Gustafson will stay in Portland. . . . Blazers restart coaching search. . . . Warriors, Chiefs sign first-rounders

MacBeth

D Mathew Berry-Lamontagna (Prince Albert, 2010-12) has signed a one-year contract with HK Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with Simon Fraser U (BC Intercollegiate), he had four goals and 16 assists. He was named the BCIHL’s MVP and top defenseman, and a first-team all-star. . . .

D Cody Carlson (Medicine Hat, Regina, Prince George, 2006-12) has signed a one-year contract with UTE Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga), he had four goals and 28 assists in 49 games. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

D Vladimír Mihálik (Red Deer, Prince George, 2005-07) has signed a one-year contract extension with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had four goals and 10 assists in 49 games. . . .

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2013-16) signed a two-year contract extension with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). This season, with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL), he had two assists in 15 games. He also had two goals and five assists in 16 games with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga).


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The Kamloops Blazers held a development camp in the city over the weekend.

During the camp, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week asked general manager Matt Kamloops1Bardsley about the team’s search for a head coach to replace one-and-done Serge Lajoie.

Bardsley replied: “We are getting close, but we’re taking our time, double-checking, triple-checking, doing extra interviews with the individuals. We want to make sure we feel really good about it when we walk away from it.”

What Bardsley didn’t say is that the Blazers are pretty much back to Square 1.

Taking Note has been told that the Blazers offered their head-coaching position to Kyle Gustafson. In fact, the offer is believed to have been for four years.

Gustafson, however, withdrew his name from consideration and will be staying in Portland as the Winterhawks’ assistant general manager and associate coach. He has been on Portland’s coaching staff since 2004.

Bardsley, who is preparing for his second season as the Blazers’ general manager, left the Winterhawks to come to Kamloops. He had been with the Winterhawks since 1999, first as a scout and, in the end, as assistant GM. So he is quite familiar with Gustafson.

In fact, Taking Note was told last month, and it was reported in this space, that Gustafson was the leading candidate for the Blazers’ head-coaching job a year ago. However, ownership decided the new man would be Lajoie, who was coming off a national university championship with the Alberta Golden Bears.

With Gustafson out of the picture, where do the Blazers go now?

Malcolm Cameron, who has been in the coaching game since 1998 when he was an assistant coach at Acadia U, is believed to have interviewed with Bardsley. Cameron, 49, spent three seasons (2011-14) with the Regina Pats, the first two as an assistant coach, the last as head coach. He was the head coach of the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder for the past three seasons, until they let him go on April 10.

Cameron made earlier ECHL stops with the Columbia Inferno, Cincinnati Cyclones, Columbus Stars, Corpus Christi Rayz, Long Beach Ice Dogs, Texas Wildcatters, Florida Everglades and Elmira Jackals.

It could be that Jeff Truitt, who just completed his first season as an assistant coach with the WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders, also is in the picture. The Raiders announced contract extensions for general manager Curtis Hunt and head coach Marc Habscheid on Monday, but neither Truitt nor Dan Gendur, the other assistant, were mentioned.

Truitt also has WHL coaching experience with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kelowna Rockets and Red Deer Rebels. He was Kelowna’s head coach through three seasons (2004-07).

Then there’s Don Nachbaur, who is No. 3 on the WHL’s list of career head-coaching victories, has been out of the game since Nov. 4. He was in his second season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles, when he was dismissed when the team fired head coach John Stevens.

Nachbaur, if he is interested in coaching in the WHL again, might be a better fit in Prince George where the Cougars also need a head coach. Nachbaur, 60, was born in Kitimat, B.C., and was raised in Prince George. He is a member of the city’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Bardsley also is believed to have at least chatted with former Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk, who was near the end of his third season when he was fired in February.

You have to think the Blazers also will have at least inquired as to the availability of Kris Knoblauch and Manny Viveiros.

Knoblauch had been an assistant coach with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers for two seasons, but lost his job when they hired Alain Vigneault as head coach early in May. He has WHL coaching experience with Prince Albert and the Kootenay Ice, but really came to prominence in four-plus seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters.

The same fate befell Viveiros with the Edmonton Oilers when Dave Tippett signed on as head coach. Viveiros joined the Oilers after guiding the Swift Current Broncos to the WHL championship a year ago.

One thing seems certain, though — the person who ends up as the Blazers’ head coach will have Darryl Sydor as one of the assistant coaches. Sydor, who officially was named an assistant coach on Feb. 12, is one of the team’s five co-owners. Most observers feel that the day will come when Sydor will be the team’s head coach.


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The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders have signed general manager Curtis Hunt and PrinceAlberthead coach Marc Habscheid to what a news release says are “multi-year extensions.” . . . The news release adds: “Further terms of the contracts were not disclosed.” . . . Hunt took over as GM prior to the 2015-16 season and is the reigning WHL executive of the year. . . . Habscheid took over as the Raiders’ head coach during the 2014-15 season. The Raiders are 168-134-36 in his time as head coach. . . . This season, he became the eighth head coach in WHL history to get to 500 regular-season victories. . . . Habscheid was name the WHL’s coach of the year for 2018-19, the second time he has been so honoured.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed F Denton Mateychuk to a WHL contract. He was the 11th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . From Dominion City, Man., Mateychuk had 23 goals and 38 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Eastman Selects this season.

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The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Ben Thornton to a WHL contract. Thornton, from Abbotsford, B.C., was the 15th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Thornton played this season with the Abbotsford-based Yale Hockey Academy, scoring 13 goals and adding 32 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team.

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WHL 2019 FIRST-ROUNDERS

UNSIGNED:

1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth

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SIGNED:

2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker

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The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed D Aidan Brook to a WHL contract. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds selected Brook, who will turn 16 on July 30, in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. The Tigers acquired him on Jan. 4, along with a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a third-round pick in 2020, for F Henry Rybinski. . . . Brook played this season with the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy Elite 15s, putting up one goal and 25 assists in 36 games. . . . Brook, from Roblin, Man., is the younger brother to a pair of WHLers — D Josh Brook, who will turn 20 on June 17 and has played four seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors, and F Jakob Brook, 17, who just finished his freshman season with the Prince Albert Raiders.


Ryan Aasman, a former WHL defenceman, has signed on as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. . . . He has coaching experience as an assistant with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Aasman, 27, is from Medicine Hat. He played in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders, Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Medicine Hat Tigers and Edmonton Oil Kings before going on to spend four seasons (2013-17) at the U of Lethbridge.


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Have Rockets lost key d-man to Iles? . . . Kelowna, Seattle cut major trade. . . . Hitmen acquire Woo from Warriors. . . . Ice makes big noise in bantam draft


MacBeth

F Dylan Stanley (Tri-City, 2000-05) has signed a one-year contract extension with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). This season, he had 18 goals and 39 assists in 40 games. He led the team in assists and was second in points. He was second in the league in assists and fifth in points. . . . Stanley also was the team’s skills coach and director of player development for the Feldkirch minor hockey program this season and will continue in those roles next season. . . .

F Brett Breitkreuz (Kelowna, Edmonton, Vancouver, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract with the Bietigheim Steelers (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2), he had 16 goals and 17 assists in 42 games. Next season will be his 10th in Germany. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

G Chet Pickard (Tri-City, 2005-09) signed a two-year contract with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL), he was 19-4-0, 1.96, .914, with three shutouts, in 24 games. He was second in the league in GAA and sixth in save percentage. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship.


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Part I: Some trades and odds and ends from the WHL’s bantam draft. . . .

I would suggest that the biggest news came from the camp of the Kelowna Rockets, and it didn’t have anything to do with a deal that was struck with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Rather, it involved Finnish D Lassi Thomson.

In fact, there are reports that Ilves of Finland’s top pro league has a deal with Thomson that includes an option for him to stay through the 2021-22 season.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, had this to say in a news KelownaRocketsrelease: “We’re aware of the report that was released today. We were somewhat surprised; however, Lassi has always been under contract to Ilves as they had to release him to play for us this season. We look forward to the NHL draft (in) June. We are hopeful that whichever NHL team drafts him and his club team Ilves decides that playing for the Rockets is in his best interest.”

Hamilton also told Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice: “Once he is picked, the NHL team will have input on where he goes anyways. I think the NHL team will want to see him play in North America so they see him as much as they want. They can have their developmental people with him and have him playing on a North American ice sheet.”

Thomson, who had a one-year contract to play over here, was the Western Conference nominee as rookie of the year after a season in which he put up 17 goals and 24 assists in 63 games. You can bet the Rockets were looking to him to run their first PP unit as they prepare to be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

From Tampere, Finland, Thomson won’t turn 19 until Sept. 24.

At home, he played in the Ilves system for four seasons — U-16, U-18 and U-20 — before joining the Rockets.

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Meanwhile, the Rockets made a splash on draft day by cutting a major trade with the Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna acquired D Jake Lee, F Dillon Hamaliuk and G Cole SeattleSchwebius, giving up F Conner Bruggen-Cate, the 10th-overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft — the Rockets had acquired it earlier in the day from the Brandon Wheat Kings — a second-round pick in 2021 and Kelowna’s first-rounder in 2022. . . . The Rockets didn’t make the playoffs this season and are in the early days of a massive rebuild as they attempt to get competitive for a season that will end with them as the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . .

Lee, who is to turn 18 on July 13, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He was the 18th-overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, his second in Seattle, he put up three goals and 21 assists in 67 games. . . . Hamaliuk, who will turn 19 on Oct. 30, is from Leduc, Alta. He was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. His season was ended by injury after 31 games, as he finished with 11 goals and 15 assists. . . . Schwebius, a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, is from Kelowna. This season, he was 5-8-2, 3.89, .886 in 17 games with Seattle. . . .

Schwebius, 18, leaves the Rockets with three goaltenders on their roster, joining Roman Basran, who is to turn 18 on July 26, and James Porter, 19. This season, Basra was 20-19-4, 2.79, .906 in 51 games; Porter went 8-13-4, 3.32, .899 in 30 appearances.

Bruggen-Cate, who is heading into his 20-year-old season, is from Langley, B.C. He has played three seasons in Kelowna, totalling 26 goals and 46 assists in 200 games. Kelowna selected him in the sixth round of the 2014 bantam draft.

Seattle’s 20-year-old group now includes Bruggen-Cate, F Jaxan Kaluski, Slovakian F Andrej Kukuca, D Jarret Tyszka and F Matthew Wedman,


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Seattle, having dealt Schwebius to Kelowna, turned around and acquired G Blake Lyda of Edmonton from the Everett Silvertips for a third-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. . . . That selection had originated with Everett, moving to Seattle in a Jan. 1 deal that had F Zack Andrusiak move to the Silvertips. . . . Lyda, who will turn 17 on May 21, was a fourth-round pick by Everett in the 2017 bantam draft. He was with the midget AAA Edmonton CAC Canadians, although he missed much of the season due to injury. . . . Right now, Lyda and Roddy Ross, who is to turn 19 on July 4, are the top two goaltenders on Seattle’s depth chart.


Kelowna acquired the 10th-overall pick, along with the WHL rights to D Sean Comrie, BrandonWKregularfrom Brandon for the fifth-overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Comrie, 19, is from Edmonton. The Wheat Kings selected him in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft. Comrie was a freshman this season with the U of Denver Pioneers, after playing two seasons with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. This season, he had seven goals and 27 assists in 34 games. . . . The deal left Brandon with the fifth and sixth selections, the first time it held two top six picks since 2013 when it took F Nolan Patrick fourth overall and D Kale Clague with the sixth pick. . . . This time, the Wheat Kings took F Nate Danielson of Red Deer with the fifth selection and F Tyson Zimmer of Russell, Man., in the six hole. . . . Danielson had 26 goals and 33 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Rebels this season, while Zimmer had 22 goals and 30 assists in 26 games with a bantam team at the OHA in Penticton.


The Winnipeg Ice acquired the third-overall selection and D Reece Harsch, 20, from the wpgiceSaskatoon Blades for four draft picks — the ninth- and 24th-overall picks in the 2019 bantam draft, as well as a 2020 second-round pick and a fifth in 2021. . . . That ninth-overall pick and the second-round selection in 2020 originated with the Red Deer Rebels; the fifth started with the Blades and was dealt to the Ice for F Cyle McNabb in January. . . . The Ice then cut a deal with the Prince George Cougars, giving up the third-overall pick and a third in 2020 that originated with the Moose Jaw Warriors for the second-overall selection in 2019. . . . Winnipeg selected F Matt Savoie of St. Albert, Alta., with the first pick, and then took F Conor Geekie of Strathclair, Man., with the second selection. . . . Savoie has made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver Pioneers starting with the 2021-22 season. His brother, Carter, was the AJHL’s rookie of the year with the Sherwood Park Crusaders. He has committed to the Pioneers for the 2020-21 season. . . . Interestingly, the Ice recently acquired Carter’s WHL rights from the Regina Pats. . . . The Ice brought the Savoies to Winnipeg in mid-April to show them around and seriously begin their sales pitch. . . . Geekie’s father, Craig, played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Spokane Chiefs (1991-94). Conor’s brother Morgan played three seasons (2015-18) with the Tri-City Americans, while another brother, Noah, was a second-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in 2015 but has chosen to pursue a career in baseball. . . . Harsch, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was acquired by the Blades from the Seattle Thunderbirds this season. He totalled four goals and 16 assists in 57 regular-season games. In three full WHL seasons he has 17 goals and 40 assists in 178 games. He was a part of the Seattle team that won the Ed Chynoweth Cup two years ago.

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In the fourth round, Winnipeg grabbed F Rieger Lorenz of Calgary. He had 11 goals and 25 assists with the bantam prep team at the Edge School in Calgary this season. . . . Lorenz has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for the 2022-23 season.

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Winnipeg also made a deal with the Tri-City Americans in which the Ice acquired F Isaac Johnson, 20. . . . Winnipeg gave up a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft in the exchange. That pick originated with Spokane, moving to the Ice in a deal made in June in which D Bobby Russell went to the Chiefs. . . . From Andover, Minn., Johnson had 12 goals and 20 assists in 31 games with the Americans this season when he left the team and apparently retired. At the time, Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told Taking Note that Johnson had retired for personal reasons. . . . In 2017-18, Johnson had 17 goals and 31 assists in 68 games with the Americans. . . . The Ice roster now includes three 20-year-olds — Johnson, F Davis Murray and D Chase Hartje.


The Kamloops Blazers had two first-round selections for the first time in franchise  Kamloops1history. They took D Mats Lindgren out of the Burnaby Winter Club with the seventh-overall selection, then picked F Connor Levis of the St. George’s Academy in Vancouver with the 20th pick. . . . Both players have committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines for 2022-23. . . . Lindgren’s father, Mats, is a former NHLer. . . . In 2016, the Blazers used the 15th-overall pick on F Massimo Rizzo, who just completed his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. . . . In 2017, the Blazers took F Josh Pillar with the 14th selection. In 2018, they grabbed F Logan Stankoven with the fifth pick. . . . Pillar showed dramatic improvement with the Blazers as this season wore on, while Stankoven lit up the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers and will be a big part of the Kamloops scene over the next few seasons.


Before the draft got started, the Calgary Hitmen made a huge splash by acquiring Jett CalgaryWoo, one of the WHL top defencemen, from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for D Vladislav Yeryomenko, F Ryder Korczak, the 11th-overall pick in the 2019 draft and a second-rounder in 2021. . . . Woo, the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 draft, was a second-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He has signed a three-year entry-level deal with Vancouver. . . . From Winnipeg, Woo is to turn 19 on July 27. He just completed his third season with Moose Jaw, and has 114 points, including 26 goals, in 178 games. This season, he finished with 12 goals and 54 assists in 62 games. . . .

“This was our No. 1 priority in getting a puck moving defenceman,” Jeff Chynoweth, Calgary’s general manager, said in a news release. “To add a player of his calibre, one of the top scoring defencemen in the WHL, a player who plays hard at both ends, is huge for our club.

“He’s a legitimate No. 1 defender and to get him for a whole season instead of after the trade deadline is an added bonus.”

The deal also signals that the Hitmen have their eyes on the prize for 2019-20 and won’t be content just being one of the players.

Yeryomenko, 20, is from Mishutki, Belarus. He was a fifth-round pick by the Nashville MooseJawWarriorsPredators in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign a pro deal. This season, his third with Calgary, he had seven goals and 26 assists in 33 games. In 188 regular-season games, he has 26 goals and 72 assists.

The Warriors have two other Belarusians on their roster — F Yegor Buyalski, 18, and F Daniil Stepanov, 18.

There have been rumblings that the rule involving 20-year-old import players may be about to change, perhaps with the removal of the two-spot designation. It could be that a team will be allowed to have three imports on its roster, if one of them is a 20-year-old. This deal may signal that Moose Jaw general manager Alan Millar is expecting that rule to be changed.

Korczak, who is to turn 17 on Sept. 23, is from Yorkton, Sask. The younger brother of Kelowna Rockets D Kaedan Korczak, he had eight goals and seven assists in 50 games as a freshman with the Hitmen.


The Vancouver Giants didn’t have a first-round pick, and took D Joshua Niedermayer, a Vancouverson of former WHL/NHL D Scott Niedermayer, with the 30th overall selection. A native of Newport Beach, Calif., Joshua had 10 goals and 12 assists in 27 games with the bantam prep team at OHA in Penticton, B.C. . . . His brother, Jackson, 18, is a forward with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and has committed to Arizona State U and the Sun Devils for 2021-22. . . . Jackson was a fifth-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2016 bantam draft. . . .

The Giants used their second pick in the draft, No. 43, to take F Bowden Singleton of Calgary. He had 42 goals and 24 assists in 29 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team, but has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2022-23. . . .

In the fifth round, the Giants took F Colton Langkow of Scottsdale, Ariz. His father, Daymond, played four seasons (1992-96) with the Tri-City Americans while an uncle, Scott, spent three seasons (1992-95) tending goal for the Portland Winterhawks.


JUST NOTES: Kamloops took G Dylan Ernst from the Weyburn, Sask., bantam AA Red Wings with the 28th overall pick. He was the first goaltender taken in the draft. Dylan’s brother Ethan, 17, just finished his freshman season with the Kelowna Rockets. After Dylan was drafted, their mother, Bonnie, tweeted: “It’s hard enough to watch him in net, let alone playing against his brother. And that many times.” . . .

The Blazers used a seventh-round pick to take F Nash Bamford of Lacombe, Alta. He had eight goals and 12 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels. His father is country music star Gord Bamford, who was born in Australia and raised in Canada. He has 26 CCMA awards to his credit. . . .

The Everett Silvertips took F Austin Roest of Vernon, B.C., in the third round. His father, Stacy, played four seasons (1991-95) with the Medicine Hat Tigers and now is the director of player development with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors selected D Carson Brisson of Edmonton in the fifth round. He had 18 goals and 19 assists in 32 games with the minor midget Leduc Oil Kings this season. He has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for 2023-24. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds used an eighth-round pick to take F Cruz Lucius of Grant, Minn. He played this season with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy, putting up nine goals and 32 assists in 13 games. He has committed to the U of Minnesota Gophers for 2022-23. . . . His brother, Chaz, was taken in the fourth round a year ago by the Portland Winterhawks. Chaz is poised to enter the U.S. National Team Development Program after putting up 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy. He is committed to Minnesota for 2021-22.

If you know of any other hockey bloodlines from the draft or have any tidbits you would like to share, email Taking Note at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

Oil Kings into conference final. . . . Blazers, Raiders head to P.A. all even. . . . Chiefs on verge of sweeping Silvertips

MacBeth

G Tomáš Vošvrda (Medicine Hat, 2007-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Poprad (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, in 38 games, he was 25-11-2, 2.43, .931, with five shutouts. . . .

F Eric Arnold (Moose Jaw, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Pikes Oberthurgau (Switzerland, 1. Liga). This season, with Thurgau (Switzerland, Swiss League), he had three goals and seven assists in 18 games. . . .

D Daine Todd (Medicine Hat, 2003-08) has signed a two-year contract extension with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). This season, he had four goals and 17 assists in 50 games, while averaging 18:05 TOI per game.


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D Jett Woo of the Moose Jaw Warriors didn’t have a very long stint with the Utica Comets, MooseJawWarriorsthe AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. Woo was released from his ATO last weekend because of what the Comets said is a “lingering” lower-body injury. . . . Woo, who will turn 19 on July 27, was a second-round pick by the Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He has signed his three-year, entry-level contract. . . . This season, he had 12 goals and 54 assists in 62 regular-season games with the Warriors. The start of his season was slowed after he underwent a minor surgical procedure on a knee.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed D Dylan Ashe to a WHL contract. Ashe, 16, is from Warman, Sask. This season, he had one goal and seven assists in 31 regular-season games with the Tisdale Trojans of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: After back-to-back three-game nights, things will quiet down a bit tonight with only one game on the schedule. In that one, the Vancouver Giants will be trying to eliminate the host Victoria Royals. . . .

In the first three games, the Giants have outshot the Royals, 124-45, while leading 10-5 on the scoreboard. However, Vancouver has needed OT to win Games 2 and 3 — 2-1 in Langley and 5-4 in Victoria on Tuesday night. . . . The Giants continue to play without F Aidan Barfoot, who was injured in the first round. . . . Victoria, meanwhile, may be just about out of bodies. On Tuesday, it scratched D Jake Kustra and F Kody McDonald, both of whom will complete suspensions by sitting out tonight, along with, among others, F Tanner Sidaway, D Ralph Jarratt and F Kaid Oliver. . . . Royals F Phillip Schultz left near the end of Tuesday’s game with an apparent arm injury. We won’t know whether he’ll play until lineups are posted prior to Game 4. . . .

Last night, the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Hitmen, 6-0, in Calgary to sweep that series. The Oil Kings are into the Eastern Conference final where they will meet the winner of the other conference semifinal between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades. . . .

Saskatoon beat the visiting Raiders, 4-1, to tie that series, 2-2, with Game 5 in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . . Game 6 will be played in Saskatoon on Sunday. Tickets for that one went on sale last night at 10 o’clock and more than 1,000 were sold in the first hour. . . . As for the War of the Words, well, it seems that things have quieted down . . . at least for now. . . .

In Spokane, the Chiefs got past the Everett Silvertips, 3-1, to take a 3-0 lead in that Western Conference semifinal. They’ll play Game 4 in Spokane on Friday night.

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WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Dylan Myskiw turned aside 18 shots to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 6-0 victory EdmontonOilKingsover the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . The Oil Kings won the series, 4-0, to move into the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 2014. Edmonton now awaits the winner of the series between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades. That one is 2-2, with the Oil Kings hoping it goes seven. . . . The Oil Kings got first-period goals from F Scott Atkinson (2), at 4:56, and F Quinn Benjafield (4), at 17:59. . . . F Jake Neighbours (3) made it 3-0 at 7:40 of the second period. He also had an assist, and finished with three goals and two assists in the four games. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (5), on a PP, D Wyatt McLeod and F Andrew Fyten (3) also scored. . . . Edmonton was 1-1 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . Myskiw posted his first playoff shutout in his 18th career appearance. He got into 11 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings last spring. . . . Calgary starter Jack McNaughton was beaten five times on 29 shots through two periods. Carl Stankowski stopped seven of eight shots in the third period. . . . Edmonton held a 37-18 edge in shots, including 17-2 in the second period.


F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson each had three points and G Nolan Maier came Saskatoonup with 43 saves as the Saskatoon Blades beat the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 4-1. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, with each team having won twice at home. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Prince Albert on Friday, then return to Saskatoon for Game 6 on Sunday. . . . Last night, the Blades scored the game’s last four goals. . . . F Dante Hannoun (4) scored shorthanded, at 11:15 of the first period, to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. . . . Gerlach, who also had two assists, tied it, on a PP, at 12:02 of the second period. . . . Saskatoon took the lead at 13:13 when F Tristen Robins (2) scored. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (2) added insurance, at 16:18, and F Eric Florchuk (2) got the empty-netter at 17:53. . . . Davidson finished with three assists. . . . Saskatoon was 1-5 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-4. . . . Maier’s night included 21 saves in the first period when his guys were outshot, 22-12. According to Geoffrey Brandow, Maier’s 43 saves were one off his season-high — he stopped 44 in a 4-3 OT loss to the Rebels in Red Deer on Oct. 26. . . . The Raiders got 34 saves from G Ian Scott. . . . D Reece Harsch was back in Saskatoon’s lineup after a two-game absence, so D Majid Kaddoura came out.


G Bailey Brkin stopped 29 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 3-1 victory over the SpokaneChiefsvisiting Everett Silvertips. . . . The Chiefs lead the series, 3-0, and have a chance to end it in Game 4 at home on Friday night. . . . The Silvertips were 6-0-2 in the regular-season series. . . . F Ethan McIndoe (5) gave Spokane a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:42 of the first period. . . . Everett tied it at 9:39 as F Robbie Holmes (2) scored. . . . Chiefs F Adam Beckman (4) broke the tie at 2:21 of the third period. The Silvertips complained that G Dustin Wolf was interfered with on the play but it was to no avail. . . . Spokane iced it at 19:32 as F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (3) got the empty-netter. . . . Wolf finished with 17 saves. . . . Spokane was 1-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . The Silvertips had F Riley Sutter, their No. 1 centre, back in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 29. One of the WHL’s top faceoff men, he was 10-5 on draws.


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2020 WJC gold-medal game for less than $27? . . . Nine WHLers to U17 camp. . . . Raiders, Giants draw first blood


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F Andrej Kudrna (Vancouver, Red Deer, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 52 games.


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Tickets for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship are scheduled to go on sale on 2020WJCApril 24. The tournament is to be held in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, opening on Dec. 26 and concluding on Jan. 5. . . . Ticket prices for the gold-medal game will start at €17.50 — on Friday, Cdn$1 equalled 0.66 Euro; it also equalled 17.07 Czech Koruna. . . . Games will be played in the Ostravar Arena, which has a capacity of 7,800, and the Week Arena in Trinec, with a capacity of 4,200. . . . Ticket prices are the same in both facilities. . . .

From a news release:

“Thanks to the unobstructed sightlines from all seats at both arenas, all tickets are available at a single price level for each game. Tickets for group-stage games are in three price categories — 290 CZK (€11.30), 240 CZK (€9.30) and 140 CZK (€5.40).

“For the same price of 290 CZK (€11.30), tickets to all four quarter-final games will be available in both cities: two in Ostrava and two in Trinec. The last two days of the tournament will take place in Ostrava — the semi-finals and medal games will be played in Ostravar Arena.

“Tickets for both semi-finals will be available for 290 CZK (€11.30), and then fans can watch the bronze-medal game for 350 CZK (€13.60) and the championship final for 450 CZK (€17.50). Tickets for games of the best-of-three relegation series that will also take place at Ostravar Arena will be sold for 90 CZK (€3.50).” . . . About 25 per cent of tickets have been blocked off for the IIHF, teams and media, and for technical purposes. . . .

Tickets will be available online at 2020.worldjuniors.hockey.

In Canadian dollars, a ticket to the gold-medal game will set you back about $26.

The 2019 tournament was held in Victoria and Vancouver. A ticket package for games in Victoria (14 games) started at $399 ($28.50 a game), with a Vancouver package (19 games) starting at $650 ($34.21 a game).

Ticket prices for the 2019 tournament were markedly lower than the 2018 tournament, which was held in Buffalo, and the 2017 event (Montreal/Toronto). Swaths of empty seats at those tournaments resulted in organizers rethinking ticket prices before the 2019 WJC.

(A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Matt Smith — “a long-time reader from Portland who has been living in Prague, Czech Republic, for the past five years” — for steering me to this information. Yes, he will be in attendance at the 2019 WJC “for its entirety.”)


There are nine WHLers among the 23 players invited by Hockey Canada to attend a Canadaselection camp next week prior to the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. . . . That tournament will be held in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, from April 18 through April 28. . . . The 23 Canadian players will gather in Kisakallio, Finland, next week for a training camp prior to two pre-tournament games. The camp will run from Monday through Friday, with exhibition games set for April 14 (Belarus, in Umeå) and April 15 (Russia, in Örnsköldsvik). . . .

The camp roster features three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. . . . The WHLers invited to camp are G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George Cougars; G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers; D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna Rockets; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; F Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw; F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes; F Connor Zary, Kamloops; and F Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg Ice. . . . Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, is an assistant coach with the U18 team. . . . Canada hasn’t won this tournament since 2013.

The training camp roster is right here.


The Spokane Chiefs have extended the contracts of three members of their hockey staff through the 2020-21 season. . . . Joseph Hurley, the team’s athletic trainer and conditioning coach, is finishing up his second season with the Chiefs. He also has worked with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and USA Ball Hockey. . . .  Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, began with the Chiefs as a video co-ordinator in 2006-07. He has been in his present full-time position since August 2017. . . . Sports psychologist Jon Hammermeister has been an Eastern Washington U professor since 1999.


D Jared Freadrich of the Portland Winterhawks has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Freadrich, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 15 goals and 33 assists 67 games with Portland this season. . . . He also played with the Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels and Victoria Royals during a WHL career in which he totalled 38 goals and 93 assists in 263 regular-season games.


D Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will spend the remainder of this season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Addison, who will turn 19 on Thursday, was a second-round pick by Pittsburgh in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign with them. . . . This season, his third with Lethbridge, he had 11 goals and 54 assists in 67 games. He added two goals and seven assists in seven playoff games.


D Aaron Hyman, who completed his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. Hyman, who also played with the Calgary Hitmen, Seattle Thunderbirds and Regina Pats, had 16 goals and 66 assists in 232 career regular-season games. . . . This season, he had 10 goals and 40 assists in 68 games as he started with the Pats and finished with the Americans. . . . Hyman played in back-to-back Memorial Cup tournaments — with Seattle and then Regina.


G Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks will finish his season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Hofer, 18, was a fourth-round pick by the Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He started this season with the Swift Current Broncos, before being dealt to Portland. All told, he was 15-29-3, 3.72, .906.


Chris Murray, a former NHL/WHL player, is the new head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Murray, 44, played three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, helping the team to Memorial Cup titles in 1991 and 1994. He went on to a pro career that included stints with the Montreal Canadiens, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. . . . A city firefighter in Kamloops these days, Murray just completed his fifth season as a part-time assistant coach with the WHL Blazers. He also was the head coach of the minor midget Blazers. That position will be filled by Crosby Dorais of Kamloops.


USA Hockey named 23 players — two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 13 forwards — USAhockeyto its U-17 team on Friday. These players, all born in 2003, are expected to join USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and compete as the national U-17 team. The NTDP is a two-year residency program based in Plymouth, Mich. . . . The roster includes two players whose WHL rights belong to the Portland Winterhawks, and one who was drafted by the Prince George Cougars. . . . D Ty Murchison of Corona, Calif., played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U-16 team. The Winterhawks selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with them, nor has he made an NCAA commitment. F Chaz Lucius of Grant, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2021-22. The Winterhawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, Lucius had 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy in St. Paul, Minn. . . . Prince George selected D Aidan Hreschuk of Long Beach, Calif., in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. He also played for the U16 Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Hreschuk has committed to Boston College for 2021-22. . . .

There are a couple of other players on USA Hockey’s U-17 team with WHL connections. . . .  F Tyler Boucher of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the son of former Tri-City Americans G Brian Boucher (1994-97). . . . F Colby Saganiuk of Valencia, Pa., is the grandson of Rocky Saganiuk, who played with the Kamloops Chiefs and Lethbridge Broncos (1975-77) and was the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 1995-96.


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NOTES: Two second-round series began on Friday night. . . . In Prince Albert, the Raiders got three goals from F Sean Montgomery and a goal and three helpers from F Brett Leason in beating the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday. The first three games of this series are being televised by Sportsnet. . . . In Langley, B.C., G Trent Miner recorded the shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 3-0. They’ll play again tonight in Langley. . . .

The other two series get going tonight, with the Edmonton Oil Kings — the Edmonton Oilers’ logo at centre ice in Rogers Place is gone — playing host to the Calgary Hitmen, and the Spokane Chiefs meeting the Silvertips in Everett.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert duo of F Brett Leason and F Sean Montgomery proved too much in the PrinceAlbertearly going as the Raiders beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades in Game 1 of their second-round series. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday, then head to Saskatoon for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Montgomery and Leason were in on the Raiders’ first three goals. Montgomery scoring twice, with Leason getting a goal and two helpers. Montgomery later completed his first career WHL hat trick. . . . Montgomery (2) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 3:47 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters (2) tied it at 5:24. . . . Leason (3) broke the tie at 12:07, and Montgomery (3) upped the lead to 3-1 at 11:39 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 4-1 when F Parker Kelly (2) scored at 17:42. . . . Montgomery (4) completed his hat trick at 5:51 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Montgomery’s first hat trick came in his 362nd career game — 345 in the regular season and 17 playoff games. . . . It also was Prince Albert’s first three-goal playoff game since F Milan Kraft did it on March 30, 2000. On that night, Kraft scored the game’s last three goals, two of them via the PP, as the Raiders won, 3-2, in Swift Current. F Layne Ulmer had both Swift Current goals. That was Game 1 in a first-round series that the Broncos won, 4-2. . . . Kelly (3) gave the Raiders a 6-1 lead on a PP at 13:40, with Leason earning his third assist, and fourth point, of the night. . . . The Raiders were 2-6 on the PP; the Blades were 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 23 shots for Prince Albert. He is 5-0, 1.60, .925 in these playoffs. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier was beaten five times on 36 shots in 47:04. Koen MacInnes came on in relief to make his WHL debut with the Blades trailing, 5-1. He gave up one goal on three shots. . . . G Dorrin Luding (undisclosed) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. MacInnes, 17, was dressed as Maier’s backup. MacInnes, from Burnaby, B.C., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He played this season for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.


G Trent Miner turned aside 15 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-0 victory over Vancouverthe Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Langley. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Victoria on Tuesday and Thursday. . . . F Davis Koch (2) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 13:44 of the first period, on a PP. . . . Koch, who had a goal and nine assists in the first round, now leads the WHL’s playoff points race, with 11. . . . The Giants went ahead 2-0 at 5:50 of the third period as F Jared Dmytriw (2) scored. . . . F Dawson Holt (2) made it 3-0 with an empty-netter at 18:12. . . . Dmytriw also had an assist, while D Bowen Byram had two. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . Miner, who turned 18 on Feb. 5, was 24-5-2, 1.98, .924, with three shutouts, in the regular season. In the playoffs, he is 3-1, 1.51, .938 as he shares time with David Tendeck. . . . The Royals got 25 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif played for the first time since he was injured late in Game 1 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . As expected, the Giants scratched F Aidan Barfoot. He was injured in Game 4 against Seattle. . . . F Kody McDonald (suspended) and F Kade Oliver (shoulder) were among Victoria’s scratches. Oliver’s season is over.


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Hamilton: No plans “right now” to sell Rockets. . . . Hitmen take out Hurricanes. . . . Calgary, Edmonton to open on Saturday


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F Peter Lorentzen (Tri-City, 2001-03) has retired. This season, with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had two goals and seven assists in 31 games. He announced on Feb. 27 that he would retire at the end of this season. . . . Stavanger lost Game 6 of a best-of-seven semifinal to Storhamar, 3-1, on Monday night. . . .

F Jaroslav Vlach (Prince George, 2009-11) has signed a three-year plus option year extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec, he had seven goals and seven assists in 43 games. He also had four goals and five assists in six games while on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga).


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The rumours have been strong enough that Bruce Hamilton felt a need to issue a public denial.

Hamilton is the majority owner, president and general manager of the WHL’s Kelowna KelownaRocketsRockets, the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

For the last while there have been rumours circulating throughout the hockey community that the Rockets either are for sale, or that Hamilton will guide the organization through the 2020 Memorial Cup and then sell the franchise.

On Tuesday, he told Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, that the Rockets aren’t for sale.

“To purchase this thing (franchise) won’t be a small operation, put it that way. It will have to be something big,” Hamilton said. “Someday it will happen, but I have no plans right now to do that. I am enjoying what I am doing. . . .

“It would be news to me if it was sold. I have the most shares, so I don’t think it is going to be sold under my watch right now anyway. I think it is too bad that there is a group of people, I will call ‘agents,’ that phone around and ask questions and then spread rumours which is unfortunate.”

Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, made the point that he still is enjoying his hockey life.

“If my passion wasn’t here, we wouldn’t have bid for the Memorial Cup,” Hamilton said.


If you were following along on Monday night, you will be aware that the WHL playoff game between the visiting Victoria Royals and the Kamloops Blazers was delayed twice Kamloops1due to broken panes of glass.

That glass was due to be replaced anyway, and it all will be gone before another season gets here.

A couple of years ago, the WHL established new standards for boards and glass, and Kamloops’ city council has agreed to fund the necessary changes. Hockey Canada also has been pushing for improvements.

Following Monday’s game, Jeff Putnam, Kamloops’ parks and civic facilities manager, tweeted: “And before next season there will be a brand new board and glass system that is equivalent to NHL standards as well as other facility improvements. The new glass will be ‘acrylic’ which is almost impossible to shatter and much easier to handle for our crew.”

It is believed that the replacement cost will be around $1 million.


The Tri-City Americans have signed G Mason Dunsford to a WHL contract. Dunsford, a 15-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . He played this season with the Elite 15 team at the Burnaby Winter Club, and helped his club with the CSSHL championship. . . . He was 2.60, .911 in 23 regular-season games, then went 2.25, .931 in four playoff appearances.


The ECHL’s Fort Wayne Comets have added G Jiri Patera of the Brandon Wheat Kings and D Dalton Hamaliuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors to their roster. . . . Patera, who turned 20 on Feb. 24, was a sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. This season, Patera, who is from Praha, Czech Republic, was 22-20-2, 3.31, .906 with the Wheat Kings. . . . Hamaliuk played out his junior eligibility with Moose Jaw, putting of four goals and 19 assists in 66 games this season.


F Noah Philp of the Seattle Thunderbirds has joined the AHL’s Stockton Heat on an ATO. Philp, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 26 goals and 49 assists in 56 games with Seattle this season.


D Dylan MacPherson of the Medicine Hat Tigers has signed an ATO with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds. MacPherson, who played out his junior eligibility this season, spent three seasons with the Tigers. This season, he had two goals and 10 assists in 62 games.


In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup qmjhltournament, beat the visiting Quebec Remparts, 3-1, on Tuesday night in Game 7 of a first-round series. . . . The Remparts went into Game 6 in Halifax on Monday with a 3-2 lead in the series. The Mooseheads tied the series with a 6-1 victory. . . . The Mooseheads (49-15-4) had finished first in the Eastern Conference; the Remparts (27-28-13) were eighth. . . . Next up for the Mooseheads will be the Moncton Wildcats, who beat the Baie-Comeau Drakkars, 3-2, in Game 7 last night.


A former WHL linesman worked his final NHL game on Tuesday night . . .


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NOTES: The only first-round WHL playoff series to go to Game 7 was decided Tuesday night in Lethbridge’s Nicholas Sheran Arena as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . The Hitmen will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series will open with games in Edmonton on Saturday and Sunday. . . . The Oil Kings (42-18-8) finished atop the Central Division; the Hitmen (36-26-6) were third. . . . Edmonton was 7-0-1 in the season series; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . They have met four times since the trade deadline, with Edmonton winning all four — 3-2, 5-1, 6-1 and 3-1. . . . Among the story lines: Steve Hamilton, in his first season as Calgary’s head coach, spent the previous eight seasons with the Oil Kings, the last four as head coach. . . .

There aren’t any WHL playoff games scheduled until Friday night when two series are to open. . . . The Saskatoon Blades will face the Raiders in Prince Albert, while the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants will open in Langley, B.C. . . . The other second-round series will open Saturday night with the Spokane Chiefs visiting the Everett Silvertips. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia — that’s him hard at work in the above tweet — filed a neat story about the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday. It involves head coach Michael Dyck and associate coach Jamie Heward and how they helped unload the team bus in Kent, Wash., the other night, a move that allowed their players to get a bit more rest. . . . That story is right here. . . . Ewen also reported that Giants F Justin Sourdif was in a regular sweater for Tuesday’s practice. Sourdif missed the last five games of the Giants’ six-game first-round victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Vancouver will open the second round in Langley, B.C., against the Victoria Royals on Friday night. . . .

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The visiting Calgary Hitmen scored three first-period goals, two of them by F Carson CalgaryFocht, en route to a 4-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Calgary won the series, 4-3. It was the only one of the eight first-round series to go the distance. . . . The Hitmen will move on to play the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series is to open in Edmonton on Saturday. . . . Focht (3) got the Hitmen on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 3:30. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (1) made it 2-0 at 15:23. . . . Focht (4) upped it to 3-0 at 16:19. . . . The Hurricanes cut into the deficit at 2:49 of the second period as F Zachary Cox (2) scored, then got to within a goal at 12:52 on a goal from D Alex Cotton (1). . . . Calgary wasn’t able to put it away until F Mark Kastelic (5) scored an empty-netter at 19:41 of the third period. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots for the Hitmen, two more than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . Lethbridge F Logan Barlage was given a slashing major and game misconduct after he hacked Focht off a game-ending faceoff. Should Barlage be suspended, he will serve it at the beginning of the 2019-20 regular season. . . .

The Hurricanes won the first two games of the series — 3-2 and 4-1 (OT) — in the Enmax Centre, before announced crowds of 3,566 and 3,788. . . . With the world men’s curling championship then taking over that arena, the Hurricanes were forced to move to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorn women’s and men’s hockey teams. The Hitmen won Game 5 there, 6-5, before 1,200 fans, and clinched the series last night in front of 1,151 fans.


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Cutler, Royals boot Blazers from playoffs. . . . Game slowed by two broken panes of glass. . . . Hitmen, Hurricanes to play Game 7 tonight


MacBeth

D Jesse Dudas (Lethbridge, Prince George, Swift Current, Regina, 2003-09) has signed a two-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga), he had 11 goals and 28 assists in 51 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .

D Nick Walters (Everett, Brandon, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL). This season, he had one goal and seven assists in 48 games.


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F Nolan Yaremko, who played out his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans, has signed an ATO with the AHL’s Stockton Heat. Yaremko, from Spirit River, Alta., had 67 goals and 92 assists in 278 games over four regular seasons with the Americans. . . . This season, the Americans’ captain had 28 goals and 38 assists in 68 games.


D Jett Woo of the Moose Jaw Warriors has joined the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. They selected Woo in the second round of the NHL’s 2018 draft and have signed him to a contract. . . . This season, he had 12 goals and 54 assists in 62 games.


The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup, staved off elimination on Monday night as they beat the visiting Quebec Remparts, 6-1. . . . The first-round series is tied, 3-3, with Game 7 set for tonight in Halifax. . . . The Mooseheads (49-15-4) finished atop the Eastern Conference; the Remparts (27-28-13) wound up eighth.


Scott Barney has signed a three-year contract as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He began this season as an assistant coach with the Broncos, then was named interim head coach when the organization and Nathan Oystrick parted company.


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NOTES: The Calgary Hitmen will be in Lethbridge tonight for Game 7 of their first-round series with the Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge forced a final game with a 7-6 OT victory in Calgary on Sunday. . . . With the world men’s curling championship in the Enmax Centre, tonight’s game will be played in the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s hockey teams. . . . The Hitmen won Game 5, 6-5, in that building on Friday night. . . .

In Monday’s only playoff game, the visiting Victoria Royals beat the Kamloops Blazers, 4-1, to win the series, 4-2. . . . The Royals, who finished second in the B.C. Division, will meet the Vancouver Giants, who wound up on top of the Western Conference, in the second round. That series will open with games in Langley, B.C., on Friday and Saturday. . . . In the regular season, the Giants were 6-2-2 in the season series; the Royals were 4-4-2. . . . Last season, the Royals took out the Giants in seven games in a first-round series. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that F Justin Sourdif was on the ice wearing a non-contact sweater on Monday as the Vancouver Giants practised. Sourdif hasn’t played since being injured in Game 1 of Vancouver’s six-game victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot, who also was injured against Seattle, is doubtful for the weekend.

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MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Victoria Royals scored three second-period goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Royals won the series, 4-2, and will open the second-VictoriaRoyalsround against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . The burning question going into Game 6 was: Who will start in goal for the Blazers? Veteran Dylan Ferguson, 20, had started Game 5 in Victoria on Saturday, but it was Dylan Garand who finished what was a 6-3 Royals victory. . . . When Game 6 began, Garand, a 16-year-old freshman, was in goal. . . . There was a sellout crowd (5,876) on hand for this one, but, as things turned out, they didn’t get many reasons to cheer. . . .

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FIRST PERIOD: After the Blazers opened in a rush and carried much of the play, everything came screeching to a halt. . . . There was a 25-minute delay at 4:14 of the first period as a pane of glass shattered just inside the Victoria blue line on the penalty box side of the ice. Victoria F Logan Doust hit Kamloops F Connor Zary and the heel of Doust’s stick appeared to strike the glass, at which point it crumbled like yesterday’s toast. . . . Victoria got the game’s first goal at 12:05 by forcing a turnover high in the Kamloops zone. That allowed F Brandon Cutler (2) to gain some room and he was able to snap a quick shot past Kamloops G Dylan Garand. At that point, the Blazers held a 6-3 edge in shots. . . . The Blazers’ best chance came a few seconds later as F Zane Franklin came free on the left side, but Victoria G Griffen Outhouse got across and made a great save with his right pad. . . . Kamloops finished with an 11-3 edge in shots. . . . The Blazers were 0-2 on the PP, getting three shots on back-to-back opportunities. . . . Victoria was 0-1.

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SECOND PERIOD: The Royals scored on their second shot of the period to go up 2-0 as Cutler (3) got his stick on a point shot by D Jake Kustra and tipped it through Garand’s legs at 5:57. The Royals were on their second PP of the game at the time with Kamloops D Sean Strange off with one of those dreaded delay-of-game (puck over glass) penalties. . . . At that point, Kamloops had outshot Victoria, 14-5. . . .

Believe it or not, the second period featured a 20-minute delay as another pane of glass exploded after Victoria F Sean Gulka and Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen came together just above the hash marks in the Victoria zone on the penalty box side of the ice. Strangely enough, they didn’t even hit the pane that shattered, but rather one beside it. This one fell apart at 10:43. . . .

Franklin was whistled for cross-checking at 13:11 — he was behind Victoria’s net while the puck on its way out of the zone — and the Royals scored on the PP, as D Ralph Jarratt (1) beat Garand with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. . . . Kamloops was leading on the shot clock, 16-7, at that point. . . .

Victoria was awarded a penalty shot at 18:10 after F Tarun Fizur picked Kamloops D Luke Zazula’s pocket at the Royals’ blue line and headed in alone, only to be hooked from behind by F Kobe Mohr. Garand came up with a glove save and you know that the fans were hoping that would give the Blazers a lift. . . .

However, Victoria F Dino Kambeitz hit F Carson Miller (4) with a centring pass and he jammed the puck through Garand for a 4-0 lead with 12.3 seconds remaining. Kambeitz had passed the puck through Kamloops D Quinn Schmiemann and, after the goal, looked back at the home team’s player and said something. Schmiemann went right at Kambeitz behind the Blazers net and was hit with a roughing minor. . . . That put Victoria on the PP to open the third period.

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THIRD PERIOD: The Blazers began the period with Ferguson in goal. He took over from Garand, who was beaten four times on 13 shots. . . . Outhouse denied Kamloops F Connor Zary on two point-blank opportunities, one on a quick shot from the slot, at 4:50, and the other on a backhand, at 5:40. . . . The Blazers finally got on the scoreboard at 14:18 as F Orrin Centazzo (1), the trailer, took a pass from Mohr and whipped it past Outhouse. . . . For a moment the fans could see a glimmer of light. . . . But Mohr took a boarding penalty at 14:57 and F Josh Pillar went off for slashing at 15:45 and the Kamloops dream was over. . . . The Royals were 2-7 on the PP; the Blazers were 0-2. . . . Outhouse finished with 34 saves. . . . Ferguson stopped all 10 shots he faced. . . .

JUST NOTES: After the handshakes, and with almost all the players off the ice, all four on-ice officials skated over and shook hands with Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen, who played his final WHL game. Loewen is one of the great stories in WHL history; if you aren’t familiar with it, Google is a wonderful friend. . . . As good as Outhouse played in the series, D Scott Walford was the Royals’ series MVP in my eyes. He is their maestro back there, and he ran the show through six games with various defencemen moving in and out of the lineup every game. . . . 

Victoria D Jameson Murray left the ice gingerly at 11:10 of the second period. He played a couple of shifts before the period’s end, but wasn’t on the Royals’ bench for the third period. . . . The Royals had D Matthew Smith back after he missed Games 4 and 5. . . . Jarratt played in his 43rd career playoff game with Victoria, two shy of the franchise record that is held by F Tyler Soy (2012-18). . . .

The Royals were without F Tanner Sidaway, who was suspended for one game for a hit on Zary at 11:48 of the third period in Game 5. Zary wasn’t injured on the play. Sidaway was given a minor penalty for charging. Sidaway had a goal and two assists in the first five games of the series. . . . Victoria also is without F Kody McDonald, who was hit with an indefinite suspension for a stick-swinging incident in Game 4. As well, F Kaid Oliver (shoulder) is out for the remainder of the season.


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Ticket prices set for 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . Pitter, patter: Bartel back for three more seasons. . . . Oil Kings, Giants have 3-2 leads


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The host committee for the 2020 Memorial Cup in Kelowna held a news conference on Friday at which it unveiled the tournament’s logo and ticket prices.

The tournament is scheduled to run from May 22 through May 31, with a maximum of KelMemCupnine games including a possible tiebreaker on May 28.

For now, ticket packages are available to Kelowna Rockets’ season-ticket holders who are renewing for the 2019-20 season, and for fans wanting to become season-ticket holders. One adult season-ticket will set you back $591.50 plus taxes and fees.

So . . . what are Memorial Cup ticket prices in Kelowna’s 6,886-seat Prospera Place, you ask?

From a news release:

“2020 Memorial Cup ticket packages are $567 plus applicable taxes and fees to attend all six round-robin games, possible tiebreaker game, semi-final and final game.”

The 2019 Memorial Cup tournament is scheduled to be held in the 11,093-seat Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, from May 17 through May 26.

The QMJHL’s Mooseheads offered lower-bowl ticket packages to their “full season-ticket members and 15-game pack holders” for $320 plus taxes, with higher seats at $270, plus taxes. Ticket packages for the general public are going for $350 and $450, plus taxes.

The news release from the Kelowna host committee is right here.

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The Kelowna Rockets, the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, didn’t qualify for the KelownaRocketsWHL playoffs this season, finishing fourth in the B.C. Division after losing a tiebreaker, 5-1, to the Blazers in Kamloops.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, had a message for fans during Friday’s Memorial Cup-related news conference in Kelowna.

“Before we close the door on this season,” Hamilton said, “I want our fans to know that I understand and share in their disappointment of this (season’s) final results. The next couple months are going to be very busy for myself and our scouting staff, but we are excited about the challenge that lies ahead of us to add some new players to our roster.”

Hamilton went on to say: “When I look at our hockey club, I feel we need to add probably four players, and we’re into that already. I’m confident that we’ll get the players we need to make us even more competitive.”

The Rockets hold the fifth-overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft that is scheduled to be held in Red Deer on May 2. It is expected that Hamilton will trade that pick and more in order to get an impact 18- or 19-year-old top-end defenceman or scorer.

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Pitter, patter . . . let’s get at ’er . . .

Also on Friday, the Kelowna Rockets and radio station AM 1150 announced a broadcast agreement that will run through the 2021-22 WHL season.

The contract includes the return of Regan Bartel as the Rockets’ radio voice.

Bartel will be in his 20th season as the voice of the Rockets in 2019-20. It also will be his 25th season of calling WHL games, as he worked Swift Current Broncos’ games before moving to Kelowna.


If you were watching the Canada-Russia game from Kamloops on Nov. 5, you may MooseJawWarriorsremember seeing F Justin Almeida of the Moose Jaw Warriors leave after his first shift. It turns out that he suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder, something that would plague through the remainder of the season. . . . Almeida, 19, chose not to undergo surgery, which likely would have ended his season, and went on to lead the WHL in assists (78) and finish third in the scoring race, with 111 points. . . . He also signed an NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com has Almeida’s remarkable story right here.


D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors has joined the AHL’s Laval Rocket and could make his pro debut today against the host Toronto Marlies. . . . Brook’s Warriors were eliminated from the WHL playoffs this week by the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brook had 16 goals and 59 assists in 59 games with the Warriors this season. . . . Brook, who will turn 20 on June 17, was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has signed with the Canadiens. . . .

Meanwhile, two forwards from the Red Deer Rebels, who lost out to the Prince Albert Raiders, will be joining the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. . . . Brandon Hagel, who signed a free-agent deal with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, completed his junior eligibility this season by scoring 41 goals and adding 61 assists in 66 games. . . . F Reese Johnson, who also played out his eligibility this season, had 27 goals and 26 assists in 67 games with the Rebels. He also has signed a free-agent deal with the Blackhawks.


Cam Keith has joined the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as associate general manager and head coach. He spent this season with the Chilliwack Chiefs, as their associate GM and associate head coach. . . . Before that, he spent two seasons (2016-18) as GM/head coach of the Trail Smoke Eaters.


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NOTES: There were two games on Friday night. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings won at home, beating the Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-4, to take a 3-2 lead in the series. The Oil Kings get their first opportunity to clinch on Sunday in Medicine Hat. . . . In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2, and now lead that series, 3-2. Game 6 is set for Kent, Wash., tonight. . . .

There are four other games scheduled for tonight. . . . The Calgary Hitmen and Lethbridge Hurricanes are tied, 2-2, as they go into Game 5. They’ll play in the Nicholas Sheran Arena because the world men’s curling championship is being played in the Enmax Centre. . . . In Spokane, the Chiefs hold a 3-1 lead over the Portland Winterhawks, who may — or may not — have F Cody Glass in their lineup for the first time in the series. . . . The Everett Silvertips, with a 3-1 lead, will entertain the Tri-City Americans. . . . In Victoria, perhaps the most bitterly contested of the first-round series will resume with the Royals and Kamloops Blazers tied, 2-2.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored four times on 18 first-period shots en route to a 5-4 EdmontonOilKingsvictory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 in Medicine Hat on Sunday. . . . F Andrei Pavlenko (1) got Edmonton started just 16 seconds into the game. . . . D Linus Nassen (3) tied it for the Tigers, on a PP, only 23 seconds later. . . . F Andrew Fyten (2) gave the Oil Kings a 2-1 lead at 5:08. . . . The home team went up 3-1 at 7:57 when F Trey Fix-Wolansky (1) scored, then made it 4-1 at 18:49 on a goal by F Scott Atkinson (1). . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (2) scored for the Tigers 41 seconds into the second period, but Fix-Wolansky (2) got that one back at 12:31. . . . At that point, Edmonton held a 5-2 lead. . . . F James Hamblin (3) pulled the Tigers to within two goals at 8:12 of the third period, and Chyzowski (3) made it 5-4 at 11:22. . . . But that was as close as the Tigers would get. . . . The Oil Kings got 27 saves from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . G Mads Søgaard stopped 34 shots for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-4. . . . F Josh Williams was scratched by the Oil Kings, meaning that F Dylan Guenther, the first-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, was in the lineup for a second game. . . . If it comes down to Game 7, it would be played in Edmonton on Tuesday night.


D Dallas Hines broke a 2-2 tie early in the third period and the Vancouver Giants went on Vancouverto a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for tonight in Kent, Wash. . . . Last night, Vancouver opened up a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Dylan Plouffe (4), at 7:06, and F Jadon Joseph (4), on a PP, at 12:58. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman (3) cut the deficit to one, on a PP, at 14:14, and F Noah Philp (2) tied it, on another PP, at 3:57 of the second period. . . . Hines, a mid-season acquisition from the Kootenay Ice, scored his second goal of the series at 4:43 of the third period, and it stood up as the winner. D Bowen Byram took the puck to the net on the right side. Hines skated in from the left point and got there in time to bang in the rebound of Byram’s shot. . . . Seattle was 2-5 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-4. . . . Vancouver G Trent Miner stopped 25 shots, five fewer than Seattle’s Roddy Ross. . . . Seattle F Nolan Volcan played in his 54th playoff game to set a franchise record. He had shared the record with F Scott Eansor (2013-17). . . . The Thunderbirds were without D Cade McNelly, who completed a two-game suspension, and F Sean Richards, who is under indefinite suspension. . . . F Aidan Barfoot and F Justin Sourdif were among the Giants’ scratches. Sourdif was injured in Game 1, while Barfoot was hut in Game 4 on a hit from behind by Richards. . . . If these teams need a Game 7 to settle things, it would be played in Langley on Tuesday night.


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The mayors of Moose Jaw and Saskatoon made a small wager on the outcome of the first-round series between the Warriors and Blades. This is the end result: