Fan’s enthusiasm for WHL returns after visit to Everett . . . Maier ties WHL career record . . . Seattle star signs with Penguins


When the Portland Winterhawks visited the Silvertips in Everett on Friday at least one fan was in the Angel of the Winds Arena for the first time.

This individual is a long-time WHL fan and a season-ticket holder who rarely misses a game. After being in Everett for what he said was his first game “in many years” outside his home city, he sent me some of his thoughts . . .

“Wasn’t sure what to expect, but what a great experience it was compared to Everettwhat I’m used to. . . . Angel of the Winds Arena is a great facility . . . it feels like a smaller version of an NHL arena with two levels, and a nice concourse to walk around in. The concourse is open at one end so you can see the ice from that part of it, too. The lower level is only 12 rows deep, but close to the ice all the way around so fans are right on top of the action. Not to mention it has more concessions than I could count — you couldn’t walk more than about 50 feet without coming to another place to buy food or drinks . . . lots of variety and no long lineups.

“The announced attendance was about 6,800 and unlike other cities that number wasn’t inflated by too much . . . definitely well over 6,000 in the building, eyeballing the empty seats.

“I showed up at the rink at about 5:50 (10 minutes before the doors opened to non-season ticket holders). There already were numerous season-ticket holders going into the building, and by 6 p.m. the line for the general public to get in was over a block long.”

That, he added, was quite a contract to his home team’s games this season “where at 6 p.m. there might be a dozen or two people there.”

In Everett, he wrote, “not long after 6 p.m., the team store was packed with a lineup of about 20 people for the cash register.” That, too, was “a big contrast” to his home team’s games.

“The crowd had a real energy to it, too. It was a pretty young crowd (lots of people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, which is a great thing to see). Lots of Silvertips jerseys in the crowd, something I’m not used to seeing. . . . Anything that happened in the game got a reaction — whenever the Silvertips took the puck away from Portland, cleared it out of their zone, or started a rush up the ice out of their own zone, the crowd was making noise.”

That, he wrote, was “a welcome change” from crowds in his home arena “that for the most part sit on their hands the whole game other than when a goal is scored. And when Everett scores the entire crowd is on its feet.

“I’ve seen NHL games in a number of cities, and some crowds are just different — at a Rangers game, for example, there’s just a very different energy you feel compared to an L.A. Kings or Anaheim Ducks game and that’s the distinction I’d draw between Everett and (my home arena), a crowd where people were there to be part of the game rather than just sit and watch.

“It was just a fantastic experience, and none of it felt manufactured. There wasn’t anything on the scoreboard telling fans to make noise or anything. Even the fan contests during the intermission were fun and different than I’d seen before.

“If I were involved with running a WHL team I’d be sending my marketing team to Everett to learn something.”

When I wrote about the WHL and attendance last month, this fan told me that he was thinking about perhaps switching from a full season-ticket to a half. He changed his mind after his Everett experience.

“Attending that one game probably did more to bring back my enthusiasm for WHL hockey after the lost COVID season than an entire season of attending (my team’s) games,” he wrote.


Deer1
It must have been a tough shift at the factory on Sunday afternoon because the 16 or 17 deer in the field behind our humble abode all were laying down after having eaten. The light was fading and the ol’ peepers aren’t what they used to be so I couldn’t make an accurate count. And there were more there than I could fit into one frame.

Deer3


Dorothy-040719Dorothy is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here.


Groceries


If you haven’t noticed, the honeymoon appears to be over in Vancouver where the vultures are starting to circle. . . . There was this from Jeff Paterson on the CanucksSekeres and Price podcast this week: “Bruce has to wear some of this, too. The shine is coming off of this team with 3 wins in 13 games at crunch time. 1 win in their last 8 at home. Bruce always wants to flush this thing about slow starts.” . . . Carol Schram of Forbes Sports tweeted: “It’s crunch time. The Canucks season could depend on 3 games in the next 9 days against Vegas, starting Sunday. Bruce Boudreau’s future may also hang in the balance.” . . . The Canucks lost that Sunday game, and they are in Vegas tonight in the opener of a doubleheader there. . . . Just a short time ago, Boudreau could do no wrong, but that doesn’t seem to be the case these days. . . . Where the fans in Vancouver used to chant “Bruce, there it is!,” now it seems that “Bruce, there it isn’t” would be more topical. And the whisperers are wondering: “Where is Paul Maurice?” . . . Gee, maybe the Canucks’ problems haven’t had a whole lot to do with coaching.


Back in the day, if a player tried to skill it up in the NBA this might happen . . .


TUESDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier tied the WHL record for career goaltending victories Saskatoonas the Blades beat the Tigers, 4-0, in Medicine Hat. . . . Maier, 20, has 120 victories in his five seasons with the Blades, including 29 this season. He now shares the mark with Tyson Sexsmith (Medicine Hat, Vancouver Giants, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops Blazers, 1988-92). . . . Maier’s second shutout of this season was the 11th of his career. . . . The Blades are to meet the Hurricanes in Lethbridge tonight. . . . Don’t forget that Maier played only 17 games in the 2021 development season when he earned 12 victories, so only the pandemic kept him from smashing this record. . . . D Ryan Nolan drew three assists. . . . The Blades (26-25-4), with three games remaining, are two points behind the fourth-place Moose Jaw Warriors, who have four to play. . . . The Tigers (11-49-4) have lost eight in a row. . . .

F Jake Chiasson and F Nolan Ritchie each had a goal and two assists as their BrandonBrandon Wheat Kings beat the visiting Regina Pats, 5-4. . . . Chiasson, who has four goals, tied it 2-2 at 16:46 of the second period and Ritchie, with 31 goals, broke the tie at 19:40. . . . D Mason Ward (4) upped the lead to 4-2 at 1:23 of the third period and the Pats never could equalize. . . . Regina got three goals from F Logan Nijhoff, whose first WHL hat trick left him with 20 goals. . . . Brandon (33-25-5) is sixth, five points behind Saskatoon. The Wheat Kings appear headed to a first-round matchup with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Regina (24-34-5) is six points from a playoff spot with five games remaining.

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

In Prince George, D Tyson Feist scored at 1:02 of OT to give the Kelowna Rockets Kelownaa 1-0 victory over the Cougars. . . . He’s got 15 goals this season. . . . Kelowna G Talyn Boyko blocked 21 shots for his second shutout of the season. . . . The Cougars got 35 saves from G Ty Young. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Prince George. . . . The Rockets (38-19-6) are fifth, four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars (22-37-5) are tied for the conference’s last playoff spot with the Spokane Chiefs, one point behind the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals.


Clam


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Mark Bomersback is the new general manager of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. Bomersback, 39, was the Storm’s GM from 2017-20, before stepping down. From a news release: “Mark was an elite player in the AJHL, his 394 career points still stands as the all-time record.  Upon finishing his junior career Mark moved on to Ferris State University in the NCAA.  Mark’s professional hockey career saw him play in the East Coast and American Hockey Leagues before finishing his career in Europe, including a season in the KHL.” Mike Vandekamp was the Storm’s general manager/head coach for the past two seasons, but they parted company at the conclusion of their season. A new head coach has yet to be hired. . . . Billy Keane has joined the Pilot Mound, Man., Hockey Academy as the male U18 head coach and the academy’s assistant general manager. He spent the previous two seasons as the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. His contract wasn’t renewed when their season ended. . . .

Brandon Switzer is the new general manager and head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Switzer, from Brandon, had been the club’s associate coach and assistant GM since June 26. He takes over from Bill Rotheisler, who had filled both positions for the past two seasons. . . . The NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins have signed F Lukas Svejkovsky, 20, of the Seattle Thunderbirds to a three-year entry-level contract that is to begin next season. It carries an annual average value of $859,167 at the NHL level — salaries of $750,000, $775,000 and $775,000 with a $92,000 signing bonus each year. There is an $80,000 minor-league salary in all three years. The Penguins selected him in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL draft. . . .

The NAHL announced on Tuesday that the Wichita Falls Warriors are on the move to Oklahoma City where they will play out of the Blazers Ice Center. They will continue with the Warriors nickname. There was a time when the NAHL franchise in Wichita Falls was known as the Wildcats and was owned by Rick Brodsky, a former WHL chairman of the board and owner of the Victoria/Prince George Cougars.


Sessions


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Dads

Government hits WHL’s Sask. teams with PST . . . Big crowd watches Blades dump Pats . . . Garand blanks Rockets again

By now you will be aware that the cost of most everything is rising, rising, rising . . . with no end in sight. Well, six WHL teams learned earlier this week that their ticket prices will be going up, too, and there isn’t anything they can do about it.

That’s because this increase is thanks to the Saskatchewan government having slapped a six per cent PST on various entertainment events, all of which had been exempt. That announcement was part of the government’s latest budget that was announced on Wednesday.

“I’m just not sure about pairing an additional tax with the recovery of the live entertainment industry,” Tim Reid, the president and CEO of Regina Exhibition Association Limited, the Regina Pats’ landlord, told Regina radio station 980 CJME. “After everything we’ve been through, I just feel like the timing and the consultation has been not in the right place. . . .

“I think it probably gives us an opportunity to understand the co-dependencies between what we do to drive the visitor economy that they depend on and some of the decisions that they make fiscally.

“This is not an insignificant item for a business like ours, and it does change the affordability of our events.”


Safe


The IIHF recently created an Ethics Board and, according to a news release, its purpose “is to determine if the actions of an IIHF Member National Association IIHFor an individual associated with the IIHF or its members could constitute an ethical conduct violation.” . . . That Ethics Board now has two cases on its table. . . . From that same news release: “The IIHF Council has referred the Russian Ice Hockey Federation to the Ethics Board for review, due to reports that the RIHF allegedly sent instructions to Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) teams to take demonstrative actions in support of the Russia-Ukraine war. As such an action would constitute a violation of the IIHF Ethics Code, the Ethics Board will investigate further and determine whether this case will be referred to the IIHF Disciplinary Board. . . . The IIHF Council also decided to refer IIHF Life President René Fasel to the Ethics Board for review, following reports of his involvement with Russia and the KHL as well as public statements made about the war.” . . . Fasel has long been a supporter of Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator who chose to launch attacks on Ukraine. . . . The Ethics Board will ponder things and then decide whether to refer either case, or both of them, to the Disciplinary Board. . . . Fasel, 72, now works as an advisor to the KHL. He has been critical of the IIHF’s decision to ban Russian and Belarus from future competitions.


Yes, those were the days. . . . Back in the days when newspapers were seriously into newspapering, we at the Regina Leader-Post tried to cover the local scene like a blanket. That included a nightly SJHL roundup that sometimes gave a headline to Cam Moon. Yes, that Cam Moon, who now is a radio voice of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers after all those years with the Red Deer Rebels. . . . BTW, on nights when Ian Hamilton was at his desk at The Leader-Post, we often had SJHL roundups that included quotes. . . . Yes, those really were the days! . . . BTW, Part 2: Lucas Punkari, who covered the Prince Albert Raiders for the Daily Herald not that long ago, now is at the Brandon Sun. Just in case you were wondering. These days he is busy churning out MJHL playoff previews.



The World Figure Skating Championships are taking place this week in Montpellier, France, and somehow things are just fine even though the Russians aren’t there, having been punted by the International Skating Union. . . . And just how have things been without the Russians? . . . Jon Wertheim of sicom wrote: “One official, who preferred to remain anonymous, remarked that, if anything, the event would be more legitimate, not less, since without Russians competing, there would be considerably less skepticism and speculation ‘over who was and was not doping.’ ” . . . Wertheim’s piece on whether various sports are missing the Russians is excellent and it’s right here.


Fashion


FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:

Habscheid
Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, asks the on-ice officials why the fire alarm hasn’t sounded during Friday night’s game in Brandon. (Photo: wheatkings.com)

F Nolan Ritchie scored twice and added two assists as his Brandon Wheat Kings Brandongot past the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 5-3. . . . The Wheat Kings also got a goal and two assists from F Riley Ginnell. . . . Ritchie, who scored on the PP and while shorthanded, has 29 goals, while Ginnell has 14. . . . Brandon G Ethan Kruger blocked 34 shots as the Raiders held a 37-19 edge in shots. . . . The Raiders’ loss allowed the idle Moose Jaw Warriors to clinch a playoff spot. . . . The Wheat Kings (29-24-5) appear headed for the sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. They are nine points behind Saskatoon and seven ahead of Lethbridge. . . . The Raiders (24-30-5) are ninth, two points out of the last playoff spot that is held by Swift Current. The Raiders hold two games in hand. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Carter Souch put up four points to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings Edmontonto a 5-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Souch had three assists as the Oil Kings took a 4-0 lead through two periods, then added his 20th goal into an empty net at 19:42 of the third. . . . Souch now has 68 points in 61 games. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 24 shots in running his numbers to 31-7-3, 2.26, .914 this season. . . . Freshman F Brayden Edwards scored both goals for Lethbridge, giving him four in 39 games. . . . Edmonton (46-12-3) is tied with the idle Winnipeg Ice for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Ice has two games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (26-29-4) is seventh, seven points behind Brandon and one ahead of Swift Current. . . .

G Chase Coward stopped 13 shots to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 3-0 victory RedDeerover the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Coward has two career shutouts, both of them this season. . . . F Arshdeep Bains, the WHL’s leading point getter, scored his 35th goal and added an assist. His goal, at 14:05 of the second period, was the winner. . . . Red Deer F Ben King had an assist and now has at least a point in 14 straight games. He has 31 points, including 13 goals, during that stretch. . . . Bains now has 96 points, two more than King. . . . The Rebels (40-17-4) are sixth in the Eastern Conference and appear headed to a first-round series with Brandon. . . . The Tigers (11-44-4) have lost three in a row. . . .

D Marek Schneider’s first WHL goal proved the winner as the host Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades beat the Regina Pats, 3-1. . . . The Blades (34-22-4) now have clinched a playoff spot. They are fifth in the conference, one point behind Moose Jaw and nine ahead of Brandon. . . . Schneider, who turned 19 on Feb. 5, scored his first goal in his 56th game, 36 of them this season. He broke a 1-1 tie at 16:14 of the second period. . . . The announced attendance was 7,523 as the Blades ran a Kids Takeover promotion and also welcomed Regina F Connor Bedard for perhaps the last time this season. . . . Bedard had his point streak end at 21 games, the longest in the WHL this season. He put up 23 goals and 22 assists in those 21 games. . . . Regina (23-30-5) has lost three straight. It is 10th in the conference, four points behind eight-place Swift Current but with three games in hand. . . .

G Dylan Garand turned aside 41 shots in winning for the 30th time this season Kamloopsas the host Kamloops Blazers blanked the Kelowna Rockets, 6-0. . . . The Blazers have won nine in a row and six of those victories are over Kelowna. These two teams played home-and-home each of the previous two weekends and are doing it again this weekend. Yes, they’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Garand, who blanked the Rockets, 4-0, in Kamloops last Saturday, has four shutouts this season 12 in 129 career appearances. This season, he is 30-7-0, 1.98, .929. . . . The Blazers got two goals and an assist from F Logan Stankoven, who now has 85 points, including 37 goals, in 51 games.. . . . F Reese Belton helped out with three assists. . . . Kelowna has lost seven in a row (0-5-2). . . . When the same two teams hit the ice in Kelowna tonight, it will be the 14th meeting between them this season. Kelowna is 7-4-2; Kamloops is 6-6-1. . . . Kamloops (44-14-2) will clinch the B.C. Division pennant with a victory tonight. The Blazers are second in the Western Conference, two points behind Everett. . . . The Rockets (34-19-6) are fifth, six points in arrears of Seattle, their likely first-round opponent. . . .

F Niko Huuhtanen struck for three goals and an assist as the Everett Silvertips Everettskated to a 7-2 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Huuhtanen, an 18-year-old freshman from Finland, has 35 goals and 37 assists in 57 games. Interestingly, he scored just one goal in his first 15 games. . . . This was his first hat trick. . . . F Michal Gut picked up his 14th goal and two assists, with F Jackson Berezowski getting three assists. . . . Everett F Alex Swetlikoff had his 29th goal and an assist to run his point streak to 15 games. He’s got eight goals and 14 assists in those games. . . . Everett had a 48-15 edge in shots, including 20-2 in the third period. . . . This was the 12th meeting of the season between the Chiefs and Silvertips, each of whom now has played 60 games. So they have played 20 per cent of their games against each other. . . . BTW, the Silvertips won all 12 games; the Chiefs are 0-10-2. . . . Everett (42-10-8) leads the Western Conference by two points over Kamloops. . . . The Chiefs (19-36-5), who have lost four in a row, are tied with Prince George for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

F Marcus Almquist scored in a third straight game as his Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsdoubled up on the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-2. . . . Almquist, an 18-year-old from Denmark, has four goals in 36 games with three of them coming in his last three games. . . . F Riley Gannon’s 21st goal, at 2:19 of the third period, gave the Royals a 3-1 lead. . . . Victoria now has won five in a row. . . . The Royals (22-34-6) are tied for sixth with Vancouver in the conference, with the Giants holding four games in hand. . . . The Cougars (20-35-3), who have lost three in a row, are tied with Spokane for the conference’s last playoff spot. . . . Prince George has two games in hand over Spokane. . . .

The host Portland Winterhawks got two goals and two assists from F Gabe PortlandKlassen en route to a 7-1victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The home side led this one 6-0 early in the second period. . . . Klassen’s second goal was his 30th of the season. . . . F James Stefan scored his 33rd goal and added two assists, with F Jaydon Dureau and F Cross Hanas each earning three assists. . . . The Winterhawks (41-15-5) are third in the conference, three points behind Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (17-38-5) is four points out of the last playoff spot. . . .

F Lukas Svejkovsky scored twice as his Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Vancouver SeattleGiants, 5-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . Sjejkovsky played 85 games over two seasons (2018-20) with the Giants, who dealt him to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Seattle acquired him from the Tigers this season. He has 27 goals this season, 14 of them in 27 games with the Thunderbirds. . . . F Reid Schaefer and F Jared Davidson, who combined to score nine goals in the 2021 development season, each scored his 30th goal for Seattle. Davidson also had two assists. . . . Seattle (37-17-6) is a comfortable fourth in the Western Conference, seven points behind Portland and six ahead of Kelowna. . . . Vancouver (23-31-4) is tied for sixth with Victoria, 24 points behind Kelowna and seven ahead of Prince George.



If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Chute

With pandemic ongoing, the WHL’s attendance not pretty picture . . . Oil Kings win 12th straight game . . . BCHL reinstates one Nanaimo coach


Just about the time the Portland Winterhawks and the Royals were facing off in Victoria on Tuesday night, a photo showing part of the crowd was posted on Twitter.

Shortly after it surfaced, a friend sent me a message: “Is Victoria only allowed 15 per cent capacity?”

After the game, with the Royals having announced attendance as 2,070, the WHLfriend sent another note: “Oh my goodness! Is the league as we know it dying in front of us?”

That likely is a bit of an overstatement, but there has to be more than a little concern in WHL circles, especially when the Winnipeg Ice, which plays in a city of more than 800,000 people, announces a crowd of 1,030 as it did on Tuesday night.

No, there aren’t any attendance restrictions in Manitoba sporting facilities these days. The Ice plays in the Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba. The arena’s capacity once was said to be 1,400, but the Ice said in a Feb. 2 news release that the U of M “has confirmed the capacity . . . is 2,000 persons.”

The Ice, of course, played out of Cranbrook through the 2018-19 season, after which owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell packed up and moved to the Manitoba capital.

You may recall Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, visiting Cranbrook in January 2019 and telling people: “The WHL appreciates the support we have received from the City of Cranbrook, the corporate community, and, in particular, hockey fans in the East Kootenay region. However, after many years of monitoring the operations of the Kootenay Ice, it is evident this franchise is not viable in the market moving forward. It is a difficult decision, but given low attendance trends and the support required to operate a WHL Club, it is necessary to move the franchise to a market where it can be sustainable on a long-term basis.”

In 2018-19, its last season in Cranbrook, the Ice’s average announced attendance was 2,214. (BTW, the BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks, in their first season after moving into the Ice’s former home, are drawing 2,199 fans per game, according to hockeydb.)

Announced attendances at Wednesday night’s five WHL games: 2,426 . . . 1,837 . . . 2,035 . . . 2,824 . . . 2,056.

Granted, this has been a tough season thanks to the pandemic and various mandates and restrictions, but according to figures compiled by the WHL the Ice is averaging 1,500 fans through 23 home games. Only the Swift Current Broncos, playing in a city of about 17,000 people, are playing in front of fewer fans — 1,392 through 27 games.

Those same WHL figures show that the 22 teams have an average announced attendance of 3,047 through 586 games. In 2019-20, the season that the pandemic brought to a premature end in March, the average was 4,154 for 694 games. In 2018-19, the last complete season, teams average 4,361 fans for 748 games.

This season, the WHL has three teams averaging more than 4,000 fans per game. There are 13 teams under 3,000.

With attendance numbers where they are and with so many costs on the rise — both for the teams and for the ticket-buying public — one has to think there will be some head-scratching and soul-searching going on in the WHL’s Calgary office and a whole lot of team offices once this season is over . . . if there isn’t already.


Plastic


WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL: F Josh Williams, who reached the 100-goal career mark, and F Justin Sourdif each scored twice as the Edmonton Oil Kings ran their winning streak to 12 games by beating the Tigers, 7-3, in Medicine Hat. Williams has 32 goals; Sourdif has 18. F Hayden Wheddon, playing his first WHL game, scored for Edmonton in the second period. Wheddon, from Stonewall, Man., was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft. . . . Williams has scored 79 goals with the Oil Kings, after starting his career with 21 for the Tigers. . . .

In Saskatoon, F Brandon Lisowsky scored twice, including his 30th goal of the season at 4:30 of OT, as the Blades beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. F Trae Wilke, who is from Saskatoon, scored his first WHL goal in his first game with the Hurricanes. He was a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft. Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was there and his report is right here. . . . Saskatoon has points in seven straight (5-0-2). . . . The Hurricanes are 2-3-0 while on a seven-game road swing with the Canadian men’s curling championship in their home building. . . .

F Nolan Ritchie scored at 1:11 of OT to give the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. Ritchie, who is from Brandon, has 26 goals. . . . The Wheat Kings are sixth in the Eastern Conference, 11 points ahead of Lethbridge and 13 up on Calgary. . . . The Hitmen hold down the last playoff spot, one point ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos. . . .

F Blake Swetlikoff scored his ninth goal and added two assists to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Matthew Hutchison became the fourth 15-year-old goaltender in Giants’ franchise history to start a game — after Ryan Kubic (2013), Payton Lee (2012) and Tyson Sexsmith (2005). Hutchison, from Nanaimo, stopped 28 shots. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft. . . . G Jesper Vikman, the Giants’ starter, is on the sidelines with an undisclosed injury. . . . Spokane moved into a tie with the idle Prince George Cougars for seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind the Giants. . . .

In Victoria, F Cross Hanas had two goals, giving him 22, and two assists to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Royals. Victoria had beaten the Winterhawks, 5-3, on Tuesday night. Last night, the Royals’ second goal came from Danish F Marcus Almquist, who got his first WHL goal in his 29th game. . . . The Winterhawks are third in the Western Conference, one point behind the Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips. . . . The Royals are ninth, three points out of a playoff spot.



The BCHL has reinstated Colin Birkas, the Nanaimo Clippers’ associate  general Nanaimomanager/associate coach, who was suspended early in February while the league had an unidentified independent investigator review what it said were “allegations of Code of Conduct breaches.” . . . On Wednesday, the league said that while it is reinstating Birkas, “the investigation has been partly completed but is still ongoing.” . . . At the same time, the BCHL said that Darren Naylor, the Clippers’ vice-president, general manager, head coach and director of hockey operations, “will continue on administrative leave until May 31, 2022.” . . . While Naylor and Birkas were sidelined, the Clippers brought in long-time junior coach Bob Beatty to work with assistant coach Ken McPhalen. . . . At the time of the suspensions, Clippers Hockey Limited Partnership, Naylor and Birkas filed a civil claim, arguing, according to CHEK News, “that the league acted ‘erroneously and in a high-handed manner’ in issuing the suspensions when no allegations have been proven, irreparably damaging the coaches’ reputations and putting the team’s season in jeopardy because there are no alternate coaches to take over.” . . . A B.C. Supreme Court judge issued a temporary injunction that would have allowed Naylor and Birkas to continue coaching; however, the team ended up putting the two on administrative leave just prior to what would have been their first game after the league had taken action. . . . With seven games remaining in their regular-season schedule, the Clippers are 29-16-2 and in third place in the nine-team Coastal Conference.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The QMJHL has unveiled its playoff format, with games to begin on May 5 with the final running from June 4 through June 15, depending how many games are needed. The first three rounds will feature best-of-five series with the championship final a best-of-seven series. There is a news release right here.


Today is World Kidney Day. . . . My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is preparing to take part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


Bedtime


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Driving

OHL investigating alleged anti-Russian slur . . . Iran makes mark on international stage . . . Gauthier continues big week with Winterhawks

Rick Westhead of TSN tweeted on Friday afternoon that “a Russian player on the OHL’s North Bay Battalion (one of two Russians on NB) was allegedly targeted during Thursday game with an anti-Russian slur by at least one Sudbry Wolves player, North Bay GM Adam Dennis confirms. Dennis says OHL is investigating and conducting interviews.”

Shortly after, Dan Milstein, a Ukraine-born hockey agent, tweeted: “Disturbing news . . . I confirm Rick Westhead’s report that my teenage Russian-born client on OHL North Bay Battalion was targeted with Anti-Russian slur at (Thursday’s) game.”


It is because of information like this that I subscribe to Hockey Unfiltered with Ken Campbell:

“Iran has a national hockey team that is currently playing in the Division IV World Championship in Kyrgyzstan. Their backup goalie’s name is Oveis Hassanzadeh Moghadam Tabalvandani. Their first-line left winger is Mohammadmatin Ghaharzadehmahabadi and manning the blueline is Abbas Dehghanimohammadabadi. Despite a spirited effort, Iran lost 13-1 to the host country in its international hockey debut before beating Singapore 5-2 on Friday.”

Seriously, while Campbell did have that in a Friday piece, he also reported this:

“The Canadian Hockey League could be doing a major about-face when it comes to having players from Russia and Belarus included in its 2022 import draft. A source close to the situation said the CHL was prepared this week to announce that players from those two countries would be barred from the draft this year as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“But there was significant pushback from some owners on the proposal, which led the CHL to delay making an announcement. It’s believed they will continue deliberating and will have a decision by the end of this month. There are 24 Russians and 13 Belarusians playing in the Ontario, Western and Quebec Leagues this season. The OHL has the majority of Russian players this season, with 15 on rosters. There is only one player from Ukraine in the entire CHL this season, Barrie Colts defenseman and Vegas Golden Knights prospect Artur Cholach.”

You are able to check out Campbell’s work right here.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes are on the road for six games because the Brier, the Canadian men’s curling championship, has taken over the ENMAX Centre. . . . The Hurricanes met the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday night, losing 6-3, and also will make stops in Regina, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina (again) and Moose Jaw before returning home to face the Pats on March 16.


My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here. . . . A huge thank you to those who already have joined Dorothy’s team. Much appreciated!


Richard Doerksen’s name first shows up in a WHL Guide prior to the 1978-79 season. He is listed, quite simply, as statistician. I am pretty sure he kept the WHL stats with pencil and paper in those days. . . . Anyway, Doerksen, now the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was Hartley Miller’s latest guest on Cat Scan. They chatted about the past two seasons, scheduling and rescheduling and a whole lot more. . . . It’s a 30-minute listen and it’s all right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Nolan Ritchie, playing in his 100th regular-season game, had three goals and an assist to lead the host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 6-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday night. . . . Brandon F Jake Chiasson had a goal and an assist in what was his first game this season. He underwent shoulder surgery after being injured while at an Edmonton Oilers rookie camp in September. The Oilers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .

F Connor Bedard had one assist to run his point streak to 14 games as the Regina Pats dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting Red Deer Rebels, who have won seven in a row. . . . F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings also is riding a 14-game streak, but he is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. . . . Bedard has 29 points, including 16 assists, in his past 14 games, while Neighbours has 23 points, 10 of them goals. . . .

Dan O’Connor, the radio voice of the Vancouver Giants, called the play of his 700th WHL game on Friday night in Langley, B.C. The Giants lost 4-3 in OT to the Kamloops Blazers as F Daylan Kuefler tied the game at 19:31 of the third period and won it at 4:43 of extra time. O’Connor also has done play-by-play with the Prince George Cougars. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings clinched a playoff spot by scoring the game’s last five goals in a 7-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . In Kelowna, F Gabriel Szturc’s 12th goal, at 1:29 of OT, gave the Rockets a 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals who took a 4-2 lead into the last 10 minutes of the third period. Kelowna has won nine of 10 from Victoria. . . . In Prince George, the Spokane Chiefs scored the last three goals and beat the Cougars, 4-3. F Graham Sward (8) broke a 3-3 tie 37 seconds into the third period. The Cougars are 2-13-1 in their past 16 outings. . . .

F Jakin Smallwood scored his 20th goal of the season with 0.7 showing on the clock as the visiting Winnipeg Ice got past the Saskatoon Blades, 4-3, in OT. F Jack Finley (17) had pulled Winnipeg even with a PP goal at 17:15 of the third period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt scored his 10th goal and added two assists as the Prince Albert Raiders escaped from Moose Jaw with a 5-3 victory over the Warriors. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds scored once in each period as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 3-1, in Kennewick Wash. . . .

G Taylor Gauthier, who signed a three-year free-agent deal with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the week, stopped 47 shots as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Silvertips, 4-2, in Everett. Portland scored the game’s last four goals. Gauthier is 14-1-0, 1.66, .945 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. The Winterhawks have taken four straight from the Silvertips and now trail the U.S. Division leaders by five points. . . .

Russian F Ivan Miroshnichenko, a potential top 10 selection in the NHL’s 2022 draft, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the Russian Hockey Federation has said he will be taking time away from the game. “At the moment,” the federation said in a tweet, “he is receiving medical treatment in Germany and might miss the entirety of next season.” Miroshnichenko, 18, had 16 points, including 10 goals, in 31 games with the VHL’s Omskie Krylia club. He captained the Russian team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer, putting up four goals and five assists in five games.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.

——


Kids

A bizarre night as world goes to war . . . Habscheid moves into fifth spot . . . Shutouts for Chaika, Pyne

Ukraine

What a bizarre night!

Look, there’s a Twitter video showing Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations at the end of a Security Council meeting telling his Russian counterpart: “There is no purgatory for war criminals. They go straight to hell, Ambassador.”

And there’s a photo from Ukraine that shows people seated on the floor in an underground shelter.

Tweet after tweet after tweet providing information, some of it instantaneous, about what was happening in Ukraine.

All of them mixed in with so many other tweets as the sporting world continued on its merry way.

“Ghostriders even their series 1-1 with a 5-2 win in Invermere” reads a tweet from the junior B Fernie Ghostriders.

There’s the WHL’s highlight of the night. An OT winner by Chad Nychuk of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Oh, there’s video of a goal by the Arizona Coyotes, who are entertaining the Los Angeles Kings.

Oh, look, it’s snowing in Surrey.

And all the while Dr. Evil’s troops are invading Ukraine in what almost appears to be one more step in an attempt to put the USSR back together. With a former U.S. president and a U.S. television network applauding all the while.

With all of this and a global pandemic and vehicle convoys and border blockades and all the rest . . . we really are living in troubled times.



Marc Habscheid moved into fifth place on the WHL’s list for all-time regular-WHLseason coaching victories when his Prince Albert Raiders beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 1-0, on Wednesday night.

That was Habscheid’s 573rd victory as a WHL head coach, moving him past Mike Williamson and into fifth place. Habscheid now trails Don Hay (750), Ken Hodge (742), Don Nachbaur (692) and Lorne Molleken (626).

Habscheid also has been the head coach with the Kamloops Blazers (1997-99), Kelowna Rockets (1999-2004) and Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royals (2009-12). In Kelowna, he took over from Garth Malarchuk during the 1999-2000 season. He replaced Cory Clouston as the Raiders’ head coach during the 2014-15 season.

Here are the active WHL head coaches and their victory totals:

Shaun Clouston, Kamloops, 485; Mike Johnston, Portland, 445; Willie Desjardins, Medicine Hat, 397; Mark Lamb, Prince George, 272; Steve Konowalchuk, Red Deer, 250;

Michael Dyck, Vancouver, 242; Brent Kisio, Lethbridge, 223; Steve Hamilton, Calgary, 211; Dennis Williams, Everett, 182; John Paddock, Regina, 177;

Brad Lauer, Edmonton, 137; Matt O’Dette, Seattle, and James Patrick, Winnipeg, each 129; Dan Price, Victoria, 121;

Mark O’Leary, Moose Jaw, 63; Don McGillivray, Brandon, 44; Kris Mallette, Kelowna, 42; Brennan Sonne, Saskatoon 26; Devan Praught, Swift Current, 17; Stu Barnes, Tri-City, 14; Ryan Smith, Spokane, 1.

Louis Mass, the associate coach with Everett, has five victories as he ran the bench while Williams was with Canada’s national junior team in December.

Ryan Marsh, the associate coach with Saskatoon, recorded a pair of victories while Sonne was sidelined by COVID-19 in January.

Josh McNevin, an assistant coach with Kelowna, picked up two victories while Mallette was at the Capital City Challenge in Ottawa in late November.

Keith McCambridge, the associate coach with Vancouver, got one victory while Dyck was with Canada’s national junior team in December.

Brad Herauf, an assistant coach in Regina, posted one victory when Paddock missed a Feb. 11 game due to illness.

Please remember that these totals all are unofficial.

——

WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL: G Tikhon Chaika posted the shutout as the visiting Prince Albert Raiders beat the Calgary Hitmen, 1-0. Chaika, an 18-year-old freshman from Minsk, Belarus, recorded his first WHL shutout. He is 13-14-2, 2.98, .900. F Evan Herman (19) scored the game’s only goal, at 12:45 of the first period. . . . In Regina, the Pats beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0, behind 21 saves from G Kelton Pyne, a 16-year-old from White City, Sask. He is with the Pats because of injuries to other goaltenders. In three starts, Pyne has two WHL victories, both by shutout. D Ryker Evans (12) broke a scoreless tie at 13:31 of the third period and F Connor Bedard (32) got the empty-netter. . . .

The host Brandon Wheat Kings surrendered 2-0 and 4-2 leads before coming back to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 6-5, in OT. F Kyle Crnkovic (33), who leads the WHL with 74 points, gave the Blades a 5-4 lead at 19:17 of the second period. F Nolan Ritchie (20) got Brandon even at 18:31 of the third period with his second goal — he also had two assists — and F Chad Nychuk (15) won it at 4:55 of extra time. . . . The Winnipeg Ice opened up a 3-0 second-period lead and hung on to beat the Hurricanes, 3-2, in Lethbridge. F Matthew Savoie (22) got the goal that turned into the winner at 10:50 of the second. Goals from F Corson Hopwo (9) and D Kade Nolan (2) got Lethbridge to within a goal before the third period was 11 minutes old.

——

JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The WHL has suspended D Trevor Thurston of the Prince Albert Raiders for five games after he incurred charging and cross-checking majors during the same stoppage in play on Monday night in a game against the host Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state, has announced that a statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted on March 21. At the same time, vaccine verifications or proof of a negative test won’t be required to attend indoor events after Feb. 28.


Apathy


Derek Taylor, who revealed last week that he wouldn’t be returning for a fourth season as the play-by-play voice of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, is the new radio voice of the two-time Grey Cup-champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers on 680 CJOB. . . . In Winnipeg, Taylor will take over from the legendary Bob Irving, who retired following the 2021 season. . . . Taylor isn’t a stranger to Winnipeg as he spent nine years calling the play of U of Manitoba Bisons football games. He will make his Blue Bombers play-by-play debut on May 23 when Winnipeg meets, yes, the host Roughriders in an exhibition game. . . . Before moving to Regina, he spent almost five years with TSN. . . . “It’s just a better job opportunity for me,” Taylor told Murray McCormick of the Regina Leader-Post. “It’s a better family opportunity because my wife (CBC-TV weather specialist Fiona Odlum) is from Winnipeg and it’s the place that I’ve lived in the longest as an adult. It’s essentially home for me.”


