vancouver Giants, 6-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . F Teydon Trembecky (8) gave the visitors a 3-2 lead at 18:34 of the second period. . . . D Justin Kipkie (5) added insurance at 4:49 of the third. . . . Victoria F Tanner Scott (10) scored the game’s first and last goals. He also had an assist. . . . The Royals lost F Luke Rybinski to a headshot major and game misconduct at 9:43 of the second period. . . . The Giants lost F Jaden Lipinski to a spearing major and game misconduct at 10:11 of the third. . . . F Ty Thorpe, the Giants’ leading scorer, was among their scratches. . . . The Royals remains without F Jake Poole, their top scorer, and D Gannon Laroque. . . . Victoria (15-32-6) had lost its previous five games (0-4-1). It is ninth in the Western Conference, one point behind the Kelowna Rockets, who hold three games in hand. . . . The seventh-place Giants (20-25-6) had won their previous two games. . . .
The Winnipeg Ice struck for five first-period goals and went on to defeat the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-1. . . . F Owen Pederson (24) scored twice for the Ice, with D Carson Lambos adding a goal (8) and two assists. . . . This was the first time these teams met since last spring’s Eastern Conference final. The Oil Kings won that series en route to winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Ice (40-7-1) has won three straight. It leads the Eastern Conference by five points over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Edmonton (8-41-3) has lost four in a row.
Second, Medicine Hat deserves better than a cavernous generic clone rink, but the people there treated us wonderfully https://t.co/8RiYI1UzMk
Brad Lauer, a former WHL player and coach, now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. But he has had to step back from his role a bit as he deals with a herniated disc in his back. Rick Bowness, the Jets’ head coach, told reporters on Saturday that Lauer “is on IR from a coaching perspective.” . . . Lauer was the head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings last season as they won the WHL championship. . . .
The U of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team will go into the playoffs on a 23-game winning streak after completing the regular season with a 6-3 victory over the MacEwan Griffins in Calgary on Saturday. . . . The Dinos finished 25-3, setting program records for victories (25) and points (50).
History is made tonight in Port Moody as the Panthers have the first known all-female broadcast crew in a PJHL game!
Jessica Kissel is doing play-by-play and Dominika Kwiatkowska is on colour 🎙 🎧
The Travellin’ Bedards have two games left against the Blades in Saskatoon — March 19 and 24. On Thursday, the Blades posted on social media: “We’ve surpassed 10,000 tickets sold for our game against the Regina Pats on March 19 and more than 9,000 tickets sold for our final game of the regular season on March 24.” . . . Those are the Blades’ last two home games of the regular season. . . . The Pats and Blades played in front of 7,868 fans on Nov. 13, with Saskatoon winning, 5-2. That is the Blades’ largest home crowd of this season. . . . Meanwhile, Regina will entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight and the Pats announced on Friday afternoon that the game is “officially SOLD OUT!” . . . The ticket-buying public, of course, is wanting to see Regina F Connor Bedard, who leads the WHL in goals (45) and points (91).
The OHL’s Kitchener Rangers fired head coach Chris Dennis on Friday, with general manager Mike McKenzie choosing to go behind the bench and help out assistant coaches Brennan Menard, Brandon Merli and Dennis Wideman. . . . The Rangers were 21-24-2 and in possession of the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot at the time of the move. . . . Dennis had been in his first season with the Rangers. . . .
It would appear that former WHL/NHL D Clayton Stoner has embarked on a new hockey journey, this one in the BCHL. On Thursday, he tweeted that he is “excited to be involved on the coaching and ownership side with the Cowichan Capitals.” . . . Stoner, 37, played three seasons (2002-05) with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. He went on to a pro career that included 360 regular-season NHL games, split between the Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks. He last played in 2016-17. . . . Mike Vandekamp is the general manager and head coach of the Capitals. They are 10-28-3 this season, and in last place in the nine-team Coastal Division. . . .
The schedule for the 2023 Centennial Cup has been released. The 10-team tournament featuring the host Portage Terriers and the champions from nine junior A leagues is to run in Portage la Prairie, Man., from May 11 through May 21. There will teams there from the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Ligue de hockey junior AAA du Québec, Ontario Junior Hockey League, Superior International Junior Hockey League, Central Canada Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Maritime Hockey League, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. . . . The British Columbia Hockey League doesn’t compete for the Centennial Cup. That’s because it pulled out of the governing Canadian Junior Hockey League. . . .
The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have signed Fred Harbison, their president, general manager and head coach, to a five-year extension that runs through the 2028-29 season. He had one season left on his previous contract. . . . Harbison is in his 16th season as the Vees’ head coach. This season, Penticton is 36-3-1 and atop the overall standings. . . . From a Vees news release: “Harbinson has the most wins in Vees’ franchise history and sits third all-time in the BCHL, with 640. Overall, Penticton has posted a record of 640-174-15-39-7 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL) under Harbinson. It only took him 829 games to reach 600 career wins and he owns an impressive .766 career win percentage in the BCHL. Harbinson has won an additional 144 career playoff games, which ranks him first in BCHL history.” . . . The Vees announced a crowd of 4,775 on Friday night, as they beat the Coquitlam Express, 5-2. . . .
The junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed head coach Briar McNaney for the 2023-24 season. McNaney joined the Leafs in January after the KIJHL suspended head coach Adam DiBella for the remainder of the season for his part in inciting a line brawl on Dec. 31. DiBella resigned his position after he was suspended.
FRIDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
F Caleb Hadland’s first WHL goal stood up as the winner as the host Brandon Wheat Kings dumped the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-1. . . . Hadland, a 16-year-old from Sylvan Lake, Alta., was the 22nd selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft. Playing in his 19th game, he picked up his first WHL assist on the game’s opening goal, then got his first goal at 14:59 of the second period, giving Brandon a 2-0 lead. . . . F Matthew Henry, an 18-year-old from Prince Albert, also scored his first WHL goal for the Wheat Kings. He made it 4-0 with 11 seconds left in the third period. It came in his 46th game. . . . Brandon (20-22-7) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the eighth-place Regina Pats. . . . The Oil Kings (8-40-3) have lost three in a row. . . .
G Reid Dyck stopped 19 shots in posting his first WHL shutout as the Swift Current Broncos beat the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 4-0. . . . Dyck, who turned 19 on Jan. 20, is from Winkler, Man. He has made 56 appearances over three seasons with the Broncos. This season, he is 10-14-1, 3.86, .880. . . . Swift Current had a 35-19 edge in shots. . . . The Broncos were 1-for-7 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-for-1. . . . F Connor Hvidston scored his 13th goal and added three assists. He has 43 points in 39 games; last season, as a freshman, he put up 13 goals and 19 assists in 58 games. This was his first four-point night; he had three times reached three points in a game, all of them this season. . . . The Broncos (24-21-3) have won two in a row. They are tied with the Calgary Hitmen for sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . . The Raiders (19-28-3) have lost three in a row and are 10 points out of a playoff spot. . . . The rematch goes tonight in Prince Albert. . . .
G Bryan Thomson turned aside 29 shots to lead the Hurricanes to a 3-0 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers in Lethbridge. . . . F Cole Shepard’s 18th goal of the season, shorthanded at 3:28 of the second period, stood up as the winner. He also had an assist. . . . Thomas recorded his first shutout of this season — it was his 10th appearance — and the third of his career. He has made 103 appearances over five seasons, all with Lethbridge. . . . Lethbridge (28-18-5) had lost its previous two games. It is fifth in the Eastern Conference. . . . Medicine Hat (21-22-8) had been on a 6-0-2 run. It is ninth in the conference, one point behind the eighth-place Regina Pats. . . . The Hurricanes and Tigers will play again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . .
In Kamloops, the Blazers snapped a 2-2 third-period tie with three goals as they dumped the Saskatoon Blades, 5-2. . . . The Blades, playing their first game on a B.C. Division tour, took a 2-1 lead into the second period. . . . D Logan Bairos (6) got Kamloops even at 15:20 of the second period, and F Daylan Kuefler (26) snapped the tie at 12:56 of the third. . . . F Matthew Seminoff scored his 20th goal into an empty net, giving the Blazers six 20-goal men. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven had two assists to run his point streak to 33 games. . . . Kamloops scored the game’s first goal and now is 26-1-4 when that happens. . . . F Jayden Wiens returned to the Blades’ lineup after missing 23 games with an undisclosed injury. . . . Kamloops (32-10-6), which will win the B.C. Division, has won four straight. . . . Saskatoon (33-13-4) had won its previous three games. The Blades are third in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .
F Cole Dubinsky enjoyed his first WHL three-goal game in leading the Prince George Cougars to a 9-2 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . This was the third straight game between these teams. The Cougars swept the series, having won 5-1 and 7-2 at home on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Dubinsky, 20, was playing in his second game since Jan. 14. He came back from an undisclosed injury to play on Feb. 8, but then didn’t play again until Friday night. . . . Dubinsky, who has 14 goals, also had an assist. . . . D Viliam Kmec had four assists for the Cougars, who got two goals and an assist from F Chase Wheatcroft (34) and a goal and two assists from F Caden Brown (14). . . . Wheatcroft ran his point streak to 12 games. . . . The Cougars outshot the Rockets, 45-23. . . . Prince George (24-21-4) has won five straight and is two points behind the fifth-place Everett Silvertips in the Western Conference. . . . The Rockets (17-29-3) are eighth, three points ahead of the Victoria Royals. . . .
The Seattle Thunderbirds exploded for five goals in the last seven minutes of the third period to beat the Red Deer Rebels, 6-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . F Jared Davidson (29) scored Seattle’s first two goals, providing a 1-0 lead at 6:11 of the third period and a 2-1 lead at 13:22. . . . F Nico Myatovic (20) also scored twice. . . . F Dylan Guenther scored once and added an assist in his first game with Seattle after having been assigned by the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored his 40th goal of the season for Red Deer. This was Uchacz’s first game against the team with which he began his WHL career. He and F Brendan Williamson were dropped from Seattle’s roster in March 2020 after both were found to have directed racial slurs at F Mekai Sanders. Uchacz, a first-round pick by Seattle in the WHL’s 2018 draft, had to sit out the 2020-21 season, while, among other things, completing a diversity coaching program. He later was traded to Red Deer for a second-round selection in the 2021 draft. . . . Last season, he had 14 goals and 19 assists in 52 games with Red Deer; this season, he has 40 goals, which is second in the league, and 28 assists in 50 games. . . . Williamson, now 20, is playing a second season with the junior B Chilliwack Jets. . . . Seattle (37-9-2) remains tied with the Portland Winterhawks atop the Western Conference. . . . Red Deer (35-12-4) is 2-2-0 in the U.S.Division. The Rebels lead the Central Division by 13 points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .
F Jackson Berezowski’s 34th goal of the season gave the Everett Silvertips a 2-0 lead and they went on to a 2-1 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . .F Ben Hemmerling (18), who also had an assist, scored for Everett at 2:59 of the first period, with Berezowski adding to the lead at 4:10 of the second. . . . F Cade Hayes (12) got Spokane’s goal at 12:01 of the third. . . . G Tyler Palmer earned the victory with 34 saves. . . . Everett (26-22-2) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It is tied with the Prince George Cougars for fifth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (9-35-5) has lost eight in a row (0-6-2). . . . The Silvertips and Chiefs will do it all over again tonight, this time in Everett. . . .
F Marcus Nguyen scored twice and added two assists to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 6-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Nguyen, with 17 goals, opened the scoring at 7:55 of the first period, then gave his guys a 4-2 lead, while shorthanded, at 14:03 of the second. That goal stood up as the winner. This was his first career four-point outing. . . . F Ethan Ernst had a goal (29) and two assists for Tri-City. . . . Tri-City was 3-for-7 on the PP; Portland was 2-for-7. . . . Portland had a 48-36 edge in shots. . . . The Winterhawks (36-10-4) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They are tied with the Seattle Thunderbirds atop the Western Conference. . . . The Americans (25-19-5) have lost three in a row. They are fourth in the conference, one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . .
F Ethan Semeniuk’s OT goal gave the visiting Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Teague Patton (12) had given the Royals a 1-0 lead at 15:01 of the first period. . . . F Sammy May’s first WHL goal, at 2:55 of the third, pulled the Giants into a tie. May, 19, has one goal and seven assists in 50 games this season. . . . Semeniuk won it at 3:16 of OT. . . . The Giants got 37 stops from G Jesper Vikman. . . . The Royals remain without D Gannon Laroque, F Jake Poole, who is their leading scorer, F Matthew Hodson and D Austin Zemlak. . . . Vancouver F Samuel Honzek has yet to return after suffering a badly cut leg while playing for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship. . . . Vancouver (20-24-6) is seventh in the Western Conference, six points behind the Prince George Cougars. . . . Victoria (14-32-6) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It is ninth in the conference, three points behind the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Royals and Giants will meet again tonight, this time in Langley, B.C.
THURSDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
#WHL CGY/WPG: @WHLWpgICE take another step towards 40 wins outlasting Calgary. Connor McClennon continues to re-write records. After 2nd hat trick of season and fifth career, now has as many goals (112) or assists (113) than all but eight players have points in team history.
F Connor McClennon scored three times to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 7-6 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Ice, which had beaten the Hitmen, 8-2, on Wednedsay, overcame 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 deficits en route to victory. . . . Winnipeg (39-7-1) scored four times in 3:53 early in the third period to take a 7-5 lead. . . . McClennon’s second goal, at 2:11 of the third, got the Ice to within a goal, at 5-4, and F Zack Ostapchuk (17) tied it at 3:19. . . . McClennon’s third goal of the night, his 34th of the season, gave the Ice a 6-5 at 5:57 and F Owen Peterson (23) upped it to 7-5 at 6:04. . . . McClennon now has 126 career regular-season goals, second to F Nigel Dawes (159) in franchise history. Dawes played 245 games over four seasons (2001-05) with the Kootenay Ice; McClennon, 20, has played 222 games. . . . The Hitmen got two goals and an assist from F Oliver Tulk, who turned 18 on Jan. 19. From Gibsons, B.C., Tulk has 21 goals and 24 assists in 51 games; last season, as a freshman, he finished with nine goals and 10 assists in 63 games. . . . Calgary (23-21-7) has lost eight straight (0-5-3).
Honest question: Is Vermilion County the first hockey team to close up shop with more head coaches (10) than total wins (9) in franchise history? https://t.co/tYGNAVryzx
OK . . . prior to Sunday you didn’t have the Seattle Thunderbirds as the favourites to win the WHL’s 2022-23 championship. You weren’t quite ready to go that far, were you?
But how about now that the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes have sent F Dylan Guenther their way?
Yes, that’s the same Dylan Guenther who scored the golden goal at the 2023 World Junior Championship in Halifax just last month.
The Coyotes announced Sunday that Guenther, 19, has been assigned to the Thunderbirds, who had acquired his rights from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 10.
The Oil Kings, who beat Seattle in the 2021-22 championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, have spent the past few months unloading veteran player assets while loading up on draft picks to facilitate their rebuild. With an 8-37-3 record, they won’t make the playoffs this time around.
Edmonton had selected Guenther with the first overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft.
In order to land Guenther, F Jordan Ramsay, who turned 16 on Jan. 24, and an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft, the Thunderbirds gave up F Koji Gibson, who is to turn 16 on March 10, a first-round pick in 2026, a second in 2023, fourths in 2024, 2025 and 2026, a fifth in 2026 and a sixth in 2024.
Yes, the price was steep and now we will find out if it was worth it.
The Coyotes selected Guenther in the first round, ninth overall, of the NHL’s 2021 draft. He is the fifth first-round draft pick on the Seattle roster, joining D Kevin Korchinski (Chicago Blackhawks, seventh overall, 2022), D Nolan Allan (Chicago, 32, 2021), F Reid Schaefer (Edmonton Oilers, 32, 2022) and F Brad Lambert (Winnipeg, 30, 2022).
All told the Thunderirds now have 10 NHL draft picks on their roster, the others being F Jordan Gustafson (Vegas Golden Knights, 79, 2022), F Jared Davidson (Montreal Canadiens, 130, 2022), F Colton Dach (Chicago, 62, 2021), F Lucas Ciona (Calgary Flames, 173, 2021) and D Luke Prokop (Nashville Predators, 73, 2020).
