Raiders put Giants behind 8-ball. . . . P.A. scores seven in first period. . . . Winds of change blowing in Brandon

MacBeth

F Yegor Babenko (Lethbridge, 2015-17) has been traded by Severstal Cherepovets to Traktor Chelyabinsk (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. This season, with Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games. He also was pointless in three games with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL), and had two goals three assists in 15 games with Severstal Cherepovets. . . .

F Liam Stewart (Spokane, 2011-15) has signed a one-season contract with the Southern Stampede Queenstown (New Zealand, NZIHL). Last season,  with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite), he had 12 goals and 11 assists in 35 games. He didn’t play this season after suffering a concussion. . . . Stewart holds dual UK/New Zealand citizenship and is considered a local player in New Zealand. However, in the UK, he is considered an import because he played his minor hockey in the U.S.


ThisThat

The Brandon Wheat Kings revealed on Tuesday that they won’t be renewing the contract BrandonWKregularof Grant Armstrong, who had been their general manager through three seasons. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, said in a news release that Armstrong “was responsible for many of the moves that will serve us well in the future. At the same time, I also felt a change was necessary as we look to return to a higher level as an organization.” . . . McCrimmon is the assistant GM with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. He will be taking over as the Golden Knights’ GM on Sept 1. . . . Armstrong signed as Brandon’s general manager to take over from McCrimmon when he signed with Vegas. . . . The Wheat Kings were 102-87-23 with Armstrong as the general manager. This season, they finished 31-29-8, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013. . . . Before joining Brandon, Armstrong was with the Victoria Royals for four seasons as director of player personnel and assistant GM. Prior to that, he worked with the Portland Winterhawks for five seasons, the last four as head scout. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here. . . .

With a new general manager to be hired at some point, you are free to wonder about the future of head coach David Anning and assistant coach Don MacGillivray. After three seasons, their contracts are up, too. . . . The news release on Armstrong’s departure doesn’t mention the coaching staff.


The Tri-City Americans announced Tuesday that they have renewed the contracts of goaltending coaches Eli Wilson and Liam McOnie “through the 2021 season.” . . . Wilson and McOnie have worked with the Americans since the 2017-18 season. They also run goaltending camps through Eli Wilson Goaltending.


There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Thank you very much.


The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have hired Jason McKee as general manager and head coach, Vernonreplacing Mark Ferner, who got the team into the BCHL final this season, his fifth season in his second stint with the organization. . . . Ferner, 53, was the Vipers’ head coach for four seasons (2007-11), getting them into three national finals and winning two of them, before spending time on the coaching staffs of the Everett Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers. This time, he had been the Vipers’ director of hockey operations and head coach since early in the 2014-15 season. . . . This season, the Vipers went 26-21-11 to finish fourth in the seven-team Interior Division. They reach the championship final where they were swept by the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . McKee, 40, was the head coach of the Vancouver Giants for two seasons (2016-18). Prior to that, he was with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints for 10 seasons, the last six as general manager and head coach. . . . Brothers John and Tom Glen purchased the Vipers in September from Libby Wray, whose husband, Dr. Duncan Wray, had owned the franchise from 1992 through his death on Jan. 11, 2018. . . . John Glen was quite involved with the Saints, although not at the ownership level. He also is a former scout with the Giants.


If you’re a junior hockey fan you should be following Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) on Twitter. He always has up-to-date information on players moving from the WHL to the Canadian university scene, including F Kody McDonald, who played out his eligibility with the Victoria Royals this season and will be playing for the Carleton Ravens of Ottawa next season. Findlay also reports that Josh Curtis, who was a 20-year-old with the Prince George Cougars, will be joining the Queen’s U Gaels, who play out of Kingston, Ont. Findlay also has F Ryan Jevne (Medicine Hat Tigers) going to the U of Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton, F Nolan Yaremko (Tri-City Americans) off to the Calgary-based Mount Royal Cougars, and F Ryan Vandervlis (Lethbridge Hurricanes), F Mike MacLean (Prince George) and F Jeff de Wit (Red Deer Rebels) all joining the Montreal-based Concordia Stingers.


The Halifax Mooseheads broke a 1-1 tie with two second-period goals and then added two more in the third, en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL’s championship final on Tuesday night. . . . The series now is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Rouyn-Noranda on Thursday night, and Game 6 back in Halifax on Saturday afternoon. A seventh game would be played in Rouyn-Noranda on Monday. . . . Both teams already know they will play in the Memorial Cup because Halifax is the host team. . . .

In the OHL, the Ottawa 67’s will meet the Storm in Guelph in Game 4 tonight (Wednesday). The 67’s hold a 2-1 lead after dropping a 7-2 decision to the host Storm on Monday night. That was the first loss of these playoffs for the 67’s, who now are 14-1.


Rich Pilon, who was named the head coach of the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings on April 29, now is the team’s general manager, as well. The Red Wings announced Tuesday that Pilon will add the GM’s duties, taking over from Tanner McCall, who had been the GM and head scout. . . . McCall, who also scouts for the Moose Jaw Warriors, had been with the Red Wings for five seasons, the last three as general manager and head scout.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: Well, who saw that one coming? The Prince Albert Raiders went into Langley, B.C., and humbled the Vancouver Giants, handing them an 8-2 loss in Game 3 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. Game 5 is set for Friday night in Langley. . . . Last night’s decision means that if the Giants are to win the series, they will have to do it in Prince Albert. Games 6 and 7, if one or both are needed, would be played there on Sunday and Monday. . . .

In Game 3, the Raiders took control with seven goals in the first period. . . . The WHL record for most goals in one period of a playoff game is nine and belongs to the Saskatoon Blades (March 30, 1986, second period of a 12-5 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors). . . .

Oh the games people play now/Every night and every day now. . . . According to the lineup sheet circulated prior to the game, Raiders D Max Martin would play, with D Loeden Schaufler and F Jakob Brook listed with question marks beside their names. That would seem to have indicated that one of those two would play and the other would sit. . . . Martin didn’t finish Game 2 after suffering an apparent shoulder injury when he went awkwardly into the boards in the second period. Last night, he took the pregame warmup and then was scratched. Schaufler and Brook both were dressed and on the Prince Albert bench. . . .

F Dante Hannoun of the Raiders had a goal and two assists in Game 3. He leads the WHL playoffs with 12 goals. His 23 points have him tied with Vancouver D Bowen Byram for the scoring lead. Byram had one assist in Game 3. . . .

According to tweets from Steve Ewen, there were a number of NHL luminaries in the crowd, among them Scotty Bowman (Chicago Blackhawks), and Rob Blake and Todd McLellan (Los Angeles Kings).

——

TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored 41 seconds into the first period and made it 2-0 at 2:27 PrinceAlbertas they went on to an 8-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. . . . Prince Albert had won Game 2, 4-0, so has outscored Vancouver, 12-2, over the last two games. . . . The visitors led 4-0 at 6:33 of the first period, 6-0 at 16:30 and 7-0 going into the second period. . . . The Giants took the game’s first four minor penalties, all of them in the opening 6:33. The Raiders responded with three PP goals. . . . F Parker Kelly (5,6) and F Brett Leason (8,9) each scored twice and added an assist for the victors, with F Dante Hannoun (12) scoring once and adding two assists. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (5), F Cole Fonstad (2) and F Noah Gregor (10) added a goal each. . . . D Sergei Sapego, F Aliaksei Protas and F Sean Montgomery added two assists each for the Raiders. . . . F Brayden Watts (6) and F Yannik Valenti (3) scored PP goals for the Giants after they had fallen behind 8-0. . . . Prince Albert was 4-8 on the PP; Vancouver was 2-8. . . . G Ian Scott blocked 27 shots for the Raiders. . . . Vancouver starter David Tendeck gave up three goals on 13 shots. He allowed two goals on four shots in 2:27, then was relieved by Trent Miner for the remainder of the first period. Miner allowed five goals on 14 shots. Tendeck returned for the final two periods and stopped eight of nine shots. . . . The referees were Mike Campbell and Chris Crich, with Ron Dietterle and Michael Roberts the linesmen.


Tweetoftheday

Advertisements

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


MacBeth

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

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


ThisThat

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


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


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


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


EdChynowethCup

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

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

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

——

MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

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

——

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

——

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

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

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


Tweetoftheday

Mattheos hat trick finishes Blades . . . Almeida, Langan too much for Pats . . . Fyten shines in his Edmonton debut


On the fourth day of our annual Christmas countdown, here are the Three Tenors, with Silent Night, and it’s all right here.


