Comings, goings and happenings . . . and now back to baseball and The Border

If you’re wondering where I’ve been, well, I’ve been right here. I am taking some time away from writing, just taking a break. . . . I also have cracked open The Border, the third book in author Don Winslow’s terrific trilogy about, yes, the U.S.-Mexico border and a whole lot more. So I have been spending some time with Art Keller (hey, Google is your friend). . . . If you haven’t read the trilogy, start with The Dogs of War, then move on to The Cartel. After that you’ll be ready for The Border. . . . A warning though — this stuff is gritty. . . .

Some stuff has happened over the last few days, so what follows is a summary. No, I’m not back on a daily basis. Not yet. . . . You see, I’m only halfway through The Border. . . .


MacBeth

F Radim Valchar (Portland, Lethbridge, 2007-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Csíkszereda Miercurea Ciuc (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he put up 42 goals and 43 assists in 61 games. He was tied for the league lead in goals and was second in points. . . .

D Brenden Kichton (Spokane, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga), he had eight goals and 15 assists in 46 games. . . .

F Lukáš Králík (Victoria, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Nový Jičín (Czech Republic, 2. Liga). Last season, in 28 games with Draci Šumperk (Czech Republic, 2. Liga), he had seven goals and four assists. . . .

D Matt Pufahl (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Everett, 2010-14) has signed a one-year contract with the Glasgow Clan (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL), he had one assist in six games. He also had one goal and one assist in 26 games with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . . The Glasgow press release states that Pufahl will enrol in the MBA program at Glasgow Caledonian University while playing for the Clan. . . .

F Wacey Rabbit (Saskatoon, Vancouver, 2001-07) has signed a one-year contract with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, with the Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL), he had 29 goals and 31 assists in 70 games. He led the team in goals and points, and was tied for the lead in assists. . . .

F Michael Burns (Edmonton, Vancouver, 2007-12) has signed a try-out contract with the Hannover Indians (Germany, Oberliga Nord). He didn’t play last season. In summer 2018, with the Sydney Bears (Australia, AIHL), he had five goals and five assists in nine games. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

F Kevin King (Kootenay, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Cortina (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, in 45 games with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite), he had five goals and 13 assists. . . .

F Austin Carroll (Victoria, 2011-15) has signed a one-year contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL), he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 45 games. On loan to the Manitoba Moose (AHL), he had one goal in seven games. . . .

F Michal Řepík (Vancouver, 2005-08) has signed a one-year contract with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 42 games; he was an alternate captain. . . . He was traded to Vityaz Podolsk (Russia, KHL) on Dec. 26, and had five goals and four assists in 19 games. . . .

F Jim O’Brien (Seattle, 2007-09) has signed a one-year contract with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Belleville Senators (AHL), he had one goal and two assists in 11 games. . . .

F R.J. Reed (Vancouver, Prince Albert, 2010-11) has signed a one-year contract with Diez-Limburg (Germany, Regionalliga West). Last season, with the Nijmegen Devils (Netherlands, BeNeLiga), he had 33 goals and 17 assists in 19 games. He led the team in goals and was second in points. He was third in the league in goals. . . .

D Brendan Mikkelson (Portland, Vancouver, 2003-07) has signed a one-year contract with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in 47 games with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL), he had six goals and eight assists in 47 games.


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The Kamloops Blazers have signed Shaun Clouston as their head coach, replacing Serge Lajoie who was one-and-done. Clouston arrives in Kamloops after spending 16 seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He was dismissed as general manager and head coach on Kamloops1May 30 so that the Tigers could bring back Willie Desjardins to fill both roles. . . . The Blazers also named co-owner Darryl Sydor an associate coach. He was named an assistant coach on Feb. 12. . . .

A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Clouston for not ducking questions about what happened in Medicine Hat. The Tigers announced his departure in a three-paragraph news release in which the team said they and Clouston “have parted ways.” . . . Clouston told reporters in Kamloops on Wednesday that he was in shock — he likened it to a “punch in the stomach” — when the Tigers dumped him. . . .

The Blazers didn’t announce any terms of their contract with Clouston, but you have to think it is at least four years in length. After all, they originally offered Kyle Gustafson a four-year deal, only to have him choose to remain with the Portland Winterhawks as associate coach and assistant GM. The offer to Gustafson was made before Clouston’s time ran out in The Hat. . . .

What makes things interesting in Kamloops is Sydor’s presence as associate coach. He also is one of the team’s five co-owners and hasn’t hidden his desire to be a WHL head coach. Sydor has never been a head coach, but has ample experience as an NHL assistant coach, having worked with the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. . . .

With the Blazers having hired Clouston, it leaves the Brandon Wheat Kings, Prince George Cougars and Spokane Chiefs as the only WHL teams still searching for head coaches. . . . The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers have a announced the hiring of Jim Playfair as an associate coach under head coach Dave Tippett. There continues to be speculation that Mark Lamb, presently the Cougars’ general manager, could be joining the Oilers as an assistant coach. He has a long history with Tippett.


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A couple of notes from Postmedia’s Jim Matheson:

“Connor McDavid’s junior coach Kris Knoblauch lost out for the Columbus farm team head job in Cleveland to Mike Eaves. . . . Hearing Los Angeles head coach Todd McLellan would have hired his other Oilers assistant Manny Viveiros, but there’s only room for two assistants for budgetary reasons. Viveiros is very much in running for an assistant’s job in Ottawa, though. No surprise Trent Yawney, who’ll look after L.A.’s defence, is joining McLellan again.”



I watched most of the Minnesota Twins’ 17-inning victory over the visiting Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. One night later, Dick Bremer, the TV play-by-play voice of the Twins, passed along some interesting numbers. In a nine-inning game, he said, MLB teams will go through between six and 18 dozen baseballs. On Tuesday, in a game that included 487 pitches, they used up 27 dozen baseballs. . . . That’s a lot of souvenirs!


Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Swift Current Broncos for the past nine seasons, will be the new play-by-play voice of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, according to Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner. . . . According to Davies, Mullin will replace Rob Snoek of Extra 90.5FM. Snoek told Davies that he won’t be back and that “it wasn’t my decision.” . . . Davies’ story is right here.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired F D-Jay Jerome, 20, from the Victoria Royals Lethbridgefor a pair of unspecified conditional bantam draft picks, one in 2021 and the other in 2022. Jerome is from Lethbridge. . . . Other 20-year-olds on Lethbridge’s roster include D Koletrane Wilson, D Ty Prefontaine, F Scott Mahovlich and F Zach Cox. F Jake Leschyshyn, F Jordy Bellerive and F Nick Henry also are 1999-born players, but are likely to begin their pro careers in the fall. . . .

The Royals also lost D Jake Kustra, 20, on waivers to the Swift Current Broncos. Kustra played under Broncos head coach Dean Brockman when both were with the Saskatoon VictoriaRoyalsBlades. . . . With Kustra, the Broncos have three 20-year-olds on their roster, the others being F Ian Briscoe and F Ethan O’Rourke. . . .

Having trade away Jerome and placed Kustra on waivers, Victoria has six 20s on its roster — D Will Warm, who was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on June 13, Belarusian F Igor Martynov, F Tanner Sidaway, who is from Victoria, D Jameson Murray, D Scott Walford and G Shane Farkas, an offseason acquisition from the Portland Winterhawks. . . .

Meanwhile, the Broncos have signed F Mat Ward to a WHL contract. From Kamloops, he was the 14th overall pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have waived F Zach Russell, 20. He got into 36 games with them last season. Earlier, the Oil Kings had dealt D Will Warm, 20, to the Victoria Royals. . . . The Oil Kings are left with four 20s on their roster — F Riley Sawchuk, who was acquired from the Tri-City Americans on May 16, G Dylan Myskiw, D Conner McDonald and D Parker Gavlas. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky also is 20, but is likely to begin his pro career in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ organization.


Bart


An interesting note from Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian Pilot: “Bob Molinaro in the Hampton-Roads Virginian-Pilot: “Forbes has put out another list of the highest-paid athletes. It’s the usual dull cluster of dollar signs and numbers, but with one amusing twist. Strictly by salary, Tom Brady ranks fifth on the list — among Boston athletes alone. The top paid Beantown jock is Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, followed by teammates Gordon Hayward and Al Horford. Red Sox left-hander David Price slips into fourth place. Not taken into account is the cash value of six Super Bowl rings.”


The Kamloops Blazers are down to three 20-year-olds with F Travis Walton having cleared WHL waivers and signed with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. . . . Walton had nine goals and nine assists in 48 regular-season games over three seasons with the Blazers. . . . The 20s remaining on the Blazers’ roster are F Zane Franklin, F Kobe Mohr and D Jackson Caller. . . .

Meanwhile, the Blazers announced Thursday that they have signed Colin (Toledo) Robinson, their trainer, to a contract extension. The length of the extension wasn’t revealed. . . . Robinson has been with the Blazers since then GM/head coach Dean Clark signed him in 2005. Robinson is prepping for his 25th WHL season, having also worked for the Swift Current Broncos and Vancouver Giants.


The Prince Albert Raiders named Curt Brownlee as their director of player personnel. He has been with the Raiders since 2011 when he signed on as a scout. He takes over from the late Ron Gunville, who died in December.


There is zero chance of the Tampa Bay Rays splitting their American League seasons between the Florida city and Montreal. None. Zilch. Nada. . . . This is simply a cheap way for the Rays to try and pressure their way to a new ballpark in Tampa.


If you’re wondering about the costs of operating a junior A hockey team, consider this from Michael Reeve of radio station Q101.1 from the AGM of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials:

“Beth Nadeau, the team’s treasurer, provided an update on last (season’s) financials. While the team’s expenses came in at approximately the same amount as last (season), this (season’s) revenue was down close to $23,000. All of that resulted in the team losing $95,644.68 last (season), up from a loss of $75,329.99 the season before.”

Meanwhile, the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders held their AGM on Wednesday night and reported a deficit of $6,402.95. The Stampeders had a long playoff run or it would have been a lot worse. . . . For more, check out Benny Walchuk’s blog right here.


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Royals get goalie from Portland. . . . More bantam draft odds and ends. . . . McCrimmon an NHL GM and a Hall of Famer


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Part II: More trades and odds and ends from the WHL’s bantam draft. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks appeared to clear up a logjam at the goaltender position, Portlandwhile the Victoria Royals have begun life after Griffen Outhouse. . . . The Winterhawks dealt G Shane Farkas, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 1, and a 2019 fifth-round bantam draft pick to the Royals for a fourth-round pick in 2019 and a conditional selection that could end up being in the fourth round in 2020. . . . The 2019 fourth-rounder that the Winterhawks acquired actually originated with them; it went to Victoria in a deal for D Jared Freadrich last summer. . . . The deal leaves Portland with five 20-year-olds on its roster, with F Lane Gilliss, F Jake Gricius, F Josh Paterson and D Matthew Quigley the others. . . .

Farkas, from Penticton, B.C., appeared in 84 games over three seasons with Portland. VictoriaRoyalsThis season, he finished 30-12-6, 2.71, .906 in 50 regular-season appearances. . . . His departure leaves the Winterhawks’ depth chart with Joel Hofer, who will be 19 on July 30, and Dante Giannuzzi, who is to turn 17 on Sept. 3, at the top of the goaltending section. . . .

Outhouse, who was so outstanding in goal for the Royals, has completed his junior eligibility. Farkas and sophomore Brock Gould, 18, are one-two on the Royals’ depth chart, at least for now. . . . The Royals now have six 20-year-olds on their roster — Farkas, F D-Jay Jerome, Belarusian F Igor Martynov, F Tanner Sidaway, D Jameson Murray and D Jake Kustra.


The Swift Current Broncos have acquired D Wyatt Wilson from the Lethbridge SCBroncosHurricanes for F Alex Thacker. . . . Wilson, from Swift Current, will turn 16 on Oct. 11. He was a sixth-round pick by Lethbridge in the 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had six goals and 17 assists in 36 games with the elite 15s at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . Thacker, 17, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. This season, he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 34 games as he captained the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. He also had one assist in four games with the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines, and was pointless in two games with Swift Current. The Broncos had selected him in the sixth round of the 2017 bantam draft.


Lethbridge also made a deal with the Prince George Cougars, landing D Tyson Phare in LethbridgePrinceGeorgeexchange for F Fischer O’Brien. . . . Phare, 17, was the 18th-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft. From Maple Ridge, B.C., he was pointless in 14 games with the Cougars this season. He also had a goal and nine assists in eight games with the prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy, and was pointless in two games with the junior B Ridge Meadow Flames. . . . O’Brien, 16, is from Prince George. Lethbridge picked him in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. Fischer had two goals and five assists in 40 games with the Cariboo Cougars, who won the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League title. His brother, Brogan, played three seasons (2015-18) with the WHL’s Cougars and now is at Carleton U in Ottawa.


JUST NOTES: The Portland Winterhawks selected F Marek Hejduk in the ninth round. He played this season with the bantam AAA Colorado Thunderbirds, scoring seven goals and adding nine assists in 13 games. . . . Six picks later, the Everett Silvertips grabbed D David Hejduk, Marek’s twin brother. David had one goal and one assists in 13 games with the Thunderbirds. . . . They are the sons of former NHL F Milan Hejduk. . . .

In the 10th round, the Edmonton Oil Kings landed F Cade Littler of East Wenatchee, Wash. He played this season with the bantam AAA San Jose Jr. Sharks. His father, Bliss, is a long-time junior coach. He has been with the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild for seven seasons, the last six as general manager and head coach. . . .

In the fourth round, the Seattle Thunderbirds took F Connor Gourley of Calgary. He had 36 goals and 39 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. His brother Jarrod, who will turn 20 on June 29, was a third-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2014 bantam draft. A defenceman, he chose to go to Arizona State U where he just completed his first season with the Sun Devils. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers, picking 12th overall, took F Oasis Wiesblatt of Calgary. He had 19 goals and 36 assists in 28 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . His brother Orca, who will turn 19 on June 2, got into 12 games with the Calgary Hitmen this season, after playing 49 with them last season. He now is with the MJHL-champion Portage Terriers. . . . Another brother, 20-year-old Ocean, also is with the Terriers, while Ozzy, 17, is in his first season with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Google is your friend, so search out a story on the boys and their mother, who is deaf and a really wonderful story. . . .

The Hitmen selected F Mason Finley of Kelowna in the fifth round. His brother, Jack, just finished his freshman season with the Spokane Chiefs. Their father, Jeff, played three seasons (1984-87) with the Portland Winterhawks and now is in his 10th season as a scout with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, the last six as the team’s chief amateur scout. . . .

The Victoria Royals landed twin brothers who just happen to be from, yes, Victoria. . . . They took D Jason Spizawka with the 19th-overall selection then added his twin, Ryan, in the seventh round. . . . Both boys played at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., this season. . . .

The Regina Pats picked D Layton Feist with the draft’s 17th-overall selection. From Dawson Creek, B.C., he is the younger brother of Pats D Tyson Feist. . . .

In the second round, the Prince Albert Raiders took D Graydon Gotaas, who is from Camrose, Alta., and played this season with the bantam AAA Sherwood Park, Alta., Flyers. . . . His uncle, Steve Gotaas, played four seasons (1983-87) with the Raiders. . . .

If you know of any other hockey bloodlines from the draft or have any tidbits you would like to share, email Taking Note at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


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Kelly McCrimmon, who owns the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, will take over as general manager of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on Sept. 1. That means that McCrimmon, who has been the Golden Knights’ assistant GM, won’t be going to Edmonton, where the Oilers had an interest in him, or to the expansion franchise in Seattle, which also is believed to have bene interested in his services.

Meanwhile, McCrimmon also found out on Thursday that he will be part of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2019. . . . McCrimmon has served the Wheat Kings as a player, coach, general manager, owner and governor. . . . Going into the hall this year as players will be Bob Fitchner, Trevor Kidd, Marty Murray and Terry Yake, all of whom played for the Wheat Kings, along with Larry Bolonchuk and Susanna Yuen. . . . Builders to be inducted are McCrimmon and Barry Shenkarow. . . . Rob Haithwaite will go into the officials section, while the media wing will welcome Bob Holliday. . . . The 1957-58 St. Boniface Canadians, 1965-66 Flin Flon Warriors and 1972-73 St. Boniface Mohawks will be inducted in the team category. . . . Going into the veterans’ category will be Johnny Sheppard as a player and the 1929 Elmwood Millionaires. . . . The inductions will take place at Canad Inns Polo Park in Winnipeg on Oct. 5. . . . Bios of the inductees are available right here.


The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials made it official Thursday — they have signed Barry Wolff as their new general manager and head coach. Wolff, who spent this season as GM/head coach with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders, will replace Joe Martin, who now is the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . With Wolff behind the bench, the Stampeders lost the MJHL final to the Portage Terriers, dropping Game 7 in OT.


Eric Ditto has been the head coach of the junior B Delisle Chiefs of the Prairie Junior Hockey League for four seasons. Now he also is the general manager. The Chiefs won 38 games this season as they set a PJHL single-season record with 77 points in a 40-game schedule. Ditto takes over as GM from Ryan Marushak, who had been in that position for four seasons.


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No surprises from Bettman in front of MPs. . . . Fix-Wolansky turns into Monster. . . . Nyren to undergo psychiatric assessment


MacBeth

D Martin Gernát (Edmonton, 2011-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had eight goals and 12 assists in 48 games. . . .

F Brandon Kozun (Calgary, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). This season, with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (Russia, KHL), he had 19 goals and 22 assists in 52 games. He led his team in goals, and was tied for the team lead in points. . . .

F Malte Strömwall (Tri-City, 2011-13) has signed a one-year contract with Sochi (Russia, KHL). This season, with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga), he had 30 goals and 27 assists in 52 games. He led the league in goals and points. . . .

G Patrik Bartošák (Red Deer, 2011-14) has signed a two-year contract with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he was 26-21-0, 2.17, .935, with one shutout and one assist in 47 games. He led the league in save percentage. . . .

D Vojtěch Budík (Prince Albert, 2015-18) has signed a one-year plus option contract with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two assists in 34 games. On loan to Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had one goal and one assist in three games. . . .

D Paul Postma (Swift Current, Calgary, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). This season, with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL), he had eight goals and 20 assists in 57 games.


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Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner, appeared on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday to appear before a committee of Members of Parliament who are studying sports-related concussions. . . . “Sure, Bettman has been on the job more than 26 years,” writes Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star. “He’s been an honoured member of the hockey hall since he was inducted last fall. But Wednesday confirmed they didn’t put him there because he benevolently served the good of the sport, its players and its future. They gave him the blue blazer and the ring because he profitably grew the business of his employers. And the business of his employers is clearly still served best by concussion denial.” . . . Feschuk’s column is right here.


The WHL announced its individual award winners, all-stars teams and more on Wednesday in Red Deer. You will find all of that information on the WHL’s website at whl.ca.

The annual bantam draft is scheduled to begin bright and early today (Thursday) in Red Deer. You won’t find much draft coverage here because it’s something that I just don’t spend a lot of time following.



