WHL’s War of the Words continues. . . . Blades skate back into series. . . . Oil Kings, Giants win in OT, go ahead 3-0

MacBeth

D Blake Orban (Vancouver, Edmonton, 2010-15) has signed a one-year contract with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with the U of Lethbridge (USports, Canada West), he had one goal and five assists in 25 games.


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OK. Let’s review . . .

Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders and one of eight men with more than 500 regular-season WHL victories, got his club’s second-round series with whlSaskatoon really going by accusing the Blades of doing more diving than members of the Saskatoon Diving Club.

Mitch Love, the Blades’ first-year head coach, waited until after the second game and, with his club trailing 2-0, suggested that the Raiders’ players dish out more headshots than competitors with the Prince Albert Boxing Club.

Love, though, went a step further and suggested that the WHL, a league whose pooh-bahs love to talk about the importance of player safety, has “turned a blind eye to that kind of thing . . .”

Love added that he had expressed his concerns to the WHL, but “it falls on deaf ears, and here we are.”

That brings us to Game 3, which was played Tuesday night in Saskatoon.

Prior to the game, it was Habscheid’s turn to fire a volley in the WHL’s latest War of the Words.

“This is all fun and games, but it comes to a bigger issue,” Habscheid told Trevor Redden of panow.com for a story that is right here. “The fact that he’s questioning the integrity of our league about player safety, that crosses the line. I did not think that was an appropriate comment.”

You will remember that it was Habscheid — aka Mark (The Entertainer) Habscheid — who started all this.

Yesterday, he told Redden that it’s all gamesmanship.

“That’s just a weak ploy to try to change the narrative,” Habscheid said. “He’ll probably start yelling at me from his bench, too, just to add to it . . . so whatever, we don’t care.”

For the record, Love wasn’t seen yelling at Habscheid as the Blades skated to a 1-0 victory last night.

——

With Habscheid and Love both having mentioned the importance of player safety, allow me to point out a thing or two.

The WHL issued a news release on March 28 announcing that F Sean Richards of the Seattle Thunderbirds had been suspended indefinitely.

Richards had taken a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a game the previous night.

In that news release, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was quoted thusly: “Player safety is the first priority for the WHL at all times.”

That quote was recycled last week when the WHL announced that Richards’ suspension had been set at eight games.

One on-line dictionary defines hypocrisy like this: “The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behaviour does not conform.”

A league that condones fighting simply cannot trumpet the importance of player safety.

A league that continues to hand out measly two-game suspensions for checking-from-behind fouls and headshots cannot trumpet the importance of player safety. It just can’t.

After D Jake Lee of the Thunderbirds drew a two-game suspension

for a hit from behind on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif in Game 1 of a first-round series, Giants head coach Michael Dyck told Steve Ewen of Postmedia:

“I played with Brad Hornung. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. It was the same type of play. The only thing that saved Justin Sourdif was the net. It’s a terrible play. He (Lee) is a young guy. But somebody has to teach him. All two games is … I don’t know.

“It’s one of the worst plays in hockey. It had nothing to do with making a play. It’s emotion. I understand that. But you have to learn.”

Dyck, as I mentioned here after he was fined $1,000 for his comments, is right. But is anyone listening?

The time has long since passed by for the WHL to ban fighting and to issue suspensions to those who choose to engage in fisticuffs.

And it’s time for the WHL to get serious about suspensions for headshots and checks from behind. No more of this two-game stuff. Let coaches and players know that such a foul means a player could sit for a month.

Yes, start with 10 games, and then the league can puff out its chest and tell people that player safety is a priority in the WHL.

And when it comes to the neanderthals who continue to insist that hockey needs fighting, well, . . .

Patti Dawn Swanson, aka The River City Renegade, blogged about ‘the code’ the other day:

“You hit me with a cheap shot — or hit me legally but too hard for my liking — and I now must knock your block off. If not me, one of my guard dogs will take care of business. Might not do it immediately. Might not do it that same night. Might have to wait a year. But someone is coming after you and you better not turn tail when challenged. You want the respect of friend, foe and fan? Only way is to ‘man up.’ That’s the ‘code.’

Well, the ‘code’ is stupid and so are hockey players for following it.”

She’s right and that piece is right here.


It seems that the Swift Current Broncos no longer have a radio rights holder.

Shawn Mullin, the Broncos’ play-by-play voice for the past nine seasons, indicated in a SCBroncosTuesday afternoon tweet that talks on a new agreement have broken down between the Broncos and The Eagle 94.1

“Despite what I believe were the best intentions on all sides,” Mullin tweeted, “the Broncos and the radio station have been unable to reach an agreement to continue our broadcasts.”

Mullin, who is from Ottawa, moved to Swift Current after four seasons as the radio voice of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters.

Regan Bartel, who calls the Kelowna Rockets’ games, and Jon Keen, the Kamloops Blazers’ broadcaster, both are former Swift Current play-by-play voices.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: There were three second-round games on Tuesday night, and there will be three more tonight. The difference is that there is one team facing elimination tonight. . . .

Last night, the Edmonton Oil Kings went into Calgary and beat the Hitmen, 2-1 in OT. That means the Oil Kings can move into the Eastern Conference final with a victory over the host Hitmen tonight. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Blades rode the goaltending of Nolan Maier to a 1-0 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. Still, the Raiders hold a 2-1 lead going into Game 4 in ’Toontown tonight. . . .

In Victoria, the Vancouver Giants beat the Royals, 5-4 in OT, and now lead that series, 3-0. Game 4 is scheduled for Victoria on Thursday night. . . .

The Everett Silvertips and Spokane Chiefs didn’t play last night. Their series resumes tonight in Spokane with the Chiefs holding a 2-0 lead. Remember that this series is following a 2-3-2 format because Cirque du Soleil is in Everett’s Angels of the Wind Arena through Sunday.

——

TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Nolan Maier stopped 26 shots to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 1-0 victory over the Saskatoonvisiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Saskatoon tonight. . . . The teams will be back in Prince Albert for Game 5 on Friday night. . . . This was only the second time the Raiders have been blanked this season and Maier has been the goaltender both times. On Dec. 9, he stopped 32 shots in a 1-0 victory in Saskatoon. F Tristen Robins scored the only goal, at 5:14 of the second period. . . . Last night, the game’s lone goal came from F Kirby Dach (5), who was able to fight off a check, reach into the crease and backhand a loose puck into the net at 4:21 of the first period. . . . The Raiders came within inches of equalizing in the dying seconds when F Sean Montgomery had a redirection go off the right post. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott also was stellar, with 26 saves. . . . Despite the ongoing verbiage from the head coaches, the game included only five minor penalties. The Blades were 0-2 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-1.


D Wyatt McLeod scored from the left point to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 2-1 victory EdmontonOilKingsover the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton holds a 3-0 lead in the series and gets its first chance to close it out tonight in Calgary. . . . F Zach Russell (1) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 7:57 of the second period. . . . The Oil Kings nursed that lead into the last three minutes of the third period when they were hit with back-to-back minor penalties. . . . Calgary scored on the ensuing 5-on-3 advantage, with F Mark Kastelic getting his sixth goal, at 18:53, to force OT. That goal came one second before the first minor was to expire. . . . McLeod won it with his second goal of these playoffs, at 2:46 of OT. Russell had the lone assist on the winner. . . . Calgary was 1-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-5. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Calgary was 38-19 on faceoffs, with Kastelic going 20-10. . . . G Dylan Myskiw blocked 24 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . The Hitmen got 27 saves from G Jack McNaughton. . . . The Hitmen had F Jake Kryski back in their lineup. He had been out since Jan. 11 with an undisclosed injury.


F Owen Hardy’s second goal of the night, this one in OT, gave the Vancouver Giants a 5-4 Vancouvervictory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . The Giants, with a 3-0 lead in the series, will have the opportunity to end it in Game 4 on Thursday in Victoria. . . . Last night, Vancouver went ahead 1-0 at 3:32 of the first period when F Jared Dmytriw, a former Royals skater, scored his second goal of the playoffs. . . .  The Royals responded with goals from F Sean Gulka (2), at 9:10, and F Igor Martynov (2), on a PP, at 19:31. . . . F Milos Roman (2) tied it for Vancouver, on a PP, at 3:44 of the second period. . . . D Mitchell Prowse (1) put Victoria back in front at 13:06 on the Royals’ first shot of the period. . . . That lead lasted until Hardy (1) scored 14 seconds into the third period. . . . The Royals went back out front at 10:15 on a goal from F Carson Miller (5). . . . The Giants forced OT when D Alex Kannok Leipert (2) scored at 15:40. . . . Hardy, who had nine goals in 64 regular-season games, won it with his second goal of the game — and of the playoffs — at 13:34 of OT. He’s from Nanaimo, so no doubt had some familiar faces in the crowd, too. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Victoria was 1-3. . . . Vancouver held a 28-9 edge in shots through two periods. An interested observer told Taking Note that “of the Royals’ nine shots, three have gone in and two were clearing attempts from their own end of the ice that hit the net.” . . . In the end, the count was 57-20, including 15-5 in OT. . . . Vancouver G Trent Miner stopped 16 shots, but the story was Victoria G Griffen Outhouse and his 52 stops. . . . In the three games, the Giants hold a 124-45 edge in shots, but are only ahead 10-5 in goals. . . . Vancouver won Game 2, 2-1 in OT. . . . The Giants were without F Aidan Barfoot, who was injured in the first round and has yet to play in this series. . . . D Ralph Jarratt, who didn’t finish Game 2, was among Victoria’s scratches. The Royals also were without F Tanner Sidaway for a third straight game, while F Kody McDonald served the fifth of a six-game suspension. As well, D Jake Kustra began serving a two-game suspension. . . . With their lineup depleted by injuries and suspensions, the Royals had two APs in the lineup — D Noah Lamb and F Alex Bolshakov. . . . On top of all that, the Royals may have lost F Phillip Schultz, who has two goals and seven assists in nine playoff games, with some sort of arm injury. About a minute before the game ended, Schultz went hard into the boards at the Vancouver bench. The gate was open and he hit an edge of the boards. Schultz dropped his gloves and stick and appeared to be in serious pain as he went to the dressing room.


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Thursday in WHL: Two indefinite suspensions, two $1,000 fines, two playoff games. . . . Will Glass return tonight?


MacBeth

D Michal Plutnar (Tri-City, 2011-14) signed a one-year contract with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had been assigned on loan by Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Karlovy Vary for this season. In 45 games, he had four goals and 10 assists.


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The WHL’s Department of Discipline came down on two players, a head coach and a general manager on Thursday, less than 24 hours after what was a wild Wednesday on the ice.

Before he was done, Kevin Acheson, a former referee who handles discipline for the DisciplineWHL, had handed out two indefinite suspensions and $2,000 in fines.

For starters, F Kody McDonald of the Victoria Royals has been suspended indefinitely after being hit with a match penalty for intent to injure during a 6-3 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops.

F Sean Richards of the Seattle Thunderbirds also has been suspended indefinitely after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct during a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Kent, Wash.

Michael Dyck, the Giants’ head coach, was fined $1,000 “for public comments” that he made to Steve Ewen of Postmedia for a story that he wrote on Wednesday.

Finally, Alan Millar, the general manager of the Moose Jaw Warriors, was fined $1,000 “for actions following” a 3-2 loss to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Tuesday.

The WHL went so far as to issue news releases related to the suspensions of McDonald and Richards, although each one was only four paragraphs in length and contained minimal information.

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was quoted in the McDonald news release: “The WHL takes incidents of this nature very seriously. Actions of this kind are unacceptable to the WHL. The WHL Director, Player Safety is undergoing a complete review of the incident at this time.”

And here is Robison in the Richards news release: “Player safety is the first priority for the WHL at all times. The WHL will continue to take a strong position in dealing with checking-from-behind penalties and players classified as repeat offenders. As Sean Richards has been suspended previously, the WHL Director, Player Safety is undergoing a complete review of this latest incident at this time.”

——

If you missed it, McDonald was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at 5:34 of the third period of Wednesday’s game with the teams tied, 3-3. As he skated to the penalty box, he kept trying to show the officials that he was bleeding from the mouth area.

After the Royals killed the penalty, McDonald returned to the players’ bench. He was standing at one end when, apparently riled by chatter of some kind coming from Kamloops F Zane Franklin, McDonald swung his stick a couple of times at the Blazers bench. He appeared to connect once with Franklin’s helmet, and also struck Kamloops trainer Colin (Toledo) Robinson, whose glasses were damaged.

McDonald was quickly escorted from the ice surface. Franklin was given an unsportsmanlike minor. The Blazers scored on the 4-on-4 and again on the PP, jumping out front 5-3. They would win the game, 6-3, and the series now is tied, 2-2. They’ll play Game 5 in Victoria on Saturday, then return to Kamloops for Game 6 on Monday.

There may be more to the McDonald story, too.

Blazers broadcaster Jon Keen tweeted Thursday morning that McDonald was “involved in incident with vendor staff under the stands while coming off the ice. I couple of high school students taking the garbage out from concessions. Security intervening. Report filed.”

Meanwhile, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week reported: “Kamloops brass is looking into an alleged fracas that took place while the Victoria forward was making his way to the dressing room, with security guards allegedly involved. Security would have to report the incident to the WHL to spark a league investigation, according to a Blazers’ source.”

McDonald, 20, won’t play again in the series with the Blazers, and that will be a tough blow for the Royals, who will miss his scoring — he put up three goals in the four games — and his experience.

This is the second time this season that the Blazers have been involved in a situation that seemed to involve taunting. On Feb. 2, in a game in Kelowna, Rockets F Conner Bruggen-Cate appeared to say something that set off Blazers D Montana Onyebuchi. No one from either of the teams or the league has stated publicly what happened, but each of the players was given a two-game suspension.

——

As for Richards, he was penalized at 4:16 of the first period for a hit on Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot, who left the game and didn’t return.

Barfoot isn’t likely to play tonight when the teams play Game 5 in Langley, B.C. The series is tied 2-2 after Seattle overcame a 3-0 deficit for a 4-3 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday.

Richards, 20, is a repeat offender, having been suspended twice earlier in the season, once for eight games and the other time for five, while with the Everett Silvertips.

——

Dyck’s comments came in a story written by Ewen about the return of Seattle D Jake Lee Vancouverto the Thunderbirds’ lineup after he had served a two-game suspension. He was suspended after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on F Justin Sourdif with six seconds left in the Giants’ 7-1 victory in Game 1.

Sourdif, an offensive threat, hasn’t played since and isn’t expected to be in the lineup tonight for Game 5.

Dyck, who felt Lee should have received more than two games, was a defenceman with the Regina Pats in 1986-87 when F Brad Hornung was left a quadriplegic after being hit from behind.

“I played with Brad Hornung. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it,” Dyck told Ewen. “It was the same type of play. The only thing that saved Justin Sourdif was the net. It’s a terrible play. He (Lee) is a young guy. But somebody has to teach him. All two games is … I don’t know.

“It’s one of the worst plays in hockey. It had nothing to do with making a play. It’s emotion. I understand that. But you have to learn.”

You should know that Dyck is absolutely correct. I covered the game in which Hornung was injured and later wrote extensively about the aftermath. With some of the hits in danger areas that I witness, and the way in which those who manage the game at this level have allowed cross-checking to creep back into the game, I fear that what Dyck calls “one of the worst plays in hockey” is going to bring with it devastating consequences one of these games.

——

As for Millar’s fine, perhaps he had something to say about the officiating, or to the officials, after the Warriors’ 3-2 series-ending loss. The Blades won that game when F Max Gerlach broke a 2-2 tie at 15:39 of the third period.

That goal came on a 5-on-3 PP after the Warriors were hit with two delay-of-game minors in 32 seconds.

——


The Portland Winterhawks will be facing elimination when they meet the Chiefs in PortlandSpokane on Saturday night. After splitting the first two games in Spokane, the teams played Tuesday and Wednesday in Portland with the Chiefs winning twice in OT — 5-4 and 4-3. . . . Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach, told Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune that “we played really well” in Game 4. . . . Johnston added: “All we have to do is play the same the next game. We’re going to be fine in the series. We win in Spokane, then we come back here (for Game 6) on Monday. (The Chiefs) don’t want to come back here. As the series has gone along, our team has gotten better every game.” . . . Johnston also told Eggers that “we expect Cody (Glass) to be able to play on Saturday.” . . . Glass, who will turn 20 on Monday, was limited to 38 games this season, thanks to knee woes and a stint with Canada’s national junior team. But he did big damage in those games, putting up 15 goals and 54 assists. . . . The Vegas Golden Knights selected him sixth overall in the NHL’s 2017 draft. Eggers reports the Golden Knights’ medical staff has cleared Glass to play, as have Portland’s medical people. . . . As Johnston said, “He’s the best player in the league. It’s huge to have him back. If we get that game and get momentum back on our side, that’s all we need.” . . . Of course, this being the WHL playoffs you have to remember that you can’t believe 90 per cent of what you hear or read about injuries, and you have to take the other 10 per cent with a huge grain of salt.

Eggers’ complete story is right here.

And if you haven’t read his new book, you should. It is titled Jail Blazers: How the Portland Trail Blazers Became the Bad Boys of Basketball.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: There were two games on Thursday night. . . . The Calgary Hitmen beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-2, to even that series, 2-2. They’ll play Game 5 in Lethbridge’s Nicholas Sheran Arena on Saturday because the world men’s curling championship is in the Enmax Centre. The Hurricanes’ temporary home has 968 seats and room for 200 standees. . . . Game 6 will be played in Calgary on Sunday. . . .

Also last night, the Everett Silvertips beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-0, in Kennewick, Wash., to take a 3-1 lead. They will play Game 5 in Everett on Saturday. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades, who have advanced to the second round, will open their series with games in Prince Albert on April 5 and 7. . . .

The Vancouver Giants and Seattle Thunderbirds are 2-2 as they go into Game 5 tonight in Langley, B.C. . . . Neither F Aidan Barfoot nor F Justin Sourdif practised with the Giants on Thursday. Sourdif hasn’t played since being cross-checked by Seattle D Jake Lee in Game 1. Barfoot left Game 4 following a hit by Seattle F Sean Richards. Lee has returned from a two-game suspension; Richards has been suspended indefinitely. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly will complete a two-game suspension by sitting again tonight. It seems that while in the penalty box during Game 3, he made a throat-slash gesture in the direction of Vancouver D Bowen Byram. . . .

The only other game tonight will have the Medicine Hat Tigers in Edmonton to face the Oil Kings. That series is tied, 2-2. . . . Game 6 is scheduled for Medicine Hat on Sunday.

——

THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Calgary Hitmen broke a 2-2 tie with three third-period goals en route to a 5-2 victory Calgaryover the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 set for Lethbridge on Saturday. . . . The Hitmen took a 1-0 lead at 3:28 of the first period on a goal by F Riley Stotts (1). . . . Lethbridge F Jake Elmer (1) tied it at 1:36 of the second period. . . . Calgary took a 2-1 lead when F James Malm (1) scored at 8:53, only to have F Logan Barlage (1) tie it, on a PP, at 12:42. . . . Calgary F Josh Prokop (2) broke the tie at 1:44 of the third period, and D Vladislav Yeryomenko (1) added insurance, on a PP, at 5:04. . . . F Luke Coleman (2) added an empty-netter at 17:45. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from F Ryder Korczak, with Stotts adding two to his goal. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-5. . . . G Jack McNaughton earned the victory with 37 saves, seven more than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . Calgary was without F Mark Kastelic, its captain, for a second straight game. He is in concussion protocol. . . . Calgary also is without F Jake Kryski, 20, who last played on Jan. 11.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 24 shots to help the Everett Silvertips to a 3-0 victory over the Tri-EverettCity Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . The Silvertips lead the series, 3-1, and get their first opportunity to wrap it up at home on Saturday. . . . Last night, the Silvertips scored once in each period. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (2) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 12:34 of the first period. . . . F Max Patterson (2) made it 2-0 at 7:56 of the second. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (2) got the empty-netter at 19:19 of the third. . . . Everett was 1-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-2. . . . Wolf posted his first playoff shutout. He has 11 career regular-season shutouts, seven of them this season. . . . The Americans got 35 stops from G Beck Warm.


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Having been born and raised in northern Manitoba, this tugs at the feelies . . .

WHL’s Dept. of Discipline busy place. . . . Raiders, Blades complete sweeps. . . . Things get nasty in Blazers’ victory


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Things heated up on the WHL playoff front on Wednesday as the Department of Discipline suspended two players under supplemental discipline.

When the Victoria Royals and host Kamloops Blazers met in Game 4 of their series last whlnight, each team was missing one player after a hit in Game 3. Victoria won the game, 3-2, to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

F Brodi Stuart of the Blazers was suspended for one game after the Royals requested supplemental discipline for his unpenalized hit on D Matt Smith at 14:45 of the second period. Smith, who was back in the lineup after missing 10 games with an undisclosed injury, didn’t return and was scratched from Game 4.

At the time of the check, it was evident that the Royals felt the hit involved a high elbow. At the Victoria bench, head coach Dan Price could be seen indicating to referee Sean Raphael that an elbow was involved and that the referee should “watch the replay.”

The Blazers, of course, felt otherwise.

This was the second time this season that the Royals asked for supplemental discipline. In the first instance, the Blazers also were involved after D Jeff Faith hit Royals D Remy Aquilon during a game in Victoria on Jan. 9. The league reviewed it, found it to be a headshot, and suspended Faith for five games. Aquilon missed 11 games, not returning until Feb. 5.

F Kobe Mohr of the Blazers was suspended for two games after Game 1 of this series for slashing a linesman following a faceoff. Mohr was quoted as saying that the Royals had filed for supplemental discipline in that instance, too, but that turned out not to be true. The league handled that situation on its own.

Cam Hope, who is in his seventh season as the Royals’  general manager, told Taking Note on Wednesday afternoon that other than the two requests for supplemental this season, he “can’t even recall the last time we made a request. Maybe one other in the last five years?”

As Hope put it: “With big hitters like Tyler Stahl and Ryan Gagnon (in our lineup), most of my calls with the league have been from the other side.”

——

Meanwhile, the WHL’s Dept. of Discipline had to deal with another review after the Vancouver Giants requested supplemental discipline following an incident in Game 3 of their series with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The Giants won that game, 6-4, in Kent, Wash., to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Seattle D Cade McNelly came out of it with a two-game suspension “under supplemental discipline and repeat offender,” according to the WHL.

Observers seemed to be at a loss for what McNelly might have done, although Steve Ewen of Postmedia indicated via Twitter that the Seattle player “did have some sort of exchange with (Vancouver defenceman) Bowen Byram from the penalty box.”

This is the fourth time this season that McNelly has been suspended.

McNelly was suspended for four games after taking a headshot major and game misconduct during a game against the Silvertips in Everett on Feb. 22. He also was hit with a three-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in a game against the Winterhawks in Portland on Dec. 31. There also was a three-game suspension for a one-man fight in a game at Portland on Sept. 29.

——

Following Wednesday night’s playoff games, the Department of Discipline will have a couple of situations to deal with before Friday evening.

The Seattle Thunderbirds likely will be subjected to more discipline before Friday’s Game 5 against the Vancouver Giants after F Sean Richards took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 4:16 of the first period for a hit on F Aidan Barfoot.

Seattle won Game 4, 4-3, in Kent, Wash., to tie the series, 2-2. They’ll play Game 5 in Langley, B.C., on Friday.

The Thunderbirds acquired Richards, 20, from the Everett Silvertips in January. He already has been suspended five times in his WHL career, including twice this season, each time for an infraction against Seattle. He got eight games for a boarding major and game misconduct on Dec. 8, and five games for a headshot major and game misconduct on Oct. 5.

Meanwhile, F Kody McDonald of the Victoria Royals almost certainly will be suspended after being hit with a match penalty for attempt to injure

McDonald had been given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor at 5:34 of the third period. As he skated to the penalty box, he was most unhappy and kept showing the officials that he was bleeding from the mouth area.

The Royals killed the penalty but, at 7:58, McDonald, while on the Victoria bench, swung his stick at the head of F Zane Franklin while the Kamloops player was on his bench. McDonald was given the match penalty, while Franklin was handed an unsportsmanlike minor.

The Blazers scored on the ensuing 4-on-4 situation and then added a PP goal to snap a 3-3 tie. They ended up with a 5-3 victory to tie the series, 2-2.

McDonald was last suspended during the 2017-18 season while with the Prince George Cougars. He got three games for being involved in a one-man fight in a game against host Vancouver. The Cougars later traded him to the Prince Albert Raiders. The Royals acquired him in a deal with the Raiders on Jan. 3.


The Seattle Thunderbirds welcomed back D Jake Lee for Game 4 of their series with the Vancouver Giants last night. He served a two-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct with six seconds left Vancouver’s 7-1 victory in Game 1. That was for a hit on Vancouver F Justin Sourdif, who has yet to return to action.

Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck isn’t at all please with the two-game suspension or Lee’s return.

“I played with Brad Hornung. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it,” Dyck told Steve Ewen of Postmedia. “It was the same type of play. The only thing that saved Justin Sourdif was the net. It’s a terrible play. He (Lee) is a young guy. But somebody has to teach him. All two games is … I don’t know.

“It’s one of the worst plays in hockey. It had nothing to do with making a play. It’s emotion. I understand that. But you have to learn.”

Dyck was a defenceman with the Regina Pats on March 1, 1987, when Hornung, a teammate, was hit from behind and left a quadriplegic.

Ewen’s complete story is right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: There were seven games again last night, with only two scheduled for tonight. . . . The Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans, who played last night after sitting out Tuesday, will play Game 4 in Kennewick, Wash., tonight, while the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Hitmen will do the same in Calgary. . . . Everett leads its series, 2-1, while Lethbridge also is ahead, 2-1. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades both completed season sweeps last night. The Raiders ousted the Red Deer Rebels, while the Blades were taking care of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The second round will feature, yes, Saskatoon against Prince Albert. It will be the first time since 2011 that these teams have met in the playoffs. That spring, the Blades won a first-round series in six games. That was Saskatoon’s last series victory prior to ousting Moose Jaw last night. . . . The Raiders and Blades are expected to open in Prince Albert on April 5 and 6, then return to Saskatoon for games on April 9 and 10.

——

WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Leason returned from a one-game suspension to score twice and lead the Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 4-1 victory over the host Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders won the series, 4-0, giving the organization its first series sweep and series victory since the spring of 2005. That year, the Raiders swept the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round series, then beat the Medicine Hat Tigers in six, before losing in seven to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference final. . . . The Rebels were swept for the first time since losing to the Blades in 2010. . . . Last night, F Jeff de Wit gave the Rebels their first lead of the series when he scored with 9.7 seconds in the first period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (3) tied it at 9:08 of the second period and Leason (1) gave his guys the lead 58 seconds into the third period. . . . Leason (2) added a PP goal at 11:27, and F Cole Fonstad (1), who also had two assists, got the empty-netter at 16:26. . . . F Brandon Hagel drew an assist on Red Deer’s goal, meaning he was in on six of the seven goals the Rebels scored in the four games. . . . Prince Albert was 1-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . The Raiders got 21 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . G Ethan Anders topped 31 shots for Red Deer.


F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen scored at 4:36 of OT to give the Saskatoon Blades a 4-3 Saskatoonvictory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Saskatoon won the series, 4-0. . . . This was the first time the Blazers have swept a series since the spring of 2010 when they took out the Red Deer Rebels. . . . F Max Gerlach (5) put the Blades on top at 7:37 of the first period. . . . The Warriors took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Luke Ormsby (1), at 18:03, and D Matthew Benson (1), at 2:06 of the second period. . . . F Tristen Robins (1) tied it at 9:40. . . . The Blades took a 3-2 lead when F Kirby Dach (3) scored, shorthanded, at 15:35 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw forced OT when F Tristin Langan (1) scored, shorthanded, at 17:43. . . . Roykas Marthinsen won it with his first playoff goal. A freshman from Norway, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in 62 regular-season games. . . . Gerlach has goals in seven straight games. . . . Saskatoon was 0-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-3. . . . The Blades got 23 stops from G Nolan Maier, while Moose Jaw G Adam Evanoff blocked 44 shots. . . . F Yegor Buyalski was among the Warriors’ scratches. According to a tweet from Marc Smith (@MarcSmith18), Buyalski was out “after taking a high hit” in Game 3.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s last five goals, two of them by F Vince EdmontonOilKingsLoschiavo, to beat the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-1. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 scheduled to be played in Edmonton on Friday night. Game 6 is in Medicine on Sunday. . . . F Ryan Jevne (1) gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:34 of the first period. . . . Edmonton F Quinn Benjafield (2) tied it, on a PP, at 15:32, and F Andrew Fyten (1) put the visitors out front at 16:45. . . . Loschiavo (2) upped the lead to 3-1 at 17:28. . . . Loschiavo (3), who also had an assist, added his second goal at 7:31 of the third period, and D Matthew Robertson (1) closed it out at 11:19. . . . Edmonton was 2-5 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-5. . . . The Oil Kings held a 36-15 edge in shots, including 14-5 in the first period and 13-5 in the third. . . . Edmonton got 14 saves from G Todd Scott, while Medicine Hat’s Mads Søgaard turned aside 31 shots. . . . The Oil Kings had F Dylan Guenther, the first overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, make his playoff debut. He played eight games with them during the regular season, scoring three times and adding an assist. In 28 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, he had 32 goals and 26 assists.


F Parker AuCoin’s OT goal gave the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Everett tri-citySilvertips in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Everett leads the series, 2-1. They’ll play Game 4 tonight in Kennewick, with Game 5 in Everett on Saturday. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (3) gave Everett a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:35 of the first period. He has scored in each game of this series and in five straight overall. . . . D Samuel Stewart (1) got Tri-City even, on a PP, at 16:54 of the second period. . . . Everett went back out front at 19:51 as F Bryce Kindopp (1) scored, on a PP. . . . Tri-City F Nolan Yaremko (3) forced OT when he scored at 2:16 of the third period. . . . AuCoin’s first goal of the playoffs won it, on a PP, at 7:52 of extra time. . . . Tri-City was 2-3 on the PP; Everett was 2-5. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 39 shots for the Americans, 11 more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips had F Connor Dewar back in their lineup after he missed Game 2. . . . D Marc Lajoie made his debut with the Americans. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he was the 14th-overall selection in the 2018 bantam draft. He also is the son of Kamloops Blazers head coach Serge Lajoie. This season, in 35 games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, Marc had 11 goals and 24 assists.


The Seattle Thunderbirds, losing 3-0 early in the second period, scored four times and Seattlebeat the Vancouver Giants, 4-3, in Kent, Wash. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 scheduled for Friday night in Langley, B.C. They’ll be back in Kent for Game 6 on Saturday. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (3) got Vancouver into a 1-0 lead at 10:33 of the first period, and F Brayden Watts (2) made it 2-0 at 17:00. . . . The Giants took a 3-0 lead when F Davis Koch (1) scored at 2:19 of the second period. . . . Seattle F Keltie Jeri-Leon (1) started the comeback, on a PP, at 5:18 of the second period. . . . The Thunderbirds won it with third-period goals from F Noah Philp (1), at 7:11; F Andrej Kukuca (3), on a PP, at 11:13; and F Matthew Wedman (2), at 15:46. . . . Seattle was 2-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . The Thunderbirds got 26 saves from G Roddy Ross. . . . Giants G David Tendeck stopped 30 shots. . . . Seattle F Sean Richards took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver F Aidan Barefoot at 4:16 of the first period. . . . Seattle D Jake Lee returned after serving a two-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct in Game 1. F Justin Sourdif, who absorbed that hit, has yet to return to action.


F Adam Beckman scored a PP goal in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the SpokaneChiefsWinterhawks in Portland. . . . The Chiefs hold a 3-1 lead in the series with Game 5 set for Saturday night in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead when D Ty Smith (1) scored 31 seconds into the first period. . . . Portland came back with the next three goals — from D Brendan De Jong (1), at 9:51; F Josh Paterson (3), at 18:30; and Paterson (4), again, at 7:46 of the second period. . . . Spokane got third-period goals from F Luke Toporowski (2), at 3:25, and F Eli Zummack (1), at 19:00. . . . Beckman (3) won it at 4:39 of OT. . . . Spokane was 1-3 on the PP. The Winterhawks didn’t get even one PP opportunity. . . . G Bailey Brkin earned the victory with 35 saves, two more than Portland’s Joel Hofer. . . . Spokane, which had the No. 1 PP in the regular season, is 5-for-9 with the man advantage in this series. . . . No, F Cody Glass (knee) wasn’t in Portland’s lineup.


The Kamloops Blazers broke a 3-3 tie with three third-period goals to beat the visiting Kamloops1Victoria Royals, 6-3, in a game that was highly emotional with a whole lot of nastiness. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with Game Game 5 in Victoria on Saturday night. . . . They’ll return to Kamloops for Game 6 on Monday night. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (3) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead with a 45-footer at 6:52 of the first period. . . . Two goals from F Dino Kambeitz gave the Royals a 2-1 lead. The first one came shorthanded when two Blazers bumped a bit as they chased a soft dump-in and G Dylan Ferguson fell down as he left the crease to chase the puck. F Tarun Fizer got their first and slid the puck to Kambeitz for the two-foot tap-in at 10:37. . . . At 13:48, the Royals, on the PP, were able to take advantage of a poor Kamloops change to get another Kambeitz goal, his fourth of the series. . . . The Blazers tied it with 20.5 seconds left in the period, as F Connor Zary (2) scored off a rebound from a blocked shot on a 4-on-3 PP. . . . F Zane Franklin (1) gave the Blazers a 3-2 lead at 8:11 of the second period, only to have Victoria tie it on a bad-angle goal by F Igor Martynov (1) at 15:09. . . . The game turned early in the third period as Victoria F Kody McDonald was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct at 5:34. The Royals killed the penalty, only to have McDonald take a match penalty for attempt to injure at 7:58. Franklin was given an unsportsmanlike minor on the play. . . . At 8:19, with the teams playing 4-on-4, Zary gave the Blazers a 4-3 lead with his third goal in two games. . . . Kamloops D Luke Zazula (1), who also had two assists, added a PP goal at 10:52, and F Martin Lang (1) iced it, with another PP goal, at 15:11. . . . Kamloops was 3-6 on the PP; Victoria was 1-6. . . . The Blazers got 15 stops from G Dylan Ferguson, while G Griffen Outhouse blocked 41 shots for the Royals. . . . Kamloops held a 17-5 edge in shots in the first period and 20-2 in the third. . . . Blazers F Kobe Mohr returned after serving a two-game suspension.


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Two more WHL teams introduce new head coaches . . . Dyck, Struch take reins . . . At least eight clubs make change

MacBeth

F Parker Bowles (Tri-City, 2011-16) signed a one-year contract with Lillehammer (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, with the Tilburg Trappers (Netherlands, Germany Oberliga), he had 29 goals and 37 assists in 44 games. He led the Trappers in goals and points. . . .

F Colin Smith (Kamloops, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL). Last season, he had five goals and 13 assists in 35 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL), and four goals and 13 assists in 24 games with the Stockton Heat (AHL). . . .

F Brendan Ranford (Kamloops, 2007-13) signed a one-year contract with Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the San Antonio Rampage (AHL), he had four goals and 15 assists in 57 games.


ThisThat

I was going to write something about the CHL’s 2018 import draft, but it would only be repeating what already is out there. So I’m watching the Angels and Red Sox instead. . . . Each of the WHL teams that took part issued a news release, and there is a pick-by-pick look on the WHL website.


The Vancouver Giants introduced Michael Dyck as their new head coach on Thursday. VancouverDyck replaces Jason McKee, who was fired by incoming general manager Barclay Parneta on June 15. . . . McKee had been the head coach for two seasons. . . . Deck, 49, is familiar with the Giants organization. He was an assistant coach for three seasons (2002-05), then scouted for them and worked as their director of player development (2010-12). His coaching career includes four seasons (2006-09) as head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . He also has coached with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . He has been coaching minor hockey in Lethbridge of late. Last season, he took the midget AAA Hurricanes to a league championship. In 2015-16, he coached the bantam AAA Golden Hawks, including Giants D Bowen Byram, to a league title. . . . A defenceman in his playing days, he skated for the Calgary Wranglers, Brandon Wheat Kings and Regina Pats during a four-season (1985-89) career. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more right here.

——

As expected, the Regina Pats have promoted Dave Struch to head coach, with John PatsPaddock moving away from the coaching game to focus on being the club’s general manager. Struch, who has been with the Pats through four seasons, had been the assistant GM and assistant coach. Now he has assistant GM and head coach. . . . When the Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group purchased the Pats in 2014, Struch was a finalist for the coaching job that went to Paddock. . . . Brad Herauf will remain on staff as Struch’s lead assistant coach. . . . Paddock, Struch and Herauf signed four-year extensions in January. . . . Struch joined the Pats after eight seasons with the Saskatoon Blades, the last one as head coach. He was fired following the 2013-14 season when he got caught up in an ownership change. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.


If nothing changes between now and late August when training camps open, eight of the WHL’s 22 teams will have different head coaches from the end of last season.

The Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans are the teams without head coaches at the moment.

The Hitmen are looking for a replacement for Dallas Ferguson, who cited family reasons in resigning earlier this week after one season there.

Mike Williamson, the fifth-winningest regular-season coach in WHL history, left the Americans after four seasons.

The Vancouver Giants and Regina Pats named new head coaches on Thursday.

Prior to that, the Edmonton Oil Kings (Brad Lauer), Kamloops Blazers (Serge Lajoie), Saskatoon Blades (Mitch Love) and Swift Current Broncos (Dean Brockman) all named new head coaches.


Mark LeRose, a former Everett Silvertips assistant coach, is a free agent after choosing not to re-sign as the general manager of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. . . . LeRose, 48, spent two seasons (2007-09) with the Silvertips, then returned to them for 2013-14. . . . He has been the Musketeers’ general manager for the past four seasons. . . . In a DM to Taking Note on Thursday, he wrote: “I did not re-sign as the general manager of the Sioux City Musketeers. I am officially a hockey GM/coach/scout free agent.”


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Giants set to name head coach . . . Brockman signs on as Broncos’ tamer . . . Oil Kings add Hill, Lauer to front office

MacBeth

Glen Hanlon (Brandon, 1974-77) signed a one-year plus option year contract as head coach of DVTK Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This is the club’s first season playing in Slovakia’s Extraliga. Hanlon was GM of the Vancouver Giants the past two seasons.


ThisThat

The Vancouver Giants are expected to introduce Michael Dyck as their newest head Vancouvercoach today. Dyck, 49, will take over from Jason McKee, who was fired by incoming general manager Barclay Parneta on June 15. At the time, Parent said he wanted a head coach “I’m more familiar with.” . . . In 2002-03, Parneta was scouting for the Giants, while Dyck was an assistant coach. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on the story right here.


Dean Brockman was introduced Wednesday as the Swift Current Broncos’ director of SCBroncoshockey operations and head coach. Brockman takes over from Manny Viveiros, who guided the Broncos to the WHL championship in May, in his second season in Swift Current, then joined the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers as an assistant coach. . . . Brockman spent the past four seasons with the Saskatoon Blades, the last two as head coach. He was fired when the 2017-18 season ended. Before joining the Blades, Brockman spent 17 seasons with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He is a four-time winner of the SJHL’s coach-of-the-year award.


After being away for 11 seasons, Brad Lauer is returning to the WHL, this time as the EdmontonOilKingshead coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings. His signing was announced on Wednesday. Lauer replaces Steve Hamilton, who was fired on May 28. Hamilton had been on the Edmonton coaching staff for eight seasons, the last eight as head coach. . . . Lauer, 51, is a former WHL player and coach. He played three seasons (1983-86) for the Regina Pats, before going on to a pro career that ended after the 2001-02 season. His NHL career comprised 323 regular-season and 34 playoff games. . . . He spent five seasons (2002-07) as an assistant coach with the Kootenay Ice and has NHL coaching experience with the Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning. For the past three seasons, he was an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . Derek Van Diest of Postmedia has more on the Lauer hiring right here.

The Oil Kings also introduced Kirt Hill, 30, as their president of hockey operations and general manager. He takes over from Randy Hansch after he and the Oil Kings parted company. . . . Terry Jones of Postmedia has more on the Hill hiring and the state of the Oil Kings right here.


Importdraft

The CHL’s 2018 import draft is scheduled to be held today (Thursday), starting at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT). The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs hold the first pick, followed, in order, by the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings and the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves.

As of late Wednesdsay night, 52 of the 60 CHL teams were poised to pick in the first round, with 27 of them to take part in the second round.

The CHL finally made official on Wednesday what has been widely reported for weeks now. According to a news release: “For the first time since 2013, goaltenders will be eligible for selection in the CHL import draft, in addition to forwards and defencemen.”

Here’s a look at the 22 WHL teams and their import situation . . .

Brandon Wheat Kings — They have released Czech D Daniel Bukac, 19, freeing them to make two selections. The Wheat Kings also hold the CHL rights to Czech F Martin Kaut, who was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. Because he was a first-round pick, the Wheat Kings are allowed to make that second pick in the import draft.

Calgary Hitmen — D Vladislav Yeryomenko (Belarus) and D Egor Zamula (Russia) both will be back, so the Hitmen will sit out the import draft.