The Thunderbirds acquired Allan from the Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 16 in a deal that included five draft picks — first in 2023 and 2024, a third in 2024, a sixth in 2025 and a second in 2026 and a conditional pick (sixth in 2026) going the other way.
Seattle had picked up Lambert’s rights from the Saskatoon Blades on June 30, giving up a 2023 first-rounder, a second in 2024, and fourth- and sixth-rounders in 2023.
In the other deal that had people sitting up and paying attention, Seattle acquired Prokop from the Oil Kings on Oct. 25 in exchange for a third in 2023 and two 2025 picks (first and third).
The Thundebirds also added Dach and a 2024 fifth-rounder from the Kelowna Rockets in a Jan. 7 deal that included three conditional picks going the other way — a first in 2024, fourth in 2023 and second in 2025. Dach, who had been the Rockets’ captain, was injured (shoulder) while playing for Canada at the World Junior Championship and has yet to return to action.
And let’s not forget that on Aug. 30, Seattle sent F Connor Roulette and a third in 2026 to the Saskatoon Blades for F Kyle Crnkovic, who has put up 54 points, including 25 goals, in 47 games.
Last season, Guenther had 91 points, including 45 goals, during Edmonton’s regular season, then added 21 points, 13 of them goals, in the playoffs. He suffered a knee injury — in the WHL final against Seattle — and missed the Memorial Cup.
So why did Arizona decide to assign him to Seattle at this particular point in time? He has 15 points, including six goals, four on the PP, in 33 NHL games this season, but has been on the roster for 38 games. Once a player hits 40 he accrues one season toward unrestricted free agency. By sending him to Seattle now, the Coyotes shove Guenther’s potential UFA eligibility a further year down the road.
Late last month, Craig Morgan, who covers the Coyotes for The Athletic, wrote: “The key for Guenther was to see how he would perform on a nightly basis in the lineup. Since his return (from the WJC), it has been a mixed bag. There have been nights where he has looked strong, driven offense and even scored goals. There have been nights where he looks like he is swimming in water above his head.”
In Halifax, you may recall, Guenther scored at 6:22 of three-on-three OT to give Canada a 3-2 victory over Czechia in the WJC’s championship final. He finished that tournament with seven goals and three assists in seven games.
The Thunderbirds are hoping he will bring some of that magic to their lineup.
After beating the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 3-1, on Sunday, the Thunderbirds are 36-9-2 and lead the Western Conference by one point over the Portland Winterhawks (35-10-3).
The Thunderbirds have 21 games remaining and six of them will be against the Winterhawks. The first of those will be Saturday in Portland. Seattle also has three games remaining with the Kamloops Blazers, who will finish atop the B.C.Division.
Before then, the Thunderbirds will entertain the Red Deer Rebels on Friday. That game could mark Guenther’s debut with his new club.
Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette, and he’s not wrong:
“Why is the Canadian Olympic Committee so cowardly in the face of Russian brutality and war crimes? Why is craven Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Shoemaker vowing to work with the IOC to help find a way for Russian athletes to compete at the Paris Olympics?
“Thugs like Vladimir Putin are always probing for weakness: If we invade Crimea and no one acts to stop us, then let’s take all of Ukraine. The IOC’s willingness to skirt the rules and let Russians compete despite systematic, state-sponsored doping helped give Putin the impression he can get away with anything, including mass murder. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. If Shoemaker won’t do it, find someone who will.”
“As a measure of where the sports world is at any given time, Kyrie Irving will do as well as anyone.
“Spoiled, entitled, inclined to believe himself the centre of the universe and somehow able to convince team after team to throw tens of millions his way, World B. Flat is a symbol of everything that has gone wrong with the sports we love to watch.”
#WHL MJ/CGY: @MJWARRIORS are again out shot, but still find a way to do more damage on the scoreboard that counts for the 16th time this season. Atley Calvert nudges team ahead for good with 30th of season, doubling last year's output. Connor Ungar upsets 35 of 36.
F Atley Calvert’s 30th goal snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Moose Jaw Warriors a 2-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . The winner came at 16:17 of the third period. . . . F Ryder Korczak (21) had Moose Jaw’s other goal and drew an assist on Calvert’s winner. . . . Calvert, who is from Moose Jaw, has 30 goals and 25 assists in 51 games, after totalling 15 goals and 25 helpers in 65 games last season. . . . G Connor Ungar stopped 35 shots to earn his 26th victory of the season. He is 26-7-3, 2.58, .925 this season. . . . Moose Jaw (32-16-3) has won two straight. It is fourth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Calgary (23-19-7) has lost six in a row (0-3-3); it is sixth in the conference, two points ahead of the Regina Pats. . . .
#WHL RD/EVT: @WHLsilvertips earn five of six points during a 3-in-3 weekend. Austin Roest has doubled point total from a year ago (in 10 fewer games) after alternating games with at least a goal and assist in each of last 5. Sixteenth occasion of at least one of each thus far.
In Everett, the Silvertips scored three times in the game’s second half and beat the Red Deer Rebels, 4-2. . . . D Aidan Sutter (4) got Everett into a 2-2 tie at 10:56 of the second period, and F Austin Roest (28) shot the home boys into the lead at 16:51. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (33) added the empty-netter at 18:39 of the third. . . . Red Deer F Ben King, who scored his 10th goal of the season, got tossed for a boarding major at 4:55 of the third. . . . Everett (25-22-2) is fifth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . Red Deer (34-11-4) is second in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Winnipeg Ice, which has four games in hand. . . .
#WHL VIC/KAM: Down 3-1 a minute into the second, @blazerhockey roar back and take the 1-goal win with some last second heroics from Olen Zellweger. Earned a point in all but two games with new team. Caedan Bankier cashes twice on power play, Matthew Seminoff sets up all three.
The host Kamloops Blazers scored twice in the game’s final four minutes to beat the Victoria Royals, 4-3. . . . Kamloops, which clinched a playoff spot with the victory, trailed 3-1 midway through the game before tying it with two PP goals. . . . F Caedan Bankier (25) got the Blazers to within a goal at 14:23 of the second period, then tied it at 16:40 of the third. . . . D Olen Zellweger (16) won it at 19:37. He’s got 18 points, six of them goals, in 12 games since coming over from the Everett Silvertips at the trade deadline. . . . F Matthew Seminoff finished with three assists as he was in on each of the final three goals. . . . Kamloops outshot the visitors, 50-24. . . . The Blazers were without F Logan Stankoven, their scoring leader, as he served a one-game suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the host Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (31-10-6) has won four in a row. . . . Victoria (14-32-5) has lost four in a row and is four points from a playoff spot. . . .
#WHL REG/MH: @tigershockey fight back from an early concession 75 seconds into the contest and are back to .500 on season. Dallon Melin delivers a shorthanded penalty shot goal, first man disadvantage tally in 236 career games. Gavin McKenna earns 2 assists, 8 in 11 all-time.
In Medicine Hat, the Tigers shrugged off an early goal by F Connor Bedard and skated to a 5-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Bedard scored his WHL-leading 45th goal at 1:13 of the first period. . . . D Pavel Bocharov (11) got the Tigers even at 4:32 and D Kurtis Smythe (2) gave them their first lead at 14:44. . . . F Gavin McKenna, the first pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, had two assists for the Tigers. He now has played 11 games this season and has eight points, all assists. . . . The announced attendance was 6,178, the Tigers’ largest crowd in 7,000-seat Co-op Place. They had drawn 5,947 to their first game there, a 5-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Sept. 26, 2015. . . . With Sunday’s victory, the Tigers (21-21-8), with points in eight straight (6-0-2), moved past the Swift Current Broncos and into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Tigers now are one point behind Regina. . . .
#WHL BDN/SAS: @BladesHockey complete weekend with consecutive Ws, 4 in last 5, and consecutive game winning goals from ex-Wheat King Jake Chiasson who also tacks on 2 assists. Those come on goals by Jordan Keller as he strikes twice for 2nd time this year, both against Brandon.
