Bedard, Pats keep on rolling . . . Rockets face interesting schedule . . . Look back at WHL’s weekend


BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

THE LEGEND CONTINUES TO GROW: F Connor Bedard scored Regina’s last two goals as the Pats beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-3, on Saturday night. . . . Bedard has 36 goals this season and is on a 30-game point streak. . . . The Pats have won three in a row since Bedard returned from his dominating performance with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship. In those three victories, Bedard has nine goals and four assists — a six-point game, a five-pointer and Saturday’s deuce. . . . Despite missing 11 games while at the WJC, Bedard leads the WHL in goals (36), assists (41) and points (77). He holds a 15-point lead over F Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets in the points derby. Cristall has missed Kelowna’s last three games with an undisclosed injury. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post tells us that Bedard’s 30-game point streak is “17 short of the team record, set by Jock Callander and Wally Schreiber during the 1981-82 season.” . . . Vanstone also informs us that Bedard “is on pace to become the first Pat to score 50 goals in 50 or fewer games since Dale Derkatch in 1983-84.” Derkatch scored Nos. 50 and 51 in his 49th game that season. . . . The Pats are off until the weekend when they go home-and-home with the Swift Current Broncos, playing Friday on the road and Saturday in Regina. . . . The Broncos (20-17-1) are eighth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Regina. The Broncos hold four games in hand.


From the Department of Read It and Weep, a piece that hits the nail squarely on the head . . .


The Kelowna Rockets, who are fighting for their playoff lives, are two games into an eight-game stretch during which they will play only two teams — the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants.

Going into this week, it really is looking as though one of the Rockets or Royals Kelownawill finish eighth in the Western Conference, with the other team left out of the playoffs. The Rockets (13-23-3) are eighth now, one point ahead of the Royals (12-25-4). The Prince George Cougars (17-18-4) and the Giants (16-19-6) are tied for sixth, nine points ahead of the Rockets.

Five of the Rockets’ next eight games are against the Giants, so one would have to think Kelowna needs to beat Vancouver at least four times to have a chance at moving up in the standings.

As for the Royals, well, they are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games after sweeping a weekend series from the visiting Rockets, winning 4-0 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday.

Next up for the Rockets is a home-and-home with the Giants, playing Friday in Langley, B.C., and Saturday in Kelowna. The Royals, who are to play the Winterhawks in Portland on Friday and the Chiefs in Spokane on Saturday, will be in Kelowna on Sunday as each team plays its third game in fewer than 48 hours.

The Rockets and Giants then will play three in a row — Jan. 27 in Langley, and Jan. 28 and Feb. 3 in Kelowna.

One positive for the Rockets is that they won’t play any mid-week games during that stretch, so head coach Kris Mallette and his staff will have lots of practice time, something coaches really treasure.


THEDAD


Jack Todd in the Montreal Gazette, with a few words on the Montreal Canadiens’ baby blues:

“Supposedly a nod to the late, great Montreal Expos, the reverse-retro jerseys are a bland, boring, soulless cash grab, a blue-on-blue nightmare that is more reminiscent of the Toronto Argonauts than Nos Amours. Canadiens fans agree on something once a century, and this is it: everyone hates those kiddie pyjamas.”

Todd also points out that the Canadiens have worn the baby blues four times and are 0-4, so perhaps they won’t last long. They are next scheduled to be worn on Thursday for a visit by the Florida Panthers.

——

Here’s Todd, again, with something that I can get behind: “We’re 100 per cent behind Connor McDavid. The shootout is a farce, while 3-on-3 overtime is the most exciting thing since skate sharpeners. Ten minutes of 3-on-3, then in the unlikely event no one has scored, it’s a tie.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Jack Bakker, whose WHL rights moved from Kamloops to the Everett Silvertips in the Jan. 8 deal in which D Olen Zellweger and F Ryan Hofer went to the Blazers, has committed to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for 2023-24. Bakker, 15, is from White Rock, B.C., and plays on the U18 prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy. Kamloops selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . .

F Ozzy Wiesblatt, 20, played for the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda on Saturday night, meaning he won’t be joining the Portland Winterhawks, who had acquired his rights from the Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday. Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks’ vice-president, general manager and head coach, explained to Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) that Wiesblatt could only end up in Portland if he didn’t play another AHL game after Jan. 10. . . . Wiesblatt was a first-round selection by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . . Had Wiesblatt ended up in Portland, the Raiders would have receive three draft picks from the Winterhawks — a first in 2025 and two seconds in 2026. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees ran their home record to 16-0-0 on Saturday with a 5-3 victory over the Cowichan Valley Capitals before an announced crowd of 3,628. . . . Also on Saturday, the Wenatchee Wild drew an announced crowd of 3,521 as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . .

The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars suffered their first regulation-time loss of the season on Saturday night as they were beaten, 5-0, by the Bruins in Estevan. That left the North Stars’ record at 33-1-3. . . . G Jackson Miller stopped 30 shots to earn the shutout, while F Keagon Little scored twice.


Callback


SUNDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

F Cole Shepard scored two goals 70 seconds apart in the first period to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . Lethbridge was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours; it picked up five points by going 2-0-1 in those games. . . . Shepard, who sat out Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels with a one-game suspension, has 15 goals. . . . G Bryan Thomson blocked 38 shots to earn the victory. Thomson, who made 50 appearances last season, was playing in his fifth game this season. The start of his season was delayed by surgery to repair an undisclosed injury. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Tri-City Americans scored the game’s first seven goals, five of them in the second period, en route to a 7-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . F Jalen Luypen had a goal (4) and two assists for the Americans. . . . G Tomas Suchanek stopped 18 shots in his first appearance with the Americans since returning from the World Junior Championship where he backstopped Czechia to a silver medal.

——

SATURDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored four second-period goals and got 39 saves from G Connor Ungar as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-3. Ungar is 21-5-2, 2.64, .924 this season. . . . In Edmonton, D Terrell Goldsmith’s third goal of the season, at 2:16 of OT, gave the Prince Albert Raiders a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. The offensively challenged Oil Kings were held to three, six, five and two shots, by period. . . .

F Jackson Berezowski had two goals and an assist as the hometown Everett Silvertips got past the Tri-City Americans, 3-2, in OT. . . . F Austin Roest’s 25th goal, at 1:39 of extra time won it. . . . Roest has three goals and seven assists over his past three games. . . . Berezowski, the team captain, has 28 goals. In his past three games, he has put up eight goals and four assists, surpassing the 200-point career mark in the process. He now has 204 points, 110 of them goals, in 245 regular-season games. . . . D Hunter Mayo (14) scored at 4:55 of OT to give the Red Deer Rebels a 2-1 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .

F Alexander Suzdalev scored once (23) and added an assist as the Regina Pats beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 4-3. . . . Portland finished its East Division swing at 2-4-0. . . . Suzdalev has 53 points in 40 games. . . . Could it be that Regina and area has caught Bedard Fever? The Pats have drawn their three largest crowds of the season to their past three games — 4,761, 5,651 and 5,403. In 20 home games, only one other crowd has been more than 4,000, and that was 4,336 on opening night. . . . The Winterhawks thought they had tied the game late in the third period, but the goal was disallowed by the on-ice officials. Portland fans were upset that the play didn’t go to video review, but goaltender interference isn’t something that can go upstairs for review in the WHL. . . . From Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post: “With (G Dante) Giannuzzi pulled for an extra attacker, Portland appeared to score the game-tying goal with 17 seconds left. But, after lengthy deliberations, the goal was disallowed when the ruling was made that Portland’s Kyle Chyzowski interfered with Pats netminder Drew Sim. Chyzowski received at least a nudge from Pats defenceman Luke Bateman before colliding with Sim, but the goal was waved off.”

F Egor Sidorov scored three times and linemate Trevor Wong had a goal and two assists as the Saskatoon Blades beat the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-2. Sidorov, a sophomore from Belarus, has four career hat-tricks, three of them this season. He has 22 goals; Wong has 15. . . . Seattle went 3-3-0 on its East Division swing. . . . G Reid Dyck stopped 29 shots, including a third-period penalty shot, to help the Broncos to a 4-3 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Swift Current. . . .

F Matthew Hodson scored twice and added an assist as the host Victoria Royals doubled the Kelowna Rockets, 6-3, to sweep their weekend series. The Royals had won, 4-0, on Friday. The Rockets have lost six in a row on the road. Hodson, who scored three goals in 39 games last season, has 11 in 38 outings this season. . . . The Royals scratched D Gannon Laroque, who played Friday, and F Brayden Schuurman, who left Friday’s game after the first period. F Alex Thacker, who last played on Dec. 17, took the warmup but didn’t dress. . . . The sweep allowed the ninth-place Royals (12-25-4) to close to within one point of the Rockets (13-23-3), who hold down the Western Conference’s last playoff spot. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Connor McClennon scored three times, giving him 19, to lead the Ice to an 8-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. The visitors led 2-0 before the game was five minutes old. . . . F Ryan Hofer scored twice (26) and F Logan Stankoven drew three assists as the Kamloops Blazers beat the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 5-2. Hofer has three goals in two games with the Blazers since being acquired from Everett. G Matthew Kieper stopped 22 shots in his first appearance for Kamloops since being acquired from Regina on Jan. 3.



THINKING OUT LOUD: Just a reminder that Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) is a must follow on Twitter for major junior hockey fans. . . . You watch QB Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers and you realize how important it can be to be in the right place at the right time to find success. . . . It wasn’t long after the Los Angeles Chargers had coughed up a 27-0 lead and lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday that their fans had Sean Payton replacing Brandon Staley as head coach. And how many jobs will Payton be rumoured for before he finally picks one? . . . There is a lot of chatter that has the Vancouver Canucks on the verge of firing head coach Bruce Boudreau and replacing him with Rick Tocchet. Just a thought, but maybe the Canucks should try doing things right for a change — let Boudreau finish out the season and then see who’s available. And maybe, just maybe, think about handing a blank cheque to Barry Krotz. Or maybe call Sean Payton. . . . ICYMI, QB Nathan Rourke, who lit up the CFL with the B.C. Lions before suffering a foot injury last season, says he is going to sign with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. What an exciting time this must be for him as he gets the opportunity to live out his dream . . . You don’t like Tom Brady and you despise the Dallas Cowboys. So what are you going to do tonight?


COVID


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.


Missing

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Will this trade deadline change WHL’s direction? . . . Johnston sheds light on Wiesblatt situation . . . Berezowski sparks Everett explosion

We are going to have to wait a few seasons to find out, but it could be that the WHL entered into a new era in the past few days.

There always have been buyers and sellers at the trade deadline, with the top WHLteams buying and the bottom ones selling. But never have we seen the buyers so willing to part with rather large packages of draft picks.

If this is to continue, it could set up a cycle that the WHL hasn’t experienced.

For years, the theory has been that major junior hockey is cyclical — a team scouted and drafted well, made the odd trade, mostly to add depth, and would be a championship contender every three or four years. Then another rebuild would being. At least, that was the theory.

A few years ago, the word ‘rebuild’ was replaced by ‘reload.’ It was then that some of the trades started to get bigger and involved better and better players.

But it wasn’t until this trade deadline that the league saw trades involving eight and nine draft picks. There was a time when teams treated draft picks like nuggets of gold rather than confetti.

Those days appear to have left us, at least for a few teams.

It will be worth watching now to see if the teams that traded away voluminous draft picks this year will be moving out players to recoup draft picks at the next deadline.

And then will it be rinse and repeat . . . rinse and repeat.

The thing to remember, too, is that when the WHL playoffs come to an end only one team will be holding the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

As well, one of the Kamloops Blazers or Seattle Thunderbirds, two of this deadline’s biggest spenders, won’t even get out of the Western Division come playoff time.


In a conversation with Joshua Critzer (@jjcritzer) of @pnwhockeytalk, Mike Johnston, the vice-president, general manager and head coach of the Portland PortlandWinterhawks, weighed in with some thoughts on what went down at the trade deadline and in which direction things may be moving:

“It is concerning, but every organization has the right to build their organization how they want to build it. They have to take the risks if they will win or lose and then rebuild. Certainly, that has never been our philosophy on how we do it. We try to be a contender every year, but not unload and not load up.

“What happened (in 2017-18) when Swift Current traded a lot of their young guys, the league put in the rule that you couldn’t trade 16-year-olds, so this year you are starting to see the effect of that rule. You can’t trade a signed 16-year-old now, so what else are other teams going to ask for? They are gong to ask for a lot of picks since you can’t acquire a good, young guy.

“I agree with not trading 16-year-olds, but I hope it doesn’t get to the point where in order to be a playoff team, or (have) a chance to win the league, you have to give up a lot of first-round picks. I hope it doesn’t move too far in that direction.”

——

You will recall that the Winterhawks acquired the rights to F Ozzy Wiesblatt from the Prince Albert Raiders just before Tuesday’s deadline. Portland gave up three conditional WHL draft picks in the exchange.

Critzer asked Johnston about the chances of Wiesblatt, a first-round draft pick of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, who is with their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda, reporting to Portland:

“It was presented to us to obtain his rights, and I thought it made sense for the risk. Whether we get him or not, that will be determined by (the Sharks). He can’t play another game in the American League or the deal is done.

It isn’t a number of games but rather a Jan. 10 deadline. That is the deadline for all of hockey except the NHL players. So if a player is playing in the NHL like Seattle traded for Dylan Guenther, he can be sent back later. If (Wiesblatt) plays beyond Jan. 10 in the American League, he can’t be sent back to our league.”

While the Winterhawks were beating the Blades, 3-1, in Saskatoon on Wednesday night, Wiesblatt was scratched by the Barracuda. Wiesblatt has a goal and four assists in 17 games with the Barracuda, but he now has sat out three straight games. The Barracuda is next scheduled to play on Saturday and Sunday against the visiting Abbotsford Canucks.

Wiesblatt is a 20-year-old, but the Winterhawks are only carrying two — G Dante Giannuzzi and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme — so have room for him.


The OHL deal in which F Shane Wright, who had just captained Team Canada to OHLgold at the World Junior Championship in Halifax, moved from the Kingston Frontenacs to the Windsor Spitfires may well be a sign of things to come to the WHL. . . . The Spitfires surrendered two players, five draft picks and two conditional picks in that exchange. The interesting thing is that not one of those seven draft picks originated with Windsor.


Here is part of what Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered wrote about the trade deadlines that passed us by on Tuesday:

“. . . one thing is for sure, the numbers are crazy. With the trade deadlines having expired in all three of Canada’s major junior hockey leagues, the sheer number of deals and players involved is staggering. And while the days of a teenager showing up at the rink for practice and being told to pack his hockey bag and jump on a bus to Sault Ste. Marie are long gone, the reality is players who opt to chase their NHL dreams through junior hockey are exposing themselves to the possibility that they’ll be traded at some point in their careers.

“It should be pointed out that all three junior leagues are far more sensitive to players’ needs now than they’ve ever been, with the exception of the need to make minimum wage, of course. A good number of deals that happen in major junior hockey these days are either at the request of the player or are done to give him a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere. First-round picks generally have no-trade clauses, which essentially means they have control over their destination. Players in high school cannot be dealt without their approval. And there are a good number of junior executives who will simply not trade a player to another team without his consent, whether he has a no-trade clause or not.

“But even with those restrictions, GMs in junior hockey are wheeling and dealing at a level that would put a used car salesman to shame.”

According to Campbell, 108 players have changed teams in the OHL since Sept. 5, either by waivers or trades. There also were 217 draft picks on the move. In the same stretch, the WHL had 97 players moved and the QMJHL had 80.

Campbell continued: “Trades have been part of junior hockey for decades, so this is nothing new. And while players are no longer uprooted from school and compromising their academic careers, they are required to adapt to a whole new set of teammates and billet families when they get traded. And the fact that it happens to literally hundreds of players in the Canadian Hockey League every season should be a concern.”

You are able to check out Campbell’s work at kencampbell.substack.com. A subscription is well worth it, too.


BlueWhale


If you visited this site looking for trade rumours involving junior hockey players, well, I’m sorry but you came to the wrong place.

Yes, there was a time back in the day when I trafficked in such rumours, but that bad habit came to an end more than a few years ago.

Let me tell you about it . . .

If was early in the WHL’s 2007-08 regular season when two teams cut a two-player deal. I was the sports editor at the late Kamloops Daily News and had learned about the trade well after the next day’s paper had been put to bed.

So I drove home and, assuming that both players had been made aware of the deal, sat down at my computer and posted a short story on my blog. If memory serves all these years later it was about 1 a.m.

Shortly after hitting the publish button, the phone rang.

Yes, it was one of the players who was involved in the trade.

“Is it true?” he asked.

I knew then that he hadn’t been told about the deal.

I assured him that it was.

“Are you sure?” he said, and by now it was apparent that he was in tears.

He had been selected in the WHL draft by the team that now was trading him away. He would go on to be a first-round NHL draft pick and go on to play a few seasons in the big league.

But this was the first time he had been traded.

He was sobbing as he hung up the phone.

I remember taking a long time to fall asleep that night, the sound of his weeping walking through my mind. It was then that it really hit home . . . these are young men, the vast majority of them teenagers and away from home, and while junior hockey operators might treat them like chattel, I decided then that I no longer would fall into that trap.

And that’s why you won’t find any such rumours or speculation on this site.

——

And then there’s the other side of junior hockey trade deadlines. . . . Here are three tweets on that subject. . . .

“WHL and CJHL trade deadline tomorrow. Understand teams trying to get better.  But trades impact a lot of people … players, teammates, families, billet families.”

“So hard — just hope the teams have someone the kids can talk to . . . some have been friends — family members and teammates for 3+ years.”

“January 10th . . . awful day for players . . . very mentally draining for them . .  same for billet families that love the billet kids as (if) they are family . . . it sucks!”


Here’s Elliotte Friedman in his latest 32 Thoughts: “No issues with (Connor) Bedard staying in WHL Regina, even if they aren’t a huge postseason favourite. If that’s his wish, that’s his wish. Depending on how the Pats do in the playoffs, curious to see if he plays at the World Championship.”

The IIHF’s 2023 World Championship is scheduled for May 12-28 in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia. 


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JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Tri-City Americans have added former WHL goaltender Ty Rimmer to their staff as the goaltending coach. Rimmer, who played with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Prince George Cougars, Tri-City and the Lethbridge Hurricanes, 2009-13, replaces Eli Wilson who, according to the Americans, “has professional responsibilities that necessitate he move on.” According to Kelowna’s website, Wilson remains on staff as the Rockets’ goaltending coach. . . . The Americans also have brought Vanessa Hettinger on board as power-skating coach.


WEDNESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS: F Nico Myatovic (15) scored at 3:26 of OT to give the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Ice in the only regular-season meeting between two of the biggest buyers leading up to the trade deadline. . . . The Kamloops Blazers, one of the other big spenders, got a goal (19) and four assists from F Logan Stankoven and a goal (21) and three assists from F Caedan Bankier in a 6-3 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants. D Olen Zellweger, acquired from the Everett Silvertips on Sunday, scored an empty-netter for Kamloops. F Ryan Hofer, who moved to Kamloops with Zellweger, sat out a one-game suspension. . . .

