Kelowna positives no surprise to IHA top doc: We knew this was most likely going to happen . . . AJHL has positives on three teams


If you’re keeping track, you will be aware that the virus had a pretty good day on Thursday.

One MLB Opening Day game was postponed due to positive tests, while the NHL, WHL and AJHL were forced into shutting down teams and/or shuffling schedules, or both.

You could even make a case for the virus having caused some national consternation in Canada where the QMJHL has chosen not to free up any of its players to play for the U18 team at the IIHF world tournament in Texas later this month.

But no to worry because, according to a tweet from Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate, Jason Kenney, Alberta’s premier, at a news conference Thursday was “continually saying we will be out of this in ‘a few weeks.’ ”

So there’s that ray of sunshine amid all the gloom. Right?

Oh, did I mention that the numbers in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan are indicative of huge victories for the virus? Yes, the three western provinces could best be described as disaster zones at the moment.


Hockey Canada named its 25-player roster and the coaching staff for the U18 team that will play in the 2021 IIHF World Championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas, from April 26 through May 6.

The Canadian roster includes nine players from WHL teams — G Thomas Milic (Seattle Thunderbirds), G CanadaTyler Brennan (Prince George Cougars), D Nolan Allan of the Prince Albert Raiders, D Olen Zellwegger (Everett Silvertips), F Logan Stankoven (Kamloops Blazers), F Conner Roulette (Seattle Thunderbirds), F Connor Bedard (Regina Pats), F Dylan Guenther (Edmonton Oil Kings) and D Carson Lambos (Winnipeg Ice). Lambos is out with a leg issue and there were reports that he won’t play again this season. So chances are that he won’t be available.

F Cole Sillinger, who played last season with the Medicine Hat Tigers and now is on loan to the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede, also is on the Canadian roster.

With those players having to self-isolate beginning on April 12, they aren’t long for the WHL teams that will have to continue without them in this developmental season. Bedard, for example, will play his final game with Regina on April 9, meaning he will miss the Pats’ last nine games.

While in self-isolation, players and staff will be subjected to three COVID-19 tests before the team heads for Texas on April 17. The team then will go into a four-day quarantine before starting a pre-tournament camp on April 21.

Canada will play Finland in an exhibition game on April 26, before opening the 10-team tournament against Sweden on April 26. Canada will be in Group A with Belarus, Latvia, Sweden and Switzerland. Group B comprises Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Russia and the U.S.

Dave Barr is Canada’s head coach, with Gordie Dwyer and Mike Stothers, a former Moose Jaw Warriors head coach, as the assistants. Barr has extensive coaching experience, most recently as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks (2017-19). Dwyer was head coach of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes last season. Stothers spent five seasons (2015-20) as head coach of the AHL’s Ontario Reign.

The Hockey Canada news release is right here.


The WHL and its teams are playing games without any fans in the arenas and without any playoffs on the horizon, so obviously don’t have an issue with having players leave for the IIHF U18 tournament in Texas. The OHL hasn’t been able to get started, so it wasn’t an issue there either, and it has 13 players on the roster. There are two from the USHL, including Sillinger, and one from the AJHL.

No, there aren’t any players on the Canadian roster from the QMJHL. It is trying to finish a regular season that is nearing its completion and has a plan to hold playoffs, so apparently didn’t want to give up any of its players for an international competition just now.


If you stop off here regularly, or even on occasion, and if you like what you see here, or even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and help out the Taking Note coffee fund. Thank you in advance. . . . If you are one of the followers who gets my work via email, you are able to donate by going to greggdrinnan.com.


The Kamloops Blazers were to have travelled to Kelowna to play the Victoria Royals on Thursday night. However, with the Kelowna Rockets having experienced seven positive tests, four of them to players, the WHL2WHL chose to postpone the game “out of an abundance of caution.”

Instead, the Blazers stayed home and met the Prince George Cougars in a game that originally was scheduled to be played on Sunday.

Despite the positives in Kelowna, Dr. Albert de Villiers, the Interior Health Authority’s chief medical officer, said there aren’t any plans to shut down the WHL’s B.C. Division, which is playing games in Kamloops and Kelowna.

Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ long-time play-by-play voice, tweeted Thursday that de Villiers said: “We were anticipating there might be a few cases because it’s young people and they live in the community and they isolated as best they can.

“We knew this was most likely going to happen and (the WHL) do have things in place to make it safe.”

The Rockets are staying with billets, while the Royals are in a Kelowna hotel. In Kamloops, the Blazers are staying with billets, with the Cougars and Vancouver Giants in a hotel.


