Scattershooting, with some of this and some of that . . . Winterhawks sign imports . . . Knoblauch a head coach again

MacBeth

F Luke Lockhart (Seattle, 2007-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). Last season, he had one goal and nine assists in 41 games. He also had one goal in one game with KRS-ORG Beijing (China, Vysshaya Liga). . . .

D Jagger Dirk (Kootenay, 2009-14) has signed a one-year contract with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, he had one assist in nine games with the Utica Comets (AHL), and had four goals and 17 assists in 49 games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). . . .

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). Last season, with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had four goals and three assists in 19 games. He also had four goals and five assists in nine games with Tours (France, Division 1). . . .

G Jackson Whistle (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2011-16) has signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). Last season, with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite), he was 3.20, .898, with two assists, in 50 games. . . .

F Dylan Willick (Kamloops, 2009-13) has signed a tryout contract with Podhale Nowy Targ (Poland, PHL). Last season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 68 games with the Worcester Railers (ECHL). . . .

D Brady Gaudet (Kamloops, Red Deer, 2010-15) has signed a one-year contract with Annecy (France, Division 2). Last season, with the Redvers Rockets (Big Six Hockey League), he had nine goals and eight assists in 13 games. . . .

F Marek Škrvně (Kelowna, 2017-18) signed a tryout contract with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, in 18 games with Kometa Brno Junioři (Czech Republic, Extraliga Juniorů), he had eight goals and 12 assists. On loan to Horácká Slavia Třebíč (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had one goal in 16 games. . . .

F Radovan Bondra (Vancouver, Prince George, 2015-18) signed a tryout contract with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL), he was pointless in two games. In 66 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL), he had 10 goals and 25 assists. . . .

F Denis Tolpeko (Seattle, Regina, 2003-06) signed a try-out contract through the end of August with AIK Stockholm (Sweden, Allsvenskan). Tolpeko didn’t play last season. In 2017-18, with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL), he had one assist in four games.


ThisThat

I have spent the past couple of days trying to keep up with a three-year-old. So if I fall asleep in the middle of this, you’ll understand why. . . . In the meantime, here’s something of a potpourri. . . . A little Scattershooting, a little of this, and some of that. . . .


I don’t know about where you live, but there sure are a lot of vehicles with faulty turn signals in Kamloops. I mean, drivers are smart enough to use them if they work, right? Right?


The Portland Winterhawks have signed Swiss F Simon Knak, 17, and Danish D Jonas PortlandBrøndberg, 18. . . . Just last week I wrote this about the two of them: Knak has played in the EHC Kloten organization. Last season, he had 14 goals and 11 assists in 37 games with the U-20 team. He also had five goals and eight assists in five games with the U-17 side, and had one assist in three games with the Kloten team in the NLB. Knak also played 26 games with the U-18 national team. He was the captain, and put up 10 goals and six assists. . . . Brondberg played in Sweden last season, splitting 28 games between two U-18 teams (Växjö Lakers), totalling three goals and six assists. He also had one assist in 21 games with a U-20 team. In 14 international games, he had four assists. Brondberg captained Denmark’s U-18 team at the U-18 IIHF World championship tournament.


“Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Leaf and Lance Armstrong — three disgraced pariahs not that long ago — are suddenly high-profile TV commentators,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Pundits said they’d never seen anyone land on their feet like that since Mary Lou Retton.”

——

One more from Perry: “Hungary swamped host South Korea 64-0 in the women’s water polo world championships, breaking the mark for biggest victory margin by 27 goals. Even the U.S. women’s soccer team urged the Hungarians to tone it down a bit.”

——

Here’s Perry, one more time: “A message in a bottle — dropped overboard by a teen boy in 1969 — finally washed up on shore in South Australia. In other words, aimlessly adrift at sea only two years less than the Toronto Maple Leafs.”


Kris Knoblauch is the new head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers. . . . He takes over from Keith McCambridge, who was fired in April. . . . Knoblauch spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, who fired head coach Dave Hakstol mid-season and hired Alain Vigneault earlier this summer. Scott Gordon, who took over as interim coach when Hakstol was fired, now is the head coach of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers’ AHL affiliate. . . . . . . Knoblauch, 40, worked in the WHL as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders (2006-07) and Kootenay Ice (2007-10). He was the Ice’s head coach for two seasons (2010-12), and spent four-plus seasons (2012-17) as head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters.



Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon, on NBC Sports Network hiring Lance Armstrong as an analyst for its Tour de France coverage: “The analogy that leaps to mind is that Lance Armstrong doing color commentary for the Tour de France is about as apropos as the Food Network naming Hannibal Lecter as its next Iron Chef.”


If you haven’t yet seen this editorial from the Baltimore Sun, take a couple of minutes out of your day and give it a read.

 


The junior B Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League had agreed to a five-year contract extension with head coach John Clewlow, 30. He is heading into his second season as the team’s head coach. Last season, the Border Bruins finished third in the Neil Murdoch Division. . . .

Grant Sheridan, the president and general manager of the junior B Kelowna Chiefs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, has died. Sheridan passed away on Sunday night in Kelowna General Hospital. . . . Sheridan’s health problems began during the KIJHL playoffs when he was ended up in hospital in Revelstoke with bacterial meningitis. He was transferred to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, then was moved to Kelowna General Hospital.


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Burzan, Langan fill hats in wins . . . Cutler has Royal birthday . . . Ams eke out victory over ‘Tips


MacBeth

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Tours (France, Division 1). This season, with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had four goals and three assists in games. He was released by mutual agreement by Odense on Dec. 17. . . .

F Petr Vala (Seattle, 1997-98) announced his retirement, effective immediately. This season, he had three goals and nine assists in 12 games with Zell am See (Austria, Alps HL). He also is a coach of the Zell am See U12 team and will continue in that role.


ThisThat

KOOTENAY KOUNTDOWN

For the bulk of this season, there has been speculation that the Kootenay Ice will leave Cranbrook, B.C., after this season and set up shop in Winnipeg.

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was on TSN Radio (1260) in Edmonton on Dec. 19.

Asked by host Dean Millard about the situation involving the Ice, Robison responded in part that “we’ll be very soon making an announcement as to what the future of that franchise is.”

I don’t pretend to know the definition of “very soon,” but we are into our 17th day since Robison made that statement, and there has yet to be an announcement of any kind.


The WHL’s Canadian teams are preparing to take part in the second season of RE/MAX whlPresents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation. . . . The 17 teams first got involved in his promotion last season and it was a resounding success. . . . It is used to promote organ donation and to generate support for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Last season, it raised more than $265,500, which, according to a news release, represents “the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.”

This time around, teams again will be wearing specially-designed Don Cherry-themed sweaters, only they will sport nicknames on the backs rather than surnames. Yes, sweaters will be available via auction after each game.

Here are the dates of these special nights:

Sat., Jan. 19 – Edmonton Oil Kings

Fri., Jan. 25 – Red Deer Rebels

Fri. Feb. 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors

Sat., Feb. 2 – Prince Albert Raiders

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.


G Kyle Dumba has been picked up by the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. Dumba, 20, will fill the spot created when the Seattle Thunderbirds signed G Roddy Ross on Tuesday. . . . Seattle immediately added Ross to its roster, replacing G Liam Hughes, who was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Dumba, 20, had been with the Victoria Grizzlies, who got future considerations from Camrose. . . . Dumba has spent time with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats in the WHL, along with the junior A Okotoks Oilers, Calgary Mustangs, Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and the Grizzlies.


If you enjoy what you see here, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and contribute to the cause. Thank you, in advance, and stay safe out there.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Luka Burzan scored three times and added two assists to lead the host Brandon Wheat BrandonWKregularKings to a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Brandon (16-14-6) had lost its previous four games. The Wheat Kings are two points shy of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Seattle (11-20-4) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1) and is five points out of a playoff spot. . . . F Cole Reinhardt gave the home guys a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:40 of the first period, and Burzan upped it to 2-0 at 9:21. . . . F Noah Philp halved the deficit, on a PP, at 11:07. . . . Brandon took control with four second-period goals, two of them from Burzan and another from Reinhardt (9), who also had an assist. . . . Philp later added his 13th goal for Seattle. . . . Brandon got a goal, his fourth, and two assists from D Chase Hartje. . . . Burzan has two career hat tricks — he had a five-goal game on Sept. 29 in an 8-4 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Stelio Mattheos was back in Brandon’s lineup — he had two assists — after completing a three-game suspension. His line, with Reinhardt and Burzan, combined for 10 points. . . . The Thunderbirds opened a six-game East Division trip with this game. . . . G Jiri Patera, who played with Czech Republic at the WJC, started for the Wheat Kings and stopped 37 shots. . . . Seattle starter Cole Schwebius was beaten four times on 13 shots in 24:32. Roddy Ross, who joined the Thunderbirds from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks this week, came on in relief. He stopped 19 of 22 shots in 35:28. . . . Seattle was without D Cade McNelly, who is serving a three-game suspension, and F Matthew Wedman, who sat out a one-game suspension. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and D Zach Ashton, who came over from the Saskatoon Blades, both were in Seattle’s lineup. . . . Seattle also had F Conner Roulette, 15, make his WHL debut. From Winnipeg, he was a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2018 bantam draft. Roulette has 22 goals and 34 assists in 29 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. . . . The Wheat Kings and Thunderbirds met in the 2015-16 WHL final, with Brandon winning in five games. Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun pointed out in pre-game coverage that there are three Wheat Kings left who played in that series — Mattheos, F Connor Gutenberg and F Linden McCorrister. Seattle also has three players left on its roster — Wedman, F Nolan Volcan and D Jarrett Tyszka.


F Tristin Langan scored three times to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-2 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Moose Jaw (21-8-6) has points in six straight (5-0-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, five points behind the Saskatoon Blades. However, Moose Jaw has five games in hand. . . . Prince Albert (34-4-1) now has lost two in a row at home where it is 17-2-0. It leads the East Division by 16 points over Saskatoon. . . . Langan gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:58 of the first period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (8) tied it, on a PP, at 19:35. . . . Langan put the Warriors ahead again, at 12:05 of the second period. . . . D Brayden Pachal (10) got the home team back into a tie at 19:43. . . . Warriors F Brayden Tracey (15) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 7:31 of the third period, and Langan completed the hat trick into an empty net at 19:50. . . . Langan now has 66 points, including 30 goals, in 35 games. He went into this season with 71 points, including 25 goals, in 174 games. . . . Langan has four career hat tricks, three of them this season, two in his last six games. . . . The Warriors got three assists from D Josh Brook, their captain, in his first game back after playing for Canada at the WJC. . . . The Raiders were  credited with winning 46 of 65 faceoffs. . . . G Brodan Salmon stopped 38 shots for Moose Jaw, including 14 in the third period. . . . F Dante Hannoun was in the Raiders’ lineup one day after being acquired from the Victoria Royals. The Raiders also had G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason back from their stint with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Scott made 27 saves.


F Kyle Crnkovic scored on a PP in OT to give the host Saskatoon Blades a 2-1 victory over Saskatoonthe Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (24-11-5) has won three in a row. . . . Regina (12-25-2) has lost two straight (0-1-1). . . . F Max Gerlach (23) gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 13:16 of the second period. . . . Regina tied it at 4:38 of the third when F Austin Pratt (15) scored, on a PP. . . . Crnkovic won it with his third goal of the season at 1:19 of OT. . . . F Gary Haden had the primary assist on both Saskatoon goals. . . . Saskatoon got 32 saves from G Nolan Maier, while Regina’s Max Paddock was outstanding in blocking 36 shots. . . . D Reece Harsch, acquired this week from the Seattle Thunderbirds, made his Saskatoon debut. . . . F Kirby Dach (undisclosed injury) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. . . . D Tyson Feist, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs, was in Regina’s lineup, as was F Blake Allan, who came over from the Kootenay Ice.


F Jaydon Dureau broke a 3-3 tie in the third period and the Portland Winterhawks went Portlandon to a 5-3 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Portland (22-11-5) has points in seven straight (4-0-3). The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Swift Current (7-27-3) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . This was the start of Portland’s six-game East Division trip. . . . F Lane Gilliss (8) gave the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 2:13 of the first period. . . . Broncos F Ethan O’Rourke (3) tied it at 10:11. . . . Portland took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Joachim Blichfeld (35), at 14:41, and F Michal Kvasnica (6), at 16:54. . . . F Matthew Culling pulled the home side to within a goal at 17:36. . . . Culling now has eight goals, seven of them in his past nine games. . . . F Ethan Regnier (7) got the Broncos into a 3-3 tie at 2:46 of the second period. . . . Dureau snapped the tie at 7:28 of the third period, and F Jake Gricius (16) got the empty-netter at 19:10. . . . F Cody Glass, who played for Canada at the WJC, wasn’t in Portland’s lineup. . . . Portland held a 48-23 edge in shots — 16-8, 16-9 and 16-6, by period. . . . Yes, Broncos G Josh Hofer stood tall, again. . . . G Shane Farkas started for Portland, with Dante Giannuzzi backing him up. G Evan Fradette, 17, who was added to Portland’s roster from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders on Thursday, wasn’t dressed. . . . Portland got back D John Ludvig, who was out with a two-game suspension. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley, who served the second of a four-game suspension, and D Brendan De Jong, who is in concussion protocol.


F Brandon Cutler celebrated his 19th birthday with a goal and two assists to spark the VictoriaRoyalsVictoria Royals to a 3-2 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Victoria (19-15-1) is 3-2-0 on its six-game Central Division swing. It is second in the B.C. Division, one point ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Edmonton (21-13-7) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). The Oil Kings lead the Central Division, by one point over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who have three games in hand. . . . Cutler (9) opened the scoring at 1:03 of the first period, and F Logan Doust (2) made it 2-0 at 15:04. . . . Edmonton got to within a goal at 18:01 when F Vince Loschiavo (18) scored. . . . F D-Jay Jerome’s 16th goal gave Victoria a 3-1 lead at 3:32 of the second period. . . . F Andrew Fyten (11) got the Oil Kings back to within a goal at 16:11. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse blocked 35 shots, 15 of them in the second period. . . . The Oil Kings had D Will Warm back for the first time since Sept. 29 — he missed 35 games with an undisclosed injury — and F Brett Kemp returned after a two-game absence. . . . F Kody McDonald and F Carson Miller, who came over in a deal with the Prince Albert Raiders, made their Victoria debuts. Also in the Royals lineup for the first time was D Jake Kustra, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on Dec. 10. He last played on Oct. 14. . . . D Noah Lamb, who is from Edmonton, also made his debut with the Royals. Lamb, who turned 17 on Tuesday, was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Knights of Columbus Pats in Edmonton.


F Jake Elmer scored twice and added an assist, and G Liam Hughes posted his first Lethbridgevictory with Lethbridge as the Hurricanes edged the visiting Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . Lethbridge (20-10-8) has points in four straight (2-0-2). The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, one point behind Edmonton and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Vancouver (23-12-2) has lost four straight; it is 1-4-0 on its six-game Central Division trip. The Giants lead the B.C. Division by 11 points over Victoria. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from Elmer, at 1:01, and F Jordy Bellerive (19), at 4:18. . . . The Giants tied it on goals from F Owen Hardy (8), on a PP, at 14:24, and F Justin Sourdif (9), just 33 seconds later. . . . F Taylor Ross (22) gave Lethbridge the lead at 3:31 of the third period, with Elmer (18) making it 4-2 at 7:53. . . . D Bowen Byram (10), on a PP, got Vancouver to within a goal at 16:14. . . . Ross added two assists to his goal. . . . Hughes stopped 33 shots in his second consecutive start since Lethbridge acquired him from the Seattle Thunderbirds earlier in the week. . . . Vancouver had three newcomers in its lineup — D Dallas Hines, who was acquired earlier in the day from the Kootenay Ice; F Jadon Joseph, who came over from the Regina Pats earlier in the day; and D Seth Bafaro, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. . . . The Giants also had F Milos Roman back from his stint with Slovakia at the WJC. . . . F Scott Mahovlich was in Lethbridge’s lineup after being acquired from the Regina Pas on Thursday. . . . Michael Dyck, in his first season as the Giants’ head coach, has a long history in Lethbridge, having coached the Hurricanes and, most recently, the bantam AAA Golden Hawks, and minor midget and midget AAA Hurricanes.


The Calgary Hitmen snapped a 2-2 tie with two goals early in the third period en route to Calgarya 5-3 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Calgary (18-16-4) has won three straight. Calgary holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Red Deer (22-13-2) now is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind Medicine Hat. The Rebels are in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . F Cael Zimmerman gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 3:41 of the second period, only to have Red Deer F Brett Davis (11) tie it at 5:59. . . . Calgary went back out front at 15:50 on a goal by F Bryce Bader (3). . . . D Dawson Barteaux tied it for Red Deer, on a PP, at 1:08. . . . The Hitmen broke the tie on goals from F Luke Coleman (10), at 2:00, and F Kaden Elder (16), at 4:19. . . . F Reese Johnson (18) scored for Red Deer at 16:16. . . . Zimmerman (4) iced it at 18:24. . . . Zimmerman also had an assist, for a three-point outing.


G Garin Bjorklund won his second straight start as the Medicine Hat Tigers dumped the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Kootenay Ice, 5-3. . . . Medicine Hat (22-15-3) has won five in a row and moved into third spot in the Central Division. . . . Kootenay (8-25-7) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Bjorklund, 16, is from Calgary where he plays for the midget AAA Buffaloes. The Tigers, with G Mads Sogaard with Denmark at the WJC, brought in Bjorklund to partner with Jordan Hollett. . . . Last night, Bjorklund stopped 29 shots. . . . The Tigers took a 1-0 lead when D Hayden Ostir (9) scored at 11:17 of the first period. He left the game with an apparent leg injury late in the second period, and didn’t return, following a collision with Ice D Martin Bodak. . . . F Josh Williams made it 2-0 at 1:43 of the second period. . . . The Ice tied it on second-period goals from F Austin Schellenberg (2), on a PP at 8:30, and F Jaeger White, at 10:49. . . . Medicine Hat went ahead 4-2 before the period ended, on goals from F Ryan Chyzowski (14), at 11:46, and F Tyler Preziuso, at 12:45. . . . White’s 16th goal of the season, at 17:53 of the third period, pulled the Ice to within a goal, but Preziuso (15) put it away at 18:20. . . . White’s stepfather, Shaun Clouston, is the Tigers’ general manager and head coach. . . . Tigers F James Hamblin had one assist in running his point streak to 10 games. He has 10 goals and five assists one that stretch. . . . The Ice had F Connor McClennon in the lineup for the first time since he suffered an undisclosed injury on Nov. 24. McClennon, 16, was the second-overall pick in the 2017  bantam draft. . . . The Ice also had D Marco Creta and F Cyle McNabb make their Kootenay debuts. Creta was acquired from the Regina Pats and McNabb from the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Tigers are without F Bryan Lockner (concussion).


F Tyson Upper’s shootout goal gave the Prince George Cougars a 2-1 victory over the PrinceGeorgeRockets in Kelowna. . . . Prince George (13-21-3) had lost its previous two games. It is two points shy of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Cougars are 2-7-0 on an 11-game road trip that continues on Tuesday against the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kelowna (17-17-4) has points in four straight (2-0-2). The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, one point behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand. . . . The Cougars are 4-1-1 against Kelowna, which is 2-2-2 against Prince George. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (4) scored, on a PP, for Kelowna at 14:28 of the second period. . . . F Jackson Leppard (8) got the Cougars’ goal, on a PP, at 10:47 of the third. . . . F Nolan Foote, leading off the second round of the shootout, scored for Kelowna. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk and Upper followed with goals for Prince George. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, who was forced from Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops by dehydration after two periods. . . . Prince George had a 9-1 edge in third-period shots; Kelowna led 5-1 in OT. . . . G James Porter stopped 27 shots for the Rockets. . . . D Tyson Phare, who last played on Nov. 18, returned to Prince George’s lineup. . . . Cougars D Cole Moberg (leg) sat out after being injured a week ago in Everett, and F Ilijah Colina left the game in Kamloops on Sunday with an undisclosed injury. D Cam MacPhee (undisclosed injury), F Reid Perepeluk (ill) and D Tyson Phare, who last played on Nov. 18, also were scratched. . . . F Craig Armstrong, 15, made his debut with the Cougars in this one. He was the ninth overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. The Cougars also had D Cole Beamin, 17, in the lineup after adding him from the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks. He was a second-round pick in the 2016 draft.


The Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last three goals and beat the visiting Kamloops SpokaneChiefsBlazers, 4-1. . . . Spokane (21-13-4) is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Kamloops (14-18-3) is fourth in the B.C. Division seven points behind Kelowna. The Rockets are in Kamloops tonight. . . . F Riley Woods (24) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:43 of the first period. . . . F Kobe Mohr (4) scored, on a PP, for Kamloops at 18:52. . . . Spokane broke the tie on a goal by F Jake McGrew (14), on another PP, at 1:28 of the second period. . . . D Filip Kral (4), who had played for Czech Republic at the WJC, added insurance at 7:02. . . . F Luke Toporowski (12) added an empty-netter. . . . The Chiefs were 2-6 on the PP; the Blazers were 1-3. . . . The Chiefs had three players back in their lineup who had been at the WJC — F Jared Anderson-Dolan and D Ty Smith (Canada), and D Kral. . . . This was the first game between the teams since the Nov. 26 deal in which the Chiefs acquired F Luc Smith from the Blazers for F Jeff Faith and two 2020 bantam draft picks — a third-rounder and a sixth-rounder.


The Tri-City Americans erased an early 2-0 deficit and beat the Everett Silvertips, 3-2, in tri-cityKennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (20-13-2) has won two in a row. The Americans are fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind Spokane and in control of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Everett (29-8-2) had been 14-0-2 in its previous 16 games. This was its first regulation-time loss since it was beaten 5-2 by the host Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 16. Everett leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland. . . . F Zack Andrusiak, in his first game with Everett since being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds, scored the game’s first goal. His 28th goal of the season and seventh in seven periods came at 3:51 of the first period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (9) made it 2-0 at 7:12. . . . F Krystof Hrabik, in his first game since playing for Czech Republic at the WJC, got Tri-City started with his ninth goal, on a PP, at 18:57. . . . D Aaron Hyman (9) got the Americans even at 3;23 of the second period, and F Blake Stevenson (8) broke the tie at 15:31. . . . The Silvertips had a 39-18 edge in shots, including 17-4 in the third period. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm blocked 37 shots. . . . Everett was 0-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-1.


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It’s expensive on WHL highways . . . Cougars in middle of $90,000 road trip . . . Broncos sign Aubin; Raiders return three

On the sixth day of our annual Christmas countdown, here is the great Harry Belafonte, who was my late father’s favourite, with Mary’s Boy Child. It’s right here.


MacBeth

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has been released by the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) by mutual agreement. He had four goals and three assists in 19 games.


ThisThat

The Prince George Cougars posted a 5-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals on Dec. 2.

Three days later, the Cougars left on a road trip. They won’t play at home again until Jan. PrinceGeorge11 when the Kelowna Rockets will pay a visit.

In between, the Cougars will play 11 games, seven in the U.S. where the exchange rate will take a big bite out of any team’s budget.

Here’s a day-by-day look at the Cougars travels (or is it travails?) . . .

Dec. 5 — Load bus and leave for Portland.

Dec. 6 — Off day in Portland.

Dec. 7 — Game in Portland.

Dec. 8 — Game in Portland.

Dec. 9 — Off day.

Dec. 10 — Off day.

Dec. 11 — Game in Kent, Wash.

Dec. 12 — Off day.

Dec. 13 — Off day.

Dec. 14 — Game in Victoria.

Dec. 15 — Off day.

Dec. 16 — Game in Vancouver.

Christmas break.

Dec. 27 — Off day.

Dec. 28 — Game in Kent, Wash.

Dec. 29 — Game in Everett.

Dec. 30 — Game in Kamloops; head home after game.

Dec. 31 — Off day.

Jan. 1 — Off day.

Jan. 2 — Off day.

Jan. 3 — Load bus and drive to Kelowna.

Jan. 4 — Game in Kelowna.

Jan. 5 — Off day in Kelowna.

Jan. 6 — Off day in Kelowna.

Jan. 7 — Load bus and head for Kennewick, Wash.

Jan. 8 — Game in Kennewick.

Jan. 9 — Game in Spokane; head home after game.

By my count, by the time the Cougars arrive home on Jan. 10, they will have spent about 25 days on the road, with at least nine of those days having been spent in the U.S.

I asked the general manager of one WHL team what it costs to keep a team on the road, and his response was between $3,000 and $4,000 per day, depending on how many are in the travelling party and where you are. He also added that it’s even more expensive in the U.S. “at a $1.35 exchange rate.”

Another GM told me that the cost per day is $3,000 to $3,500 for rooms and meals, with the bus expenses on top of that.

Understanding that all of these are ballpark figures . . .

Let’s say that it costs the Cougars $3,500 per day when they’re on the road, and that includes the return ferry trip to Victoria.

If they total 15 days in Canada, that’s $52,500.

Nine days in the U.S., with a $1.35 exchange rate, would cost $41,425.

Add it all up and playing 11 games on the road will have cost the Cougars more than $90,000.

This is a franchise that has played 17 of a scheduled 34 home games and has an announced average attendance of 2,668 fans, which is 19th in the 22-team league.

You can bet that Mark Lamb, who is in his first season as the Cougars’ general manager, is having some sleepless nights these days, and it isn’t because he can’t wait for Christmas to get here.

——

Late in October, John Pateman, one of the Cougars’ six co-owners, took time to chat with Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat for the latter’s Cat Scan podcast. Pateman, who is the team president, talked about the money factor:

“When we got into this, we would hope to not lose money. We managed to lose quite a bit and we’ll lose quite a bit this (season). Until we can have a bit of a playoff run, I think we will continue to lose money. . . . we would obviously like to break even but I think we have to hit the second round of the playoffs to do that.”

The Cougars lost the first five games of the afore-mentioned road trip. They are 11-19-3 and in fifth place in the five-team B.C. Division. While a playoff run does seem unlikely this season, they are only two points out of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot.

Asked by Miller if the owners are in it for the long run, Pateman chuckled and replied: “I don’t think we have a choice . . . we’re in. It is what it is.”


D Bobby Russell of the Spokane Chiefs will miss his club’s first two games after the Christmas break as he sits out a two-game suspension that was handed down on Monday. . . . Russell took a cross-checking major and game misconduct during Sunday’s 6-5 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . He will miss two home games — Dec. 28 against the Everett Silvertips and Dec. 29 against the Tri-City Americans.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed D Devin Aubin, 15, to a WHL contract. Aubin, from Falher, Alta., has two goals and one assist in 23 games with the midget AAA Grande Prairie Storm. . . . The Spokane Chiefs selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Broncos acquired Aubin, F Carter Chorney and F Kye Buchanan from the Chiefs on Dec. 4, giving up D Noah King, G Matthew Davis and a conditional fifth-round 2021 bantam pick in the exchange.


The Prince Albert Raiders have returned D Braydon Clark, 16, D Nolan Allan, 15, and F Tyson Laventure, 15, to their club teams. . . . Clark, from the the Valley West Giants of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, is pointless in six games with the Raiders this season. He was a third-round selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. . . . Allan, from the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers, has one assist in seven games. He was the third overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Laventure, from the Edmonton-OHL prep team, is pointless in three games. He was a third-rounder in 2018. . . . They helped the Raiders get through a stretch where they had four players away with international duties, and also had a couple of injuries.


If you feel so inclined, please click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.


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Will WHL team hire Parker? . . . BCHL has new commissioner . . . Rebels, Cougars sign goaltending coaches

MacBeth

F Tomáš Vincour (Edmonton, Vancouver, 2007-10) signed a one-week ‘introductory’ contract with Lukko Rauma (Finland, Liiga). Lukko has a one-week camp starting Monday (June 11) with practices, off-ice activities, and an inter-squad scrimmage. If both the team and Vincour are happy with each other after the camp, the contract rolls into a one-year deal. Last season, with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga), Vincour had 10 goals and 10 assists in 39 games. . . . Lukko has started doing this with new players. It gives each party a chance to feel each other out and for the new player to see what the team and city are like. Club management feels this process leads to a higher success rate for both the team and the player. . . .

D Justin Hamonic (Tri-City, 2011-15) signed a one-year contract with Angers (France, Ligue Magnus). Last season, with the Worcester Railers (ECHL), he had one goal and eight assists in 69 games. He also was pointless in one game while on loan to the Utica Comets (AHL). . . .  Angers’ head coach is Brennan Sonne (Everett, Red Deer, Edmonton, 2005-08; assistant coach Everett 2014-17). . . .

F Jack Walker (Victoria, 2012-17) signed a one-year contract with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, he was pointless in three games with the Iowa Wild (AHL), and had 11 goals and 18 assists in 40 games with the Rapid City Rush (ECHL). . . .

F Quinton Howden (Moose Jaw, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, in 56 games, he had 17 goals and 15 assists, averaging 18:43 TOI per game. He led his team in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) signed a one-year contract extension with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He started last season with UTE Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga), going pointless in two games, and was released on Sept. 28. He signed with Odense on Jan. 22, then had five goals and five assists in 10 games. . . .

F Evan Bloodoff (Kelowna, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract extension with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, in 38 games, he had 27 goals and 12 assists, then was selected as Fife’s forward of the year. . . .

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) signed a one-year contract with the Blackburn Hawks (England, National League). Last season, with Ertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan, Kazakh Vysshaya), he had five goals and eight assists in 28 games.


ThisThat

Yes, I have returned. It’s grad season, so Dorothy and I had a party to attend in Airdrie. Yes, it rained. (Is there anything more frustrating than the drive between Revelstoke and Golden?) Then it was on to Edmonton to spend some time with a transplant friend. It didn’t rain, at least not much, but it certainly was windy. And there was more rain on Thursday for the drive home through Jasper. If you’re wondering, the wildlife count was one deer (one kilometre from our home in Kamloops), two bighorn sheep (east of Jasper townsite), and one mama black bear with a cub (south of Valemount).

For kicks, we also kept track of the price of gas — one litre of regular — on the trek that began Saturday morning. Here’s what we found:

Saturday

Kamloops $1.37.9

Salmon Arm $1.43.9

Sicamous $1.43.9

Revelstoke $1.49.9

Golden $1.46.9

Canmore $1.26.9

Sunday

Airdrie $1.21.4

Tuesday

Edmonton $1.18.9

Thursday

Edmonton $1.32.9

Edson $1.30.3

Hinton $1.32.9

Valemount $1.39.9

Blue River $1.42.9

Clearwater $1.40.9

Kamloops $1.36.9

One other note of interest: We sure did see a lot of big rigs hauling pipe as we made our way back to Kamloops on the Yellowhead on Thursday. Don’t know what that means, but . . .


OK. Let’s clean out the notebook . . .

While I was away, the WHL released its 2018-19 exhibition schedule. It also held its annual meeting in Vancouver. That meeting wrapped up on Wednesday; the WHL issued a news release on Thursday. . . . The schedule and that news release are on the WHL’s website.


I am hearing rumblings that Brent Parker, the former president, governor and general manager of the Regina Pats, would love to get back into the WHL in a front-office position. You would have to think that he might be a good fit for the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans or Vancouver Giants, teams that are looking to fill player personnel-related vacancies. . . . Parker has been keeping busy, at least in part, as the head scout in Western Canada for ISS Hockey. . . . You have to think that the man who had more to do than anyone else with remaking the Pats organization into one that is high on professionalism would be a good fit for any one of those teams.


The City of Kennewick will spend at least US$350,000 per year as it upgrades the 30-year-old Toyota Center, the home of the Tri-City Americans. Meanwhile, Tacoma City Council is investing at least US$30 million in renovations to the 35-year-old Tacoma Dome, which once was home to the now-Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Americans’ lease is set to expire in 2020. . . . You don’t suppose . . . nah!


The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Troy Mick, their president, parted company on June 8. According to a news release from the team, it was a mutual decision. Mick, 49, had been with the Silverbacks since taking over as head coach for the 2012-13 season. The team had signed Mick to a five-year extension on May 9, 2016. He was then the team’s president and general manager. The extension came shortly after the Silverbacks started the Steamboat Wranglers, a team that plays out of Steamboat Springs, Colo. They played in the Tier 3 junior A Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. However, that league folded earlier this month after three years. . . . The Wranglers, who won the 2017-18 RMJHL playoff title, have since been sold to a local group and have moved to the Tier 2 Western States Hockey League. . . . Mick played three seasons (1985-88) with the Portland Winter Hawks and one (1989-90) with the Regina Pats, totalling 466 points, including 204 goals, in 267 games. His pro career was ended by knee injuries. . . . He has coached in the WHL with the Winter Hawks, Tri-City Americans and Kamloops Blazers.


Congratulations to Phil Varney, the Seattle Thunderbirds’ athletic trainer. Check the times on the following two tweets!


The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Logan Bairos to a WHL contract. From Saskatoon, Kamloops1he was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he had 15 goals and 27 assists in 31 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Stallions. Bairos is expected to spend the 2018-19 season with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts. . . .The Blazers also have signed F Caedan Bankier, who was a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Surrey, B.C., he had 16 goals and 12 assists in 30 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. He will spend 2018-19 with the BWC’s midget prep team. . . . Kamloops now has signed its first three 2018 bantam draft selections. F Logan Stankoven, its first-round pick, also has signed.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Kurtis Smythe, 16, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on May 3 for a fourth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. Smythe was a second-round pick by the Blades in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Last season, the native of Cloverdale, B.C., had four goals and nine assists in 33 games with the Delta Hockey Academy midget prep team. He is expected to play with that midget team again in 2018-19.


D Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks has signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round, 29th overall, of the NHL’s 2017 draft. Jokiharju, who will turn 19 on June 17, is from Finland. He has played two seasons with Portland. . . . Last season, he had 12 goals and 59 assists in 63 games, and was named to the Western Conference’s second all-star team.



The Vancouver Giants have signed G Drew Sims to a WHL contract. Sims, from Tees, Alta., was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he was 13-0-1, 2.05, .916, with three shutouts, in 16 regular-season games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team. He helped his club to the playoff title by going 4-0, 1.00, .966, with one shutout.


The Red Deer Rebels have signed their first four selections from the WHL’s 2018 bantam Red Deerdraft. . . . F Jayden Grubbe, the seventh overall selection, had 29 goals and 37 assists with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . D Kyle Masters, the 16th overall pick, had seven goals and 17 assists in 29 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team. . . . D Trey Patterson, a second-round pick, had one goal and 24 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . F Josh Medernac, from Lloydminster, Alta., had 16 goals and 20 assists in 30 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team.

——

WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


Roger Millions, a former radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, has chosen to leave Sportsnet to enter the world of politics. Millions, who was born in Deloraine, Man., spent 39 years in the sports broadcasting game. He had been with Sportsnet since 2002, mostly calling and covering the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Millions, 59, joined the staff at CFQC, an AM radio station in Saskatoon, and called Blades’ games for seven seasons.


Chris Hebb has succeeded John Grisdale as the commissioner of the junior A B.C. Hockey League. . . . Grisdale, who joined the BCHL in 2003, retired following the 2017-18 season. . . . Hebb has been president of Starting Five Media Consulting Ltd., and has worked at advising such organizations as Hockey Canada, Canada Soccer, the Oilers Entertainment Group and Curling Canada. . . . He also has worked for Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, as well as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. . . . Harrison Mooney of Postmedia has more right here.


TheCoachingGame

Mitch Love, who is preparing for his first season as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, has been named to the coaching staff of the U-18 Canadian team that will play in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. . . . Gilles Bouchard, the general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, will be the head coach. . . . The other assistant coach will be Ryan Oulahen, the head coach of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. . . . Love spent the past seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips.


The Red Deer Rebels have signed Kraymer Barnstable as their goaltending coach. The move came after they let Taylor Dakers out of his contract, a move that allowed him to join the Prince George Cougars as their goaltending coach. . . . Barnstable, 28, is from Kelowna. He played two seasons in the WHL — with th the Vancouver Giants in 2007-08 and with the Rebels in 2009-10. . . . Dakers, 31, is from Langley, B.C. He becomes the first full-time goaltending coach in the history of the Prince George franchise. Sean Murray was the goaltending coach on a part-time basis for the past two seasons. . . . Dakers spent five seasons on the Rebels’ coaching staff after being on staff with the Everett Silvertips for two. He played four seasons (2003-07) with the Kootenay Ice.


The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars have signed Brayden Klimosko as their new general manager and head coach. He takes over from Brandon Heck, who parted ways with the team after a semifinal loss to the Estevan Bruins. The North Stars were 43-14-2 during the regular season. . . . Klimosko was an assistant GM/assistant coach with the Humboldt Broncos for four seasons (2013-17). He also was the Broncos’ marketing manager. . . . Last season, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. . . . Klimosko is the North Stars’ third GM/head coach in as many seasons.


Greg Walters is the new head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. Walters, 47, had been the head coach of the OJHL’s Georgetown Raiders for the past eight seasons. He twice was named the OHL’s coach of the year, including in 2017 after the Raiders won their first championship. Prior to joining the Raiders, he spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. . . . In Oshawa, Walters replaces Bob Jones, who missed the 2017-18 season with what has been reported as a life-threatening illness. His contract was to expire during the off-season, and he left the club on April 25 when the two parties weren’t able to reach agreement on an extension. . . . Brian McNair of Oshawa This Week has more right here.


Doug Christiansen is the new general manager and head coach of the Manchester Monarchs, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He spent the previous four seasons with the USHL, as the director of player development and recruitment. Prior to that, he coached in the Elite Ice Hockey League for seven seasons. . . . With Manchester, Christiansen replaces Richard Seeley, who now is the GM of the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ AHL affiliate. Seeley, 39, spent three seasons as the Monarch’s head coach. He played three seasons (1996-99) in the WHL — three games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and 144 with the Prince Albert Raiders. He is from Powell River, B.C.


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Wings win in Hicketts’ debut . . . Two WHLers out of prospects’ game . . . Chiefs send goalie back to Bobcats

MacBeth

F Fredrik Pettersson (Calgary, 2005-07) has signed a three-year contract extension with the ZSC Lions Zurich (Switzerland, NL A). This season, he has 21 goals and 20 assists in 38 games. He leads the Lions in goals and points, and is second in the league in goals and seventh in points. He has been named to Sweden’s Olympic team. . . .

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He started the season with Újpesti TE Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga), going pointless in two games. He was released from a tryout contract on Sept. 28. . . .

F Chase Witala (Prince George, 2010-16) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Starbulls Rosenheim (Germany, Oberliga) after being released from a tryout contract by Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). He was pointless in two games. . . . Witala started the season with the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL), putting up three goals and seven assists in 11 games. He also was pointless in five games with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL).

F Curtis Hamilton (Saskatoon, 2006-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga) after being released by mutual agreement on Monday by Tappara Tampere (Finland, Liiga). He was pointless in five games after signing with Tappara on Dec. 31. . . . Hamilton played 43 games with SaiPa last season before being assigned on loan to TPS Turku (Finland, Liiga) on Feb. 15. He had 14 goals and 13 assists in 43 games SaiPa, and one goal in two games with TPS.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

D Joe Hicketts became the first product of the WHL’s Victoria Royals to reach the NHL when he made his debut with the Detroit Red Wings as they beat the host New Jersey VictoriaRoyalsDevils, 3-0, on Monday night.

Paired with 6-foot-4 Jonathan Ericsson, the 5-foot-8 Hicketts took a regular shift and killed penalties — he played 23 shifts totalling 15 minutes 13 seconds. He had one hit, three blocks and two giveaways. He also was plus-1, just missing a second plus when he left the ice on a change. In fact, the replay from the camera behind the New Jersey net shows Hicketts still on the ice by the gate as his replacement heads into the Devils’ zone.

Hicketts was recalled by the Red Wings on Sunday after D Trevor Daley was injured on Saturday. 

Hicketts, 21, is from Kamloops. His parents, Lee-Gaye and Mike, were in New Jersey for last night’s game.

Hicketts played four seasons (2012-16) with the Royals, and represented Canada twice at the World Junior Championship. He signed with the Red Wings as a free agent and was in his second season with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

“He’s excelled at every level,” Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. “His skill set doesn’t scream NHL in terms of skating, size, body, all that, but he’s proven people wrong his whole life. He was one of the best defensemen when he played for the Canadian world junior team, was out there in big moments. He was a big piece of the Calder Cup championship team last (season) in Grand Rapids.

“He brings stuff to the table that I think can help our team.”

The Red Wings are at home to the Philadelphia Flyers tonight and Daley isn’t expected to play, so Hicketts may get in another NHL game. The Red Wings then are at home to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday before the NHL goes into its all-star break.


Two WHL players have been taken off rosters for Thursday’s Top Prospects Game that is whlscheduled to be played in Guelph, Ont.

D Alex Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels has returned home to St. Petersburg, Russia, following the sudden death of his mother, Julia, on Monday morning.

D Jett Woo of the Moose Jaw Warriors also has been replaced. He didn’t play in Sunday’s 5-3 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon. At the time, it was said that the Warriors wanted to get D Matthew Benson into the lineup so were giving Woo some rest. Now it seems that he is injured.

Matthew Gourlie, who follows the Warriors for DUBnetwork.ca, tweeted Monday afternoon that “Woo said he ‘didn’t feel good’ during warm-up” prior to Friday’s 5-3 victory over the Pats in Regina. According to Gourlie, Woo played a few shifts, “then sat the rest of the game and was scratched Sunday.”

D Xavier Bernard of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs and D Giovanni Vallati of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers were named as replacements.


The Spokane Chiefs have returned G Bailey Brkin, 18, to the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.

The Chiefs acquired Brkin’s rights from the Kootenay Ice earlier in the month and listed SpokaneChiefshim as an AP while he was with the Bobcats. The Chiefs added him to their roster when G Dawson Weatherill suffered an undisclosed injury that has kept him out six games.

In four starts with the Chiefs, Brkin went 3-1-0, 2.51, .921.

“The terms of our affiliated player loan agreement with Lloydminster dictated that Bailey would be returned as soon as Dawson was available to play,” Chiefs’ general manager Scott Carter said in a news release. “With Weatherill ready to return to the lineup this week, we had to return Brkin to his regular club.”

Weatherill is 12-9-3, 3.23, .888 this season. Donovan Buskey, the other goaltender on the roster, is 8-8-0, 3.65, .868.


A tweet from TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits) informs us of another set of WHL twins, although Connor and Curtis Honey didn’t play together.

From Edmonton, the twins now are 23.

Connor, a forward, played two plus seasons (2011-14) with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Curtis was a goaltender with the Brandon Wheat Kings at the same time.

“In their one game against each other,” TBird Tidbits notes, “Curtis won the battle, not allowing a goal by his brother.”

Earlier, with the help of readers, we had identified Bob and Ted McAneeley, Rich and Ron Sutter, Darren and Trevor Kruger, and Trevor and Troy Pohl as twins who were teammates in the WHL. Of course, the Kaphorn twins, Kaeden and Keenan, now are with the Kootenay Ice.

We also were informed via email of Chad and Cody Huseby, twin brothers who work as WHL linesman based in Red Deer.


Scoreboard

MONDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

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

Medicine Hat at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

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

Swift Current at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.


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