MacBeth

D Tomáš Kudělka (Lethbridge, 2005-07) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste bank Liga). He was released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga) on Friday for financial reasons. In 24 games, he had two goals and four assists. . . .

F Levko Koper (Spokane, 2006-11) has been released by Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had four goals and four assists in 27 games.


ThisThat

Germany won the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) by going 4-1 (four regulation victories, one in OT) in the five-team tournament that was played on home-ice in Fussen. . . . By finishing first, Germany moves up to play with the big boys next season when the 2020 WJC is scheduled for the Czech Republic. . . . The German roster included F Yannik Valenti of the Vancouver Giants and F Sebastian Streu of the Regina Pats. Valenti had two goals and an assist in five game, while Streu had one assist. . . . Germany beat France, 6-1, in the final round on Saturday. . . . Belarus, which finished second at 3-2, dropped a 3-1 decision to Latvia on Saturday. The Belarusian roster included D Vladislav Yeryomenko of the Calgary Hitmen, F Vladimir Alistrov (Edmonton Oil Kings), F Igor Martynov (Victoria Royals), F Alexei Protas (Prince Albert Raiders), D Sergei Sapego (Prince Albert) and F Andrei Pavlenko (Edmonton).


The Swift Current Broncos have signed D Chase Lacombe, 16, to a WHL contract. Lacombe, from Moose Jaw, has three assists in 29 games with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Oil Kings dealt Lacombe to the Broncos on Aug. 21, along with F Matthew Culling, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a second-rounder in 2020 for D Jacson Alexander, D Chad Smithson and a sixth-round pick in 2020.


Scout Truman of the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons has committed to the U of Massachussetts-Lowell and the River Hawks for 2021-21. Truman, 16, is from Lethbridge. He was a second-round selection by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . His brother Roc, 17, a forward who also plays for the Dragons, also has committed to the River Hawks for 2021-22.


With the WHL heading into the Christmas break after today games, don’t forget that there is a trade moratorium in place. It will be lifted on Dec. 27 at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Saturday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

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.)


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, and Merry Christmas.


The SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings fired head coach Wes Rudy on Saturday. Rudy started with the Red Wings as their goaltending coach, then was promoted to assistant coach for 2015-16. He was in his third season as head coach, having replaced Bryce Thoma after the 2015-16 season. . . . The Red Wings reached the playoffs each of the previous two seasons. . . . This season, they were 10-19-3-0 going into last night’s game with the visiting Estevan Bruins. The Red Wings gave up six third-period goals and dropped an 8-2 decision to the Bruins. . . .  Assistant coach Kyle Haines, a former player in his first season on the coaching staff, was listed as Weyburn’s head coach on the online scoresheet.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Stelio Mattheos completed his hat trick in OT to give the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 6-BrandonWKregular5 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (15-10-6) had lost its previous three games. . . . Saskatoon (21-10-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The teams met Friday in Saskatoon, with the Blades prevailing, 3-2. . . . Last night, F Connor Gutenberg’s shorthanded goal, at 11:39 of the first period, gave the Wheat Kings a 1-0 lead and was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on first-period goals from F Chase Wouters (5), at 15:04, and F Max Gerlach, at 19:09. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-2 lead as F Cole Reinhardt (5) scored 37 seconds into the second period and F Ben McCartney (8) counted, on a PP, at 3:43. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson (7) tied it at 11:34. . . . Brandon took a 5-3 lead before the period ended as Mattheos scored twice, at 12:15 and 16:32. . . . The Blades forced OT on third-period goals from Gerlach (19), at 10:05, and F Tristen Robins (6), at 11:30. Robins is a Brandon native. . . . Mattheos, who also had an assist, scored his 26th goal, at 2:25 of OT, to win the game and complete his third career hat trick. . . . F Luka Burzan drew four assists for Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings got 35 saves from G Ethan Kruger, 10 more than Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier. . . . Saskatoon F Riley McKay was unsuccessful on a penalty shot at 1:07 of OT. . . . The Wheat Kings remain without five injured players — D Braden Schneider, D Jonny Lambos, D Vince Iorio, F Jonny Hooker and F Lynden McCallum. . . . F Nolan Ritchie, who played for the Wheat Kings on Friday, was returned to the midget AAA Wheat Kings after the game.


F Justin Almeida had two goals and four assists — his first career six-point game — to MooseJawWarriorshelp the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (17-8-5) had lost its previous two games. . . . The Pats slipped to 9-24-1. . . . On Friday night, the Pats beat the visiting Warriors, 2-1. . . . Last night, the Pats went ahead 1-0 when F Robbie Holmes scored 56 seconds into the game. . . . The Warriors tied it just 14 seconds later when F Tristin Langan scored the Teddy Bear goal, just like he did a year ago. . . . Almeida added a PP goal at 19:56. . . . F Austin Pratt (13) got Regina into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 11:41, only to have the Warriors grab a 4-2 lead on goals by D Dalton Hamaliuk (2), at 17:04 and Langan, at 18:57. . . . Holmes (6) scored Regina’s final goal, on a PP, getting the Pats to within 4-3 at 19:42. He also had an assist for a three-point game. . . . The Warriors put it away on goals from Almeida (8), on a PP, at 6:25 of the third period, and Langan (24), on another PP, at 14:59. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-7 on the PP; Regina was 2-6. . . . Almeida had six previous four-point games, but never more than that. He now has 42 points, including 34 assists, in 26 games. . . . Langan, who also had an assist, recorded his third career hat trick and fifth four-point outing while playing on his 20th birthday. . . . Langan has 54 points, including 30 assists, in 30 games. Last season, he finished with 42 points, 16 of them goals, in 70 games. . . . The Warriors were without F Luke Ormsby, who, according to the WHL website, was suspended for two games “for g.m. at Regina on Dec. 14.” Originally, the online scoresheet from Regina’s 2-1 victory on Friday showed Ormsby as having received a roughing minor and a game misconduct at 17:26 of the second period. But that was changed to a misconduct at some point after the game. Then, sometime Saturday evening, it was switched back to a game misconduct. No matter. Ormsby sat last night and will sit again on Dec. 27 when the Swift Current Broncos come to town. . . . The WHL doesn’t indicate what Ormsby did to warrant a suspension, but he apparently may or may not have spit his mouthguard at an opponent during an altercation.


The Prince Albert Raiders ran their home-ice record to 16-0-0 with a 7-5 victory over the PrinceAlbertSwift Current Broncos. . . . The Raiders (31-2-1) have won three in a row, including a 6-4 triumph in Swift Current on Friday. . . . The Broncos (6-25-2) have lost two straight. . . . The Raiders, who had a 56-18 edge in shots, took a 1-0 lead 4:48 into the game when F Sean Montgomery scored the Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Dawson Springer, 16, made his WHL debut with the Broncos after signing a WHL contract on Thursday and scored his first goal at 13:46 of the first period to forge a 1-1 tie. . . . Springer was acquired from the Everett Silvertips in a Dec. 3 deal that had F Max Patterson go the other way. Springer leads the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League with 21 goals in 27 games for the Prince Albert Mintos. . . . F Justin Nachbaur scored for the Raiders, on a PP, at 15:35. . . . The Broncos then scored three in a row to take a 4-2 lead. F Ethan O’Rourke (2) counted at 18:16, with F Joona Kiviniemi (9) scoring at 2:14 of the second and F Matthew Culling (4) finding net at 6:08. . . . The home side took control by scoring four times before the second period ended. Nachbaur (9) got his second at 8:22, before F Ozzy Wiesblatt (7), on a PP, tied it at 12:38. F Noah Gregor broke the tie with two goals, at 16:14 and 19:12. He’s got 19 goals. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (11) got the Broncos’ final goal on a PP, with F Parker Kelly (15) finishing the Raiders’ scoring. . . . The Broncos got 49 saves from G Joel Hofer. . . . G Brett Balas made his WHL debut for the Raiders, coming on in relief of starter Donovan Buskey, who gave up four goals on 10 shots in 26:08. Balas surrendered one goal on eight shots in 33:52. . . . Kivniemi, a Finnish freshman who will turn 17 on Monday, scored for a third straight game and also earned his first WHL assist. He has nine goals and one assist in 31 games. . . . The Broncos scratched veteran D Garrett Sambrook, who left Friday’s game in the second period after absorbing a high hit from Kelly.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period, to Lethbridgebeat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (17-9-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Kamloops (12-16-3) has lost six in a row going 0-5-1 on a Central Division trip that ended with this game. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (5) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 1:55 of the first period. . . . The Hurricanes grabbed a 2-1 lead on goals from F Jake Leschyshyn (21), at 6:07, and F Jordy Bellerive (14), on a PP, at 9:12. . . . F Connor Zary (9) got Kamloops back into a tie on a PP, at 13:34. . . . The home side won it in the third period as F Dylan Cozens (17) scored at 4:44, F Taylor Ross (19) counted at 10:12, and F Nick Henry (16) got the empty-netter at 18:35. . . . Bellerive added two assists to his goal. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen was back in the lineup after serving a three-game suspension.