F Jackson Berezowski (24) struck four times and added an assist as the Everett Silvertips beat the Chiefs, 9-3, in Spokane. . . . F Blake Swetlikoff scored his second goal in as many games since being acquired from the Chiefs to help the host Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 5-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos, whose seven-game winning streak was snapped. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored his WHL-leading 34th goal in the first period then added the winning in a shootout as the Rebels beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3, in Red Deer. . . . F Braeden Jockims, playing in his hometown, scored his first WHL goal in his second game and it stood up as the winner as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Blades, 3-1, in Saskatoon.


Password


THINKING OUT LOUD: If someone were to add up the number of major junior, junior A and junior B hockey players who changed teams in the past two weeks, I’m betting the number would be somewhere around 500. . . . Hey, Clay Matthews, if I haven’t bought that Tide stuff by now, I won’t be making the leap. So you can leave my TV screen any day now. . . . The value of SS Carlos Correa’s contract went from US$350 million (San Francisco Giants) to $315 million (New York Mets) to $200 million (Minnesota Twins). Such a sad, sad story.


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.


TVcords

Another WHL trade deadline here and gone . . . Seattle gets golden boy’s rights . . . Blades grab Chiasson


The WHL’s trade deadline arrived on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 48.

No. of players traded — 83.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 81.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 29.

Teams involved in trades — 11: Edmonton; 6: Everett, Kamloops, Kelowna, Seattle, Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Brandon, Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina, Tri-City; 4: Portland, Prince Albert; 3: Red Deer, Spokane, Swift Current; 2: Moose Jaw; Saskatoon, Vancouver; 1: Calgary; 0: Medicine Hat.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.


Late Tuesday afternoon, just before the trade deadline whizzed past, the Edmonton Oil Kings announced that they had acquired the rights to F Koji SeattleGibson, 15, six conditional WHL draft picks and a fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft from the Seattle Thunderbirds for the rights to F Dylan Guenther, 19, the rights to F Jordan Ramsay, who will turn 16 on Jan. 24, and a 2023 eighth-round pick. . . . The conditional picks — a second in 2023, sixth in 2024, fourth in 2025, and first, fourth and fifth in 2026 — all hinge on the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes assigning Guenther to Seattle. . . . Guenther, a first-round pick by the Coyotes in the NHL’s 2021 draft, has three goals and eight assists in 22 games with Arizona this season. . . . He scored the OT goal on Thursday as Team Canada beat Czechia, 3-2, in the World Junior Championship final in Halifax. . . . The Oil Kings selected Guenther with the first overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 draft. He helped the Oil Kings to the WHL championship last season as they beat the Thunderbirds in the championship final. . . .

Gibson, from North Vancouver, plays for the U18 prep team at the Burnaby Winter Club. Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2022 draft. . . . Ramsay, from Victoria, is with the U18 prep team at the Pacific Coast Academy. He was an eighth-round pick by the Oil Kings in the 2022 draft.


The Saskatoon Blades, perhaps the most under-appreciated team in all of the SaskatoonCHL at the moment, acquired F Jake Chiasson, 19, from the Brandon Wheat Kings for a first-round WHL draft pick in 2023, a second-rounder in 2025 and a conditional second in 2026. . . . Chiasson, from Abbotsford, B.C., was a fourth-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s 2021 draft. The Wheat Kings selected him in the first round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . . He was in his fourth season with Brandon, having put up 30 goals and 41 assists in 141 regular-season games. . . . This season, he has 10 goals and 18 assists in 37 games. . . . From the Saskatoon news release: “Chiasson made international news earlier this winter as he and three teammates, who were driving over a bridge in Brandon, helped save the life of a distressed man.” . . . The 2023 first-round pick was Saskatoon’s and not the one the Blades acquired from Seattle in the deal that had F Brad Lambert’s rights move to the Thunderbirds. . . .

The Blades (26-6-3) are rather quietly putting together a solid season. In fact, their points percentage of .786 trails only the Winnipeg Ice (.853) and Seattle Thunderbirds (.806). . . . BTW, the Thunderbirds and Ice are to meet tonight (Wednesday) in Winnipeg.

——

In a second deal, Brandon acquired F Dawson Pasternak, 19, and a conditional fourth-round pick in an undisclosed WHL draft from the Portland Winterhawks for the rights to F Colin Frank, a sixth-rounder in 2025 and a second in 2026. . . . Pasternak, from Winnipeg, was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft. This season, he has 17 points, five of them goals, in 28 games. Last season, as a freshman, he had five goals and nine assists in 34 games. . . . Pasternak had an assist on Brandon’s first goal Tuesday night as the Wheat Kings beat the visiting Thunderbirds, 4-2. . . . Frank, from Ladera Ranch, Calif., will turn 17 on March 3. He was taken by Brandon in the 2021 U.S. prospects draft. He plays for the U16 AAA Anaheim Jr. Ducks and has 34 goals and 39 assists in 45 games.

——

In a third deal, the Wheat Kings acquired F Nolan Flamand, who will turn 19 on Thursday, from the Kelowna Rockets for F Trae Johnson, 17, and two picks — a third-rounder in the 2023 WHL draft and a fifth in 2024. . . . Flamand, from Saskatoon, had four goals and 12 assists in 35 games with Kelowna this season. He was a second-round pick by Kelowna in the 2019 draft. . . . Johnson, from Martensville, Sask., had two goals and four assists in 37 games with Brandon this season. He was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft.


Just before the deadline, the Winterhawks acquired the rights to F Ozzy PortlandWiesblatt, 20, from the Prince Albert Raiders for three conditional draft picks — a first in 2025 and two seconds in 2026. . . . The picks — one of the second-round picks was acquired from Brandon earlier on Tuesday —  are conditional on Wiesblatt being assigned to Portland by the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Wiesblatt, a first-round pick by the Sharks in 2020, is with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda with whom he has a goal and four assists in 17 games. . . . Prince Albert picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2017 draft. He put up 179 points, including 58 goals, in 195 regular-season games with the Raiders. . . .

The Winterhawks also dealt G Donavan Bodnar and a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft to the Everett Silvertips for a fourth-rounder in 2024. . . . Bodnar, from West St. Paul, Man., won’t turn 18 until Nov. 22. He was a seventh-round pick by Portland in the 2020 draft. . . . Bodnar now is playing for the Seven Oaks Raiders in the Winnipeg-based Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League. . . . Earlier this season, the Portage Terriers acquired Bodnar’s rights from the Selkirk Steelers for D Jacob Ziegler, 18. . . .

In another move, the Winterhawks traded D Nicholas Andrusiak, 18, to the Red Deer Rebels for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 WHL draft. . . . Andrusiak, from Tisdale, Sask., is with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires, and has two goals and an assist in 20 games. He got into two games with Portland early this season.


The Prince George Cougars announced their presence on Deadline Day by PrinceGeorgeacquiring F Zac Funk, 19, from the Calgary Hitmen for F Carter MacAdams, 18, and three WHL draft picks — second-rounders in 2023 and 2024, and a fourth in 2024. . . . Funk, from Coldstream, B.C., had 13 goals and 19 assists in 33 games with the Hitmen this season. In 129 career games, he has 78 points, 39 of them goals. . . . He was a second-round pick by Calgary in the 2018 draft. . . . MacAdams, from South Surrey, B.C., was picked by the Cougars in the fourth round of the 2019 WHL draft. He has 18 goals and 30 assists in 117 regular-season games over three seasons with Prince George. This season, he has six goals and 15 assists in 36 games.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes reacquired G Jared Picklyk, 19, from the Tri-City Americans for a 10th-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. The Hurricanes had traded him to the Americans for a 2024 sixth-round pick on Nov. 17, but he got into only two games with Tri-City. . . . Before that deal, he was 4-5-0, 3.50, .877 with Lethbridge this season. . . . Picklyk, from Kelowna, will report to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos.


The Kelowna Rockets acquired D Landon Cowper, 16, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a conditional fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2025 draft. Cowper, from Whitehorse, was a fourth-round pick by the Raiders in the 2021 draft. . . . He is playing for the U18 team at the RINK Hockey Academy in Kelowna, and has one goal and 15 assists in 18 games.


The Kamloops Blazers picked up the rights to D Daylan Weigel, 19, from the KamloopsSwift Current Broncos for a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. Weigel, from Warman, Sask., is with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and, according to the Blazers, “will remain with the Broncos for the 2022-23 season and become an affiliate player.” . . . He has six goals and 18 assists in 31 games with Humboldt this season. . . . Weigel has played in 25 WHL games — one with the Regina Pats and 24 with Swift Current. He has six assists in those games. . . . Regina picked him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2018 draft.


The Vancouver Giants have acquired the rights to D Ben Feenan, 18, from the Tri-City Americans for a seventh-round pick in the 2026 WHL draft. . . . Feenan, a sixth-round pick by the Americans in the 2019 draft, is from Surrey, B.C. He had three assists in 22 games this season when he left the team and joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.


In the final trade before the deadline, announced more than three hours after it Reginahad passed, the Regina Pats acquired F Steel Quiring, 19, from the Everett Silvertips for a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. Quiring, from Vernon, B.C., had three goals and three assists in 30 games with Everett. He also has played for the Kelowna Rockets and Calgary Hitmen. The Silvertips acquired him from the Hitmen on Sept. 30. . . . The Rockets selected him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. . . . Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) pointed out on Twitter that “the Pats are Quiring’s 4th WHL team in the last  year and five days.”



JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Edmonton Oil Kings have claimed F Loick Daigle, 20, off CHL waivers from the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. In 108 QMJHL regular-season games, he has 24 goals and 26 assists. . . . F Brad Lambert wasn’t in Seattle’s lineup on Tuesday night in Brandon, nor was F Chaz Lucius with Portland in Prince Albert. . . . The junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that Briar McNaney has signed on as their interim head coach. . . . The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder have announced that Sean Brown, its general manager and head coach, has stepped down for “family reasons.” Corey Bricknell, who had been assistant GM and associate coach, has stepped in as interim GM/head coach. The Thunder (11-27-2) is eighth in the eight-team North Division.