Walmart


The Swift Current Broncos scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 8-5, in ScurrentRegina on Thursday. . . . F Brad Ginnell (1) gave the Warriors a 5-4 lead on a PP at 18:40 of the second period. . . . The Broncos tied it on D Owen Pickering’s first WHL goal at 19:40, then took the lead at 3:14 of the third on D Mathew Ward’s second goal of the season. . . . F Aiden Bulych (4) and F Michael Farren (7) added insurance. . . . Farren and Bulych also had two assists each. . . . Broncos D Kaleb Bulych, Aiden’s older brother, scored his first goal — Aiden drew the lone assist — and was plus-5. . . . The Broncos (3-7-1) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Warriors (4-6-1) have lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored four times in the first period, two of them by F Lynden McCallum (9), en Brandonroute to a 7-2 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings (8-2-1) have won five in a row. . . . The Pats (4-5-2) had won their previous two games. . . . Brandon D Braden Schneider (3) gave his guys a 2-0 lead with a shorthanded goal in the first period. Brandon, in 11 games, and the Portland Winterhawks, in six games, lead the WHL with four SH goals apiece. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 11 games — his WHL career is 11 games old — with an assist on F Carson Denomie’s 10th goal. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers struck four times in the second period and went on to dump the Prince George KamloopsCougars, 6-1. . . . The game had been scheduled for Sunday, but was moved up because of the virus-related difficulties in Kelowna. The Blazers had been scheduled to play the Victoria Royals in Kelowna last night. . . . Kamloops now is 3-0-0; the Cougars are 1-2-0. . . . D Mats Lindgren (1) gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead at 7:38 of the first period, with D Jack Sander (1) equalizing at 17:14. . . . F Matthew Seminoff broke the tie 45 seconds into the second period and it was all Kamloops after that. . . . Seminoff added a second goal, his fourth, and F Caedan Bankier added a goal and two helpers for the winners. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 25 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers were without F Logan Stankoven with an undisclosed injury, while F Dylan Sydor, 17, made his WHL debut and picked up an assist. He is the son of Darryl Sydor, a former Blazers and NHL defenceman who owns a piece of the Blazers.


F Adam Gaudette of the Vancouver Canucks tested positive on Tuesday and a Wednesday night game against the visiting Calgary Flames was postponed 90 minutes before the puck was to be dropped because of another positive and a coach going into COVID-19 protocol. . . . On Thursday, Vancouver D Travis Hamonic, who opted out of the last NHL season for family reasons, was added to the protocol list and the NHL postponed the team’s next three games — on Saturday in Edmonton against the Oilers and in Winnipeg against the Jets on Sunday and Tuesday. . . . The Canucks next are scheduled to play on April 8 in Calgary. . . . Patrick Johnston of Postmedia spoke with Gaudette’s wife, Micaela, and has a rather interesting story right here.


The AJHL has three teams from the same cohort each with at least one positive test. . . . The Drayton Valley ajhlThunder, Grande Prairie Storm and Whitecourt Wolverines were playing on one cohort. Earlier Thursday, the league announced that the Thunder had a positive test. Later in the day, the league revealed that “positive COVID19 results” also have been identified with the Storm and Wolverines. . . . All three organizations have been shut down for at least 14 days. That includes the cancellation of games involving those teams through Sunday, which is when the schedule involving the three-team cohort is to end. . . .

At the same time, the AJHL has cancelled two weekend games involving the Okotoks Oilers “to allow for the analysis of a COVID-19 test” as per its return-to-play protocol. The Oilers were to have played the visiting Calgary Canucks tonight (Friday) and the host Brooks Bandits on Sunday.


Chips


The Washington Nationals were to have played host to the New York Mets in one of Opening Day’s most-anticipated games — the starters were Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom — but it didn’t happen “because of contact tracing within the Nationals organization.” . . . MLB decided that out of an abundance of caution the teams won’t play a makeup game on Friday. . . . At the time of the announcement, the Nationals had one player having tested positive and four others quarantined as close contacts. Later, GM Mike Rizzo said that two other players had were positive and another was “likely positive.” . . . Rizzo also said that he has no idea when the Nationals might play their first game.

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The San Francisco Giants will be allowed to have about 8,900 fans for games in Oracle Park, at least to start the MLB season. In order to attend, a fan is going to have to have had a negative test or proof of vaccination. Their home opener is scheduled for April 9. . . . Larry Baer, the Giants’ CEO, told the San Francisco Chronicle: “This is all about April right now. We understand the inconveniences here, but we’ve also heard from our fans that they want to the safest experience possible.” . . . In the meantime, the Oakland A’s, who like the Giants play in California, had 10,436 fans at their home opener last night. The A’s don’t have any requirements attached to attendance. . . .

And this brings us to the Texas Rangers, who could have as many as 43,000 fans in the stands on Monday when they play their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. That, U.S. President Joe Biden told ESPN, is “not responsible.” . . . He added: “I think it’s a mistake. They should listen to Dr. Fauci and the scientists and the experts. But I think it’s not responsible.”


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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.


Computers

Hey, Silvertips, does Wolf give up goals in practice? Three games. Three wins. Three shutouts . . . Stankowski adding new chapter to career

Silvertips
Goaltender Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips has his eyes on the prize during a 3-0 victory over the Tri-City Americans on Wednesday night. Wolf has gone the distance in each of Everett’s three games and has yet to surrender even one goal. (Photo: Chris Mast/mastimages.com)

G Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips put up his third straight shutout on Wednesday night, stopping 30 shots in a 3-0 victory over the visiting Tri-City EverettAmericans. . . . The Silvertips are 3-0-0 this season, with Wolf yet to allow even one goal. . . . If you’re wondering, Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers posted four straight shutouts in 1967-68, and that’s the WHL record. . . . Wolf now has 23 career shutouts, three off the WHL record that is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 179 games, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 190 games, 2013-18). Wolf now has appeared in 130 games. . . . Wolf, a seventh-round pick by the Calgary Flames in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has stopped all 70 shots he has faced this season, having earlier blanked the Spokane Chiefs, 2-0, and the Americans, 7-0. . . . Wolf lowered his career GAA to 1.82, second to the 1.73 of Kelly Guard (Kelowna, 115 games, 2002-04). . . . The Silvertips are next scheduled to play Friday against the host Portland Winterhawks. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings were without D Braden Schneider as they dumped the Moose Jaw Warriors 8-2 in the Regina hub. Schneider was injured in the second period of a 6-4 loss to the Saskatoon Blades when his right knee appeared to get twisted underneath him in a collision. Last night, the Wheat Kings, who were 5-for-7 on the PP, got two goals and an assist from F Jake Chiasson, a goal and two helpers from F Nate Danielson, and three assists from each of F Ridly Greig and D Rylan Thiessen. . . . The New York Rangers selected Schneider with the 19th overall pick of the NHL’s 2020 draft. They have signed him to an NHL contract. . . . 

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Swift BladesCurrent Broncos, 6-5 in OT, in the Regina hub. . . . F Tristen Robins got the winner just 29 seconds into OT. That was his second goal of the game and fifth of the season. . . . Saskatoon D Aidan De La Gorgendiere had tied the scored with 42.8 seconds left in the third period. . . . F Josh Filmon’s first WHL goal gave the Broncos (1-5-1) a 5-3 lead at 12:01 of the third period. . . . F Blake Stevenson scored for Saskatoon at 16:31. . . . G Nolan Maier picked up his 84th career victory and now is one away from the franchise’s career record (Tim Cheveldae, 1985-88). Cheveldae spent six seasons (2013-19) as the Blades’ goaltending coach. . . . The Blades now are 6-0-1. Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Blades, reports that the franchise’s best seven-game start (6-0-1, with the 1 being a tie) came in 1985-86. The 1975-76 Blades, Lazaruk tweeted, won their first six games before dropping a 7-3 decision to the Kamloops Chiefs.


Sheep 2
It’s a sunny Wednesday afternoon and a couple of old guys are strolling along Shuswap Road east of Kamloops. One of their pals was just over the edge of the road. The other three regulars weren’t anywhere in sight.

Tim Peel, the former NHL referee, really didn’t give the league any choice when he spoke out loud without realizing his mic was live.

After saying what he said, the NHL, I suppose, had no choice but to bring a nhl2premature end to his career.

But I would suggest that the NHL really over-reacted.

Peel, who worked more than 1,400 regular-season and playoff games during his NHL career, was doing a game between the Detroit Red Wings and host Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. Early on, with his mic live, he uttered these words: “It wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a f—— penalty against Nashville early in the . . .“ The mic got cut off at that point, so the rest of the sentence went unheard.

Just before that, Peel had given F Viktor Arvidsson of the Predators a minor penalty for tripping.

So the guy said the quiet part out loud. What’s the big deal? And don’t try to tell me that this is about gambling or the integrity of the game. After all, this is a league that hides player injuries more than any of the other big four sports. This is a league that doesn’t put any pressure on a coach to name his starting goaltender. So let’s forget the gambling/integrity part of it.

Simply put, this was a case of the NHL over-reacting.

Peel, 54, was scheduled to work his last game on April 24, after which he planned to skate off into the sunset.

So why couldn’t the NHL bring him in behind closed doors, slap him on the wrist, tell him to take a few days off, like maybe three weeks, and then have him work that final game?

What would have been the harm in that?

Instead, the NHL chose to scapegoat a veteran referee, and for what?

Because if you think Peel’s misstep is going to result in a change to the way NHL games are officiated, well, that’s just not going to happen.

Referees will continue to watch defencemen cross-check forwards into submission in the defensive zone, and the standard of officiating will change in the playoffs.

Besides . . . if it wasn’t like that what would we have to complain about?


There was an interesting goaltending matchup in the NHL on Wednesday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins dumped the visiting Buffalo Sabres, 5-2. Tristan Jarry, who earned the victory, backstopped the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings to the 2014 Memorial Cup title; Dustin Tokarski, who was in goal for the Sabres, won the 2008 Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . According to Jay Stewart (@jaystewie), the Chiefs’ vice-president of business operations: “From what I can tell, this is the first time since Feb. 13, 2002, that goaltenders who won Memorial Cups in the WHL played in the same NHL game.” Stewart’s research shows that Trevor Kidd, who won with Spokane in 1998, played for the Florida Panthers against Steve Passmore and the Chicago Blackhawks. Passmore won the 1994 Memorial Cup with the Kamloops Blazers.


There always are a lot of good stories in and around a hockey season. I don’t think there was a better story to the WHL’s 2016-17 season than G Carl Stankowski, then of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Back then, the Calgary native was a 16-year-old freshman who got into only seven regular-season games. But then G Rylan Toth, 20, was injured. Toth had played in 58 games, going 36-18-1, so there wasn’t any doubt about who was No. 1. But now he couldn’t answer the bell and the torch was passed — GULP! — to Stankowski. All the kid did was go 16-2-2, 2.50, .911 in leading the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . Since then, he has dealt with some serious health issues that he now hopes he has learned to handle as he plays with the Winnipeg Ice in the Regina hub. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post caught up with Stankowski this week and his column is right here.