F Andrew Fyten, who was acquired in a Thursday trade, scored in OT to give the host EdmontonOilKingsEdmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (17-12-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Calgary (15-14-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . The Oil Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit to win this one. . . . F Kaden Elder (13) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 18:30 of the first period, with F Jake Kryski (17) making it 2-0, on a PP, at 2:19 of the second. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (15), at 13:19 of the seocnd, and F David Kope (6), at 11:32 of the third, got Edmonton into a tie. . . . Fyten, in his first game with his new club, won it 40 seconds into OT with his ninth goal of the season. . . . Fyten also drew an assist on Kope’s goal. . . . The Oil Kings held a 44-34 edge in shots, including 16-8 in the third period. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton stopped 41 shots, nine more than Edmonton’s Dylan Myskiw. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky and F Quinn Benjafield were among the Oil Kings’ scratches. Both were injured in Wednesday’s 6-5 OT loss to the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . F Kobe Verbicky, 15, made his WHL debut with the Oil Kings. From Victoria, he was a second-round pick by Edmonton in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Verbicky plays for the North Island Silvertips of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.


F Leif Mattson scored twice, one of them of the bizarre variety, as the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketsskated to a 2-1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Kelowna (16-17-2) had lost its previous two games. It went 2-2-0 on a four-game dip into the Central Division. . . . Medicine Hat (17-15-3) had won its previous four games. . . . Mattson was credited with the game’s first goal, an empty-netter, after G Jordan Hollett vacated the Medicine Hat net during a delayed penalty against the Rockets and an errant Tigers pass ended up in their vacated goal. . . . At 11:09 of the second period, Mattson scored a more conventional goal, on a PP, for a 2-0 lead. He’s got 16 goals. . . . F James Hamblin (17) had Medicine Hat’s goal at 14:08 of the third period. . . . The Rockets got 31 stops from G Roman Basran, including 12 in the second period and 10 in the third. . . . Among Kelowna’s scratches were D Lassi Thomson, who has joined the Finnish national junior team, and D Libor Zabransky, who is with the Czech Republic. . . . Hollett stopped 18 shots for the Tigers. . . . G Mads Søgaard of the Tigers was on the bench, but will be joining Denmark’s national junior team. Medicine Hat is bringing in Garin Bjorklund, a 16-year-old from the Calgary Buffaloes, to backup Hollett. . . . Bjorklund was a first-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


D Aaron Hyman scored in OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the tri-cityPortland Winterhawks in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (16-12-2) has won two in a row. . . . Portland (19-11-3) has points in two straight (1-0-1). . . . They’ll play again today, this time in Portland. . . . Last night, the Winterhawks held a 2-0 lead with fewer than six minutes left in the third period. . . . Portland had gotten goals from F Joachim Blichfeld (30), shorthanded, at 18:27 of the second period, and F Michal Kvasnica (4), at 12:47 of the third. . . . F Nolan Yaremko got the Americans even with two goals, the first at 14:34 and the second, on a PP and with the extra attacker on the ice, with 9.6 seconds left in the period. . . . Hyman won it with his eighth goal at 3:26 of extra time. . . . Tri-City had an 18-9 edge in shots in the third period; Portland had a 4-1 edge in OT. . . . The Americans dressed 17 skaters — 10 forwards and seven defencemen. . . . F Booker Daniel, 17, made his WHL debut with the Americans. He plays for the major midget Cariboo Cougars, who play out of Prince George.


F D-Jay Jerome scored twice, including the Teddy Bear goal, as the host Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsdoubled up on the Vancouver Giants, 4-2. . . . Victoria (16-13-1) has won two straight. . . . Vancouver (21-8-2) has lost two in a row. . . . Jerome, who has 14 goals, got things started at 4:50 of the first period. . . . The Giants took a 2-1 lead before the period ended, with F Owen Hardy (7) scoring at 9:22 and F Tristen Nielsen (3) scoring, on a PP, at 17:29. . . . F Ty Yoder (2) got the Royals into a 2-2 tie at 15:20 of the second period. . . . Jerome’s second goal, at 8:46 of the third, snapped the tie, and F Dante Hannoun (13) got the empty-netter at 19:40. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse turned aside 25 shots in recording his 100th career regular-season victory. . . . F Milos Roman was among Vancouver’s scratches. He has left to join the Slovakian national junior team. . . . The Royals again scratched D Ralph Jarratt, who has played only 13 games this season, two of them since Nov. 2. . . . Vancouver leads the B.C. Divison by 10 points over Kelowna and 11 over Victoria. The Giants hold four games in hand on Kelowna; the Royals have one game in hand on Vancouver.


The host Everett Silvertips built a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-1 victory over the Seattle EverettThunderbirds. . . . Everett (27-7-2) has points in 14 straight games (12-0-2). . . . Seattle (11-16-3) has lost two in a row. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (9) started it for the Silvertips with the Teddy Bear goal at 7:57 of the first period. . . . Everett added four more goals before the second period ended. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (17), D Gianni Fairbrother (4) and F Riley Sutter scored before the first period ended. F Jackson Berezowski (6) made it 5-0 at 19:11 of the second. . . . F Jaxon Kaluski (2) got Seattle’s goal at 4:15 of the third. . . . Sutter ended the scoring with his 13th, at 12:48. . . . Everett outshot Seattle, 39-22. . . . The Silvertips lead the U.S. Division by 15 points over Portland; they lead the Western Conference by 12 points over Vancouver.


Tweetoftheday

Broncos, Pats pay price of going all-in . . . Rockets get Wong signed . . . Leason and Raiders continue to dominate

ThisThat

Is it too early to wonder if it is worth it for a major junior hockey team to really — make that really, really, really — go all-in as it attempts to win a championship?

Is it worth it even if that team wins the championship?

What about the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament? Is it worth it for that team to do the same thing?

Yes, this is all about the Swift Current Broncos and Regina Pats.

The Broncos, of course, wheeled and dealed their way to the 2017-18 WHL SCBroncoschampionship. As one observer told Taking Note the other day, “They sold the farm, animals, crop and the dirt.”

And now the Broncos are paying the price. After dropping a 4-1 decision to the visiting Everett Silvertips on Saturday night, they are 1-13-0 and have lost six in a row. They are 0-4-0 at home; they are 1-9-0 on the road, the only victory a 3-2 shootout triumph over the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Oct. 13.

Surely, the Broncos won’t challenge the WHL record for fewest victories in a season, but early indications are that they will be hard-pressed to win 20 games. That is the number of victories posted by the 2010-11 Calgary Hitmen, to date the fewest in one season by a defending champion. (The 1998-99 Portland Winterhawks are No. 2, with 23.)

Meanwhile, the Pats, who lost in the Memorial Cup final last spring, were 6-2 losers to Patsthe Raiders in Prince Albert last night. The Pats are 3-11-0 and have lost five straight games. They are 0-8-0 at home and 3-3-0 on the road.

The Pats and Broncos have met once this season, with Regina posting a 6-5 victory in Swift Current on Oct. 5.

They will play Game 2 of the six-game season series in Regina today, with the teams having a combined 4-24-0 record.

Of course, the question remains as to just how long the Broncos and Pats will pay for all the moves leading into last season’s playoffs?

The Saskatoon Blades went all-in as they prepared for their role as the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup. Some people will tell you that the franchise still is in the process of recovering.


