Will McCrimmon stay, or will he go? . . . Another hall beckons Ridley. . . . Broncos explain broadcast plans

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It seems most likely that Bob Nicholson, the Edmonton Oilers’ CEO who is searching for a general manager, will chat with Kelly McCrimmon one of these days.

McCrimmon, who owns the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, is in his third season as the Oilersassistant general manager of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

Here’s Robin Brownlee of oilersnation.com: “The bottom line in job interviews has the prospective employer asking candidates — either directly or by nibbling around the edges — ‘Tell me why we should hire you?’ If I was in McCrimmon’s shoes and staring across the table at Nicholson, I’d be asking, ‘So, tell me why I should work for you?’ If it goes like that, and I suspect that it will, Nicholson had better have his fastball ready.” (Brownlee’s latest is right here.)

So, if this scenario plays out, will McCrimmon end up in Edmonton? Or will he move on to the expansion franchise in Seattle? Or will he stay put?

Time, of course, will tell, but history tells me that McCrimmon may just stay in Vegas and continue to work alongside general manager George McPhee.

Why do I lean that way?

Because McCrimmon, now 58, has a history of wanting to see things through. And after the way the Golden Knights’ season ended on Tuesday night, he may just want to stay there and play it out, something he has done a time or two.

As the 1980s turned into the ’90s, McCrimmon was the Wheat Kings’ general manager and head coach, having taken over as the latter when Doug Sauter took ill during the 1989-90 season.

He later gave up — temporarily, as it turned out — coaching duties to focus on reshaping the organization’s way of doing business. Back then, the Wheat Kings often scrambled just to get into the playoffs, only to be bounced early. By 1992-93, McCrimmon, the GM, owned one-third of the franchise and the reshaping was in high gear. A team that had won only 11 games in 1991-92 put up 43 victories in 1993-94. That was the start of seven straight seasons with at least 39 victories and included three trips to the WHL final and one championship. McCrimmon had surrounded himself with good people and they had turned a once-faltering franchise into one of the best in all of the CHL.

Fast forward to the summer of 2015. The Wheat Kings, with McCrimmon now owner, GM and head coach, were coming off a season in which they went 53-11-8, only to lose out in the WHL final. Then, in May, the Toronto Maple Leafs came calling as they searched for an assistant GM.

By early June there were reports that the Leafs had made an offer to McCrimmon, who had become the Wheat Kings’ sole owner in 2000. As tempted as McCrimmon was to join the Leafs, he chose to stay in Brandon. Why? Because he had overseen the building of the Wheat Kings into a championship contender and he felt he owed it to the players he had drafted and recruited to see it through.

In 2015-16, the Wheat Kings were 48-18-6, and then went on a 16-5 run as they won the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champs.

On Aug. 2, 2016, the Golden Knights announced that they had hired McCrimmon as assistant GM. His fingerprints are all over the organization, including the hirings of Vaughn Karpan as director of player personnel, Bob Lowes as assistant director of player personnel and scouts like Kelly Kisio, Bruno Campese and Erin Ginnell.

You can bet that McCrimmon had a lot to do with the February acquisition and subsequent signing of forward Mark Stone, too. He had played four seasons in Brandon after being a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2007 bantam draft.

For all of those reasons, then, McCrimmon just may choose to stay with the Golden Knights, who were in the Stanley Cup final as an expansion team just one year ago.

He has had a hand in all of it and just may want to be an active part of wherever it goes.

Or . . . maybe not!


The semifinals are set at the IIHF U-18 World Championship that is being played in CanadaOrnskoldsvik and Umea, Sweden. . . . Team Canada got past Latvia, 3-1, in Umea on Thursday, and now will travel to Ornskoldsvik to play the host Swedes on Saturday. . . . D Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings) gave Canada a 1-0 first-period lead, with F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice) being credited with the 2-0 goal after a Latvian defender scored an own goal on an attempted clearance. . . . Krebs later added an empty-netter. . . . Schneider added an assist to his goal, with F Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers) and F Brayden Tracey (Moose Jaw Warriors) each earning one assist. . . . G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) recorded the victory. . . . Sweden advanced with a 4-2 victory over Czech Republic. . . .