How are things in B.C.? Thanks for asking. . . . Here are Wednesday’s numbers, thanks to Janet Brown of CKNW: “716 new cases, 383 Fraser Health, 303 hospital (-11), 85 ICU (+2), 3 deaths, 71 new variant cases for total 1,581, 148 active.” . . . That’s right, 716 newbies. But, hey, they’re only numbers, so party on, Garth!


Jesus


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: Kierra Lentz is the new director of marketing for the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. From Salmon Arm, she recently graduated with a diploma in broadcasting from SAIT in Calgary. . . . The AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers have named Tyler King as their assistant general manager of business operations. According to a news release, King “will oversee the Oilers’ day-to-day off-ice operations, reporting to the organization’s board of directors as well as head coach and general manager Tyler Deis.” He was the Brooks Bandits’ business manager from 2017-19, during which time they play host to the 2019 national junior A championship. He also spent 14 months with Hockey Canada as logistics manager for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship that was held in the Edmonton bubble.


Morons

Colina tells his mental health story. . . . Teams prepped for import draft. . . . Gustafson, Hay back with Winterhawks


MacBeth

F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-12) has signed a one-year contract extension with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). Last season, in 35 games, he had 32 goals and 37 assists. He tied for the league lead in goals and was fourth in points. . . .

F Lane Scheidl (Vancouver, Red Deer, Regina, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, in 57 games, he had 20 goals and 16 assists. . . .

G Jordon Cooke (Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a one-year contract with Gyergyói HK Gheorgheni (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, in 35 games with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he was 18-13-4, 2.75, .909, with two shutouts. . . .

D Eric Roy (Brandon, 2010-15) has signed a one-year contract with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had one goal and three assists in eight games with the Allen Americans (ECHL), two goals and three assists in 30 games with the Wichita Thunder (ECHL), and four goals and nine assists in 25 games with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL). . . .

F Greg Scott (Seattle, 2005-09) has signed a three-year contract with Byrnäs Gävle (Sweden, SHL). Last season, with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL), he had nine goals and eight assists in 45 games. He was an alternate captain. . . . Scott played three seasons wth Brynäs before playing the past three seasons with CSKA. . . .

F Nikita Scherbak (Saskatoon, Everett, 2013-15) has signed a three-year contract with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one goal in five games with the Laval Rocket (AHL), one goal in eight games with the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), and four goals and seven assists in 23 games with the Ontario Reign (AHL). . . .

F Cam Braes (Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, 2007-12) has signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had three goals and two assists in 16 games with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga), and eight goals and five assists in 22 games with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). . . .

F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) has signed a one-year contract with the Leeds Chiefs (England, National). Last season, with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite), he had 10 goals and seven assists in 46 games. . . .

F Robin Figren (Calgary, Edmonton, 2006-08) has signed a one-year contract with Kloten (Switzerland, NL). Last season, in 50 games with HV71 Jönköping (Sweden, SHL), he had 15 goals and 15 assists.


ThisThat

F Ilijah Colina was just days from his 19th birthday when, in his third WHL season, he left the Prince George Cougars and went home. At the time, the Cougars said it was for “personal reasons.” . . . It later came out that Colina was struggling with mental illness. He recently sat down at a keyboard and told his story, something that should be mandatory reading for anyone involved not just in hockey but in any kind youth sport.

Here is part of what Colina wrote:

“During my recovery (from a concussion) my depression was reaching a point to where I felt attacked. I was lonely, as all I could do was lay in bed for the next 2 weeks. I questioned my existence and I wanted to kill myself. I felt my presence was not needed and that I would only hurt people with the negative energy I was creating. I had no control of anything. What came out is what I was truly thinking at the time. I remember crying in my bed, night after night. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared of my own mind and was worried for myself. It was like there was another person in the room trying to harm me. I didn’t know how to deal with it, it was horrifying.”

His complete essay is right here.


The Swift Current Broncos will be picking first overall this morning when the CHL’s 2019 CHLimport draft gets started. The Broncos, who had the WHL’s poorest record last season, cleared room for one pick by releasing Finnish D Roope Pynnonen, 18. . . . A freshman last season, Pynnonen was pointless in 44 games. . . . The Broncos’ other import is Finnish F Joona Kiviniemi, who will turn 18 on Dec. 17. Last season, his first in the WHL, he had 16 goals and nine assists in 25 games.

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The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders are expected to make one selection in the import draft, even though they have two Belarusians on their roster — F Aliaksei Protas, 18, and D Sergei Sapego, who is to turn 20 on Oct. 18. . . . Protas was selected by the Washington Capitals in the third round of the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . Because Sapego would be playing in his 20-year-old season, the Raiders are allowed to make one selection, even with him on their roster.

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The Everett Silvertips are expecting Slovakian F Martin Fasko-Rudas, 19, to return for a third season with them. So they will be making one selection in today’s import draft. . . . Fasko-Rudas had 15 goals and 16 assists in 60 regular-season games. He then added four goals and five assists in 10 playoff games. . . . In 2017-18, as a freshman, he had six goals and nine assists in 70 regular-season games. . . . Russian D Artyom Minulin, the other import on Everett’s roster at the end of last season, has played out his junior eligibility. . . .

A tip of the Taking Note fedora to the Silvertips, the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams to have their early 2019-20 pre-season roster available on the WHL website as of Wednesday night.

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The Portland Winterhawks are expected to make two selections in the import draft, after having released Czech F Michal Kvasnica, 19. . . . In his lone WHL season, Kvasnica had eight goals and 12 assists in 20 games. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld was Portland’s other import player last season. The Dane won the WHL scoring title in what was his 20-year-old season. . . . Having released Kvasnica, the Winterhawks will be eligible to pick twice today.

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The Spokane Chiefs will be able to make two selections in the import draft after releasing Russian D Egor Arbuzov, 18. He had four goals and nine assists in 58 games as a freshman last season. . . . Czech D Filip Kral, 20, remains on the Chiefs’ roster. Kral was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. Because he is 20, the Chiefs will be allowed to make two selections today.

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The Tri-City Americans revealed on Wednesday that Russian D Roman Kalinichenko, who will turn 19 on July 6, won’t be returning to the WHL after signing with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). He played two seasons with the Americans, scoring one goal and adding nine assists in 44 games as a freshman, then putting up two goals and seven assists in 67 games last season.

Czech F Krystof Hrabik, the other import on Tri-City’s roster, is heading into his 20-year-old season. As a freshman last season, he had 21 goals and 30 assists in 63 games. Because Hrabik will be 20, the Americans will be permitted to make two selections in today’s import draft.

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The Brandon Wheat Kings, with one import on their roster, are expected to make two selections in the import draft. Czech G Jiri Patera, 20, is the only import on Brandon’s roster; in fact, he was the only import used by Brandon last season. . . . Because he is 20, the Wheat Kings are free to select an import in case Patera ends up starting his professional career and doesn’t return to Brandon.

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The Moose Jaw Warriors are expected to make one selection in the import draft after releasing Belarusian F Yegor Buyalski, 18, who had six goals and eight assists in 66 games in his only WHL season. . . . The Warriors’ roster also includes two other Belarusians — F Daniil Stepanov, 18, and D Vladislav Yeryomenko, 20, who was acquired from Calgary on May 2 in a deal that had D Jett Woo join the Hitmen.

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The Red Deer Rebels haven’t yet received a commitment from Russian F Oleg Zaytsev, 18, Red Deerfor a second season, but have chosen to keep him on their roster and make one selection in today’s import draft. . . . In his final 31 Thoughts of the season, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wrote on Wednesday: “It was (Zaytsev’s) first season in North America, and while he petered out as the (season) continued, you could see the potential. Zaytsev went unselected last weekend, mainly because teams heard he will be signing an entry-level contract with the KHL. (Those contracts are also three years.) But, don’t be surprised if someone tries to get him as a free agent, therefore holding his rights until a return.” . . . Zaytsev’s play may have tailed off but he still put up 13 goals and 30 assists in 66 games as a 17-year-old freshman in a foreign country. . . . D Alex Alexeyev, who will turn 20 on Nov. 15, has played three seasons with the Rebels. A first-round pick by the Washington Capitals in 2018, has signed an NHL contract and is expected to at least start the season with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, if he doesn’t make the big club, that is.

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The two-round import draft is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Eastern (8 a.m. Pacific).

The OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs hold the No. 2 selection, followed by the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

If you are so inclined, you are able to follow the import draft right here.


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It’s looking more and more as though D Lassi Thomson, who played last season with the KelownaRocketsKelowna Rockets, won’t be returning to the WHL. Thomson was selected by the Ottawa Senators with the 19th overall pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft. This week, he is in Ottawa’s development camp. It seems that Thomson, 18, has two options — return to Kelowna or go home and play for Ilves, the pro team located in his hometown of Tampere. . . . On Wednesday, Thomson told Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch: “I think right now it’s back to Finland but you never know. We’ll see what they want. I think at this point it would be best for me to play against men.” . . . Trent Mann, Ottawa’s chief scout, said: “It’s a tough one because we’re told that he can play in the top pairing in the league in Finland. He’s going to get an opportunity to play with men in a pretty good league. Right now, that would probably be my guess of what he’ll end up doing. But a lot of things can change in the meantime.” . . . The Rockets will be permitted to pick twice in today’s import draft and keep Thomson on their roster, at least for now, because he was a first-round NHL draft pick. . . . Garrioch’s complete story is right here.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed Kyle Gustafson, their assistant general manager Portlandand associate coach, and assistant coach Don Hay to contract extensions. No contract details were revealed. . . . Gustafson is heading into his 17th season with the Winterhawks. He recently turned down a four-year contract offer to work as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers. Taking Note has been told that one of the things that figured into Gustafson’s decision to stay in Portland was that the Winterhawks “did a lot” to keep him. . . . Hay, who is the winningest head coach in WHL history, is going into his second season as an assistant coach alongside Mike Johnston, Portland’s vice-president, GM and head coach. Hay spent four seasons as the Blazers’ head coach before being ousted following the 2017-18 season.


TSN’s Kristen Shilton tweeted on Wednesday that F James Hamblin of the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers, who is in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ development camp, went down with an injury to his “left knee/leg.” She added: “Hamblin clearly in a lot of pain, covering his head with his hands.” . . . Hamblin, 20, was taken from the ice on a stretcher with the leg immobilized. . . . Bobby Fox, the Tigers’ director of player personnel, late told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News that Hamblin underwent X-rays and that they came back negative. . . . Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun later reported that Hamblin suffered a “knee cap injury in an apparent skating mishap.” . . . Hamblin has played four seasons with the Tigers and was the team captain for the last two of them.