The Kelowna Rockets announced the signing of F Trevor Wong on Saturday, hours before they met up with the visiting Prince George Cougars. Wong, 15, made his WHL debut in KelownaRocketsthat game. . . . From Vancouver, the 5-foot-8, 135-pound Wong was selected by Kelowna with the 18th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Many observers felt he would have been selected sooner had he not made a verbal commitment to attend the U of Denver and play for the Pioneers starting in 2020-21. . . . Last season, Wong had 64 goals and 77 assists in 30 games with the bantam varsity team at St. George’s School in Vancouver. . . . This season, he has four goals and seven assists in 10 games with the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. . . .

With Wong signed, you can bet that the Rockets, who will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, will turn their attention to attempting to sign F Ethan Bowen, who was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Bowen, 16, is from Chilliwack and is playing in his hometown for the BCHL’s Chiefs. He went into last night with six goals and five assists in 11 games. . . . Bowen has made a verbal commitment to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21. . . . His older brother, Ryan, began this season with Kelowna but was released as the Rockets got down to the league-mandated maximum of three 20-year-olds.


No one in the WHL is having a better season than F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. Leason, a 19-year-old Calgarian, had a goal and an assist, both in the first period, as the host Raiders beat the Regina Pats, 6-2, on Saturday night. That put him at 34 points in 16 games, breaking his career high of 33 from last season when he had one goal in 12 games with the Tri-City Americans and 32 points, 15 of them goals, in 54 games with the Raiders. . . . This season, Leason leads the WHL in goals (15), assists (19) and points (34). . . .

The Raiders acquired Leason from the Americans on Oct. 26, 2017, giving up a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. That pick had originated with the Americans, who traded it to the Raiders as part of a deal in which G Rylan Parenteau moved to Tri-City. . . . In 2016-17, as a freshman, Leason had eight goals and 10 assists with the Americans, who picked him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.


SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to eight games as they bounced the PrinceAlbertvisiting Regina Pats, 6-2. . . . Prince Albert scored the game’s first six goals as it improved to 15-1-0. . . . Regina (3-11-0) has lost five in a row. . . . The Raiders’ last two goals both were of the shorthanded variety, from F Eric Pearce (2) and F Jakob Brook (4). Brook drew an assist on Pearce’s goal and, yes, Pearce had an assist on Brook’s tally. Those goals came 2:58 apart midway through the second period. . . . Prince Albert got 19 saves from G Ian Scott, who now is 13-1-0, 1.57, .943.


F Connor Dewar scored two goals and added two assists in leading the Everett Silvertips Everettto a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Everett (10-5-0) has won three in a row; it went 4-2-0 on its East Division tour. . . . The Broncos (1-13-0) have lost six in a row. . . . This was the first meeting between these two franchises since last season’ WHL championship final. The Broncos won that best-of-seven series in six games. . . . Dewar, Everett’s captain, was playing his first game after serving a four-game suspension. He opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at 2:15 of the first period. . . . F Tanner Nagel (3) pulled the Broncos even at 11:43. . . . D Gianni Fairbrother (1) of the Silvertips broke the tie with another shorthanded goal, at 16:54 of the second period. . . . Dewar scored his 10th goal of the season, on a PP, 15 seconds into the third period.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky had a goal and two assists as the host Edmonton Oil Kings scored a EdmontonOilKings5-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Oil Kings (8-7-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Blades (8-5-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . Edmonton took control with the game’s first three goals. . . . F Quinn Benjafield got the first two, scoring on a PP at 18:33 of the first period and shorthanded at 5:16 of the second. He’s got five goals. . . . Fix-Wolansky got his 10th goal into an empty net at 19:06 of the third period. He has 28 points in 16 games this season, including four goals and six assists over his past four games. His 28 points trail only the 34 of F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Gary Haden, who was acquired Thursday from the Medicine Hat Tigers, scored both Saskatoon goals, the first while shorthanded. He’s got three goals this season. . . . D Keegan Slaney, the 20th overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Oil Kings. From Airdrie, Alta., he has six assists in 11 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary this season.


The Moose Jaw Warriors erased a 3-0 deficit and got past the host Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-MooseJawWarriors3, in a shootout. . . . The Warriors (6-4-3) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Tigers (8-6-2) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . F Tristin Langan won this one with the only goal of the shootout. He was the second shooter in the third round. . . . F Brayden Tracey (4) pulled the Warriors into a 3-3 tie at 19:41 of the third period. . . . F Jaxon Steele (2) had given Medicine Hat a 3-0 lead at 2:25 of the third. . . . F Tate Popple (3) got Moose Jaw started at 4:39, and D Josh Brook (5) got the Warriors to within a goal at 12:13. . . . Moose Jaw took the game’s only two penalties — both minors.


F Nolan Foote scored on a PP just 43 seconds into OT to give the host Kelowna Rockets a KelownaRockets4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Rockets (6-10-0) have won two in a row. . . . The Cougars (5-6-3) have lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . Foote was back in the Rockets’ lineup after a brief absence. This was his first game with his father, Adam, as the Rockets’ head coach. The senior Foote is 2-0-0 as a WHL head coach since taking over from the fired Jason Smith on Tuesday. . . . F Kyle Topping (6) had given the hosts a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 1:08 of the third period. . . . D Ryan Schoettler (3) got the Cougars into a tie at 4:52.


F Jermaine Loewen scored three goals to lead the Kamloops Blazers to a 6-2 victory over Kamloops1the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . The Blazers (5-6-1) are on their first three-game winning streak of the season. . . . The Winterhawks (7-5-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The same teams will play again today in Portland as they conclude their season series. The Winterhawks won twice in Kamloops early in October. . . . Loewen was playing his second game after serving a four-game suspension for a high hit on Portland D Matthew Quigley in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Winterhawks on Oct. 5. Loewen returned Friday with a goal and an assist in a 7-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. That was Loewen’s first game as team captain; he was named captain while he was suspended. . . . F Joachim Blickfeld (10) gave Portland a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:20 of the first period. . . . The Blazers scored the next four goals, three of them before the first period ended. . . . Loewen scored PP goals at 8:19 of the first period and 2:10 of the second, the latter providing a 4-1 lead. He completed his first career hat trick at 5:17 of the third. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary had a goal, his fifth, and an assist, giving him six points over two games. . . . Portland lost D Jared Freadrich to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 18:40 of the first period.


The Tri-City Americans erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in beating the Chiefs, 5-3, in Spokane. . tri-city. . The Americans (9-4-0) have won five straight. . . . The Chiefs slipped to 7-4-3. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan’s second goal of the game, on a PP, at 7:39 of the third period gave the home team a 3-2 lead. . . . F Sasha Mutala (3) scored a PP goal to pull Tri-City even at 9:59, and F Isaac Johnson (6) got what proved to be the winner at 15:32. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (10), who also had two assists, got the empty-netter. . . . Anderson-Dolan’s goals were his first of this season and came in his second game since being returned by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.


The Seattle Thunderbirds got 41 saves from G Liam Hughes as they skated to a 5-1 Seattlevictory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Thunderbirds (7-3-2) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Giants (10-3-2) had points in their previous two (1-0-1). . . . The Giants had 17 shots in each of the last two periods but could only muster one goal, that from F Milos Roman (6) at 4:36 of the third period. . . . Seattle jumped out to a 4-0 lead on two goals in each of the first two periods. The outburst featured F Noah Philp’s ninth goal of the season, two from F Matthew Wedman, who has five, and F Samuel Huo’s first of the season.


F Kaid Oliver scored twice to help the host Victoria Royals to a 3-1 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsBrandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Royals (9-3-0) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Wheat Kings (6-3-4) have lost four in a row (0-2-2). Brandon now is 1-1-1 on a seven-game road swing that continues today against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (13) put Brandon ahead 1-0, on a PP, at 14:50 of the first period. . . . Oliver, who has nine goals, tied it at 19:53 of the first, then broke the tie at 9:46 of the third. . . . Victoria D Ralph Jarratt (2) got the empty-netter while shorthanded. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 28 shots for the Royals. He returned after missing some time with an undisclosed injury. It’s believed that he tweaked something during practice nine or 10 days ago. . . . The Royals are without F Dante Hannoun, a key offensive contributor, as well as F Phillip Schultz, a freshman import from Denmark, and F Logan Doust, all out with undisclosed injuries.