The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-2. . . . Saskatoon trailed 2-0 doing into the last two minutes of the second period. . . . D Charlie Wright (4) got the Blades started at 18:07 of the second period. . . . F Jordan Keller (8) pulled Saskatoon into a tie at 7:28 of the third, with Wright getting the primary assist. . . . The Blades took the lead at 11:58 on F Jake Chiasson’s 14th goal of the season, on a PP. Saskatoon had acquired Chiasson, who also had two assists, from the Wheat Kings at the trade deadline. . . . Keller added his ninth goal of the season at 13:41. . . . The Blades are 5-0-0 against the Wheat Kings this season. . . . Saskatoon (32-12-4) is third in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of Moose Jaw. . . . Brandon (19-22-7) now is five points out of a playoff spot. . . .
#WHL SPO/SEA: @SeattleTbirds fire 52 shots on goal, including a 26-3 advantage in 2nd period, and win by two. Jared Davidson gives a little bit of aid to all three markers hitting plateau for third time this season. Third 3-point game, twice vs. Chiefs, over last six outings.
F Jared Davidson drew three assists as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Spokane Chiefs, 3-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds scored one goal in each period — D Jeremy Hanzel (8) in the first, F Brad Lambert (4), on a PP, in the second, and F Kyle Crnkovic (25) in the third. . . . F Lucas Ciona was back in Seattle’s lineup after a two-game absence. He picked up one assist. . . . Seattle held a 52-21 edge in shots, including 26-3 in the second period, as Chiefs G Cooper Michaluk was kept hopping. . . . The Chiefs lost F Carter Streek to a spearing major at 1:21 of the second period. . . . Seattle (36-9-2) moved back atop the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Spokane slipped to 9-34-5. . . .
Huge thank-you to the incredible team who created this record with me. I honestly feel this is the best album I’ve ever made, making the recognition from the academy members that much more meaningful. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/JjovPxOSp2
The Vancouver Giants celebrated a Grammy victory by part-owner Michael Bublé with a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Langley, B.C. . . . F Ethan Semeniuk (10) scored while shorthanded to break a 1-1 tie at 14:23 of the second period. . . . The Thorpe boys took it from there. D Tyler Thorpe (3) added insurance at 14:41 of the second and F Ty Thorpe (26) added the empty-netter at 18:44. . . . Vancouver G Jesper Vikman, who is from Sweden, stopped 24 shots. . . . Tri-City G Tomas Suchanek lost for the first time in 13 decisions. He last tasted defeat on Nov. 23 when the visiting Kamloops Blazers dumped the Americans, 6-1. . . . The Giants lost F Kyle Bochek to a checking-from-behind major at 18:38 of the second period. . . . Vancouver (19-24-6) is seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind the Prince George Cougars, who have three games in hand. . . . Tri-City (25-18-5) is fourth, three points ahead of Everett.
#WHL TC/VAN: If your name is "Ty" or "Tyler", who may have had a hand in the @WHLGiants victory. Ty Halaburda starts scoring with Tyler Thorpe and Ty Thorpe striking in same game for 2nd time to close out. Jaden Lipinski and Mazden Leslie both hand over two assists.
The New Westminster Bruins beat the Portland Winter Hawks, 12-9, at Queen’s Park Arena on Nov. 5, 1978.
Hey, Ken Hodge, what happened?
“We had some bad bounces,” Portland’s head coach said. “The winning goal hit a knot in the boards behind the net and bounced out in front while our goalie as looking the other way. What can you do about that?
When you’re talking about the best defencemen in WHL history, Kevin McCarthy has to be in the discussion. He was a tremendous player while spending four seasons (1973-77) with his hometown Winnipeg Clubs/Monarchs.
During his career, McCarthy knew what it was like to have to face the big, bad New Westminster Bruins in their home den, Queen’s Park Arena.
By the early 1980s, McCarthy was in the NHL. And it was while with the Vancouver Canucks that he and some teammates were mugged by a gang of youths near Chicago’s O’Hare International? Airport.
“One guy started it by suckering Jere (Gillis),” McCarthy said. “I thought I was back in Queen’s Park Arena.”
Who invented the goalie stick with a curved blade?
Well, there have been times when former WHL goaltender/coach Doug Sauter laid claim to having been first.
As he told New Westminster coach Ernie McLean while both were with the Bruins: “The curved blade makes it easier to fish the pucks out of the net.”
The Brandon Wheat Kings lost just five games out of 72 during the regular season of 1978-79. At some point during that season, someone from the U of Manitoba’s athletic department said something about its men’s hockey team being the second-best team in the province.
To which Brandon coach Dunc McCallum responded: “Where does that leave the Jets?”
Much has been made of F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats and the fact that he is riding a 32-game point streak, having been blanked in only the his first game of the season. But what about F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers, who has at least a point in every game in which he has played this season. . . . On Friday night, Stankoven had two goals and an assist in a 7-4 victory over the Royals in Victoria to run his point streak to 28 games. . . . Stankoven and the Blazers will complete a doubleheader in Victoria tonight. He has 64 points, including 25 goals, in 28 games. . . . Bedard and Pats were idle on Friday and won’t play tonight, either. They are to entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers before a sold-out crowd on Sunday afternoon. . . . Bedard goes into the game leading the WHL in goals (39), assists (42) and points (81). . . .Stankoven is third in the points derby.
Blades forward Justin Lies was taken off the ice on a stretcher and will receive medical attention following a hit in tonight's game.
Two WHL players were receiving medical attention as Friday turned into Saturday. . . .
Saskatoon lost F Justin Lies at 5:29 of the second period during a game in Red Deer after what Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ veteran play-by-play man, said was a “high hit” from Red Deer F Carson Birnie. . . . Birnie was given an interference major and game misconduct. . . . The Blades tweeted that Lies “was taken off the ice on a stretcher following a hit in tonight’s game and will receive medical attention.” . . . After the game, the Blades tweeted that Lies was “stable and awaiting observation at Red Deer Hospital. He’s alert, in good spirits and thanks everyone for their concern and well wishes.” . . . Lies, 19, is from Flin Flon. He played three seasons with the Vancouver Giants before being acquired by the Blades prior this season. He has seven goals and 13 assists in 42 games this season. . . . The Blades were losing 1-0 when Lies was injured; they surrendered three more goals before the period ended as they dropped a 5-1 decision. . . .
Meanwhile, in Kennewick, Wash., F Parker Bell of the Tri-City Americans left after what one observer said was a “blind-side hit to the head” by F Andrew Petruk at 1:13 of the third period of a game with the Everett Silvertips. Petruk was ejected following the play that happened as Tri-City F Jalen Luypen scored for a 2-0 lead. Bell picked up an assist on the goal. . . . The Americans tweeted: “Parker Bell is being assessed by medical personnel. We will provide updates when we can.” . . . Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told Taking Note that Bell was “at hospital” and that “all signs (are) positive . . . but he will be out for a while.” . . . Bell, 19, is from Campbell River, B.C. This season, his fourth with the Americans, he has 21 goals and 30 assists in 40 games. . . . Tri-City won the game, 2-1.
FRIDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
F Blake Swetlikoff broke a 1-1 tie at 10:44 of the third period as the Hurricanes got past the Winnipeg Ice, 2-1, in Lethbridge. . . . Swetlikoff won it with his eighth goal, his third in nine games with the Hurricanes since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Winnipeg F Connor McClennon (23) had tied the game 33 seconds into the third period. . . . F Hayden Smith (6) had a goal and an assists for the winners. . . . With G Daniel Hauser scratched, the Ice had Noah Stenvig backing up starter Mason Beaupit. Stenvig, who turned 17 on Jan. 16, plays for the U18 team at the Delta Hockey Academy. From Campbell River, B.C. he was an eighth-round pick in the 2021 WHL draft. . . . The Ice also had D Chase Bambrick, 16, in their lineup after bringing him in from the U18AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. He was an eighth-round pick in the 2021 WHL draft. . . .
The host Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last five goals, four of them in the third period, to beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 5-1 . . . F Harper Lolacher (11) and F Ryder Korczak (20) each scored twice for the winners. . . . Korczak, who had 25 goals in 68 games last season, got his 19th and 20th goals in his 28th game this season. . . . The Warriors took two of the game’s three minor penalties, one of which was for too many men. . . . Moose Jaw (29-15-3) moved past the Blades (28-11-4) into third place in the Eastern Conference. Saskatoon has four games in hand. . . .
