Cougars’ Lamb doesn’t plan to coach. . . . Leschyshyn hat trick sparks Lethbridge win. . . . J-Train carries Blazers past Royals

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It appears that the Prince George Cougars will be hiring a head coach before the start of PrinceGeorgethe 2019-20 WHL season. General manager Mark Lamb has been the interim head coach since firing Richard Matvichuk on Feb. 6. . . . “That’s not the plan to come back,” Lamb has told Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen. “I’m interim head coach since I took over and that’s still what I am. There’s going to be a search for it, I haven’t put a lot of thought into it yet.” . . . “Obviously when you’re in a situation like this,” Lamb added, “people kind of know, so I’ve gotten a lot of resumes already. I just wanted to concentrate on finishing the year strong and I think that’s what we did.” . . . The Cougars, who missed the playoffs, finished 3-11-2 under Lamb, after going 16-30-6 under Matvichuk. . . . Clarke’s complete story is right here.


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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

NOTES: After home teams went 7-0 on opening night, they were only 4-4 on Saturday, with one visiting team — the Kamloops Blazers — winning in OT. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes’ 4-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen featured a line brawl late in the third period. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders got huge games from their two Belarusians as they took a 2-0 lead over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Three players were suspended by the WHL after Friday’s games. F Kobe Mohr of the Kamloops Blazers, D John Ludvig of the Portland Winterhawks and D Jake Lee of the Seattle Thunderbirds didn’t play last night. . . . F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders may be looking at a suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct last night.


F Aliaksei Protas and D Sergio Sapego, the Prince Albert Raiders’ Belarusian connection, PrinceAlbertcombined for six points — each had two goals and an assist — to lead them to a 6-4 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 2-0, with Games 3 and 4 in Red Deer on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Protas scored the game’s first goal, at 6:08 of the first period, and Sapego made it 2-0, on a PP, at 8:32. . . . F Chris Douglas (1) pulled the Rebels to within a goal, on a PP, at 14:55, only to have Sapego (2) get that one back at 16:19. . . . F Dante Hannoun drew an assist on each of Prince Albert’s first three goals. . . . The Raiders lost F Brett Leason to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 3:50 of the second period. F Cam Hausinger, the subject of the check, wasn’t injured. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel scored a PP goal at 8:00 and then tied the game at 9:00, just 10 seconds after the major expired. . . . The Raiders took control by scoring the next three goals. . . . D Brayden Pachal (1) broke the tie at 11:14. . . . Protas (2) made it 5-3 at 2:08 of the third period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (2) upped the lead to 6-3 at 7:47. . . . Hagel (3) completed his hat trick, on a PP, at 10:24. . . . Red Deer was 3-5 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-5. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 19 shots for the Raiders, six fewer than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders, whose night’s work included a stop on D Jeremy Masella on a penalty shot at 14:27 of the second period. The Raiders were ahead 4-3 at the time.


F Max Gerlach scored twice to help the host Saskatoon Blades to a 3-1 victory over the SaskatoonMoose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Blades lead the series, 2-0, with the teams headed to Moose Jaw for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Gerlach, who has three goals in the first two games, gave the Blades a 1-0 lead at 11:55 of the second period. . . . F Carson Denomie (1) pulled the Warriors into a tie, on a PP, at 5:07 of the third period. . . . Gerlach snapped the tie at 10:05, and F Kirby Dash (1) added the empty-netter at 19:24. . . . D Dawson Davidson had two assists as he was in on both of Gerlach’s goals. . . . Moose Jaw was 1-3 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-2. . . . Saskatoon outshot Moose Jaw, 30-22, including 13-5 in the third period. . . . The Blades got 21 stops from G Nolan Maier. . . . The Warriors, who started Brodan Salmond on goal in the opener, switched to Adam Evanoff for Game 2. He finished with 27 saves.


F Jake Leschyshyn stuck for three straight goals to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-Lethbridge1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Hurricanes lead the series, 2-0, as the teams head to Calgary for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday. . . . Nick Henry (2) got Lethbridge started with a goal just 25 seconds into the game. . . . Leschyshyn made it 2-0, on a PP, at 12:16, and then upped it to 3-0 at 19:13. . . . Leschyshyn scored his third goal of the game, and of the series, on another PP, at 8:57 of the third. That was his first playoff hat trick. . . . D Dakota Krebs (1) got Calgary’s goal, on a PP, at 11:28 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes acquired Leschyshyn and Henry, who also had an assist, from the Regina Pats in a deal earlier in the season. . . . While Lethbridge was 2-4 on the PP, Calgary went 0-7. . . . G Carl Tetachuk blocked 32 shots to record the victory over Jack McNaughton, who made 28 saves. . . . There was a multi-fight situation at 19:44 of the third period — officials handed out 86 penalty minutes, 49 to Lethbridge — so there just might be some discipline forthcoming. . . . D Devan Klassen and D Layne Toder of the Hitmen, along with Lethbridge D Nolan Jones, F Scott Mahovlich and F Jackson Shepard all received fighting majors and game misconducts.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 49 shots, 23 of them in the second period, to lead the Medicine Tigers Logo OfficialHat Tigers to a 2-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . This was the opener in this series, with Game 2 set for Edmonton tonight. . . . F James Hamblin (1) got Medicine Hat in front, while shorthanded, at 4:18 of the second period, and F Hayden Ostir (1) made it 2-0 at 13:20. . . . F Josh Williams (1) got Edmonton’s goal at 17:58 of the third period. . . . Edmonton was 0-3 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-1. . . . The Oil Kings got 25 saves from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . Edmonton had closed out the regular season on an 11-game winning streak.


G Roddy Ross, who didn’t finish Game 1, stopped 39 shots as his Seattle Thunderbirds Seattledumped the Vancouver Giants, 4-1, in Langley B.C. . . . The series is tied with Games 3 and 4 in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . The Giants had won the opener, 7-1, on Friday. . . . Last night, Seattle took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Sean Richards (1), at 4:38, and D Simon Kubicek (1), on a PP, at 15:09. . . . F Jadon Joseph (2) got Vancouver on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 18:10. . . . The Thunderbirds got third-period insurance from F Andrej Kukuca (2), at 4:33, and F Nolan Volcan (1), into an empty net, at 17:58. . . . Volcan also had two assists. . . . Ross stopped 28 shots over the last two periods. . . . Vancouver was 1-4 on the PP; Seattle was 1-2. . . . The Giants got 24 saves from G Trent Miner. . . . Seattle was without D Jake Lee, who drew a TBD suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in Game 1. Vancouver F Justin Sourdif, who took that hit, didn’t play last night.


The Portland Winterhawks scored four times in the third period and beat the host PortlandSpokane Chiefs, 5-3. . . . The series is tied, 1-1, as it heads to Portland for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Last night, Spokane took a 2-0 lead on goals from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (2), at 6:19 of the first period, and F Luc Smith (1), at 13:19 of the second. . . . Portland responded with the next four goals. . . . F Josh Paterson (1) scored at 15:25 of the second period, and F Lane Gilliss (1) tied it at 8:11. . . . Paterson (2) gave Portland the lead at 9:51 and F Mason Mannek made it 4-2 at 12:37. . . . Spokane F Adam Beckman (2) pulled the Chiefs to within a goal at 17:26, only to have Portland D Matt Quigley (1) get the empty-netter just 19 seconds later. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 23 shots for Portland, seven fewer than Spokane’s Bailey Brkin. . . . The two teams combined for 13 PPs in Game 1; there weren’t any — not one — in Game 2. . . . Referees Steve Papp and Ward Pateman didn’t call any penalties. Zero. Zilch. Nada! . . . According to a news release from the Winterhawks, it was the first time in the team’s “43-year history both teams were held without a power-play chance.” . . . Portland was without D John Ludvig, who was suspended for two games after taking a headshot major and game misconduct in Game 1. F Ethan McIndoe of the Chiefs, who was hit by Ludvig, wasn’t injured on the play. . . . Spokane’s scratches included D Nolan Reid, who took a stick to the face early in Game 1, and F Luke Toporowski, who had an assist in the opener.


The Everett Silvertips erased a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals and then hung on for 4-Everett3 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Everett leads the series, 2-0. . . . They’ll play Games 3 and in Kennewick, Wash., on Wednesday and Thursday. . . . F Krystof Hrabik (1) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 10:51 of the first period. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (2) got Everett into a tie, on a PP, at 17:15. . . . D Jake Christiansen (1) gave the Silvertips the lead at 9:02 of the second period and F Gage Goncalves (1) stretched it to 3-1 just 19 seconds later. . . . F Robbie Holmes (1) made it 4-1 at 18:28. . . . The Americans got to within a goal on third-period scores from F Nolan Yaremko (2), shorthanded, at 2:36, and D Aaron Hyman (1), on a PP, at 18:58. . . . Christiansen also had an assist, and now has a goal and four helpers in the first two games. . . . Tri-City was 2-7 on the PP; Everett was 1-6. . . . Referees Mike Campbell and Dexter Rasmussen handed out 140 minutes in penalties, 76 to Everett. . . . That final total included 90 minutes worth of misconducts. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 28 shots for the Silvertips, seven fewer than the American’s Beck Warm. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar, who didn’t finish Game 1, was scratched from Game 2.