Tweetoftheday

Kelly, Brent Kisio got there first . . . Luebke wins spot at city hall . . . Wolf, ‘Tips don’t show Blades any love


MacBeth

D Cam Barker (Medicine Hat, 2001-06) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga). The contract has a tryout period through Nov. 30. Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 37 games with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), and one goal and one assist in three games with Langnau (Switzerland, NL A).


ThisThat

There wasn’t a clatter on the roof, but it was 6 o’clock Wednesday morning and I was wide awake.

Kelly and Brent Kisio.

Of course.

Just a few hours earlier, I had written a few paragraphs about Danny and Brad Flynn whlhaving become the first father-son combination to serve as head coaches in a WHL regular-season game.

Danny, a veteran major junior coach, spent last season as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks. He ran the bench for one game — a 5-3 loss to the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Jan. 19 — in the absence of Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach.

Danny’s son, Brad, is in his first season as an assistant coach with the Red Deer Rebels. With GM/head coach Brent Sutter away, Brad was the Rebels’ coach-of-record on Tuesday in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen and again Wednesday for ???? in Medicine Hat.

Apologies to Kelly and Brent Kisio. Talk about a brain cramp on my part!

Kelly, 59, spent 18 seasons in the front office of the Calgary Hitmen. For four of those seasons (2004-08), he was the general manager and head coach. These days, he is in his third season as a pro scout with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

Brent, 35, spent eight seasons (2007-15) as an assistant coach with the Hitmen. He now is in his fourth season as the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.


The Victoria Royals have added F Sean Gulka, 18, to their roster. Gulka, from Langley, B.C., was selected in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft, then was traded to the Spokane Chiefs in November. In eight games over two seasons, he had two assists with the Chiefs. . . . Spokane chose to drop him, so his rights reverted to the Royals. . . . The Royals now are carrying 24 players, including 15 forwards and seven defencemen. They conclude a six-game homestand on Saturday against the Brandon Wheat Kings.


Bruce Luebke, a former radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings, has turned to politics. Luebke was elected to Brandon’s city council during municipal elections in Manitoba on Wednesday. . . . Luebke had been the play-by-play voice for Wheat Kings’ games on radio station CKLQ for more than 20 years when he and the station surprised observers by parting company in July 2016. . . . Luebke was one of 10 people elected to Brandon’s city council. In the South Centre Ward, he got 348 (71 per cent) of the 492 votes cast to win in a two-man field.


WEDNESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to seven games with a 4-2 victory PrinceAlbertover the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . The Raiders (14-1-0) lead the overall standings by six points over the Vancouver Giants and 11 over the Red Deer Rebels and Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Warriors slipped to 5-4-2. . . . D Kaiden Guhle’s first WHL goal, on a PP, at 7:56 of the second period gave Prince Albert a 3-1 lead and stood up as the winner. Guhle was the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Carson Miller (6) scored two first-period goals as the Raiders got off to a 2-0 lead. He later added an assist. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason scored his WHL-leading 14th goal, a shorthanded empty-netter, and added an assist. He also leads the WHL in assists (18) and points (32). He holds an eight-point lead over F Joachim Blichfeld of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (2) scored for the Warriors in his first game since being acquired from the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday. His twin brother, Kaeden, who came along in the same trade, had the secondary assist on the goal. . . . Prince Albert lost F Noah Gregor to a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on D Jett Wood at 16:44 of the third period. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 25 shots for the Raiders. He now is 12-1-0, 1.54, .945.


G Dustin Wolf stopped 23 shots to help the Everett Silvertips to a 3-0 victory over the EverettBlades in Saskatoon. . . . Everett (8-5-0) is 2-2-0 on its East Division trip. . . . The Blades (8-4-1) had been 1-0-1 in their previous two games. . . . That was Wolf’s first shutout of his sophomore season and the fifth of his career. . . . F Akash Bains (2) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 13:31 of the first period. . . . Everett held a 31-23 edge in shots, including 10-4 in the third period. . . . The Silvertips remain without F Connor Dewar, who is serving a four-game suspension. . . . This was the first meeting between Everett and Saskatoon since the Blades signed Mitch Love as their head coach during the off-season. Love spent two seasons as a hard-rock defenceman with Silvertips, then was on staff as an assistant coach for seven seasons.


F Peyton Krebs scored on a breakaway in OT as the Kootenay Ice got past the Brandon KootenaynewWheat Kings, 4-3, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (4-5-3) had lots its previous six games (0-3-3). Four of the Ice’s last six games have gone to extra time; Kootenay is 1-2-1 in those four games. . . . The Wheat Kings (6-2-4) have lost three in a row (0-1-2). They are 0-1-1 on a two-week trek that continues Saturday against the Royals in Victoria. Brandon next plays at home on Nov. 9. . . . F Jaeger White (8) scored two goals and drew the lone assist on Krebs’ game-winner at 2:09 of OT. Krebs also had two assists. . . . Brandon D Zach Wytinck (1) had given Brandon a 3-2 lead with a shorthanded goal at 3:56 of the third period. . . . Kootenay tied it when D Jonathan Smart (1) scored a PP goal at 4:28. . . . With G Jesse Makaj scratched — he wasn’t mentioned on Tuesday’s roster report — the Ice brought in Will Gurski, who turned 16 on Tuesday, as the backup behind Duncan McGovern. From Duncan, B.C., Gurski was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He is playing for the prep team at Shawnigan Lake School. . . . As for the above tweet, from Branden Crowe, the radio voice of the Wheat Kings, a source with knowledge of the situation told Taking Note that the goal judge “had to attend to an urgent family matter. There was a fire at his home.” Thankfully, no one was injured.


G Martin Søgaard blocked 30 shots to lead the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-1 victory Tigers Logo Officialover the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Tigers now are 7-6-1. . . . The Rebels (8-4-1) had won their previous three games. . . . Søgaard, a freshman from Denmark who turns 18 on Dec. 13, now is 4-0-1, 2.04, .936. . . . The Tigers scored the game’s first three goals to lead 3-0 before the second period was a minute old. . . . D Cole Clayton (1) got the first one at 8:00 of the opening period. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (6), F James Hamblin (7) and F Bryan Lockner (4) added PP goals for the winners. . . . Hamblin also drew two assists. . . . With GM/head coach Brent Sutter away for a second straight game, assistant coach Brad Flynn was the head coach of record. His record now is 1-1-0, after a 3-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday night.


The Tri-City Americans scored the only two goals of a shootout to beat the host Prince tri-cityGeorge Cougars, 4-3. . . . The Americans (8-4-0) have won four in a row. They won the opener of the doubleheader, 5-1, on Tuesday. Tri-City is 3-0-0 on an 11-game road trip. . . . The Cougars (5-6-2) have lost two in a row. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (1) gave the home side a 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 10:35 of the second period. . . . The Americans tied it on third-period goals from D Parker AuCoin (8), on a PP, and F Krystof Hrabik (3), the latter at 8:32. . . . F Nolan Yaremko, who scored his ninth goal earlier, and F Isaac Johnson, who had two assists, had the shootout goals for the visitors. . . . Tri-City lost F Blake Stevenson to a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jackson Leppard at 14:35 of the first period.


Tweetoftheday

Trumpeting Recchi in Kamloops . . . Winnipeg report has Ice ‘months away’ from possible move . . . Lots of notes from around the WHL


ThisThat

On Oct. 11, in this very space, I wrote a short piece about the Kamloops Blazers looking to put together a cheerleading team in the hopes of improving the atmosphere in their home arena, the Sandman Centre.

I ended the piece with this: “Might I be so bold as to suggest a trumpet player? If it was good enough for the Montreal Forum . . .”

I am pleased to report that on Friday at 6:17 p.m., while seated in the cozy confines of the press box, I heard a trumpeter — Jerome Lidster — break out the theme from Hockey Night in Canada.

Later, he played a darn fine O Canada!

Unfortunately, the man and his horn weren’t heard from again.

Please give us more.


The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that “the Western Hockey League’s long-rumoured Kootenaynewreturn to Winnipeg could be only months away from coming to fruition.” . . . Veteran sports reporter Mike Sawatzky, who is familiar with the WHL having covered the Brandon Wheat Kings more than a few years ago, writes: “Owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice are believed to be considering a plan to move their franchise to Winnipeg in time for the start of the 2019-20 season, sources have told the Free Press.” . . . According to Sawatzky, the relocated Ice would play at the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena until a new 5,000-seat arena is built in conjunction with “the Rink Hockey Academy’s new training facility currently under construction at the west end of South Landing, just off McGillivray Boulevard.” . . . Sawatzky’s complete story is right here.


The Kelowna Rockets settled on their three 20-year-olds by adding F Lane Zablocki to their roster and releasing Ryan Bowen. . . . They had acquired Zablocki’s rights from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 29, giving up a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021. Zablocki, who won’t turn 20 until Dec. 27, was injured at the time of the trade and didn’t get into a game until Friday night in Victoria. . . . Zablocki played for three teams last season. He had nine goals and 10 assist in 31 games with the Red Deer Rebels, two goals and four assists in nine games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and a goal and five assists in 25 games with Victoria. In 201 regular-season games,  he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Bowen was pointless in seven games with the Rockets. He also has played with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge. In 150 career games, he has 21 goals and 36 assists. . . . The Rockets also own the WHL rights to Bowen’s brother, Ethan, 16. Kelowna selected Ethan in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. He has committed to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21 and presently is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . The Rockets’ other 20-year-olds are D Braydyn Chizen and D Dalton Gally.


At least three players have been released by their WHL teams. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds have dropped D Payton McIsaac, who will turn 18 on Dec. 26, from their roster. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he was pointless in four games this season. He was a second-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. He had one assist in 12 games over three seasons with the Blades. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors have released F Brecon Wood, who is to turn 18 on Dec. 5. From Edmonton, he had one goal in seven games this season. In the previous two seasons, he had four goals and two assists in 84 games with the Warriors, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have dropped F Logan Moon, 18, from their roster. From Beaverlodge, Alta., he had yet to get into a game this season and was dropped after the team returned from its U.S. Division trip. He played last season with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. The Oil Kings selected him in the ninth round of the 2015 bantam draft.


F Lukas Sillinger, a sixth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, has committed to attend North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. From Regina, Sillinger, 18, is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. . . . Lukas is in his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. This season, he has one goal and one assist in one game. Last season, he finished with seven goals and 13 assists in 56 games.


The Prince George Cougars have released F Max Kryski, 18, and he has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Kryski, from Kelowna, will remain on the Cougars’ protected list. This season, Kryski was pointless in four games with the Cougars. Last season, he had eight goals and two assists in 62 games. . . . He is a younger brother of Calgary Hitmen F Jake Kryski, 20.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline was busy again on Thursday as three more playes drew suspensions. . . . F Riley Bruce of the Tri-City Americans was hit with a four-game sentence under supplemental discipline for something that happened during a 5-4 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the WHL doesn’t add explainers to suspensions such as these so fans are left to wonder what happened. . . . D Max Martin of the Prince Albert Raiders got a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something that happened during an 8-4 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Again, because the WHL doesn’t add explainers, you are free to guess at what happened. . . . F Brady Nicholas of the Saskatoon Blades has been suspended for two games after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct during a 5-4 OT loss to the visiting Hitmen on Wednesday night. He hit Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who missed a couple of shifts but came back to finish the game.


ICYMI, F Ryan Vandervlis has rejoined the Lethbridge Hurricanes as he continues to recover from horrendous burns he suffered on June 15 in a campfire explosion at a home near Calgary. Vandervlis, 20, has lost about 30 pounds and is a long ways from returning to game action, but he has come miles from when he was in a medically induced coma after the accident. . . . Lara Fominoff of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here.


The OHL’s Flint Firebirds introduced Eric Wellwood, 28, as their new head coach on ohlThursday. He takes over from Ryan Oulahen, who was in his third season when he resigned earlier this month. At that point, the Firebirds were 0-7-0. Then then lost two more games under interim head coach Greg Stefan. . . . Wellwood, whose NHL career was halted by injuries, was an associate coach with the Firebirds in 2016-17, under Oulahen. As a player with the Windsor Spitfires, Wellwood won two Memorial Cups. He won another as an assistant coach with the Oshawa Generals.


F Mackenzie Wight, 19, who left the Swift Current Broncos earlier this month, has joined the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Wight, who is from Burnaby, B.C., was pointless in two games with the Broncos this season, after recording a goal and three assists in 55 games last season. . . . In 74 regular-season games, six with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 68 with the Broncos, he has two goals and three assists. . . . This is his second stint with the Bulldogs; he had six goals and six assists in 27 games with them in 2016-17.


We’re back after one day away. Yes, the laptop came back from a checkup; yes, it passed all the tests. . . . If you missed us, why not consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and making a donation to the Taking Note cause?


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Stelio Mattheos scored three times, the last one into an empty net, as the host Brandon BrandonWKregularWheat Kings dumped the Everett Silvertips, 5-2. . . . Everett (6-4-0), which had won three in a row, started its East Division swing with the game. . . . Mattheos now has 11 goals for Brandon (6-1-2). . . . G Jiri Patera continued his fine start for Brandon, this time with 36 stops. The Czech freshman is 6-1-1, 3.00, .919. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:32 of the third period. . . . Jordin Tootoo, who played his major junior career with the Wheat Kings, announced his retirement from hockey at a pregame news conference, then took part in the ceremonial faceoff.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and beat the Seattle tri-cityThunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) had points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Americans improved to 4-4-0. . . . F Parker AuCoin broke a 2-2 tie at 14:51 of the third period, then added the empty-netter for his sixth goal. . . . F Nolan Yaremko drew three assists for the winners. . . . The Americans will play their next 11 games on the road, starting tonight against the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. The road trip also includes a six-game swing through the East Division. They won’t play at home again until Nov. 23.


F Brandon Hagel scored four times to lead the visiting Red Deer Rebels to a 5-2 victory Red Deerover the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Hagel has eight goals this season. He gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead at 1:08 of the first period, made it 3-1 at 1:16 of the second, completed his fourth career hat trick at 8:04 of the second for a 4-2 lead, and rounded out the scoring with his fourth goal, at 7:25 of the third. . . . G Ethan Anders blocked 41 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels (6-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Edmonton (5-7-1) opened the season with five victories, but has gone 0-7-1 since then.


F Kirby Dach scored two goals, including the winner in OT, and added an assist to give Saskatoonthe Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dach tied the game, 2-2, at 19:59 of the second period and won it with his seventh goal of the season just 37 seconds into extra time. . . . Dach, who almost certainly will be a top 10 pick in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has 22 points, including 15 assists, in 12 games. . . . The Blades (8-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Chiefs (6-2-3) are 3-1-1 on their East Division swing. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson ran his point streak to nine games with an assist. He has 19 points, including 15 assists, this season. . . . Saskatoon got 41 saves from G Nolan Maier.


The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting PortlandVancouver Giants, 5-3. . . . F Cody Glass (4) tied the score, 3-3, at 12:29 of the third period and F Reece Newkirk (7) have Portland its first lead at 13:39. . . . F Ryan Hughes (3) added the empty-netter. . . . Glass also added an assist, while linemate Joachim Blichfeld had two helpers. . . . F Jake Gricius scored two Portland goals in his 150th career game. . . . Portland (6-3-1) will meet the Giants again tonight, this time in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (9-2-1) had points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Winterhawks had D Matthew Quigley back for the first time since he was injured during a game in Kamloops on Oct. 5. Blazers F Jermaine Loewen drew a four-game suspension for the high hit, a suspension he completed Friday night.


The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Warriors in CalgaryMoose Jaw. . . . F Mark Kastelic (8) scored twice and added an assist for Calgary (3-6-2) which has won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (4-3-2) had points in each of their previous six games (4-0-2). . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 30 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Calgary was 2-for-3 on the PP.


The Medicine Hat Tigers forced OT with two late third-period goals and then won it on a Tigers Logo Officialpenalty shot as they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . The Hurricanes had a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes left in the third period when F Tyler Preziuso (4) scored at 18:09 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . F Ryan Jevne (4) tied it at 19:06. . . . F James Hamblin (6) won it on a penalty shot at 4:08. . . . Tigers D Linus Nassen finished with a goal, his second, and two assists. . . . Medicine Hat (6-5-1) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (4-4-3) has lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Lethbridge.