Corn


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Baby

Nova Scotia, with virus numbers rising, pulls plug on Women’s Worlds . . . WHL adjusts schedule; some teams won’t get in 24 games . . . CFL provides an update

It sure looked as though the IIHF Women’s World Championship was going to start in Halifax and Truro on May 6. But that’s before COVID-19 reared its ugly head and said: “Not so fast.”

On Wednesday, with Team Canada already training in Halifax and one day WomenHockeybefore nine other teams were to begin arriving for their quarantine sessions, the Nova Scotian government chose to inform the IIHF and Hockey Canada that the tournament was off.

In a statement, Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney and Scott Smith, the president and COO, said: “While we are disappointed with the cancellation, we understand the decision was made with the health and safety of all participants and the community at large as the top priority.”

René Fasel, the IIHF president, said: “This is very disappointing news to receive with just a few weeks until the tournament was to begin. We strongly believe that we had the adequate safety measures in place to protect players, officials, spectators and all residents in Halifax and Truro, based on the IIHF and Hockey Canada’s experiences from hosting the IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton. In the end, we must accept the decision of the government.”

On Wednesday, Nova Scotia reported 25 new COVID-19 cases, which, according to CBC News, is “the highest daily total since November 24 when 37 cases were diagnosed. It pushes the province’s seven-day average to 10, which is the first time it has been in double digits since early December.”

On April 15, Nova Scotia had 42 active cases; on Wednesday, it announced that it now had 79.

In a news release, Premier Iain Rankin admitted to being “very concerned” about the rising number.

“We are seeing early signs of community spread and we must strictly follow all public health protocols to get back on track, especially in the greater Halifax region,” Rankin said.

CBC News reported that “19 of the new cases are in the central health zone, which includes the Halifax area. Four cases are related to travel outside the region.”

Canada’s Atlantic provinces have done better than the rest of the country — the far north excluded — at keeping COVID-19 at bay and one of the major weapons has been travel restrictions. So with the numbers threatening to keep going up, the province chose the health of its citizens over playing host to an international tournament.

Really, it’s hard to argue with the decision.

The IIHF and Hockey Canada are still hopeful of holding the tournament at some point during the summer. There also were reports later Wednesday that the Dallas Stars and USA Hockey are exploring the possibility of playing it in Texas, perhaps in Frisco and Plano, where the U18 IIHF World championship is to open on Monday.

But, at least for now, the Women’s world championship has been scrubbed for a second straight year. The tournament also was to have been held in Halifax and Truro a year ago.


Hotel


The WHL announced a number of schedule changes on Wednesday, all of them WHL2necessitated by teams having missed games because of positive tests. . . . The end result is that without any more postponements a number of teams won’t play 24 games in this developmental season as was originally hoped. . . . Two of the teams that have experienced positive tests, the Calgary Hitmen and Kelowna Rockets, will play 21 and 16 games respectively. . . . The Hitmen, by the way, have completed their 14-day isolation period and have been cleared to resume team activities. They now are scheduled to return to game action on Friday afternoon against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The WHL’s news release on the schedule changes is right here. . . .

——

Meanwhile, there were three WHL games played on Wednesday and PP goals were the hot item. All told, the six teams involved struck for 26 goals, with 13 of them coming with the man advantage. . . .

F Nolan Ritchie scored twice to help the Brandon Wheat Kings to a 6-2 victory Brandonover the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Wheat Kings (16-3-2), who have won five straight, now hold a three-point lead over the idle Saskatoon Blades (14-3-3) and the Winnipeg Ice (15-5-1), which beat the Moose Jaw Warriors last night, atop the Regina hub standings. . . . The Broncos (4-16-1) have lost two in a row. . . . F Lynden McCallum (13) gave Brandon a 1-0 first-period lead, with Ritchie, who has 10 goals, making it 2-0 at 14:49 of the second. . . . D Mat Ward (5) scored for the Broncos, on a PP, at 16:39. . . . Ritchie got that one back at 17:33 and D Rylan Thiessen (1) added another at 19:04. . . . F Brett Hyland (3) and D Vince Iorio (5) added PP goals for Brandon in the third period. . . . The Wheat Kings were 3-for-6 on the PP; the Broncos were 1-for-6. . . . Brandon held a 33-18 edge in shots. . . .

F Jakin Smallwood opened and closed the scoring as the Winnipeg Ice got past Winnipegthe Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-5 in OT, in the Regina hub. . . . The Ice (15-5-1) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Warriors are 8-11-2. . . . F Cade Hayes (4) gave the Warriors a 5-4 lead with a PP goal at 14:38 of the third period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (13), who now has points in 20 straight games, tied the game at 18:48 with G Carl Stankowski on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Smallwood, who had opened the scoring at 1:08 of the first period, won it with his 13th goal at 1:46 of OT. . . . The Ice erased deficits of 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 to win this one. . . . Winnipeg was 2-for-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 2-for-3. . . . Krebs finished with two goals. After being blanked in his first game, he’s got 13 goals and 26 assists in his 20-game streak. Last season, he scored 12 times in 38 games. . . . The Ice also got two goals from F Skyler Bruce. He has three on the season. . . . Hayes finished with two goals and an assist. . . .

F Justin Sourdif and D Alex Kannok Leipert each scored once and added two Vancouverassists to help the Vancouver Giants to a 5-3 lead over the Victoria Royals in Kelowna. . . . The Giants (9-3-0) have won four in a row. . . . The Royals (1-10-1) have lost seven straight. . . . The game’s first five goals came via the PP. . . . F Brayden Tracey (8) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the first period. . . . Kannok Leipert (4) tied it at 15:32. . . . Victoria went back out front on a goal by F Tarun Fizer (3) at 2:58 of the second period. . . . The Giants took control with the next three goals — from F Eric Florchuk (4), at 14:58, Sourdif (5), at 16:21, and F Zack Ostapchuk (4), at 3:18 of the third. . . . F Ty Yoder (3) got Victoria to within a goal at 4:57, but F Justin Lies (2) restored Vancouver’s two-goal lead at 13:47. . . . The Giants finished 3-for-9 on the PP; the Royals were 2-for-5. . . . Vancouver had a 38-20 edge in shots, including 11-5 in the first period and 12-5 in the second.


Masks


The CFL said Wednesday that it hopes to open its 2021 season on Aug. 5, which CFLwould be almost two months later than the June 10 opening date at which it once was aiming. . . . The plan is to open training camps in late June, have each team play 14 games, down from the normal 18, and hold the Grey Cup game in Hamilton on Dec. 12 instead of Nov. 21. . . . Here’s Randy Ambrosie, the CFL commissioner: “We will play CFL football in 2021.” . . . He then admitted that it all hinges on getting approval from public health officials in various jurisdictions and getting the OK from government and health officials to have “a significant number of fans in the stands, in a significant number of venues at the start of the season, and in the rest of our venues soon after that, so a 2021 season is financially tenable for our clubs.” . . . In the end, like so many other things, the CFL will go ahead if the virus allows it. . . . In the meantime, get vaccinated so that we can get all sports back and with fans in the stands. . . .

In Regina, Jeremy O’Day, the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ general manager, informed players that the reporting date is July 2, followed by a seven-day quarantine period. Training camp is set to open on July 10. . . . O’Day also had this message for players: “We know these have been challenging times. One major way to help us with our return to play and getting fans in the stands is by getting vaccinated. Our medical professionals are strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe, effective and are critical to getting our team back on the field. If you would like to speak to one of the Roughrider doctors about the vaccine, please let me know and we will arrange that.” . . . Justin Dunk of 3Down Nation has more right here.


The seven-team Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) was to have opened its 2021 season on June 5. It announced on Wednesday that it has moved opening day of its 14-game season to June 24. Under normal circumstances, teams each would play 20 games. . . . The CEBL spent its 2020 season in a bubble in St. Catharines, Ont., but says it won’t be playing in that environment this season.


——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The Regina Pats unveiled their player card sets on Wednesday morning and sold out the first printing — 500 sets — in fewer than three hours. It wasn’t long before there was a Connor Bedard card available on eBay for $100, and a complete set — including “Connor Bedard Official WHL Rookie Card” — for $149.95 or best offer. . . . The AJHL’s Blackfalds Bulldogs, who are to being their first season in the fall, have added Brady Bakke to their coaching staff. He spent two seasons (2017-18) as an assistant coach with the U18 AAA St. Albert Raiders, and then two seasons as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. Bakke, 27, is from Red Deer.


Earth

Anholt’s coaching days behind him . . . Broncos send Fyten to Oil Kings . . . Hitmen juggling goaltenders

On the second day of our annual Christmas countdown, we bring you the under-rated Brook Benton with All I Want for Christmas is You . . . It’s right here.



ThisThat

Peter Anholt says his coaching days are behind him and that his regular-season victory total of 466 can be “written in stone for good.”

That means that the Lethbridge general manager won’t be behind the bench on Saturday Lethbridgewhen the Hurricanes entertain the Kamloops Blazers.

Nor was he there on Wednesday when the Hurricanes dumped the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1.

Instead, with head coach Brent Kisio away, assistant coach Jeff Hansen is in charge; in fact, he recorded his first head-coaching victory on Wednesday. He’ll be helped by assistant coach Josh MacNevin, video coach Andrew Doty and Matt Anholt, the skills and development coach.

Kisio is an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team and won’t be back with the Hurricanes until early January by which time he could miss as many as nine games.

Anholt last coached two years ago when he took over while Kisio was at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. The Hurricanes went 2-2-1, allowing Anholt to get to 466 regular-season victories.

There had been speculation that Anholt would take over the coaching reins with Kisio away this time, too. However, Anholt told Taking Note on Thursday that “the days of me coaching are long gone.”

Anholt, who has coached the Prince Albert Raiders, Seattle Thunderbirds, Red Deer Rebels, Rockets and Hurricanes, is tied for 10th on the list of regular-season victories. He and Jack Shupe, who coach the Medicine Hat Tigers and Victoria Cougars, each has 466 regular-season victories.


On Wednesday night, F Andrew Fyten scored two goals to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats.

On Thursday morning, he was rewarded by being dealt to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

EdmontonOilKingsIn return, the Broncos received a conditional fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

Fyten, 20, is from Sundre, Alta. He had missed two games before returning Wednesday and scoring the Broncos’ first two goals as they erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the Pats.

Fyten becomes the third 20-year-old on Edmonton’s roster, joining F Quinn Benjafield and F Vince Loschiavo.

This season, Fyten has eight goals and nine assists in 17 games. In 211 career regular-season games, he has 24 goals and 34 assists.

Andrew Peard, the radio voice of the Oil Kings, pointed out via Twitter (@AndrewPeard) that Fyten’s biggest asset may be in the faceoff circle. “He’s above 50% on faceoffs and has taken 656 draws this season. As a team, the Oil Kings have struggled in the circle, with a winning percentage of 46.9.”

Fyten was a fifth-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. However, he never got into a game with the Silvertips before they dealt him to the Calgary Hitmen on May 7, 2015, getting back a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft.

Fyten played in 155 games with the Hitmen, scoring 14 goals and adding 25 assists, before being traded to Swift Current on Jan. 9 for D Ethan Martini, who is from Trail, B.C., and a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Martini, 18, began the season with the USHL’s Central Illinois Flying Aces, and now is with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings.

Fyten had two goals and four assists in 25 playoff games last spring as the Broncos won the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

The Oil Kings are at home to Calgary on Saturday.

Fyten’s departure leaves the Broncos with two 20s — F Tanner Nagel and D Matthew Stanley. They go home-and-home with the Prince Albert Raiders this weekend, meeting tonight in Swift Current and Saturday up north.

——

With the WHL heading into the Christmas break after Sunday games, don’t forget that there also will be a trade moratorium in place. There won’t be any trades announced between Saturday at 12:01 a.m., and Dec. 27 at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 1.

Players: 1.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 1.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 13.

Players: 29.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 5.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)



The Calgary Hitmen have added G Matt Armitage, 19, to their roster. He had been with Calgarythe BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. . . . Armitage was to have been added by the Hitmen a couple of weeks ago, when G Carl Stankowski (ankle) went down. However, Armitage was injured in a game, so Calgary brought in G Brayden Peters instead. . . . Peters has been returned to the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Hitmen will go with Jack McNaughton, a 17-year-old freshman who has been Stankowski’s caddy, and Armitage as they play three games this weekend. . . . Stankowski is expected to be out at least another six weeks.

The Hitmen also revealed on Thursday that F Tye Carriere “is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.” A 17-year-old freshman from Red Deer, Carrier has three goals and one assist in 18 games.

The Hitmen have three games scheduled this weekend. They are at home to the Kelowna Rockets tonight and then will in Edmonton on Saturday afternoon before returning home to face the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added F Nolan Ritchie, 16, to their roster for the second BrandonWKregulartime this season. He has 22 goals and 28 assists in 24 games with the midget AAA Wheat Kings. . . . A third-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, Ritchie made his WHL debut on Nov. 28 in a 5-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . His father, Darren, is a former Wheat Kings star who now is the organization’s director of scouting. . . . The Wheat Kings are to play in Saskatoon tonight and then entertain the Blades on Saturday night.

Later Thursday, the Wheat Kings announced that they have signed D Jack Zayat, 16, to a WHL contract. He is expected to be in the lineup tonight and again on Saturday. . . . Zayat was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . From Calgary, he has two goals and 14 assists in 20 games with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. He also has one assists in four games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Dawson Springer, 16, to a WHL contract. SCBroncosSpringer, from Yorkton, Sask., was a list player with the Everett Silvertips, who was dealt to the Broncos on Dec. 3, along with a fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft, for F Max Patterson, 19. . . . Springer has 19 goals and nine assists in 26 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. . . . He is expected to play for the Broncos on Saturday when they meet the Raiders in Prince Albert. After that game, he will be returned to the Mintos.


The CHL has announced rosters for the 2019 Top Prospects Game and there are 16 WHLers among the 40 players. The game, which features draft-eligible CHL players, is scheduled to be played in Red Deer on Jan. 23. . . . Those rosters are right here.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


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You’ll be hearing from Hockey Gives Blood . . . Kamloops’ GM on the job . . . Wheat Kings, Tigers sign draft picks

MacBeth

F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) signed a one-year contract with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite). This season, with Orlik Opole (Poland, PHL), he had 18 goals and 19 assists in 35 games. He led the Lightning in goals and points, and was tied for the team lead in assists. . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). This season, with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 35 games. He was the KHL’s forward of the month for November. . . .

F Clarke Breitkreuz (Regina, Prince George, 2008-10) signed a one-year contract with Lausitzer Füchse Weisswasser (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2), he had seven goals and nine assists in 40 games. . . .

D Alexei Platonov (Medicine Hat, 2015-16) signed a try-out contract with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had one goal and two assists in 24 games. . . .

F Jaroslav Kristek (Tri-City, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Courchevel-Méribel-Pralognan (France, Division 2). This season, with Brest (France, Division 1), he had seven goals and 12 assists in 22 games. . . .

D Riley Stadel (Kelowna, Edmonton, 2011-17) signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 games. . . .

F Michal Poletín (Regina, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and nine assists in 52 games. . . .

F Taylor Makin (Prince George, Vancouver, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Brest (France, Division 1). This season, with Acadia University (Atlantic University Sports), he had four goals and two assists in 12 games. . . .

F Jacob Doty (Seattle, Medicine Hat, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Braehead Clan Glasgow (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 16 goals and 19 assists in 56 games.


ThisThat

What follows was written earlier today (Sunday) but a four-hour power outage on the east side of Kamloops meant that its posting was delayed. So without further ado . . .

——

I actually took a couple of days away from the laptop in order to paint our deck. It was supposed to have been done last summer, but the smoke from the forest fires limited the amount of time a person could spend outside.

This time I only had to battle the mosquitoes. I haven’t seen them this bad since we left Regina in the spring of 2000. This spring, in the Kamloops area, we had a sudden turn to 30 C temperatures and a quick snow melt from the higher areas, all of which combined for a perfect mosquito-hatching season.

Having sat on our deck and enjoyed many a mosquito-free evening over the last few years, I had forgotten that the only thing mosquitoes like more than heat and water is human flesh.

But, hey, I toughed it out and the painting is finished.


I did take time out late last week to have a cup of coffee with Stu Middleton, the man behind Hockey Gives Blood.

He is a busy man these days. But, oh boy, has he accomplished a lot in less than two HockeyGivesBloodmonths.

Hockey Gives Blood, the project he started following the April 6 crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus, has partnered with Canada Blood Services, as it reads on its website, “to promote blood donation as an integral component of hockey programs . . .”

With that in mind, Hockey Gives Blood was front and centre at the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack and at the Memorial Cup in Regina last month.

Yes, Middleton says, Hockey Gives Blood has made some inroads, but it has a long, long way to go.

Middleton has big plans for the non-profit organization, most of which are still in the planning stage. But you can count on hearing a lot from Hockey Gives Blood in the near future.

In the meantime, watch for representatives at events like annual golf tournaments held by the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets, and the Humboldt Broncos Memorial tournament at the Humboldt Golf Club on Aug. 18.

You are able to check out Hockey Gives Blood right here.

If you haven’t seen it, Pam Cowan of the Regina Leader-Post wrote about Middleton and Hockey Gives Blood in April, and that story is right here.


As expected, the Kamloops Blazers introduced Matt Bardsley as their new general manager at a news conference on Friday morning.

Bardsley, 46, had been with the Portland Winterhawks since 1999, working his way up Kamloops1from scout to assistant general manager.

In Kamloops, Bardsley takes over from Stu MacGregor, who now is on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. The Stars are owned by Tom Gaglardi, who is the majority owner of the Blazers.

Bardsley steps into a Kamloops organization that needs a head coach, at least one assistant coach, and a director of player personnel.

Don Hay, the head coach for the past four seasons, has been moved to an advisory role, although he has made it apparent that he still wants to coach and that his phone line is open.

Assistant coach Mike Needham, who had been with the Blazers since 2010, and director of player personnel Matt Recchi, who had been in his position for 10 years, were told their contracts couldn’t be renewed.

Bardsley’s first job will be to hire a head coach, with Kyle Gustafson, who has been on the Winterhawks’ coaching staff since 2003-04, definitely in the running.

According to Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV, Bardsley said: “Kyle is a a good friend of mine. I have a long list of names, and he’s certainly a person who is on my list. He’s certainly qualified to have an opportunity, and he’ll be a head coach — soon.”

Meanwhile, the Blazers have scheduled a news conference for this afternoon (Monday) at which they are expected to announce the signing of F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops.

Stankoven was the fifth overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. This season, he had 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C.

The Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and Stankoven announced Sunday that he will play for them in 2018-19.

——

The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Vincent Iorio, a highly touted second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Iorio was widely believed to be going the BrandonWKregularNCAA route before signing with the Wheat Kings. From Port Coquitlam, B.C., he has a late birthday, so won’t turn 16 until Nov. 14. . . . This season, he had four goals and 19 assists in 52 games with the U16 midget team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. The previous season, he had eight goals and 24 assists in 39 games with the bantam T1 team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s.

Brandon also signed F Nolan Ritchie, 16, who was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. His father, Darren, is a former Wheat Kings player who now scouts for the organization. . . . This season, Nolan had 40 goals and 44 assists in 45 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. His 84 points left him second in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League scoring race. In his draft season, he won the Winnipeg Bantam AAA League’s scoring derby with 89 points, 51 of them goals, with the Wheat Kings.

The Wheat Kings also have signed F Jake Chiasson and F Brett Hyland to WHL contracts. . . . Chiasson was a first-round selection, 15th overall, in the 2018 bantam draft, while Hyland was taken in the second round. . . . Chiasson, from Abbotsford, stayed at home this season and played at the Yale Hockey Academy. He had 20 goals and 48 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team. . . . Hyland, from Edmonton, had 10 goals and 25 assists in 17 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team this season.

——

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.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

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.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

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

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Cole Sillinger, who was a first-round selection, 11th overall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had 46 goals and 37 assists Tigers Logo Officialin 30 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team. From Regina, his father, Mike, starred for the Regina Pats (1987-91) before going to a lengthy pro career that included 1,049 regular-season NHL games.

The Tigers also signed D Dru Krebs, who was taken in the second-round of the 2018 bantam draft. From Okotoks, Krebs had seven goals and 10 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Okotoks Oilers. . . . Krebs has two brothers playing in the WHL — Peyton is with the Kootenay Ice, while Dakota plays for the Calgary Hitmen. Yes, all three brothers are with teams in the Central Division, although Dru, at 15, isn’t eligible for full-time play until the 2019-20 season.


The City of Kennewick is going to make improvements to the 30-year-old Toyota Center tri-citythat is home to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. Annie Fowler and Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald report that “visitors will soon see improvements . . . under an agreement that will keep the Americans for the foreseeable future.” . . . The major project this summer will be the installation of LED lighting. . . . In time, it is expected that a new ice plant and video board will be installed, and improvements will be made to the visiting team dressing room. . . . Taking Note has been told that improvements also will be made to the foyer and there will changes to the concessions. . . . The WHL had implemented a deadline of September 2019 for improvements to be made in order that the facility met league standards. . . . The Americans’ lease expires in 2020. . . . The Herald’s story is right here.


The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio, owners of 94.3 the Goat, have agreed on a deal covering play-by-play rights for the 2018-19 season. Fraser Roger will call the play for a second straight season, with Hartley Miller back for a sixth season as the analyst.


Mark Chase has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. From Kamloops, Chase, 31, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . In Osoyoos, Chase takes over from Ken Law, who was dropped after being the only head coach in the team’s eight-year existence. Under Law, the Coyotes won one KIJHL title and six regular-season division titles. . . . Andrew Stuckey of Osoyoos Today has more right here.


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