Blades move goalie to Silvertips . . . Oil Kings add two 2003-born skaters . . . WHL final on tap tonight in Winnipeg

There were three trades made involving veteran players on Thursday during the WHL’s annual draft. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades dealt G Ethan Chadwick, 19, to the Everett Silvertips for Saskatoontwo draft picks — a 2023 second-round pick that originally belong to the Kamloops Blazers and Everett’s fourth-rounder in 2025. . . . From Saskatoon, Chadwick was selected by the Blades in the third round of the 2019 draft. In 46 games with the Blades, he was 29-12-2, ???, .895. . . . In this season’s playoffs, he was 5-4, including victories in Games 3, 4 and 5 against the Regina Pats. He also won back-to-back games in the second round as the Blades came back from a 0-3 deficit to oust the Red Deer Rebels in seven games. . . . Chadwick and Austin Elliott, also 19, shared the Blades’ goaltending duties this season. . . . “This was not an easy situation to navigate with two great goalies who each played a pivotal role in our success this year,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said in a news release. “With two 19-year-old starting goalies who are both deserving of being starters in the league, we made this move to give Ethan the opportunity he deserves with a great franchise in Everett.” . . . The Blades used the 2023 second-round selection to take G Ryley Budd from the Calgary Northstars. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks traded F Aidan Litke, 20, to the Edmonton Oil Kings Portlandfor a third-round selection in Thursday’s draft. That pick originated with the Prince George Cougars. . . . Litke, from Winnipeg, was one of five potential 20-year-olds on the Portland roster, the others being F Gabe Klassen, D Ryan McCleary, F Jack O’Brien and F James Stefan. . . . In 123 games with the Winterhawks, Litke had 31 goals and 36 assists. This season, he put up 13 goals and 23 assists in 50 games. . . . Portland selected him in the sixth round of the 2018 draft. . . . The Winterhawks’ used the third-round pick to take F Owen Chapman of Saskatoon, who played with the Northern Alberta Xtreme U15 prep team. . . .

The Oil Kings also acquired D Marc Lajoie, another 20-year-old, from the Tri-EdmontonCity Americans for two draft picks — a 2025 second-rounder that originally belonged to the Americans and a fifth-rounder in 2026. . . . The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Lajoie, who will turn 20 on May 21, is from St. Albert, Alta. He was the Americans’ captain this season. . . . “We have an abundance of quality (2003-born) players returning,” Bob Tory, Tri-City’s general manager, said in a news release, “which forces us to make some hard decisions. Recouping quality draft capital was a priority as we can only carry three (20-year-old) players each season.” . . . Lajoie played four seasons with the Americans after being the 14th overall selection in the 2018 draft. He had 26 goals and 67 assists in 215 regular-season games. This season, he had five goals and 32 assists in 65 games. . . . His father, Serge, works with the Oil Kings as an assistant coach and the manager of player development.


When the Winnipeg Ice plays host to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 1 of the WHL’s championship final tonight, Canada Life Centre’s upper bowl won’t be open. The lower bowl has a capacity of about 8,800. . . . Carter Brooks (@CBrooksie84) reported Tuesday that tickets for Games 1 and 2 “range in price from $31 to $62.” . . .

The Ice and Thunderbirds each is 12-2 in these playoffs, including 8-2 in their past 10 games. . . . Winnipeg finished with a 57-10-1 regular-season record; Seattle was 54-11-3. . . . There are a combined 17 players on the two rosters who already have been selected in the NHL draft. Of those, 10 play for the Thunderbirds. . . .

Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow), after the Seattle Thunderbirds won the Western Conference title in Kamloops on Monday: “Blazers F Logan Stankoven is held off the scoresheet for sixth time in 62 games this season (and a minus player for just the 13th). Finishes playoffs with 30 points to become one of three players with consecutive 30+ point outputs in a postseason.

“Players to Record 30+ points in 2 WHL playoffs:

Chuck Arnason, Flin Flon (32 in 1970; 37 in 1971)

Ty Rattie, Portland (33 in 2012; 36 in 2013)

Logan Stankoven, Kamloops (31 in 2022; 30 in 2023)

Dale Derkatch, Regina, had non-consecutive years of 34 points in 1982 and 53 in 1984.”

Thunderbirds radio voice Thom Beuning (@ThomBeuning): “Jared Davidson now sits alone in career playoff goals as a Thunderbird with 23 and is third in career playoff points (50), trailing only Ethan Bear (55) and Mat Barzal (65). From undrafted to unbelievable!” . . .

Games 3 and 4 of the WHL final are to be played in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. They will be televised in the Seattle area by Fox 13+. . . . Meanwhile, TSN has announced that it will show Games 3-7 from the OHL, QMJHL and WHL finals. . . .

The OHL final opened Thursday night as G Zach Bowen stopped 24 shots to lead the London Knights to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Peterborough Petes. F Ryan Winterton had a goal and an assist; he has goals in seven straight playoff games. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for London on Saturday night. . . . Games 3 and 4, both of which are to be televised by TSN, are to be played in Peterborough on Monday and Wednesday nights. . . .

Games 1 and 2 of the QMJHL final, featuring the Quebec Remparts and Halifax Mooseheads, are scheduled for Quebec City tonight and Saturday night. . . . Games 3 and 4 in Halifax, both of which are to be shown by TSN, are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.


The 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is scheduled for June 4, and Dorothy is taking part once again. She will celebrate 10 years as a kidney-transplant recipient in September, so the annual Kidney Walk is a big deal for her. In fact, she is participating for a 10th straight year. Yes, that means she is fund-raising, with all donations going to the Kidney Foundation. . . . If you are interested in helping, like maybe pushing her past $4,000, you are able to do so on her home page, which is right here.



The Victoria Royals will be sharing their facility, the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks for a few days in September. The Canucks announced Thursday that they will hold their five-day training camp there from Sept. 21-25. . . . This will be first time since 2019 that the Canucks have trained in Victoria.


Mike Kelly, a former WHL coach, has lost his job as the NHL’s New York Rangers continue to make changes. Kelly joined the Rangers as an assistant coach after Gerard Gallant signed on as head coach. Gallant was fired a few days ago; Kelly was released on Tuesday. . . . Kelly had worked with Gallant with the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights, and with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. Kelly coached the Rangers’ PP, which finished fourth in the NHL at 24.6 per cent over the past two seasons. . . . Kelly was the head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings for one season (2003-04).

THINKING OUT LOUD — Bob Huggins, the men’s basketball coach at the U of West Virginia, had an annual salary of US$4.2 million that made him the state’s highest-paid employee. But then he had a radio rant that included homophobic slurs so the school knocked $1 million off his salary. Now he’s No. 2 on the state payroll. Who’s No. 1? That would be Neal Brown, the school’s football coach. What? You thought it would be doctor? . . . D Radek Gudas played without a conscience when he was with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. And he shows even less of one now that he is with the Florida Panthers. But I really want him on my team. . . . RCMP on the Coquihalla Highway near Merritt, B.C., stopped a Washington state driver behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo on Wednesday. The speed limit is 120 km-h; he was clocked at 262. Yes, 262! Had to have been a Seattle Thunderbirds fan still celebrating from the previous night. . . . If you are watching the NHL series between the Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers, I have to ask if you are more tired of the stick work or the WAH? . . . It became apparent on Wednesday night that Vegas D Shea Theodore missed the NHL memo legalizing cross-checking. Edmonton F Klim Kostin gave him three hard unpenalized shots before Theodore responded with a spear to the groin for which he was given a minor penalty. Surely he wouldn’t have retaliated had he known that cross-checking now is a legal ploy. Right?


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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.



Vegas franchise has WHL off-ice flavour . . . WHLers brought golden touch to Golden Knights . . . Next up: Stanley Cup final

If you’ve stopped off at this site, it means you are a hockey fan. That being the case, I hope you are enjoying the story being written by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

On May 28, the Golden Knights, who are finishing up their first season, will begin play in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final.

We all know that the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967, and that the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have been with us since 2000-01, have yet to win a VegasGKplayoff series. We could go on and on, but you get the point.

Yes, this is quite a story. In fact, it just may be the greatest story in team sports in my lifetime.

I often wonder how many professional athletes haven’t been able to enjoy much in the way of success because they never were able to get themselves into the right place at the time. Now I wonder how much of the Golden Knights’ success is due to so many players being able to be in the right place at the right time.

And who is responsible for putting those players into this situation?

When the final chapter is written on the Golden Knights’ first season, there definitely will be a WHL slant to it. Yes, there are a number of men with WHL ties working off the ice with Vegas, mostly in areas of player personnel and scouting.

What follows is a look at some of those with WHL ties, and you know they’re enjoying this run:


Kelly McCrimmon, executive vice-president and assistant GM — McCrimmon, 57, knows hockey and he knows business, that’s why he’s such a good fit with Vegas. Under his ownership, the Brandon Wheat Kings became one of the CHL’s most-respected franchises. . . . While running the Wheat Kings, McCrimmon earned an MBA from Queen’s U in Kingston, Ont. . . . He came awfully close to joining the Toronto Maple Leafs as an assistant GM over the summer of 2015, but stayed with his Wheat Kings because he had put together a roster aiming at the WHL’s 2016 championship, which Brandon won. . . . He joined Vegas that summer. . . . Did you know: After playing two seasons (1978-80) with the Wheat Kings, McCrimmon went on to the U of Michigan, where he played four seasons and was the Wolverines’ captain in the last one (1983-84).


Murray Craven, senior vice-president — Craven, 53, played four seasons (1980-84) with his hometown Medicine Hat Tigers. He then went on to play 1,071 NHL games, spending time with Detroit, Philadelphia, Hartford, Vancouver, Chicago and San Jose. . . . Craven was named the Golden Knights’ senior vice-president on Aug. 18, 2016, after spending two years as an advisor to owner Bill Foley. . . . Craven and Foley were neighbours on Whitefish Lake in Montana and played golf together. . . . Craven oversaw such things as designing the dressing rooms in T-Mobile Arena and the building of the Golden Knights’ practice facility, and he also has done some pro scouting. . . . Did you know: Vegas GM George McPhee was an assistant GM in Vancouver when Craven played for the Canucks.


Vaughn Karpan, director of player personnel — Karpan, 56, played 26 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1979-80 — Kelly McCrimmon was a teammate — but is best known for playing four seasons with Canada’s national team. These days, he is widely respected as one of the premier talent evaluators in the game. . . . He scouted for Winnipeg/Phoenix/Arizona for 13 seasons (1992-2005), and was the director of amateur scouting for the last six of those. Karpan then spent 11 seasons with Montreal, working as an amateur scout (2005-10) before transitioning to pro scout (2010-15) and then director of professional scouting (2015-16). . . . He signed on with the Golden Knights and spent the past two seasons scouting the professional ranks. . . . This is the man with the golden eyes and an incredible feel for the game. Yes, you can bet that he had a whole lot to do with putting together the roster that is about to play for the Stanley Cup. . . . Did you know: Karpan represented Canada at two Olympic Winter Games — 1984 and 1988.


Bob Lowes, assistant director of player personnel — Lowes, 55, played with the Prince Albert Raiders and Regina Pats (1982-84), captaining the Pats in his final season. He spent nine seasons (1992-2001) as the head coach of Kelly McCrimmon’s Brandon Wheat Kings and three with the Pats (2001-04). . . . From 2006-16, he scouted for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, serving as director of amateur scouting for the last two of those. . . . Like Karpan, Lowes spent 2016-17 doing pro scouting for Vegas. . . . Did you know: When Lowes was inducted into the U of Manitoba Bisons Hockey Hall of Fame in February, he was introduced by McCrimmon.


Erin Ginnell, amateur scout — Ginnell, 49, played for five teams over two WHL seasons (1985-87). He skated for the New Westminster Bruins, Calgary Wranglers, Seattle Thunderbirds, Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos. . . . He has been an NHL amateur scout since 2000-01, starting with the Columbus Blue Jackets for two seasons and one with the Colorado Avalanche. He was with the Florida Panthers for 13 seasons (2003-16), the last five as director of amateur scouting. He lost his job when the tall foreheads in Florida chose to clean house. (The Panthers, who haven’t won a playoff series since the spring of 1996, also fired Scott Luce, who had been the director of amateur scouting for eight seasons, the director of scouting for five and the director of player personnel for one. He now is the Golden Knights’ director of amateur scouting.) . . . Ginnell is the son of the late Pat Ginnell, who was a legendary coach, and the father of Kootenay Ice F Brad Ginnell. . . . Did you know: Following the crash of the Swift Current Broncos’ bus on Dec. 30, 1986, in which four players died, Erin was one of the players acquired by the Broncos to help get them through that season.


Bruno Campese, amateur scout — Campese, 54, was a goaltender who played one season (1982-83) with the Portland Winter Hawks, who won the 1983 Memorial Cup. However, the Winter Hawks added G Mike Vernon from the Calgary Wranglers — teams could add a goaltender from another team back in the day — and Campese saw only 40 minutes of playing time. . . . He also played one season (1983-84) with the Kelowna Wings. . . . Campese spent one-plus seasons as the GM/head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, before stepping aside as coach. He then spent three seasons (2012-15) as the GM. . . . This is his first NHL scouting gig. . . . Did you know: Campese played in the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, as well as the 1993, 1994 and 1995 IIHF World Championship tournaments, with the Italian national team. He has dual Canadian/Italian citizenship.


Kelly Kisio, pro scout — Kisio, 58, played two seasons with the Calgary Wranglers (1978-80) before going on to a lengthy pro career that ended after two seasons (1993-95) with the Calgary Flames. . . . He then spent 21 more seasons in the Flames’ organization, the last 18 of those with the Hitmen. At various times, he was the general manager, head coach, executive vice-president of hockey operations and, for the last three of those seasons, the president of hockey operations. Yes, it was a surprise to some that the Flames didn’t move him to the NHL side of things before losing him to Vegas. . . . His son, Brent, is the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Did you know: Kelly played for the Swiss club HC Davos in 1982-83. In his second-last game there, Kisio recorded eight goals and two assists in a 19-7 victory over HC Lugano. Three days later, he joined the Detroit Red Wings.


Jim McKenzie, pro scout — McKenzie, 48, played two WHL seasons (1986-88) with the Moose Jaw Warriors and one with the Victoria Cougars. He totalled 21 goals in 197 regular-season games before going on to an NHL career that featured 880 games, 48 goals and 1,739 penalty minutes. . . . He has a Stanley Cup ring from the 2002-03 New Jersey Devils. . . . In the NHL, he played for Hartford, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Anaheim, Washington, New Jersey and Nashville. . . . He joined the NHL’s Florida Panthers as a pro scout in 2013-14 and spent three seasons there. . . .  Did you know: McKenzie’s hometown is Gull Lake, Sask., which also is the hometown of Roger Aldag, perhaps the greatest offensive lineman in the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ history.


Ryan McGill, assistant coach — McGill, 49, played in the WHL with the Lethbridge Broncos, Swift Current Broncos and Medicine Hat Tigers (1985-89). . . . He won a Memorial Cup with the 1987-88 Tigers. . . . McGill’s playing career included 151 NHL games but was cut short by an eye injury. . . . He coached in the WHL with the Edmonton Ice and Kootenay Ice. McGill guided Kootenay to the 2002 Memorial Cup title. . . . He also has coached in the AHL and was on the Calgary Flames’ staff for two seasons (2009-11). . . . Before joining Vegas, McGill spent two seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack. He was the OHL and CHL coach of the year for 2016-17. . . . Did you know: McGill has previous Knights coaching experience, having spent two seasons (2005-07) as the head coach of the AHL’s Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights.


Mike Kelly, assistant coach — Kelly, 58, spent one season (2003-04) in the WHL, as the Brandon Wheat Kings’ head coach. He was fired by Kelly McCrimmon on March 1, 2004, and McCrimmon, the general manager, took over as head coach. . . . Kelly also has coached in the OHL, QMJHL and the Canadian university ranks. He also worked as an assistant coach in the NHL, with the Vancouver Canucks (2006-08) and Florida Panthers. He was in his third season with the Panthers when he was fired on Nov. 27, 2016. At the same time, the Panthers dumped head coach Gerard Gallant, who now is the Golden Knights’ head coach. . . . Did you know: Kelly worked as an assistant coach under Gallant with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs (2010-12). They won the 2011 Memorial Cup.


Ryan Craig, assistant coach — Craig, 36, played five seasons (1998-03) with the Brandon Wheat Kings and was the captain for the last two of those seasons. Obviously, he is well-connected with Kelly McCrimmon. . . . Craig’s pro career included 198 NHL games and 711 in the AHL, where he won a championship with the 2015-16 Lake Erie Monsters. . . . He retired after the 2016-17 season and was hired by the Golden Knights. . . . Did you know: Craig captained four AHL franchises — the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Norfolk Admirals, Springfield Falcons, and Lake Erie/Cleveland Monsters.


Shane Hnidy, TV analyst — Hnidy, 42, split five WHL seasons — and 327 games — between the Swift Current Broncos and Prince Albert Raiders. A defenceman, he went on to a pro career that included 550 regular-season NHL games, along with stints in the ECHL, AHL and IHL. . . . Hnidy had been part of the Winnipeg Jets’ broadcast crew for six seasons before moving to Vegas. . . . Did you know: Hnidy won a Stanley Cup with the 2010-11 Boston Bruins, getting into three regular-season games and three more in the playoffs. He retired following that season.

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