F Josh Pillar broke a 3-3 tie at 16:48 of the third period and the Kamloops Blazers went on Kamloops1to a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 16-year-old Pillar, from Warman, Sask., was a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, drew an assist, his first WHL point in his first game, on the winner. Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He will be back with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops, for a Saturday afternoon game. . . . Kamloops had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1) after opening the season with a pair of victories. . . . The Broncos (1-10-0) have lost three in a row, all on a B.C. Division swing. They have been outshot 146-52 over those three losses. . . . Broncos F Max Patterson, who is from Kamloops, had a goal and an assist. He pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie at 6:38 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Kamloops D Luc Zazula left in the first period after taking a hard hit against the end boards that left him woozy. He didn’t return. . . . Blazers F Jermaine Loewen sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. . . . It was Mark Recchi Hall of Fame Night as the Blazers saluted the local star who went on to win three Stanley Cups during a lengthy NHL career. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Recchi now is an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is a co-owner of the Blazers. . . . Rick Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was in attendance and presented Recchi with a WHL Alumni Achievement Award during a 30-minute pregame ceremony.


D Lassi Thomson and F Liam Kindree had four-point outings as the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketswhipped the Royals, 8-2, in Victoria. . . . F Dante Hannoun (6) gave the Royals a 2-1 lead at 10:47 of the second period but it was all Rockets after that. . . . Thomson finished with two goals, giving him six, and two assists, with Kindree adding his second goal and three assists. . . . Kelowna (3-9-0) was 4-for-6 on the PP and 6-for-6 on the PK. . . . The Royals (8-2-0) are 6-2-0 at home. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, who had started eight of the team’s first nine games. With him out, Brock Gould made his second start, stopping 16 of 22 shots in 40:51. Joel Grzybowski was brought in from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars to back him up and came on in the third period to stop eight of 10 shots. . . . A note from the Royals’ post-game news release points out that Gould “stopped Kelowna’s Leif Mattson on a penalty shot. Since their inaugural season in 2011-12, Victoria has had 19 penalty shots taken against it and has only allowed three goals.”


Tweetoftheday

Let’s help Hirsche leave his legacy . . . No playoffs so Blades fire Brockman . . . Second season next for WHL

Scattershooting

Scattershooting . . . following the end of another WHL regular season:

I don’t think there is a playoff format out there that would make everyone happy. But you are free to ask about the fairness of the format now being used by the WHL. Under it, eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs. But the Saskatoon Blades, with the seventh-most points in the 12-team Eastern Conference, didn’t make it.


The Blades also finished with more victories (35) than two Eastern Conference teams that did qualify — the Prince Albert Raiders (32) and Red Deer Rebels (27). So what happened to the Blades? They got bit in the ass by the dreaded loser point. The Blades finished with four of them, while the Raiders and Rebels each finished 13.


The Blades, of course, fired head coach Dean Brockman on Sunday morning. You are free to discuss among yourselves if he lost his job because of the playoff format.


If the WHL playoff format called for the top eight teams in each conference to qualify, the Red Deer Rebels would have been on the outside, instead of preparing for a first-round set-to with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Had the Rebels missed, do you suppose the general manager would have fired the head coach? Hey, just asking.


Perhaps during the off-season the WHL pooh-bahs will take a look at a format that rewards losing in such a grand fashion. . . . Perhaps they also will take a serious look at banning fighting, because the time is long past for adults to stop allowing teenagers to punch each other in the face. There simply is too much evidence that cumulative blows to the head simply aren’t good for the brain. . . . And while they’re at it maybe they’ll get rid of that stupid trapezoid behind each goal and allow the goaltenders to get back to handling the puck.


Jayden Halbgewachs of the Moose Jaw Warriors is the WHL’s 2017-18 scoring champion, thanks to 129 points. The last time one of the Warriors won the WHL scoring title? Troy Brouwer, in 2005-06, with 102 points. Of course, Halbgewachs also led the WHL in goals, with 70. . . . In his past two seasons, Halbgewachs put up 230 points, 120 of them goals, in 143 games.


The Warriors acquired Halbgewachs from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 6, 2012. The Blazers had selected him 19th overall in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. They acquired D Joel Edmundson and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft for D Tyler Bell, then, 18, Halbgewachs, who was 15, and a first-round selection in the 2015 draft. . . . That first-rounder turned out to be the fourth-overall pick and the Warriors used it to take D Jett Woo, who might be a first-round selection in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Kamloops later traded the fourth-round pick and a sixth in 2017 to Calgary for F Mike Winther, a 20-year-old who played 39 games with the Blazers before being dealt to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Edmundson played 34 regular-season and 15 playoff games with the Blazers, helping them to the Western Conference final where they lost in five games to the Portland Winterhawks.


Is it fair that Winnipeg is home to Canada’s best football play-by-play man — Bob Irving of CJOB — and a hockey play-by-play voice — TSN’s Dennis Beyak — who is at the top of his field, too?


Thank you to everyone who has stopped by here or at one of the earlier homes of Keeping Score. We have had a good time over the past few years and it’s been a great ride, but I have decided to step back.

I have been writing about the WHL for a long time and it’s time. There is no other reason for this decision than that — it simply is time.

I have been writing for 45 years, so I am sure that I will continue to post on this blog, but not in anything resembling a daily fashion. Nor will I be doing WHL roundups or reporting regularly on WHL-related news.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be behind the cover of a book. First up, it’s Roy MacGregor’s Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada, then Father Bauer and the Great Experiment, by Greg Oliver, and the just-published A Matter of Confidence: The Inside Story of the Political Battle for B.C., by journalists Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman.

And, of course, the baseball season is about upon us.

So . . . farewell, stay safe and, please, if you haven’t already, take a few minutes and think about signing on as an organ donor.


ThisThat

Two years ago, Brock Hirsche, the captain of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. That was one year after two other team members had been diagnosed with it. They both were able to beat it.

It looked like Hirsche had beaten it, too, but it wasn’t to be. The cancer is back and has spread. Treatment has been unsuccessful and Hirsche has been told his cancer is terminal.

Hirsche, 26, is from Lethbridge. He played four seasons (2009-13) with the Prince George Cougars, wearing an ‘A’ for two seasons and serving as captain in his final season. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 26 games over his last two seasons.

He moved on to the U of L and was the Proghorns’ captain in 2015-16, his third season there.

He didn’t play last season and, of course, didn’t play this season.

So what did he do after getting the latest diagnosis? He started a scholarship fund in his name.

“He wants to leave a legacy behind,” Pronghorns head coach Spiros Anastas tells Taking Note. “It’s a testament to the type of person he is. In one night we raised $11,000.”

If you would like to help, the link is right here. The U of Lethbridge will provide tax receipts.


The Saskatoon Blades announced Sunday morning that they had fired head coach Dean Brockman “effective immediately.”

The move came the morning after the Blades ended their season with a 5-4 victory over Saskatoonthe visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Brockman had two seasons left on a multi-year contract extension that was announced on Aug. 24.

The Blades finished 35-33-4, as they missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season, the last two under Brockman. He spent two seasons on the coaching staff as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach.

“While this was a difficult decision for us to make, we felt our performance over the last month of the season was very disappointing and the team did not meet the expectations we set out for them,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said in a news release. “We have been in a playoff position two years in a row coming down the stretch and just haven’t been able to take that next step, which ultimately led us to this decision.”

The news release didn’t make any mention of the status of assistant coaches Ryan Keller and Bryce Thoma, both of whom also are signed through 2019-20.

The Blades seemed to be comfortably in the conference’s second wild-card spot on Feb. 20, when they led the Raiders by eight points. The Raiders then went on a 9-0-2 rip, while the Blades were going 2-6-1. With everything decided, the Blades closed out the season by beating the Raiders twice.

The Blades were 63-68-13 over the past two seasons. Brockman is credited with 62 of those victories; he missed one while attending a funeral.

Priestner and Steve Hildebrand, the associate general manager, held exit interviews with the players on Sunday. Three players were provided to the media for interviews.

Les Lazaruk, the Blades’ veteran radio voice, reported at dubnetwork.ca that F Chase Wouters, when asked if he was surprised by the firing, “stammered” and said: “I actually can’t comment on that, sorry.”

According to Lazaruk, team captain Evan Fiala responded with: “Sorry, no comment on it.”

F Braylon Shymr said, “Yeah, definitely surprised.” But he quickly added: “No further comments other than that.”

Lazaruk’s story is right here.

Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at Priestner’s media availability and offered up this entry right here.