F Chaz Lucius scored twice and added an assist as the host Portland Winterhawks skated to a 6-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos, who were opening a U.S. Division swing. . . . Lucius, who starred for Team USA at the World Junior Championship, has four straight multi-point games — three goals and seven assists — since joining the Winterhawks. . . . The Broncos took a 2-1 lead into the middle of the second period but the Winterhawks scored three times before the period ended. . . . F James Stefan had two goals (17) and two assists for the winners, who finished the game by scoring two empty-netters. . . .
G Kolby Hay stopped 43 shots to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Hay, an 18-year-old from Monte Creek, B.C., recorded his first career shutout. It was a reward of sorts for what has been a rough season. After going 16-4-1, 3.11, .885 with the WHL champions last season, he is 5-24-2, 4.26, .886 this season. . . . The Oil Kings scored three unassisted goals — from F Gavin Hodnett (8), F Dawson Seitz (2) and F Noah Boyko (12). . . . Calgary was 0-for-7 on the PP. . . . The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes by inclement weather. . . .
F Kai Uchacz scored two goals to help the host Red Deer Rebels to a 5-1 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The victory lifted the Rebels (32-9-4) into first place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Winnipeg Ice (33-6-1). Winnipeg holds five games in hand. . . . Uchacz, who has 37 goals, had Red Deer’s first and fifth goals as it built a 5-0 lead. He also had an assist. . . . F Frantisek Formanek had three assists. . . . The Rebels, nursing a 1-0 lead, broke it open with three goals in 2:13 just past the midway mark of the second period. . . .
The Kamloops Blazers jumped out to a 3-0 lead — they scored at even strength, on a PP and while shorthanded — en route to a 7-4 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (16) scored the Blazers’ first two goals and later added two assists. . . . F Fraser Minten (22) also scored twice for the visitors and also had an assist. . . . D Olen Zellweger had three assists for Kamloops. He has four goals and eight assists in six games since moving over from Everett at the trade deadline. . . . The Blazers (27-9-6) lead the B.C. Division by 16 points over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Blazers and Royals will complete their doubleheader tonight in Victoria. . . .
The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first two goals and went on to a 2-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kennewick, Wash. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic (11), at 16:06 of the second period, and F Jalen Luypen (5), at 1:13 of the third, scored for Tri-City. . . . F Caden Zaplitny (9) got the Silvertips to within one at 8:09 of the third. . . . The Americans (21-16-5) moved into fourth place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Silvertips (22-21-1). . . .
F Jared Davidson scored twice and added an assist as his Seattle Thunderbirds dumped the host Spokane Chiefs, 7-2. . . . Davidson now has 25 goals. . . . F Luca Ciona added a goal, his 19th, and three assists for Seattle, with F Kyle Crnkovic scoring his 23rd goal and earning two helpers. . . . F Chase Bertholet (22) scored both Spokane goals. . . . Seattle (33-7-2) continues to lead the Western Conference by one point over the Portland Winterhawks (32-8-3). . . . Portland and Seattle will clash tonight in Kent, Wash. . . .
The Vancouver Giants erased an early 1-0 deficit as they beat the Kelowna Rockets, 3-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . D Tyler Thorpe (2) tied the game at 4:50 of the second period and F Jaden Lipinski (15) pulled the Giants ahead at 14:41. Both goals came via the PP as Vancouver went 2-for-6. . . . The Rockets were 0-for-5. . . . The victory allowed the Giants (18-20-6) to pull into a sixth-place tie with the idle Prince George Cougars (19-20-4) in the Western Conference. They now are 11 points ahead of the Rockets (14-26-3) and Victoria Royals (13-28-5). . . . The Giants and Rockets will do it again tonight, this time in Kelowna.
The U of Calgary Dinos beat the Mount Royal Cougars, 4-2, on Friday night in Calgary, running their winning streak to 18 games. That’s a new Canada West record, breaking the record of 17 that was set by the Alberta Golden Bears in 1978-79. . . . The game was played before 11,083 fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome as part of the annual Crowchild Classic.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
These days I am spending time going through more than 40 years worth of files. As pages and pages of clippings, news releases and more, most of them related to the WHL and various teams, go into the recycling bin there are memories, lots of memories involving personalities.
Like Patty Ginnell, or Paddy Ginnell, who was Pat Ginnell when he took over as head coach of the Flin Flon Bombers on June 1, 1966. Quick now . . . who did he succeed? That would be Tom Baird, who stayed on as the general manager.
The Bombers were in the SJHL at the time, but that changed when they moved to what was then the Western Canada Junior Hockey League for its second season (1967-68). It had been the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League for its inaugural season (1966-67).
Anyway, Ginnell was 29 when he took over the Bombers. He had spent the previous three seasons playing for the IHL’s Des Moines Oak Leafs. You know that putting Ginnell behind the bench was a popular choice in Flin Flon because he had played for the Bombers when they won the 1958 Memorial Cup.
Ginnell coached the Bombers through Dec. 9, 1973, his final game a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats.
Why was that his final game?
He had purchased 40 per cent of the Victoria Cougars and was about to step in as general manager and head coach.
Ginnell told Mal Isaac of the Regina Leader-Post that he had been trying to purchase a piece of the Bombers but hadn’t met with any success.
“I’ve been manager-coach in Flin Flon for nine years,” he told Isaac, “and I don’t have a thing to show for it. I don’t even own a stick.” (If you did the math, you know that he actually was in his eighth season with the Bombers, but, hey, facts didn’t get in the way of a lot of stories back in the day.)
“It’s always been my desire to own and operate my own club and that was something I was unable to do in Flin Flon,” Ginnell continued. “Now I’ll have my own team.”
Interestingly, Ginnell’s impending move leaked with the Bombers on the road and before he was able to inform the team’s board of directors.
With the Cougars, Ginnell bought out Eric Bishop, who said he was quitting as the team’s general manager. The Cougars, who started that season with Ollie Dorohoy as their head coach, were in their third WCHL season, hadn’t made the playoffs in their first two and were struggling again.
Victoria finished that season at 22-40-6, which left it fifth in the six-team Western Division.
At some point before Ginnell bought a piece of the Cougars, he had been asked how long it would take him to turn the team into a contender. “One year minimum,” he replied.
Well, the Cougars, led by Mel Bridgman, finished the 1974-75 season atop the West Division with a 47-18-5 record but dropped a best-of-seven semifinal series to the New Westminster Bruins, 4-2.
The Bombers’ board of directors, meanwhile, accepted Ginnell’s recommendation that Mel Pearson, a teammate on the 1958 Memorial Cup-winning team, be the next GM/head coach. Pearson had spent the 1972-73 season with the WHA’s Minnesota Fighting Saints.
Pearson didn’t get to Flin Flon in time for the Bombers next game, on Dec. 13 against, yes, the Cougars. So trainer Nick Oklobdzija — he was known as Nick Alphabet — served as the interim head coach and posted one of his dozen or so career coaching victories, this one by a 10-2 score. Ginnell watched from the Whitney Forum stands as Dorohoy continued for the moment as the Cougars’ coach.
(Bruce Penton, writing in the Brandon Sun of March 7, 1974, noted that Oklobdzija “is undefeated in 12 tests as coach of the WCHL Bombers.”
“That goes back about eight or nine years,” Oklobdzija told Penton. “I’ve filled in here and there when (Ginnell) was away or suspended, or something. And we’ve never lost while I’ve coached.” The WHL’s coaching records show Oklobdzija with a 2-0-0 coaching mark.)
Pearson made his Flin Flon coaching debut on Dec. 18 with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. (One of Brandon’s goals came from John Paddock, now the Pats’ vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach.)
Pearson, who had signed a contract taking him through 1974-75, was gone early in the 1975-76 season, fired on Oct. 29. At the time, the Bombers had two victories in 12 games.
The Bombers then hired Mickey Keating to replace Pearson, thus ending Ginnell’s connection to the Flin Flon franchise.
As an aside, my favourite Keating quote emerged late in the 1976-77 season. At one point, I wrote a few stories detailing the history of the WHL and it included this:
A nine-hour meeting in Calgary resulted in a new playoff format. Under the original format, the Flin Flon Bombers, third in the East, were 20 points ahead of Regina and all but had a playoff spot locked up. Suddenly, there was a new format and the Bombers were fighting for a spot. Oh yes, they were also on a 15-game West Coast road trip.
“In this league, you need two pieces of equipment,” said Flin Flon boss Mickey Keating. “You need a face-guard when you play some of the teams on the ice and a back protector for the committee room. I had inklings that there may be changes in the playoffs but I had confidence there were intelligent hockey men in this league. I was shown different.”
Ahh, yes, those were the days.
If you have time on your hands, you could track down the Twitter account belonging to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs (@OHLIceDogs) and check out the ‘apology’ from the Burke brothers — Billy and Joey. And then see if you can find the screen shot of the WhatsApp chat that got them into trouble with David Branch, the OHL commissioner. . . . And after you have done all that, you are free to wonder why the Burke boys weren’t suspended for life.
Meanwhile, there is ample speculation that the IceDogs are soon to be sold to, as Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered reported, “a group headed by Darren DeDobberlaer, an insurance magnate from nearby Brantford, who owns both the Brantford 99ers Jr. A team and the Brantford Bandits Jr. B team.”
Campbell also wrote: “Oh, yes, and the selling price is rumoured to be in the range of $20 million, which should disavow anyone of the notion that major junior hockey operators in Canada are mom and pop operations that require millions of dollars in tax money to meet their scholarship commitments and provincial government laws to help them skirt minimum wage requirements. Teams make money when they are strong and struggle financially when they aren’t. If the operators know what they’re doing, they can make it work. And as we’re seeing with the IceDogs, they can cash out when they sell the team.”
Campbell’s piece is right here and it’s because of reports like this that I subscribe to his site.
Bombshell out of Quebec today: Minister Isabelle Charest threatens to unsanction the QMJHL if fighting isn't banned.
“The Greater Toronto Hockey League has hired a private investigator to scrutinize allegations that Jewish players with the U-13 Avenue Road Ducks and their family members were targeted with anti-Semitic slurs during games this season,” reports Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . That story is right here.
Meanwhile, CBC Ottawa reports that “after some Black minor hockey players in western Quebec alleged they were racially abused, a Gatineau, Que., team has suspended six of its players and the provincial governing body cancelled weekend games.” . . . That story is right here.
And, from Oakland, Mich., comes this from clickondetroit.com: “A 15-year-old boy is suing three players on an under 16 youth hockey team, their parents and the coach after he said he endured antisemitic bullying until he quit the team.” . . . That story is right here.
Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . You are able to support her by making a donation right here.
FRIDAY IN THE WHL:
G Nolan Maier became the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL history as the host Saskatoon Blades beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 2-0. . . . Maier stopped 20 shots in posting his 121st career regular-season victory, breaking a record he had shared with Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Hirsch tweeted: “Congrats Nolan! Your perseverance, resilience and dedication is nothing short of inspirational. Enjoy the moment; you’ve earned it!” . . . The Blades won it with two third-period goals, from F Egor Sidorov (23), at 12:17, and F Trevor Wong (16), at 18:01. . . . Maier has three shutouts his season; he holds the franchise career record, with 11. . . . Saskatoon (37-26-4) moved into fourth place, one point ahead of the idle Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Raiders (26-34-5) are 10th, two points out of a playoff spot. . . .
F Jake Chiasson had two goals and two assists as the Brandon Wheat Kings doubled the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Chiasson, who has six goals, struck twice in the second period as Brandon took a 5-1 lead. Chiasson missed a huge chunk of the season with an injury and only began play on March 4. He now has 15 points in 16 games. . . . D Mason Ward added two goals, giving him six, and an assist for Brandon, with D Chad Nychuk getting a goal, his 21st, and two assists. Nychuk has 68 points in 60 games. . . . Brandon (34-25-5), which has won four in a row, is sixth, four points behind Moose Jaw. Each team has four games remaining. . . . Medicine Hat (11-50-4) has lost nine straight games. . . .
In Red Deer, F Ben King, who leads the WHL in goals, scored in OT to give the Rebels a 5-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . King, who also had two assists, scored his 49th goal of the season at 2:56 of OT. . . . King has a WHL-leading 15 game-winning goals this season. F Brian Propp of the 1978-19 Brandon Wheat Kings holds the WHL record of 16. . . . F Logan Wormald scored twice for Lethbridge, giving him 14. His second goal, at 8:33 of the third period, gave his side a 4-3 lead. . . . D Christoffer Sedoff (7) forced OT with a goal at 12:04. . . . Red Deer (44-17-4) is third, four points behind the idle Edmonton Oil Kings, who have a game in hand. . . . Lethbridge (30-30-5) is headed for a seventh-place finish. . . .
F Connor Bedard set two franchise records as his Regina Pats beat the Broncos, 4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Bedard scored twice to give him 47 this season. His 46th goal, a shorthanded effort, set the Pats’ record for most goals by a player in his 16-year-old season. F Jeff Friesen scored 45 times in 1992-93. . . . Bedard now has 89 point in 58 games, and that also is a Pats’ franchise record for a player in his 16-year-old WHL season. F Doug Wickenheiser finished the 1977-78 season with 88 points. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Kelton Pyne. . . . Regina (25-34-5) is 11th and, with four games remaining, trails the eighth-place Broncos (26-34-7) by four points.
F Matthew Seminoff scored with four seconds remaining in the third period to give the Blazers a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals in Kamloops. . . . The goal came one second after the end of a Victoria PP opportunity. . . . F Logan Stankoven had three assists for the Blazers, including the only one on the winner. . . . Seminoff has 25 goals. . . . F Bailey Peach (36) scored twice and added an assist for Victoria, which came back to tie the score three times but wasn’t able to grab the lead. . . . Stankoven now has 99 points, leaving him three behind F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels, who leads the points race. . . . Stankoven, who has played 56 games, leads the WHL in points-per-game (1.77). . . .Kamloops (47-16-2) is second, four points behind the Everett Silvertips. Each team has three games remaining. . . . Victoria (22-37-6) is tied for seventh with the Vancouver Giants, one point behind the idle Spokane Chiefs. . . .
F Alex Swetlikoff scored three times and added an assist as the host Everett Silvertips dumped the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . The Silvertips, who clinched the U.S. Division regular-season pennant, scored the game’s last four goals, the first two from Swetlikoff, who has 33 goals. . . . Everett was 3-for-9 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-for-2. . . . Everett had a 50-13 edge in shots. According to the online game sheet, shots were 10-0 in the third period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski had an empty-net goal and two assists for Everett. He’s got 46 goals. . . . Everett (45-10-10) leads the conference by four points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-42-7) has been eliminated from playoff contention. . . .
F Jack O’Brien had two goals to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 7-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . O’Brien has 13 goals. . . . F Cross Hanas scored his 25th goal and added two assists for the winners. . . . There was something of a brouhaha at 19:17 of the third period that resulted in 97 penalty minutes being handed out. . . . Portland (44-16-5) is third, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (23-36-4) is tied for seventh with Victoria, one point behind Spokane and one ahead of the idle Prince George Cougars.
JUST NOTES: F Logan Nijhoff, the Regina Pats’ captain, has signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Gulls, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. Nijhoff, 20, had 20 goals and 23 assists in 52 games when the signing was announced on Thursday. He is completing his fifth season with Regina. Nijhoff attended the Ducks’ rookie camp in September. . . . The EIHL’s Cardiff Devils have fired head coach Jarrod Skalde, who was in his first season there. Assistant coaches Brodie Dupont and Neil Francis will run things through the end of the season. With four games left in the regular season, the Devils are third at 27-15-3.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
There was lots of chatter after Regina Pats F Connor Bedard scored his 40th goal of the season on Wednesday night.
“Bedard became just the second 16-year-old in the past 30 years, and sixth in WHL history, to reach the 40-goal mark during a regular season,” reads a piece posted on the league’s website.