On the other side of the draw, Russia blanked Belarus, 6-0, and Team USA, behind three goals from F Jack Hughes and one from F Cole Caufield, dumped Finland, 6-0. Hughes now has eight goals and eight assists, while Caufield has scored 12 times. . . . Team USA and Russia will meet in a semifinal game on Saturday, also in Ornskoldsvik.

In Game 1 of the best-of-three relegation round, Switzerland dumped Slovakia, 4-1.

The tournament is scheduled to end on Sunday.


Just call him Bob (Hall of Fame) Ridley. . . . Ridley, the only play-by-play voice the Medicine Hat Tigers have had, will be inducted into the Western Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Banff on June 6. The WAB made that announcement on Thursday. . . . Earlier, it was announced that Ridley will be going into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony in Canmore on July 21. . . . He already is a member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. . . . Ridley has been with CHAT in Medicine Hat since 1968 and has been the voice of the Tigers since they entered the WHL for the 1970-71 season. . . . In all that time, he has missed only one game; legend has it that he was assigned to cover a women’s curling event in which the boss’s wife was playing. . . . Including regular-season and playoffs, he has called the play of 3,931 games involving the Tigers. . . . Ridley also drove the team’s bus until a couple of seasons ago. For some reason, he hasn’t yet been inducted into a bus drivers’ hall of fame. . . . There is more right here on the WAB honour, including ticket information.


If you have ever wanted to own a hockey team, well, this just might be your lucky day. . . . A tip of the Taking Note fedora to a regular reader for sending this along and, yes, it’s legit. . . . And, no, this isn’t a paid advertisement. . . .

 

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Games involving the Tri-City Americans will be heard on NewsTalk 870 KFLD for two more seasons after the WHL team and Townsquare Media announced a new two-year deal on Thursday. . . . Tri-City’s home-and-away games have been on the station since the 2000-01 season. . . . Craig West, the American’s vice-president of sponsorship sales/broadcasting, is the team’s radio voice.


The Swift Current Broncos revealed earlier this month that they are abandoning the SCBroncostraditional role of having their games on conventional radio, and moving to a model that includes streaming broadcasts. . . . On Thursday, they issued a lengthy news release explaining their new approach. . . . When the news broke earlier in the month, someone familiar with the situation told Taking Note that a “major hang up is broadcast rights/revenue sharing.” In other words, the Broncos were wanting Golden West Radio, the rights holder, to cough up some money, something that apparently wasn’t going to happen. . . . The Broncos’ news release that was issued on Thursday includes this: “The previous model of broadcasting did not provide the Broncos organization with the positive economic impact that sports broadcast rights at our level is expected to provide. By managing our own broadcasting and establishing a business model that leverages our full-time employees’ skill sets and abilities, we will be able to generate a positive financial benefit that will contribute to the long-term financial strength of our organization.” . . . That pretty much explains it all. . . . The complete news release is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades have made some moves on the business side of their organization. Saskatoon. . . Colin Priestner, who just completed his third season as the team’s general manager, now is the president and GM. He will, according to a news release, “oversee all operations . . . in both the hockey and business departments.” . . . Steve Hogle, who had been the president, now is senior advisor. He remains as the Blades’ alternate governor. (Mike Priestner, the team’s owner, is the governor.) . . . Hogle, according to the news release, also “is taking on additional duties with the Blades’ parent company, Go Auto.” . . . Tyler Wawryk, the team’s communications manager for three seasons, has been promoted to director of business operations. . . . Cliff Mapes, who had been vice-president of business, no longer is with the Blades. . . . The complete news release is right here.


George Cochrane has been named the combines manager for the Okanagan Hockey Group, where he will work with Jason Wild, the manager of combines operations. . . . Cochrane had been the head coach of the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association from 2006-17. He left that position to join BC Hockey as manager of programs at their Okanagan Regional Centre. This season, he also was the general manager for the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . There is a complete news release right here.