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.


Phone

Wiesblatt’s season over . . . Warriors snap Ice’s hot streak . . . Dureau fills hat for Winterhawks


The Prince Albert Raiders have had to shut down F Ozzy Wiesblatt for the remainder of this season due to an undisclosed injury. The Raiders revealed on Saturday that the decision was reached during “consultation” between their medical staff and doctors with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Wiesblatt was selected by the Sharks in the first round of the 2020 NHL draft. He finishes this season with 41 points, including 10 goals, in 43 games. . . . According to the Raiders, “Wiesblatt will head to San Jose for further evaluation to determine the appropriate next steps in his recovery.”


Philip Varney, the Seattle Thunderbirds’ athletic trainer, returned to the WHL team on Friday after being sidelined thanks to a positive COVID-19 test. “Was great being back in the rink for game day,” Varney tweeted. “Covid finally got me. Wasn’t pleasant but wasn’t awful. Very grateful for vaccines, N95s, at home rapid testing and HEPA air purifiers.” . . . At one point in mid-January, Varney had been involved with more than 20 members of the Thunderbirds’ organization, including players and staff, who had tested positive.


Bananas

A tip of the fedora to the Saskatoon Blades, who were back to ‘normal’ on Saturday after a stint as the Saskatoon Bananas. If you missed it, the Blades did up an April Fool’s Day gimmick the way it’s supposed to be done. The franchise rebranded in the morning as the Bananas and went the distance with the promotion, with signage, new uniforms with the new logo, and a whole lot more. Well done! . . . Darren Steinke, the travelling’ blogger, was in attendance and has more on the Bananas right here.


Discus


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

The Red Deer Rebels erased a 3-2 third-period deficit and beat the visiting RedDeerEdmonton Oil Kings, 4-3. . . . F Justin Sourdif (22) scored shorthanded at 16:26 of the second period to give Edmonton that 3-2 lead. . . . F Kai Uchacz (13) pulled Red Deer event with a shorthanded score at 2:58 of the third and F Arshdeep Bains (37) got the winner at 12:24. . . . Edmonton was 1-for-7 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-for-5. . . . Red Deer got 32 saves from G Chase Coward as he won his 20th game. . . . The Rebels have two 20-game winners for the first time in franchise history. Coward is 20-9-2, 2.41, .909; Connor Ungar is 20-8-1, 2.28, .912. . . . The Rebels (42-17-4) are headed for a third-place finish. . . . The Oil Kings (46-14-3) have five games remaining and are eight points behind the conference-leading Winnipeg Ice. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored the game’s last two goals and hung on for a 2-Brandon1 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . F Josh Pillar (13) gave the Blades the lead at 4:25 of the first period, only to have F Landon Roberts tie it at 10:29. . . . Brandon got the eventual winner from F Nate Danielson (21), on a PP, at 2:46 of the second period. . . . The Blades were 0-for-4 on the PP with all four opportunities coming in the game’s final 3:51. . . . The Wheat Kings (32-25-5) are sixth. With six games remaining, they are five points behind the Blades (35-25-4), who have four left to play. Saskatoon is three points behind Moose Jaw. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored twice in the last 30 seconds of the third period MooseJawto beat the visiting Winnipeg Ice, 3-1. . . . D Cole Jordan (2) gave Moose Jaw a lead at 14:30 of the first period. . . . Winnipeg D Tanner Brown (6) tied it at 13:43 of the second. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (11) snapped the tie at 19:38 of the third, with F Cordel Larson (10) adding insurance at 19:53. . . . G Jackson Unger stopped 37 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Warriors (36-23-5) are fourth, three points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Ice (49-10-5), which had won 13 straight, is headed for a first-place finish in the conference. . . .

F Justin Hall had a goal and two assists to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a Lethbridge6-1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Hall has 34 goals this season. . . . Lethbridge was 3-for-3 on the PP. . . . The Hurricanes swept the season series, going 8-0-0. . . . G Bryan Thomson stopped 28 shots for Lethbridge, losing his shutout bid at 19:58 of the third period when F Ashton Ferster scored his ninth goal of the season. . . . The Tigers honoured Bob Ridley, their long-time play-by-play man, in a pre-game ceremony that included the raising of a banner with his name on it being raised into the rafters. His name joins former players Lanny McDonald and Tom Lysiak up there. Health issues have kept Ridley out of the broadcast booth this season. He is expected to return to the booth for the  Tigers’ final home game, on April 15. . . . Lethbridge (29-30-4) is seventh, seven points behind Brandon and three ahead of Swift Current. . . . The Tigers (11-48-4) have lost seven in a row. . . .

PrinceAlbertD Nolan Allan scored once and added three assists to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to a 6-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Allan has seven goals this season. . . . The Raiders also got a goal and two assists from each of F Reece Vitelli (25) and F Evan Herman (23). . . . F Connor Bedard scored his first WHL shorthanded goal. It also was his 45th score of the season, tying the franchise record for most goals by a 16-year-old. He shares the mark with F Jeff Friesen (1992-93). . . . The announced attendance was 3,040, the Raiders’ largest crowd this season. That topped the 2,962 figure for a visit by the Pats on Feb. 18. . . . Prince Albert (26-33-5) is two points out of a playoff spot. The Raiders have four games remaining, one more than eight-place Swift Current (26-32-7). . . . Regina (24-33-5) is six points from a playoff spot with six games remaining.

——

Western Conference:

F Jackson Berezowski broke a 1-1 tie at 17:30 of the second period and the EverettEverett Silvertips went on to a 2-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Berezowski’s 45th goal came via the PP. . . . The Silvertips got 25 saves from G Braden Holt. . . . Everett (44-10-9) leads the conference by five points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-41-5) has four games remaining and is six points out of a playoff spot. . . .

The host Portland Winterhawks blew a 4-0 lead and then came back to defeat Portlandthe Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-4. . . . F Jaydon Dureau, who has 21 goals, scored once in each period for the winners. His third goal, on a PP, broke a 4-4 tie at 12:51 of the third period. . . . Dureau’s last goal came just 1:19 after F Henrik Rybinski (20) had pulled Seattle even on a PP. . . . Portland was handed 15 of the game’s 27 minor penalties. . . . Seattle was 2-for-7 on the PP; Portland was 1-for-4. . . . Portland (43-16-5) is third, one point behind Kamloops and six behind Everett. . . . Seattle (40-18-6) now is five behind Portland. . . .

G Jari Kykkanen recorded his first WHL shutout as the host Kelowna Rockets Kelownabeat the Victoria Royals, 5-0. . . . Kykkanen stopped 15 shots. . . . The Rockets held a 38-15 edge in shots. . . . A 17-year-old freshman from  Lloydminster, Alta., Kykkanen is 6-2-0, 3.12, .889 this season. . . . F Colton Dach’s 25th goal, on a PP, at 4:08 of the first period stood up as the winner. . . . Kelowna (37-19-6) is fifth, six points behind Seattle with six games left to play and two in hand on the Thunderbirds. . . . Victoria (22-36-6) is tied for sixth with Vancouver. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last five goals and beat Spokanethe Vancouver Giants, 5-2. . . . F Jaden Lipinski, who has eight goals, scored twice in the first period to put Vancouver out front. . . . F Chase Bertholet (22) and F Ty Cheveldayoff (9), with the first of two, got the Chiefs even in the second period. . . . F Nick McCarry (19) broke the 2-2 tie at 4:03 of the third period. . . .  Spokane (21-37-5) now is tied with Prince George for eighth, which is the conference’s last playoff spot. . . . Vancouver (23-34-4) is tied for sixth with Victoria, three points ahead of Prince George and Spokane.


Bartender


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.


Beer

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.

——


Kids

Two OHL teams file lawsuits over COVID-19 losses . . . Berard and Canada into semifinal at U18 tourney . . . Ominous words from B.C.’s top doctor?

That was a public service announcement from the premier of Nova Scotia. Please pay attention to what he has to say.


A pair of OHL teams — the Kingston Frontenacs and Sudbury Wolves — had pandemic-related insurance claims rejected by insurers and now have filed lawsuits claiming breach of contract, according to Rick Westhead of TSN. . . . Westhead reported that the Frontenacs filed a $1.1-million lawsuit against Lloyd’s Insurance Co., on Jan. 22, and the Wolves filed a $1-million lawsuit against Intact Insurance Co., on March 12. . . . Both teams are claiming that insurers breached contracts by “refusing to cover financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Westhead wrote. . . . His complete story is right here. . . . You are free to wonder if this is the start of something.


An update to something I mentioned here late last week. . . . F Peyton Krebs isn’t Vegasgoing to the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights; rather, he bypassed the AHL and went straight to the NHL where he made his debut with the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night against the host Minnesota Wild. . . . Krebs recorded his first NHL point — an assist — in 9 minutes 5 seconds of ice time in a 6-5 loss to the Wild. He got the primary assist on a first-period goal by F Alex Tuch that gave Vegas a 3-2 lead. . . . Vegas selected him with the 17th pick of the NHL’s 2019 draft. Krebs just finished his 19-year-old season with the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice by leading the Regina hub with 43 points in 24 games. . . . He has AHL experience, having put up a goal and four assists in five games with the Silver Knights before the WHL season began. . . .

Meanwhile, the NHL’s San Jose Sharks have said they have assigned F Ozzy Wiesblatt of the Prince Albert Raiders to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. The Sharks selected him 31st overall in the NHL’s 2020 draft. Wiesblatt, who turned 19 on March 9, made his AHL debut before the WHL season started, scoring one goal in three games. . . . This season with the Raiders, he had seven goals and 21 assists in 23 games in the Regina hub.



F Connor Bedard had two goals and three assists on Monday as Canada dumped U18Czech Republic, 10-3, in one of four quarterfinal games at the IIHF U18 World Championship in Frisco and Plano, Texas. . . . Also on Monday, Sweden dumped Team USA, 5-2; Finland blanked Switzerland, 2-0; and Russia beat Belarus, 5-2. . . . The semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday with Canada playing Sweden at 2 p.m. PT, and Finland meeting Russia at 6 p.m. PT. . . . Bedard, 15, has three goals and six assists in five games. . . . Russian F Matvei Michkov, who turned 16 on Dec. 9, leads the tournament in goals (10) and points (12).


It appears that the WHL’s Everett Silvertips have lost D Kasper Puutio to KalPa EverettKuopio of Finland’s top professional league. It was announced Monday that Puutio has signed a two-year contract with the Liiga team. . . . Puutio, who will turn 19 on June 3, played with the Swift Current Broncos, who had selected him first overall in the 2019 CHL import draft, and the Silvertips in 2019-20, but pandemic-related travel restrictions meant he stayed in Finland this season. . . . Playing in Liiga with Kärpät, Puutio had a goal and two assists in 29 games. He also had two assists with Finland’s national junior team as it finished third at the World Junior Championship in Edmonton. . . . The Silvertips acquired him from the Broncos on Jan. 10, 2020. He had one goal and 15 assists in 35 games with the Broncos, then added four goals and eight assists in 21 games with the Silvertips. . . . The Florida Panthers selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft.


The AHL announced that is has postponed a game between the Utica Comets and host Rochester Americans that was to have been played on Monday night. The move was made “out of an abundance of caution in accordance with league protocols.” . . . The AHL didn’t release any other information. . . . Earlier this season, the Comets lost 10 straight games due to an outbreak within their roster.

Meanwhile, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche placed G Devan Dubnyk on the COVID-19 protocol list on Monday. Later that night, it was confirmed that he has tested positive and will be sidelined for at least two weeks while he is in quarantine.


Whistleblower


If you are in B.C., and if you’re looking forward to big crowds at sporting events in three or four months, well, there were some ominous words from Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, on Monday.

During a news conference, she said:

“We have seen that things can happen and change very quickly . . . there is not likely to be big events of any sort, even outdoors, through this summer, and into the fall and winter of next year.”

I don’t know exactly what this means, but I have a feeling there will be a whole lot more on this in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, there was one WHL game on Monday night . . .

In Kamloops, F Matthew Seminoff opened and closed the scoring and D Fraser KamloopsMinten picked up four assists as the Blazers beat the Victoria Royals, 5-2. . . . Kamloops (14-4-0) has won two in a row. . . . Victoria (2-14-2) had points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . The Blazers points percentage now is .778, putting them back atop the B.C. Division, just ahead of the idle Kelowna Rockets (8-2-1, .773). . . . Seminoff, who has eight goals, gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 4:19 of the first period. . . . The Royals tied it at 10:46 when F Brandon Cutler (8) scored on a PP. . . . Kamloops went back in front at 1:23 of the second period on a goal by F Daylan Kuefler (4). But the Royals got it right back when F Tarun Fizer (5) scored 25 seconds later. . . . However, Kamloops scored the game’s next three goals. . . . F Tye Spencer (2) broke the tie 16 seconds after Fizer’s goal. . . . F Connor Levis (6) struck on a PP at 18:24, and Seminoff wrapped up the scoring at 14:40 of the third period. . . . G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots for Kamloops, four fewer than the Royals’ Adam Evanoff. . . . Minten, 16, was a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. He went into this game with a goal and seven assists in 15 games. . . . D Austin Zemlak made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Fort McMurray, he was the ninth overall selection in the 2020 bantam draft. . . . The Blazers were without F Connor Zary for a third straight game after he was injured on a high hit in a 5-1 loss to the Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night. The Blazers have four games remaining before wrapping up their season on May 12 and you have to wonder if Zary will return at all. . . . F Jonny Hooker of the Cougars had his suspension set at four games on Monday. He has sat out two, so won’t play tonight or Wednesday — the Cougars are scheduled to play Kelowna and Vancouver — before being eligible to return Saturday against Victoria.


CBC News reported Monday afternoon that Bernie Lynch, a longtime hockey coach who was on the staff of the WHL’s Regina Pats in 1988-89, “has been charged with sexual assault and assault . . . following a complaint from a former player.” . . . The Regina Police Service issued a warrant for his arrest on Friday and, according to CBC News, Lynch turned himself in to police in Devon, Alta. . . . “He faces one count each of sexual assault and assault,” CBC reported, “dating back to August 1988. The complainant was 17 at the time.” . . . The complete story is right here.


——

Don’t forget that my wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

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.


Gator

Oil Barons cite safety concerns in ending season . . . Blades to retire No. 44 . . . WHL’s Regina hub season ends


The Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced on Wednesday that they are opting ajhlout of the remainder of the AJHL season. . . . Here’s David Fitzgerald, the team president, from a news release: “The Oil Barons organization has decided to conclude the 2020-21 season early out of concern for the safety of our players, billet families, staff and all involved with our league amid the local state of emergency in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. This was a difficult choice, but one we felt was necessary to maintain the health and safety of our organization and community. With case numbers in our community among the highest per capita in Alberta, we feel strongly that this is the best decision — even though it goes against our competitive nature.” . . . Fort McMurray Today reported Wednesday: “At the time of the announcement, the RMWB had 1499.8 cases per 100,000 people, the highest in Alberta and Canada. The region has 1,235 cases in Fort McMurray and 17 in rural areas, more than the rest of rural Alberta. These numbers do not include the commuter workforce. The region also had outbreaks at 19 workplaces and 14 schools.” . . . The Oil Barons went 12-1-3 in this shortened season.


Canada’s Olympic swim trials were to have been held from May 24-28, but now have been moved to June 19-23. They are scheduled for the Pan Am Sports Centre in Toronto. However, the COVID-19 situation in Toronto and area is not good at the moment. . . . Ahmed El-Awadi, Swim Canada’s CEO, said in a statement: “Swimming Canada is also pursuing options for holding the trials elsewhere in North America should running the event in Toronto not be viable based on factors at the time. “The dates would remain the same in an alternate location.” . . . At the same time, the Paralympic part of the trials has been cancelled because the new dates conflict with a meet in Berlin. “We will create alternative competitive opportunities,” El-Awadi said.


The Canadian Grand Prix has been nixed for 2021, with the Turkish Grand Prix replacing it on the Formula 1 calendar, June 11-13. . . . From a Formula 1 news release: “Due to the ongoing international travel restrictions in place in Canada it became impossible for Formula 1 to enter the country without a mandatory 14-day quarantine, leading to the change.” . . . The tour returned to Istanbul last year, in November, for the first time in nine years.


Ham


By now, you’re wondering who will be the head coach of the Seattle Kraken when the expansion team begins play next season. . . . Well, Bodog, an online sportsbook, has posted some odds:

Gerard Gallant +175

Bruce Boudreau +250

Claude Julien +450

Todd Nelson +900

Rikard Gronborg +1100

Rod Brind’Amour +1200

John Stevens +1200

Mike Babcock +1200

Mike Vellucci +1400

Dan Bylsma +2000

Mike Yeo +2000

I might be inclined to go with Gallant, who will be the head coach of the Canadian team at the IIHF World Hockey Championship in Latvia next month, but I also noticed one omission. Travis Green, whose contract as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks is expiring, isn’t on the list. I’m thinking he should be, maybe even at +200.


The seven teams in the Regina hub — five from Saskatchewan, two from WHL2Manitoba — are all finished with the WHL’s 2020-21 development season, and each team got in 24 games. That was the plan when it started and it worked because there wasn’t even one positive test in the more than two months that teams were holed up in dorms at the U of Regina and Luther College. . . . Some numbers about the Regina hub from the WHL: 48 days, 84 games, 1,930 tests for COVID-19, 0 positive tests.

There also were three other games last night. . . .

F Chase Wouters, playing his 280th regular-season game with Saskatoon, Bladesscored the game-winner as the Blades beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 5-2, to close out their season in the Regina hub. . . . After the game, Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, revealed that the team will be retiring No. 44 in honour of the team’s first three-season captain. . . . Brandon (18-4-2), which had a seven-game winning streak snapped, finished atop the Regina hub standings. . . . Saskatoon (16-5-3) won its last two and finished third. . . . D Wyatt McLeod (3) gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 13:59 of the first period, and F Brandon Lisowsky (8) made it 2-0 just 51 seconds into the second. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on a pair of PP goals from F Lynden McCallum, at 11:59 and 17:56. . . . McCallum finished with 21 goals in 22 games, including nine in his last four games. He scored seven PP goals over his last three games. In those last four games, he twice was first star and twice was third star. . . . Wouters snapped the 2-2 tie with his 10th goal, at 18:38 of the second period. . . . F Colton Dach (10) added insurance at 15:55 of the third, and F Kyle Crnkovic (11) got the empty-netter. . . . F Ridly Greig had two assists for Brandon. You may recall that he tested positive prior the Canadian junior team’s selection camp in December so missed the World Junior Championship. In Regina, he finished with 10 goals and 22 assists in 21 games. . . . The Blades got 35 saves from G Nolan Maier, who went 12-3-2, 2.34 .915. . . . Six players in this one concluded their WHL careers. For an indication of how much experience these teams lose from their lineups with these departures, here’s a note from Les Lazaruk, the long-time radio voice of the Blades: “Brandon’s trio of 20-year-old forwards Lynden McCallum, Reid Perepeluk and Marcus Sekundiak have 482 total games in the WHL. Saskatoon’s 20s — F Chase Wouters, F Caiden Daley and D Wyatt McLeod — have a combined 788 games.” . . . The Blades have retired five other sweater numbers — 7 (Brent Ashton, Gerry Pinder); 10 (Brian Skrudland); 12 (Bob Bourne); 15 (Bernie Federko); and 22 (Wendel Clark). . . .

F Ozzy Wiesblatt scored in OT to give the Prince Albert Raiders a 6-5 victory Raidersover the Swift Current Broncos in the final game in the Regina hub. . . . The Raiders finished 9-11-4, while the Broncos went 6-16-2. . . . The Broncos had forced OT with two goals in the second half of the third period. D Mathew Ward (6) scored, on a PP, at 10:53 and F Cole Nagy (7) tied it at 18:57. . . . To go back to the beginning, the Broncos opened the scoring — F Raphael Pelletier (4) — at 6:42 of the first period. . . . The Raiders took a 2-1 lead on a PP goal from F Reece Vitelli, at 13:21, and D Terrell Goldsmith (2), at 18:46. . . . F Bode Hogan (3) pulled Swift Current even at 6:48 of the second, but Prince Albert went ahead 4-2 on goals from F Tyson Laventure (5), at 17:48 of the second, and F Justin Nachbaur (9), at 0:16 of the third. . . . F Carter Stebbings (4) cut the Broncos’ deficit to one at 1:39, but Vitelli (7) got it back at 7:03. . . . Vitelli also had an assist for a three-point night. . . . The Broncos got three assists from F Michael Farren, in his final WHL game. . . . Raiders G Max Paddock had his WHL career end at 8:01 of the third period when he was hit with a match penalty for attempt to injury after using his blocker to punch F Josh Davies, who had fallen into him. Davies was given an unsportsmanlike minor. . . . G Carter Serhyenko came on in relief, stopped six of eight shots in 12:53, and got the victory. . . . Attendance on the online scoresheet was listed at 190. Obviously the official scorer was a jokester as the WHL games in Canada are being played without fans in attendance. . . .

F Adam Beckman broke a 3-3 tie with a PP goal at 17:05 of the third period to give the host Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . This was Tri-City’s first game since April 13 as it was forced to suspend team activities because of a couple of positive tests. . . . Spokane (5-7-3) had lost its previous two games. . . . The Americans (5-8-0) have lost three in a row. . . . Beckman, who led the WHL in goals last season, scored three times, giving him 11, and had an assist. . . . The Chiefs also got two goals and two assists from F Eli Zummack, who has seven goals. . . . F Sasha Mutala (5) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 4:39 of the first period, with Zummack equalizing at 16:15. . . . F Booker Daniel (3) put the Americans back in front at 1:09 of the first, but Beckman, at 3:51, and Zummack, at 10:25, gave the Chiefs a 3-2 lead. . . . F Nick Bowman (1) got the Americans back into a tie at 17:58. . . . Beckman broke the tie and then added the empty-netter. . . . G Manny Panghli, 16, made his first WHL start for the Chiefs and stopped 33 shots. He is an undrafted signee of the Chiefs. Panghli didn’t start playing goal until he was 10 years of age. He grew up in Merritt, B.C., and moved to Kamloops in 2018. He signed with the Chiefs on Feb. 16, after playing on the U17 Prep Black team at OHA in Penticton for head coach Robert Dirk, a former Regina Pats defenceman. . . . Veteran F Luke Toporowski is back with the Chiefs after playing 32 games with the Sioux Falls Stampede — he had 14 goals and 19 assists in 32 games. He didn’t play last night, but could play Saturday against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . .

F Ronan Seeley scored twice and added an assist to help the host Everett EverettSilvertips to a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (15-3-0) has won six in a row and holds an 11-point lead over the idle Portland Winterhawks atop the U.S. Division. . . . Seattle (7-10-0) has lost five straight. . . . F Jacob Wright (8) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 1:16 of the first period, only to have D Luke Bateman (1) scored for Everett just 32 seconds later. . . . Everett got the next two goals — from F Cole Fonstad (13), shorthanded, at 13:31 of the first, and Seeley, at 15:18 of the second. . . . F Jordan Gustafson (5) got Seattle to within a goal, on a PP, at 5:28 of the third period. . . . Seeley (4), on a PP at 14:49, and D Ty Gibson (1), into an empty net, put this one away. . . . Seeley, the 20th overall pick in the 2017 bantam draft, has four goals in 18 games. He went into this season with four goals in 115 games. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 29 shots. He is 14-2-0, 1.69, .944. . . .

F Keaton Dowhaniuk scored once and added three assists to lead the Prince PGGeorge Cougars to a 5-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The game was played in Kamloops with the Cougars as the home team. . . . Prince George (6-7-2) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (12-3-0) had won its previous five games. . . . The Cougars took a 3-0 lead into the third period on goals from F Tyson Upper (2), D Ethan Samson (1) and Dowhaniuk (3), the latter coming shorthanded. . . . F Josh Pillar (8) scored Kamloops’ goal, on a PP, at 6:35 of the third period. . . . Cougars F Connor Bowie (6) made it 4-1 at 6:52 and F Koehn Ziemmer (4) added another PP goal, at 13:34. . . . Kamloops F Connor Zary left in the second period after what Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week described as “a dangerous hit to the head.” Zary was helped from the ice by Kamloops trainer Colin Robinson. “Clear head injury,” Hastings tweeted. . . . F Jonny Hooker was given a minor penalty on the play and Dowhaniuk scored shorthanded while he was in stir. . . . The Cougars got 37 saves from G Taylor Gauthier.

The Blazers and Cougars are scheduled to meet one more time this season — on May 12, in what is to be the final game for each team.


Desserted


F Dylan Guenther’s goal at 10:38 of the third period stood up as the winner as U18Canada beat Latvia, 4-2, in a Group A game at the IIHF U18 World Championship in Texas on Wednesday. . . . Canada is 2-0; Lativia is 0-2. . . . Guenther, from the Edmonton Oil Kings, also had an assist. F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers also had a goal and an assist, while F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats drew two assists. . . . In Wednesday’s other game, Finland won its second straight game, beating Czech Republic, 6-5, in Group B. Samu Tuomaala’s PP goal with 19 seconds left in the third period won it. . . . On Thursday, it’s Sweden (1-1) against Switzerland (1-1) and Belarus (1-1) against Latvia in Group A, and Germany (0-2) versus Russia (0-1-1) and Czech Republic (1-1) versus Team USA (1-0-1) in Group B. . . . Canada’s next game is scheduled for Friday against Switzerland.


Avangard Omsk won its first KHL championship on Wednesday, beating CSKA Moscow, 1-0, in Game 6 of the best-of-seven final. The game’s lone goal came from F Sergey Tolchinsky in the final minute of the first period. . . . Omsk head coach Bob Hartley now has won championships in the CJHL (Hawkesbury Hawks, 1989-90, 1990-91), QMJHL (Laval Titan, 1992-93), AHL (Hershey Bears, 1996-97), NHL (Colorado Avalanche, 2000-01), Swiss NLA (ZSC Lions, 2011-12) and now the KHL.


Don’t forget that my wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here.

——

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: Rick Hannibal is the new general manager of the junior B Oceanside Generals of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He has been on the club’s board of directors since 2016-17. He takes over from Andrew Riddell, who left the position after getting promotion within his full-time employer. . . . Carson Grant has joined the VIJHL’s Comox Valley Glacier Kings as an assistant coach and scout. Included in his resume is a stint as a scout with the WHL’s Victoria Royals.


Gascars

Canucks’ situation goes from bad to worse . . . P.1 variant on the move . . . ESPN reports some players “in rough shape”

A tweet from the mother of a player from the Vancouver Canucks who has tested positive . . .

——

If you are in management with a junior hockey team that is playing games these days, you have to be holding your breath. . . .

The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks are in dire straits. . . . When we went to bed on Friday, the Canucks had Canucksseven roster players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. As well, one player off their taxi squad had tested positive, as had one coach.

About 24 hours later, the count was 14 roster players on the COVID-19 list, meaning they had tested positive or were deemed a high-risk close contact, along with the taxi squad player, and now three coaches who have been reported as being positive.

A number of the positive tests have been reported to involve the P.1 variant that is more easily transmissible and more vicious than the original virus.

Roster players added to the list on Saturday were F Travis Boyd, G Thatcher Demko, F Jayce Hawyrluk, F Bo Horvat, F Tyler Motte, D Tyler Myers and F Brandon Sutter.

They joined F Adam Gaudette, D Travis Hamonic, D Alex Edler, F Zack MacEwen, G Braden Holtby, D Quinn Hughes and F Antoine Roussel on the list.

Postmedia confirmed that Hawryluk has tested positive for the second time. He had tested positive while with the Ottawa Senators in March.

Emily Kaplan of ESPN reported Saturday that “one source told ESPN that ‘there are some players in rough shape tonight.’ ”

Pierre LeBrun of TSN reported that the number of Canucks on the protocol list “is likely to grow.” He also reported that the NHL “is now proceeding on the assumption that essentially the whole Canucks team will likely test positive.”

Meanwhile, the QMJHL now has five teams in mandatory isolation, having shut down the Gatineau qmjhlnewOlympiques, Quebec Remparts, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Rimouski Oceanic on Saturday. The Olympiques and Remparts each recorded a positive test. Both teams played against the other three teams in recent days, so they were put into isolation, too. The Sherbrooke Phoenix were shut down earlier in the week, but were given the OK to return to team activities on Friday after all players and staff tested negative. . . . Having put five teams into isolation, the QMJHL announced that it has delayed the start of its playoffs. Its Quebec-based teams completed their regular seasons on Friday and were to begin playoffs on Thursday. The teams in the Maritimes are scheduled to continue with regular-season games through May 1 and begin playoffs on May 4. . . .

The AJHL shut down the Okotoks Oilers on Friday, as they became the fourth team in the league to be put into that position. The Drayton Valley Thunder, Grande Prairie Storm and Whitecourt Wolverines, who had been playing in one cohort, went into isolation earlier in the week. . . .

And, of course, the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets have experienced seven positive tests — four players and three staff members — and are in the early days of their 14-day isolation period.

What we haven’t heard from any of the 10 junior teams that now are on hold is whether any of the positive tests involved variants.

As Thomas Drance of The Athletic pointed out: “P.1 variant is a whole new beast . . . It’s here, spreading and even tough on pro athletes . . . P.1 ripped through a workplace with strict protocols, a huge PPE budget and daily testing in days.”

If there’s one thing we should have learned over the past year it’s that this virus — and now the variants — travel really well. And It would appear that P.1 is on its way east.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, tweeted Saturday afternoon that “we are currently investigating a significant outbreak in Alberta involving P.1 variants of concern (the variant that originated in Brazil) . . . Health officials are working hard to limit the future spread and reaching out directly to those at risk of exposure.”

Unfortunately, Alberta officials didn’t offer up any other details, it being the weekend and all that.
But if you’re in management with a junior hockey team surely you are wondering if your team should even be playing.

——

Micaela Gaudette, the wife of Vancouver Canucks’ forward Adam Gaudette, tried to enlighten the Twitterverse on the state of affairs in her household on Thursday with this:

“I’ve been feeling fine other than being tired and I just woke up with a bad headache. My hubby isn’t in great shape but I’m taking good care of him! Thank you to all that have said kind things to us during this time.”

Of course, the mouth-breathers on social media chimed in, too, resulting in Micaela later tweeting this:

“People on Twitter are ruthless. A human being gets sick with a virus we don’t know much about and (ya’ll) are angry at him because you can’t watch a game on TV?”

If you hadn’t already figured it out, it’s true that social media really knows no shame.



The MLB season began on Thursday. Thankfully. No more watching the Boston Bruins on Sportsnet, which means no more having to listen to the inanity that is Jack Edwards and his sidekick, the Brick. . . . No, we couldn’t watch the Edmonton Oilers play the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday, but the Whiner and the Brick were on four Sportsnet channels.

——

On the subject of MLB, it might be that the best thing I discovered this spring was the Philadelphia Phillies because of Ruben Amaro Jr. The team’s former general manager now is part of its TV crew. He was the analyst on a Grapefruit League game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Phillies and he was terrific. Unlike some team broadcasters, it was evident that he had done his research on the other guys, too, something that turned it into an enjoyable watching/listening experience. Unfortunately, he doesn’t supply analysis on every telecast.


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “New idea nominated for instant oblivion: Farhan Zaidi’s support for the concept of making all MLB games seven innings. The Giants’ president of baseball operations pitched the idea in an interview on KNBR. That’s the worst solution to a problem since the bleach ‘cure’ for coronavirus.”


Two headlines that stood out to Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times . . .

At TheOnion.com: Nelson Agholor signs 2-year, 23-drop contract with Patriots.

At Fark.com: NFL owners approve increased profits for NFL owners.


Owls


There were seven games in the WHL’s developmental season on Saturday. Some highlights . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the last five goals in beating the visiting Red Deer Rebels, 5-1. . . . The Oil Kings (10-1-0) had won 9-2 in Red Deer on Friday night. . . . The Rebels (2-7-2) have lost four in a row. . . . Edmonton D Logan Dowhaniuk, who had a six-point outing on Friday, had one assist. His six points tied a club record for most points in a game — F Jordan Hickmott had three goals and three assists in a 9-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats on Dec. 13, 2010. . . . On Saturday, F Liam Keeler had a goal, his third, and two assists. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Pats in Regina. . . . F Jakin Smallwood’s ninth goal of the season gave the Ice (8-4-0) a 3-0 lead at 18:49 of the second period. . . . F Carson Denomie got No. 11 for the Pats (4-6-2), who got two more assists from F Connor Bedard, both via the PP. . . .

F Brett Kemp scored at 4:43 of OT to give the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers a 6-5 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Kemp, who has seven goals, scored twice for the Tigers (9-3-0) as they won their fifth straight. . . . The Hitmen now are 5-6-2. . . . F Adam Kidd (4) scored twice for Calgary. . . . Each team scored three times in the first period and twice in the third. . . .

D Luke Zazula’s first goal of the season, just 18 seconds into OT, gave the host Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . F Samuel Huo, who drew the primary assist on the winner, also had goal, his fifth, for the Americans (3-4-0). He scored while shorthanded. . . . The Chiefs are 0-4-2. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips opened up a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . D Olen Zellweger scored his second goal, added an assist and was plus-4 for the Silvertips (7-1-0). . . . D Jackson Berezowski (2) had a goal and two assists for the winners, who got 33 stops from G Dustin Wolf, who is 6-1-0, 0.71, .975. . . . Portland (4-2-2) had won its previous two games. . . .

F Ozzy Wiesblatt had three assists to help the Prince Albert Raiders end a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in Regina. . . . The Raiders improved to 4-6-2 with what was the 549th regular-season victory of head coach Marc Habscheid’s WHL career. That moved him into sole possession of sixth place on the league’s all-time list, one ahead of Ernie (Punch) McLean. Mike Williamson is fifth on that list, at 572. . . . F Justin Nachbaur added a goal, his third, and two assists for the Raiders. . . . The Broncos slipped to 3-8-1. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers outshot the Victoria Royals 52-19 but had to go to OT to post a 4-3 victory in Kelowna. . . . The Blazers (4-0-0) are the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams not to have lost in regulation time. . . . The Royals (0-3-1) are one of two teams — Spokane is the other — with a regulation-time victory. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 48 shots for the Royals, who were outshot 23-3 in the third period. . . . F Logan Stankoven, back in the Blazers’ lineup after a one-game absence with an undisclosed injury, had two goals and two assists. He notched the winner at 1:39 on the only shot of OT. . . . Stankoven has five goals and three assists in three games. . . . F Orin Centazzo (1) had a goal and two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Brayden Schuurman scored his first two career goals for Victoria.


Ex


——

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.


KFC

Hey, WHL, fans are waiting on 18 rosters. . . . Nine WHLers on Team Canada. . . . Hitmen sign two import forwards

MacBeth

F Tyler Redenbach (Prince George, Swift Current, Lethbridge, 2001-05) signed a one-year contract with the Oji Eagles Tomakomai (Japan, Asia HL). Last season, with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had nine goals and nine assists in 50 games. . . .

F Chase Clayton (Calgary, Saskatoon, 2010-15) signed a one-year contract with Blue Devils Weiden (Germany, Oberliga Süd). Last season, in 27 games with U of British Columbia (USports, Canada West), he had eight goals and four assists.


ThisThat

Guy Flaming, the host of The Pipeline Show, chatted with Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, on July 4. Part of that conversation — a partial transcript of which is right here — included this:

Flaming: One of the questions that came in from a listener was about the updated roster pages on the WHL website. It’s something I’ve mentioned over the last couple of years as well. Right now, if I go to the QMJHL website, I can pull up a roster for a respective team, Halifax, whatever, and see every player that that team holds the rights to. If I go to the WHL website and I look at the Calgary Hitmen, Jett Woo isn’t even listed on their roster and, in fact, the roster page is blank for the 2019 pre-season. Why is that and how can we fix that moving forward because, I think you’d agree, that it would be advantageous for the fans at least to generate interest by seeing all the players that a team holds the rights to?

Robison: Well, I think that that is a very good question and I’m glad you brought it to my attention. I’ll certainly look into that. I think it’s important that we keep current rosters. Not quite sure why that would be the case but I will certainly look into it and would suggest to you that as long as there’s the ability to do that, that we would certainly have that information posted.

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Well . . . July is about to end, meaning it has been almost four weeks since Flaming and Robison had that conversation.

I checked for pre-season rosters on the WHL website on Monday evening and here is what I found — the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Regina Pats and Victoria Royals have rosters available.

As for the other 18 teams . . . crickets!

So the next time you hear the commissioner of all things WHL talking about how important fans are, well . . .

I mean, sheesh, we’re talking about pre-season rosters here. Not the contract terms of all 22 head coaches, or how much players are being paid, or how much the WHL is paying in legal fees these days.

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BTW, Robison’s response to Flaming’s first question — he asked for two or three highlights from the past 12 months — had me spitting out my coffee. I’m thinking the good folks of Prince Albert would have done the same. . . . One of Robison’s highlights was the Raiders having won the 2018-19 WHL championship:

“What a good news story that is,” Robison said, “and it really helped solidify that franchise moving forward, because as you’re well aware, in the smaller markets, there’s challenges and certainly in Prince Albert we need a new facility and the timing couldn’t have been better for their run in the WHL playoffs and winning the championship.”

Hey, Prince Albert, you have been forewarned. Time to start saving your pennies for a new arena.

Quit snickering, Swift Current, because you’ll be up next.


There are nine WHLers on the 22-man roster for the Canadian team that will play in the CanadaHlinka Gretzky Cup that runs from Aug. 5-10 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia. . . . The roster was revealed Tuesday after a five-day selection camp in Calgary. . . . Here are the WHL players named to the team: F Ozzy Wiesblatt, Prince Albert Raiders; F Justin Sourdif, Vancouver Giants; F Ridly Greig, Brandon Wheat Kings; F Connor McClennon, Winnipeg Ice; F Jake Neighbours, Edmonton Oil Kings; F Seth Jarvis, Portland Winterhawks; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; D Kaiden Guhle, Prince Albert; and G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers. . . . WHLers who were in camp but weren’t selected: F Jakob Brook, Prince Albert; F Kyle Crnkovic, Saskatoon Blades; F Jack Finley, Spokane Chiefs; F Ryder Korczak, Moose Jaw; D Tyrel Bauer, Seattle Thunderbirds; D Luke Prokop, Calgary Hitmen; and D Ronan Seeley, Everett Silvertips. . . . Canada will open against Finland on Monday in Breclav. . . . Michael Dyck, Vancouver’s head coach, is the head coach of Canada’s team, with Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, one of the assistant coaches.