“As far as the elite company is concerned, Bedard joins longtime NHLer Jeff Friesen (himself a former Pat) as 16-year-olds to score 40 or more goals in the past three decades. Friesen put up 45 markers with Regina during the 1992-93 season,” the story continues. “Bedard is the sixth 16-year-old to do it in league history, joining the likes of Glen Goodall, who fired in 63 goals in his 16-year-old season with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 1986-87, and a trio of Memorial Cup champions in Kimbi Daniels (43 goal with Swift Current in 1989-90), Mark Pederson (42 goals with Medicine Hat in 1984-85) and Dave Pasin (40 goals with Prince Albert in 1982-83).”
Yes, Glen Goodall, who had one of the most remarkable stints in WHL history, struck for 63 goals as a 16-year-old. He really did. Think about that for a few moments . . . that’s a whole lot of goals at any age. But to do it at 16. Yikes!
Of course, Goodall had scored 13 goals in 65 games as a 15-year-old. Oh, and he had five goals in 59 games as a 14-year-old. Yes, the pride of Thompson, Man., got into 59 games at 14. He had been on Seattle’s protected listed since he was 12.
Before he was done, Goodall had played six full seasons in the WHL, totalling 399 regular-season games. Now that’s one WHL career record that won’t ever be broken.
For the record, Goodall finished with 573 points, including 262 goals, in those 399 games. He holds the WHL regular-season career records for games played and goals. He is fifth in assists (311) and second in points (573).
The Detroit Red Wings selected Goodall in the 10th round of the 1988 NHL draft, but he never did get to play in the big league. He went on to a pro career that included a 100-point season with the ECHL’s Erie Panthers and five 100-point seasons in Europe. But the NHL never did beckon, likely because he went about 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds.
Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has a piece right here from June 2020 about the connection between Goodall and Bedard.
G Ève Gascon, 18, is scheduled to make her first start for the QMJHL’sGatineau Olympqiques today(Saturday) against the visiting Rimouski Oceanic. Gascon was been 9-5-0 with the CÉGEP St-Laurent Patriotes in the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League (Division 1). . . . She will become the third woman to play in the QMJHL, after Manon Rheaume and Charline Labonté, who got into 26 games with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 1999-2000 and two in 2000-01. Rheaume played one game with the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs on 1991-92. . . . G Shannon Szabados got into four exhibition games with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans prior to the 2002-03 season. In her debut, on Sept. 4, 2002, she stopped 24 shots in a 6-4 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in a game that was played in Ladner, B.C. On Sept. 22, in a regular-season game at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum, she played 50 seconds early in the third period but wasn’t tested — presumably starter Tyler Weiman had an equipment issue — as the Americans dropped a 5-3 decision to the Giants. The game included 192 penalty minutes.
My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.
My, how time does fly! . . . On May 13, 2019, F Noah Gregor scored two goals and added an assist on the winner as the host Prince Albert Raiders beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-2 in OT, in Game 7 of the WHL’s championship final. . . . Because of the pandemic that is the last WHL playoff game to have been played. Yes, the Raiders have been the defending champions for almost three years now. . . . As for Gregor, well, he played in his 100th NHL game on Thursday night as his San Jose Sharks dropped a 3-0 decision to the Los Angeles Kings. Gregor, 23, has 22 points, including 11 goals, in his first 100 games.
F Dylan Guenther scored twice, giving him 40 goals this season, to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Guenther scored his first goal on a penalty shot at 18:05 of the third period, then added an empty-netter at 19:28. . . . The Oil Kings (45-12-3) lead the Eastern Conference by four points over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . The Hitmen (21-30-8) are 10th, but just one point out of the last playoff spot. . . . Edmonton D Luke Prokop scored his 11th goal at 11:53 of the second and it stood up as the winner against his former club. Prokop will be back in the arena this afternoon (Saturday) as the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers honour him as part of their Pride Night as they entertain the New Jersey Devils. Prokop, who has signed with the Nashville Predators, came out as gay in July. He is the first active player under NHL contract to have done so. . . .
The host Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s first three goals, all in the first period, en route to a 5-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Chase Pauls scored twice for the winners, giving him four this season. It was his first two-goal game in 83 regular-season games. He now has 18 points, including five goals, in those 83 games. . . . F Ben King, the WHL’s leading goal scorer, got No. 47 for Red Deer. . . . These teams will meet again tonight, this time in Red Deer. . . . The Hurricanes (25-28-4) are seventh in the Eastern Conference, just three points ahead of the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Rebels (39-17-3) are a comfortable third in the conference. . . .
In Winnipeg, the Ice opened up a 4-1 second-period lead and hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings, who have lost five straight. . . . F Conor Geekie’s 19th goal, at 19:34 of the second period, stood up as the winner. He needs one more goal to become the Ice’s sixth 20-goal man. As well, F Jack Finley has 18. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned the victory with 19 saves. This season, he is 23-2-1, 2.15, .911. . . . The Ice was coming off four straight home-ice shutouts. It ended up going 325 minutes 17 seconds without giving up a goal at home before F Tyson Zimmer scored his first of two goals for Brandon. . . . F Hayden Chaloner had two assists in his first career game with the Wheat Kings. Chaloner, who will turn 17 on Monday, was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft. . . . The Ice leads the season series 7-1-1 with the final game tonight in Brandon. . . . Winnipeg (42-9-5) is second in the Eastern Conference and is 8-0-2 in its last 10 games. It is four points behind Edmonton and holds four games in hand. . . . Brandon (28-23-5) is sixth, nine points behind the fifth-place Saskatoon Blades and seven ahead of Lethbridge. . . .
D Sam McGinley scored twice and added an assist to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 5-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . McGinley has six goals this season. . . . He gave the Broncos a 3-0 lead at 6:03 of the second period and made it 4-1 at 18:08. . . . They’re back it tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . The Broncos (22-30-7) are tied with the Regina Pats, who hold four games in hand, for eighth in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of Calgary. . . . The Tigers (11-42-4) won’t be in the playoffs this time around. . . .
F Lukas Svejkovsky broke a 1-1 tie with his 25th goal as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Svejkovsky, a midseason acquisition from the Medicine Hat Tigers, struck at 14:44 of the second period. . . . F Tanner Gould had pulled the Americans even with his first WHL goal at 10:02. . . . F Conner Roulette notched his 20th goal of the season and now has scored in four straight road games. . . . Seattle (36-15-6) is fourth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Americans (16-37-5) are 10th, six points out of the last playoff spot. . . .
D Devin Aubin scored his first two goals of the season, doubling his career output in the process, and added an assist as the host Victoria Royals beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-2. . . . Aubin, who turned 19 on Thursday, went into the game with one goal in 46 games over two seasons. He now has five points in 26 games this season, one more than he scored in 21 games with the Swift Current Broncos in the 2021 development season. . . .F Tanner Scott had a goal, his 13th, and two assists for Victoria, which was outshot 42-24, including 14-2 in the third period. . . . G Tyler Palmer got the victory with 40 saves. . . . The teams will complete the doubleheader tonight in Victoria. . . . The Royals (18-34-6) are ninth in the Western Conference, one point behind the Spokane Chiefs and the Cougars (20-33-3), who are tied for seventh. . . .
F Adam Hall scored twice to help the Vancouver Giants to a 5-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Langley, B.C. . . . Hall has 16 goals. He scored twice in a four-goal outburst as the Giants erased a 1-0 deficit. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored twice for Everett, giving him 40 this season. . . . Vancouver D Nicco Camazzola scored his third goal this season on his 19th birthday. He’s got three goals in 71 career games. . . . The same teams will hit the highway and play tonight in Everett. . . . Vancouver (23-29-4) holds down sixth place in the Western Conference, seven points ahead of Spokane and Prince George. . . . The Silvertips (39-10-8) are tied with the Kamloops Blazers atop the conference. . . .
F Matthew Seminoff scored the only goal of the shootout to give the visiting Kamloops Blazers a 3-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Seminoff led off the third round of the circus with its lone goal. . . . The Blazers have won seven in a row, four of them over the Rockets, who still lead the season series, 7-2-2. Kamloops is 4-6-1. . . . The same teams will play in Kamloops tonight. . . . F Connor Levis had pulled Kamloops into a 2-2 tie with his 14th goal at 13:38 of the second period. . . . F Colton Dach, who has 21 goals, scored both of Kelowna’s goals. He has three two-goal games this season, all against the Blazers. . . . F Andrew Cristall had two assists for Kelowna. Cristall, who turned 17 on Feb. 4, has 54 points, including 33 assists, in 49 games. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Garand had 37 saves, one more than Kelowna’s Talyn Boyko. Both are draft picks of the NHL’s New York Rangers. . . . The Blazers (42-14-2) are tied with Everett atop the Western Conference, with Kamloops holding one game in hand. . . . The Rockets (34-15-6) are fifth, four points behind Seattle.
JUST NOTES: TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted that the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in its entirety in Edmonton this summer. The IIHF said Friday that the tournament will be played in August. You will recall that the tournament got started in Red Deer and Edmonton in late December before being brought down by positive tests to players and on-ice officials. . . . The IIHF also announced on Friday that Latvia will be the 10th team in the tournament, replacing Russia. . . . With the IIHF having barred Belarus and Russia from various competitions, it has made adjustments to some tournaments. For example, Austria and France have replaced those two in the 2022 men’s world championship. There’s more on that and other changes right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Ice Cube, the actor and not the thing at the bottom of your glass of Chivas, bailed on a movie project the other day. He chose not to get vaccinated so really didn’t have any choice. Not taking the inoculation cost him US$9 million. As Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News tweeted: “He can shoot hoops with Kyrie.”
Another sign the apocalypse is upon us: TMZ reported that “PETA is urging MLB to stop using the term ‘bullpen’ to describe the place where pitchers warm up.” . . . Seriously. The good folks at PETA must have been having a slow Thursday. Apparently, they issued a news release suggesting a change to “arm barn.”
“PETA wants baseball to stop using the term ‘bullpen,’ saying it is a holding place for cattle about to be butchered and no place for pitchers,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “But still passing muster, for now: ducks on the pond, dying quail, gopher ball and dog days of summer.”
One more from Perry: “The Braves’ Ozzie Albies won Americans free tacos when he stole second base in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series. How come Jorge Soler’s homer that same inning didn’t earn us free tater tots?”
Headline from @TheOnion: Poll Finds Most Americans Would Swap Democracy For $100 Best Buy Gift Card.
One more headline from @TheOnion: Texas School Censors All Of ‘Huck Finn’ Except The N-Words.
I saw two numbers this week that about knocked me out of the recliner, and I don’t know which one was more shocking. . . . First, The New York Times reported that Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, “made $128 million the last two fiscal years.” . . . And then I saw this headline on Entertainment Weekly’s website: “Here’s when all 136 new Christmas movies will premiere.” . . . OK . . . 136 “new” Christmas movies wins. I’m old enough to remember when there were about six Christmas movies out there. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Miracle on 34th Street. Home Alone. It’s A Wonderful Life. Love Actually. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. . . . Better make it seven because we can’t leave Die Hard off the list. . . . And now we get 136 new ones in a single year. Yikes! . . . BTW, if you aren’t aware, the Christmas movies have been available on your TV since Oct. 22. Enjoy!
BREAKING: Deaths from COVID-19 pandemic reach 5 million
There were nine WHL games on Saturday night. The Winnipeg Ice responded rather well after having suffered their first loss of the season one night earlier . . .
In Kelowna, F Jake Poole’s OT goal gave the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Poole’s third goal of the season came at 4:45 of extra time. . . . F Pavel Novak scored three times for the Rockets (3-3-0). He’s got five, all of them against Victoria. . . . F Mark Liwiski helped Kelowna with his first goal this season and two assists. . . . The Royals, 1ho are 1-11-0 and have lost 10 in a row, got two goals from F Riley Gannon. . . .
In Prince George, F Matthew Seminoff had a goal and two assists to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 4-1 victory over the Cougars. . . . Seminoff, who has four goals, had scored twice on Friday in a 7-1 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . The Blazers (8-1-0) have won four straight. . . . The Cougars (5-4-0) had won their previous five games, all against the Royals. . . .
In Spokane, the Everett Silvertips skated to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Everett (7-0-1) has yet to lose in regulation time. . . . The Chiefs are 3-6-1. . . . F Michal Gut (3) scored twice, with F Austin Roest’s second goal of the season, at 8:36 of the second period, standing up as the winner. . . . Everett had a 29-15 edge in shots. . . .
In Kennewick, Wash., F Gabe Ludwig’s OT goal gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Ludwig’s second goal of the season came at 2:01 of extra time. . . . Tri-City F Ethan Ernst forced OT with a goal at 16:29 of the third period. . . . The Thunderbirds, who had a 51-21 edge in shots, are 7-2-1 and have won five straight. . . . The Americans (2-5-1), who were 1-for-8 on the PP, have lost six in a row. . . .
In Brandon, F Keaton Sorensen scored the game’s first two goals and the Prince Albert Raiders went on to a 3-1 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Sorensen, who has three goals, scored at 10:45 and 17:06 of the first period. . . . The Raiders (3-7-1) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Brandon slid to 5-7-0. . . .
In Lethbridge, G Daniel Hauser recorded his first career shutout with 29 saves to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 7-0 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . The Ice (12-1-0) had lost its first game of the season in Edmonton on Friday night. . . . Hauser, 17, is from Chestermere, Alta. He now is 7-0-0, 1.72, .929. . . . The Ice got a goal and two assists from each of Conor Geekie (5) and Mikey Milne (9). . . . The Hurricanes (5-4-0) had won their previous two games. . . .
In Red Deer, F Ben King scored a PP goal in OT to give the Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Rebels finished 2-for-9 on the PP. . . . King scored twice, giving him seven, and added an assist. . . . The Rebels (7-4-1) took a 3-1 lead into the third period, only to have Edmonton tie it on two goals from F Jalen Luypen (5), the second one at 16:50. . . . The Oil Kings (7-2-2) have points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Rebels are scheduled to play their next seven games on the road as the Canadian Finals Rodeo takes over their home arena. . . .
In Regina, F Connor Bedard had two goals and an assist as the Pats dumped the Swift Current Broncos, 7-3. . . . The highly touted Bedard has six goals and four assists in 11 games. . . . F Logan Nijhoff scored twice (4) for Regina, with D Ryker Evans adding a goal (2) and two assists. . . . The Pats improved to 4-7-0. . . . The Broncos (2-7-2) have lost nine straight (0-7-2). . . . The Pats had won, 4-1, in Swift Current on Friday. . . .
In Medicine Hat, F Kyle Crnkovic scored twice to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Tigers. . . . Crnkovic came out of the night tied for the WHL lead in goals. He and F Connor McClennon of the Winnipeg Ice are at 10. . . . Saskatoon F Tristen Robins had two assists. He leads the WHL in assists (14) and points (21). . . . The Blades (8-2-1) were 4-for-6 on the PP. . . . The Tigers (4-5-2) have lost three in a row (0-2-1).
When last we checked in with the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers, the City of St. John’s had punted them from Mile One, their home arena that actually now is Mary Brown’s Centre, and they were headed for Toronto. The Maple Leafs’ ECHL affiliate was going to play its first six home games in the Coca-Cola Centre. . . . But wait! . . . Now comes word that the Growlers aren’t going to leave The Rock. Instead, they will play at least their first six home games at the Conception Bay South Arena in, yes, Conception Bay South.
JUST NOTES: The San Jose Sharks put head coach Bob Boughner and seven players into COVID-19 protocol on Saturday. The players are F Andrew Cogliano, F Jonathan Dahlen, D Erik Karlsson, D Jake Middleton, F Matt Nieto, D Radim Simek and D Marc-Edouard Vlasic. F Noah Grego of the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda also went into protocol. . . . The Tennessee Titans will be without defensive assistant coach Jim Schwartz when they meet the Indianapolis Colts today due to COVID-19 protocols. . . . G Dryden McKay set an NCAA record for career shutouts on Saturday as the Minnesota State Mavericks’ 7-0 victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats. That was McKay’s 27th career shutout and broke the record he had shared with Ryan Miller, who played 106 games over three seasons (1999-2002) at Michigan State. McKay has played in 105 games for the Mavericks over three-plus seasons. He has three shutouts in eight games this season.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here: