Scattershooting on a Saturday night while wondering if that was the longest intermission in history . . .

Scattershooting2

While the sun was shining in Lake Tahoe and forcing the longest first intermission in NHL history on Saturday afternoon, the U of Saskatchewan’s athletic department was dropping a bombshell.

It wasn’t long after Darren Dreger of TSN tweeted that Mike Babcock’s hiring as the U of Saskatchewan’s men’s hockey coach would be announced “next week” when the school made it official.

Dave Hardy, the Huskies’ chief athletics officer, said in a news release that the 57-year-old Babock, who is from Saskatoon, “will lead the Huskies on a full-time volunteer basis for the next two seasons.”

Dreger later tweeted that Babcock “will coach one season, but is heavily involved in hiring an assistant coach to work with him next season before taking over the program the following year.”

Earlier in the week, Hardy told Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that he had heard from “less than 100 and more than 50” people interested in the vacancy. Hardy said that he hoped to hire someone before April 1.

“It’s a real challenge for our search committee to narrow that down but we’ll do that sort of collaboratively over the next three or four weeks,” Hardy told Zary. “We’ll have a very qualified coach by March 31.”

Babcock, who is to move into his new position in May, takes over from Dave Adolph, the team’s 27-year head coach who announced his retirement on Dec. 7 and will leave on May 1.

Babcock, a defenceman, played one season (1981-82) with the Huskies and one with the WHL’s Kelowna Wings before spending three seasons at McGill U in Montreal. He later coached at Red Deer College (1988-91) and with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns (1993-94), winning a national title there. He also coached in the WHL for eight seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors (1991-93) and Spokane Chiefs (1994-2000). . . . As an NHL coach, he won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings (2007-08) and two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada (2010, 2014).

This season, he has been helping out as a volunteer senior advisor with the U of Vermont Catamounts, and he recently began working with NBC Sports as an NHL analyst.

Babcock was fired as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 20, 2019. He was in his fifth season there. When he was dumped, what was an eight-year, US$50-million contract had almost three years left on it. At the time, Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported that Babcock’s contract with Toronto “had a $3M signing bonus then $5.875M salary every year evenly through 2022-23.”

There since have been allegations that he verbally abused players, in particular Mitch Marner with the Maple Leafs and Johan Franzen in Detroit.



The 15-team AJHL, which hasn’t played since Nov. 21, announced Friday that it ajhlhas received government approval to resume its season. Specific dates apparently haven’t yet been set, but the league said training camps are to open “at the start of March” with games to begin at some point after that. If all goes well, games will be played on weekends through the end of May. . . . The news release didn’t mention a format but there have been reports that teams play be placed in three-game cohorts and play 24 games. . . . The league says that “players, coaches and support staff are currently self-isolating in preparation” for training camps. Players will be free to move on to camps after two negative tests. After that, a positive test will sideline a team for at least 14 days. . . . At this point, there won’t be any fans allowed to attend games. . . . The last line of the AJHL news release reads: “An update league schedule and a list of participating teams will be announced shortly.” By Saturday afternoon there was speculation that as many as three teams may opt out  of the resumption of play. . . . Before suspending play in November, the AJHL had experienced positive tests on at least five teams — the Canmore Eagles, Calgary Canucks, Drumheller Dragons, Olds Grizzlies and Whitecourt Wolverines.


The day before the AJHL announced that it was going to get in some games in PGKingsthe next while, the BCHL revealed that “multiple members” of the Prince George Spruce Kings have tested positive. . . . “At this point,” the BCHL news release reads, “the affected team members and all close contacts have been placed in a 14-day quarantine and anyone showing symptoms will be tested as soon as possible.” . . . The BCHL closed off with: “For the privacy of the people affected, we will have no further comment at this time.” . . . Brendan Pawliw of myprincegeorgenow.com reported that “several members” of the team had tested positive and that “all other billet families, team personnel and staff have been instructed to self-monitor for symptoms and to arrange for a test if symptoms arise.” . . . Pawliw also reported that “general manager Mike Hawes told MyPGNow.com he will not be commenting further on the issue.” . . . The Prince George Citizen reported that “general manager Mike Hawes has been told by the league not to reveal any other information.” . . . You may recall that Andrew Milne, the general manager and head coach of the Canmore Eagles, was hit with a 15-game suspension and fined $1,000 for talking to the media in December after his team was hit by an outbreak.



The Calgary Hitmen have cleared the first hurdle and now are OK to begin on-ice workouts. The Hitmen didn’t get back any positives from 59 tests from Feb. 13 through Friday as they set up shop at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina National near Calgary. . . .

Meanwhile, Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, reported that Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister, said Friday that the WHL’s 65-page return-to-play proposal “has been received and (is) being reviewed by the provincial health office. We are working on the plan and we will be responding the plan soon.” The plan apparently was received on Feb. 2, although Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said earlier in the week that officials ““haven’t received an updated proposal in the last few weeks.”


Drinks


Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle writes some truth:

“Women’s tennis reached its contemporary pinnacle when Serena Williams met Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open semifinals, and they played it like champions: quietly and with dignity, save those moments of exultation. Somehow, the WTA’s godawful noise machine grinds on with two of the top players, Simona Halep and Garbiñe Muguruza, right at the forefront. Every stroke brings a deafening shriek, as if there’s a gruesome crime in progress. As such, they leave no pleasant memories. They’re just passing through the sport.”


Frigate


The Port Moody Amateur Hockey Association has cancelled all team activities after learning of four positive tests among its membership. . . . According to a statement on the PMAHA website, it became aware of single positives on Feb. 4 and Feb. 9, and two on Feb. 10. . . . It acted on Feb. 10 to pause all activities. Before this, teams were allowed to practice under certain restrictions.



The eight-school Ivy League announced Friday that it won’t be holding any spring sports in 2021. The Ivy League Council of Presidents said the decision had been made “because of ongoing public health concerns related to COVID-19.”



If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Mars

WHL’s U.S. teams gearing up to play . . . B.C. Division remains on hold . . . Iginla now coaching in Kelowna

The WHL announced on Jan. 28 that it’s five Alberta-based teams would begin a 24-game schedule on Feb. 26. The Swift Current Broncos, who under what once WHL2was normal circumstances, are in the Central Division, but they won’t be for these games. . . . On Friday, the WHL announced that its five U.S.-based teams will begin play on March 19, although it didn’t reveal how many games teams are hoping to play. According to the news release, the teams will “return to play in Washington state.” With Oregon not having yet approved a return to play, the Portland Winterhawks are expected to play ‘home’ games in Kent, while practising in Vancouver, Wash. . . . Washington Gov. Jay Inslee gave the WHL the OK to return earlier this week. . . . Details are sketchy, but what is known is that fans won’t be allowed at any of these games. . . .

Earlier Friday, it became apparent that the five B.C. Division teams won’t be playing games until perhaps the latter half of March. Pandemic-related restrictions that were to have expired in the province on Friday have been extended indefinitely and likely to be re-examined at month’s end.

With Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, giving her Friday update, Richard Zussman of Global B.C. tweeted: “On WHL hub city, Dr. Henry says they received a proposal in January that was rejected. Says they are buying time overall until the end of the month. Doesn’t look like anything will change until the end of February. ‘We want to work to salvage a spring season.’ “

There has been talk of having the Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals play out of a Kelowna bubble of some kind, with the Kamloops Blazers and Prince George Cougars doing the same in Kamloops. It isn’t known what would happen with the Vancouver Giants under that scenario.

And, please, let’s stop calling any upcoming games the 2020-21 regular season. Uhh, 2020 is in the rearview mirror and a maximum of 24 games does not a regular season make.

——

Meanwhile, the QMJHL isn’t likely to be playing games in New Brunswick for a qmjhlnewwhile after a public health spokesperson said Thursday that “it’s unlikely that restrictions for sports will be relaxed in the near future.” . . . With the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and Victoriaville Tigres on pause — the Tigres have had some positive tests among players; the Sagueneens were the last team to play the Tigres — the QMJHL has had to revise its schedule again. Victoriaville was to have played host to what the league is calling a ‘protected environment’ event, but that obviously won’t happen. So the next two such events are to be played in Quebec City and Shawinigan, from Feb. 12-18. There will be seven teams, including Chicoutimi, in Quebec City, with four teams playing in Shawinigan.


Former WHLer Colton Orr is the head coach of the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale, which pulled out of the league’s bubble format in Lake Placid N.Y., this week because of positive tests. Orr said that about two-thirds of the Whale’s players had tested positive. “We felt we had no choice,” Orr said, referring to a decision not play Monday against the Minnesota Whitecaps. “We had a choice to play that game, and our team chose not to play. We chose the safety of our players.” Orr added: “The team’s concerns and decision not to play were definitely validated and confirmed by the failure to maintain a controlled environment.” . . . The NWHL later cancelled the remaining games. That included the semifinals and final, both of which were to have been televised by NBCSN. . . . Orr was neither suspended nor fined for talking with the media about the virus attacking his team.


Ronnie


THE COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The Vegas Golden Knights returned to action on Friday night for the first time in 10 days, but the NHL still has four American teams on pause. . . . The Golden Knights, who had four games scratched, didn’t show much rust as they scored three first-period goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Kings. . . . Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils won’t play again before Tuesday, while the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild will be idle until at least Thursday, and the Colorado Avalanche is on the shelf until at least Feb. 14. . . . The NHL has postponed 26 games since it opened its season on Jan. 13. None of those games involved any of the seven Canadian teams. . . .

Hockey Canada has cancelled the Esso Cup, Telus Cup, Centennial Cup and Allan Cup championships, all of which were scheduled to be played in the spring. . . . The Esso Cup, Canada’s national U18 AAA women’s championship, was to have been played in Prince Albert. . . . The Telus Cup, the national U18 AAA men’s championship, had been scheduled for Sydney, N.S., while the Centennial Cup, the junior A championship, would have been played in Penticton, B.C. . . . The Allan Cup goes to the national senior AAA men’s champions. It became evident in October that there wouldn’t be a champion declared for 2020-21 because there weren’t any teams playing. . . .

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about what happened with Kevin Durant of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets while they were losing, 123-117, to the visiting Toronto Raptors on Friday night. Due to contact tracing, Durant was late getting into the game. He played 19 minutes, before he was taken out, again due to protocols. Durant, who tested positive in March, apparently was in contact yesterday with someone who was found to be positive during the game.


Politician


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: In recent days, the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed general manager Mike Hawes to a three-year contract extension. He is in his 10th season as the team’s GM. The Spruce Kings also have signed head coach Alex Evin to a two-year extension, while signing associate coach Lukáš Lomicky, assistant coach Jason Garneau and trainer Joel Walkey to one-year deals. . . . Hey, Sportsnet, whenever you want to stop showing us games involving the Boston Bruins, at least with their homer-centric mouthpieces doing the yakking, it would be just fine. . . . Former WHL/NHL F Jarome Iginla is the new head coach of the RINK Hockey Academy’s U15 prep team in Kelowna. Iginla, who owns a piece of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, has been coaching minor hockey, and his sons, Tij and Joe, in Boston for the past four seasons. TJ is a highly ranked 2006-born forward.


Phones

Junior hockey, CFL looking for help . . . Hlinka Gretzky Cup done . . . Pro-junior agreement extended one year


Mike Hawes, the general manager of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings, has told Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen that the pandemic has cost the league’s teams about $3 million in ticket sales and sponsorships. . . . Clarke also wrote: “Teams have been granted the option to opt out of (the) league for next season to allow them a year to restore operating budgets, but Hawes said none have yet indicated they plan to do that.” . . . The 18-team league announced in January that it was cutting its regular season from 58 games to 54. According to Clarke, it hopes to open on Sept. 18, but it has “alternate plans for 50- or 46-game seasons, depending on when COVID-19 restrictions on crowd gatherings are lifted.” . . . Clarke’s complete story is right here.

——

ICYMI, the afore-mentioned Ted Clarke is the winner of the 2019-20 Fred (Gus) Collins Award. According to a news release: “The award is handed out annually to a member of the media who works tirelessly covering Canada West and it student-athletes, and is named in honour of the late Fred (Gus) Collins.” . . . Collins was a longtime member of the Winnipeg Tribune and Calgary Herald sports departments. He covered university sports as a reporter and also was a longtime statistician with university sports in the west. . . . Clarke has covered the UNBC Timberwolves for 20 years, the last eight of them in Canada West. . . . The complete Canada West news release is right here.


Meanwhile, the junior B Kootenay Junior B International Hockey League announced Tuesday that it “will be seeking financial assistance from the provincial and federal governments” to help the 20-team league get through the pandemic. . . . The KIJHL has 13 community-owned teams and seven that are privately owned. Of its 20 teams, 19 are in B.C., the exception being the Spokane Braves. . . . According to a KIJHL news release, the league “has already experienced heavy financial losses due to the virus and expects continued challenges when play resumes. For that reason, the league is looking to the provincial government for support, and will also hope to tap into a program announced by the federal government that has earmarked $500 million towards arts, culture and sport organizations.” . . . Earlier, the junior A BCHL said that it will be looking for help from that same program. . . . The KIJHL’s news release is right here.


The CFL also is looking for some financial help from the federal government. From a report by The Canadian Press: “CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie told The Canadian Press on Tuesday that the league’s proposal involves three phases: $30 million now to manage the impact the novel coronavirus outbreak has had on league business; additional assistance for an abbreviated regular season; and up to another $120 million in the event of a lost 2020 campaign.” . . . The CFL season had been scheduled to open on June 11, but that won’t happen. The league now hopes to begin play early in July.


Elected


Hockey Canada has confirmed the speculation by officially announcing the cancellation of the eight-country Hlinka Gretzky Cup, the U-18 tournament that was to have been played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 3-8. . . . While Hockey Canada pinned the blame on the pandemic, it’s no secret that the building in Edmonton will need to be ready in case the NHL is able to return to play. . . . The 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup is scheduled for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, before returning to Edmonton and Red Deer in 2022. . . . The 2021 World Junior Championship, which is to run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, also is to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer.



We could be watching baseball on TV next week, as South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reports that ESPN and the Korean Baseball Organization are closing in on a deal. . . . The KBO season has been on hold but is scheduled to start on May 5. . . . The Korean league began two weeks of exhibition play on Tuesday without fans in stadiums. According to an Associated Press report from a game in Seoul: “Umpires wore masks and gloves, and some coaches and team staff wore masks in the dugouts. Some of the players and a coach wore messages on their caps that read ‘Corona 19 Out.’ ” As well, all people entering the stadium had their temperatures checked. . . . Oh, and one other thing — there is to be no spitting. That will be interesting because spitting has been around baseball as long as dirt. . . .

Perhaps forgotten in all of the news about postponements and cancellations in the sporting world is that the AHL season also is on hold. The AHL shut down on March 12, the same day that the NHL hit the ‘hold’ button. The Associated Press reported Monday that the AHLis “quite likely” to cancel the remainder of its season. In its report, the AP quoted a person with direct knowledge of discussions. The 31-team league responded by saying there is “nothing imminent” in terms of an announcement. . . .

With the government of France having banned public gatherings until mid-July, the French Grand Prix, scheduled for June 28, has been cancelled. Formula One now hopes to get its season started with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5. . . .

I would suggest that tennis star Rafael Nadal gets it. In a story that appeared in newspapers in Spain on Monday, he was quoted as saying: “I don’t think training would be a problem, but competing . . . I see it very difficult. It’s a moment to be responsible and coherent, so I don’t see how we can travel every week to a different country.” . . . To this point, both tennis tours are on hold until at least mid-July. . . .

Argentina’s soccer federation, on hold since March 15, has cancelled the remainder of its 2020 season. It is hoping to get its 2021 season started in January. . . .

The Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede that was to have been held July 22-25 has been cancelled. . . .

The Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was to have included Canada’s Larry Walker, still is scheduled for July 26, but that may change this week after directors hold a virtual meeting. . . .

NASCAR, idle since March, hopes to get its schedule rolling on May 17 at Darlington, S.C., with the state having relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.



The NHL’s board of governors has approved extensions of its player development agreements through the 2020-21 season. That includes the pro-junior agreement with the CHL that covers the OHL, QMJHL and WHL. . . . With that agreement staying in place, it means that nothing will change for a 19-year-old player who signs an NHL contract; he will have to play with the NHL team or be returned to the major junior club. There had been speculation that a new agreement might include an option that would allow a signed 19-year-old to play in the AHL, something the NHL has been wanting for a while now.


MonaLisa


Brady Leavold played 200 regular-season WHL games over five seasons (2003-08), splitting time with the Swift Current Broncos and Kelowna Rockets. However, his page at eliteprospects.com or hockeydb.com doesn’t begin to tell the story. . . . That’s because those pages only include hockey-related numbers, and nothing to do with addiction or rehab. Gare Joyce has written Leavold’s story right here and, well, it isn’t pretty, but it’s worth a read.


Marty Murray has left the NAHL’s Minot Minotauros to take over as general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. . . . Murray, who spent four seasons (1991-95) playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings, had spent more than eight seasons as Minot’s GM/head coach. . . . Murray, 45, was with the Minotauros from the start, beginning as an assistant coach and moving up to GM/head coach midway through the franchise’s first season. . . . The Minotauros immediately named Shane Wagner, who had been Murray’s assistant coach, as their head coach. Wagner has spent three years in Minot. . . . In Sioux Falls, Murray takes over from Scott Owens, who retired after five seasons there. . . . Minot’s complete news release is right here.

——

The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have signed associate coach Jeremy Blumes to a two-year contract. He spent the past two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. . . . In Nipawin, Blumes will be working with GM/head coach Doug Johnson.


ToBe

First call for Memorial Cup ducats . . . Goaltender’s WHL days over . . . Giants get trade acquisition signed . . . Royals short on D, beat hurting ‘Hawks

MacBeth

F Ryan Olsen (Saskatoon, Kelowna, 2009-14) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had eight goals and 17 assists in 34 games with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL). . . .

G Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13) has signed a one-year extension with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste bank Liga). In 26 games, he is 2.82 and.923. He is fourth in the league in save percentage.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

If you are planning to attend the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina, you now are able to call your banker and tell him the size of the loan you will be needing.

Ticket packages for what will be the Memorial Cup’s 100th anniversary will go on sale to MemCupRegRegina Pats season-ticket holders today (Thursday).

From a news release:

“Ticket packages for the 10-day event will include eight guaranteed games (plus a tie-breaker if needed), with season-ticket holder pricing set at $695 for Centennial-level seating and $645 for Festival-level seating.

“Regina Pats season-ticket holders will also enjoy an exclusive ticket presale opportunity from Jan. 18-26. Season-ticket holders aren’t guaranteed their current seat but the host committee in conjunction with the Regina Pats will do all they can to limit seat relocation.”

The complete news release is available at the Pats’ website (reginapats.com).

Tickets will be released to the general public on Jan. 30. At that time, those packages will be priced at $750 and $700.

If you visit mastercardmemorialcup.ca and click on TICKETS, you will be taken to a ticketmaster site that includes this message: “If selected, you will receive a specific seat allocation. All tickets packages are $847.50 including tax.”

Last year, in Windsor, Ont., regular bowl ticket packages went for $595 plus tax, with platinum packages at $885 plus tax.

When it came to single-game tickets in Windsor, round-robin games not including the Spitfires were $75, while games including the Spitfires were $90. The semifinal game was $95, with the final set at $115. You had to add HST to each of those prices, too.


The Victoria Royals were without two veteran defencemen as they beat the host Portland Winterhawks, 4-2, on Wednesday night. . . . Chaz Reddekopp (undisclosed injury) will be missing for up to six weeks. He was injured in Saturday’s 5-4 victory over visiting Kamloops. . . . Kade Jensen, meanwhile, began serving a four-game suspension that was delivered after he took a cross-checking major after the final buzzer of Saturday’s game. That was for a hit on Kamloops D Luke Zazula during a late scrum. . . . Dan Price, the Royals’ head coach, told Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist that Jensen’s penalty had nothing to do with a lack of discipline. The way Price saw it, Jensen was “trying to protect (Matthew Phillips) and sometimes things happen in the moment.” . . . With Reddekopp and Jensen out, the Royals have added D Remy Aquilon, 16, to their roster. He has been playing for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He got into two games with Victoria earlier in the season.


The Edmonton Oil Kings revealed via this week’s WHL roster report that G Travis Child’s EdmontonOilKingsjunior hockey career is over. According to the report, Child has a “season-ending” upper-body injury. Child, 20, is from Killam, Alta. He also played with the Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings. This season, with Edmonton, he was 6-13-2, 4.21, .868, but last played on Dec. 15. . . . Edmonton acquired him from Brandon on May 31, giving up a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft in the swap. . . . In 107 regular-season appearances, Child was 33-39-10, 3.39, .893.

The Oil Kings are left with three goaltenders on their roster — Josh Dechaine, 19, Todd Scott, 17, and Boston Bilous, 16. Scott was acquired last week from the Vancouver Giants.


After choosing not to sign with the Swift Current Broncos, D Joel Sexsmith signed with VancouverVancouver on Wednesday, 10 days after being acquired by the Giants. . . . The Broncos selected Sexsmith ninth overall in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He refused to sign with the Broncos and observers thought he might be taking the NCAA route. Instead, he signed with the Giants, who gave the Broncos a first-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft for his rights. . . . This season, he has two goals and nine assists in eight games with the Calgary-based Edge School elite 15s. . . . Sexsmith is the last of the 22 first-round selections from the 2017 bantam draft to sign a WHL deal.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings and general manager Mike Hawes have signed a three-year contract extension that runs through May 31, 2021. His present deal was due to expire on May 31. . . . Hawes joined the Spruce Kings as an associate coach for 2005-06. After two seasons, he was named assistant GM and director of player personnel a role he filled for four seasons. He took over as GM during the 2010-11 season. . . . The Spruce Kings have made the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons.


A full 117 days since the start of the 2017-18 regular season, the WHL’s Official Guide, with the Seattle Thunderbirds on the cover, is available for download. Featuring what appear to be training camp rosters, it arrived quietly this week, a few days after the league’s roster-shuffling trade deadline passed us by.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


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Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Prince Albert, F Matt Bradley scored twice to help the Regina Pats to a 4-3 victory over the Raiders. . . . Regina (24-19-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1) and now has won more ReginaPats100games (24) than it has lost (23). The Pats are fourth in the East Division, seven points behind Brandon. . . . Prince Albert (16-20-8) is seven points away from a wild-card spot. . . . D Vojtech Budik (4) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:02 of the first period. . . . Regina tied it when F Jake Leschyshyn (15) scored at 19:55. . . . F Curtis Miske (14) put the Raiders back out front at 17:47 of the second period. . . . Bradley tied it at 18:12. . . . The Pats opened the third period by surviving a 5-on-3 disadvantage for 1:02, then scored two PP goals. . . . The first two came from Bradley, at 5:19. . . . F Jesse Gabrielle (3) gave the Pats a two-goal lead, at 6:54. . . . Prince Albert got to within a goal when F Jordy Stallard (30) scored while shorthanded at 15:07. . . . F Cam Hebig had two assists for Regina. . . . Prince Albert got two assists from F Regan Nagy, with Miske adding one. . . . Regina was 2-4 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-5. . . . G Ryan Kubic earned the victory with 34 saves, five more than the Raiders’ Curtis Meger. . . . F Cole Fonstad of the Raiders came up short on a penalty shot at 1:48 of the first period. . . . Regina leads the season series, 5-0-0; Prince Albert is 0-3-2. . . . Announced attendance: 2,045.


At Medicine Hat, F Brett Davis scored with 4.2 seconds left in the third period to give the Kootenay Ice a 4-3 victory over the Tigers, who coughed up a three-goal lead. . . . KootenaynewKootenay (20-22-3) has won two in a row. The Ice is third in the Central Division, three points behind Lethbridge. . . . Medicine Hat (24-18-4) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). The Tigers lead the Central Division by six points over Lethbridge. . . . The Ice went ahead 1-0 when D Martin Bodak scored, on a PP, at 6:04 of the first period. . . . The Tigers scored the next three goals, all of them in the first period. . . . F Mark Rassell (38) got it started at 7:17. . . . F James Hamblin (14) gave the home side a 2-1 lead at 9:59. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (15) upped the lead to 3-1 at 13:00. . . . Bodak (3) got the Ice to within a goal at 16:51 of the second period. . . . Kootenay F Michael King (7) tied the score at 11:20. . . . Davis snapped the tie with his 14th goal of the season. . . . Ice F Colton Veloso, playing in his 250th regular-season game, had two assists, but missed on a first-period penalty shot. . . . F Peyton Krebs also had two assists for the Ice. . . . Hamblin added an assist for Medicine Hat. . . . The Ice was 1-3 on the PP; the Tigers were 0-3. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 34 shots and picked up an assist for the Ice. . . . The Tigers got 19 saves from G Jordan Hollett. . . . In its previous nine games in Medicine Hat, the Ice had lost nine times and been outscored 54-20. . . . Announced attendance: 2,817.


At Portland, F Matthew Phillips had a goal and two assists to lead the Victoria Royals to a 4-2 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Victoria (26-16-4) has won three straight. It is tied VictoriaRoyalswith Vancouver for second in the B.C. Division, three points behind Kelowna. . . . Portland (26-14-4) had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, two point behind Everett with two games in hand. . . . F Tanner Kaspick (14), who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings a week earlier, broke a 2-2 tie at 11:14 of the third period. . . . Phillips, who has 31 goals, made it 4-2 at 12:02. . . . F Tyler Soy (20) had given Victoria a 1-0 lead, while shorthanded at 8:28 of the first period. . . . F Skyler McKenzie (34) pulled Portland into a tie, on a PP, at 9:09. . . . The Royals went back out front when D Matthew Smith (3) scored at 15:06 of the second period. . . . F Cody Glass (25) tied it for Portland, on a PP, at 7:21 of the third period. . . . Portland got two assists from each of D Henri Jokiharju and D Dennis Cholowski. . . . Portland was 2-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 28 shots for the Royals, one fewer than Portland’s Cole Kehler. . . . F Kieffer Bellows was among Portland’s scratches after suffering an undisclosed injury on Saturday against visiting Everett. . . . Portland dressed nine forwards and eight defencemen, then lost F Ryan Hughes to an undisclosed injury in the first period. . . . With the shortage of forwards, Portland used D Conor MacEachern and D John Ludvig up front. . . . Announced attendance: 2,838.


At Prince George, the Seattle Thunderbirds scored five of the game’s last six goals and beat the Cougars, 7-4. . . . Seattle (22-16-6) had beaten the host Cougars, 5-2, on Tuesday Seattlenight. The Thunderbirds are tied with Tri-City for third in the U.S. Division. . . . Prince George (17-22-7) has lost two straight and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Seattle F Mike MacLean scored his first WHL goal at 7:53 of the first period, but Prince George F Aaron Boyd (9) tied it one minute later. . . . F Matthew Wedman (8) gave the Thunderbirds a 2-1 lead at 9:36. . . . The Cougars took a 3-2 lead on goals by F Max Kryski (5), at 11:11, and F Josh Maser (21), on a PP, at 13:53. . . . Seattle followed with the next three goals for a 5-3 lead. . . . F Jaxan Kaluski (3) scored at 7:14 of the second period, with F Sami Moilanen (18), on a PP, counting at 11:29. F Dillon Hamaliuk (11) got the fifth goal at 4:55 of the third period. . . . Hamaliuk, who had one goal in 17 games last season, has 29 points in 44 games this season. He’s got four goals and five assists in his past four games. . . . D Jack Sander (2) pulled the Cougars to within a goal, on a PP, at 7:47. . . . The Thunderbirds iced it on goals from F Zack Andrusiak (19), on a PP, at 16:31, and F Nolan Volcan (20) at 17:39. . . . Seattle got two assists from F Donovan Neuls, and one each from Andrusiak, Wedman, Hamaliuk, Volcan and MacLean. . . . The Cougars got two assists from D Ryan Schoettler. . . . The Cougars were 2-5 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 2-6. . . . Seattle got 18 saves from G Darrin Luding. . . . G Taylor Gauthier blocked 37 shots for the Cougars. . . . Announced attendance: 2,454.


At Kelowna, D Cal Foote scored in overtime to give the Rockets a 4-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Kelowna (28-13-3) leads the Western Conference by one point over Everett. . . . Lethbridge (21-19-4) has points in five straight games (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Hurricanes started OT on the PP — Foote was in stir for delay of game after he knocked the Rockets’ net off its moorings late in the third period — and hit two posts in extra time. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (26) put Lethbridge out front 42 seconds into the first period. . . . Kelowna F Dillon Dube (19) tied it at 8:08. He also drew the lone assist on the winning goal. . . . Dube was in the lineup for the first time since the WJC ended in Buffalo. Dube, who last played for Kelowna on Dec. 9, had been out with the flu. Team Canada’s captain last played for Kelowna on Dec. 9; all told, he missed 13 games. . . . F Kole Lind (22) gave the home boys a 2-1 lead at 4:05 of the second period. . . . The Rockets went ahead 3-1 when F Conner Bruggen-Cate (11) scored shorthanded, at 8:52. . . . D Tate Olson (1) got Lethbridge to within a goal at 13:27. . . . The visitors tied it when F Taylor Ross (14) scored at 12:27 of the third period. . . . Foote, who also had an assist, won it with his eighth goal of the season, at 2:55 of OT. . . . Lethbridge got two assists from F Dylan Cozens. . . . Kelowna was 0-3 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-5. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 31 shots for the Rockets. Salmond played for the first time since Nov. 4. Prior to that, he last played on Oct. 15. Cole Tisdale, 15, was on the bench in support of Salmond. G James Porter Jr. (day-to-day) and Roman Basran (week-to-week) are out with undisclosed injuries. . . . Tisdale, an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, played in his hometown for the minor midget Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . G Reece Klassen turned aside 33 shots for Lethbridge. (No, Logan Flodell didn’t start). . . . The Rockets remain without F Erik Gardiner (concussion), who hasn’t played since Oct. 28. He took a puck to the visor the previous night, played in the next game but hasn’t played since then. He may have suffered a setback, however, as he is shown as being out week-to-week on the Jan. 9 roster report, after being shown as day-to-day one week earlier. . . . Announced attendance: 5,103.


At Spokane, G Bailey Brkin recorded his first WHL shutout to led the Chiefs to a 3-0 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Spokane (23-19-3) holds down the Western SpokaneChiefsConference’s second wild-card spot, but is only one spot out of third in the U.S. Division. . . . Brandon (28-13-3) opened a U.S. Division swing with its first regulation loss in six games. It had been 3-0-2 in its previous five games. The Wheat Kings are third in the East Division, eight points behind Swift Current. . . . Brkin stopped 21 shots. The 18-year-old was acquired from the Kootenay Ice on Jan. 8 for a 2019 eighth-round bantam draft pick. He has been with the Chiefs with Dawson Weatherill out with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Kailer Yamamoto (4) scored the game’s first goal, at 14:40 of the first period, then set up F Ethan McIndoe (12) at 18:34. . . . F Milos Fafrak (6) rounded out the scoring at 17:57 of the second. . . . Yamamoto has two goals and four assists in three games since returning from the WJC where he played for the U.S. . . . Each team was 0-5 on the PP. . . . Brandon got 32 saves from G Logan Thompson. . . . Announced attendance: 3,113.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Aleksi Heponiemi’s second goal of the game, in overtime, gave the Swift Current Broncos a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Swift Current (32-SCBroncos10-3) has points in seven straight games (6-0-1). The Broncos are second in the overall standings, eight points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Tri-City (22-16-6) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It is tied with Seattle for third in the U.S. Division. . . . The Broncos took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matteo Gennaro (30), at 14:58, and Heponiemi, at 19:03. . . . Tri-City tied it on goals from F Jordan Topping (23), on a PP, at 10:52 of the second period and D Jake Bean (7), at 16:59 of the third period. . . . Heponiemi won it with his 23rd goal of the season at 2:23 of OT. . . . F Morgan Geekie had two assists for the Americans. . . . The Americans were 1-5 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-1. . . . G Stuart Skinner recorded the victory with 24 saves. . . . The Americans got 37 stops from G Patrick Dea. . . . Tri-City F Max James was eligible to return after serving a three-game suspension, but he was scratched. . . . The Americans remain without D Juuso Valimaki, F Michael Rasmussen, D Roman Kalinichenko and F Kyle Olson, all of whom are injured. . . . Announced attendance: 2,428.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

Kamloops at Calgary 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Edmonton vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Portland, 7 p.m.

Lethbridge at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Brandon vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Victoria vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.