JUST NOTES:

Mitch Love, the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, is in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ development camp as a guest coach, as is Matt Anholt, who is a skills/development coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .

The WHL released its complete 2019-20 regular-season schedule on Wednesday. For details, visit your favourite team’s website. . . .

Hockey Canada has invited 44 players to a summer camp for the U-18 team that will play in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia, Aug. 5-10. . . . The camp is scheduled for Calgary, July 26-30. . . . Michael Dyck, the Vancouver Giants’ head coach, is Team Canada’s head coach, with Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, as one assistant. . . . There’s a news release and a link to the camp roster right here. . . .

A couple of former WHLers, both heading into their 20-year-old seasons, were involved in a junior A trade on Wednesday. The AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers dealt D Tylor Ludwar to the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins for F Tristyn DeRoose. Ludwar played 73 games with the Kamloops Blazers over three seasons (2016-19). DeRoose split 109 games between the Vancouver Giants and Moose Jaw Warriors (2015-19). . . .

The Halifax Mooseheads are looking for a head coach with Eric Veilleux having joined the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch as a head coach. Last season, the Mooseheads lost out in the QMJHL final and then were the host team for the Memorial Cup, where they were beaten in the championship game. . . . A coach since 2006-07, Veilleux spent one season in Halifax after having been the head coach of the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage for two seasons. . . .

The NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers have added Nick Schultz to their staff as a player development coach. Schultz, 36, is from Strasbourg, Sask. He played three seasons (1998-2001) with the Prince Albert Raiders and was the team captain in his final season there. He went on to play 1,066 regular-season NHL games, retiring after spending three seasons (2014-17) with the Flyers.


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Ice acknowledges Vopat’s release . . . Two deals as deadline nears . . . Ex-Seattle assistant coach fired


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There is nothing on the Kootenay Ice’s website, nor is there anything on its Twitter account.

But the WHL team apparently has acknowledged that, yes, it did dismiss assistant coach KootenaynewRoman Vopat for “breaches of team policy.”

Jessica Dempsey, the sports editor at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, reported Monday afternoon that the team had issued a statement.

According to Dempsey, the statement read:

“Roman was a part-time resource for our coaches on home game days and was released from his consulting agreement based in breaches of team policy, including our social media policy and his consulting agreement,” 

Taking Note was told Sunday morning that Vopat had been dismissed late last week after he was critical of Tim Hunter, the head coach of Canada’s national team at the World Junior Championship, on social media.

If you missed the piece I posted on Sunday about Vopat’s dismissal, just scroll down here until you find it.


tradewire

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Monday’s action:

No. of trades: 2.

Players: 3.

Bantam draft picks: 1.

Conditional draft picks: 1.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 30.

Players: 57.

Bantam draft picks: 45.

Conditional draft picks: 11.

(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 Kootenay Ice has acquired F Brandon Machado, 18, and a fifth-round selection in the Saskatoon2021 WHL bantam draft from the Saskatoon for F Cyle McNabb, 18. . . .

It appears that this trade was sparked because McNabb wanted out.

“While it was certainly not our intention to move Cyle when acquiring him, after conversations with him, this was determined to be in the best interest of the player,” Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, said in a news release. . . .

Machado, from Airdrie, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . This season, he has two goals and an assist in 35 games. In 97 career regular-season games, he has three goals and four assists. . . . The Ice next is scheduled to play on Wednesday against the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . .

McNabb, from Winnipeg, is on the move for the second time in less than a week. The Ice acquired him from the Vancouver Giants on Friday for D Dallas Hines, 20. . . . McNabb had a goal and seven assists in 61 games with Vancouver last season. This season, he had one goal and two assists in 34 games with the Giants. He was Kootenay property long enough to get into three games on the weekend, recording one assist. . . . McNabb and Blades F Tristen Robins were teammates at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg in 2016-17. . . . McNabb is expected to be in Saskatoon’s lineup on Friday against the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . .

In the meantime, Saskatoon has added F Braden Plaschewsky, 16, to its roster and he is to make his WHL debut in tonight’s game against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. Plaschewsky, from Calgary, was a second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. He has four goals and nine assists in 26 games with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes.

——

The Swift Current Broncos have acquired F Tyler Lees, 18, from the Victoria Royals for a SCBroncosconditional ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft. . . . This season, Lees has one goal and two assists in 27 games with Victoria. . . . Lees, from Regina, was a fifth-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . In 2016-17, he had one goal in seven games with the Blades. Last season, he had two goals and an assist in 32 games with Saskatoon. . . . The Blades traded him to Victoria on July 19 for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft. . . .

Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ director of hockey operations and head coach, was the Blades’ head coach when Lees was on their roster. So there will be some familiarity there. . . .

As Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Broncos, tweeted, Lees played for the 2016-17 Regina Pats Canadians who won the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League championship. F Matthew Culling and F Eric Houk, both of whom are on the Broncos’ roster, also were on that Regina team. . . .

The Broncos are next scheduled to play on Wednesday against the visiting Red Deer Rebels.