F Jermaine Loewen scored on a rebound in OT to give the Kamloops Blazers a 4-3 victory Kamloops1over the Royals in Victoria. . . . The series is tied, 1-1, with Games 3 and 4 scheduled for Kamloops on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Loewen’s winner came as he followed F Martin Lang to the Victoria net. Lang had cut in from the left side and tried to stuff in the winner, but the puck ended up laying loose in the crease for Loewen at 5:14 of OT. . . . The Blazers had scored on their first two shots of the game, F Kyrell Sopotyk (1) finding the range at 5:21 of the first period, and F Brodi Stuart (1) making it 2-0 at 7:06. . . . The Royals tied it on second-period PP goals from F Kody McDonald (1), at 2:53, and F Carson Miller (2), at 9:15. . . . Sopotyk (2) gave Blazers the lead, on a PP, at 3:54 of the third period, with McDonald (2) tying it at 4:11. . . . Victoria was 2-4 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-2. . . . The Blazers were outshot 41-31 through three periods, but had a 4-1 edge in OT. . . . Kamloops got 39 saves from G Dylan Ferguson, who was playing his first game since leaving a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on March 6 with an undisclosed injury. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse, who had been 6-0-0 against the Blazers this season, turned aside 31 shots. . . . The Blazers scratched F Connor Zary for a second straight game. . . . Kamloops was without F Kobe Mohr, who was hit with a two-game suspension “for action at Victoria” in Game 1, according to the WHL website. It seems that Mohr’s stick came in contact with a linesman during that game. The Blazers claimed that the Royals filed for supplemental discipline; however, the Royals say they didn’t. . . . The Royals appear to be running into more injury problems. . . . They dressed seven defencemen — including APs Noah Lamb and Carson Golder — after scratching D Mitchell Prowse, who had played in Game 1. . . . In Game 2, the Royals mostly went with four defencemen — Lamb, Scott Walford, Ralph Jarratt and Rene Aquilon. D Jameson Murray, scratched from Game 1, was on the bench but didn’t play a shift. Jarratt, who has had an injury-plagued season, appeared to suffer a shoulder injury as Kamloops scored its third goal of the game. . . . Victoria F D-Jay Jerome played a couple of first-period shifts, but that was about all until he was out on a PP in OT. . . . Kamloops killed off that penalty, then won the game a couple of minutes later.


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It’s a big day in Allan, Sask. . . . No playoffs for Wheaties. . . . Blazers, Rockets all even in third. . . . Giants clinch conference flag

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This is going to be a great day in Allan, Sask. That’s because the folks there are in the HumboldtBroncosmiddle of their winter festival, and they will be taking time to rename the local arena in honour of the late Logan Schatz, who was the captain of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. The Allan and District Communiplex is to be renamed the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena. . . . Allan is located about 60 km southeast of Saskatoon. . . . Schatz, a native of Allan, was finishing up his fourth season with the Broncos when he was killed in the April 6 bus crash. . . . The dedication ceremony also will involved the unveiling of signage inside and outside the arena. Angie Rolheiser of northeastnow.com writes that the “signs were made by Humboldt Collegiate Institute industrial arts teacher Brian Hinz, who also taught Logan while he attended HCI.” . . . It is only fitting that there will be a hockey game in the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena tonight, with the Allan Senior Flames meeting the Kinistino Tigers in Game 2 of a Wheatland Hockey League playoff series. . . . Rolheiser’s story is right here.


There is an interesting conundrum in Kamloops where the Blazers ran out of goaltenders and had one on their bench Friday night whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips.

This all started on March 6 when Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson, 20, was injured Kamloops1during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants.

The Blazers immediately brought in Rayce Ramsay, who turned 18 on Jan. 3, from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to back up Dylan Garand. In Ferguson’s absence Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, made his fifth straight start last night as the Blazers lost, 5-4 in OT, to the visiting Prince George Cougars.

Ramsay was on the bench for the first four of those starts, but he couldn’t make it five because he had to return to Humboldt as the Broncos started a playoff series in Estevan against the Bruins last night. Ramsay made 29 saves as the Broncos opened with a 4-1 victory.

In the end, the Blazers were able to add G Danton Belluk to their roster as an emergency backup, getting him, with the WHL’s approval, on loan from the Silvertips. Under emergency conditions, Belluk will only be able to play should Garand be injured.

Belluk, 17, is from Lorette, Man. A 10th-round pick of the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft, he spent this season with the midget AAA Eastman Selects. Last season, he got into two games with the Silvertips.


Two WHL veteran forwards signed three-year entry-level NHL contracts on Friday.

Trey Fix-Wolansky, the captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings, signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. Fix-Wolansky, 19, has 101 points, including 37 goals, in 63 games. He has single-season career highs in goals, assists and points. . . . From Edmonton, he has 244 points, including 151 assists, in 204 career regular-season WHL games over three seasons, all with the Oil Kings. . . . He wasn’t selected in the WHL bantam draft. . . .

Jake Elmer, an undrafted free agent, signed with the New York Rangers. He has 38 goals and 41 assists in 67 games. Elmer, who turned 20 on Dec. 31, is from Calgary. The Regina Pats selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . They dealt him to the Kootenay Ice and he later was moved to the Hurricanes. Last season, he finished with 18 goals and 19 assists in 70 games with Lethbridge. . . . In 203 career regular-season games, he has 63 goals and 69 assists.


If you have attended a WHL game or a show at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, you may have seen Freda and/or Howard Brown. Both of them have been heavily involved with the volunteers and security at the arena; Freda also looked after the media and scouts in the press box for a number of years. . . . Freda now is dealing with kidney disease — she started dialysis earlier this month — and is hoping that a transplant is in her future. Howard has proven to be a match, and he now is going through the testing process to see if he can be the donor. . . . With Thursday having been World Kidney Day, they told their story to CFJC-TV in Kamloops, and it’s all right here. There is a story here, as well as video.


The Trinity Western Spartans won their second straight BCIHL championship on Friday TWUnight, beating the Vancouver Island Mariners, 9-1, in Aldergrove, B.C., to sweep the best-of-three series. . . . The Spartans are the first team to successfully defend its BCIHL championship since the Castlegar, B.C.-based Selkirk College Saints won in 2014-15 and 2015-16. . . . TWU finished the regular season at 18-5-0, then went 4-0 in the playoffs. Over the past two seasons, the Spartans’ combined record is 47-8-1. . . . TWU has applied for admission to Canada West in time for the 2020-21 season. A decision is expected later this year.


Darren Granger started in the hockey business as the assistant equipment manager with the Brandon Wheat Kings. That was about 25 years ago. He now has been in the NHL since 1992, first with the Vancouver Canucks as their assistant equipment manager. Since 2006, he has been the head equipment manager for the Los Angeles Kings. . . . Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times has more on Granger right here.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings had their playoff hopes come to an end as they were beaten, Pats5-4, by the host Regina Pats. . . . Regina (19-45-3) had lost its previous seven games. . . . Brandon (30-29-8) has lost five in a row. The Wheat Kings are four points away from a playoff spot but have only one game remaining. . . . The same teams will play again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . Regina is 4-2-1 in the season series; Brandon is 3-4-0. . . . The Pats won this one with three goals in the span of 1:31 in the third period. . . . Regina D Liam Schioler (5) tied the score, 3-3, at 9:13 of the third period. . . . D Brett Clayton (5) broke the tie at 9:47. . . . F Sergei Alkhimov (13) upped Regina’s lead to 5-3 at 10:44. . . . F Luka Burzan (40) got the Wheaties to within a goal at 11:40 but they weren’t able to get even. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney shot wide on a penalty shot at 15:43 of the third period. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (22) and Burzan had given Brandon a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (5), on a PP, and Alkhimov got Regina even in the second period, and Brandon D Braydyn Chizen (2) gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 1:12 of the third. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 34 shots for Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings got 39 stops from G Jiri Patera.


F Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored in OT to give the Prince George Cougars a 5-4 victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (19-40-8) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (27-32-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for third place in the B.C. Division. If they are tied after tonight’s games, they will meet in a sudden-death play-in game in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . They Blazers and Cougars will play again tonight, this time in Prince George. . . . Kamloops is 6-0-2 in the season series; Prince George is 2-5-1. . . . The Cougars erased a 2-1 deficit with three goals in the first half of the third period. Mikhalchuk tied the game at 1:11; F Josh Curtis (13) gave the Cougars the lead at 6:51; and F Mike MacLean came out of the penalty to score his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway at 9:50. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (13) got Kamloops to within a goal, on a PP, at 13:39, and F Connor Zary (23) tied it from a scramble at 19:04 with G Dylan Garand on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Blazers held possession for most of the OT, but got a bit too fancy in the offensive zone and gave up a 2-on-1 with Mikhalchuk and Curtis going the other way. Mikhalchuk ended it with his 24th goal of the season. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (5) scored Prince George’s first goal, with F Kobe Mohr (8) and F Ryley Appelt (5) giving Kamloops a 2-1 lead. . . . Mikhalchuk finished with two goals and two assists, while Curtis added two assists to his goal. . . . Zary also had three points, as he, too, had two helpers. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Garand stopped 24 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers scratched D Joonas Sillanpää, their Finnish freshman, for a third straight game.


F Max Gerlach broke a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 Saskatoonvictory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Saskatoon (45-14-8) has won eight in a row, and 14 of 15. It also has won nine in a row on home ice. The Blades will finish second in the East Division. They open a first-round series against the Moose Jaw Warriors on March 22 in Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert (53-10-4) had won its previous three games. The Raiders will finish atop the Eastern Conference and meet the Red Deer Rebels, the second wild-card team, in the first round. . . . Season series: Prince Albert, 5-2-0; Saskatoon, 2-4-1. . . . These two teams will play tonight in Prince Albert. . . . F Parker Kelly (35) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 1:21 of the first period. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on goals from D Brandon Schuldhaus (8), at 5:44, and F Ryan Hughes (30), on a PP, at 0:37 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (41) got the visitors into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 4:49 of the third period. . . . Gerlach won it with his 41st goal, on a PP, at 7:17. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 28 shots for the Blades. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott, who stopped 29 shots, went into the game riding three straight shutouts. His shutout streak ended at a franchise-record 185:44 when Schuldhaus scored. The Raiders’ previous record (128:32) had been set by G Craig Hordal in 1995-96. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . The Raiders’ scratches included F Dante Hannoun.


F Jake Leschyshyn scored three times to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-3 victory Lethbridgeover the host Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (39-18-10) has won seven in a row. It is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for top spot in the Central Division. The Oil Kings will go home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen this afternoon and Sunday afternoon. The Hurricanes will meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Red Deer (33-28-6) has lost three straight. Despite the loss, the Rebels clinched the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot when the Brandon Wheat Kings lost. Red Deer will meet the conference-champion Prince Albert Raiders in the first round. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 4-1-1; Red Deer was 2-3-1. . . . F Dylan Cozens (34) and Leschyshyn, on a PP, gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead with goals 30 seconds apart in the first period. . . . The Rebels tied it on two goals from F Reese Johnson, at 9:13 of the first period and 5:18 of the second. . . . Leschyshyn put the Hurricanes back out front at 12:58. . . . Johnson completed his third hat trick of the season by scoring his 27th goal at 13:41. . . . Leschyshyn’s 40th goal, at 4:15 of the third period, stood up as the winner. He’s got three career hat tricks; this was his first with Lethbridge, which acquired him from the Regina Pats this season. . . . G Carl Tetachuk earned the victory with 27 saves, two fewer than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders.


