A father says thanks to Portland . . . Winterhawks complete sweep in Kamloops . . . Raiders perfect after seven . . . Royals now 5-0-0


MacBeth

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Gyergyói HK Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga) after being released by Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga). He was pointless in two games with Michalovce. . . .

D Colby Robak (Brandon, 2006-10) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sport Vaasa (Finland, Liiga). Last season, the with the Stockton Heat (AHL), he had three goals and nine assists in 45 games. He was named the Man of the Year by the Heat for his outstanding contributions to the Stockton community and charitable organizations.


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When a junior-aged hockey player gets traded, sometimes we are inclined to read about the transaction and then go on to the next one. But there is a lot that goes on when a player is moved from one team to another.

Earlier this week, the Portland Winterhawks traded F Ty Kolle, 18, to the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft.

After the deal was done, Kolle’s father, Matt, took the time to visit the Winterhawks Booster Club’s Facebook page and leave the following message, which might provide some insight (a tip of the fedora to Pat Nolan in Kanagawa, Japan, for the lead):

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To Portland Winterhawks, Billets, Fans:

I have been very quiet during Ty’s time in Portland, but I want to ensure the Kolle family’s appreciation is heard.

As a family, the Kolles would like to thank you all.

Mike Johnston and staff have done nothing short of providing Ty a first-class opportunity in hockey. In conversation with Ty as he drove towards Lethbridge, he spoke of how much respect he has for Mike. We thank Mike and we assure Portland you are in great hands.

As far as billets go, Vandy, you made Ty a part of your family and your family went far and above what a billet family needs to do. Your family has a special place in our hearts and we look forward to keeping things going in the future.

Dante (Giannuzi), enjoy these folks as as they will ensure you are in the best environment to succeed.

To the fans of Portland, all I can say is “Wow!” . . . first class and big league. I truly enjoy the passion of the sport of hockey and coming to Portland to watch my son play was a first-class experience. It was a big-league experience. The passion, flair and true support for the team by the fans is at another level.

Overall, the Portland experience is something Ty and family will relish forever.

In talking with Ty, he is excited about the opportunity in front of him in Lethbridge. He is thankful for Portland for enabling the opportunity and Lethbridge for providing it. He is appreciative of the opportunity and more than excited to get started.

He drove 13 hours to ensure he is in the lineup to play the game he loves on Friday night.

Again, from Ty’s family, we thank you.

Cheers,

Matt Kolle

——

If you’re wondering, Pat Nolan wasn’t able to watch the Winterhawks’ 5-3 victory over the host Kamloops Blazers on Friday. He said he was driving from Sagamihara to Osaka for a bowling tournament. However, the Winterhawks are to meet the Silvertips in Everett tonight and Nolan said he’ll be watching. As he pointed out, “Saturday night’s game starts at 11 a.m. Sunday here.)



A new feature popped up on the WHL website this week — at least, it was new to me. Headlined WHL XX Journal: Thanksgiving thoughts & gravy for the Raiders, it was written by Tyler Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, and is loaded with information and tidbits. . . . You will find it right here.

Meanwhile, the SJHL has taken a similar approach with a piece written by Dave Leaderhouse that was posted on its website on Friday. This one is headlined ‘Light schedule leads into short break for Thanksgiving holiday weekend.’ Like the piece on the WHL site, it’s full of tidbits, and it’s all right here.

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Former NHL D Chris Pronger will be the guest speaker at the 10th annual Off The Leash Luncheon in support of the U of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s hockey program on Nov. 1. The fun is scheduled for Prairieland Park in Saskatoon and it all gets started at 11:30 a.m. . . . There’ll be lots of laughs, too, because comedian Kelly Taylor will be the emcee. . . . Individual tickets are $125, and Friends of the Dogs sponsorship packages, each of which includes a full table, are $1,250. . . . Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased through PICATIC at : http://www.picatic.com/offtheleashluncheon2018. . . . For more information, call Matt at 306-222-7475. . . .

If you aren’t aware, there is much excitement in Saskatoon this weekend as the Huskies women’s team opened the new arena — Merlis Belsher Place — with a 1-0 victory over the Alberta Pandas. G Jessica Vance stopped 24 shots to record the shutout. She is the daughter of Liane and Bruce Vance. Bruce, who now works for the City of Prince Albert, spent more than 20 years working in the WHL, with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders. He is a member of the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame. . . . The U of S men’s hockey team is home to the Calgary Dinos next weekend.


Ron Kraft, who spent one season (1997-98) as an assistant coach with the Regina Pats, now is coaching a pee wee team in Houston, Texas. He has his team in Red Deer this weekend for a Thanksgiving tournament. Sheldon Spackman of rdnewsnow.com has more right here.


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Portland Winterhawks erased a 3-2 deficit with two goals in the opening 1:36 of the Portlandthird period and went on to a 5-3 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . The Winterhawks, who have won three straight, had beaten the host Blazers, 7-3, on Wednesday night. . . . Kamloops has lost four straight. . . . Last night, each team scored twice on the PP. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice — once on the PP and once shorthanded — and added an assist for Portland. . . . Blichfeld has six goals and seven assists in six games. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen was tossed with a headshot major at 10:12 of the first period for a hit on Portland D Matthew Quigley, who left the game and didn’t return. The Winterhawks scored twice in the final 30 seconds of Loewen’s major. . . . Loewen could end up being suspended before the Blazers entertain the unbeaten Victoria Royals tonight. . . . Portland F Ryan Hughes scored once in his return to Portland’s lineup. He missed the first five games with an ankle or foot injury, one that at one time required a walking boot. . . . If last night was any indication, both teams have some work to do in the discipline department. . . . The Blazers and Winterhawks will complete their regular-season series in Portland on Oct. 27 and 28. . . .


D Josh Brook scored his third goal of the season 16 seconds into OT to give the host MooseJawWarriorsMoose Jaw Warriors a 3-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Brook also had two assists. . . . D Jett Woo was in Moose Jaw’s lineup for the first time this season. A second-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft, he had what was reported was a minor knee procedure early in September. As a result, he missed Vancouver’s training camp and also sat out Moose Jaw’s. . . . This was the third meeting of the young season between these teams. Brandon is 2-0-1 in the three games; Moose Jaw is 1-2-0. . . .


F Jake Leschyshyn scored twice to lead the Regina Pats to a 6-5 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Leschyshyn has three goals. . . . The outcome left the Pats at 1-4-0, while the Broncos slipped to 0-5-0. . . . D Aaron Hyman and F Nick Henry each had three assists for Regina. . . . According to the online scoresheet, Swift Current D Matthew Stanley was involved in a one-man fight at 5:48 of the third period. Earlier in the week, D Cade McNelly of the Seattle Thunderbirds drew a three-game suspension for just such a penalty during a game in Portland on Sept. 29.


G Dorrin Luding stopped 42 shots to help the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Luding was making his first start of the season. This was his second career shutout, but his first with the Blades. He had one shutout in 11 appearances last season with the Everett Silvertips. . . . F Kirby Dach’s fifth goal of the season, at 7:35 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . . D Dawson Davidson of the Blades recorded his 100th regular-season when he got in on his club’s third goal. . . .