The Kootenay Ice has returned D Carson Lambos to the midget prep team at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg. Lambos, who is from Winnipeg, was the second-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Lambos, who will turn 16 on Jan. 14, was pointless in three games with the Ice. . . . In 12 games with RHA, he has nine goals and eight assist.


G Nick Sanders has decided to retire from hockey. Sanders, 20, was with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . From Calgary, Sanders was a sixth-round pick by the Tri-City Americans in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . He made 23 appearances with the Americans in 2015-16, then was traded to the Prince Albert Raiders early in 2016-17. He had hip issues with the Raiders and ended up having surgery. The was later dealt to the Calgary Hitmen and was in their training camp prior to this season. . . . He played two games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats and 15 with the Oilers this season.


The QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats have fired head coach Darren Rumble. He was in his sixth season as their head coach. . . . Rumble, who was in the final season of his contract, was fired despite the Wildcats being 24-13-5 and tied for fifth in the 18-team league. So what happened? They had won only five of their previous 17 games and were 3-4-3 in their past 10, and owner Robert K. Irving had seen enough. . . . The Wildcats were 180-169-33 in regular-season games under Rumble. They got as far as the semifinals in 2014-15 and 2015-16, and reached the second round last season. . . . Josh Hepditch, in his second season as an assistant coach, was named interim head coach. . . . Rumble, 49, spent two seasons (2011-13) as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.


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They’ll talk Ice in Cranbrook . . . Foote’s in the door in Kelowna . . . Raiders just keep on winning


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F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) has been recalled by ZSC Zurich (Switzerland, NL A) from GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). This is Sigrist’s second call up by ZSC this season. He was called up on Sept. 21 for three games, in which he went pointless. This season, he has two goals and two assists with GC Küsnacht Lions, and three goals and one assist in one game with GCK Lions U20 (Switzerland, Junior Elite A).


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They’ll be holding one of those ‘town hall’ meetings in Cranbrook on Thursday evening and the only topic on the agenda is the future of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

There has been ample speculation over the past couple of years that the Ice, who are Kootenaynewowned by Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, both of Winnipeg, will be relocating to the Manitoba capital at some point in time. Things heated up again last week with a story in the Winnipeg Free Press on that topic.

According to a story on the Summit 107FM website, the meeting also will “launch a new season-ticket campaign.”

A Cranbrook group known as the Green Bay Committee will play host to the meeting. It said in a news release that it “will be discussing the Winnipeg article, including how it affects our campaign and how our community leaders should respond to it. . . .

“We all understand the economic, social and entertainment value that the Ice brings to Cranbrook and the Kootenays. Like the Ice, we are concerned that the current season-ticket total is about 1,700, which is about 200 less than last (season).”

Another Summit 107 story, this one by Bradley Jones, indicates that the radio station “reached out to the WHL” and the Ice in an attempt to get reaction to the relocation speculation.

“The WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay Ice continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said in a statement given to Summit 107. Robison apparently chose not to address the future beyond the end of this season.

As for the Ice, Jones reported that Summit 107 was told “no comment will be given.”

If you are in the Cranbrook area, the meeting is scheduled for the Heritage Inn at 6 p.m.


After firing head coach Jason Smith on Monday, Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, told a media scrum that there were “a couple KelownaRocketsof guys that I’ve zeroed in on and I’ll probably have a good idea by (Tuesday). I’m dealing with a couple people and hopefully by (Tuesday) we’ll have somebody in place. Whether they’ll be here or not by then, time will tell.”

Late Monday night, Sportsnet’s John Shannon, one of Hamilton’s good friends, tweeted that former NHL D Adam Foote would be introduced as the Rockets’ head coach on Tuesday morning.

And, lo and behold, Foote was on the ice with the Rockets for a Tuesday morning practice. He made his game debut later Tuesday against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

According to Alistair Waters of the Kelowna Capital News, Hamilton said Tuesday that Foote “was his only call when he went looking for a new head coach.”

Foote, 47, becomes the Rockets’ fifth head coach over the past six years.

He was a rugged defenceman in an NHL career that included three teams, and 1,154 regular-season and 170 playoff games.

“Our hope is that Adam can come in and take over a team that is in transition,” Hamilton said in a news release. “Because we host the 2020 Memorial Cup, we know a number of personnel moves will have to be made. We are confident Adam will be able to help us move forward, not just this year but next season also.”

On July 7, 2016, Hamilton had introduced Smith as the Rockets’ head coach, replacing Brad Ralph, who was one-and-done despite getting the team into the Western Conference final in the spring of 2016.

“I’m really excited that we have found a new head coach and I think that he will fit in really well with the team we have and the existing coaching staff,” Hamilton said at the time. “I  think our players will be really excited to have a coach of this calibre, with this kind of experience as a player and as a coach.”

Smith also had been a rugged NHL defenceman in a career that encompassed five teams, and 1,008 regular-season and 68 playoff games.

After retiring, Smith spent four seasons with the Ottawa Senators, the last team for which he had played, two as a scouting and development consultant and two (2014-16) as an assistant coach.

Those two seasons accounted for Smith’s only coaching experience. But that’s two more seasons than Foote, who hadn’t coached at all before Tuesday morning.

The Rockets, who were 4-10-0 when Smith was fired, will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. Smith was in the final year of a three-year contract and Hamilton’s decision made it clear that he wasn’t comfortable having Smith take the team into next season and, ultimately, the Memorial Cup.

Foote, who has a deal covering the remainder of this season and next season, will handle that, barring the unexpected.

Before Hamilton brought in Ralph as head coach, the Rockets had become known for having success by promoting from within. Foote is the third straight head-coaching hire from outside the organization.

Foote’s hiring also delivers a message to assistant coaches Travis Crickard and Travis Mallette, both of whom are in their fifth seasons with the Rockets and are signed only through this season.

Both were passed over when Hamilton hired Smith before the 2016-17 season, and now it has happened again, and they know that, all things being equal, the head-coaching post is filled until at least May of 2020.

Hamilton said on Monday that the future of the assistant coaches will be left up to the new head coach.


D Tylor Ludwar, who was released by the Kamloops Blazers on Oct. 12, has been traded by the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers to the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. Ludwar, 19, is from Regina. The Vipers got F Ben Sanderson and future considerations in the deal. . . . Ludwar was pointless in two games with the Vipers, after getting into only one game with the Blazers. . . . Sanderson, 18, is the son of former WHL/NHL F Geoff Sanderson. Ben has committed to Colorado College for 2019-20.


The Medicine Hat Tigers are likely to have D Damon Agyeman, 16, in their lineup tonight (Wednesday) against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. With D Joel Craven and D Trevor Longo sideline by injuries, the Tigers have brought Agyeman, a list player, in from the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons. Agyeman, from Cochrane, Alta., has one assist in eight games with the Bisons.


TUESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Brett Leason scored twice and G Ian Scott record the shutout as the host Prince Albert Raiders blanked the Everett Silvertips, 3-0. . . . Leason scored the game’s first two goals, at PrinceAlbert13:17 of the second period and 17:20 of the third. He leads the WHL in goals (13), assists (17) and points (30), and has at least one point in each of the team’s 14 games this season. . . .  Scott stopped 24 shots in earning his second shutout of the season and the fifth of his career. This season, he’s 11-1-0, 1.50, .947. . . . The Raiders now are 13-1-0 and have won six in a row. They are 7-0-0 at home. . . . Everett (7-5-0) is 1-2-0 on its East Division tour. . . . The Silvertips were without F Connor Dewar, their captain, as he served the second of a four-game suspension. . . . With D Sergei Sapego (ill) out and D Max Martin suspended, the Raiders had D Nolan Allan, the third-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, make his WHL debut. . . . Everett F Alex Moar played his third game of the season; he spent the previous two seasons with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.


G Carl Tetachuk stopped 34 shots to earn his first WHL victory in his first start as the LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, 2-1. . . . Tetachuk, who is from Lethbridge, is a list player who spent last season with the midget AAA Hurricanes. He was especially sharp in the third period as his guys were outshot, 16-3. . . . Lethbridge (6-4-3) has points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . The Wheat Kings (6-2-3) are 1-1-1 in their past three. This was Game 1 of a seven-game swing that will take them through the B.C. Division. They next will play at home on Nov. 9. . . . All the goals were scored via the PP. . . . F Jadon Joseph (5) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 17:19 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos (12) tied it at 19:00. . . . F Taylor Ross (9) of the Hurricanes broke the tie at 18:05 of the second period.


D Alex Alexeyev scored the game’s first two goals and the Red Deer Rebels went on to a 3-Red Deer1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels (8-3-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Hitmen (4-7-2) had won their previous three games. . . . Alexeyev, who has six goals, scored at 2:14 and 14:14 of the first period. . . . The Rebels got 30 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 27 shots for Calgary. His night’s work included stopping Red Deer F Josh Tarzwell on a penalty shot at 19:14 of the third period with the Rebels leading 3-1.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last four goals to beat the Cougars, 5-1, in Prince George. . . . The Americans (7-4-0) have won three in a row. They are 2-0-0 on an 11-game road trip. . . . The Cougars (5-6-1) had won their previous three games. . . . There’ll be a rematch tonight. . . . The Americans got the game’s first goal from F Wil Kushniryk (1), who was acquired Monday from the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Tri-City F Brett Clayton (1) broke a 1-1 tie at 3:52 of the second period. . . . The Americans got 35 stops from G Beck Warm. . . . As for the above tweet, Americans F Nolan Yaremko had two assists and was named the game’s second star.


F Jack Cowell got the game-winner as the host Kelowna Rockets got past the Swift Current Broncos, 3-2. . . . Kelowna won in Adam Foote’s first game as head coach. He replaced Jason Smith, who was fired on Monday with the Rockets at 10-4. . . . Kelowna had lost six in a row at home. . . . The Broncos (1-12-0) have lost five in a row. They went 0-5 on their B.C. Division trip. . . . Cowell broke a 2-2 tie with his second goal of the season at 10:12 of the second period. . . . Kelowna got the game’s first goal from F Lane Zablocki, 20, who played his first game with the Rockets on Friday, then was scratched from the next two because of an undisclosed injury. . . . The Rockets had a 33-25 edge in shots, but it was 21-5 in the first period. . . . G James Porter stopped 23 shots for Kelowna in his first start since Oct. 5. . . . With his father making his head-coaching debut, Kelowna F Nolan Foote was scratched with an undisclosed injury.


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