Three organ donor games this weekend . . . Giants’ Byram won’t face discipline . . . Hitmen make four roster moves


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There are still 12 WHL teams yet to hold their second annual Organ Donation Awareness games.

Actually, the official name of the promotion — deep breath — is RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.

All 17 of the WHL’s Canadian teams play host to one game a night to raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

There are three of these games scheduled for this weekend, with the Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants playing host to their games on Friday and the Brandon Wheat Kings holding their game on Saturday.

Teams wear Don Cherry-themed uniforms, with the sweaters available via auction at some point.

Games still to come:

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

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings.

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

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice.

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals.

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen.

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars.

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


According to a tweet from Steve Ewen of Postmedia, the Vancouver Giants “have been Vancouvertold by the WHL that D Bowen Byram won’t receive an additional suspension for his checking-to-the-head major on Sunday.” . . . Byram was hit with the major and game misconduct at 13:48 of the third period for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner. . . . The Giants won the game, 4-1, to clinch a playoff spot for a second straight season. . . . The Giants also lost F Brayden Watts with an undisclosed injury in that game. Ewen reports that Watts already has been ruled out for a game on Friday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs.


The Calgary Hitmen have made four roster moves, adding F Orca Wiesblatt and D CalgaryAndrew Viggars to their roster, while returning D Tyson Galloway and F Sean Tschigerl to their club teams. . . . Wiesblatt, 18, is from Calgary. He has six goals and nine assists in 16 games with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has earned one assist in six earlier games with Calgary this season. Last season, Wiesblatt had five goals and eight assist in 49 games with the Hitmen. . . . Viggars, 19, also is from Calgary. This season, he had one goal and nine assists in 40 games with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. He played with the Hitmen last season, earning five assists in 39 games. . . . Galloway, from Kamloops, was a second-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. He is on his way back to the Kamloops-based major midget Thompson Blazers after getting into three games with the Hitmen. . . . Tschigerl was the fourth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Whitecourt, Alta., he has gone back to the OHA Edmonton prep team. This season, he has played in six games with the Hitmen.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Brendan Williamson, 16, to a WHL contract. SeattleWilliamson, from Abbotsford, B.C., visited Seattle over the weekend and the signing was announced Monday morning. . . . The Thunderbirds acquired Williamson’s rights in a Jan. 1 deal in which they also got F Sean Richards, a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft, a third-rounder in 2021 and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2022 from the Everett Silvertips for F Zack Andrusiak. . . . This season, Williamson has 12 goals and 28 assists in 29 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.


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Hitmen add two players to roster . . . Lamb discusses being WHL GM . . . Giants win battle of division leaders


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Earlier this week, the Calgary Hitmen returned G Brayden Peters to the midget AAA CalgaryLethbridge Hurricanes. On Thursday, they brought him back. This would seem to indicate that G Carl Stankowski (ankle) isn’t yet ready to return. With Stankowski out, G Jack McNaughton has started 19 straight games. A 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, McNaughton is 15-12-2, 3.32, .888 in 30 appearances this season. . . . At the same time, the Hitmen have added F Orca Wiesblatt from the MJHL’s Portage Terriers. He has six goals and nine assists in 16 games with the Terriers, and was pointless in two earlier games with the Hitmen. . . . The Hitmen are to entertain the Prince George Cougars tonight.


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the general manager of a WHL team? How about the GM of a team that has changed philosophy and now had a plan that involves building a strong foundation? Mark Lamb, the first-year general manager of the Prince George Cougars, sat down with Hartley Miller of 94.3 The Goat for an episode of the Cat Scan podcast and it’s all right here.


THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Davis Koch scored twice to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-1 victory over the Prince VancouverAlbert Raiders in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (30-12-2) has won seven straight games. It leads the B.C. Division by 15 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . The Giants are 19-5-1 at home. They went 6-0-0 against the East Division this season, as all six teams visited Langley. . . . Prince Albert (40-6-2) had points in each of its previous six games (5-0-1). The Raiders, who are 20-3-2 on the road, went 3-1-1 in its swing through the B.C. Division. They still lead the East Division by 20 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . F Brayden Watts (11) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 13:15 of the second period. . . . Koch upped the lead to 2-0 at 8:37 of the third period. That goal stood up as the winner, giving him three winners in as many games. . . . D Brayden Pachal (12) got the Raiders to within a goal at 18:22. . . . Koch iced the victory with an empty-netter at 19:32. . . . Koch, who has 18 goals, is riding a six-game goal streak and a seven-game point streak. He has 16 points, including seven goals, over those seven games. . . . For the season, Koch has 49 points in 44 games. . . . Prince Albert was 0-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-1. . . . The Giants got 31 saves from G Trent Miner, who had a great night. He now is 14-3-1, 1.86, .933. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott stopped 25 shots. . . . Head coach Marc Habscheid was back with the Raiders, after having been in Red Deer at the Top Prospects Game. Also arriving in Vancouver from Red Deer in time to play were F Brett Leason of the Raiders and D Bowen Byram of the Giants. . . . The game was televised on Sportsnet. Early in the second period, analyst Sam Cosentino said he had been told there were 140 NHL people in the building.


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Food news: Blades’ Beuf is back! . . . Lethbridge adds forward in deal . . . Hitmen trim two from roster . . . Ice drops an import


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F Masi Marjamäki (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2002-05) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 24 games with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland, KHL), and four goals and two assists in 14 games with Almtuna Uppsala (Sweden, Allsvenskan).


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The biggest news in the WHL on Thursday, an off-day on the schedule, came from the Saskatoon Blades, and it is explained in the following tweets . . . If you don’t know the origin of Jerome Engele’s nickname, you should know that he is a former Saskatoon police officer and you need to watch Smokey and the Bandit. . . .


When a WHL team puts together a bid package in the hopes of bringing the Memorial Cup tournament to its city, one of the things that must be included is a guaranteed profit.

For example, in winning the right to play host to the 2013 tournament, the Saskatoon KelownaRocketsBlades guaranteed a profit of $3.5 million. When all was said and done, the event fell a bit short of that, so the Saskatchewan government, which had agreed to underwrite the guarantee, shelled out $668,000 to the CHL. The 2013 tournament drew 82,503 fans to nine games, at the time the fourth-highest attendance in the event’s history.

So what kind of profit did the Kelowna Rockets guarantee as part of their successful bid for the 2020 Memorial Cup?

We may never find out, but Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, told Ron Seymour of the Kelowna Daily Courier that it was a “heck of a lot less” than the Blades’ guarantee.

Seymour also reported that the City of Kelowna is to hear a funding request in December and that the organizing committee is expected to apply to the provincial government for grants to help with tournament costs.

Seymour’s complete story is right here.

The WHL announced Wednesday, following a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary, that the Rockets would be the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup. That night, the Rockets dropped a 5-0 decision to the visiting Vancouver Giants before, according to Wayne Moore of castanet.net, “just 4,008 fans, the smallest announced crowd at Prospera Place since October of 2002.”



The Lethbridge Hurricanes have acquired F Ty Kolle, 18, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes Lethbridgefor a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Kolle, from Kamloops, was scratched on Wednesday night when the Winterhawks went on to score a 7-3 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Kolle was picked by Portland in the fourth round of the 2015 bantam draft. In 77 regular-season games with the Winterhawks, he has seven goals and 11 assists. Last season, he put up seven goals and seven assists in 60 games. . . . Kolle could make his Lethbridge debut tonight (Friday) against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.



The Calgary Hitmen have released F Orca Wiesblatt, 18, and G Matthew Armitage, 19, from their roster. . . . Wiesblatt had five goals and eight assists in 49 games as a freshman Calgarywith the Hitmen last season. This season, he was pointless in two games. He joined the Hitmen in late October from the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. Prior to then, he had been committed to attend the U of Vermont and play for the Catamounts. . . . Armitage will turn 19 on Oct. 30. He got into 19 games with the Hitmen last season (4-7-1, 3.55, .890) as a freshman, and had played in one game this season (0-1-0, 5.05, .839). The Spokane Chiefs selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . Armitage’s departure leaves the Hitmen with two goaltenders — Carl Stankowski, 18, and freshman Jack McNaughton, who turns 17 on Oct. 30. The move also would appear to signal that the Hitmen are feeling good about Stankowski’s health. Then with the Seattle Thunderbirds, he sat out all of last season due to injury and health issues.


The Kootenay Ice has released F Gilian Kohler, who was the third-overall selection in the KootenaynewCHL’s 2017 import draft. The move allows the Ice to keep Slovakian D Martin Bodak, 20, and Finnish D Valterri Kakkonen, who is in his first WHL season. . . . Kohler, 18, is from Biel, Switzerland. He had eight goals and 11 assists in 55 games as a freshman last season. He had one assist in one game this season. . . . Kohler has cleared the 48-hour import waivers and is expected to return to Switzerland and play for Biel-Bienne in the Elite Jr. A League. He had eight goals and 42 assists in 43 games there in 2016-17.


THURSDAY NIGHT NOTES:

If you are a follower of the Prince George Cougars, or a WHL fan in general, you should know that Hartley Miller is two episodes into a new podcast called Hartley’s Cat Scan. . . . The second episode finds Miller, the analyst on Cougars’ home broadcasts and the sports director at 94.3 The Goat, involved in an entertaining conversation with G Taylor Gauthier. It’s all right here.

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The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have acquired the rights to F Sebastian Streu from the Cowichan Capitals for future considerations. Streu, who is to turn 19 on Nov. 22, was released by the Kootenay Ice last month. Last season, as a freshman, he had nine goals and three assists in 54 games with the Ice. . . . Streu is from Germany, but his father, Craig, has Canadian roots, so Sebastian, who has dual citizenship, wasn’t considered an import by the WHL.

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In another BCHL deal, the Surrey Eagles have added G Kyle Dumba, 20, and F Brady Lynn, 19, from the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations. . . . Dumba, from Calgary, has played in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats. He started this season in camp with the Pats but was released. . . .

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In the OHL, G Michael DiPietro tied the league record for most career shutouts as the Windsor Spitfires beat the visiting London Knights, 2-0. DiPietro, in his fourth season with Windsor, stopped 32 shots in recording his 16th shutout, tying the record set by Tom McCollum, who played two-plus seasons with the Guelph Storm and half a season with the Brampton Battalion (2006-09). . . . DiPietro was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . McCollum now is with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. . . . The WHL career record of 26 is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2005-09) and Carter Hart (Everett, 2013-18).


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and add to the Taking Note book fund. Just finished Hockey Fight in Canada, by David Shoalts. Next up is Jeff Pearlman’s Football for a Buck, about the rise and fall of the USFL.


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