Winterhawks, Cougars make a deal . . . Molleken back in coaching game . . . Raiders stay perfect on home ice . . . Americans win in OT once again

Guess how Dorothy and I spent part of our Friday? File it under the best laid plans. . . . We decided to take the Trans-Canada Highway (No. 1) rather than the Coquihalla simply because we felt that with snow in the forecast the odds were greater of avoiding accidents. . . . Then it started to snow. . . . We were about 10 kilometres south of Boston Bar, so turned around and found a restaurant, which helped us kill the couple of hours we were stuck there. . . . In the end, though, we did get where we were going — through the snow, slush, sleet, rain and fog — and the granddaughter is terrific. . . . If you’re travelling, slow down, take your time and stay safe.


MacBeth

F Michal Poletín (Regina, 2009-10) has been assigned on loan by Zlín to Vítkovice Ostrava (both Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. With Zlín, he had three goals and five assists in 28 games. . . .

F Michal Řepík (Vancouver, 2005-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Vityaz Podolsk (Russia, KHL) after requesting and receiving his release from Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). An alternate captain with Slovan, he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 42 games. . . .

G Barry Brust (Spokane, Calgary, 2000-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL). He was released by Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL) on Dec. 5. In nine games with Kunlun, he was 4-3-1, 3.11, .895. . . .

F Levko Koper (Spokane, 2006-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had been released by Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga) on Dec. 15 after scoring four goals and adding four assists in 27 games. . . .

F Matěj Stránský (Saskatoon, 2010-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Mora (Sweden, SHL) after obtaining his release from Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). He had three goals and three assists in 17 games. . . .

F Blair Jones (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had eight goals and 10 assists in 32 games with Kölner Haie (Cologne) (Germany, DEL). . . .

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) has been released by mutual agreement by Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). He had five assists in eight games. . . .

F Jared Aulin (Kamloops, 1997-2002) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL) after obtaining his release from Rapperswil-Jona (Switzerland, NL A). He had four assists in 19 games.


ThisThat

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 1.

Players: 1.

Bantam draft picks: 1.

Conditional draft picks: 3.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

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


The Portland Winterhawks have acquired the WHL rights to F Bobby Brink, 17, from the PortlandPrince George Cougars in exchange for a seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . There also are a few conditions to this deal: Should the Winterhawks sign Brink, the Cougars will get a second-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. If he is on Portland’s roster before Jan. 10, Prince George will get an additional pick, this one a fourth-rounder in 2021. As well, if Brink is on the Winterhawks’ roster on or before Oct. 10, the Cougars will also get a sixth-round pick in 2021. . . . Brink, from Excelsior, Minn., is playing with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. Going into Friday’s games, he was second in the USHL scoring race, with 33 points, including 15 goals, in 19 games. . . . He has been committed to the U of Denver Pioneers since Jan. 31, 2017.


Lorne Molleken is back in the coaching game. Molleken, the fourth-winningest regular-season coach in WHL history, has been named the head coach of the Prairie Hockey Academy’s Elite 15s for the remainder of this season. . . . Molleken, a native of Regina, will be on the ice with his new team when it practises on Thursday in preparation for playing host to the Prairie Classic (Jan. 4-6). The PHA is based in Caronport, Sask. . . . PHA had fired Rodney MacPhee, the head coach of the Elite 15s when the season began, late in October. Kevin Watson stepped in as interim head coach until Molleken was hired. . . . Molleken put up 626 regular-season victories in stints with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Saskatoon Blades, Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants. He was fired by the Giants with two games left in the 2015-16 season.


Nathan Oystrick and the Humboldt Broncos have parted company. Oystrick, 36, took over as the SJHL team’s general manager and head coach in July, just three months after a bus accident had claimed the lives of 16 people, including GM/head coach Darcy Haugan. . . . The Broncos announced the move in a statement on the team’s website that was headlined ‘Humboldt Broncos part ways with Head Coach and General Manager Nathan Oystrick.’ . . . Assistant coach Scott Barney has been named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. . . . Alex MacPherson of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

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

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

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

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

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The host Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Saskatoon PrinceAlbertBlades, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (33-2-1) has won five in a row and is 17-0-0 at home. . . . Saskatoon (21-11-5) had points in each of its previous six games (4-0-2). . . . The Raiders are 4-1-0 in the season series. . . . On Thursday night, the Raiders won in Saskatoon, 4-3 in OT. . . . F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (9) gave the Blades a 2-1 lead at 16:23 of the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor (23) tied it with his second goal of the game, and fourth in two nights, at 19:39 of the second period. . . . F Aliaksei Protas (7) snapped the tie at 10:33 of the third, and F Cole Fonstad (12) added insurance at 19:50 with the empty-netter. . . . Gregor also had an assist for his second straight three-point night. . . . The Raiders won 45 of 68 faceoffs. . . . Saskatoon D Brandon Schuldhaus was tossed at 8:51 of the first period with a kneeing major and game misconduct. D Max Martin, who absorbed the hit, returned for the second period and finished the game. . . . The Raiders are 5-0-0 without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, who are with Team Canada at the WJC.


The Regina Pats jumped out to a 2-0 lead and went on to a 3-2 victory over the visiting PatsBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Pats (11-24-1) have won two in a row, both of them over the Wheat Kings. One night earlier, Regina won, 3-2, in Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings (15-12-6) have lost two straight. . . . F Garrett Wright (2), at 12:01 of the first period, and F Austin Pratt (14), at 9:09 of the second, staked Regina to a 2-0 lead. . . . Brandon D Cole Reinhardt (7) made it 2-1 at 13:56. . . . F Logan Nijhoff (2) restored Regina’s two-goal lead at 11:34 of the third. . . . F Luka Burzan (19) got Brandon back to within a goal at 17:19. . . . Regina held a 38-20 edge in shots and won 35 of 59 faceoffs. . . . Brandon was without F Stelio Mattheos, who leads it in goals, assists and points, after he was suspended for three games after taking a match penalty for intent to injury in Thursday’s game. Mattheos drew the penalty after retaliating against Pats D Brady Pouteau, who drew a TBD suspension under supplemental discipline. . . . Regina F Robbie Holmes sat out a one-game suspension. He was ejected from Thursday’s game with a cross-checking major and game misconduct for hit on F Connor Gutenberg, who wasn’t injured.


F Tristin Langan scored the game’s last two goals as the Moose Jaw Warriors skated to a MooseJawWarriors4-3 OT victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Warriors (18-8-6) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Broncos (7-25-3) had beaten the Warriors, 4-3 in OT, in Moose Jaw on Thursday. . . . Last night, the Broncos held a 2-0 lead only to have the Warriors tie it on goals from F Daemon Hunt (4), at 19:41 of the first period, and F Justin Almeida (9), at 0:41 of the second. . . . F Matthew Culling (6) gave the Broncos a 3-2 lead at 10:31 of the second period. . . . Langan, who has 26 goals, tied it at 15:40 of the second, then won it, on a PP, at 2:36 of OT. . . . Culling has goals in four straight games and in five of his past six games. . . . Almeida added two assists to his goal, while Langan had one. . . . The Warriors won 41 of 69 faceoffs. . . . Broncos G Joel Hofer stopped 35 shots. . . . The Broncos had Finnish F Joona Kiviniemi back in the lineup, but Finnish D Roope Pynnonen was scratched. Both missed Thursday’s game due to travel delays.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored four times in the first half of the second period en route EdmontonOilKingsto a 7-3 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (19-12-6) has points in four straight (3-0-1). The victory lifted the Oil Kings into first place in the Central Division, two points ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes, both of whom were beaten at home. . . . Calgary (15-16-4) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . F Vladimir Alistrov (5), F Zach Russell (1), F Andrei Pavlenko (6) and F Andrew Fyten (10) scored for Edmonton between 1:58 and 9:12 of the second period. . . . Russell, a 19-year-old from Calgary, scored his first goal in his 11th game with Edmonton. He had played 40 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2016-17 and one last season. . . . F Mark Kastelic scored twice for Calgary, giving him 25 goals. He had a career-high 23 last season.


F Dante Hannoun scored four goals and added an assist to lead the Victoria Royals to a 6-VictoriaRoyals2 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Victoria (17-13-1) has won three in a row. With the WJC in their home arena, the Royals are on the road. They’ll play in each of the six Central Division cities over nine nights. . . . Lethbridge (18-10-6) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). . . . Hannoun, who is gunning for his fourth straight season with at least 25 goals, now has 17. . . . This was Hannoun’s first four-goal game after two hat-tricks. . . . Hannoun is the fourth player in franchise history to enjoy a four-goal game, after F Tyler Soy (2016-17), F Brandon Magee (2012-13) and F Kevin Sundher (2011-12). . . . F Tarun Fizun added a goal, his ninth, and two assists for the Royals, who held period leads of 2-1 and 5-2. . . . The Royals got 30 saves from G Brock Gould, who normally backs up Griffen Outhouse.


F James Hamblin scored twice to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-1 victory over the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Kootenay Ice. . . . Medicine Hat improved to 18-15-3, while Kootenay now is 8-23-6. . . . F Ryan Jevne (17), at 7:03 of the first period, and Hamblin, on a PP, at 4:27 of the second, gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead. . . . D Martin Bodak (7) got the Ice’s goal at 19:15. . . . Hamblin upped the lead to 3-1 with his 19th goal, at 7:44 of the third, and F Ryan Chyzowski (12) got the empty-netter at 17:36. . . . The Ice won 36 of 60 faceoffs. . . . F Elijah Brown was back in Medicine Hat’s lineup for the first time since Nov. 13. . . . D Jonathan Smart, 19, who reportedly didn’t return to the Ice after the Christmas break, wasn’t in Kootenay’s lineup.


G David Tendeck stopped 28 shots to lead the visiting Vancouver Giants to a 6-0 victory Vancouverover the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Vancouver (23-8-2) has won two straight. . . . Red Deer (20-11-2) has lost two in a row. . . . Tendeck stopped 25 shots through two periods, then the Giants outshot their hosts, 18-3, in the third. . . . The Giants scored twice in the second period and added four in the third. . . . F Tristen Nielsen had a goal, his fourth, and two assists, as did F Jared Legien, 20, who was playing his first game with Vancouver after joining the team from the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . Vancouver also had D Landon Fuller, 18, of the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers in its lineup. . . . Tendeck has two shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . With the WJC in Vancouver, the B.C. Division-leading Giants are on a six-game Central Division trek. They will play six games in 10 nights. . . . F Brett Davis (ill) was among Red Deer’s scratches.


F Zane Franklin scored the game’s last two goals to give the host Kamloops Blazers a 3-2 Kamloops1victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kamloops (13-16-3) had lost six in a row (0-5-1), all in the Central Division before Christmas. . . . Kelowna (16-17-3) will play host to the Blazers tonight. . . . F Lane Zablocki (4) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 18:50 of the second period. . . . F Brodi Stuart (10) got Kamloops even, while shorthanded, at 7:23 of the third. . . . D Kaedan Korczak (3) restored Kelowna’s lead, on a PP, at 15:26. . . . Franklin got Kamloops into a 2-2 tie, on a PP and with G Dylan Ferguson on the bench for the extra attacker, at 18:54 of the third. . . . Franklin’s 19th goal of the season won it at 4:18 of OT. . . . Ferguson won it with 36 saves. . . . F Alex Swetlikoff, who had been with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, made his debut with his hometown Rockets.


F Parker AuCoin’s OT goal gave the visiting Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the tri-cityPortland Winterhawks. . . . Tri-City (18-12-2) has won four in a row, each of them in OT. . . . Portland (19-11-5) has points in four straight (1-0-3). . . . This was the third straight game between these teams and the Americans won each one in OT. . . . Before Christmas, the Americans won twice in OT — 3-2 in Kennewick, Wash., and 4-3 in Portland. . . . Tri-City won the first meeting of the season between the teams, 6-5 in a shootout, at home on Sept. 28. . . . After last night, they will meet four more times. . . . The Americans began their four-game OT winning streak by beating the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 8-7, on Dec. 8. . . . De Jong had given the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead with his fifth goal, on a PP, at 8:04 of the first period. . . . F Sasha Mutala (8) tied it, on a PP, at 17:27. . . . F Blake Stevenson (6) gave the Americans a 2-1 lead at 6:08 of the second. . . . The Winterhawks tied it when F Ryan Hughes (14) scored at 16:38. . . . AuCoin won it with his 18th goal, at 1:17 of OT. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm stopped 33 shots. . . . Portland was left with four defencemen after Brendan De Jong left with an undisclosed injury in the first period, and John Ludvig was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 15:01 of the second.


The Prince George Cougars scored once in each of the last two periods and hung on for a PrinceGeorge2-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Prince George (12-19-3) had lost its previous five games. The Cougars are six-games into an 11-game road trip from hell. They last played at home on Dec. 2, and won’t play there again until Jan. 11. They went 0-5-0 to open the trek, and will continue it tonight in Everett and Sunday in Kamloops. The Cougars will go home to do laundry, then play in Kelowna on Jan. 4. They then will spend a couple of days in the Okanagan before visiting the Tri-City Americans on Jan. 8 and the Spokane Chiefs on Jan. 9. . . . Seattle (11-17-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (13) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 1:04 of the second period. . . . F Josh Maser (11) made it 2-0 at 10:38 of the third. . . . F Payton Mount (3) got Seattle’s goal at 13:12. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 29 shots to earn the victory.


F Connor Dewar scored twice to lead the visiting Everett Silvertips to a 3-1 victory over Everettthe Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (28-7-2) has points in 15 straight (13-0-2). . . . Spokane (9-12-4) had won its previous three games. It also had won seven in a row at home. . . . F Jack Finley (5) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead at 18:19 of the first period. . . . F Gage Goncalves (1) got Everett even at 1:21 of the second. His first WHL goal came in his 37th game, 36 of them this season. . . . Dewar put the visitors out front, on a PP, at 14:01, and he put it away with an empty-netter at 18:21 of the third. . . . Dewar has 26 goals this season. . . . Everett held a 43-15 edge in shots, including 19-2 in the second and 12-3 in the third. . . . Everett remains without F Sean Richards, who is serving an eight-game suspension. After this one, he has three left — tonight (Saturday) against visiting Prince George, and a home-and home with the Tri-City Americans on Jan. 4 and 5. He will be eligible to return on Jan. 6 against the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Chiefs are without D Spokane Bobby Russell as he serves a two-game suspension. He also will sit tonight against the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . The Chiefs also are missing F Jaret Anderson-Dolan and D Ty Smith, both of whom are with Team Canada at the WJC, and D Filip Kral, who is playing for Czech Republic.


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You’ll be hearing from Hockey Gives Blood . . . Kamloops’ GM on the job . . . Wheat Kings, Tigers sign draft picks

MacBeth

F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) signed a one-year contract with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite). This season, with Orlik Opole (Poland, PHL), he had 18 goals and 19 assists in 35 games. He led the Lightning in goals and points, and was tied for the team lead in assists. . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). This season, with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 35 games. He was the KHL’s forward of the month for November. . . .

F Clarke Breitkreuz (Regina, Prince George, 2008-10) signed a one-year contract with Lausitzer Füchse Weisswasser (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2), he had seven goals and nine assists in 40 games. . . .

D Alexei Platonov (Medicine Hat, 2015-16) signed a try-out contract with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had one goal and two assists in 24 games. . . .

F Jaroslav Kristek (Tri-City, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Courchevel-Méribel-Pralognan (France, Division 2). This season, with Brest (France, Division 1), he had seven goals and 12 assists in 22 games. . . .

D Riley Stadel (Kelowna, Edmonton, 2011-17) signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 games. . . .

F Michal Poletín (Regina, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and nine assists in 52 games. . . .

F Taylor Makin (Prince George, Vancouver, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Brest (France, Division 1). This season, with Acadia University (Atlantic University Sports), he had four goals and two assists in 12 games. . . .

F Jacob Doty (Seattle, Medicine Hat, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Braehead Clan Glasgow (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 16 goals and 19 assists in 56 games.


ThisThat

What follows was written earlier today (Sunday) but a four-hour power outage on the east side of Kamloops meant that its posting was delayed. So without further ado . . .

——

I actually took a couple of days away from the laptop in order to paint our deck. It was supposed to have been done last summer, but the smoke from the forest fires limited the amount of time a person could spend outside.

This time I only had to battle the mosquitoes. I haven’t seen them this bad since we left Regina in the spring of 2000. This spring, in the Kamloops area, we had a sudden turn to 30 C temperatures and a quick snow melt from the higher areas, all of which combined for a perfect mosquito-hatching season.

Having sat on our deck and enjoyed many a mosquito-free evening over the last few years, I had forgotten that the only thing mosquitoes like more than heat and water is human flesh.

But, hey, I toughed it out and the painting is finished.


I did take time out late last week to have a cup of coffee with Stu Middleton, the man behind Hockey Gives Blood.

He is a busy man these days. But, oh boy, has he accomplished a lot in less than two HockeyGivesBloodmonths.

Hockey Gives Blood, the project he started following the April 6 crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus, has partnered with Canada Blood Services, as it reads on its website, “to promote blood donation as an integral component of hockey programs . . .”

With that in mind, Hockey Gives Blood was front and centre at the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack and at the Memorial Cup in Regina last month.

Yes, Middleton says, Hockey Gives Blood has made some inroads, but it has a long, long way to go.

Middleton has big plans for the non-profit organization, most of which are still in the planning stage. But you can count on hearing a lot from Hockey Gives Blood in the near future.

In the meantime, watch for representatives at events like annual golf tournaments held by the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets, and the Humboldt Broncos Memorial tournament at the Humboldt Golf Club on Aug. 18.

You are able to check out Hockey Gives Blood right here.

If you haven’t seen it, Pam Cowan of the Regina Leader-Post wrote about Middleton and Hockey Gives Blood in April, and that story is right here.


As expected, the Kamloops Blazers introduced Matt Bardsley as their new general manager at a news conference on Friday morning.

Bardsley, 46, had been with the Portland Winterhawks since 1999, working his way up Kamloops1from scout to assistant general manager.

In Kamloops, Bardsley takes over from Stu MacGregor, who now is on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. The Stars are owned by Tom Gaglardi, who is the majority owner of the Blazers.

Bardsley steps into a Kamloops organization that needs a head coach, at least one assistant coach, and a director of player personnel.

Don Hay, the head coach for the past four seasons, has been moved to an advisory role, although he has made it apparent that he still wants to coach and that his phone line is open.

Assistant coach Mike Needham, who had been with the Blazers since 2010, and director of player personnel Matt Recchi, who had been in his position for 10 years, were told their contracts couldn’t be renewed.

Bardsley’s first job will be to hire a head coach, with Kyle Gustafson, who has been on the Winterhawks’ coaching staff since 2003-04, definitely in the running.

According to Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV, Bardsley said: “Kyle is a a good friend of mine. I have a long list of names, and he’s certainly a person who is on my list. He’s certainly qualified to have an opportunity, and he’ll be a head coach — soon.”

Meanwhile, the Blazers have scheduled a news conference for this afternoon (Monday) at which they are expected to announce the signing of F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops.

Stankoven was the fifth overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. This season, he had 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C.

The Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and Stankoven announced Sunday that he will play for them in 2018-19.

——

The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Vincent Iorio, a highly touted second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Iorio was widely believed to be going the BrandonWKregularNCAA route before signing with the Wheat Kings. From Port Coquitlam, B.C., he has a late birthday, so won’t turn 16 until Nov. 14. . . . This season, he had four goals and 19 assists in 52 games with the U16 midget team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. The previous season, he had eight goals and 24 assists in 39 games with the bantam T1 team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s.

Brandon also signed F Nolan Ritchie, 16, who was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. His father, Darren, is a former Wheat Kings player who now scouts for the organization. . . . This season, Nolan had 40 goals and 44 assists in 45 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. His 84 points left him second in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League scoring race. In his draft season, he won the Winnipeg Bantam AAA League’s scoring derby with 89 points, 51 of them goals, with the Wheat Kings.

The Wheat Kings also have signed F Jake Chiasson and F Brett Hyland to WHL contracts. . . . Chiasson was a first-round selection, 15th overall, in the 2018 bantam draft, while Hyland was taken in the second round. . . . Chiasson, from Abbotsford, stayed at home this season and played at the Yale Hockey Academy. He had 20 goals and 48 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team. . . . Hyland, from Edmonton, had 10 goals and 25 assists in 17 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team this season.

——

WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

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The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Cole Sillinger, who was a first-round selection, 11th overall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had 46 goals and 37 assists Tigers Logo Officialin 30 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team. From Regina, his father, Mike, starred for the Regina Pats (1987-91) before going to a lengthy pro career that included 1,049 regular-season NHL games.

The Tigers also signed D Dru Krebs, who was taken in the second-round of the 2018 bantam draft. From Okotoks, Krebs had seven goals and 10 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Okotoks Oilers. . . . Krebs has two brothers playing in the WHL — Peyton is with the Kootenay Ice, while Dakota plays for the Calgary Hitmen. Yes, all three brothers are with teams in the Central Division, although Dru, at 15, isn’t eligible for full-time play until the 2019-20 season.


The City of Kennewick is going to make improvements to the 30-year-old Toyota Center tri-citythat is home to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. Annie Fowler and Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald report that “visitors will soon see improvements . . . under an agreement that will keep the Americans for the foreseeable future.” . . . The major project this summer will be the installation of LED lighting. . . . In time, it is expected that a new ice plant and video board will be installed, and improvements will be made to the visiting team dressing room. . . . Taking Note has been told that improvements also will be made to the foyer and there will changes to the concessions. . . . The WHL had implemented a deadline of September 2019 for improvements to be made in order that the facility met league standards. . . . The Americans’ lease expires in 2020. . . . The Herald’s story is right here.


The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio, owners of 94.3 the Goat, have agreed on a deal covering play-by-play rights for the 2018-19 season. Fraser Roger will call the play for a second straight season, with Hartley Miller back for a sixth season as the analyst.


Mark Chase has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. From Kamloops, Chase, 31, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . In Osoyoos, Chase takes over from Ken Law, who was dropped after being the only head coach in the team’s eight-year existence. Under Law, the Coyotes won one KIJHL title and six regular-season division titles. . . . Andrew Stuckey of Osoyoos Today has more right here.


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