The Moose Jaw Warriors set a franchise record for most road victories in a season with a MooseJawWarriors6-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Currrent. . . . Moose Jaw (39-20-8) has won two in a row. It will finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round playoff series. . . . The Warriors won 24 road games this season, one more than last season’s team. . . . Swift Current (11-50-6) will travel to Moose Jaw tonight. . . . Season series: Moose Jaw, 4-0-1; Swift Current, 1-3-1. . . . The Warriors got two goals and two assists from F Justin Almeida, who now has 108 points, including 76 assists. Almeida, who has had 12 career games with at least four points, leads the WHL in assists and is third in points, four points behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld and two behind teammate Tristin Langan, who had one assist. . . . The Warriors also got goals from F Carson Denomie (7), F Keenan Taphorn (15), F Daniil Stepanov (8) and D Josh Brook (16). . . . Almeida and Stepanov each scored while shorthanded. . . . F Brayden Tracey was among Moose Jaw’s scratches.


Shivers
After being open for 690 Kootenay Ice games, Shivers concession stand will end its run when the team leaves for Winnipeg after Sunday’s game. “Thank you Kootenay Ice and hockey fans,” reads the sign. “Shivers opened on Sept 12, 2001. Since opening we have served you for 690 Kootenay Ice hockey games.” It is signed: “Ramona and Staff.”

F Ryan Jevne scored once and added two assists to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-2 Tigers Logo Officialvictory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook. . . . Medicine Hat (35-26-6) has won three in a row. With the victory, it clinched the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. The Tigers will play the Central Division champion, either the Edmonton Oil Kings or Lethbridge Hurricanes, in the first round. . . . Kootenay (12-45-10) has lost six in a row. . . . The Tigers won the season series, 5-1-0; the Ice was 1-4-1. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (21), Jevne (31) and F Ryan Chyzowski (27), on a PP, gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first period. . . . D Linus Nassen (7) made it 4-0 at 12:58 of the second. . . . D Marco Creta (4) and F Holden Kodak (2) scored for the Ice in the third period, before F Brett Kemp (32) got an empty-netter for Medicine Hat. . . . Ice G Jesse Makaj stopped 51 shots, 22 more than the Tigers’ Mads Sogaard. . . . Kootenay F Austin Schellenberg left in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. . . . The Ice brought in D Anson McMaster, 16, for the final two games of the season. A second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . The Ice has one home game remaining, Sunday afternoon against the Red Deer Rebels, and its stay in Cranbrook will be over. The franchise is relocating to Winnipeg.


The Victoria Royals got 35 saves from G Griffen Outhouse and two shootout goals to beat VictoriaRoyalsthe visiting Everett Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Victoria (34-29-4) had lost its previous four games. It will finish second in the B.C. Division and meet with the Kamloops Blazers or Kelowna Rockets in the first round. . . . Everett (46-16-5) has lost three in a row (0-4-1). It will finish atop the U.S. Division, and will see the Tri-City Americans in the first round. . . . Victoria is 2-1-0 in the season series; Everett is 1-1-1. . . . These two teams will meet again tonight in Everett. . . . Last night, F Connor Dewar (36) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the first period, only to have Victoria F Brandon Cutler tie it 17 seconds later. . . . Everett went ahead 2-1 as F Martin Fasko-Rudas (12) scored at 8:59 of the second period. . . . Cutler tied it with his 14th goal of the season, just 57 seconds later. . . . Victoria got shootout goals from D Ralph Jarratt and F Igor Martynov, with F Bryce Kindopp the only Everett shooter to score. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 28 shots for the Silvertips. . . . F Lucas Cullen, 19, who spent his season with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, made his Everett debut. . . . The Royals scratched D Mitchell Prowse, D Jameson Murray, D Matt Smith, F Tyus Gent, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver. . . . They had 16 skaters dressed, including two APs — D Kaden Reinders and D Noah Lamb.


F Jake McGrew enjoyed his third career hat trick to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (39-21-7) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. The Chiefs have one game remaining. The Winterhawks will play the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight and again Sunday. . . . Portland and Spokane will be first-round opponents. . . . Tri-City (34-27-6) has lost four straight (0-2-2). It will be the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . Season series: Tri-City, 6-4-1; Spokane, 5-5-1. . . . The Chiefs and Americans will play again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . McGrew, on a PP, and D Roman Kalinichenko (2) gave the Chiefs an early 2-0 lead. . . . F Parker AuCoin, who scored 21 goals last season, got his 42nd of this season for the Americans at 13:34 of the opening period. He also had two assists in this one. . . . McGrew added his second goal at 19:15. . . . Chiefs F Luke Toporowski gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 13:18 of the second period. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (21) tied it, on a PP, at 2:35 of the third. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral (10) broke the tie at 18:12, and McGrew completed his hat trick by scoring his 30th goal into an empty net at 19:03. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Reece Klassen, while Tri-City’s Talyn Boyko blocked 39 shots. . . . The Chiefs scratched F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, F Riley Woods, D Ty Smith and F Eli Zummack. F Bear Hughes, who played this season with the junior B Spokane Braves, made his WHL debut.


D Dylan Plouffe scored a late PP goal to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the VancouverKelowna Rockets in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (48-15-4) has won three in a row. With the victory, the Giants clinched first place in the Western Conference and will meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round. . . . Kelowna (27-32-8) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It is tied for third with the Kamloops Blazers in the B.C. Division. Each team has one game remaining — the Rockets will entertain the Giants tonight, while the Blazers are playing the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Should the Blazers and Rockets end up tied for third place, a sudden-death play-in game will be held in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . Vancouver is 7-0-1 in the season series with Kelowna, which is 1-7-0. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 3:36 of the second period. . . . Kelowna F Kyle Crosby (7) tied it at 11:01. . . . Plouffe won it with his eighth goal of the season, at 16:50 of the third period. . . . The Giants got 17 stops from G Trent Miner. . . . Kelowna G Roman Basran stopped 29 shots. . . . Vancouver was 1-1 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-1. . . . The Rockets continue to play without D Lassi Thomson (concussion).


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Broncos prospect has committed to Michigan. . . . Scott, Raiders blank Swift Current, again. . . . Blades win playoff preview


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F Fin Williams, who will turn 16 on April 21, announced via Twitter on Sunday that he michiganhas committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines. From North Vancouver, B.C., he was a third-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. In fact, he was the the Broncos’ only selection in the draft’s first five rounds. You will recall that the Broncos sold the farm and everything on it in order to make what was a successful run to the WHL championship. . . . This season, with the Burnaby Winter Club prep team, Williams has 12 goals and 30 assists in 32 games. He was pointless in four games with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings.


F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers won the B.C. Major Midget thompsonblazersLeague scoring title. He finished with 103 points, including a record 49 goals, in 38 games. . . . F Tyler Cristall of the Vancouver North West Hawks was second, with 63 points in 39 games. . . . Stankoven had a goal and three assists on Sunday as the Blazers closed out their regular season with an 8-4 victory over the Vancouver North East Chiefs. . . . The only other 15-year-olds to have surpassed 100 points in the BCMML were F Mat Barzal, who had 103 points in 34 games with the Chiefs in 2012-13, and F Jordan Weal, who had 100 points in 40 games with the Hawks in 2007-08. . . . The BCMML’s previous goal record was held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times in 36 games with the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14.


Some members of the U of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks spent Saturday night inside the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D., after weather conditions meant their bus couldn’t hit the highway and head for home. Because of the hockey game between the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Mavericks, along with a Dierks Bentley concert, hotel rooms were scarce. So at least some of the Mavericks had to make do. . . . Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald has more in a neat story right here.


SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott and the visiting Prince Albert Raiders blanked the Swift Current Broncos for PrinceAlbertthe third time in a week, this time winning 6-0. . . . Prince Albert (53-9-4) has won three in a row. It will finish atop the WHL’s overall standings. . . . Swift Current (10-49-6) has lost 18 straight games (0-15-3). . . . The Raiders won the season series, 7-0-1; the Broncos were 1-7-0. . . . The Raiders had a 44-15 edge on the scoreboard. . . . Earlier in the week, Scott and Raiders beat the Broncos, 6-0 and 8-0, in Prince Albert. . . . The Broncos were outscored 20-1 as they went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. They were beaten 6-1 by the Blades in Saskatoon on Saturday night. . . . With three games remaining, the Broncos, who are the WHL’s defending championship, still have won only four times in regulation time. . . . On Sunday, the Raiders held period leads of 1-0 and 5-0. . . . They got two goals and an assist from F Parker Kelly, who has 34, and one score each from F Brett Leason (36), F Noah Gregor (40), D Sergei Sapego (10) and F Sean Montgomery (28). . . . Leason also had two assists. . . . Scott has a franchise-record eight shutouts this season — he leads the league — and 11 in his career. . . . This season, he now is 37-7-3, 1.82, .932. . . . G Riley Lamb blocked 51 shots for the Broncos. He has a .906 save percentage in 13 appearances. . . . The visitors held a 57-14 edge in shots, including 22-2 in the second period and 16-3 in the third. . . . The Broncos lost F Tanner Nagel to a charging major and game misconduct at 1:24 of the third period. F Dante Hannoun, who took the hit, wasn’t injured on the play. . . . F Cole Fonstad was scratched by the Raiders.


The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting Moose Jaw SaskatoonWarriors, 5-3. . . . Saskatoon (44-14-8) has won seven straight. . . . Moose Jaw (37-20-8) had won its past two games. . . . The Blades won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . The Warriors went 2-1-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Blades and Warriors will finish second and third, respectively, in the East Division. They will open a best-of-seven series in Saskatoon with games on March 22 and 23. These will be the Blades’ first playoff games since the spring of 2013. . . . On Sunday, the Warriors grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Daemon Hunt (5), at 6:36, and F Tristin Langan (49), at 18:07. . . . F Max Gerlach got the Blades on the scoreboard at 12:03 of the second period, but Langan got that one back when he scored No. 50 just 20 seconds later. . . . D Dawson Davidson (13) got the Blades to within a goal, on a PP, at 15:29. . . . F Gary Haden tied the score at 1:51 of the third period and Gerlach gave the Blades the lead with his 40th goal at 5:24. . . . Haden scored his 31st goal into an empty net at 19:04. . . . Saskatoon was 1-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-2. . . . The Blades held a 50-24 edge in shots, including 18-7 in the second period and 17-9 in the third. . . . Gerlach and Haden added an assist each so had three-point outings. . . . Saskatoon F Kyle Crnkovic came up shot on a first-period penalty shot. . . . Saskatoon scratched D Nolan Kneen for a second straight game. . . . The Warriors now have had a 50-goal man in four straight seasons. F Dryden Hunt, who scored his first NHL goal for the Florida Panthers on Sunday, did it in 2015-16, and F Jayden Halbgewachs got there in each of the past two seasons.


G Todd Scott recorded the first shutout of his WHL career as the Edmonton Oil Kings EdmontonOilKingsdumped the visiting Kootenay Ice, 4-0. . . . Edmonton (39-18-8) has won eight in a row. The Oil Kings are tied with the Lethbridge Hurricanes atop the Central Division. Edmonton has three games remaining; Lethbridge has two. No, they aren’t scheduled to play each other. . . . The Oil Kings are to play in Red Deer on Tuesday, then go home-and-home with Calgary in a pair of afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday. . . . Lethbridge is to play in Red Deer on Friday and Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . Kootenay (12-44-10) has lost five straight. . . . This was the final road game in the history of the Kootenay Ice. The Ice has two games left, both in Cranbrook, before the franchise turns into the Winnipeg Ice. . . . This season, the Ice was 4-23-7 on the road, including 0-13-2 in the Central Division. Each of the other five Central Division teams won at least 15 road games. . . . Edmonton went 5-0-1 in the season series; Kootenay was 1-5-0. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (15) scored Edmonton’s first goal, shorthanded, at 8:00 of the second period. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (36) made it 2-0 at 14:01, and F Scott Atkinson (13) upped it to 3-0 at 17:43. . . . D Conner McDonald (18) got the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 10:02 of the third period. . . . McDonald set a single-season franchise record for goals by a defenceman. The previous record had been set by Cody Corbett in 2013-14. . . . Fix-Wolansky became the fourth WHLer this season with 100 points — he also has 64 assists. He is the second player in franchise history to get to 100; F Michael St. Croix finished 2011-12 with 105. . . . Scott finished with 18 saves. . . . Kootenay G Duncan McGovern, in his first appearance since Jan. 6, blocked 24 shots. This was his 24th appearance this season, with 21 of them coming prior to Dec. 3. . . . McGovern stopped 24 shots in a 6-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Jan. 6. Between then and Sunday, he dressed once as the backup (Feb. 18). . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo had a five-game goal streak come to an end.


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Rebels stuck in Hood River, game postponed 24 hours . . . Hurricanes announce Plan B details . . . Gerlach burns former club


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D Dalton Yorke (Kelowna, Prince Albert, Tri-City, 2012-17) has signed a one-year contract extension with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). In 46 games, he has one goal and 11 assists. Yorke is a dual German-Canadian citizen. . . . Frankfurt GM Franz-David Fritzmeier: “Dalton has developed very well this season. He has made a big leap forward and has become an important cornerstone of our defence. We are pleased that we were able to extend the contract with him at an early stage.” . . .

F Pavel Brendl (Calgary, 1998-2001) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Kopla Joensuu (Finland, Division 2). Last season, he had five goals and three assists in 12 games with Arlanda (Sweden, Division 1).


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The Red Deer Rebels spent much of Wednesday in Hood River, Ore., tweeting with the hashtag #stuckinhoodriver.

It sounds so much like a rock tune. In fact, the only thing missing was CCR.

With apologies to John Fogerty . . .

“I rode in on the Greyhound

“I’ll be walkin’ out if I go

“I was just passin’ through

“Must be seven months or more

“Ran out of time and money

“Looks like they took my friends

“Oh, Lord, I’m stuck in Hood River again.”

The Rebels opened a five-game road swing through the U.S. Division with a 4-3 OT loss to Red Deerthe Chiefs in Spokane on Tuesday night. They tried on Wednesday to get to Everett for a date that night with the Silvertips but they got stopped by what the Pacific Northwest locals have labelled snomageddon.

Red Deer wasn’t able to take the usual way, which would have had them on I-90 via the Snoqualmie Pass. But that route was closed due to the poor driving conditions.

Instead, the Rebels tried to go south via Yakima and Kennewick, then west to Portland, and north to Everett. They got as far as Hood River on I-84 before running into more road closures.

So . . . there they were, stuck in Hood River, an hour east of Portland, which is 200 miles south of Everett. Keep in mind, too, that the traffic conditions in the Seattle area aren’t especially conducive to quick travel at the best of times.

All of this resulted in the WHL postponing Wednedsay’s game for 24 hours. The Rebels and Silvertips now are scheduled to play in Everett tonight.

All because Red Deer got #stuckinhoodriver.

“The man from the magazine

“Said I was on my way

“Somewhere I lost connections

“Ran out of songs to play

“I came into town, a one-night stand

“Looks like my plans fell through

“Oh, Lord, stuck in Hood River again.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation reopened the westbound lanes of I-84 last night at 7:30. That, of course, was far too late for the Rebels to make it to Everett by game time. However, the Rebels were able to get to Everett last night.

The rescheduling means that the Silvertips will play five games in six nights, four of them on the road. After playing Red Deer, they will have to get to Kelowna for a Friday night date with the Rockets, then head back home to visit the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday. On Sunday, Everett will head to Prince George for a Monday-Tuesday doubleheader with the Cougars. Oh, and the Monday game is to start at 2 p.m.

The Rebels will visit the Thunderbirds on Friday, the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday and the Tri-City Americans on Tuesday, before heading back to Alberta for a Feb. 22 date with the host Edmonton Oil Kings.


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The Lethbridge Hurricanes have made it official. With the World Men’s Curling LethbridgeChampionship in the 5,479-seat ENMAX Centre, March 30 through April 7, they will be playing some playoff games, as needed, in Nicholas Sheran Arena.

According to a news release, there will be 1,176 spots available for as many as three first-round playoff games. They will be distributed through a lottery process to fans who purchase playoff ticket packages.

From that news release: “Those who are not selected in the playoff package draw, as well as other interested community members, are invited to attend a free family-friendly community event to watch the games on the big screen, eat and drink, and enjoy some great family programming and giveaways.”

The WHL playoffs are scheduled to open on March 22. Nicholas Sheran Arena is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s hockey teams.

The complete news release is right here. It contains all the information you need to know and more.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Brandon Wheat Kings scored four times in the third period en route to a 5-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Brandon (24-22-7) is six points from a wild-card spot. . . . Edmonton (30-17-8) leads the Central Division by one point over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . D Conner McDonald gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 17:37 of the first period. McDonald’s goal was his 17th of the season, tying the franchise’s single-season record for defencemen that was set by Cody Corbett in 2013-14. . . . F Ben McCartney (16) got Brandon even at 1:55 of the second period. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (24) provided the Oil Kings with a 2-1 edge at 17:25. . . . Brandon followed that with four third-period goals, from F Linden McCorrister (13), shorthanded, at 0:26; F Luka Burzan (31), at 6:30; F Stelio Mattheos (34), at 13:01; and F Connor Gutenberg (13), into an empty net, at 19:43. . . . Mattheos also had two assists. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera stopped 36 shots, 19 more than Edmonton’s Dylan Myskiw.


F Parker Kelly scored twice to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 3-1 victory over the PrinceAlbertBroncos in Swift Current. . . . Prince Albert (46-7-2) has won five in a row. It leads the Eastern Conference by 16 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swift Current (10-39-4) has lost six straight (0-5-1). . . . F Dante Hannoun (26), who also had two assists, gave the Raiders the lead, on a PP, at 2:24 of the second period and Kelly doubled it at 5:33. . . . F Joona Kiviniemi (14) scored for the Broncos, on a PP, at 2:49 of the third period. . . . Kelly iced it with his 27th goal at 15:23 of the third period. . . . The Raiders had  43-16 edge in shots — 13-5, 17-7 and 13-4 by period. . . . G Isaac Poulter made 40 saves for the Broncos. . . . G Boston Bilous stopped 15 shots for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders were without G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason and F Sean Montgomery. Scott and Leason both are injured; Montgomery, who had played in 155 consecutive games, is ill. . . . The Raiders had F Justin Nachbaur back from a three-game suspension. . . . Prince Albert had F Cole Nagy, 17, make his WHL debut with them. He plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Nagy was a sixth-round pick by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the 2016 bantam draft. He signed with the Raiders on Jan. 2. 


The two Jakes — Elmer and Leschyshyn — scored two goals each and added an assist to Lethbridgelead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge (28-16-10) had lost its previous three games (0-1-2). It is third in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and two in arrears of the first-place Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Calgary (28-21-5) and Red Deer are tied for fourth in the Central Division; they also are tied for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . Lethbridge is 5-1-0 in the season series with Calgary. . . . The Hurricanes completed a six-game homestand with a 3-1-2 record. . . . The Hurricanes took control early as they scored five times on 16 first-period shots. . . . Elmer opened the scoring at 2:50 of the first period, and Leschyshyn made it 2-0 at 7:05. . . . F Riley Stotts (18) pulled Calgary to within one at 9:35. . . . Elmer upped the lead to 3-1 with his 24th goal, shorthanded, at 15:36; F Jordy Bellerive (25) made it 4-1, at 16:37; and F Taylor Ross (26) got the fifth goal, at 17:11. . . . F Ryder Korczak (6) had Calgary’s other goal, at 9:03 of the second period. . . . Leschyshyn wrapped up the scoring with his 33rd goal, at 6:36 of the third period. . . . G Carl Tetachuk earned the victory with 36 saves. . . . The Hurricanes were without F Scott Mahovlich, who has left the team “to be with family after a family emergency,” according to a news release. General manager Peter Anholt said in the news release that Mahovlich, 19, “has returned home to be with family for whatever length of time that he requires.” Mahovlich is from Abbotsford, B.C.


F Max Gerlach, who began his career with Medicine Hat, scored two goals to help the SaskatoonSaskatoon Blades to a 6-3 victory over the host Tigers. . . . Saskatoon (35-13-8) has points in 11 straight games (9-0-2). It is second in the East Division, 10 points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Medicine Hat (31-19-5) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The home side had a 1-0 lead at 2:44 of the first period on a PP goal by F James Hamblin (31). . . . Gerlach tied it, on a PP, at 15:28, and F Ryan Hughes (21) gave the Blades a 2-1 lead, on another PP, at 9:10 of the second period. . . . Gerlach upped the lead to 3-1 with his 35th goal, at 12:47. . . . Gerlach, 20, played the first 180 regular-season games of his WHL career with the Tigers. According to Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, Gerlach, after his first goal, “shrugged off the lack of support from his former fans and joked, ‘I built this place’ as he returned to Saskatoon’s bench.” His first WHL goal was the first goal scored in the Canalta Centre. It came on Sept. 26, 2015, with the Tigers beating the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-3. . . . Last night, Gerlach’s second goal tied his career high. He scored 16 goals in 35 games with the Tigers last season, and added 19 in 30 with the Blades after being dealt to Saskatoon. . . . He also is on a career-high 12-game point streak, with 21 points in that stretch. . . . And one other Gerlach note. According to Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, Gerlach’s goal was the 15,000th in franchise history. . . . Lazaruk also pointed out that this was the first time since Jan. 8 that the Blades didn’t score the game’s first goal. They had gone up 1-0 in 12 straight games. . . . F Nick McCarry (2) got the Tigers to within a goal at 15:41, but F Eric Florchuk (18) got that one back at 19:38. . . . The Blades got insurance from F Tristen Robins (8), at 1:52 of the third period, and F Chase Wouters (13), shorthanded, at 3:52. . . . F Ryan Jevne (14) scored Medicine Hat’s last goal, on a PP, at 16:22. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson had three assists. Davidson is riding a 14-game point streak, with 24 points in that time. . . . Davidson has 64 points, 54 of them assists, in 56 games. His 54 assists are second in the WHL to F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Blades scratched F Kirby Dach for a third straight game after he was struck in the throat by a puck. . . . Saskatoon also is without D Aidan De La Gorgendiere, who last played on Feb. 2 when he took a hit from D Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings, who now is three games into a four-game suspension. . . . The Tigers were without D Linus Nassen and D Joel Craven, while F Hayden Ostir remains out.


The Kamloops Blazers scored the game’s first four goals as they skated to a 6-1 victory Kamloops1over the visiting Victoria Royals. . . . Kamloops (21-27-5) had lost its past three games (0-2-1). It is one point behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card berth. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Victoria (27-23-3) is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Royals are 5-2-1 in the season series; the Blazers are 3-5-0. . . . Kamloops had scored three goals on 71 shots in going 0-2-1 in its previous three games. In this one, the Blazers erupted for four goals on 13 shots in the first period. . . . F Connor Zary accounted for the game’s first two scores, at 3:58 and 11:42, with the first one shorthanded. . . . F Zane Franklin (25) made it 3-0 at 18:48, and F Brodi Stuart (15) upped it to 4-0 with 3.3 seconds left. . . . F Phillip Schultz (13) got a PP goal for Victoria at 3:20 of the second period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (21), who also had two assists, counted the Blazers’ second shorthanded goal of the game, at 4:34 of the third period. . . . Zary, who has 16 goals, completed his first WHL hat trick at 13:45 of the third period. . . . Zary, a second-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, has a late birth date so isn’t eligible for the NHL draft until 2020. He now has 48 points in 48 games. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 36 shots for the Blazers. . . . With F Martin Lang and F Ryley Appelt both out, the Blazers dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum. . . . D Montana Onyebuchi was back in the Blazers’ lineup after serving a two-game suspension and he had two assists. . . . Darryl Sydor, one of the Blazers’ five owners, made his WHL coaching debut behind the team’s bench. He was named a full-time assistant on Tuesday.


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Some info on Kootenay’s lease . . . Dach, Haden, Gerlach burn Wheat Kings . . . Americans bury ‘Hawks in third

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If you’re wondering what’s in the lease between the City of Cranbrook and the WHL’s Kootenay Ice involving Western Financial Place, here’s a taste . . .

Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman obtained a copy of the lease, which Kootenaynewruns through 2023, through an FOI request.

“The Kootenay Ice must pay an occupancy fee for each year of the term equal to two per cent of gross game receipts for each hockey season, as well as an additional fee that scales based on attendance,” Crawley writes. “For example, the fee would be $20,000 if the average paid attendance exceeds 2,600. If that attendance were to increase to 2,800, the fee also increases to $25,000. Attendance exceeding 3,000 pushes the fee to $30,000, 3,200 to $80,000 and 3,500 to $120,000.”

Crawley also writes:

“According to the agreement, net advertising generated at hockey games within the premises is shared 80 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 20 per cent to the City of Cranbrook.

“All occupancy fees for luxury boxes, but not including ticket revenue, is split 70 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 30 per cent to the city.

Revenue collected from parking fees and concession sales are also 100 per cent allotted to the city, according to the agreement.”

On Monday, Crawley, who is listed on the Ice’s website as the team’s photographer, reported that “two groups have approached” the junior A BCHL “to look at getting a franchise in Cranbrook for the fall . . .”

That piece is right here.


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The 2020 World Women’s Curling Championship is scheduled to be held at the CN Centre PrinceGeorgein Prince George, from March 14-22. The facility is home to the Prince George Cougars, meaning that they will be on the road late in the 2019-20 regular season and perhaps into the first round of the playoffs, should they qualify. . . . This season, the WHL’s regular season concludes on March 17, with the playoffs to begin on March 22. . . .

The 2019 World Men’s event is to be held in Lethbridge’s ENMAX Centre, from March 30 through April 7, meaning the Hurricanes may be out of their facility for a playoff game or two. Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes’ general manager, already has stated that, if necessary, playoff games will be moved to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, which has about 1,000 seats and is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s teams. . . .

In Prince George, the junior A Spruce Kings, who skate in the B.C. Hockey League, play their home games in the 1,800-seat Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, a facility that might be considered as a Plan B for the Cougars, depending on how things turn out. . . .

Interestingly, Cougars general manager Mark Lamb was the GM/head coach of the Swift Current Broncos in the spring of 2010 and again in 2016 when the World Women’s event was held in the Saskatchewan city.

In 2010, the Broncos played two first-round ‘home’ playoff games — Games 3 and 4 — in Regina’s Brandt Centre. They ended up being swept by the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Broncos didn’t make the playoffs in 2015-16, so their schedule wasn’t impacted.


The WHL has suspended D Montana Onyebuchi of the Kamloops Blazers and F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Kelowna Rockets for two games each for their involvement in an whlincident during a Saturday night game.

Onyebuchi was suspended for being involved in what the WHL says was a “one-man fight” at 2:09 of the third period in a game won, 2-1 in OT, by the host Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL says were his “actions” that apparently precipitated Onyebuchi’s attempt to involve him in a fight.

At the time, Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct, while Bruggen-Cate wasn’t penalized.

“There’s not really much to comment on,” Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ head coach, told CFJC-TV in Kamloops. “Happy that it was in the hands of the WHL office . . . the kind of research that they needed to do and came down with a ruling. We’re just happy that it was addressed.

“It was a situation where it really got to Montana. My approach was that we wanted to make sure that Montana was supported, wanted to make sure that he felt he was supported by his teammates, by the organization, by the league.

“That’s why it was important for the league to do the due diligence . . . for us to be there to support Montana regardless of what transpired.” 

Onyebuchi will sit out two home games — Friday night versus the Vancouver Giants and Saturday against the Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate also will miss two home games — tonight against the Spokane Chiefs and Friday against the Prince George Cougars — but will be eligible to play Saturday in Kamloops.


The Trinity Western U Spartans really, really want to be accepted into Canada West, the U Sports-governed conference that covers the four Western Canadian provinces.

“We treated it like an Olympic bid,” Spartans head coach Barret Kropf told Taking Note TWUin reference to the presentation that TWU made to Canada West in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday.

Kropf said that TWU had its president, vice-president, the Township of Langley’s general manager and a councillor, the athletic director, one of the players and himself all involved in the presentation.

“It went well,” said Kropf, whose club plays in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and plays out of the Langley Events Centre, the same facility that is home to the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.

TWU and the Edmonton-based Grant MacEwan Griffins, who are to make their presentation this morning, are both hoping to be admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

TWU and Grant MacEwan already are members of U Sports, but their hockey teams have continued to play in the BCIHL and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, respectively. They now are hoping to make a switch.

The difference between recruiting for a Canada West team as opposed to a BCIHL club would be “like night and day,” Kropf said, adding that he already is hearing from WHL players who have expressed interest in 2020-21.

This season, the Spartans’ roster includes the likes of F Jarrett Fontaine, F Spencer Gerth, D Travis Verveda, F Brayden Brown and F Brandon Potomak, all of whom have WHL experience.

Asked how close the Spartans are right now to being competitive with Canada West teams, Kropf replied: “I think we’re right there . . . we’re in the mix.”

Canada West is expected to vote on whether to add TWU and Grant MacEwan when it holds its annual general meeting in Whistler, B.C., from May 5-8. Interestingly, it is TWU’s turn to play host to the AGM.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Kirby Dach scored three times and the Saskatoon Blades counted the game’s last four Saskatoongoals as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 7-3. . . . Saskatoon (31-13-8) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division, six points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who now hold four games in hand. The teams are to meet tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Brandon (22-21-7) has lost two in a row and is six points away from a wild-card playoff berth. . . . With Brandon’s loss, the Eastern Conference-leading Prince Albert Raiders (43-7-2) became the first WHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season. . . . F Max Gerlach gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:19 of the first period as he hit the 30-goal mark for a fourth straight season. He has 130 goals in 262 regular-season games. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (32), who also had two assists, pulled Brandon even, on a PP, at 3:24 of the second period. . . . Dach shot the Blades in front, 3-1, with goals at 7:45 and 8:04. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on second-period PP goals from F Luka Burzan (30), at 11:05, and F Cole Reinhardt (16), just 51 seconds later. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-3 as F Eric Florchuk scored at 15:22. . . . Dach completed his second career hat trick, both this season, on a PP, at 5:02 of the third period. . . . Gerlach, who also had an assist, added his 31st goal, at 13:27, and Florchuk got his 17th, on a PP, at 15:54. . . . Saskatoon was 2-3 on the PP; Brandon was 3-6. . . . The Blades got four assists from F Gary Haden, who has 13 points, including nine goals, in a five-game point streak. . . . F Ryan Hughes added three assists for the Blades, with D Dawson Davidson picking up one to run his point streak to 10 games. He has 14 points, 13 of them assists, over that stretch. . . . Brandon D Braydyn Chizen sat this one out as he completed a four-game WHL suspension. . . . D Aiden De la Gorgendiere was among the Blades’ scratches after being injured on a hit by F Jake Neighbours of the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night. Neighbours drew a four-game suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct on the play.


G Max Paddock stopped 38 shots and two more in a shootout as the Regina Pats got past Patsthe Hurricanes, 2-1, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina (14-35-3) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Lethbridge (27-15-9) had won its past two games. It is second in the Central Division, three points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Hurricanes held an 11-5 edge in shots in the third period, and it was 5-1 in OT. . . . F Blake Allan, who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice, scored his first goal in 14 games with the Pats to give them a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes tied it when F Taylor Ross (24) scored at 13:57. . . . Regina got shootout goals from F Ty Kolle and F Sergei Alkhimov, with F Jordy Bellerive scoring for the home team. . . . C Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge. . . . This was the first time that F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry of the Hurricanes had faced their former team. They were acquired from the Pats on Nov. 29 in a deal that had Kolle and F Jadon Joseph, along with as many as seven bantam draft picks, go the other way. . . . Regina had F Cale Sanders, 16, make his WHL debut. From Claresholm, Alta., he has 16 goals and 17 assists in 28 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary. . . . F Cole Dubinsky of the Pats sat out Game 2 of a four-game suspension.


G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots and picked up an assist to lead the Vancouver Giants to a Vancouver4-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Vancouver (34-13-3) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 18 points over the Victoria Royals and now is five points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips. . . . Prince George (16-30-5) has lost 10 straight (0-8-2) and is eight points away from a playoff spot. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Prince George. . . . Miner, a freshman from Brandon, turned 18 on Tuesday. He now is 18-4-1, 1.85, .931. . . . Miner picked up an assist as F Davis Koch (21) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 16:14 of the first period. . . . F Owen Hardy (9) made it 2-0 at 5:22 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal at 13:41 when F Josh Curtis (9) scored. . . . The Giants went ahead 4-1 on goals from F Justin Sourdif (14), at 14:38, and D Bowen Byram (20), at 15:14. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (19) got the Cougars’ second goal, on a PP, at 16:53 of the third period. . . . The Cougars had G Tyler Brennan, 15, on the bench in support of Taylor Gauthier, with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. Brennan, from Winnipeg, plays for the prep team at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy. He was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Gauthier finished with 27 stops.


The Tri-City Americans struck for five third-period goals as they beat the visiting tri-cityPortland Winterhawks, 5-3. . . . Tri-City (27-19-3) has won two straight. It is comfortably in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, but also is fourth in the U.S. Division, just one point behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (32-15-5) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Jaydon Dureau (11), at 6:42, and F Josh Paterson (19), at 11:19. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Americans opened the third with four straight goals — from F Parker AuCoin (27), at 0:37; F Samuel Huo (4), on a PP, at 8:06; F Nolan Yaremko (18), at 11:33; and F Connor Bouchard, on a PP, at 16:13. . . . D Jared Freadrich (9) kept Portland’s hopes alive at 17:12, but Bouchard iced it with his fourth goal, into an empty net, at 18:40. . . . Bouchard also had an assist, giving him his first three-point night in 109 career regular-season games, 49 of them this season. . . . Portland remains without F Cody Glass (knee), who is shown as day-to-day on the WHL’s weekly roster report.


G Roddy Ross turned aside 41 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 victory over Seattlethe host Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle (20-24-6) had lost its past two games. It is one point behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Victoria (25-21-3) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). It is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Thunderbirds and Royals will meet again tonight in Victoria. . . . The Royals outshot the visitors 12-6, 14-7 and 18-8 by period, but couldn’t put enough pucks behind Ross to win. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman, at 16:36, and D Jake Lee (3), on a PP, at 18:35. . . . F Kaid Oliver (20) got the Royals to within a goal, on a PP, at 4:44 of the second period. . . . D Owen Williams (3) got that one back for Seattle at 10:43. . . . The Royals got back to within a goal at 9:39 of the third period as F Kody McDonald (11) scored. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly replied at 11:27 with his first WHL goal in 47 games, 32 of them this season. . . . Again, Victoria got to within a goal, this time when D Scott Walford (8) scored at 13:37. . . . Wedman iced it with his 25th goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:36. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 16 shots for the Royals. . . . D Jarret Tyszka and F Nolan Volcan were among Seattle’s scratches, while the Royals were without veteran D Ralph Jarratt, who is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. Jarratt has battled injuries all season and has played in only 25 games.


Tweetoftheday

Seattle reboot underway in earnest . . . Moves out veteran goaltender, sniper . . . Everett, Lethbridge deal with T-Birds


ThisThat.

When you look at where F Zack Andrusiak was two years ago, it’s hard to believe how far he has come.

Andrusiak, who totalled six goals and five assists in 60 WHL games in 2016-17, was Everetttraded by the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Everett Silvertips on Tuesday, bringing back a veteran forward, a prospect, two WHL bantam draft selections and a conditional pick.

In the exchange, Seattle added F Sean Richards, 20, F Brendan Williamson, 16, a second-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft, a third-rounder in 2021, and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022.

Andrusiak, 20, has 124 points, including 69 goals, in 173 regular-season games.

Andrusiak, a native of Yorkton, Sask., began his WHL career by going pointless in seven games with the Tri-City Americans in 2014-15. He split 2015-16 between the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers (two assists in 15 games) and the junior  B Kamloops Storm (32 goals and 19 assists in 32 games).

Two seasons ago, he managed a goal and an assist in eight games with the Prince Albert Raiders, who then dealt him to Seattle, along with a third-round pick in 2018, for F Cavin Leth. Andrusiak proceeded to score five goals and add four assists in 52 games with the Thunderbirds.

Andrusiak took flight last season, scoring 36 goals and earning 38 assists in 72 games.

This season, he has 27 goals and 12 assists in 34 games, including six goals in his past two games, both against the Portland Winterhawks.

“Zack has been having a very good (season) for us, which made making this trade difficult,” Bil La Forge, Seattle’s first-year general manager, said in a news release. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, La Forge had been with Everett since 2008, most recently as director of player personnel. That no doubt helped in making a deal with the arch-rival Silvertips.

In a news release, Garry Davidson, Everett’s general manager, said: “We set a goal leading up to the trade deadline to make a significant offensive upgrade for our club and Zack Andrusiak was a player we’ve targeted for a while who meets our needs.

“He’s a finisher and respected as a proven goal scorer in the WHL. His capabilities to produce against familiar competition within our division and experience two years ago on a team that won a WHL championship are valuable elements we’re excited to add to a group we’re already very proud of.”

Andrusiak is likely to make his Everett debut this weekend in a home-and-home series with Tri-City. They’ll play in Kennewick, Wash., on Friday and in Everett on Saturday. (The really good news for Andrusiak is that, while Seattle begins its East Division swing this week, Everett made that trip in October.)

Andrusiak’s arrival should help the Silvertips ride out an injury to veteran F Riley Sutter, who is listed as week-to-week. At the same time, F Akash Bains is to have probable season-ending surgery on an undisclosed injury.

Sutter, 19, has 40 points, including a team-leading 26 assists, in 38 games. Bains, also 19, has five goals and four assists in 25 games.

The Thunderbirds get back Richards, who has 10 goals and eight assists in 27 games. In Seattle212 career games, he has 41 goals and 67 assists. He began his WHL career by playing 54 games with the Regina Pats, who had listed him. The Pats traded Richards and a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft to Everett for F Dawson Leedahl and the rights to F Tyson Jost, who went to the U of North Dakota, then joined the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

However, Richards is six games into an eight-game suspension he incurred after taking a boarding major and game misconduct in a game against host Seattle on Dec. 8. On the play in question, he hit D Loeden Schaufler, who now is a teammate, but according to the WHL’s Dec. 28 roster report remains out week-to-week with an “upper-body injury.”

Earlier this season, Richards sat out a five-game suspension; last season, he drew four- and two-game suspensions.

Richards, from St. Alberta, Alta., will be eligible to return to play on Jan. 8 when the Thunderbirds are to meet the Blades in Saskatoon. He will miss the first two games of Seattle’s East Division trip — against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Friday and Regina on Sunday.

Williamson, 16, is from Chilliwack, B.C. An undrafted list player, he hasn’t signed a WHL contract. In 24 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, he has 10 goals and 26 assists. His 36 points have him tied for third in the league’s scoring race.

Seattle now has three selections in the second round of the 2018 draft — its own, one that originated with Regina and now Everett’s. Seattle landed Regina’s second-round pick as part of deal that had D Aaron Hyman go to the Pats.

——

Earlier in the day, the Seattle Thunderbirds signalled that something more might be in the works when they added G Roddy Ross to their roster.

The Thunderbirds announced his signing on Tuesday and immediately added the 18-year-old, who is from Meadow Lake, Sask., to their roster.

Later in the day, Seattle dealt G Liam Hughes, 19, and an eighth-round selection in the Lethbridge2019 bantam draft to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Keltie Jeri-Leon, who will turn 19 on Jan. 19, F Michael Horon, 17, and a 2019 fourth-round bantam draft pick.

Hughes becomes one of three goaltenders on Lethbridge’s roster, joining sophomore Reece Klassen, 19, and freshman Carl Tetachuk, 17, who was scratched from a Saturday game with an undisclosed injury, but was back on the bench Sunday night.

In 26 games, Klassen is 11-4-7, 3.57, .891. Tetachuk has gotten into 12 games, going 7-5-0, 3.49, .892.

Hughes, from Kelowna, was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the 2014 bantam draft. He was traded to Seattle for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. This season, he is 10-16-3, 3.67, .899 in 29 games with Seattle. Last season, Hughes got into 36 games with the Thunderbirds, going 16-12-6, 3.15, .909.

Hughes could be available to play tonight when the Hurricanes visit the Red Deer Rebels. The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and one in front of Red Deer.

Jeri-Leon, also from Kelowna, joins his fourth WHL team, having previously played for the Tri-City Americans and Kamloops Blazers. This season, he has five goals and nine assists in 30 games. In 130 career games, he has 15 goals and 17 assists.

Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He was selected by the Everett Silvertips in the ninth round of the 2016 bantam draft. At the time, Seattle general manager Bill La Forge was Everett’s director of player personnel. The Hurricanes acquired Horon for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft on Jan. 10 and signed him to a WHL contract.

Horon is playing with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. He is leading the Alberta Midget Hockey League with 50 points, including 25 goals.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Ross joins freshman Cole Schwebius, 17, as Seattle’s two goaltenders.

Schwebius, from Kelowna, is 1-3-1, 3.27, .899 in six appearances.

Ross had been playing with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks (8-5-5, 2.93, .921). Last season, he was an all-star with the midget AAA Tisdale, Sask., Trojans.

Ross will be available on Friday when Seattle opens its six-game East Division swing in Brandon.

The Thunderbirds (11-19-4) are fifth in the U.S. Division, 14 points behind the fourth-place Americans. Seattle also is five points behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Tuesday’s action:

No. of trades: 2.

Players: 6.

Bantam draft picks: 4.

Conditional draft picks: 1.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 17.

Players: 37.

Bantam draft picks: 28.

Conditional draft picks: 10.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


F Dillon Hamaliuk of the Seattle Thunderbirds isn’t expected to play again this season. According to a Tuesday afternoon tweet from Andy Eide, who covers the team for 710 ESPN, the Thunderbirds will show Hamaliuk as “out for remainder of season” when the WHL issues its weekly roster report. . . . Hamaliuk was injured on Saturday night when he was hit by D Matthew Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks. Quigley was given a kneeing major and game misconduct and has since been handed a TBD suspension. . . . Hamaliuk, 18, has 11 goals and 15 assists in 31 games. Last season, he finished with 15 goals and 24 assists in 72 games.


For the second weekend in a row since returning from the Christmas break, the Kamloops Blazers are to play three games in fewer than 48 hours.

Last weekend, the Blazers went 2-1-0, beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 3-2 in OT, on Kamloops1Dec. 28; losing 2-1 in Kelowna on Dec. 29; and edging the visiting Prince George Cougars, 2-1, on Sunday.

However, this weekend presents the Blazers with one of those punishing quirks that the WHL seems unable to get out of its schedule.

The Blazers are scheduled to meet the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday night. Kamloops will ride the bus home right after that game, because it is to entertain the Rockets on Saturday night. After that game, it’ll be right back on the bus for the Blazers because they are to meet the Silvertips in Everett on Sunday in a game that has a 4:05 p.m. start time.

Scheduling like that makes one wonder if darts and a Wheel-of-Fortune wheel are part of the process.


It’s true! The NHL is coming to Regina next season.

The Winnipeg Jets will be the host team for a game with the Calgary Flames that is to be played at Mosaic Stadium, the home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, on Oct. 26.

There is more on the story right here.


Russian F Oleg Saprykin, who played two seasons in the WHL, ended up in jail when he allegedly became unruly on a flight from Sochi to Moscow. Saprykin, 37, apparently was upset when a flight attendant stopped serving him booze. . . . Saprykin played with the Seattle Thunderbirds (1998-2000) before going on to play 325 games in the NHL. . . . There’s more right here.


The SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos have added Troy Smith to their staff as an assistant coach HumboldtBroncosat least for the rest of this season. Smith, 40, was in his second season as head coach of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit when he was fired on Nov. 18. . . . He had coached in the OHL since 2006-07. . . . In Humboldt, Smith will work alongside Scott Barney, who took over as interim head coach last week after the departure of general manager/head coach Nathan Oystrick. . . . The Broncos (21-13-3) are third in the four-team Global Ag Risk Solutions Division, two points out of second and five from first. However, they are 2-7-1 in their past 10 outings.


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

——

TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen opened a 5-1 lead midway through the second period and went on to Calgaryscore a 6-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals in a game played on Tuesday afternoon. . . . Calgary (17-16-4) has won two straight. It now is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Victoria (18-15-1) is 2-2-0 on its six-game Central Division tour. It remains tied with the Kelowna Rockets for second in the B.C. Division. . . . The Royals were playing their fourth game in five days and their second in fewer than 24 hours. While the Hitmen were enjoying a quite New Year’s eve, the Hitmen were beating the Kootenay Ice, 4-3 in OT, on Monday in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . F James Malm (16) and F Carson Focht gave Calgary a 2-0 first period lead, with Victoria F Kaid Oliver (17) halving the deficit at 18:40. . . . The Hitmen took control with three second-period PP goals — from F Mark Kastelic, at 0:25; Focht (9), at 9:58; and F Luke Coleman (9), at 10:17. . . . F Brandon Cutler (8), at 13)1 of the second, and F Dante Hannoun (19), at 1:11 of the third, got Victoria two within two goals, but Calgary F Kaden Elder (15) put it away with an empty-netter at 19:41. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 23 shots for the Hitmen. F Tarun Fizen wasn’t able to beat him on a first-period penalty shot. . . . Calgary was 3-5 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3.


The Saskatoon Blades held a 46-19 edge in shots as they beat the visiting Swift Current SaskatoonBroncos, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (23-11-5) has won two in a row. It is second in the East Division, five points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who hold five games in hand. . . . Swift Current (7-27-3) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . The Blades, who held period leads of 1-0 and 2-1, outshot the Broncos 10-7, 16-6 and 20-6 by period. . . . F Max Gerlach (22), on a PP, put the home side ahead at 13:33 of the first period. . . . F Josh Paterson (12) made it 2-0 at 2:31 of the second. . . . D Billy Sowa, with his second career goal and second in two games, got the Broncos on the scoreboard at 19:46. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-2 on third-period goals from F Chase Wouters (7), at 8:58, and F Kirby Dash (16), at 13:13. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (13) pulled the Broncos within two at 15:05, but F Riley McKay (7) made it 5-2 at 18:58. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who had a goal and three assists when the Blades won 9-3 in Swift Current on Sunday, had two assists. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 41 shots, 24 more than Nolan Maier of the Blades.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored two first-period goals and went on to a 3-1 victory over EdmontonOilKingsthe visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Edmonton (21-12-7) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes and five on the Red Deer Rebels. Lethbridge has four games in hand on Edmonton, while Red Deer has five. . . . Vancouver (23-10-2) is 1-2-0 on a six-game Central Division trip. . . . F Carter Souch (7) got Edmonton started at 1:29 of the opening period, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (24) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 12:45. . . . D Bowen Byram (10) scored for the Giants, on a PP, at 12:52 of the second. . . . F David Kope (8) scored Edmonton’s other goal, at 13:10 of the second. . . . Vancouver won 32 of 51 faceoffs and held a 35-17 edge in shots. . . . The Oil Kings got a solid game from G Dylan Myskiw, with 34 saves. . . . F Dylan Guenther, the first overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft, is back with the Oil Kings, who were without seven players, including three forwards. Despite being 15, Guenther has played in eight games — he has three goals and an assist — with the Oil Kings. A player his age is limited to five games while his club team’s season is in progress, unless brought up under emergency conditions. . . . Guenther has 38 points, 20 of them goals, in 18 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . The Oil Kings scratched G Boston Bilous, D Jacson Alexander, whose season is over, D Matt Robertson, D Will Warm, F Quinn Benjafield, F Jake Neighbours and F Brett Kemp.


The Prince Albert Raiders erased a 3-2 deficit in the last half of the third period to beat PrinceAlbertthe Pats, 5-3, in Regina. . . . Prince Albert (34-3-1) had dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Pats on Sunday night. The Raiders now are 5-1-0 in the season series. . . . Regina (12-25-1) had won its previous three games. . . . The Raiders took a 1-0 lead 19 seconds into the second period as F Parker Kelly scored while shorthanded. . . . The Raiders have scored a WHL-leading 18 times while shorthanded; the Red Deer Rebels are second, with eight. . . . F Robbie Holmes (8) pulled Regina into a tie at 18:37. . . . The teams combined for six third-period goals. . . . F Cole Fonstad gave the Raiders a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 4:04. . . . Regina tied it 14 seconds later when D Liam Schioler (3) scored, and took the lead at 5:40 on a goal by F Riley Krane (7). . . . However, the Raiders scored the game’s last three goals. F Sean Montgomery (17) tied it at 11:04. D Sergei Sapego (7) got the winner, on a PP, at 15:39. Kelly (17) got the empty-netter, at 19:59. . . . The Raiders outshot their hosts, 56-23. By periods, it was 18-4, 15-12 and 23-7. . . . Yes, Regina G Max Paddock stood tall in this one. . . . Raiders G Brett Balas, a third-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, stopped 20 shots to win his first WHL start. . . . Parker added an assist to his two goals, while Montgomery had two helpers. . . . F Noah Gregor drew three assists for the Raiders. He has 53 points, including 29 assists, in 33 games. He has 17 points, 10 of them goals, in a seven-game point streak.


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Committee supporting Ice ceases operations; cites lack of support from ownership . . . Chiefs stun Thunderbirds with comeback


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The Green Bay Committee, which had been working to drum up support for the Kootenay Ice with the hopes of keeping the WHL franchise in Cranbrook, has ceased operations.

In fact, it has informed its members to “cease all of your sales initiatives.”

In an email to members that also went to “Ice supporters,” the committee requested that Kootenaynewthey “make sure (to) return all funding sheets to sponsors (and any cheques or cash).”

The committee reached this decision following a meeting earlier Tuesday.

“It is truly unfortunate that the new Ice ownership has decided not to actively engage in our committee’s initiatives,” the committee said in the email.

Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the franchise from the Chynoweth family prior to the 2017-18 season, had been invited to Green Bay Committee meetings, but had refused to attend.

The committee began working this season amid speculation that the Ice will move to Winnipeg in time for the 2019-20 season. The Winnipeg Free Press reported on Oct. 20 that it was told by sources that the relocated team will play in a 1,400-seat arena on the U of Manitoba campus while it awaits construction of a 5,000-seat arena in conjunction with the Rink Hockey Academy.

In an email sent to Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, the committee wrote:

“Obviously, we were greatly concerned about this article. We were hoping that you and Greg would deny this story and that you would remain actively engaged in our sales initiative.

“On October 22, 2018, you advised us that you would not be attending our scheduled Town Hall Meeting. You further advised us that you and Greg would not be involved in our sales initiatives and that you would be monitoring the situation.

“We were surprised and disappointed with your position; however, we decided to carry on with our Campaign and other initiatives to increase attendance. We expected that you and Greg would join us, especially given the fact that we were at an early stage in Season 2 of your new ownership.  For the past month, there has been considerable engagement between our Committee and the community.”

Taking Note has been told that the committee had raised around $50,000, money that now will be returned from whence it came.

In the email to Cockell, the committee also wrote:

“We have made considerable progress . . . However, the absence of active engagement by you and Greg with our committee has become a major issue in our community. We believe that this failure has become the biggest obstacle in our ability to achieve a highly successful sales campaign and to create an effective steering committee. As a result, we are terminating our Green Bay Committee effective immediately.

“However, we will consider re-activating our committee if you provide us with a real commitment that you and Greg are prepared to immediately join us and work with us, as partners; and have no plans to move ‘Our ICE’  from Cranbrook.”

The letter to Cockell is signed by committee members Allan Rella, Are Tironese and John Hudak.

The email to Cockell as well as the one to committee members and club supporters also was sent to Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, and to members of the WHL’s board of governors.

In 2016-17, the last season under the ownership of the Chynoweth family, the Ice average an announced attendance of 1,754 for 36 games. In 2017-18, the first season under Fettes and Cockell, the average was 2,442.

This season, through 12 games and amid speculation of a potential move, the average is 2,244. The Ice beat the visiting Regina Pats on Tuesday night before 1,965 fans, the smallest crowd this season.

“I refuse to be Chilliwacked,” Hudak told Taking Note, in reference to the Chilliwack Bruins, who, despite a number of denials, left for Victoria following the 2010-11 season. “But I have talked to some people . . . in hockey circles . . . and other sources. These guys are gone.”

Hudak, however, said that he will continue to work towards having a WHL franchise in his city, even if Fettes and Cockell move their franchise.

“I love my city,” Hudak said.

The Green Bay Committee, which worked with the Ice management team last season to get people to games who wouldn’t under ordinary circumstances have that opportunity, was named in honour of Green Bay, Wisc., “the little city,” Hudak said, “that can support an NFL team.”

Hudak only hopes that his city is given the opportunity to prove it can support a WHL team.


The Kootenay Ice has dropped another veteran player from its roster.

F Nick Bowman’s name doesn’t appear in the WHL’s weekly roster report, which was released on Tuesday. But his name wasn’t on the lineup sheet for the Ice’s game against the Pats in Regina on Tuesday night; the Ice dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen. Bowman’s name also has disappeared from the Ice’s roster on the WHL’s website.

While most WHL teams like to carry 23 players, the Kootenay roster includes only 20 — 11 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

The Ice acquired Bowman and a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft from the Moose Jaw Warriors on Oct. 22, giving up twins Kaeden and Keenan Taphorn in the exchange. The Taphorns, 18, are from Yorkton, Sask.

Bowman, 18, had two goals in 10 games with the Ice, after earning one assist in 10 games with the Warriors. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he was a sixth-round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2015 bantam draft. In 137 career regular-season games, he has 15 goals and 14 assists.

Keenan Taphorn has four goals and an assist in seven games with Moose Jaw, while Kaeden has one assist in three games. He recently returned to the lineup after being out with an undisclosed injury.

In the past couple of weeks, the Ice also lost veteran 19-year-olds Sam Huston and Brendan Semchuk. The Ice has stated that it has suspended Huston, a defenceman, but hasn’t said anything more than that. Huston apparently left the team after being dropped to the third defensive pairing.

The team has said that Semchuk left in order to “pursue his educational goals.”


The Regina Pats have added F Sebastian Streu to their roster. He’s from Germany but also has Canadian citizenship, so doesn’t count as an import. . . . Streu, who will turn 19 on Nov. 22, had nine goals and three assists in 54 games with the Kootenay Ice last season. . . . This season, he had five goals and two assists in 10 games with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers when the Pats came calling. . . . Streu was in Regina’s lineup on Tuesday night and scored a goal as the Pats lost, 5-2, to the host Kootenay Ice.


Chris Selley of the National Post has chimed in with his opinion of whether major junior hockey players are student-athletes or employees, and you are able to read all about it right here.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


TUESDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

G Brodan Salmond stopped 32 shots to help the host Moose Jaw Warriors to a 7-0 victory MooseJawWarriorsover the Tri-City Americans. . . . Moose jaw (8-5-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Americans (11-6-0) are 8-3-0 over their past 11 games. . . . This was Game 8 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans. They now are 6-2-0, including 1-2-0 in the East Division. . . . Salmond, 20, posted his fourth career shutout, but his first with the Warriors. He made 56 appearances with the Kelowna Rockets over the previous three seasons. . . . The Warriors got a goal and three assists from F Tristin Langan, and a goal and two assists from each of D Josh Brook, F Brayden Tracey. . . . Langan has 13 goals, while Brook has six and Tracey five. . . . The Warriors led 3-0 and 6-0 at the period breaks. . . . Moose Jaw had D Brendan Kwiatkowski playing after he had been out since Sept. 22. . . . The Warriors remain without F Justin Almeida, who suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 1 of the CIBC Canada Russia Series in Kamloops on Nov. 5. . . . Moose Jaw head coach Tim Hunter, who also is the head coach of Canada’s national junior team, missed this one as he was at the CIBC Canada Russia game in Sherbrooke, Que. However, the Warriors had associate coach Mark O’Leary back after his stint at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. . . . Kelly Buchberger, in his first season as the Americans’ head coach, is in the Warriors’ Hall of Fame. From Langenburg, Sask., he played two seasons (1983-85) in Moose Jaw before going on to a pro career. In 111 games with the Warriors, he put up 36 points, including 26 goals, and 253 penalty minutes.


In Saskatoon, the Blades gave up nine power-play opportunities, lost 46 of 80 face-offs Saskatoonand were outshot 39-37, but still managed to score a 4-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Blades (13-7-2) have won three in a row. . . . The Tigers (9-9-3) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . F Ryan Chyzowski scored twice for the Tigers, giving them a 1-0 lead on a PP, at 8:58 of the first period, and cutting their deficit to 3-2 at 19:38 of the third period. He’s got seven goals. . . . In between those goals, F Max Gerlach (14), F Kyle Crnkovic (1) and D Chase Wouters (3) scored for the Blades. . . . Gerlach’s goal, coming against his former team, gave him 200 career regular-season points in 232 games. . . . Crnkovic’s goal was his first in the WHL. He was the 10th overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Kirby Dach (12) added insurance for the Blades, with an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third. . . . Saskatoon got 37 saves from G Nolan Maier, who now is 11-5-1, 2.79, .912. . . . Medicine Hat F James Hamblin had a nine-game assist streak and a 10-game point streak snapped.


D Zac Patrick broke a 1-1 tie at 2:03 of the second period and the Kootenay Ice went on to beat the Regina Pats, 5-2, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (7-12-3) had lost their previous five games. . . . The Pats (7-13-0) had won three in a row. This was the first of six straight road games for Regina. . . . Patrick’s goal was his first in the WHL. He didn’t score in 42 games last season; this was his 11th game this season. . . . D Dallas Hines (3) upped the Ice’s lead to 3-1 just 17 seconds after Patrick scored. . . . F Austin Pratt (10) pulled Regina to within a goal at 2:53, but the Ice put it away with third period goals from F Cole Muir (5) and F Cameron Hausinger (6), on a PP. . . . F Sebastian Streu, who spent last season with the Ice, scored in his first game with the Pats. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 38 shots to earn the victory. . . . Regina G Max Paddock left at 8:05 of the first period after suffering a cut in a collision with Ice F Peyton Krebs. Paddock, who had stopped three of four shots, was replaced by Dean McNabb, who surrendered four goals on 29 shots. . . . D Makai Mitchell, 16, who is from Fort Collins, Colo., made his debut with the Pats. A list player, Mitchell had one goal and one assist in 11 games with the U-16 Rocky Mountain Roughriders of the NAPHL. He is expected to play two more games with the Pats before returning home. . . . The Ice lost D Jordan Chudley to a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina F Duncan Pierce at 3:28 of the third period. . . . Regina lost F Logan Nijhoff to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 11:24 of the third period, after a hit on Ice D Martin Bodak.


The Spokane Chiefs erased a 2-0 deficit in the third period and went on to beat the Seattle SpokaneChiefsThunderbirds, 3-2, in OT, in Kent, Wash. . . . Spokane (10-7-3) has won two straight. . . . Seattle (7-8-3) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . F Payton Mount, back after a five-game absence, gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead with his first WHL goal, at 3:36 of the first period. Seattle selected him with the 17th overall pick of the 2017 bantam draft. Mount had one assist in six games with the Thunderbirds last season; this season, he has a goal and five assists in 12 games. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (2) upped Seattle’s lead to 2-0 at 3:05 of the second period. . . . F Ethan McIndoe (6) got Spokane on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 7:05 of the third period, and D Ty Smith (3) tied it at 16:50. Smith also had two assists. . . . F Luke Toporowski (7), who had an assist on Smith’s goal, won the game at 3:58 of OT. . . . The Chiefs got 37 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk wasn’t successful on a penalty shot at 16:38 of the second period.