F Connor Dewar’s fourth goal of the season, 17 seconds into OT, gave the host Everett EverettSilvertips a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . G Cole Schwebius stopped 39 shots for the Thunderbirds in first WHL start. Schwebius, 17, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . G Liam Hughes, the Thunderbirds’ No. 1 guy, is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. With Hughes out, Seattle had Eric Ward, 17, on the bench in a backup role. . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk (4) tied the game at 19:03 of the third period. He has goals in four straight games. . . . Everett F Sean Richards took a headshot major and game misconduct at 14:02 of the third period. That was for a hit on Seattle D Reece Harsch, who needed on-ice help from trainer Phil Varney and didn’t return to the game and is doubtful for a game tonight against the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . .


F Peyton Krebs scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Kootenay Ice a 5-4 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . F Quinn Benjafield (2) of the Oil Kings forced OT with a goal at 19:55 of the third period. . . .


The Prince Albert Raiders ran their season-opening record to 7-0-0 with a 5-1 victory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . F Noah Gregor scored his first two goals of the season and added an assist. Both of his goals were shorthanded, the last one into an empty net. . . . Prince Albert got 39 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . The Raiders, who opened the 1985-86 season with eight straight victories, visit the Red Deer Rebels tonight. . . .


F Josh Williams scored the only goal of a shootout to give the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Tigers (2-4-1) had lost their previous five games. . . . F Riley Woods (5) pulled Spokane into a 2-2 tie at 18:55 of the third period. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard blocked 39 shots through OT and then was perfect in the three-round shootout. . . .


G David Tendeck turned aside 24 shots as the Vancouver Giants opened a weekend doubleheader with a 3-0 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . That was Tendeck’s fourth career shutout. . . . The teams played through two scoreless periods before F Owen Hardy (2) scored at 5:11 of the third period. . . .


The Victoria Royals built up a 4-1 lead and hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Rockets in VictoriaRoyalsKelowna. . . . F D-Jay Jerome (3) gave the Royals a 4-1 lead at 10:18 of the second period, on the PP. . . . The Rockets got close on goals from D Lassi Thomson (3) and F Leif Mattson (6), the latter at 12:31 of the third, but weren’t able to equalize. . . . Victoria now is 5-0-0 as it travels to Kamloops for a Saturday night date with the Blazers. . . . F Liam Kindree scored once in his return to the Kelowna lineup after missing the first six games. He was injured during an exhibition game in Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (1-6-0) visit the Seattle Thunderbirds of Kent, Wash., tonight.


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WHL governors go with Kelowna, should have rewarded Lethbridge . . . Hay wins in return to Kamloops . . . Raiders remain perfect

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It will have come as no surprise to veteran observers on Wednesday when Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, revealed that the league’s board of governors had voted to award the 2020 Memorial Cup to Kelowna.

The Rockets won out over competing bids from the Kamloops Blazers and Lethbridge Hurricanes. The three teams/cities presented their bids to the board earlier Wednesday in Calgary, following which the vote was held.

The Rockets were the host team in 2004 and they, along with their city, did a bang-up job. You can bet that they will do the same in 2020; Bruce Hamilton, their president and general manager, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Robison was quoted by lethbridgenewsnow.com as saying, in reference to the Rockets: “Very strong fan base, always a very competitive team, championship calibre team. And really, when it comes down to it, when you’re hosting a Memorial Cup . . . you have to be sure that that team is capable of putting together a championship team. And I think the confidence in (Hamilton) and his leadership on the hockey side was a key consideration.”

Of course, Hamilton also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors. Having filled the position since 2008, he is the longest-serving chairman in the league’s history. He is widely recognized as the most powerful voice in the WHL, and that is something that will hang over the Kelowna victory, at least in the minds of some.

Someone who has sat in on similar Memorial Cup bid presentations — no, not this one — told Taking Note that at the end of the day, though, only one thing matters in these situations, and that would be the money.

If that was the case here that is really too bad because the WHL’s board of governors had an opportunity to reward a member team, its city and fans for a job well done, and the board blew it.

Assuming that the Hurricanes’ presentation didn’t bomb — and it’s hard to imagine that happening in this day and age — the governors needed to use this moment to thank the City of Lethbridge and all of the Hurricanes’ supporters, including businesses and fans, for their help in hauling the franchise out of the financial muck and mire in which it found itself after not making the playoffs for six straight seasons.

The Hurricanes were more than $700,000 in debt when the 2015-16 season started, the first one under general manager Peter Anholt. They showed a profit of $167,000 that season, then followed with two trips to the Eastern Conference final and profits of $737,710 and $422,443.

Now there’s money in the bank and no fear of not being able to make a $167,000 annual payment to the city as the team’s part of renovations to the ENMAX Centre.

Rather than reward that remarkable performance — sheesh, the commissioner went to Lethbridge in the summer of 2015 and recommended that the shareholders sell to private interests — the WHL’s governors chose to thank the Hurricanes for their time with a pat on the head and send them on their way.

And that’s really too bad.

Yes, the last four times the Memorial Cup has been held in the west it has been in an Eastern Conference city — Brandon, 2010; Saskatoon, 2013; Red Deer, 2016; and Regina, 2018. Not since it was held in Vancouver in 2007 has it been played in a Western Conference city.

However, that shouldn’t have mattered, not with the opportunity that presented itself to thank a member club and city for such a tremendous effort in recent seasons.

The 2020 Memorial Cup in Kelowna will run from May 22 through May 31. The 2019 tournament is scheduled for Halifax, May 16 through May 26.

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Meanwhile, the CHL also announced Wednesday that it has a five-year deal with Kia Canada as the Memorial Cup’s title sponsor.

Mastercard, the longtime title sponsor, wasn’t mentioned during the announcement; there wasn’t even a thank you for its time in that role.

From this point forward, at least for the immediate future, the tournament will be referred to by the CHL as the Memorial Cup presented by Kia.

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Three online Twitter polls involving the 2020 Memorial Cup all closed with Lethbridge in the lead.

Guy Flaming, the host of The Pipeline Show, asked his followers “which team/city do you hope to see get the nod?” There were 446 respondents, with Lethbridge getting 47 per cent of the votes. Kelowna followed at 34, with Kamloops at 19.

Taking Note also posted one, asking in which city the tournament would be held. There were 445 responses, with Lethbridge leading the way at 37 per cent, following by Kelowna (34) and Kamloops (28).

Dub Network asked its followers “who should hold” the event? Lethbridge drew 39 per cent of the votes from the 431 respondents, with Kelowna next at 34 and Kamloops at 27.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Portland Winterhawks scored five second-period goals en route to a 7-3 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. The game marked the return of Portland assistant coach Don Hay to Kamloops, where he spent the previous four seasons as head coach. Hay is the winningest head coach in WHL history. . . . Portland got a goal and two assists from F Cody Glass, who has nine points in three games. . . . The Winterhawks make their final appearance of this season in Kamloops on Friday. . . .

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The Vancouver Giants put a damper on celebrations in Kelowna by beating the host Rockets, 5-0. Earlier in the day, the Rockets had been named the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . F James Malm scored three straight goals for the Giants, giving him a league-leading seven in five games, while G Trent Miner recorded his first WHL clean sheet with 21 saves. . . .

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F Noah Gregor had two assists in his first game with Prince Albert as the Raiders beat the Tigers, 5-1, in Medicine Hat. . . . The Raiders, who got two goals and an assist from F Max Martin, now are 6-0-0; the Tigers have lost five in a row. . . . F James Hamblin of the Tigers, playing in his 200th WHL game, came up short on a first-period penalty shot. . . .

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F Kirby Dach had three points, giving him 12 in six games, as the Saskatoon Blades scored a 5-3 victory over the host Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Oil Kings lost for the first time in six starts this season; the Blades (4-2-0) had lost their previous two games.


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WHL and Cherry promoting organ donation again . . . Blades, Giants add defencemen . . . Minulin soon to rejoin Broncos


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WHLKidney

The WHL revealed on Sept. 20 that it will partner with RE/MAX of Western Canada again this season for the second annual WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation. On Tuesday, the WHL released the full details of the promotion.

Last season, it raised $265,500 that, according to a WHL news release, represents “the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.”

According to the news release: “From January through March 2019, all 17 WHL clubs in Canadian markets will play host to their very own themed games, complete with a variety of special promotions for fans in attendance. A total of 1,000 limited second edition Don Cherry bobbleheads will be distributed to fans in attendance. . . .

“During the 2018-19 regular season, WHL teams will sport their own unique and specially designed Don Cherry-themed uniforms on a designated game night. This season, players will sport uniforms emblazoned with fun nicknames as opposed to traditional surnames across their shoulders. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on the limited-edition jerseys, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. In addition to game-worn uniforms, fans will have the chance to bid on one Don Cherry-autographed jersey in each participating WHL market.”

Why is Don Cherry involved? Because his son, Tim, and daughter, Cindy, are well aware of kidney disease and the impact it can have on a family. Tim, then 13, received a kidney from Cindy in 1978.

Here are the dates for the WHL games:

Saturday, January 19 – Edmonton Oil Kings.

Friday, January 25 – Red Deer Rebels.

Friday, February 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors.

Saturday, February 2 – Prince Albert Raiders.

Friday, February 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants.

Saturday, February 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings.

Friday, February 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos.

Friday, March 1 – Kootenay Ice.

Saturday, March 2 – Victoria Royals.

Sunday, March 3 – Calgary Hitmen.

Friday, March 8 – Prince George Cougars.

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

For more info or to sign up to be an organ donor, please visit CanadaDonates.ca.

The complete WHL news release is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades, with two defencemen down and an opening for a 20-year-old, have acquired veteran D Brandon Schuldhaus from the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The Blades gave up a fifth-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft and a second-round pick in 2020. Both picks originated with the Blades; they have two other second-rounders in 2020, from the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Schuldhaus is joining his fourth WHL team, having also played for Moose Jaw, the Red Deer Rebels and Seattle Thunderbirds. He was a fifth-round pick by Seattle in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . In 189 regular-season games, he has 12 goals and 35 assists.

The Warriors acquired Schuldhaus and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft from Red Deer on Jan. 5, sending second-round selections in the 2019 and 2020 drafts to Red Deer.

This season, he was pointless in one game with Moose Jaw after missing the first three games of the regular season as he served a suspension left over from last season’s playoffs.

Born in Houston, Texas, Schuldhaus is a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S. . . . His grandfather, George Kirkwood, is from Edmonton and played for the Oil Kings (1955-57) when they were a junior A team.

The Blades opened an Alberta road swing with a 5-4 loss in Red Deer on Tuesday night. Saskatoon was without D Seth Bafaro and D Jackson Caller, both out with undisclosed injuries.

Schuldhaus is expected to make his Blades’ debut in Edmonton against the Oil Kings on Wednesday.

Saskatoon had room for a 20-year-old after F Brad Goethals left the team. Schuldhaus joins F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson as Saskatoon’s 20s.

Meanwhile, the trading of Schuldhaus allowed the Warriors to get down to three 20s — D Dalton Hamaliuk, F Tristin Lang and G Brodan Salmond.



The Prince Albert Raiders received an upgrade to their offence on Tuesday when the NHL’s San Jose Sharks sent F Noah Gregor, 20, back to the WHL. . . . The Sharks selected PrinceAlberthim in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2016 NHL draft and have signed him to a three-year entry-level deal. . . . Gregor, from Beaumont, Alta., had been in camp with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda. . . . The Raiders acquired Gregor from the Victoria Royals on July 25 for a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021. The conditions are triggered by point totals and games played. The Royals could end up with none, one or both picks depending on how Gregor does this season. . . . The Royals selected him in the third round of the 2013 bantam draft, later dealt him to the Warriors, then re-acquired him. . . . He split last season between Victoria and the Moose Jaw Warriors, totalling 29 goals and 36 assists in 60 games. In 194 career regular-season games, he has 205 points, including 86 goals. . . . Gregor also has played in 28 playoff games, recording 11 goals and 12 assists. . . . The Raiders open a Central Division swing tonight (Wednesday) in Medicine Hat and should have Gregor in their lineup against the Tigers.


Feel free to scoot on over to my Twitter timeline (@gdrinnan) and vote on a 2020 Memorial Cup-related poll that I posted on Tuesday night.


D Artyom Minulin, a 20-year-old Russian, is on his way back to the Swift Current Broncos after having had off-season shoulder surgery.

Minulin flew into Edmonton on Tuesday. He will travel to Calgary to do the necessary SCBroncosimmigration-related stuff, then rejoin the Broncos so that their medical team can check him over and determine how close he is to returning to action.

He has played three seasons with the Broncos, putting up 26 goals and 100 assists in 206 games. Last season, he had 13 goals and 30 assists in 64 regular-season games, then added a goal and seven assists in 20 playoff games.

When Minulin is added to the active roster, the Broncos will be carrying four 20-year-olds — the others are F Andrew Fyten, F Tanner Nagel and D Matthew Stanley — and three imports, the other two being freshman Finnish forwards Joona Kiviniemi and D Roope Pynnonen.

When Minulin does return, the Broncos will have 10 days to make a decision on their 20s. They also would have to get down to two imports by moving Minulin or releasing one of the other two. The window to trade first-year imports doesn’t open until Dec. 15.

The Broncos moved out a 20-year-old on Tuesday when the Vancouver Giants, who Vancouveracquired D Ty Ettinger, 18, from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday, added D Ryan Pouliot, 20, off waivers.

The Giants have three defencemen sidelined with injuries — Matt Barberis (undisclosed, indefinite), Baily Dhaliwal (shoulder, four weeks) and Joel Sexsmith (undisclosed, day-to-day).

Pouliot was born in Ottawa, but played some minor hockey in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, with the North Shore and Burnaby winter clubs. . . . The Broncos had claimed him on waivers from the Kootenay Ice during the off-season. . . . In 172 regular-season games — 14 with the Red Deer Rebels, 155 with Kootenay and three with the Broncos — he has three goals and 27 assists. . . . The Saskatoon Blades selected him in the 11th round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft.

Pouliot is expected to be in the Giants’ lineup tonight (Wednesday) when they meet the Rockets in Kelowna.

The Giants now have four 20-year-olds on their roster — Pouliot, Barberis, F Jared Dmytriw and F Davis Koch. Once Barberis returns, they will have 10 days to get down to three.


Stan Butler, the director of hockey operations and head coach of the OHL’s North Bay Battalion, has taken a medical leave while he deals with an undisclosed health issue. . . . Butler wasn’t behind the team’s bench on Sunday when they dropped a 6-1 decision to the Generals in Oshawa. . . . Adam Dennis, the assistant general manager and assistant coach, will handle the director of hockey operations’ duties, while Scott Wray, an assistant coach, will look after the coaching side of things. . . . Butler, the fourth-winningest head coach in OHL history, is into his 21st season with the Battalion. He spent one season (1996-97) as head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars.


TUESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Red Deer Rebels (4-2-0) ran their winning streak to four games by erasing a 2-0 first-Red Deerperiod deficits en route to a 5-4 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Blades have lost two in a row after opening the season with three straight victories. . . . The game featured two PP goals by each team. . . . F Jeff de Wit scored twice for Red Deer. He’s got five goals in six games; he finished last season with 11 goals in 43 games split among the Regina Pats, Kootenay Ice and Victoria Royals. . . . Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev had two assists to run his point streak to six games.


The WHL’s weekly roster report is right here.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who spent the past three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, remains on the roster of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings as they prepare to open the regular season on Friday against the visiting San Jose Sharks. . . . Anderson-Dolan, 19, was a second-round pick by the Kings in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . From Calgary, he had 91 points, including 40 goals, with the Chiefs last season. In 212 regular-season games, he has 193 points, including 100 assists. . . . He has signed with the Kings, so is able to play nine games before the first year of his contract kicks in. . . . The Kings will be without F Dustin Brown (broken finger, four-to-six weeks), which may have opened the door for Anderson-Dolan to claim a roster spot. . . . The last two spots on the Kings’ 22-man roster went to Anderson-Dolan and F Austin Wagner, 21, a speedster who played four seasons (2013-17) with the Regina Pats.


The Regina Pats have signed D Jake Johnson, 15, who was a 10th-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. From Scottsdale, Ariz., he played the past two seasons with the bantam Phoenix Jr. Coyotes. This season, he is expected to play with the Jr. Coyotes U15 in the T1EHL.


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Gregor’s rights now with Raiders . . . Royals get d-man from Oil Kings . . . Hurricanes sign two draft picks


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F Waltteri Hopponen (Everett, 2013-14) signed a one-year contract with Peliitat Heinola (Finland, Mestis). Last season, he had five goals and 14 assists in 46 games with Espoo United (Finland, Mestis). Espoo United declared bankruptcy after last season and was dissolved. . . .

F Anthony Bardaro (Spokane, Prince Albert, 2009-13) signed a two-year contract extension with Asiago (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, he had 31 goals and 25 assists in 39 games. He was the Alps HL’s most valuable player. He led the league in goals, and also led in playoff assists and points, putting up six goals and 17 assists in 14 games.


ThisThat

Some reaction off my Twitter timeline from yesterday’s report here about the WHL working to restrict the trading of younger players . . .


The Prince Albert Raiders have acquired F Noah Gregor, who is to turn 20 on July 28, from the Victoria Royals.

PrinceAlbertAccording to a news release from the Raiders, “Terms of the trade were not disclosed.”

According to a news release from the Royals, they received “conditional compensation.”

Gregor was a fourth-round selection by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2016 draft, so is eligible to start the season with their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracudas.

Chances are that Victoria received a bantam draft pick that is conditional on Gregor playing with Prince Albert, with the round changing depending on the number of games he plays. Or perhaps there is a big bag of cash  involved? Hey, just kidding.

The Royals selected Gregor in the third round of the 2013 WHL bantam draft. They dealt him to the Moose Jaw Warriors on Jan. 6, 2014, in exchange for D Travis Brown. The Warriors also got third-round selections in the 2014 and 2016 bantam drafts, and an undisclosed conditional pick, as well.

On Dec. 11, 2017, the Royals reacquired Gregor from Moose Jaw, getting him and a 2018 eighth-round bantam draft pick for F Ryan Peckford and a fourth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

Last season, he had 14 goals and 22 assists in 36 games with Moose Jaw, and 15 goals and 14 assists in 30 games with Victoria.

In 194 career regular-season games, Gregor has 86 goals and 119 assists.

The Raiders have three other 20-year-olds on their roster — F Kody McDonald, F Sean Montgomery and G Curtis Meger.

I think the Royals still have five 20-year-olds on their roster — F Braydon Buziak, F Dante Hannoun, D Ralph Jarratt, G Griffen Outhouse and F Lane Zablocki.

Later in the day, the Royals announced that they have acquired D Brayden Gorda, 19, VictoriaRoyalsfrom the Edmonton Oil Kings for a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft.

Last season, Gorda had one goal and three assists in 30 games with Edmonton. In 151 regular-season WHL games, all with the Oil Kings, he had six goals and 26 assists.

Edmonton selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.

Gord was late reporting to the Oil Kings last season as he took time away from hockey to deal with the death of a close friend.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed the two players they selected in the CHL’s 2018 Lethbridgeimport draft — Swiss G Akira Schmid and D Danila Palivko of Belarus. . . . Schmid, 18, was a fifth-round pick by the New Jersey Devils in the NHL’s 2018 draft. Last season, he put up a 2.60 GAA in 32 games with the U-20 Langnau club. Schmid will get a chance at being the Hurricanes’ starter in 2018-19 as they have to replace Logan Flodell, who played out his eligibility last season. . . . Palivko, who turns 17 on Nov. 30, played 40 games with Belarus’s U-17 team, putting up six goals and 20 assists. In 12 games with the U-18 team, he had six assists. The Hurricanes saw him at the Mac’s tournament in Calgary, where he had two assists in four games. . . . The Hurricanes finished last season with Russian F Egor Zudilov and D Igor Merezhko, who is from Ukraine, on their roster. The Hurricanes announced prior to the 2018 CHL import draft that Zudilov wouldn’t be back for a second season. Should Merezhko return, he would be a two-spotter as a 20-year-old import.


A third WHL player has had to bow out of Hockey Canada’s World Junior Showcase Canadabecause of an undisclosed injury. F Justin Almeida of the Moose Jaw Warriors has been replaced by F Serron Noel of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. . . . Noel was a second-round pick by the Florida Panthers in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Earlier, D Josh Brook of the Warriors and F Jordy Bellerive of the Lethbridge Hurricanes were scratched because of injuries. Brook apparently has a wrist injury, while Bellerive continues to recover from burns suffered in an accident involving a bonfire. . . . There now are eight WHLers on Canada’s roster — D Cale Addison of Lethbridge, D Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs, D Jett Woo of Moose Jaw, F Jaret Anderson-Dolan of Spokane, F Connor Dewar of the Everett Silvertips, F Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks, F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings and F Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Showcase opens Saturday in Kamloops and runs through Aug. 4. It features teams from Canada, Finland, Sweden and the U.S.


Mike Needham has returned to the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton. Needham, who was fired by the Kamloops Blazers on May 10, has been named OHA’s skills and development co-ordinator. . . . Needham, 48, spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Blazers. Prior to that, he was the head coach of OHA’s bantam prep team for three seasons.


Tweetoftheday

Cst. Curtis Warner, who works traffic with the Regina Police Service, is worth a follow on Twitter. Would love to see someone working traffic like this, and tweeting about it, in Kamloops.

Injuries becoming major story . . . Rebels stun host Warriors . . . Raiders pull within point of Blades

MacBeth

F Tim Bozon (Kamloops, Kootenay, 2011-15) has signed a one-year extension with Kloten (Switzerland, NL A). He has five goals and five assists in 41 games.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

With the start of the WHL’s playoffs staring at us from the horizon, it might be time to start paying close attention to injuries.

These days, the WHL injury list is littered with the names of prominent players, players whlwho will be major contributors in the playoffs if healthy.

But will they be healthy? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, here’s a look at a few players who were among the missing on Friday night . . .

F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes — The team says he is out week-to-week. He last played on Jan. 19. He was playing on a productive line, alongside Taylor Ross and Logan Barlage when he went down.

F Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos — When he was scratched from a Jan. 30 game against visiting Prince George, Shawn Mullin, the Broncos’ radio voice, tweeted that it was an “apparently minor” injury. . . . Heponiemi didn’t play Friday night, and isn’t expected to play tonight in Cranbrook against Kootenay. . . . He’s got 93 points in 39 games. . . . Is it time for Broncos’ supporters to start sweating?

D Roman Kalinichenko, Tri-City Americans — He last played on Jan. 10, but I think he originally was injured two games before that, on Jan. 6 in Prince George. The teams says he will be out another three weeks. A freshman from Moscow, he’s a key part of their back end.

F Tanner Kaspick, Victoria Royals — He scored six goals — four of them game-winners — in his first eight games after being acquired from Brandon. He wasn’t listed on Tuesday’s WHL roster report, but didn’t play Wednesday against host Tri-City and was scratched again last night.

F Kyle Olson, Tri-City Americans — He had 57 points, including 20 goals, last season. This season, he hasn’t played since Jan. 3.

G James Porter, Kelowna Rockets — He last played on Jan. 13 and was listed on Tuesday as being out day-to-day. When he went out, he was 18-7-2, 3.34, .897. If he isn’t available, the Rockets are left with 15-year-old Cole Tisdale to back up Brodan Salmond.

D David Quenneville, Medicine Hat Tigers — He played in a 3-1 loss in Kamloops on Wednesday. He apparently suffered a shoulder injury, so was scratched Friday in Kelowna. Quenneville leads all WHL defencemen in goals (21) and points (59).

D Chaz Reddekopp, Victoria Royals — The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder last played on Jan. 13, and will be out at least four more weeks. The Royals need a healthy Reddekopp back there if they are to play deep into the spring.

F Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants — The Slovakian freshman has 29 points in 34 games, but hasn’t played since Jan. 9. When he went out It was thought he wouldn’t be gone long, but then he surfaced wearing a walking boot on one foot.

F Mason Shaw, Medicine Hat Tigers — He hasn’t played all season thanks to a knee injury suffered with the Minnesota Wild’s rookie team. He put up 94 points last season, so is an impact player and would be a huge addition to the lineup should he return in time for the first round. . . . Counting Quenneville and Shaw, the Tigers have six regulars out with injuries, five of them listed as being out at least two weeks.

G Carl Stankowski, Seattle Thunderbirds — After going 16-2-2, 2.50, .911 in 20 playoff games last season as the Thunderbirds won the Ed Chynoweth Cup, Stankowski hasn’t played a game this season. Obviously, the Thunderbirds aren’t counting on him to return, but what a story it would be.

D Jett Woo, Moose Jaw Warriors — When he missed his first game, on Jan. 21 in Saskatoon, it was said that he was being rested. He now has missed five games, so this obviously is a serious injury. Now he’s listed as week-to-week.

Keep in mind that this list doesn’t include the number of frontline players who have recently returned from injuries, like F Michael Rasmussen and D Juuso Valimaki of Tri-City, F Jake Leschyshyn of Regina, F Kieffer Bellows and F Cody Glass of Portland, F Regan Nagy of Prince Albert, G Liam Hughes of Seattle, F Noah Gregor of Victoria and on and on.

The way this season has gone, when the playoffs start, health, or lack of same, is going to be a major story.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Spokane at Kelowna

Tri-City at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


The home arena of the Brandon Wheat Kings will be renamed Westoba Place, effective Feb. 19. Westoba Credit Union Ltd. has signed on as the title sponsor. . . . The arena had been known as Westman Communications Group Place but the Westman Communications Group chose not to renew its 10-year agreement with the Keystone Centre.


Please consider clicking on the DONATE button over there to the right and helping the cause.

If you have a tip, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Brandon Hagel broke a 1-1 tie at 9:46 of the third period as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Warriors, 3-1. . . . Red Deer (15-25-12) has points in six straight (5-0-1). The Red DeerRebels are fourth in the Central Division, seven points behind Kootenay. The teams will meet three more times this season. . . . Moose Jaw (39-9-3) has lost two in a row. It leads the overall standings by five points over Swift Current. The Warriors hold two games in hand. . . . F Chris Douglas (4) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 14:46 of the first period. . . . D Josh Brook (2) pulled the Warriors even at 13:19 of the second period. . . . Hagel snapped the tie with his eighth goal of the season. . . . F Kristian Reichel (20) iced it with the empty-netter at 18:24 of the third period. . . . Each team was 0-2 on the PP. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 32 shots for the winners. . . . Moose Jaw got 25 saves from Brody Willms. . . . The Warriors were without F Barrett Sheen, who served Game 1 of a five-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 3,619.


At Prince Albert, F Parker Kelly scored two first-period goals to get the Raiders started to a 5-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Prince Albert (21-20-10) has points in seven PrinceAlbertstraight (5-0-2). It is one point behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Saskatoon (25-25-3) has lost two in a row. . . . Kelly, who has 23 goals, scored at 1:32 and again at 13:14. . . . F Logan Christensen (1) got the Blades on the scoreboard at 17:52. . . . The Raiders went ahead 3-1 on F Brett Leason’s eighth goal, at 8:52 of the second period, then made it 4-1 when F Curtis Miske (18) scored at 10:24. . . . Saskatoon F Eric Florchuk (11) got the Blades to within two at 14:06, but F Cole Fonstad (16) restored the home team’s three-goal edge at 16:43, on a PP. . . . Leason wasn’t able to score on a second-period penalty shot. . . . The Raiders got two assists from F Jordy Stallard, with Fonstad getting one. . . . Prince Albert was 1-7 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 19 shots to earn the victory over Nolan Maier, who made 34 saves. . . . Maier went into the game with a 3-0-0 record against Prince Albert. . . . Saskatoon had F Kirby Dash back in the lineup after a one-game absence. . . . Announced attendance: 2,357.


At Brandon, the Prince George Cougars scored two third-period goals to beat the Wheat Kings, 3-2. . . . Prince George (19-26-8) is 1-3-1 on its East Division swing. . . . Brandon (28-PrinceGeorge18-5) has lost nine in a row (0-6-3). It is third in the East Division, 15 points behind Swift Current and four ahead of Regina. Brandon has two games in hand on Regina. . . . F Evan Weinger (24) gave the Wheat Kings a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:52 of the first period. . . . F Ilijah Colina tied it at 4:35 of the second period. . . . Brandon went back out front when F Linden McCorrister (15) scored at 10:33. . . . F Jared Bethune (18) tied it for the Cougars, while shorthanded, at 7:54 of the third period. . . . Colina won it with his seventh goal, at 17:37. . . . Bethune and F Ethan Browne each had two assists for the winners. . . . Brandon was 1-3 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . G Isaiah DiLaura stopped 28 shots for the Cougars. . . . Brandon got 29 saves from G Logan Thompson. . . . The Cougars were without F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who was hit with a TBD suspension after taking a headshot major and game misconduct during a 4-1 loss in Regina on Wednesday. . . . Announced attendance: 4,085.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored three PP goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Lethbridge (24-21-6) has points in four straight (2-0-2). It is Lethbridgesecond in the Central Division, five points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Swift Current (36-13-4) had won its previous three games. It is second in the overall standings, five points behind Moose Jaw. . . . This was the first meeting between these teams since Jan. 9 when they competed a deal in which six players changed uniforms, F Giorgio Estephan and G Stuart Skinner going to the Broncos, with F Logan Barlage, F Owen Blocker, G Logan Flodell and D Matthew Stanley moving to Lethbridge. . . . Last night, the Hurricanes got out to a 4-0 lead, thanks to three PP goals. . . . D Igor Merezhko (5) got it started at 5:40 of the first period. Then came the three PP goals, from F Jordy Bellerive (34), at 17:55; D Tate Olson (2), at 3:27 of the second period; and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (6), at 16:02. . . . The Broncos got third-period goals from Estephan (24), at 1:21, and F Glenn Gawdin (41), at 16:25, before Lethbridge D Ty Prefontaine (4) got the empty-netter at 18:00. . . . F Brad Morrison and F Zane Franklin each had two assists for Lethbridge, with Merezhko and Olson adding one apiece. . . . Estephan also had an assist. . . . Lethbridge was 3-5 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-3. . . . Flodell earned the victory with 40 saves, nine more than Skinner. . . .  Announced attendance: 4,893.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Kailer Yamamoto and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan totalled nine points to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Spokane (27-19-5) has SpokaneChiefspoints in seven straight (5-0-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of Seattle. The Chiefs also are fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind Tri-City. . . . Kootenay (23-25-3) had lost two in a row. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . The Chiefs scored the only goals of the third period, Anderson-Dolan (28) breaking a 3-3 tie, on a PP, at 3:55, and F Luke Toporowski (6) getting an empty-netter at 18:52. . . . F Peyton Krebs (14) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 1:41 of the first period, only to have D Ty Smith (8) pull Spokane even at 3:14. . . . Kootenay went back out front as D Martin Bodak (6) scored, on a PP, at 10:24. . . . F Jake McGrew (13) tied it at 14:30. . . . The Chiefs took their first lead on Yamamoto’s 10th goal, on a PP, at 11:55 of the second period. . . . The Ice pulled into a tie on F Colton Veloso’s 17th goal, at 16:11. . . . Yamamoto finished with a goal and four assists for his first career five-point game; Anderson-Dolan had a goal and three helpers, the fourth time in his career that he has had four points in a game. . . . Smith added two assists to his goal. . . . The Ice got two assists from F Colton Croeker and one from Bodak. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-3. . . . G Dawson Weatherill stopped 14 shots for Spokane, 15 fewer than Kootenay’s Matt Berlin. . . . Yamamoto has points in 11 straight games. Over that stretch, he has nine goals and 18 assists. For the season, he has 36 points, including 26 assists, in 22 games. . . . Anderson-Dolan has 28 goals and 35 assists in 49 games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,290.


At Kelowna, the Everett Silvertips opened up a 3-0 lead with three PP goals and went on to a 3-2 victory over the Rockets. . . . Everett (33-17-3) moved into first place in the EverettWestern Conference, one point ahead of Kelowna (32-15-4), which had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). Kelowna leads the B.C. Division by two points over Victoria; the Rockets hold two games in hand. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (24) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 19:49 of the first period. Bajkov’s goal gave him 263 career points and the franchise record, one more than F Zach Hamill. . . . F Connor Dewar (28) made it 2-0 at 10:08 of the second period, and F Bryce Kindopp (15) upped it to 3-0 at 8:32. . . . F Kyle Topping (18), at 9:00 of the third period, and F Carsen Twarynski (33), at 18:34, scored for the Rockets. . . . Everett got two assists from D Kevin Davis, with Bajkov adding one. . . . F Kole Lind set up both Kelowna goals. . . . Everett was 3-5 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-3. . . . The Silvertips got 29 saves from G Carter Hart, while Brodan Salmon stopped 24 shots at the other end. . . . Hart now is 20-4-2, 1.55, .952. . . . Announced attendance: 5,230.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans scored three times in the last five minutes of the third period and beat the Portland Winterhawks, 6-3. . . . Tri-City (27-16-7) has TriCity30points in seven straight (5-0-2). It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Portland (30-18-4) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind Everett. . . . This game featured seven first-round NHL draft picks — F Kieffer Bellows, D Dennis Cholowski, F Cody Glass and D Henri Jokiharju of Portland, and D Jake Bean, F Michael Rasmussen and D Juuso Valimaki of Tri-City. They combined for five points. . . . F Jordan Topping’s 30th goal gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Reece Newkirk, at 16:06, and F Skyler McKenzie (39), on a PP, at 8:42 of the second period. . . . Goals from F Sasha Mutual (8), at 13:14, and F Isaac Johnson 915), at 18:48, gave the home team a 3-2 lead. . . . Newkirk, who has four goals, got his second of the game at 9:17 of the third period for a 3-3 tie. . . . Tri-City F Morgan Geekie (19) broke the tie at 15;36, and F Riley Sawchuk iced it with goals at 16:54 and 19:18, the last into an empty net. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Geekie and Johnson each had an assist. . . . Portland was 1-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-6. . . . The Americans got a big game from G Patrick Dea, who stopped 29 shots, 19 of them in the first period. . . . Portland G Cole Kehler made 23 stops. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld missed this one as he completed a two-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 3,687.


At Victoria, F Noah Gregor scored in OT to give the Royals a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Victoria (31-18-4) is second in the B.C. Division, two points behind VictoriaRoyalsKelowna. . . . Medicine Hat (26-21-7) is 0-2-1 in three games in the B.C. Division. It leads the Central Division by five points over Lethbridge. . . . The Royals grabbed a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Matthew Phillips (36), at 6:28, and D Kade Jensen (4), at 7:37. . . . The Tigers tied it on two goals from F James Hamblin, who has 18 goals. He scored on a PP at 11:14 of the first period and at 6:28 of the second. . . . Medicine Hat took a 3-2 lead when D Kristians Rubins scored at 12:36. . . . The Royals tied it at 18:41 of the third period on F Tyler Soy’s 24th goal. . . . Gregor won it 51 seconds into OT with his 18th goal. . . . Soy also had two assists, with Jensen and Phillips adding one each. . . . D Dylan MacPherson had two assists for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-2. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 27 shots to record the victory. . . . The Tigers got 25 saves from Jordan Hollett. . . . Announced attendance: 6,055.


At Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last three goals as they beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-2. . . . Vancouver (27-16-8) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is third Vancouverin the B.C. Division, four points behind Victoria. . . . Calgary (15-30-6) is 0-4-0 on a BC. Division tour that continues tonight in Kamloops. . . . D Bowen Byram gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 6:43 of the first period, only to have Calgary take a 2-1 lead on goals from F Luke Coleman (12), at 7:19, and F Tristen Nielsen (10), at 8:03. . . . Vancouver F Ty Ronning scored the next two goals, at 5:35 and 10:10 of the second period, to give his guys a 3-2 lead. . . . Ronning has 46 goals this season; the franchise record (48) was set by F Evander Kane in 2008-09. . . . Byram (5) added a PP goal at 12:18. . . . F Brayden Watts had three assists for the Giants, with D Matt Barberis adding two, and Byram getting one. . . . Vancouver was 3-5 on the PP; Calgary was 0-8. . . . G Trent Miner, in his first WHL start, stopped 31 shots for the Giants. . . . Calgary got 36 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . Announced attendance: 3,246.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Prince George at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Regina, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Swift Current vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Portland, 6 p.m.

Calgary at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

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

Portland loses Glass in victory . . . Lind feasts on Blazers, again . . . Giants bounce back to beat Silvertips

Scattershooting

Heavy snow. In Buffalo. On Dec. 29. Who’da thunk it?



The outdoor game drew 44,592 fans to New Era Field in Buffalo, a record for a World Junior Championship game. The previous record (20,380) was set in Ottawa at the tournament final between Canada and Sweden. . . . But does record attendance mean the game was a success? . . . I don’t think so, but it does mean that there will be more of these monsters.


Considering that this is the WORLD Junior Championship, the game was an embarrassment and shot holes through the event’s integrity. It wasn’t fair to the players; it absolutely wasn’t fair. Some of the highest-skilled junior hockey players in the world were reduced to playing chip-and-chase and that’s too bad. Here’s hoping that if they meet again in Buffalo, the tournament organizers don’t get greedy and move that game outside, too.



Dennis Beyak, the radio voice of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, has been calling the play on some of the ‘lesser’ WJC games in Buffalo. It’s long past time that TSN gave him some serious national attention.


You are a real hockey fan if you know which WHL team once employed Beyak as its general manager.



If you are up for some major junior hockey, with two teams playing indoors, the Moose Jaw Warriors and the host Brandon Wheat Kings will be on Sportsnet this afternoon. Game time in Brandon is 2:30 p.m., which is 12:30 p.m. in Kamloops. . . . The Warriors (28-6-3) are atop the WHL’s overall standings; the Wheat Kings (25-9-1) are third, eight points back. Moose Jaw is 8-1-1 in its past 10 games; Brandon is 8-2-0.


Here for your reading pleasure is a Mike Royko column from Aug. 15, 1985. Royko, a legendary columnist with the Chicago Tribune, had written a column in which he skewered Frank Sinatra. The response? Sinatra wrote a letter to Royko, who responded with this piece right here. Enjoy!


MacBeth

F Richard Rapáč (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2006-07) has been assigned on loan by Poprad to Liptovský Mikuláš (both Slovakia, Extraliga) for the rest of the season. He had one goal and one assist in 11 games with Poprad.


Royals lose sniper to wrist injury

The Victoria Royals will be without F Noah Gregor for up to five weeks after he suffered a broken wrist in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night.

Gregor, who was acquired earlier in the month from the Moose Jaw Warriors, didn’t play in the host Royals’ 7-1 victory over the Cougars on Thursday night.

The Royals got Gregor, 19, and an eighth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft for F Ryan Peckford and a fourth-round pick in 2018.

This season, Gregor has two goals and an assist in four games with the Royals, after putting up 14 goals and 22 assists in 30 games with the Warriors.

The Royals did get F Dante Hannoun back on Wednesday after he was out since Dec. 2 with mononucleosis. He had two assists in each of the two games with Prince George. Hannoun has 13 goals and 28 assists in 33 games.

The Royals already were without F Regan Nagy, 20, who had 18 goals and six assists in 26 games when he suffered a broken finger. He has missed 10 games since last playing on Nov. 28. He also missed the two games prior to Nov. 28. Nagy isn’t likely to return for another couple of weeks.

It appears that Nagy won’t be back before the passing of the Jan. 10 deadline. The Royals have three other 20-year-olds on their roster — D Chaz Reddekopp, F Tyler Soy and D Kade Jensen, who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Dec. 1 for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

It will be interesting to see what Victoria general manager Cam Hope does with his 20s between now and Nagy’s return.

Of course, with the departure of F Wyatt Sloboshan, the Regina Pats do have an opening for a 20-year-old, and Nagy is from Ogema, Sask. Ogema is located about 115 km south of Regina.


The Kootenay Ice has brought in F Jakin Smallwood, who turns 17 on Monday, from the midget AAA Leduc, Alta., Oil Kings. From Leduc, he has 11 goals and 15 assists in 23 games with the Oil Kings. . . . A fifth-round selection by Moose Jaw in the 2016 bantam draft, the Ice acquired him from the Warriors on Dec. 11, along with a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 draft for F Vince Loschiavo, 19.


A tip of the cap to the legendary Fred Sasakamoose, who has been named a Member of the Order of Canada. A native of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Sask., he lives in the nearby community of Sandy Lake. He was the first Indigenous player in the NHL when he got into 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54. . . . Sasakamoose told CBC: “It’s unbelievable. I thought getting to the NHL was to make it to the highest level of my life. But to reach the age of 84, and you receive the honours of Canada. That is one of the top awards that I will receive and remember for the rest of my life.” . . . These days, he works with young people who are fighting addictions. . . . Sasakamoose was saluted prior to last night’s game between the Blackhawks and the Oilers in Edmonton. . . . If you ever have an opportunity to hear Sasakamoose tell his story, don’t miss it.


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes broke a 3-3 tie with two third-period goals en route to a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Hurricanes (16-17-2) are third in the Central LethbridgeDivision, six points behind Medicine Hat and four in arrears of Kootenay. . . . The Tigers (19-15-2) had won their previous two games, including a 4-2 victory over the visiting Hurricanes on Wednesday. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead on goals from D Igor Merezhko (3), at 14:35 of the first period, and F Dylan Cozens (11), on a PP, at 1:21 of the second. . . . F Jaeger White (5) halved the lead at 4:33. . . . F Giorgio Estephan (16) restored Lethbridge’s two-goal lead at 6:23. . . . The Tigers pulled even on goals from D David Quenneville (15), at 10:45 of the second period and F Ryan Chyzowski (12), on a PP, at 4:56 of the third. . . . The Hurricanes went back out front at 9:37 as F Jordy Bellerive (19) came out of the penalty box to score. . . . F Zane Franklin (11) provided some insurance at 12:49 and it turned into the game-winner when Tigers F Mark Rassell (29) found the range at 15:45. . . . D Calen Addison had two assists for Lethbridge, with Estephan, Bellerive and Franklin getting one each. . . . Quenneville and F James Hamblin each recorded two assists for the Tigers and Rassell had one. . . . Lethbridge was 1-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-4. . . . G Reece Klassen earned the victory with 37 saves. . . . The Hurricanes scratched G Stuart Skinner (ill) for a second straight game since the Christmas break. . . . With Skinner out, Bryan Thomson backed up after being brought in from the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos of Wlcox, Sask. . . . The Tigers got 28 stops from G Jordan Hollett. . . . Medicine Hat GM/head coach Shaun Clouston remains tied with Willie Desjardins for the most career regular-season victories (323) in franchise history. . . . Announced attendance: 4,313.


At Kamloops, F Kole Lind scored all of the game’s goals, leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 3-0 victory over the Blazers. . . . The Rockets (22-11-3) have won four in a row and now KelownaRocketslead the Western Conference by one point over Everett. . . . The Blazers (16-18-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1) and have been shut out twice in a row at home. The Kootenay Ice posted a 4-0 victory on Dec. 3. . . . Kamloops is three points out of a wild-card playoff spot. . . . These teams also met Wednesday in Kelowna, with the Rockets winning 2-1 in a shootout. . . . In four games since being deemed not good enough to play for Canada’s national junior team, Lind has put up seven goals and four assists. He has two hat tricks and one four-assist game in that stretch. . . . In four games against Kamloops this season, Lind has seven goals and five assists. . . . The Rockets lead the season series, 4-0-0; the Blazers are 0-3-1. . . . Lind, who now has 20 goals, opened the scoring, on a PP, at 12:34 of the first period. . . . Lind made it 2-0, on another PP, at 11:26 of the second period, and he made it 3-0 2:07 later. . . . F Nolan Foote drew assists on each of the first two goals. . . . Kelowna was 2-8 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G James Porter Jr. stopped 28 shots for Kelowna as he recorded his second shutout of his freshman season. He has shutouts in two his last three starts. . . . With Brodan Salmond injured, Porter Jr. has taken over as the Rockets’ starter. This season, he is 14-5-2, 3.22, .904. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for the Blazers. . . . Announced attendance: 4,310.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Skyler McKenzie’s goal at 2:45 of OT gave the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (22-12-1) had lost its Portlandprevious three games, including a 6-3 setback at the hands of the visiting Americans on Wednesday. The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett. Portland holds three games in hand. . . . Tri-City (19-10-4) had won its previous four games. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . After two scoreless periods, F Parker AuCoin (7) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:36 of the third. . . . Portland F Ty Kolle (4) tied it at 8:24. . . . The Americans went ahead again as F Jordan Topping (17) scored, on a PP, at 13:58. . . . The Winterhawks forced OT with G Shane Farkas on the bench as F Mason Mannek (5) counted at 19:00. . . . McKenzie won it with his team-leading 24th goal. . . .  F Alex Overhardt had two assists for Portland. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Portland was 0-5. . . . The Winterhawks got 39 saves from Farkas. That included stopping F Morgan Geekie on a penalty shot at 19:37 of the second period. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 36 shots for the Americans. . . . The Winterhawks lost F Cody Glass, who leads them in assists (32) and points (54), in the dying seconds of the second period. He left after appearing to take a slash to his right leg from Tri-City D Dylan Coghlan. After the game, Glass had a brace on his right knee and he was to return to Portland, while the team went on to Kent, Wash., for a game tonight against Seattle. . . . D John Ludvig of the Winterhawks left for repairs after being struck by a puck while on the bench during the second period. . . . D Keoni Texeira was among Portland’s scratches. . . . With Texeira down, D Nick Cicek was in the lineup for his second WHL game. He had been returned to the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . Tri-City was without F Michael Rasmussen, who is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 4,240.


At Kent, Wash., D Turner Ottenbreit broke a 4-4 tie at 11:49 of the third period as the Seattle Thunderbirds overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-4. . . . The SeattleThunderbirds (16-14-5) have points in four straight games (3-0-1). They are fifth in the U.S. Division, four points behind Spokane, but hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Chiefs (19-14-3) had beaten the visiting Thunderbirds, 5-4 in OT, on Wednesday. . . . Last night, Seattle took a 1-0 lead when F Nolan Volcan (15) scored at 11:21 of the first period, giving him nine points over four games. . . . The teams combined for five second-period goals, four of them by the Chiefs. . . . F Riley Woods pulled Spokane even, at 2:08. . . . The game remained tied until there were four goals in a span of 1:51 late in the period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (18) put the Chiefs out front at 17:34. . . . F Noah Philp (8) got Seattle back into a tie at 18:01. . . . Spokane then took a two-goal lead as Woods (16) scored, at 18:23, and F Eli Zummack (9) counted at 19:25. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it on third-period goals from F Nikita Malukhin (3), at 1:41, and F Zack Andrusiak (18), at 9:54. . . . Ottenbreit won it with his fifth goal this season. It was the second game-winner of his 248-game career. . . . F Donovan Neuls and F Dillon Hamaliuk each had two assists for the winners, with Philp getting one. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from Anderson-Dolan and one from Woods. . . . The teams combined for 70 penalty minutes, but there were only three PP opportunities. Seattle was 0-2; Spokane was 0-1. . . . G Matt Berlin record the victory with 29 saves, eight more than Spokane’s Donovan Buskey. . . . Announced attendance: 4,441.


At Everett, the Vancouver Giants, beaten 11-0 by visiting Everett two nights earlier, bounced back to beat the Silvertips, 2-1. . . . The Giants (19-14-4) now have won more Everettgames than they have lost. They are third in the B.C. Division, three points back of Victoria. . . . The Silvertips (22-14-2) had won their previous three games and 11 of 12. They had set a single-game franchise record for goals scored in Wednesday’s victory. . . . Everett is second in the Western Conference, one point behind Kelowna and one ahead of Portland and Victoria. . . . Last night, F Matt Fonteyne (18) provided Everett with a 1-0 lead 51 seconds into the second period. . . . F Dawson Holt (4) tied it at 6:43 and F Tyler Benson (14) scored what proved to be the winner at 13:19. . . . Vancouver was 0-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-3. . . . G David Tendeck continued his fine play with 34 saves for Vancouver. . . . Everett got 23 stops from G Dustin Wolf. . . . Announced attendance: 5,525.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 2:30 p.m.

Lethbridge at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Prince George at Vancouver, 7 p.m.

Kamloops at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

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


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