NHL Central Scouting likes WHLers. . . . Former Pats sniper dead at 42. . . . BCHL coach of the year makes move


MacBeth

F Milan Bartovič (Brandon, Tri-City, 1999-2001) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). An alternate captain, he had 15 goals and 25 assists in 54 games this season. . . .

F Kris Foucault (Swift Current, Kootenay, Calgary, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). This season, with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL), he had five goals and two assists in seven gams. He missed most of the season after suffering a concussion. . . .

F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) announced his retirement via his Twitter account. This season, with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite), he had 23 goals and 23 assists in 58 games. . . .

F Jordan Knackstedt (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dresden (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 21 goals and 50 assists in 41 games. He led his team in assists and points. He was second in the league in assists and fourth in points.


ThisThat

NHL Central Scouting issued its final rankings prior to the 2019 draft and three of the top whlfive-rated North American skaters are out of the WHL. . . . D Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants moved from No. 4 in the midseason rankings to No. 2. F Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades is at No. 3, and F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is ranked fifth. . . . F Jack Hughes of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program U-18 team is the top-ranked North American skater. . . . Central Scouting has seven NTDP skaters rated as potential first-round picks. . . . F Kaapo Kakko of TPS in Finland is atop the list of international skaters. . . . All told there are 50 WHLers in the final rankings. . . . The draft is scheduled for Rogers Arena in Vancouver, June 21 and 22. . . . There is more on the rankings right here.


F Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips has joined the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of Everettthe NHL’s Washington Capitals. Sutter, who will turn 20 on Oct. 25, was a third-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . This season, Sutter had 14 goals and 27 assists in 38 games. He missed 37 consecutive games with an undisclosed injury, before returning for Game 3 of a second-round series against the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs won that series in five games. . . . In 204 career regular-season WHL games, Sutter had 137 points, including 60 goals. . . . Hershey is scheduled to open the AHL playoffs on Friday. . . . If you’re wondering, Riley is a member of the famed hockey family. His father, Ron, is one of the Sutter twins and played 19 seasons in the NHL.


Three skaters from the WHL are on the roster for the Czech team that will play in the IIHF U-18 World Championship that is to begin on Thursday. . . . F Martin Lang of the Kamloops Blazers, F Matej Toman of the Prince George Cougars and D Simon Kubicek of the Seattle Thunderbirds are on the final roster that was revealed on Monday. . . . The tournament is to run through April 28 in the Swedish cities of Ornskoldsvik and Umea. . . .

Team Canada won its second pre-tournament game on Monday, beating Russia, 5-4, in Umea. Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), who had three assists in a 6-5 OT victory over Belarus on Sunday, scored twice, one on a penalty shot. F Peyton Krebs (WInnipeg Ice) had two assists. G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stopped 32 shots. . . . Team Canada is to open tournament play on Thursday against Finland.



Joe Martin, the BCHL’s coach of the year for this season, has left the Merritt Centennials AlberniValleyto sign on as the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ general manager and head coach. Martin, 38, spent four seasons as the Centennials’ general manager and head coach. This season, the Centennials were 36-15-4-3 and finished second in the Interior Division. They lost a first-round series, 4-1, to the Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Martin had been with Merritt since signing on as an assistant coach prior to the 2011-12 season. . . . In Alberta Valley, Martin replaces Matt Hughes, who, according to the Bulldogs, “resigned his position from the club by mutual agreement” late in March. . . . Taking Note actually was told by a reliable source on April 4 that “Joe Martin is going to Alberni Valley.” On Friday, that same source told Taking Note: “It’s happening. Joe Martin to Alberni Valley.” . . . That same day, when Bulldogs business manager David Michaud was asked about Martin, his response was: “Joe Martin is under contract with the Merritt Centennials. If you want to write gossip about a man who just gave birth to a newborn have at it. Get better sources or call me.” . . . If Martin was under contract to Merritt on Friday and my source was feeding me gossip, it would seem that the deal between him and the Bulldogs got done in a hurry.


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Partnership between WHL, Kidney Foundation pays off . . . Pats’ owners expect $2-million loss on Memorial Cup . . . Former NHL ref remembers Flin Flon

MacBeth

D Connor Cox (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Everett, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). This season, with the U of Saskatchewan (Canada West), he had one goal and eight assists in 20 games. . . .

F Mário Bližňák (Vancouver, 2005-08) signed a one-year contract with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two goals and two assists in 24 games. On loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic,1. Liga), he was pointless in one game. . . .

F Milan Bartovič (Brandon, Tri-City, 1999-2001) signed a one-year contract with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had one goal and one assist in 19 games. On loan to Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had one goal and four assists in 18 games. . . .

F Pavel Padakin (Calgary, Regina, 2012-15) has been traded by Sochi (Russia, KHL) to Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) for Dmitri Arkhipov and monetary compensation. With Sochi this season, Padakin had nine goals and a team-high 22 assists in 53 games. . . .

F Martin Erat (Saskatoon, Red Deer, 1999-2001) signed a one-year contract extension with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga). in 49 games, he had 12 goals and 34 assists. An alternate captain, he led his team in assists in points. He was second in the league in assists and fifth in scoring. . . .

G Ty Rimmer (Brandon, Prince George, Tri-City, Lethbridge, 2009-13) signed a one-year contract with Kitzbühel (Austria, Alps HL). This season, in 42 games with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL), he was 14-23-1-1, 3.91,.898. . . .

F Brett Ferguson (Red Deer, 2008-11) signed a two-year contract extension with Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). In 48 games, he had 18 goals and 38 assists.


Scattershooting

The WHL announced Monday at the Memorial Cup in Regina that $265,500 was raised through the RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation campaign. . . . The WHL’s 17 Canadian teams each played host to an event during the regular season. . . . The money was raised through various initiatives, including the auctioning of sweaters that resembled Cherry’s suit jackets. . . . From the WHL news release: “The $265,500 raised is the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s largest public awareness and fundraising campaign for organ donation.” . . . The Cherry family has been a huge supporter of the Kidney Foundation for years. Tim, Cherry’s son, received a kidney from his sister, Cindy, in 1979. . . . If you are interested in signing up as an organ donor, please visit CanadaDonates.ca. . . . There wasn’t any mention in the news release about whether the WHL will be involved in the campaign again next season, but here’s hoping.


Who was the scheduling wizard who scheduled Game 5 of the Stanley Cup series between the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets for Sunday afternoon on the first long weekend of summer? No, I didn’t watch. I was driving, so caught the game on XM.


Early on Sunday, there were social media notices that plenty of seats were available for that day’s Memorial Cup game in Regina, between the Pats and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, starting at $75 plus fees. For junior hockey?


The Kelowna Rockets have signed F Ethan Ernst, a native of Weyburn, Sask., who turned 16 on Jan. 26. He was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 41 games with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds.


Hockey fans may not be aware that retired NHL referee Kerry Fraser first made his mark in the WHL, and it all started with a game in Flin Flon. Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post spoke with Fraser about that and other WHL stories. It’s all right here.


Rick Wilson, a former WHL coach, has decided to retire, ending a coaching career that began with two seasons (1978-79) at his alma mater, the U of North Dakota. He then spent eight seasons with his hometown Prince Albert Raiders, six as an assistant coach and the last two as head coach. . . . Wilson, 67, worked as an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. But most of his career was spent with the Dallas Stars, which is where he finished up this season.


The Memorial Cup schedule (all times local):

Game 1, Friday – Regina 3, Hamilton 2 (5,678)

Game 2, Saturday – Acadie-Bathurst 4, Swift Current 3 (OT) (6,237)

Game 3, Sunday – Acadie-Bathurst 8, Regina 6 (5,832)

Game 4, Monday – Hamilton 2, Swift Current 1 (5,820)

Game 5, Tuesday – Acadie-Bathurst vs. Hamilton, 8 p.m.

Game 6, Wednesday – Regina vs. Swift Current, 8 p.m.

Tiebreaker (if necessary) – Thursday, 6 p.m.

Semifinal – Friday, May 25, 8 p.m.

Final — Sunday, May 27, 5 p.m.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Kadyn Chabot, 16, to a WHL contract. Chabot, from Lethbridge, had 13 goals and 22 assists in 32 games with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes this season. . . . He was a sixth-round selection by the Tigers in the 2017 bantam draft.


So here’s the deal. . . . The owners of the Regina Pats paid $3.65 million to the CHL for the right to play host to the 2018 Memorial Cup and celebrate the event’s 100th anniversary. . . . Shaun Semple, who is part of the ownership group and chairman of the tournament’s organizing committee, says they expect to lose about $2 million. . . . Alex Soloducha of CBC News has more right here.


Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at the Memorial Cup on Monday as the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs got past the WHL-champion Swift Current Broncos, 2-1. Steinke has a game story and some info on Bob Ridley, the voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, right here.


The 1980 Memorial Cup, which started in Brandon and finished in Regina, was the messiest in the event’s history. You may recall that it featured questions about whether one team threw a game that eliminated the WHL-champion Pats; it also featured at least one chicken-throwing incident. . . . I know that I never will forget the sight of a reporter with a Regina radio station sporting a Pats cap and asking Mike Keenan, the head coach of the Peterborough Petes, questions about what had happened. Daniel Nugent-Bowman has produced an oral history of that tournament and it’s all right here.


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Scattershooting: When .500 isn’t .500 . . . Does Johnston have eyes on record? . . . BCHL team makes coaching change

Scattershooting

I’m sorry, but he’s right. When a WHL team is 23-23-3 or 20-20-9 it doesn’t have a .500 record. Because of the availability of loser points, it has a .500 point percentage, but it doesn’t have a winning record. In order for that to happen, a team has to have won at least as many games as it has lost. That isn’t the case in either of those situations.


“Is no competition safe from the scourge of doping these days?” asks Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, before adding: “A dozen contestants — because of Botox injections to their lips and faces to enhance their looks — were disqualified from a Saudi Arabian beauty contest. For camels.”


A tip of the Taking Note hat to Terry Koshan of Postmedia, for this bit from Thursday’s Top Prospects Game in Guelph, Ont.:

“Fitting that after Don Cherry trotted out his tired view on European players in the CHL his club’s first goal was scored by Russian forward Egor Sokolov, who plays for Cape Breton of the QMJHL. During a scrum with reporters in the morning, Cherry beat his personal dead horse, saying Europeans shouldn’t be in the Canadian Hockey League. If there’s a good reason for keeping Cherry’s involvement in the prospects game, what exactly is it?”


Headline in The New York Times the other day: “Russia is barred from Winter Olympics. Russia is sending 169 athletes to Winter Olympics.


After the Oakland Raiders hired Jon Gruden as their head coach, Jeff Gordon of STLtoday.com pointed out: “The franchise added a questionable haircut to the worst haircut in pro sports.”


This is one of the biggest weeks of the year for the WHL’s board of governors and other pooh-bahs. Why? Because they always spend Super Bowl weekend meeting (?) in Los Vegas. . . . Hey, it beats (pick one of 21 cities — Victoria is exempted) in winter.


Due to slumping sales, the folks who bring us Diet Coke apparently are planning changes to the product’s look and to the marketing strategy.

“Maybe,” notes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “the biggest problem is Trump making Americans think the beverage causes dementia.”


New eating game when watching a CHL game on Sportsnet: Eat a hot dog every time you hear these three words together — Mastercard Memorial Cup. . . . Warning: Have plenty of TUMS handy.


Pitchers and catchers report in a couple of weeks, and Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will be together in pinstripes shortly afterwards. As Greg Cote of the Miami Herald reports,“In the Bronx, Yankees fans are partying like it’s 1927.”


When Brian Kilrea retired from coaching, he had won 1,193 regular-season games with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. Think about that for a moment. . . . A coach would have to win 50 games in 23 straight seasons just to get close.


From Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: “Interesting to hear Ken Hitchcock and Mike Babcock being so complimentary to each other when the Leafs were in Dallas. When the Olympics ended four years ago in Sochi, Babcock, the head coach, and Hitchcock, the assistant, weren’t getting along. In fact, there was so much tension around Team Canada, which romped to gold, that just after the celebration on the ice, Steve Yzerman announced that he would never be a general manager again.”



MacBeth

F John Dahlström (Medicine Hat, 2016-17) has been assigned on loan by Almtuna Uppsala (Sweden, Allsvenskan) to Oskarshamn (Sweden, Allsvenskan) for the rest of the season. As part of the loan agreement, Dahlström won’t play when Oskarshamn plays Almtuna on Feb. 10. This season with Almtuna, he had three goals and four assists in 28 games. He also had one goal in two games while on loan to Wings Arlanda (Sweden, Division 1), and one goal and one assist in three games while on loan to Hudiksvall (Sweden, Division 1). Dahlström remains under contract to Almtuna through next season. . . .

F Antonín Honejsek (Moose Jaw, 2009-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He has 14 goals and 11 assists in 41 games. . . .

F Milan Bartovič (Brandon, Tri-City, 1999-2001) had his loan assignment by Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga) extended through the end of this season. He had one goal and one assists in 19 games with Liberec. In 15 games with Vítkovice, he has four assists.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Mike Johnston got his 300th regular-season WHL coaching victory on Sunday when his Portland Winterhawks beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 4-2.

PortlandJohnston is the 23rd coach in WHL history to get to 300.

On Saturday night, his Winterhawks lost 4-2 in Kamloops as Blazers’ head coach Don Hay put up victory No. 743 and set a WHL career record in the process. Ken Hodge, who retired after 1992-93 as the head coach in Portland, had held the previous record.

So, Mike, how about 743?

“It’s hard to imagine winning that many games,” Johnston told Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune. “I’ve known Don for a long time. And with Hodgie — what an accomplishment for both of them. You have to throw a few 50-win seasons in or you’re not going to get to those numbers.”

Eggers has more right here.

——

Westman Communications Group Place, the home of the Brandon Wheat Kings is soon to BrandonWKregularhave a new name. The 10-year deal between the Keystone Centre and the Westman Communications Group has reached its end and Westman has to walk away. . . . Among other things, Westman owns Brandon radio stations QCountry 91.5 FM and 880AM and is in its 27th season of owning broadcast rights to the Wheat Kings. . . . The Keystone Centre apparently has a new naming rights deal done and an announcement is to be made in the near future. . . . There is no word as too how much these naming rights go for, but USC just got a cool US$69 million from United Airlines for the naming rights to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.


TheCoachingGame

The BCHL’s Powell River Kings have fired Kent Lewis, their general manager and head PRKingscoach. . . . Assistant coach Brock Sawyer was named interim head coach, with assistant coach Kyle Bodie remaining on the staff. . . . “(The board of directors) just felt this course of action was in the best interests of the Powell River Kings moving forward,” Rob Villani, the team president, said in a news release. “It was an incredibly difficult decision.” . . . Lewis had been with the Kings for about 25 years. He started as an assistant coach, moved up to head coach, and then GM/head coach. . . . The Kings are 23-15-4-5 (that’s four ties) and is second in the Island Division, two points behind the Victoria Grizzlies. The Kings are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, including three straight losses.


Scoreboard

MONDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Red Deer at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.


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