The U of Alberta Golden Bears, with a roster comprising former WHL players, won their 16th Canadian university men’s hockey championship Sunday, beating the St. Francis Xavier U X-Men, 4-2, in Fredericton, N.B. . . . D Will Tomchuk, who played in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Prince George Cougars (2012-15), scored his only goal of the season at 4:18 of the second period and it stood up as the winner. That goal snapped a 2-2 tie as the Golden Bears erased a 2-0 deficit. . . . Alberta’s other goals came from F Stephane Legault (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2009-13), F Luke Philp (Kootenay Ice, Red Deer Rebels, 2011-2016) and F Jamie Crooks (Saskatoon Blades, Chilliwack Bruins, Victoria Royals, 2008-13). . . . G Zach Sawchenko, who joined the Golden Bears rather than return for a 20-year-old season with the Warriors this season, earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Jason Hills of Postmedia has more right here.


The Kamloops Blazers’ season came to an end with a 6-5 shootout victory over the host Prince George Cougars on Saturday night.

The victory snapped a five-game skid for the Blazers and left head coach Don Hay with whl750 career regular-season victories. Earlier in the season, Hay broke the record of 741 that had been held by Ken Hodge since he retired after the 1992-93 season.

Unfortunately for Hay, after he broke Hodge’s record, the Blazers weren’t able to gain traction and they finished 7-14-2, which wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (following 2017-18):

1. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 750

2. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 720

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 468

9. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

11. Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

12. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 456

      Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 456

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 356

19. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

20. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326

23. Mike Johnston (Portland) 315

——

Victory totals of the remaining head coaches who finished the 2017-18 regular season:

John Paddock, Regina 165

Tim Hunter, Moose Jaw 145

Brent Kisio, Lethbridge 121

Steve Hamilton, Edmonton 110

Dan Lambert, Kelowna, Spokane 93

Jason Smith, Kelowna 88

Emanuel Viveiros, Swift Current 85

David Anning, Brandon, 79

Richard Matvichuk, Prince George 69

Dean Brockman, Saskatoon 62

Jason McKee, Vancouver 56

Dennis Williams, Everett 47

Dan Price, Victoria 39

Matt O’Dette, Seattle 33

James Patrick, Kootenay 27

Dallas Ferguson, Calgary 23



JUST NOTES . . .

F Alec Baer, who played out his 20-year-old season with the Kootenay Ice, will be joining the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. Baer, who is from St. Louis Park, Minn., finished this season with 30 goals and 31 assists in 72 games. . . . He played 342 regular-season games — he also skated with the Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge Hurricanes — and finished with 187 points, including 86 goals. . . .

Everett’s last goal of the regular season, in an 8-1 victory over the host Victoria Royals on Saturday, was scored by F Matt Fonteyne, with assists to F Patrick Bajkov and D Kevin Davis. They are the club’s three 20-year-old players. . . .

Not to be outdone, the Seattle Thunderbirds got one goal from each of their 20-year-olds — D Austin Strand, D Turner Ottenbreit and F Donovan Neuls — in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. . . .

A tweet from Caden Fanshaw (@cfanner4) of Prince George’s front office, points out that Cougars F Jared Bethune “has only missed one regular-season game in the past three seasons, and played every playoff game possible in his career. That’s a combined 230 of 231 possible games.” . . .

Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald points out that the Silvertips won their third U.S. Division title in the last four years “and sixth in the franchise’s 15-year history, but the first without Kevin Constantine as head coach.” . . .

F Cohner Saleski, who is from Saskatoon, made his WHL debut with the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night. Yes, he had family in attandance. In fact, according to a tweet from Jeff Helperl, Saleski’s father went home with a cool $53,250 in his jeans after winning the 50/50 draw.


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Calgary, the Edmonton Oil Kings scored five PP goals in the first period en route to a 7-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Neither Edmonton (22-42-8) nor Calgary (24-37-11) EdmontonOilKingsqualified for the playoffs. . . . Calgary went 3-2-1 in the season series; Edmonton was 3-3-0. . . . F Riley Stotts (19) gave the Hitmen the lead just 49 seconds into the first period. . . . It didn’t last long. . . . F Tomas Soustal got Edmonton’s first PP goal, at 5:47, and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (32) put the Oil Kings ahead at 10:00. . . . Soustal (22) added a second goal at 12:41, and F Brett Kemp (17) made it 4-1 at 13:04. . . . D Matthew Robertson upped it to 5-1 at 17:54. . . . F Cael Zimmerman (7) got the Hitmen to within three goals, on a PP, at 19:38. . . . Robertson’s second goal of the game, and seventh of the season, put Edmonton ahead 6-2 at 16:34 of the second period. . . . Calgary D Egor Zamula (2) struck on a PP at 0:17 of the third period, before Edmonton F Colton Kehler (32) closed out the scoring on, yes, another PP, at 7:57. . . . The Oil Kings got two assists from each of F Jake Neighbours and Kemp, with one each going to Soustal, Robertson, Kehler and Fix-Wolansky. . . . Neighbours, the fourth overall selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, recorded four assists in 11 games with the Oil Kings. . . . Stotts added an assist to his goal for Calgary. . . . Edmonton finished 6-7 on the PP; Calgary was 2-6. . . . The WHL record for PP goals by one team in a single game is 10. The Tri-City Americans set that mark on Sept. 30, 1990, in a 16-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Cougars. . . . The Oil Kings got 34 stops from G Todd Scott, while Nick Schneider blocked 19 for the Hitmen. . . . Announced attendance: 13,075.


At Portland, F Riley McKay scored the only goal of a four-round shootout to give the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Spokane (41-25-6) finished third SpokaneChiefsin the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland (44-23-5). . . . The Winterhawks won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . These teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, starting Saturday in Portland. . . . McKay opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season, at 9:46 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks scored the next four goals, the first three coming in the second period from F Mason Mannek (10), at 2:48; F Kieffer Bellows (41), at 12:15; and F Skyler McKenzie (47), at 16:07. . . . F Ryan Hughes (17) upped the lead to 4-1 at 2:11 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs got three goals in the last nine minutes of the period. . . . F Jake McGrew (19) scored, on a PP, at 11:43, and F Milos Fafrak (9) moved the visitors to within a goal at 12:20. . . . D Nolan Reid (14) tied it, 4-4, on a PP, at 19:39. . . . McGrew also had an assist. . . . Spokane was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 0-3. . . . G Donovan Buskey earned the victory with 33 saves, 14 more than Portland’s Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks scratched F Lukus MacKenzie, who is injured, along with F Alex Overhardt and D Brendan De Jong. . . . Among Spokane’s scratches were F Kailer Yamamoto, who missed his third straight game, G Dawson Weatherill, F Zach Fischer (undisclosed injury), D Ty Smith, F Hudson Elynuik and D Dalton Hamaliuk. . . . With all the scratches, the Chiefs had 11 freshmen in their lineup. . . . Announced attendance: 8,170.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Nolan Yaremko and F Parker AuCoin each scored twice to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Tri-City (38-25-TriCity309) is the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will open the playoffs in Kelowna on Thursday, against the Rockets, who finished atop the B.C. Division. . . . Seattle (34-28-10) will meet the U.S. Division-winning Everett Silvertips. That seres starts Friday in Everett. . . . Tri-City finished 6-3-1 in the season series with Seattle, which was 4-4-2. . . . On Sunday, Yaremko gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 3:55 of the first period, only to have Seattle F Zack Andrusiak (36) tie it at 5:06. . . . The Americans went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from D Jake Bean (12), at 13:41, and Yaremko (22), at 19:51. . . . Seattle got to within a goal when F Dillon Hamaliuk (15) scored, shorthanded, at 7:13 of the third period. . . . AuCoin iced it with two PP goals, at 7:57 and 15:10. He finished with 19 goals. . . . The Americans got two assists from D Juuso Valimaki, and one each from Bean and Yaremko. . . . Tri-City was 2-8 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . G Patrick Dea started for the Americans and stopped nine of 10 shots in 31:26. Beck Warm finished up by allowing one goal on 10 shots in 28:33. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 37 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . F Michael Rasmussen, F Max James and D Dylan Coghlan were among Tri-City’s scratches. . . . Seattle scratched D Turner Ottenbreit, F Noah Philp, who left Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury, F Donovan Neuls, F Tyler Carpendale and F Nolan Volcan, along with F Blake Bargar (undisclosed injury). . . . Announced attendance: 3,708.


END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY