Scattershooting . . . Drawing goes viral . . . Big League for Broncos . . . Vandekamp back in coaching game

Scattershooting

A drawing showing players from the Humboldt Broncos asking Jonathan Pitre to join them in a game of shinny has exploded on social media. If you haven’t seen it, it’s in the tweet below. . . . It is the work of Kerry MacGregor, whose father, Roy, writes for The Globe and Mail and whose essay on the Broncos’ tragedy was linked to here on Monday. . . . The father and daughter have been in the news this year because of the release of their children’s book The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink.


Logan Boulet, a defenceman who didn’t survive the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on Friday, registered as an organ donor as he turned 21 on March 2. That story became most popular on social media when the information was made public by his family. But who was Logan Boulet? Dylan Purcell has the answer right here as he visits with folks who knew Boulet in his hometown of Lethbridge.



There are wordsmiths and there are wordsmiths . . . and then there is Charles P. Pierce. On Tuesday, SI.com posted a Pierce essay that is well worth your time. Yes, it’s about hockey and Humboldt and billet families and a whole lot more, and it’s all right here.


On that subject, here is Doug Johnson, the general manager and head coach of the Nipawin Hawks, talking to Postmedia’s Nick Faris:

“The people (who) are no longer with us were on that bus to play. They were on that bus to chase a dream and make it to the Canalta Cup final. If we don’t play, we do them a huge disservice. To me, the only way to truly honour Humboldt is to play.

“I think it’ll help our players with the grieving process. Will it be tough? Absolutely. Will sometimes it not make sense? Absolutely. But talking with people (who) have been through tragedies, to a person, they just say, ‘Get back and honour them through play. That’s what they would want.”

That conference call is scheduled for today (Wednesday).



Tom Cochrane, who really should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, paid a visit to TSN on Tuesday evening. Cochrane, the pride of Lynn Lake, Man., took the time to treat viewers to a special version of his hit song Big League.


Thank you so much to all who commented on the story I posted here earlier on Tuesday. I am thrilled that so many people read it, and were able to get something positive out of it.

I awoke Tuesday at 3 a.m., after having been asleep for about two hours. I was wide awake, but couldn’t figure out why. As I poked and prodded the depths of my mind, it came to me. Anyone who has written will understand when I suggest that I didn’t get much sleep for the rest of the night.

Again, thank you so much for the reaction. I would respond individually but this, I think, is better than cluttering up timelines.


And now for a couple of BCHL-related items . . .

Mike Vandekamp is back in the coaching game as the general manager and head coach Cowichanof the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals.

Vandekamp was in his seventh season as the Nanaimo Clippers’ GM/head coach when he was fired by new owner Wes Mussio on Dec. 22. Mussio cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the move.

With the Capitals, Vandekamp takes over from Brian Passmore, who will stay on in the area of hockey development, working, according to a news release, with the team’s U-16 program and other youth hockey initiatives.

This season, the Capitals finished 10-41-5, with two ties, and didn’t make the playoffs.

Meanwhile, in Trail, the Smoke Eaters, who are owned by Minnesota businessman Rich Murphy, have fired Cam Keith, their general manager and head coach, after a season in Trailwhich they went 32-21-4, with one tie, and reached the league’s final four for the first time since 2003.

In the second round of the playoffs, the Smokies won a seven-game series from the Penticton Vees, who had finished 17 points ahead of them in the Interior Division. Trail then lost the conference final in five games to the Wenatchee Wild.

Keith’s departure was announced via a one-paragraph, two-sentence, 46-word news release.

Jim Bailey of the Trail Times reported that Keith, who is from Nelson, “was conspicuously absent at the City of Trail ceremony that honoured the team Monday afternoon, and it was revealed later in a press release that Keith had been relieved of his duties that morning.”

Keith completed two seasons in Trail. In 2016-17, they finished 26-26-5, with one tie, good for third in the division.

 

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Hay ties WHL career coaching record . . . Americans’ Rasmussen set to return . . . Silvertips run win streak to eight

MacBeth

D Jakub Čutta (Swift Current, 1998-2001) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Litvínov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Čutta last played in 2015-16 with Västerås (Sweden, Allsvenskan), when he had three assists in 31 games. . . .

F Michal Řepík (Vancouver, 2005-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after his release by mutual agreement by Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). He had 12 goals and 11 assists in 51 games. Slovan has two regular-season games left, but can’t make the playoffs.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Tri-City Americans may have F Michael Rasmussen in their lineup tonight (Saturday) when they meet the visiting Spokane Chiefs.

Rasmussen, who had wrist surgery before Christmas, last played on Dec. 16. The 6-foot-6, TriCity30220-pound Rasmussen has 31 points, including 16 goals, in 22 games. He was a first-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2017 draft.

Rasmussen took part in full practices this week for the first time since having surgery.

“It’s been a good week,” head coach Mike Williamson told Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald. “He has worked hard to put himself in a position to get back. We are pretty sure he will play this weekend. . . . We are pretty sure he is ready to go. We will make that final determination (Saturday).”

The Americans are scheduled to entertain the Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday.

Tri-City remains without D Juuso Valimaki, but he may return to the club next week.

Fowler’s complete story is right here.


The biggest smile in all of the west likely belongs to Bruce Vance these days. He’s one of the good guys and spent a lot of time working in WHL circles. These days, you can bet that his focus is on the U of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team.

That’s because his daughter, Jessica, leads Canada West with six shutouts and a .921 save percentage.

Oh, did we mention that she spent two seasons at the U of Manitoba but couldn’t get into the Bisons’ lineup, other than one game that cost her a season of eligibility.

Then she transferred to Saskatchewan and had to sit out a season.

Claire Hanna of Global News in Saskatoon has more right here.


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Another day, another set of twins is brought to our attention.

This time it’s Brett and Garrett Festerling, now 31 and playing in Europe.

whlBrett, a defenceman, spent five seasons (2002-07) in the WHL, with the Tri-City Americans and Vancouver Giants. He now plays for the Nürnberg Ice Tigers of Germany’s DEL.

Garrett, a forward, was in the WHL for four seasons (2003-07), with the Portland Winterhawks and Regina Pats. These days, he also is in the DEL, with Adler Mannheim.

——

Twins who played together . . .

Darren and Trevor Kruger, Swift Current (1987-89)

Bob and Ted McAneeley, Edmonton (Calgary Buffaloes, 1966-67; Edmonton Oil Kings, 1968-69)

Trevor and Troy Pohl, Portland (1986-88)

Taylor and Travis Sanheim, Calgary (2014-16)

Jeremy and Joshua Schappert, Seattle (2005-08)

Rich and Ron Sutter, Lethbridge Broncos (1980-83)

Kaeden and Keenan Taphorn, Kootenay (active)

——

Twins who played but not together . . .

Brett and Garrett Festerling, Tri-City/Vancouver, Portland/Regina (2002-07)

Connor and Curtis Honey, Seattle, Brandon (2011-14)

Brent and Kyle Howarth, Kelowna, Medicine Hat/Spokane/Prince Albert Raiders (2003-06)

Kris and Ryan Russell, Medicine Hat and Kootenay (2003-07)

Beck and Will Warm, Tri-City and Edmonton (active)

——

Officials who are twins and work together . . .

Chad and Cody Huseby, linesmen from Red Deer (active)


THE COACHING GAME . . .

Since being fired as the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, Mike Vandekamp is hanging out at the rink and helping the minor hockey association.

“I want to continue to volunteer my time with that, mostly coach mentorship stuff,” Vandekamp, a former WHL coach, told Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin. “That’s something that keeps a guy a little bit involved and down at the rink.”

Wes Mussio, the Clippers’ new owner, fired Vandekamp on Dec. 21, a move the coach said he never saw coming. Mussio announced the move via a late-night post on Twitter, citing irreconcilable differences.

“I don’t think there was ever a specific incident that led to this, or specific animosity or any disrespect shown,” Vandekamp said. “We were operating the hockey team the way we’ve always operated the hockey team.”

Under Vandekamp and assistant Dustin Donaghy, a former WHL player, the Clippers were 18-13-3-2 and second in the Island Division. Under Darren Naylor, the Clippers are 4-7-0-0 and have slipped to third, five points behind the Powell River Kings and Victoria Grizzlies.

Sakaki’s complete story is right here.


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Prince Albert, F Kody McDonald had a goal and two assists against his old club as the Raiders beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-2. . . . Prince Albert (19-20-9) has points in four PrinceAlbertstraight (3-0-1) and remains four points behind Saskatoon in the chase for a wild-card spot. . . . Prince George (18-24-7) is 10 points out of a playoff spot. This was the start of a six-game East Division trek for Prince George. . . . McDonald opened the scoring with his 23rd goal, while shorthanded, at 3:51 of the first period. . . . F Josh Maser tied it with No. 22 at 9:48. . . . F Jordy Stallard (32) put the Raiders back out front at 9:48. . . . F Liam Ryan (2) got the visitors even again at 6:03 of the second period. . . . The Raiders scored the game’s last four goals. . . . F Parker Kelly (20) snapped the tie at 16:20. . . . F Curtis Miske (16) upped the lead to 4-2 at 1:21 of the third period. . . . F Cole Fonstad (13), just back from the Top Prospects game, scored at 8:36 and F Sean Montgomery (11) added a PP goal at 10:20. . . . Stallard, Montgomery and Parker each added an assist for the Raiders. . . . The Raiders were 1-2 on the PP; the Cougars were 0-5. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 22 saves. . . . Prince George got 29 stops from G Tavin Grant. . . . F Brogan O’Brien, who last played on Dec. 10, was back in the Cougars’ lineup. . . . The Raiders were without F Regan Nagy, whose right knee injury apparently isn’t as bad as it looked when it happened. “I think we dodged a bullet there,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com. “He was X-Rayed, MRI’d, and they all came back clear. It seemed there was a lot of trauma in that area, but he seems to have dodged a bullet and he’s pretty much day-to-day. As soon as he can play, he can play.” . . . Announced attendance: 1,896.


At Saskatoon, G Nolan Maier stopped 20 shots to lead the Blades to a 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Saskatoon (24-23-3) had lost its previous two games. It holds Saskatoondown the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points behind Regina. . . . Edmonton (13-28-7) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . Maier, who turned 17 on Jan. 10, has two shutouts this season. He is 16-9-1, 3.18, .904. . . . F Josh Paterson (24) scored the game’s first goal, at 3:05 of the first period. . . . F Max Gerlach (23) scored a PP goal at 6:07, and D Jackson Caller (3) made it 3-0 at 9:20. . . . The Blades got a second-period goal from F Michael Farren (4), on a PP, at 17:03, and one in the third from F Braylon Shmyr (25), at 12:39. . . . Saskatoon got two assists from F Kirby Dach, with Gerlach and Paterson each adding one. . . . Saskatoon was 2-11 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . Edmonton took 17 of the game’s 25 minor penalties. . . . G Josh Dechaine started for the Oil Kings and was beaten three times on eight shots in 10:13. Todd Scott finished up by stopping 17 of 19 shots in 49:47. . . . The Blades had F Caleb Fantillo back in their lineup. He hadn’t played since Nov. 29. . . . D Dawson Davidson (ill) was among Saskatoon’s scratches, ending his chance of playing 73 games this season. The Blades acquired him from Regina earlier this month. . . . Announced attendance: 3,309.


At Lethbridge, F Brayden Burke scored in OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Moose Jaw (39-7-3) has won four straight and leads the MooseJawWarriorsoverall standings by 11 points over Swift Current. . . . Lethbridge (22-21-6) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Warriors took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from F Tristin Langan (13), at 11:35, and F Justin Almeida (29), on a PP, at 13:24. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon (5) got the home boys to within a goal at 19:45. . . . F Jadon Joseph (6) forced OT with a goal at 19:34 of the third period. . . . Burke, who was acquired from the Hurricanes last season, won it with his 23rd goal of the season at 2:38 of extra time. He leads the WHL scoring race with 95 points, three more than teammate Jayden Halbgewachs. . . . D Kale Clague drew three assists for Moose Jaw, with Burke and Almeida getting one apiece. . . . Moose Jaw was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-1. . . . The Warriors got 19 saves from G Adam Evanoff. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 30 shots for Lethbridge. . . . The Hurricanes are without F Taylor Ross and F Dylan Cozens, while D Jett Woo remains out of Moose Jaw’s lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 4,158.


At Medicine Hat, D Cal Foote’s OT goal gave the Kelowna Rockets a 4-3 victory over the Tigers. . . . Kelowna (31-14-3) has won three straight and leads the Western Conference by KelownaRocketsone point over Everett. . . . Medicine Hat (25-19-6) went to OT for the fifth time seven games. It leads the Central Division by six points over Lethbridge. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s last three goals, Foote winning it with his 10th goal on a breakaway at 3:01 of extra time. . . . F Mark Rassell gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead with goals at 0:42 and 5:43 of the first period. He has 41 goals, the third player this season to surpass 40. . . . F Leif Mattson (16) got Kelowna on the scoreboard at 19:45. . . . F Jaeger White (8) restored Medicine Hat’s two-goal lead at 17:39 of the second period. . . . F Kole Lind (25) got the visitors to within a goal at 5:20 of the third period, and F Conner Bruggen-Cate (14) tied it at 8:14. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn had two assists for Kelowna. . . . The Rockets were 1-2 on the PP; the Tigers were 0-1. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 29 shots for Kelowna, four fewer than Medicine Hat’s Michael Bullion. . . . F Dillon Dube was among Kelowna’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,041.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Alec Baer and D Martin Bodak each scored twice to lead the Kootenay Ice to a 6-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings Kings. . . . Kootenay (22-23-3) Kootenaynewhas won two in a row. It is third in the Central Division, three points behind Lethbridge. . . . Brandon (28-16-5) has lost seven straight (0-4-3). It remains third in the East Division, six points ahead of Regina. . . . The same two teams will play in Cranbrook again tonight. . . . Last night, the Ice led 5-0 at 10:53 of the second period. . . . Bodak, who has five goals, got it started at 10:14 of the first period. Baer, on a PP, made it 2-0 at 13:00. . . . F Peyton Krebs (11) upped it to 3-0 at 1:22 of the second period. . . . F Sebastian Streu (7) made it 4-0, on a PP, at 4:28 and Baer’s 20th made it 5-0, on another PP, at 10:53. . . . Bodak added a third-period goal. . . . F Luka Burzan (7) and F Evan Weinger (23) scored for Brandon. . . . The Ice got three assists from F Brett Davis and two from F Colton Kroeker, with Baer adding one. . . . Kootenay was 3-3 on the PP; Brandon was 1-5. . . . G Matt Berlin stopped 21 shots for the home side. . . . Brandon’s Dylan Myskiw turned aside 27 shots. . . . The Wheat Kings will wrap up a seven-game road trip tonight. . . . Announced attendance: 2,230.


At Kamloops, head coach Don Hay tied the WHL’s career record for regular-season victories with No. 742 as the Blazers skated to a 5-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Hay Kamloops1now shares the record with long-time Edmonton/Portland coach Ken Hodge. Hay’s first opportunity to break the record comes tonight in a rematch with Portland. . . . Kamloops (22-23-3) has won four in a row but is still six points away from a playoff spot. . . . . Portland (28-16-4) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, four points behind Everett. . . . F Connor Zary (5) gave the home team a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:17 of the first period. . . . Portland F Skyler McKenzie (36) tied it, on a PP, at 9:18. . . . The Blazers went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from F Justin Sigrist (2), at 10:44, and F Jermaine Loewen, at 12:24. . . . Sigrist hadn’t scored opening night when he notched the Blazers’ first goal of the season in a 6-2 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . F Jake Gricius (10) added a Portland goal, on a PP, at 4:12 of the third period. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (16) provided some insurance at 14:20, and Loewen (23) got the empty-netter, at 18:23. . . . Portland was 2-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-2. . . . Blazers G Dylan Ferguson was the game’s first star, with 30 saves. . . . Portland G Cole Kehler, 20, stopped 20 shots. The Winterhawks acquired him from Kamloops on July 21, 2016, for a seventh-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . It was a homecoming for F Ty Kolle and D John Ludvig of the Winterhawks. Both played their first WHL games in their hometown. . . . The Winterhawks continue to play without top forwards Cody Glass and Kieffer Bellows, who have combined for 47 goals. . . . With the injuries, the Winterhawks have added F Seth Jarvis, a first-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, to their roster. Jarvis, who turns 16 on Feb. 1, plays at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg. . . . Kamloops F/D Tylor Ludwar didn’t return after his head and the right elbow of Portland D Matthew Quigley came into contact at 18:11 of the second period. It would be safe to assume that Ludwar is in concussion protocol. . . . Announced attendance: 3,721.


At Langley, B.C., F Tanner Kaspick’s second goal of the game, in OT, gave the Victoria Royals a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Victoria (28-17-4) is second in the B.C. VictoriaRoyalsDivision, five points behind Kelowna. . . . The Giants (25-16-8) have lost four in a row (0-2-2). They are third in the B.C. Division, two points behind Victoria. . . . F Dawson Holt (8) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 2:54 of the first period. . . . Victoria tied it on F Andrei Grishakov’s 15th goal, at 7:34. . . . F Tyler Benson put the Giants back out front at 9:22. . . . The Royals took a 3-2 lead on second-period PP goals from Kaspick, at 7:25, and F Matthew Phillips (33), at 10:28. . . . Benson’s 19th goal at 19:06 of the third period forced OT. . . . Kaspick won it with his 16th goal at 2:28 of extra time. . . . Phillips added an assist to his goal for the Royals, while Holt did the same with the Giants. . . . Victoria was 2-5 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-4. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 22 shots for the winners. . . . The Giants got 28 stops from G David Tendeck. . . . Announced attendance: 3,357.


At Everett, F Matt Fonteyne broke a 1-1 tie 34 seconds into the second period and the Silvertips went on to a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (31-16-2) has Everettwon eight in a row and leads the U.S. Division by four points over Portland. . . . Seattle (25-17-6) had a five-game winning streak end. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Spokane. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (14) put the home team out front at 9:25 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it at 11:50 on a PP goal from D Austin Strand (16). He has 11 PP goals this season. . . . Fonteyne put the home side ahead 2-1 with his 29th goal, on a PP. . . . F Connor Dewar added insurance at 9:40 of the third period. . . . Fonteyne also had an assist. . . . Seattle was 1-4 on the PP; Everett was 1-5. . . . G Carter Hart earned the victory with 20 saves, 10 more than Seattle’s Liam Hughes, who had missed the previous five games with an undisclosed injury. . . . Hart now is 18-3-1, 1.33, .958. . . . Seattle lost F Sami Moilanen in the second period with an undisclosed injury. . . . Everett F Sean Richards sat this one out as he began serving a two-game suspension. . . . He also will miss tonight’s rematch in Kent, Wash. . . . Announced attendance: 8,164.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Regina at Swift Current, 2:30 p.m.

Prince George at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Kelowna at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

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

Moose Jaw at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Portland at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

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

Calgary at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Broncos sign 2016 first-rounder … Honour for Ice’s new logo … Ex-WHL coach out in Nanaimo shakeup

MacBeth

F Kris Foucault (Swift Current, Kootenay, Calgary, 2006-11) has signed a one-year extension with the Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). In 32 games, he has 16 goals and 13 assists, and he leads the team in goals and points. He is tied for third in the league in goals. . . .

F Zdeněk Bahenský (Saskatoon, 2004-06) has been released by Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Alps HL) by mutual agreement due to a shoulder injury suffered on Dec. 16. He had seven goals and 13 assists in 23 games. He is expected to return to Prague for treatment. . . .

F Peter Quenneville (Brandon, 2013-15) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He played for Aalborg last season, putting up 30 goals and 19 assists in 45 games. He led the league in goals and was fourth in the points race. . . . This season, with Dynamo Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two goals and an assist in 12 games, and he had three goals and an assist in nine games with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). He was released from a tryout contract with SaiPa on Dec. 12.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . . SOME OF THAT . . .

The Swift Current Broncos have signed D Jacson Alexander, 16, who was one of their two first-round selections in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Alexander, from Victoria, was taken with the 16th overall pick.

Alexander, who will turn 17 on Feb. 1, was in his first season with the BCHL’s Victoria SCBroncosGrizzlies — he put up three goals and seven assists in 29 games — but will join the Broncos after Christmas.

He committed to the U of Denver on Dec. 7, 2016, for the 2019-20 season, while playing for the Shawnigan Lake, B.C., School prep team in the CSSHL.

This season, the 5-foot-10 Alexander also played for Hockey Canada’s Team Black at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge last month in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. He had one assist in five games.

Alexander could make his WHL debut on Dec. 27 when the Broncos return to play against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

Alexander’s arrival will give the Broncos seven defencemen and may take some of the pressure off Manny Viveiros, the director of player personnel and head coach, with the trade deadline approaching on Jan. 10. Observers were watching closely to see if Viveiros would go to the marketplace to land a seventh defenceman, something that may not be necessary now.

BTW, in that 2016 bantam draft, the Broncos used the fourth overall selection to take F Logan Barlage, who was playing for the bantam AA Humboldt, Sask., Broncos. This season, the 6-foot-4 Barlage, a freshman, has a goal and six assists in 30 games with the Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have the WHL rights to the only unsigned first-round selection from the 2017 bantam draft. They took D Joel Sexsmith of Edmonton with the ninth overall pick. He now is playing at the Edge School in Calgary.

Meanwhile, F Massimo Rizzo now is the lone first-round selection from the 2016 bantam draft not to have committed to the WHL.

The Kamloops Blazers selected Rizzo with the 15th overall pick, but he chose to sign with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.

From Burnaby, B.C., Rizzo has six goals and 11 assists in 28 games with the Vees this season. He had a goal and three assists in five games as a teammate of Alexander’s on Team Black at the U-17 WHC.

Rizzo has yet to make an NCAA commitment, nor has he told the Blazers that he definitely won’t sign with them at some point.


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When it comes to sports logos, Chris Creamer is the man. You are able to find him at sportslogos.net, or on Twitter at @sportslogosnet.

On Friday, he announced the 2017 Creamer Award winners for best new sports logos.

KootenaynewThe 14-person judging panel considered logos that “made their in-game debut in 2017.”

The WHL’s Kootenay Ice placed third in the Primary Logo of the Year Award, behind baseball’s Memphis Redbirds and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

Of the Ice’s new logo, which is pictured on the left, Creamer wrote: “Love the hidden ICE in this logo, designed by Bill Frederick’s team at Fanbrandz, who gave this junior hockey team the identity update it so desperately needed. Well done!”

The top 50 in that category and whole lot more, including a mention of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ 50th anniversary logo, can be found right here.


Less than a week after staging a father/son trip with his BCHL team, Mike Vandekamp is out of work.

Wes Mussio, a Vancouver-based lawyer who is the majority owner of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, revealed on Thursday, at 11:43 p.m., via Twitter that he had fired Vandekamp, the team’s general manager and head coach, “due to irreconcilable differences with the management team.”

Vandekamp’s contract would have expired at season’s end.

Late Friday night, the Clippers’ website continued to list Dustin Donaghy as the team’s

Clippers
On Nov. 10, Penny and Wes Mussio (second and third from left) were introduced as the new majority owners of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Darren Naylor (left) was named director of hockey operations, while team president David LeNeveu (fourth from left) retained five per cent. Mike Vandekamp (far right), then the general manager and head coach, was fired Thursday night and replaced by Naylor. (Photo: Greg Sakaki/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

head coach. However, a BCHL insider told Taking Note that Donaghy had been “fired by the Clippers.” Donaghy, from Cranbrook, played three seasons in the WHL (Spokane, Lethbridge, 2007-10).

Darren Naylor, who was part of that management team as the director of hockey operations, is the new GM and head coach.

Mussio and his wife, Penny, purchased 95 per cent of the Clippers last month and installed Naylor as director of hockey ops. Naylor also has been working as GM/head coach of the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, who are 26-2-1 in the Pacific Junior Hockey League. Mussio had been the majority owner of the Ice Hawks but is believed to have sold his shares when he purchased the Clippers.

On Friday, Mussio told Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin that he and Naylor were tired of butting heads with Vandekamp. (Sakaki’s complete story is right here.)

“The previous owner gave Mike a carte-blanche ability to do anything he wants and I wanted some input and I wanted Darren Naylor to have some input and sadly that didn’t seem like something Mr. Vandekamp was prepared to accept,” Mussio told Sakaki.

Mussio added: “We brought in a few key players and they were hit with resistance and we also tried to bring on some (affiliate players) and that was hit with resistance. So in order to move forward to the next (season), we need to have a look at players and recruit. Without any support from the coach, it’s pretty hard to do.”

Mussio also told Sakaki that Vandekamp had been given until Dec. 22 to commit to the new situation.

“He didn’t think it was in his personality . . . to do so, so that the end of it,” Mussio said.

Vandekamp, who has yet to comment, is a veteran junior coach who was in his seventh season with the Clippers. This season, the Clippers are 18-13-3-2 (that’s two ties), leaving them one point behind the Powell River Kings (18-10-3-3), who lead the BCHL’s Island Division.

The Clippers’ next game is Dec. 29 when they are scheduled to visit Powell River.

Vandekamp’s resume includes a season and a half as head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. In the BCHL, he also has worked with the Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers. He joined the Clippers after four seasons with the AJHL’s Grand Prairie Storm.

As for the father/son trip . . . the Clippers beat the Trail Smoke Eaters, 7-2, on Friday, then got past the Penticton Vees, 4-2, on Saturday. Nanaimo ended the trip by dropping a 4-2 decision to the Merritt Centennials on Sunday afternoon.

Dominic Abassi is the news director for Island Radio and @NanaimoNewsNOW.


It was rather interesting on Friday when F Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who has missed his NHL team’s past six games, discussed with reporters why he has been out of the lineup.

Matthews practised for the first time in almost two weeks and later talked about having symptoms of a concussion after colliding with Toronto D Morgan Reilly during a game against the host Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 9.

While Matthews didn’t go into great detail on the symptoms, he did say that he “went MapleLeafsthrough all that return to play, and all the protocols and everything and obviously, you know, they take it pretty seriously and they deemed me out so I went through all that stuff and I feel great now.”

Toronto next is scheduled to play today (Saturday) in New York against the Rangers, but it’s not yet known if Matthews will play.

Matthews’ conversation with reporters on Friday just may be another sign that NHL teams are loosening up when it comes to detailing injuries.

A couple of weeks ago, head coach Ken Hitchcock of the Dallas Stars explained why he no longer plays the “upper-body or lower-body” game.

“I think we collectively hate playing that game,” said Hitchcock, who posted his 800th victory as an NHL head coach on Thursday. “What I mean by that is we say upper-body, then you go on the phone, and then you look up things or you go to the doctors, find out what part of the upper body . . . We try to make your work easier, quite frankly, and so we just don’t like going through the dance.

“It’s easy to tell you what it is and let’s move forward. It’s just the whole game. It’s an injury and within two hours after we tell you it’s upper-body you know exactly what it is, so why not just tell you? And the players don’t go out and say: ‘He has a broken left pinkie and we’re going to go after that pinkie.’ Nobody thinks like that.

“Our feeling is just tell them what the injury is and move it forward and let’s stop the dance.”

But, then again, it could be that the Toronto braintrust wasn’t at all pleased with the way Matthews handled things on Friday. David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail takes a look at the situation right here.


Scoreboard

Dec. 18-Dec. 26:

No Games Scheduled.


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