Farewell, Cranbrook. It’s been great. . . . Ice wins its final game before move to Winnipeg. . . . Late assist gives Blichfeld scoring title

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The WHL’s 21-year history in Cranbrook, B.C., ended on Sunday as the Kootenay Ice skated to a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels.

If you’re late to this situation, the Ice is relocating to Winnipeg and will spend at least the wpgicenext two seasons playing out of the 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba while it awaits construction of a new facility. . . .

The Ice, which ended a six-game losing skid with Sunday’s victory, finished 13-45-10. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . .

Before the game, a fan emailed this: “At 4 pm the ticket lineup for the final game is the full length of the building.” . . . The announced attendance at the last WHL game in 4-264-seat Western Financial Place was 2,684.

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“The fans continued to turn out to support the PLAYERS who were caught in a terrible situation through no fault of their own,” John Hudak, the marketing director of the now-defunct Green Bay Committee, told Taking Note via email. “Make no mistake, there were very few fans that were supporting this ownership and to the credit of the fans they turned out to support the players and the good name of the City of Cranbrook and its hockey history.  It could have been ugly but the people of Cranbrook took the high road.”

The Green Bay Committee was formed early in the season to help owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell sell tickets and sponsorships. After selling what it said was $50,000 worth, the committee disbanded in mid-November because of what it said was a lack of co-operation and support from the owners.

Prior to that point, there had been ample speculation that the owners, who are from Winnipeg, planned to move the franchise to the Manitoba capital. When the Green Bay Committee went public about the lack of support it had received, the pieces started to fall into place.

“The vibe in the arena today was a testament to the people of Cranbrook,” continued Hudak, who is running for a spot on city council in a May 11 by-election. “They were respectful of the ownership. They got behind the players and the players reciprocated by not rolling over.”

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The game ended with the clock showing 27.7 seconds still to play. But that was only because the timekeeper inadvertently hit the wrong button, something that caused the clock to count up rather than down.

“It was almost as if he didn’t want to see the game end,” Hudak noted. “In all seriousness, he has run the clock for more than 20 years . . . he won’t live this one down for the rest of his days!”

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This isn’t the first time in recent history that a WHL team has relocated. After the 2010-11 season, the Chilliwack Bruins, who had been sold, left the Lower Mainland city after five seasons and opened up shop in Victoria as the Royals. . . .

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Ice F Peyton Krebs, a sure-fire first-round selection in June’s NHL draft, didn’t finish the first period. He was ejected at 11:57 with a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jacob Herauf, who later returned to the game. Should Krebs be suspended, he will serve his suspension to open the 2019-20 regular season . . . unless he cracks the roster of the NHL team that selects him, that is.


SOME NUMBERS:

F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks earned an assist with 1.1 seconds left in whlthe third period of a 6-5 loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday, and that was enough to give him the WHL scoring title. . . . He finished with 114 points, one more than F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Blichfeld had 53 goals and 61 assists in 68 games; Langan was at 53 and 60 in 67 games. . . . Had they ended up tied, they would have shared the title. . . . In 1987-88, Theo Fleury of the Warriors and Joe Sakic of the Swift Current Broncos tied at the top, each with 160 points. Sakic was named the scoring champion on the basis of more goals, 78-68. . . .

Blichfeld and Langan led the league in goals, with six more than F Mark Kastelic of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Moose Jaw F Justin Almeida was tops in assists (78), well ahead of F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings and F Nick Henry of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who tied at 65. . . . Kastelic had a WHL-leading 24 PP goals. . . . Moose Jaw D Jett Woo was No. 1 in PP assists, with 33. . . . Lethbridge F Jake Elmer led in shorthanded goals, with seven. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo and two Warriors — F Brayden Tracey and Langan — tied for the lead in game-winning goals, each with 11. . . .

Tracey was the WHL’s top-scoring freshman, leading in goals (36), assists (45) and points (81). . . .

Among goaltenders, Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips was tops in GAA (1.69), save percentage (.936) and victories (41). . . . Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders was second in all three categories — 1.83, .932 and 38. . . . Scott was No. 1 in shutouts (8), one more than Wolf. . . .

Josh Brook of the Warriors and Dawson Davidson of the Saskatoon Blades led all defenceman in points, each with 75, four more than Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants. . . . Byram led in goals (26), while Davison and Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs were tops in assists (62).


The U of New Brunswick Varsity Reds won the Canadian university (U Sports) UNBchampionship on Sunday, beating the Alberta Golden Bears, 4-2, in Lethbridge. . . . The Golden Bears went into the tournament as the top-ranked of the eight teams; UNB was ranked No. 2. . . . In the final, UNB got goals from Samuel Dove-McFalls, Oliver Cooper, Kris Bennett and Mark Rassell, the latter a former Medicine Hat Tigers sniper. . . . Steve Owre and Brandon Magee, both ex-WHLers, replied for the Golden Bears. Owre also played in Medicine Hat; Magee played for the Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royas. . . . G Alex Dubeau stopped 32 shots for the winners. . . . Alberta got 27 saves from Zach Sawchenko, who played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Golden Bears lost F Luke Philp, the Canadian university player of the year, to an undisclosed injury in the first period. . . . UNB now has won eight national titles. . . . Each of the past seven titles has been won by UNB (2017, 2016 and 2013) or Alberta (2018, 2015 and 2014).


SUNDAY  HIGHLIGHTS:

F Vince Loschiavo scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsHitmen in Calgary. . . . Edmonton (42-18-8) closed out the regular-season on an 11-game winning streak that tied a franchise record. It had been done on three previous occasions, most recently in 2013-14. . . . Calgary (36-26-6) has lost four in a row. . . . The Oil Kings finished atop the Central Division and will open the playoffs against the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The third-place Hitmen will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who wound up second, in the first round. . . . Edmonton won the season series, 7-0-1; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (4) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 10:07 of the first period. . . . Loschiavo tied it at 7:14 of the second period, then gave his guys the lead at 10:47 with his 37th goal of the season, on a PP. That also turned into his 11th game-winner this season, a franchise record. . . . Edmonton F Jake Neighbours (11) wrapped up the scoring with an empty-netter, at 19:35 of the third period. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 25 shots for Edmonton. . . . Calgary got 33 saves from G Carl Stankowski.


F Michael Milne broke a 4-4 tie in the third period as the Kootenay Ice closed out its Everetthistory in Cranbrook, B.C., with a 5-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Ice (13-45-10), which is relocating to Winnipeg, snapped a six-game losing streak. Kootenay has missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. . . . Red Deer (33-29-6) has lost four in a row. The Rebels, who finished in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, will meet the Prince Albert Raiders, the WHL’s top regular-season team, in the first round. . . . F Jaeger White (28) put the Ice in front 1-0 at 6:48 of the first period. . . . The Rebels responded with three straight goals — from F Cam Hausinger, on a PP, at 12:20; F Brett Davis (20), on a PP, at 14:46; and Hausinger (21), on yet another PP, at 0:19 of the second period. . . . The Rebels acquired Hausinger and Davis, who also had two assists, from the Ice earlier this season. . . . The Ice came back with the next three goals, in the span of 1:45 early in the second. . . . F Nolan Orzeck (4) got it started at 3:01. F Holden Kodak (3) tied the score at 3:56. F Connor McClennon (14) gave the Ice a 4-3 lead at 4:46. . . . The Rebels tied it at 17:40 when F Jordan Borysiuk, an AP, scored his first goal. He was playing in his seventh WHL game, but his first this season. . . . Milne, a 16-year-old freshman from Abbotsford, B.C., broke the tie with his third goal at 14:16 of the third period. . . . Red Deer was 3-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger earned the victory with 25 saves, one fewer than Red Deer’s Byron Fancy. . . . The Ice lost F Peyton Krebs to a boarding major and game misconduct at 11:57 of the first period. . . . The Rebels scratched G Ethan Anders, D Dawson Barteaux, F Jeff de Wit, F Reese Johnson, F Josh Tarzwell and F Brandon Hagel. . . . They also dressed four APs — G Eric Ward, F Jordan Borysiuk, F Ethan Rowland and F Jace Isley. . . . F Austin Schellenberg, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday, was among the Ice’s scratches.


The Seattle Thunderbirds erased a 4-3 deficit with three straight goals and beat the SeattleWinterhawks, 6-5, in Portland to bring down the curtain on the WHL’s 2018-19 regular season. . . . Seattle (31-29-8) has won three in a row. As the Western Conference’s second wild-card entry, it will go up against the conference-champion Vancouver Giants in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Portland (40-22-6) has lost two in a row. It finished third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Spokane Chiefs, who won 10 of their final 12 games. Those two teams will meet in the first round with Spokane having home-ice advantage. . . . Portland went 8-4-0 in the season series; Seattle was 4-6-2. . . . Last night, Portland took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Reece Newkirk (23), on a PP, at 1:47, and F Jake Gricius (27), at 5:35. . . . Seattle scored the next three goals. . . . F Jared Davidson (2) scored at 19:32, with F Kai Uchacz getting his first WHL goal at 13:03. D Simon Kubicek (9) gave Seattle a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 15:14. . . . Uchacz, 15, was the 10th-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Winterhawks tied it 42 seconds later as D Clay Hanus (8) scored. . . . Again, Seattle scored three in a row, this time to take a 6-4 lead. . . . F Brecon Wood (4) tied it at 4:27 of the second. . . . F Sean Richards (16) gave the Thunderbirds a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 4:30 of the third, and D Jarret Tyszka (8) made it 6-4 at 8:00. . . . D Jared Freadrich (15) of Portland got the game’s final goal, on a PP, with 1.1 seconds left in the third period. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld drew an assist on Freadrich’s goal for his only point of the game. That gave him 114 points on the season, enough to win the WHL scoring title by one point over F Tristin Langan of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Andrej Kukuca had three assists for Seattle. . . . Freadrich added two assists to his goal, for his fifth career three-point outing. . . . Seattle got 40 saves from G Cole Schwebius, while Portland’s Joel Hofer stopped 27 shots. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Cody Glass (knee) for an eighth straight game. They say the plan is for him to be back in time for Friday’s playoff opener, but, hey, it’s that time of year when you can’t believe anything you might hear about injuries. . . . F Matthew Wedman, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan, Seattle’s top three scorers, all were scratched.


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Hockey world mourns McGeough’s death . . . Raiders, Leason take aim at WHL records . . . Silvertips win on late goal


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Former WHL/NHL referee Mick McGeough died Friday night in a Regina hospital after his family had made the decision earlier to take him off life support. McGeough, who had suffered a stroke on Sunday, was 62.

McGeough brought a tremendous amount of personality, character and energy to every game in which he worked. And he worked a lot of games, including 1,146 in the NHL.

Kevin Muench, the WHL’s senior director of officiating, is from Moose Jaw and knew McGeough for a long time. Muench told the Regina Leader-Post:

“There will never be another Mick McGeough. He was one of a kind, on the ice and off the ice.

“Mick was an entertainer. He was like the Eddie Shack of officials. He was energized and flamboyant on the ice, and a great story-teller off the ice.

“Wherever you saw Mick, he was the centre of attention. Whether it was lunch at training camp or out for a beer after playing ball or golf, everybody wanted to sit at Mick’s table. You were guaranteed to hear some great stories.

“And he never told a story the same way twice. It got better and more embellished every time he told it! That was Mick.”

Muench told The Leader-Post that his last memory of McGeough was from the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina.

“He invited a bunch of us old friends to his hotel room after a game one night,” Muench said. “We had a drink and ordered some pizza, and sat around and listened to Mick tell stories until tears were running down our cheeks with laughter. That is how it always was with Mick.

“His family, his friends, the hockey world, and the officiating world, we will all miss the enthusiasm he brought to life and to our great game of hockey.”

The Leader-Post’s story is right here.

Mark Spector of Sportsnet has a piece on McGeough right here.


OK, the onslaught on the WHL record book by the Prince Albert Raiders and F Brett Leason is getting serious.

The Raiders, now 24-1-0, got a goal and two assists from Leason in winning their 15th PrinceAlbertstraight game on Saturday night, beating the Kootenay Ice, 5-1, in Cranbrook, B.C.

In the process, the Raiders broke the franchise record for longest winning streak that had been set by the 1985-86 club. That edition of the Raiders, who were in their fourth season in the WHL, finished second in the Eastern Division (it was a two-division league then), at 52-17 with three ties.

If you’re wondering, the WHL record for longest winning streak in one season is 22 and is held by the 1967-78 Estevan Bruins. The Victoria Cougars actually won 24 straight from Feb. 6 1981, to Oct. 9, 1981, so that one was in overlapping seasons.

The 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings hold the record for longest unbeaten streak in one season, at 29 games. There were ties in those days. Remember? In overlapping the seasons, the Wheat Kings actually rattled off a 49-game unbeaten streak, from Feb. 11, 1978 through Dec. 7, 1978.

According to the Raiders’ website, they also tied the franchise record for consecutive road victories in a single season (6). They now share the record with that 1985-86 team.

Meanwhile, Leason extended his point streak to 24 games with the game’s first goal, at 13:34 of the first period. The WHL record for longest point streak was set at 56 by F Jeff Nelson of the Raiders in 1990-91.

Leason may have set a record for longest point streak to start a season, his 24-game heater breaking the mark that had been held by F Jeremy Reich of the Broncos to start the 1999-2000 season. Reich had the longest such streak since 1996-97, which is as far back as the WHL’s online statistics go.

The Raiders are next scheduled to play on Tuesday when they meet the Rebels in Red Deer. The Rebels beat the Raiders, 4-3, in Red Deer on Oct. 6.


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


Brad Lukowich, a former WHL player and coach, is the new head coach of the Dallas Warriors. . . . The Warriors, according to their website, “were created to give our disabled U.S. military veterans a way to rehab through an amazing outlet. . . . The Warriors are highly active throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.” . . . A defenceman, Lukowich played three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers (1993-96) and was part of two Memorial Cup-championship teams. He also won two Stanley Cups in an NHL career that included 658 regular-season games. Lukowich also is a two-time Stanley Cup winner. He was an assistant coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 2013-14. . . . The Warriors’ website is right here.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brayden Tracey took a penalty in OT and then he scored the winning goal, giving the MooseJawWarriorshost Moose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Moose Jaw (12-5-4) has points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . Lethbridge (11-8-5) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Both teams played the previous night, with the Hurricanes arriving in Moose from Brandon at around 3 a.m. This game started at 2:30 p.m. . . . Tracey, 17, was a first-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. . . . Tracey was penalized for tripping at 1:01 of OT, then scored his eighth goal of the season at 3:40 to end the game. He also had an assist, and now has eight goals and 14 helpers in 21 games. . . . The teams played through two scoreless periods. . . . F Tristin Langan (18), who also had two assists, gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:57 of the third period. . . . The visitors went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Taylor Ross (13), at 4:57, and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (5), at 9:53. . . . The Warriors tied it at 14:44 when D Josh Brook (7) scored on a PP. . . . Brook ran his point streak to seven games. He has two goals and 12 assists over that stretch. . . . Langan is riding an eight-game point streak, with eight goals and 11 assists over those games. . . . The Warriors won 40 of the game’s 64 faceoffs. . . . Lethbridge was without F Jadon Joseph, who drew a one-game suspension for a one-man fight in Friday’s 7-3 victory over the host Brandon Wheat Kings.


F Max Patterson scored at 12:26 of the second period and the goal stood up as the winner SCBroncosas the Swift Current Broncos got past the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings, 3-2. . . . The Broncos (4-18-2) had lost their previous five games (0-4-1). . . . The Oil Kings (14-9-4) had points in their previous two games (1-0-1). . . . The Broncos went into the game last in the Eastern Conference, 24 points behind the third-place Oil Kings. . . . The Broncos had taken a 2-0 lead on goals from F Andrew Fyten (5), at 19:46 of the first period, and F Ben King (5), on a PP, at 3:53 of the second. . . . The Oil Kings tied it with second-period goals 2:01 apart by F Brett Kemp (17) and D Ethan Cap (3), the latter on a PP. . . . Patterson, the son of former Seattle/Swift Current/Kamloops F Ed Patterson, scored his seventh goal at 12:26, just 15 seconds after Cap’s goal. . . . The Broncos got 29 saves, 14 of them in the third period, from G Isaac Poulter.


The Prince Albert Raiders set a franchise record with their 16th consecutive victory as PrinceAlbertthey bounced the Kootenay Ice, 5-1, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Raiders (24-1-0) broke the franchise record for longest winning streak that had been set by the 1995-96 club. . . . The Ice (7-16-4) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Prince Albert held a 57-23 edge in shots. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason extended his point streak to 24 games with the game’s first goal, at 13:34 of the first period. Leason, who leads the WHL in goals (25), also had two assists. He also leads the WHL in points (54), two more than F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the Edmonton Oil Kings, who had one assist in a 3-2 loss to the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (4), F Parker Kelly (10), F Noah Gregor (11) and D Brayden Pachal (5) also scored for the Raiders, who built a 4-0 lead. . . . F Michael Milne scored his first WHL goal for the Ice. The 16-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., scored in his fifth career game, all of them this season. . . . G Donovan Buskey stopped 22 shots for the Raiders in his fourth appearance this season. . . . The Ice, already without F Peyton Krebs, lost F Cam Hausinger and F Connor McClennon. . . . Hausinger, while on his knees, appeared to take a punch to the back of the heat. He went straight to the dressing room and missed the final 47 minutes. . . . McClennon, the second-overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft, left in the second period after going awkwardly, left skate first, into the boards. He, too, went right to the room and didn’t play the final 23 minutes. . . . Without Krebs, Hausinger and McClennon, the Ice is down to nine healthy forwards.


F Bryan Lockner and F Tyler Preziuso each had two goals to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers Tigers Logo Officialto a 7-3 victory over the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . Medicine Hat (11-12-3) will play host to the Rebels on Wednesday night. . . . Red Deer (16-6-1) had won its previous five games. The Rebels are to entertain the Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday. . . . The Tigers erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, and scored the game’s last five goals. . . . F Chris Douglas (6) gave the Rebels a 3-2 edge at 6:01 of the second period. . . . Preziuso, who has 10 goals, tied it at 14:13, and Lockner, who has seven, snapped the tie at 17:38. . . . F James Hamblin (10) added insurance, on a PP, at 18:46. . . . Third-period goals from Preziuso and D Trevor Longo (2) put it away. . . . Hamblin also had two assists, while Lockner added one for a three-point outing. . . . Lockner’s first career multi-goal game came in his 156th regular-season game.


The host Portland Winterhawks grabbed a 3-1 lead early in the second period and went Portlandon to a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Winterhawks (14-8-2) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Thunderbirds (8-12-3) have lost three in a row. . . . F Reece Newkirk (14) gave the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead, shorthanded, at 7:23 of the first period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak, who scored all three Seattle goals, tied it, on a PP, at 7:43. . . . The Winterhawks got two quick goals, albeit in different periods, to take that 3-1 lead. F Jaydon Dureau (3) counted at 18:58 of the first period and F Cody Glass (9) sniped, on a PP, just 28 seconds into the second. . . . Andrusiak got the Thunderbirds to within a goal at 5:05, but F Mason Mannek (7) got that one back for Portland at 18:43. . . . Andrusiak’s 15th goal of the season, at 19:15 of the third period, completed his third career hat trick. He also has goals in six straight games. . . . Glass ran his point streak to 11 games — he’s got five goals and 17 assists over that stretch. . . . Portland outshot Seattle, 45-18, including 22-6 in the first period. The Thunderbirds bot 41 stops from G Liam Hughes.


The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Cougars, 4-1, in SaskatoonPrince George. . . . Saskatoon (15-8-2) opened a B.C. Division tour with the game. . . . Prince George slipped to 10-11-3. . . . F Mike MacLean (3) gave Cougars a 1-0 lead at 2:04 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Max Gerlach (15) tied it, on a PP, at 3:45 and D Seth Bafaro (3) broke the tie at 19:37. . . . The Blades put it away with third-period goals from F Eric Florchuk (8) and F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (7). . . . Saskatoon got 21 stops from G Nolan Maier. He now is 13-6-1, 2.68, .914. . . . The Blades will continue their B.C. Division tour in Langley, B.C., the home of the Vancouver Giants, on Tuesday and in Victoria on Wednesday.


Freshman F Adam Beckman scored twice to help the host Spokane Chiefs to a 3-1 victory SpokaneChiefsover the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Spokane (13-8-3) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops now is 9-11-2. . . . The Blazers are 7-5-0 on the road — they went into this one having won six of their last seven away from home— but only 2-6-1 at home. They will entertain the Saskatoon Blades on Friday and the Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday. . . . Beckman opened the scoring at 15:45 of the second period, with F Luke Toporowski (8) making it 2-0, shorthanded, at 18:26. . . . F Brodi Stuart (7) scored for Kamloops, on a PP, at 12:09 of the third period. . . . Beckman closed out the scoring with his 12th goal, into an empty net, at 18:58. He leads all first-year players in goals. . . . F Eli Zummack drew three assists for the Chiefs. . . . G Bailey Brkin stopped 17 shots for Spokane. . . . Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson left after two periods, having turned aside 19 of 21 shots. Dylan Garand came on in relief and stopped all five shots he faced in 18:53. . . . F Jermaine Loewen, the Blazers’ captain, sat out his second straight game.


The Tri-City Americans scored twice in the shootout and beat the Calgary Hitmen, 3-2, in tri-cityKennewick, Wash. . . . The Americans (13-9-0) had lost three in a row. . . . The Hitmen (10-13-3) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They went 3-1-1 on their U.S. Division trek. . . . Calgary scored the game’s first two goals — F Riley Stotts (7), at 13:02 of the first period, and F Carson Focht (6), on a PP, at 4:12 of the second. . . . F Blake Stevenson (4) got the Americans to within a goal at 8:59 of the third period, and F Sasha Mutala (5) forced OT at 18:36. . . . The Americans got shootout goals from F Kyle Olson and F Isaac Johnson, while the Hitmen weren’t able to beat G Beck Warm, who stopped 38 shots through OT.


The Vancouver Giants built up a 4-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the Victoria Royals Vancouverin Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants (16-6-2) have won two in a row. . . . The Royals (12-8-0) have lost two straight. . . . F Milos Roman (12), on a PP, F Davis Koch (6), F Jared Dmytriw (5), shorthanded, and F Justin Sourdif (6) have the Giants a 4-0 lead, the latter scoring at 11:09 of the third period. . . . F Tanner Sidaway (3) scored for the Royals at 16:17 of the third. . . . Koch, who has six goals and 17 assists in 24 games, has three goals and seven assists in a five-game point streak. . . . Koch’s goal was his 200th career regular-season point. It came in his 277th game. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 24 shots for the Giants. . . . G David Tendeck was on the Vancouver bench after a one-game absence.


F Connor Dewar scored twice, the second goal coming with 53.7 seconds left in the third Everettperiod, to give the host Everett Silvertips a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Everett (18-7-1) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . Kelowna (11-14-1) had won its previous three games. . . . The Silvertips held a 42-18 edge in shots, including 16-5 in the first period and 19-7 in the third. The Rockets got 40 stops from G James Porter. . . . Dewar got the game’s first goal at 6:43 of the second period. . . . Kelowna F Kyle Topping (11) tied the score at 8:37 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Dewar won it with his 20th goal at 19:06. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 17 shots, improving to 17-7-1, 1.84, .924. . . . The Silvertips lost D Gianni Fairbrother at 12:09 of the first period as he was hit with a headshot major and game misconduct. . . . Kelowna D Braydyn Chizen was back after a one-game absence. . . . Everett has won each of the past six games with Kelowna and is 10-0-3 in the last 13 meetings.


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OHL gets exemption from Ontario gov’t . . . Report: Ice preparing to make announcement next week; team to salute Cranbrook Colts tonight


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The Ontario provincial government skated firmly into the corner with the OHL on Thursday, revealing that major junior hockey players will be excluded from the ohlEmployment Standards Act. As such, those players won’t be classified as employees, therefore won’t be eligible to be paid at least minimum wage.

Ontario is the latest jurisdiction to exempt major junior players from minimum wage-related legislation, joining B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Michigan and the state of Washington.

The CHL is the umbrella under which the OHL, QMJHL and WHL operate. They are facing a class-action lawsuit brought by former and present players asking that they be paid at least minimum wage. Among other things, the lawsuit also asks for vacation pay.

Megan Stacey of the London Free Press has more on this story right here.


All was quiet on the Kootenay Ice front again Thursday, two days after a group that had been working to help the WHL franchise by selling tickets and sponsorships shut it down.

The Green Bay Committee cited a lack of engagement by the Ice ownership in making a Kootenaynewdecision to cease operations and return about $50,000 it said it had raised, mostly from local businesses.

Owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the franchise from the Chynoweth family prior to the 2017-18 season, chose not to attend committee meetings. That decision meant that no one from the Ice organization was on hand to answer questions and to quell speculation that the franchise will move to Winnipeg once this season ends.

On Thursday, the Winnipeg Free Press reported:

“Late Wednesday, a planned team-hosted media event failed to materialize, but sources told the Free Press that an announcement is being planned for next week.”

John Hudak, the Green Bay Committee’s marketing director, has been the front man since a letter explaining its decision was emailed to Cockell and copied to Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, and members of the WHL’s board of governors.

To date, there hasn’t been any comment from Fettes, Cockell or Robison.

“It’s out of our hands; it’s up to the owners,” Hudak told the Free Press. “Like somebody asked me, ‘What do you think?’ Well, the last time I checked I wasn’t a psychologist and I wasn’t a mind-reader. I don’t know what’s going on in the minds of Matt Cockell and Greg Fettes. They’re the people (who) have to answer that.”

When asked by the Free Press if he thinks Cockell and Fettes have always intended to move the team to Winnipeg, Hudak replied:

“Well, I’ll put it to you this way — there are certain people in town who feel that way. I’m not going to dodge the bullet on that one but as far as the committee was concerned, we felt that if we went out and did our work and helped the present ownership out here, that we could sit down and be able to keep the team here.”

The Ice is scheduled to play at home tonight against the Calgary Hitmen. In a promotion tonight, the Ice will be honouring the now-defunct Cranbrook Colts, a team that started in junior B before moving up to junior A and playing int he Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League.

According to Wikipedia, “The Colts folded in 1998 because of the forming of the Kootenay Ice . . .”


The Kootenay Ice has added F Michael Milne 16, to its roster for what the team says is “the remainder of the season.” From Abbotsford, B.C., the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Milne was leading the major midget Fraser Valley Thunderbirds in goals (18) and points (26), in 14 games. . . . He was an eighth-round pick by the Ice in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


The Everett Silvertips have signed F Nate Goodbrandson to a WHL contract. Goodbrandson, a 15-year-old from St. Andrews, Man., has eight goals and 10 assists in 17 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. The 6-foot-0, 160-pounder was a seventh-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft and attended Everett’s training camp prior to this season. . . . Last season, he finished with 31 goals and 46 assists in 34 games with the bantam AAA Winnipeg Hawks.


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