The Calgary Hitmen have signed Czech F Jonas Peterek, 18, and Slovakian F Samuel Krajc, Calgary17, both of whom were picked in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. . . . Peterek had two goals and seven assists in nine games with HC Ocelari Trinec’s U-19 team last season, then added two goals and nine assists in 41 games on loan to HC Frydek-Mistek (Czech2). He also had five goals and eight assists in 29 games with his country’s U-18 side. . . . Krajc had eight goals and six assists in 14 games with HK Dukla Trencin’s U-18 team, and also had 11 goals and eight assists in 27 games with the U-20 side. In seven games with Slovakia’s U-18 team, he had two goals and an assist.


Leland Mack has joined the Prince George Cougars has their head scout in the Pacific PrinceGeorgeRegion. He is the head coach of the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. Mack had been scouting for the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars also have added Tim Mills, David Reekie, Rob Rogers and Trevor Sprague to their scouting staff. . . . Mills moves over from the Swift Current Broncos and will be the Cougars’ Okanagan scout. . . . Reekie, a goaltender in his playing days who suited up with the Regina Pats and Everett Silvertips (2004-07), will work Regina and southern Saskatchewan for the Cougars. . . . Rogers, who had been working with the Spokane Chiefs, will focus on B.C. . . . Sprague, the general manager of the major midget Cariboo Cougars, will keep an eye on the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and northern B.C.


Taking Note has been told that F Patrick D’Amico, who played three seasons (2012-15) with the Regina Pats, won’t be playing in 2019-20 because of concussion issues. A Winnipegger, he has played four seasons in the ECHL, with the Colorado Eagles, Atlanta Gladiators, Indy Fuel and Norfolk Admirals. Last season, he had seven goals and 10 assists in 28 games. . . . In 2017-18, he had 10 goals and 23 assists in 55 games with Norfolk.


Greg Wyshynski of ESPN has taken an in-depth look at the NHL and its fighting numbers. NHL. . . “In 1,271 regular-season games in 2018-19,” he writes, “there were 224 fights in which at least one player received a fighting major. That’s down from 280 fights in 2017-18.” . . . Also: ”The rate for 2018-19 was 0.18 fights per game, which marks the first time that the average fights per game has dropped below 0.20.” . . . And: “In 2018-19, 15.3% of regular-season games had a fight. In 2008-09, that number was 41.4%.” . . . Let’s compare a couple of those numbers to the WHL’s 2018-19 season, using numbers available at hockeyfights.com. In 748 regular-season WHL games, there were 272 fights in which at least one player received a fighting major. (That number was 345 in 2017-18, when each team played 72 games; last season, each team played 68 games.) The rate for 2018-19 was 0.36 fights per game, down from 0.44 in 2017-18. . . . Yes, there are more fights in the WHL than in the NHL these days. . . . Wyshynski’s complete story is right here.


JUST NOTES:

Dan MacKenzie has signed on as the first full-time president of the Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella under which the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League operate. . . . MacKenzie, who spent the past eight years as the managing director of NBA Canada, will report to the CHL executive council which comprises the three commissioners of the aforementioned leagues — David Branch (OHL), Gilles Courteau (QMJHL) and Ron Robison (WHL). As well as being the OHL commissioner, Branch had been the CHL president since 1996. . . . There is a complete news release right here. . . .

F Sebastian Streu, who will turn 20 on Nov. 22, has signed a tryout agreement with Eisbären  Berlin (Germany, DEL), meaning that he won’t be returning to the Regina Pats. Streu, who has German/Canadian citizenship, had seven goals and 15 assists in 36 games with Regina last season. . . . Streu’s father, Craig, is preparing for his first season as an assistant coach with Eisbären  Berlin. . . . The Pats are left with three 20s on their roster — F Robbie Holmes, F Dawson Holt and F Austin Pratt.


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Tracey nets two more for Canada. . . . Scott, Wiesblatt help Raiders to victory. . . . Hardy sparks Giants; Chiefs lose Smith

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F Roman Horák (Chilliwack, 2009-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Växjö (Sweden, SHL). This season, he had 15 goals and 18 assists in 50 games.


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F Brayden Tracey of the Moose Jaw Warriors scored twice and added an assist on Friday Canadato help Canada to a 7-4 victory over Switzerland at the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Umea, Sweden. . . . The tournament, which runs through April 28, also is being played in Ornskoldsvik. . . . Tracey had scored twice on Thursday as Canada skated to a 5-3 victory over Finland as the tournament began. . . . On Friday, Canada got a goal and an assist from each of F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice) and F Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers). F Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) also scored for Canada. . . . G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stopped 17 shots in his second straight start. . . . Canada led 3-0 and 4-3 by period. . . . Canada will next play on Sunday when it is to meet Belarus.

In other Friday games, Team USA dumped Slovakia, 12-5, behind four goals from each of F Cole Caufield, who has seven in two games, and F Jack Hughes; Sweden beat Latvia, 5-2; and Belarus surprised Finland, 4-3, despite being outshot 29-3 in the third period. F Yegor Buyalski of the Warriors had a goal and an assist for Belarus.


The NCAA has announced a series of rule changes regarding the does and don’ts of recruiting that will impact Division I men’s hockey. . . . Here’s Mike G. Morale of nhl.com: “The new legislation, which will go into effect May 1, calls for no recruiting conversations until Jan. 1 of a player’s sophomore (grade 10) school year, as well as no verbal offers (commitments) made to a player until Aug. 1 before the player’s junior (grade 11) school year. Under the old guidelines, players could initiate communication at any time, and verbal offers could be made anytime.” . . . Morreale’s story is right here.

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With the rule changes not kicking in until May 1, there may well be a few young players making verbal commitments between now and then. . . . On Friday, F Tanner Ludtke, a 14-year-old from Elko, Minn., announced via Twitter that he has committed to the U of Nebraska-Omaha and will join the Mavericks for the 2023-24 season. . . . This season, he had 30 goals and 33 assists in 46 games with the Lakeville South bantam AA club. . . .

Meanwhile, F Brett Moravec, 16, has committed to the U of Wisconsin Badgers. Moravec, from Airdrie, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had 13 goals and 23 assists in 32 games with the prep team at the Edge School in Calgary.


The Battlefords North Stars wrapped up the SJHL championship on Friday night, beating the visiting Melfort Mustangs, 7-2. . . . The North Stars won the series and the Canalta Cup, 4-1, and now will meet the MJHL-champion, either the Portage Terriers or the Swan Valley Stampeders, for the ANAVET Cup. The MJHL champion will be decided on Monday when the teams meet in Game 7 in Portage la Prairie. . . . Last night, Battlefords got two goals from each of F Macgregor Sinclair, Quintin Loon-Stewardson and F Braydon Buziak. . . . They also got 32 saves from G Joel Grzybowski.


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NOTES: The WHL playoffs resumed on Friday night as each of the conference finals got started. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders opened the Eastern Conference final at home with a 1-0 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings, who hadn’t played since eliminating the Calgary Hitmen on April 10. The Raiders won their series with the Saskatoon Blades on April 14. . . .

In the Western Conference, the Vancouver Giants got started with a 4-1 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Langley. . . . The Giants had been idle since finishing off the Victoria Royals on April 11. The Chiefs eliminated the Everett Silvertips on April 13.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott recorded the shutout and F Ozzy Wiesblatt scored the game’s only goal as the PrinceAlbertPrince Albert Raiders opened the Eastern Conference final with a 1-0 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert tonight. . . . Wiesblatt (4) scored at 1:48 of the second period, his backhand shot bouncing past G Dylan Myskiw after hitting the stick belonging to Edmonton D Wyatt McLeod. . . . Wiesblatt had scored three goals in the Raiders’ first four games of these playoffs; this goal ended a six-game drought. . . . Scott blocked 26 shots, and was superb in a third period in which his guys were outshot 11-3. . . . In these playoffs, Scott is 9-2, 1.64, .934 with two shutouts. . . . Myskiw finished with 23 saves. . . . Edmonton was 0-2 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-4. . . . The Raiders are 6-0 at home in the playoffs. . . . The Oil Kings went into the game having won their previous four road games. . . . F Cole Fonstad was back in the Raiders’ lineup after missing the last two games of their six-game series victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . F Justin Nachbaur of the Raiders sat out as he completed a two-game suspension.


F Owen Hardy scored once and added two assists to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-1 Vancouvervictory over the Spokane Chiefs in Langley, B.C. . . . It was Game 1 of the Western Conference final. Game 2 will be played tonight in Langley. . . . The Giants took control with two goals 2:12 apart early in the first period. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky (4) opened the scoring, on a PP, at 6:25, and F Dawson Holt (3) made it 2-0 at 8:37. . . . Hardy (4) upped the lead to 3-0 just 57 seconds into the second period. . . . The Chiefs got their goal at 5:30 as F Adam Beckman (6) scored. . . . D Bowen Byram (5) put it away for the Giants with an empty-netter at 18:06 of the third period. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck earned the victory with 30 saves, four more than Spokane’s Bailey Brkin. . . . The Giants continued to play without F Aidan Barfoot, who is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Spokane F Luc Smith left the game early in the first period after falling into the boards. He didn’t return. If he has to miss any time it will be a big loss for the Chiefs. At 6-foot-4, he’s a big body and as a 20-year-old he brings a lot of experience to their lineup. After being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers this season, he had 20 goals and 14 assists in 42 games. He went into this series with four goals and an assist in 10 games.


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