Blazers, city mourn Moores’ death . . . Rockets extend head coach . . . Silvertips grab Finn with second pick


The Kamloops Blazers and, indeed, the City of Kamloops were stunned KamloopsWednesday by the death of Don Moores, the WHL franchise’s president, chief operating officer and alternate governor. . . . Moores, 65, died at the Kamloops Golf and Country Club. He collapsed on the third hole — he had started on the back nine, so was playing his 12th hole of the day — at around noon. According to Environment Canada, the temperature in Kamloops at noon was 39.1C with a humidex of 42C. . . . Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV in Kamloops reported that Moores died of a heart attack. . . . Alec Hubert, the golf club’s general manager, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week that he and others got to the third hole with cold water and medical equipment. “We went out there and did the best we could,” Hubert said. . . . He added that Moore had stopped at the clubhouse after nine holes and “grabbed a sandwich” and that all appeared to be fine. . . . A native of Kamloops, Moores played for the WHL’s Kamloops Chiefs (1973-76) and later was an assistant coach with the Blazers (1985-90). . . . Moores was introduced as the club president on June 30, 2016, exactly five years prior to his death. . . . As word of Moore’s death spread, the hockey world and fans flooded social media with messages of condolences for Moores’ family and for the Blazers. . . . Hastings’ complete story is right here. . . . Moores’ death leaves a huge hole atop the Blazers’ organizational tree. The team also is operating without a general manager as Matt Bardsley’s final day was Wednesday after he guided the club through the CHL’s import draft. Bardsley announced on May 25 that he was resigning after three years as GM, even though he had three years left on his contract, in order to move his wife and two children back to the U.S. to be closer to family.


The WHL’s Kelowna Rockets have signed head coach Kris Mallette to a multi-Rocketsyear contract extension. The news release announcing the signing didn’t indicate the length of the extension. . . . Mallette, 42, joined the Rockets as an assistant coach prior to the 2014-15 season. . . . He was named head coach on March 2, 2020, after a short stint as the interim head coach following the firing of Adam Foote. Because of the pandemic, Mallette has on 25 games as a head coach under his belt, going 15-7-3. . . . He is a former WHL defenceman, having played with the Rockets and Moose Jaw Warriors (1997-2000).



The Everett Silvertips were the first WHL team to make a selection in the CHL Everettimport draft on Wednesday and they took F Niko Huuhtanen of Finland second overall. Huuhtanen turned 18 on Saturday. . . . A 6-foot-1, 200-pound right winger, he played for Tappara’s U20 team in Finland last season, putting up 20 goals and 14 assists in 37 games. He also played at the IIHF U-18 World championship, scoring two goals and adding three assists in seven games. . . . Huuhtanen is eligible for the NHL’s 2021 draft. NHL Central Scouting rated him 49th among European skaters. . . . Interestingly, Huuhtanen signed a two-year contract with Tappara on May 19. That deal runs through 2022-23. Tappara plays in Liiga, the country’s top pro league. . . . In an Everett news release, Dennis Williams, the Silvertips’ interim general manager and head coach, said: “We’re excited to have him, and he’s excited to become a Silvertip.” . . . The news release didn’t mention Huuhtanen’s contractual status with Tappara. . . . You are able to find the complete import draft right here.


Parents


The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes are expected to introduce Andre Tourigny as their new head coach today (Thursday). . . . Tourigny had been the head coach and vice-president of hockey operations with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s for the past four seasons. The move also means that Hockey Canada will have to find a new head coach for the country’s national junior team. Tourigny had been the team’s head coach for two years, including this year. He also is an assistant coach with Canada’s world championship team. . . . The Coyotes parted company with head coach Rick Tocchet after their 2020-21 season came to an end.



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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


JUST NOTES: The OHL’s Owen Sound Attack has signed Greg Walters, 50, to a two-year contract as head coach. He spent the previous two seasons as head coach of the Oshawa Generals. In Owen Sound, Walters takes over from Alan Letting, who left the team in June and later was named head coach of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. . . . Jerry Keefe is the new head coach of the Northeastern U Huskies. Keefe had been an assistant coach with the Huskies for the past 10 seasons. He takes over from Jim Madigan, who had been the head coach since 2011-12 and recently was named the school’s athletic director.


Dog

OHL season over before it begins . . . Tri-City has two more games postponed . . . Four! Blazers’ Levis burns Rockets

Unable to play even one game, the OHL cancelled its 2020-21 season on Tuesday morning.

According to the OHL, it actually had reached an agreement with the Ontario OHLgovernment on a return-to-play protocol early in April. But with COVID-19 numbers running wild in Ontario, the government implemented a stay-at-home order along with various other restrictions. So the OHL decided that its season just wasn’t going to happen in any way, shape or form.

“We owe it to our players and their families to be definitive,” David Branch, the OHL’s long-time commissioner, said. “We were committed to return and play this season, but our hopes and desires have been dashed by the cruel realities of COVID-19.”

Later, in a virtual session with media, Branch said: “Let me clearly state that if the opportunity had presented itself weeks or months ago, we would’ve taken it. I have no misgivings about how it was handled.”

A tip of the cap to Dale DeGray, the general manager of the Owen Sound Attack for addressing the elephant in the room.

“I think one thing the league looked at is the repercussions of someone being sick,” DeGray told Greg Cowan of the Owen Sound Sun Times. “Nobody knows what that’s going to be like in a year, two years, or five years from now. If we move the clock five years ahead maybe we can look back and say this was the best thing, but right now it does sting.”

Cowan’s complete story is right here.


The AHL’s Toronto Marlies continue to be on hold due to issues with COVID-19 protocol. On Tuesday, the AHL postponed the club’s games through April 28. The Marlies had three games scheduled for that time period.


Airbag


With the Tri-City Americans having had a player test positive last week, their Americansteam activities remain on hold. That’s why the WHL announced Tuesday that it has postponed two more of their games — Saturday against the host Everett Silvertips and Sunday against the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Americans now have had five games postponed. They have seven remaining on their schedule, starting with an April 28 game in Spokane.

Meanwhile, there were two WHL games played Tuesday night . . .

F Carson Denomie broke a 2-2 tie at 17:24 of the second period and the Regina PatsPats went on to a 4-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in the Regina hub. . . . The game’s first five goals all were scored in the second period. . . . F Caiden Daley (7) put the Blades out front just 38 seconds into the period. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Carter Chorney (4), shorthanded, at 4:11, and D Layton Feist (4), at 8:30. . . . F Brandon Lisowsky (7) got Saskatoon into a tie at 13:51. . . . Denomie’s 13th goal stood up as the winner. . . . F Kyle Walker (1) got the empty-netter. . . . The Pats (8-9-3) have won two in a row. . . . The Blades (14-3-3) had points in each of their previous seven games (5-0-2). . . . Regina D Ryker Evans ran his point streak to 10 games with two assists. He had two goals and 12 assists over that stretch. . . .

F Connor Levis scored four times, all via the PP, to lead the host Kamloops KamloopsBlazers to a 6-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The 20th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft, Levis was playing in his 10th WHL game. He went into the game with two goals and an assist in his first nine outings. . . . Kamloops (8-2-0) was 5-for-7 on the PP; Kelowna (3-2-0) was 0-for-5. . . . D Montana Onyebuchi (2) got Kamloops started at 1:45 of the first period. . . . The Blazers made it 4-0 before period’s end on two goals from Levis and a PP score by D Inaki Baragano (3). . . . F David Kope (2) got Kelowna’s first goal, at 3:42 of the second period. . . . Levis scored  again at 13:55 of the third period. . . . F Mark Liwiski (4) scored while shorthanded for the Rockets at 14:45, before Levis wrapped up the scoring at 15:42. . . . The Blazers are without two of their top scorers with F Logan Stankoven with Canada’s U18 team and F Orrin Centazzo shelved with an undisclosed injury.


Lose


Jared Dumba, a former WHLer, now is vice-president of VIGR Life Cannabis VLCInc., and Tuesday was a big day for him and his partners. As Gillian Francis of the Regina Leader-Post reported: “The company, which is the first micro-grower in Regina, will be introducing a line of buds and pre-rolls that will be available at local dispensaries starting (Tuesday).” . . . Dumba told Francis: “Our plan is to bring things that maybe the market hasn’t seen yet.” . . . Dumba, now 41, played 61 games for the Saskatoon Blades in 1996-97. He went on to play eight plus seasons in the now-defunct Central and International leagues. . . . That story is right here.


Alec Dillon is the new head coach of the U of Victoria Vikes men’s hockey team. Dillon, 24, takes over from Harry Schamhart, who has stepped aside after 16 seasons but remains on staff as the team’s acting general manager. . . . Dillon has been an assistant coach there for the past two seasons. . . . The Vikes won four B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League titles under Schamhart. . . . Dillon, a goaltender, played with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings in 2015-16. He also played two seasons with the Vikes. . . . A fifth-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL’s 2014 draft, Dillon battled hip issues during his playing career. He underwent surgery at one point and sat out the 2016-17 season.


The San Francisco Giants are going to be opening up vaccination-only sections at home games at Oracle Park on Friday. . . . Here’s Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Vaccination-only sections will not be the only option for those fully vaccinated, but they will be an option for additional seating because social distancing will not be required in those areas. Children 16 and under would need negative test results for the vaccine-only sections and those age 2 and under do not have any requirements. . . . The team will continue to require fans to be prepared to show proof of full vaccination or negative coronavirus test results received within 72 hours of the event, and fans must continue to wear face coverings and, in non-vaccinated areas, social distancing still must be observed.”


——

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.


Voices

Ice situation should be addressed today; news conference scheduled for Cranbrook . . . Brandon adds goalie, forward


MacBeth

F Dominic Zwerger (Spokane, Everett, 2013-17) signed a contract extension with Ambrì-Piotta (Switzerland, NL A) through the 2021-22 season. The contract extension has an NHL exit clause after the 2020-21 season. This season, an alternate captain, he has 16 goals and 20 assists in 38 games.


ThisThat

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, and the owners of the Kootenay Ice are to address the media in Cranbrook this morning at 10:30.

The news conference, which will include Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, is to be held at the team’s office in Western Financial Place.

At the same time, the Winnipeg Free Press has reported that the Ice’s owners “have Kootenaynewscheduled a Tuesday afternoon news conference to announce they are moving their franchise to Winnipeg after the 2018-19 season . . .”

The Free Press didn’t indicate a time or a site for that news conference, but Tuesday is expected to be the coldest day of this winter in Winnipeg, with a high of -29 C.

The news conferences are being held on Day 41 of the Kootenay Kountdown — it has been 41 days since Robison appeared with Dean Millard on Edmonton radio station TSN 1260 and said there would be an announcement regarding the Ice “very soon.”

The Ice, at 10-32-8, has the WHL’s second-poorest record and won’t be in the playoffs for a second straight season under the ownership of Fettes and Cockell, who purchased the franchise from the Chynoweth family prior to the 2017-18 season. This will be the fifth straight season out of the playoffs for the Ice.

Last season, the Ice finished 27-38-7, missing a playoff spot by 16 points.

The Ice began life in 1996 as the Edmonton Ice, but left the Alberta capital for Cranbrook after two seasons. In its 21 seasons in Cranbrook, the Ice won three WHL championships (2011, 2002, 2000) and one Memorial Cup, that in 2002.

The Ice will be first franchise to have won a Memorial Cup to relocate since the QMJHL’s Granby Predateurs. They won the 1996 Memorial Cup and moved to Sydney, N.S., in 1997 where they now are the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

The last WHL relocation occurred following the 2010-11 season when the Chilliwack Bruins moved to Victoria where they now operate as the Royals.

This season, the Ice has the lowest announced average attendance in the 22-team WHL, at 2,218. The Ice has nine home games remaining, starting Friday against the Swift Current Broncos, the only team in the WHL with a poorer record.

Last season, the average for 36 home games was 2,442, up from 1,754 in 2016-17, the final season under the ownership of the Chynoweth family.

The Ice has been playing in 4,264-seat Western Financial Place, which opened in 2001. In its first two seasons in Cranbrook, the Ice played in that city’s Memorial Arena.

In its first season in the new arena, the Ice’s announced average attendance was 3,635, which remains the single-season high.

That was one of seven seasons in which that figure was north of 3,000, somewhere it hasn’t been since 2008-09 (3,071).

The relocated Ice is expected to spend a couple of seasons playing in the 1,400-seat Wayne Fleming Arena at the U of Manitoba while it waits for its permanent home to be built. It is expected that some work will be done to freshen up that facility and that some seats will be added.

If you click right here and scroll down to the last two photos, you will see a couple of pictures from the interior of the Wayne Fleming Arena as it now stands.

The expected relocation announcement comes just days before WHL governors and general managers travel to Las Vegas, as they do every year on Super Bowl weekend, for meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

It’s too bad that they couldn’t have moved those meetings to Cranbrook this time . . . you know, just to thank the businesses and fans of the area for 21 seasons of support.


With G Jiri Patera (leg) on the shelf, the Brandon Wheat Kings have added G Connor BrandonWKregularUngar, who turned 17 on Jan. 12, to their roster. He had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . Ungar will back up freshman Ethan Kruger, who is 5-6-2, 3.45, .893. . . . Ungar, who began the season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, made two earlier appearances with the Wheat Kings, going 0-1-0, 3.09, .892 in 78 minutes. . . . The Wheat Kings open a four-game trip into the Central Division tonight in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. . . .

The Wheat Kings also have added F Jake Chiasson, 15, to their roster. He has been playing at the Yale Hockey Academy in his hometown of Abbotsford, B.C. Chiasson was the 15th overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, with Yale’s prep team, he has 22 goals and 36 assists in 29 games.


The OHL’s Owen Sound Attack fired head coach Todd Gill on Monday. Dale DeGray, the Attack’s general manager, announced that assistant coach Alan Letang has taken over as interim head coach, with Jordan Hill now the lone assistant coach. . . . The Attack was 61-42-12 under Gill, who was in his second season as head coach. . . . This season, the Attack is 23-20-4, and in fifth place in the 10-team Western Conference.


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors fired head coach Geoff Grimwood on Monday and WestKelownanamed Brandon West as their general manager and head coach. . . . You may recall that this is the second time this season that Warriors owner Kim Dobranski has fired Grimwood. . . . Grimwood was named interim head coach iafter Rylan Ferster, the veteran GM and head coach, suddenly resigned on Aug. 21. . . . Three weeks later, Dobranski fired Grimwood, but reinstated him after the players rebelled, leaving the ice during one practice and going for a hike, rather than practise, the next day. . . . Grimwood had been hired on July 3 as associate coach and assistant GM. . . . West, who is from Kelowna, is a veteran BCHL coach. He was in his third season as head coach of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks when he was fired on Nov. 9, 2016. He spent last season as the head coach of the Surrey Eagles, but that ended in August through one of those mutual parting of the ways. This season, he had been with the Penticton Vees, as an assistant coach, since Oct. 15. . . . The Warriors are 25-21-1 and in fourth place in the Interior Division. They have clinched a playoff spot.


The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have fired assistant coach Gavin Brandl and replaced him with Devin Windle, a former general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . Windle was in his third season as the Millionaires’ GM and head coach when he was fired on Nov. 29. He spent two seasons (2014-16) as an assistant coach in Nipawin, working with Doug Johnson, the Hawks’ general manager and head coach. . . . Brandl was in his first season with Nipawin.


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