F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings will finish his season with the Cleveland EdmontonOilKingsMonsters, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. . . . Fix-Wolansky, an Edmonton native, will turn 20 on May 26. The Blue Jackets selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2018 draft and have signed him to a three-year entry-level contract. . . . This season, his third with the Oil Kings, he had 37 goals and 65 assists in 65 regular-season games. In 206 career regular-season games, he has 245 points, including 93 goals. . . . He wasn’t in Cleveland’s roster last night as it dropped a 5-2 decision to the Marlies in Toronto in Game 1 of a playoff series.


Giffen Nyren, the former WHL defenceman who is facing charges after a youngster was taken from his mother on Sunday at a Kelowna beach, appeared in court on Wednesday and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment. . . . Nyren, 30, is facing one count of assault and one count of willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer. . . . He remains in custody and is to be back in court on May 15. Nyren’s mother was in court when he made his appearance yesterday. . . . Doyle Potenteau of Global TV has more right here.


Taking Note has been told that veteran coach Barry Wolff will be joining the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials as their general manager and head coach. . . . After spending five seasons (2013-18) with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, one as head coach and four as general manager/head coach, Wolff spent this season as GM/head coach with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. They lost Game 7 of the championship final to the Portage Terriers. . . . Wolff has had previous BCHL stints with the Quesnel Millionaires, Langley Hornets and Langley Chiefs. He also has coached the junior B Fernie Ghostriders, the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard and the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. . . . In Merritt, Wolff will replace Joe Martin, who left to take over as GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs.


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Aaron Schulze of northeastnow.com reported Wednesday that the Tisdale Trojans of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League have decided not to renew the contract of Darrell Mann, their general manager and head coach. . . . Mann had been with the Trojans, in one position or another, for 16 years. . . . Schulze wrote that team president Greg McShannock “confirmed to northeastNOW that Mann’s contract was up for renewal and the team decided to move in a different direction.” . . . Mann spent 10 seasons with the Trojans before singing on as head coach of the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs. He returned to the Trojans for 2013-14. This season, the Trojans finished second in the regular season, at 32-7-5, before losing a best-of-five semi-final series, 3-1, to the Saskatoon Blazers. . . . The Trojans then won the Western Regional as host team and went on to finish third at the Telus Cup. . . . Schulze’s story is right here.


Marty Murray, the general manager and head coach of the Minot Minotauros, has been honoured as the NAHL’s GM of the year. Murray, 44, is from Deloraine, Man., and played four seasons (1991-95) with the Brandon Wheat Kings before going on to a pro career that included 261 regular-season NHL games. . . . The Minotauros went 36-21-3 to finish second in the Central Division this season, and are presently involved in a second-round playoff series. They finished ninth in the NAHL in attendance, drawing more than 1,400 fans per game.


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NHL Central Scouting likes WHLers. . . . Former Pats sniper dead at 42. . . . BCHL coach of the year makes move


MacBeth

F Milan Bartovič (Brandon, Tri-City, 1999-2001) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). An alternate captain, he had 15 goals and 25 assists in 54 games this season. . . .

F Kris Foucault (Swift Current, Kootenay, Calgary, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). This season, with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL), he had five goals and two assists in seven gams. He missed most of the season after suffering a concussion. . . .

F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) announced his retirement via his Twitter account. This season, with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite), he had 23 goals and 23 assists in 58 games. . . .

F Jordan Knackstedt (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dresden (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 21 goals and 50 assists in 41 games. He led his team in assists and points. He was second in the league in assists and fourth in points.


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NHL Central Scouting issued its final rankings prior to the 2019 draft and three of the top whlfive-rated North American skaters are out of the WHL. . . . D Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants moved from No. 4 in the midseason rankings to No. 2. F Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades is at No. 3, and F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is ranked fifth. . . . F Jack Hughes of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program U-18 team is the top-ranked North American skater. . . . Central Scouting has seven NTDP skaters rated as potential first-round picks. . . . F Kaapo Kakko of TPS in Finland is atop the list of international skaters. . . . All told there are 50 WHLers in the final rankings. . . . The draft is scheduled for Rogers Arena in Vancouver, June 21 and 22. . . . There is more on the rankings right here.


F Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips has joined the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of Everettthe NHL’s Washington Capitals. Sutter, who will turn 20 on Oct. 25, was a third-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . This season, Sutter had 14 goals and 27 assists in 38 games. He missed 37 consecutive games with an undisclosed injury, before returning for Game 3 of a second-round series against the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs won that series in five games. . . . In 204 career regular-season WHL games, Sutter had 137 points, including 60 goals. . . . Hershey is scheduled to open the AHL playoffs on Friday. . . . If you’re wondering, Riley is a member of the famed hockey family. His father, Ron, is one of the Sutter twins and played 19 seasons in the NHL.


Three skaters from the WHL are on the roster for the Czech team that will play in the IIHF U-18 World Championship that is to begin on Thursday. . . . F Martin Lang of the Kamloops Blazers, F Matej Toman of the Prince George Cougars and D Simon Kubicek of the Seattle Thunderbirds are on the final roster that was revealed on Monday. . . . The tournament is to run through April 28 in the Swedish cities of Ornskoldsvik and Umea. . . .

Team Canada won its second pre-tournament game on Monday, beating Russia, 5-4, in Umea. Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), who had three assists in a 6-5 OT victory over Belarus on Sunday, scored twice, one on a penalty shot. F Peyton Krebs (WInnipeg Ice) had two assists. G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stopped 32 shots. . . . Team Canada is to open tournament play on Thursday against Finland.



Joe Martin, the BCHL’s coach of the year for this season, has left the Merritt Centennials AlberniValleyto sign on as the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ general manager and head coach. Martin, 38, spent four seasons as the Centennials’ general manager and head coach. This season, the Centennials were 36-15-4-3 and finished second in the Interior Division. They lost a first-round series, 4-1, to the Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Martin had been with Merritt since signing on as an assistant coach prior to the 2011-12 season. . . . In Alberta Valley, Martin replaces Matt Hughes, who, according to the Bulldogs, “resigned his position from the club by mutual agreement” late in March. . . . Taking Note actually was told by a reliable source on April 4 that “Joe Martin is going to Alberni Valley.” On Friday, that same source told Taking Note: “It’s happening. Joe Martin to Alberni Valley.” . . . That same day, when Bulldogs business manager David Michaud was asked about Martin, his response was: “Joe Martin is under contract with the Merritt Centennials. If you want to write gossip about a man who just gave birth to a newborn have at it. Get better sources or call me.” . . . If Martin was under contract to Merritt on Friday and my source was feeding me gossip, it would seem that the deal between him and the Bulldogs got done in a hurry.


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Vees set CJHL attendance record . . . Merritt billet family loses home to fire . . . Andrusiak sparks Seattle comeback

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have become the first Canadian Junior Hockey League team to average more than 3,000 fans per game over an entire season. According to a news release, the Vees averaged 3,055 fans through 28 games at the 5,000-seat South Okanagan Events Centre during the just-completed regular season. . . . According to the Vees, the largest crowd (4,342) attended on Jan. 20 against the Trail Smoke Eaters. It was Pink in the Rink night, the annual anti-bullying promotion, and no crowd was smaller than 2,585. . . . Last season, the Vees’ average attendance was 2,981. . . . I didn’t count them, but according to Wikipedia there are 132 junior A teams operating under the CJHL’s umbrella.


The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials are preparing for a first-round series with the Wenatchee Wild. But the Centennials have had more than that on their minds this week. The Culbertson family, which billets three of the Centennials, lost their home to fire early Saturday morning, and the family — and the players — are just starting to put things back together. . . . Cole Wagner of the Merritt Herald has more right here, and if you go to the bottom of the story you will find a link to a GoFundMe page.


The Red Deer Rebels have added F Ethan Rowland to their roster. Rowland , 15, was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Rowland, from Calgary, had one goal and four assists in 19 games with the midget AAA Calgary Northstars this season. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to entertain the Calgary Hitmen tonight (Wednesday).


The Kootenay Ice has added D Nolan Orzeck, who turned 17 on Feb. 20, to its roster. From Calgary, he has played three games with the Ice this season. He had four goals and 10 assists in 28 games with the midget Calgary Northstars. Orzeck was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’ s 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Ice is at home to the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight (Wednesday).


D Jake Harrison of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors has committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines, starting with the 2019-20 season. . . . Harrison, 18, was a fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. This season, his third with the Warriors, he has eight goals and 25 assists in 56 games. . . . The Warriors had announced on Dec. 17 that Harrison had made a commitment to the Michigan Tech Huskies for 2019-20, but he obviously has had a change of heart.


A story by Dominic Abassi of NanaimoNewsNOW indicates that the City of Nanaimo spent more than $470,000 for its Hometown Hockey weekend on Feb. 25 and 26, 2017. . . . According to Abassi’s report, “Expenses included $184,000 for ‘misc contracted services,’ $102,000 for materials and supplies, $23,000 for ‘hospitality’ and $3,500 for travel.” . . . Abassi’s complete story is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon/Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

TUESDAY:

At Calgary, F Aleksi Heponiemi drew four assists as the Swift Current Broncos dumped the Hitmen, 6-4. . . . This was Calgary’s second annual BE BRAVE Anti-Bullying Game. It SCBroncosbegan at 11 a.m. . . . Swift Current (45-14-5) has won two in a row and now is tied with Moose Jaw atop the overall standings. The Warriors hold two games in hand. . . . Calgary (19-35-7) has lost two straight. . . . The Hitmen grabbed a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Jakob Stukel (31), at 9:39, and F Riley Stotts (14), at 14:17. . . . F MacKenzie Wight scored Swift Current’s first goal, his first of the season, at 17:04. Originally, he was listed as a scratch, but he went in after D Sahvan Khaira left the ice during the warmup. . . . Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko (13) gave his guys a 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 19:19. . . . The Broncos, though, scored the next three goals to take a 4-3 lead. . . . D Jacson Alexander got his first goal, at 8:16 of the second, and F Tyler Steenbergen (44) tied it, shorthanded, at 10:55. . . . F Glenn Gawdin (55) gave the visitors their first lead, on a PP, at 3:01 of the third period. . . . F Carson Focht (11) pulled the home team back into a tie, while shorthanded, at 12:06. . . . That didn’t last long, as F Giorgio Estephan (28) scored, on a PP, to give the Broncos a 5-4 lead at 14:51. . . . F Beck Malenstyn (13) added insurance at 17:55. . . . The Broncos got three assists from D Colby Sissons, with Gawdin and Steenbergen each getting one. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race, with 119 points, nine more than Lethbridge F Brayden Burke. . . . F Jake Kryski and D Dakota Krebs each had two assists for Calgary. Stukel added one. . . . Swift Current was 2-7 on the PP; Calgary was 1-7. The game included 22 minor penalties. . . . G Stuart Skinner started for the Broncos and gave up three goals on nine shots in the first period. Joel Hofer played the last two periods, stopping 18 of 19 shots. . . . The Hitmen got 28 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . F Tanner Nagel was among the Broncos’ scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 16,300.


At Edmonton, F Mark Rassell scored twice to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-2 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . This was the ninth annual Hockey Hooky game, so it started at Tigers Logo Official11:30 a.m. . . . Medicine Hat (32-24-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It leads the Central Division, by four points over Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (18-37-8) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Medicine Hat is 5-0-0 in the season series; Edmonton is 0-3-2. . . . Rassell opened the scoring at 5:03 of the first period. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (27) tied the score at 15:06, but the Tigers went back in front at 17:59 as F Jaeger White (9) scored. . . . F Carter Souch (4) pulled the home team back into a tie, on a PP, at 7:53 of the second period. . . . The Tigers scored the last three goals. . . . F Ryan Jevne (18) broke the tie at 11:30, with Rassell (48) adding insurance at 12:28. . . . F Josh Williams (8) got the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 1:15 of the third period. . . . D Dylan MacPherson had two assists for Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers were 1-1 on the PP; the Oil Kings were 1-4. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 34 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Oil Kings got 31 saves from G Boston Bilous. He started for the first time since Dec. 13. He played 7:18 on Sunday in his first appearance since recovering from mononucleosis. . . . The Tigers had D Kristians Rubins (wrist) back in the lineup after he hadn’t played since Feb. 3. Also back was F Hayden Ostir (hand), who last played on Dec. 9. . . . Medicine Hat still is without D Linus Nassen and D Joel Craven. . . . Announced attendance: 13,261.


At Prince Albert, F Curtis Miske had a goal and two assists to lead the Raiders to a 6-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Prince Albert (27-25-11) has won four in a row PrinceAlbertand now is tied with Saskatoon for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Should they end up tied for the last playoff spot, they would have to play a tiebreaker game. . . . Brandon (33-25-5) had won its previous two games. It is in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot, six points ahead of Saskatoon and Prince Albert. . . . The season series? Prince Albert is 3-2-1; Brandon is 3-3-0. . . . F Ty Lewis gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 14:39 of the first period. . . . The Raiders took a 2-1 lead before period’s end as F Kody McDonald (32) tied it at 16:36, and D Vojtech Budik (11) gave his guys the lead, on a PP, at 19:46. . . . F Cole Fonstad (19) upped the Raiders’ lead to two at 1:33 of the second period. . . . Lewis (36) pulled Brandon to within a goal, at 4:46, but it was all home team after that. . . . Miske (22) scored at 18:21, with F Jordy Stallard getting his 40th just 25 seconds into the third period and D Max Martin (6) completing the scoring at 9:09. . . . Fonstad and Budik each had an assist for the Raiders. . . . Prince Albert was 1-1 on the PP; Brandon was 0-2. . . . The Raiders got 21 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . Brandon G Logan Thompson made 36 saves. . . . Announced attendance: 1,861.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3. . . . Lethbridge (31-25-6) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central LethbridgeDivision, four points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Moose Jaw (46-13-3) had won its previous two games. It is tied with Swift Current atop the overall standings. The Warriors have two games in hand. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Kelti Jeri-Leon (8), at 2:12, and F Taylor Ross (18), at 8:29. . . . The Warriors got to within a goal when F Tristin Langan (15) scored at 19:13 of the second period. . . . Moose Jaw then took the lead with two quick third-period goals, from D Jett Woo (9), back from a three-game suspension, at 0:30, and F Justin Almeida (35), at 1:10. . . . All told, that was three goals in 1:57 for the visitors. . . . F Egor Zudilov (10), who also had an assist, tied it for Lethbridge at 11:56. . . . F Dylan Cozens got the winner, his 20th goal of the season, at 18:26. . . . The Warriors got two assists from D Josh Brook. . . . Lethbridge was 0-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . G Logan Flodell had a tremendous outing for the home team, finishing with 37 saves. . . . G Brody Willms stopped 16 shots for Moose Jaw. . . . Announced attendance: 4,255.


At Prince George, the Cougars erased a 1-0 deficit as they skated to a 4-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kelowna (38-19-6) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-PrinceGeorge1). It leads the B.C. Division, by seven points over Victoria. . . . Prince George (21-33-8) had lost three in a row. . . . Kelowna leads the season series, 5-2-0); Prince George is 2-3-2. . . . F Erik Gardiner (5) gave Kelowna a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:45 of the first period. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (14) tied it at 17:31. . . . The Cougars took control with three second-period goals — from D Austin Crossley (2), at 3:20; F Josh Maser (26), at 13:05; and D Joel Lakusta (7), on a PP, at 16:19. . . . The Cougars got two assists from each of F Brogan O’Brien and F Jared Bethune, and one from Lakusta. . . . Prince George was 1-3 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-4. . . . The Cougars got 20 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Kelowna started G Brodan Salmond, who was beaten four times on 16 shots in 36:19. James Porter came on to stop the two shots he faced in 23:51. . . . Kelowna held a 5-1 edge — yes, 5-1! — in third-period shots on goal. . . . The Rockets were without D Cal Foote, who served a one-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 2,273.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Ryan Hughes had five points and G Shane Farkas earned the shutout as the Portland Winterhawks blasted the Tri-City Americans, 9-0. . . . Portland Portland(38-20-4) has won three in a row. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind Everett and three up on Spokane. . . . Tri-City (32-22-8) had won three straight. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, five points ahead of Seattle. Tri-City is fourth in the U.S. Division, five points behind Spokane. . . . Portland now has a 7-2-0 edge in the season series; Tri-City is 2-6-1. . . . Hughes, who has 14 goals, scored twice and added three assists. His third point was the 100th of his career and came in his 177th game. . . . Hughes scored his first goal at 2:32 of the first period. . . . D Keoni Texeira, who got his 100th career assist during the game, made it 2-0 at 3:46 and the rout was on. . . . F Kieffer Bellows scored twice, giving him 34, with the other goals coming from F Joachim Blichfeld (21), D Brendan De Jong (3), F Cody Glass (30) and F Reece Newkirk (6). . . . Portland got two assists from each of D Conor MacEachern and Blichfeld, with Glass, Newkirk and Texeira adding one apiece. . . . Farkas, making his third straight start, stopped 37 shots in posting his second shutout. He is 3-0-0 while stopping 87 of 90 shots in those three starts. . . . The Americans opened with G Patrick Sea, who was beaten five times on 26 shots in 34:04. Beck Warm finished up, allowing four goals on 16 shots in 25:56. . . . Portland was 1-3 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-7. . . . The Winterhawks are 21-8-2 on the road. . . . Announced attendance: 2,611.


At Kent, Wash., F Zack Andrusiak scored three times, including once in OT, to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Seattle (29-24-9) had Seattlelost four in a row. It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points behind Tri-City and eight ahead of Kamloops. . . . Vancouver (32-21-9) is third in the B.C. Division, two points behind Victoria. . . . These teams played four times this season and all four games went to OT — each team finished 2-0-2. . . . The Thunderbirds trailed 4-1 halfway through the second period, then scored the game’s last four goals. . . . Andrusiak gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 2:22 of the first period. . . . F Tyler Popowich (7) tied the scored at 16:24. . . . The Giants then got three second-period goals — from F Tyler Benson (22), shorthanded, at 2:41; F Ty Ronning (54), on a PP, at 6:01; and F James Malm (18), at 6:55. . . . F Nikita Malukhin (5) started the Seattle comeback at 13:57. . . . Andrusiak got Seattle to within a goal, at 6:11 of the third period, and F Nolan Volcan (27) tied it at 18:53. . . . Andrusiak (27) won it on a PP — Vancouver D Matt Barberis was off for delay of game — at 0:34 of OT. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls had four assists, with Malukhin and Volcan each getting one. . . . Benson had an assist for Vancouver. . . . Seattle was 1-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-1. . . . The Thunderbirds got 24 saves from G Liam Hughes. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck turned aside 35 shots. . . . F Krz Plummer, who turned 16 on Feb. 13, made his WHL debut with the Giants. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Plummer has seven goals and 10 assists in 32 games with the Delta Hockey Academy prep team. . . . Announced attendance: 4,450.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Calgary at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Victoria at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Prince George, 7 p.m.


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