Edmonton Oil Kings — F Andrei Pavlenko (Belarus) is returning, while F Tomas Soustal (Czech Republic) has completed his junior eligibility. The Oil Kings will make one selection.

Everett Silvertips — With F Martin Fasko-Rudas (Slovakia) returning, the Silvertips have room for one import. D Ondrej Vala (Czech Republic), who finished with Everett last season, is 20 and is expected to play in the Dallas Stars’ organization.

Kamloops Blazers — They traded Vala to Everett in January and have released F Justin Sigrist (Switzerland), so are expected to pick twice.

Kelowna Rockets — They are bringing back D Libor Zabransky, but have released F Marek Skvrne, so they will make one selection. Both players are from Czech Republic.

Kootenay Ice — With F Martin Bodak (Slovakia) unsure whether he will return, the Ice is expected to make one selection as it looks for an import to join F Gillian Kohler (Switzerland). Bodak, 20, would be a two-spotter should he return, so there’s that, too.

Lethbridge Hurricanes — D Igor Merezhko (Ukraine) is 20, so would be a two-spotter were the Hurricanes to keep him. They have released F Yegor Zudilov (Russia), so will make two selections.

Medicine Hat Tigers — D Linus Nassen (Sweden) is preparing for his 20-year-old season, but would be a two-spotter. D Kristians Rubins (Latvia) was a two-spotter last season so has aged out. The Tigers are expected to pick twice.

Moose Jaw Warriors — They had two Russians last season — D Oleg Sosunov and D Dmitri Zaitsev — both of whom now are 20. Neither is expected back and the Warriors are expected to make two selections.

Portland Winterhawks — F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark) is 20 and should play in the San Jose Sharks organization. D Henri Jokiharju (Finland), 19, was a first-round selection by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2016 NHL draft. The Winterhawks, then, will be making two selections.

Prince Albert Raiders — They will make one selection. D Sergei Sapego (Belarus) will be back, but D Vojtech Budik (Czech Republic) is 20 and won’t be returning.

Prince George Cougars — F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (Belarus) is expected back for his sophomore season, so the Cougars are preparing to make one selection. F Pavel Azhgirei (Belarus) won’t return.

Red Deer Rebels — F Kristian Reichel (Czech Republic) is 20 and his future is up in the air, while D Alex Alexeyev (Russia) will be back after being a first-round selection by the Washington Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. Because of the situation, the Rebels are eligible to make two picks.

Regina Pats — D Libor Hajek (Czech Republic), 20, should play in the New York Rangers organization, while F Emil Oksanen (Finland), 20, has signed to play at home. The Pats are planning on making two selections.

Saskatoon Blades — D Mark Rubinchik (Russia) has signed to play with a KHL team, leaving the Blades to make a pair of picks.

Seattle Thunderbirds — They also will make two selections, having released F Nikita Malukhin (Russia) and with F Sami Moilanen having signed with a pro team in Finland.

Spokane Chiefs — They will select once, having chosen to release Slovakian F Milos Fafrak, who will turn 19 on July 8. Spokane’s other import is Czech D Filip Kral, who will turn 19 on Oct. 20.

Swift Current Broncos — D Artyom Minulin (Russia), 20, will be a two-spotter should they bring him back, while F Aleksi Heponiemi (Finland) has signed to play at home. Thus, the Broncos are expected to make two picks.

Tri-City Americans — They’ll make one selection as they try to find an import to join D Roman Kalinichenko (Russia), who returns for a second season. D Juuso Valimaki (Finland) turns 20 on Oct. 6, but should be in the Calgary Flames organization.

Vancouver Giants — They’ll pass as they plan on going with F Milos Roman (Slovakia) and F Yannik Valenti (Germany), a 2017 import draft pick who signed with them on March 9.

Victoria Royals — The Royals have F Igor Martynov coming back, while they have released F Andrei Grishakov (Russia). Therefore, they will make one selection.


Work is underway at Mosaic Place, the home of the Moose Jaw Warriors, to upgrade the MooseJawWarriorsboards and glass. The Warriors announced Wednesday that they will share the $446,313 cost with the DFFH (Downtown Facility and Field House). . . . “This new CrystalPlex dasher board system is in the best interest of player safety and will benefit not only our WHL players, but all users of the facility,” Alan Millar, the Warriors’ general manager, said in a news release. . . . The upgrades are scheduled to be finished in time for the 2018-19 season.


The Portland Winterhawks are looking for a new broadcast team after announcing PortlandWednesday that Evan Richardson, their play-by-play voice, and analyst Andy Kemper have stepped aside, both of them citing a desire to spend more time with family. . . . Richardson spent one season calling Winterhawks’ games. He has decided to return to his hometown of Toronto. . . . Kemper began his broadcasting career in 2004, alongside the legendary Dean (Scooter) Vrooman. He will continue to be part of the Winterhawks organization as the team historian.


G Connor Ingram, who played with the Kamloops Blazers, spent last season with the Syracuse Crunch, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.

After the tragedy involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, Lukas Favale, the Crunch’s radio voice, pledged $1 to the fundraising attempts for every save made by Ingram from then through the end of the AHL playoffs. Ingram immediately said he would match that total.

Earlier this month, F Kaleb Dahlgren of the Broncos and Ingram took part in a cheque presentation with some folks from STARS Ambulance.


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Hitmen lose their head coach . . . Porter leaving Broncos . . . A team-by-team look at what’s been happening


MacBeth

F Mark Derlago (Brandon, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract with Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite), he had 18 goals and 33 assists in 54 games. He was second on the Panthers in goals, assists and points. . . . Derlago played for Esbjerg in 2014-15, when he finished third in league scoring. Mark Pederson (Medicine Hat, 1983-88) is Esbjerg’s GM and head coach. . . .

D Jesse Dudas (Lethbridge, Prince George, Swift Current, Regina, 2003-09) signed a one-year extension with MAC Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). Last season, he had five goals and 15 assists in 30 games with Budapest in Erste Bank Liga. The club is moving to Slovakia’s Extraliga for this season. . . .

D Dylan Yeo (Prince George, Calgary, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had 11 goals and 12 assists in 51 games. An alternate captain, he led DEL defencemen in goals.


ThisThat

There were two more — that we know of — departures from the front offices of WHL teams on Tuesday.

The Calgary Hitmen announced that head coach Dallas Ferguson has resigned after one season “due to family reasons.”

General manager Jeff Chynoweth is quoted in a news release saying: “Dallas approached Calgaryme last week, stating his wife is unable to continue to work her current job in Alaska while moving to Calgary as originally planned. As a father to two young girls he does not want to live apart from his family again this (season). We respect this decision, supporting that family comes first and wish Dallas all the best in the future.”

Ferguson joined the Hitmen last summer after 13 seasons with the U of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks, the last nine as head coach.

In his lone season in Calgary, the Hitmen, who were in rebuilding mode, went 24-37-11, finished fifth in the six-team Central Division and missed the playoffs.

Chynoweth, the former long-time GM of the Kootenay Ice, just completed his first season with the Hitmen, and now he’ll have to hire his second Calgary head coach.

When Chynoweth starts sorting through resumes, assistant coaches Jason LaBarbera, Trent Cassan and Joel Otto will get consideration.

“If one of these guys is the best candidate,” Chynoweth told Calgary freelancer Rita Mingo, who covered the story for Postmedia, “we’ll definitely look at him. In my past in Kootenay, we promoted a couple of assistant coaches.”

As for when a replacement might be named, Chynoweth told Mingo: “No timeline. I remember one year in Cranbrook, we didn’t hire someone until I think Aug. 6, three weeks before training camp. Ideally, the sooner the better for everyone involved. We’ve had a lot of resumes already and we’ll get more. It’s something that will play out, we’ll get lots of good candidates and we’ll definitely hire the right guy.”

Mingo’s story is right here.

Meanwhile, the Swift Current Broncos announced that Jamie Porter, their director of SCBroncoshockey operations, is leaving the organization “at the end of July.”

Porter had been with the Broncos since 2002 and had been the top dog in the scouting department since 2005.

The terse three-paragraph news release from the Broncos concluded with: “There will be no further comments from the organization.”

That leads one to believe that, in this instance, perhaps parting won’t be such sweet sorrow.


With the Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos having introduced, or about to introduce, new head coaches this week, let’s take a team-by-team look at what has been happening . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

East Division

Brandon Wheat Kings — All is quiet on the WHL’s eastern front.

Moose Jaw Warriors — Things are quiet in Moose Jaw, too.

Prince Albert Raiders — Associate coach Dave Manson now is an assistant coach with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. General manager Curtis Hunt and head coach Marc Habscheid will be looking for a replacement.

Regina Pats — There is speculation that general manager/head coach John Paddock will leave the bench, turning the head-coaching duties over to Dave Struch, the assistant GM and assistant coach. That move is expected to happen; it just hasn’t happened yet.

Saskatoon Blades — They have hired Mitch Love as head coach to replace Dean Brockman, who was fired when last season ended. Brockman had been with the Blades for four seasons, the last two as head coach. Love joins the Blades from the Everett Silvertips, where he was an assistant coach for seven seasons. . . . The Blades also hired Ryan Marsh as an assistant coach, to replace Bryce Thoma, who was dismissed shortly after Brockman. Marsh was fired by the Edmonton Oil Kings following the season. He had been there for four seasons.

Swift Current — The Broncos have hired Dean Brockman as their director of hockey operations and head coach, replacing Manny Viveiros, now an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Jamie Porter, who had been the director of hockey operations, will leave the organization at the end of July.

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Central Division

Calgary Hitmen — Head coach Dallas Ferguson is leaving after one season, citing family reasons for his departure. Ferguson had taken over from Mark French, who spent three seasons with the Hitmen before leaving to become head coach of HC Fribourg-Gottéron in the Swiss National League.

Edmonton Oil Kings — They need a head coach, having fired Steve Hamilton, and an assistant after dismissing Ryan Marsh, who landed on his feet with the Saskatoon Blades. The Oil Kings also need a general manager after they and Randy Hansch chose to go in different directions. It has been speculated for almost two months that former WHLer Kirt Hill will be named director of hockey operations.

Kootenay Ice — Things have been quiet in Cranbrook, although the Ice did add Tyler MacDonald of Winnipeg to its scouting staff. According to the team website, he is the organization’s lone scout so it could be that more additions are soon to be made.

Lethbridge Hurricanes — The winds of change have left the Hurricanes alone.

Medicine Hat Tigers — They parted company with Carter Sears after one season as director of player personnel. Bobby Fox has moved from behind the bench as an assistant coach to replace Sears. Shaun Clouston, the GM and head coach, says he will hire an assistant coach if he finds a good fit.

Red Deer Rebels — The Rebels and Jeff Truitt, their veteran associate coach, went in separate directions after last season. Red Deer later hired Brad Flynn and Ryan Colville as assistant coaches, and is quietly looking for another assistant. Flynn had been the director of hockey operations and head coach for the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays. Most recently, Colville was the president, GM and head coach of the NAHL’s Cincinnati Thunder. . . . The Rebels also hired former WHL G Kraymer Barnstable as their goaltending coach after Taylor Dakers left for the Prince George Cougars.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

B.C. Division

Kamloops Blazers — They moved out general manager Stu MacGregor, head coach Don Hay, assistant coach Mike Needham and Matt Recchi, the director of player personnel. . . . Matt Bardsley is the new GM, after being in the Portland Winterhawks’ front office since 1999. He has hired Serge Lajoie as head coach. Lajoie is fresh off three seasons as head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears — they won the Canadian university title last season. . . . Still to come — at least one assistant coach and a move atop the scouting department.

Kelowna Rockets — All quiet, although assistant coach Travis Crickard has been keeping busy in New Zealand, which is a long way from Flin Flon.

Prince George Cougars — The Cougars hired Mark Lamb as their general manager, replacing Todd Harkins, who was dismissed at season’s end. They also have added their first full-time goaltending coach, that being Taylor Dakers.

Vancouver Giants — Glen Hanlon left the club after two seasons as general manager, and that spot has been filled by Barclay Parneta, who had been the assistant GM with the Tri-City Americans. Parneta then dismissed head coach Jason McKee, who had been there for two seasons. There is speculation that former WHL D Michael Dyck could be the next head coach. . . . Dyck is a former WHL player and coach, who has worked with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Giants. He spent three seasons (2002-05) as an assistant coach with Vancouver and was Lethbridge’s head coach for four seasons (2005-09). Of late, he has been coaching minor hockey in Lethbridge. He was the head coach of the midget AAA Hurricanes last season.

Victoria Royals — Things are quiet on Vancouver Island.

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U.S. Division

Everett Silvertips — They lost Bil La Forge, their director of player personnel, to the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hired him as general manager, so will be looking to fill that spot.

Portland Winterhawks — Matt Bardsley, who had been in the Portland front office since 1999, signed on with the Kamloops Blazers as general manager. He had been the Winterhawks’ since 1999.

Seattle Thunderbirds — Russ Farwell, the Thunderbirds’ general manager for 23 seasons, now is the vice president of hockey operations. Bil La Forge, who had been Everett’s director of player personnel, is the Thunderbirds’ new GM.

Spokane Chiefs — Things are quiet here, too.

Tri-City Americans — Bob Tory, the co-owner and general manager, needs to find an assistant GM to replace Barclay Parneta, now the GM with the Vancouver Giants. As well, head coach Mike Williamson is leaving after four seasons. Brian Pellerin, the associate coach for the past four seasons, may be the favourite to replace Williamson.


TheCoachingGame

Gilles Bouchard has left the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to join the Syracuse Crunch, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, as an assistant coach. Bouchard, 47, had been the Huskies’ general manager and head coach. . . . In Syracuse, he’ll work alongside head coach Benoit Groulx. . . . Bouchard also was the head coach of the Canadian U-18 entry for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. Obviously, he will have to be replaced by Hockey Canada. . . . Mitch Love, the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, and Ryan Oulahen, the head coach of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds, are the assistant coaches.


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