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NOTES: The Vancouver Giants get their first chance at advancing to the WHL championship final tonight when they entertain the Spokane Chiefs in Langley, B.C. The Giants hold a 3-1 edge in the Western Conference final, after F Dawson Holt scored at 7:07 of OT to give them a 4-3 victory in Spokane on Wednesday night. . . . Holt has three goals and two assists in the four games with the Chiefs. He has five goals and seven assists in 14 playoff games after totalling six goals and 13 assists in 53 regular-season games. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia has more on Holt and this series right here. . . . The Giants haven’t been in the WHL final since the spring of 2007 when they lost a seven-game series to the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Giants were the host team for the Memorial Cup that year and went on to win it all. . . .

The Eastern Conference final also resumes tonight as the Edmonton Oil Kings meet the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . The series is tied, 2-2, after the Raiders skated to a 2-1 victory in Edmonton on Wednesday night. These teams will return to Edmonton for Game 6 on Sunday afternoon.


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Ex-Blazers head coach has new gig. . . . Loschiavo sparks Oil Kings’ win. . . . McGrew’s OT goal puts Chiefs in front


MacBeth

F Dwight King (Lethbridge, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 10 goals and 32 assists in 54 games.


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Well . . . that didn’t take long.

Serge Lajoie wasn’t out of work for two weeks after he and the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers made what both parties contend was a mutual decision to go their separate ways on April 11.

On Tuesday, Lajoie, who spent one season as the Blazers’ head coach, was named head coach of OHA Edmonton’s midget prep team.

Before signing on with the Blazers, Lajoie spent three seasons as the head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears and five years with the NAIT Ooks.

With OHA Edmonton, Lajoie will take over from Randall Weber, who spent one season as the midget prep team’s head coach and now is the program’s general manager.

The Blazers, meanwhile, have yet to name a new head coach.


Team Canada completed round-robin play at the IIHF U-18 World Championship on Tuesday, erasing a 2-0 deficit and beating Czech Republic, 6-2, at Umea, Sweden. . . . CanadaCanada (4-0) finished on top of Group A and will meet Latvia, the fourth-place team in Group B, in a quarter-final game on Thursday. . . .

The tournament, which is being played in Ornskoldsvik and Umea, Sweden, concludes on Sunday. . . .

In yesterday’s victory, G Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) stopped 23 shots in his second straight start for Canada. . . . .F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice) scored once, and F Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) had an assist. . . . There were three WHLers in Czech Republic’s lineup — D Simon Kubicek (Seattle Thunderbirds), F Martin Lang (Kamloops Blazers) and F Matej Taman (Prince George Cougars). . . .

In other games on Tuesday, Team USA dumped Latvia, 7-1; Finland dropped Switzerland, 12-0; and Sweden blanked Russia, 3-0. . . .

F Cole Caufield scored two goals for the Americans, giving him a tournament-leading 11. That is three shy of the tournament record set by Russian F Alex Ovechkin in 2002. . . . Caufield leads the tournament with 13 points, while teammate Jack Hughes, who had two assists yesterday, has 12. The tournament record is held by Russian F Nikita Kucherov, who put up 21 in 2011. . . .

Where do things go from here?

For starters, Switzerland finished the round-robin at 1-3 — the victory came in OT — and will meet Slovakia (0-4) in the best-of-three relegation round that opens on Thursday. Slovakia is the only one of the 10 teams not have won a round-robin game.

As mentioned, Canada and Latvia will meet in one quarter-final in Umea, with the winner playing the winner of a game between Sweden (3-1) and Czech Republic (2-2) in Ornskoldsvik. Sweden wound up second in Group B, while Czech Republic was third in Group A. . . On the other side of the draw, it’ll be Team USA (4-0), first in Group B, against Finland (1-3), fourth in Group B, in Ornskoldsvik, and Belarus (3-1), second in Group A, versus Russia (2-2), third in Group B, in Umea. . . .

Interestingly, Team USA and Finland met in the tournament’s championship game in 2015, 2017 and 2018 — the Americans won the first two, with Finland winning last year.


The Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella under which the Ontario Hockey League, CHLQuebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League operate, has never employed a full-time president.

That is about to change.

The CHL, which encompasses 60 teams, announced on Tuesday that it has hired “an outside firm” to search for its first president. David Branch, the OHL commissioner, has been the CHL’s president since 1996, but it’s a part-time gig for him.

The late Ed Chynoweth was the CHL president from 1975-95, while also filling the role of WHL president.

A new president will report to Branch, Gilles Courteau, the president of the QMJHL, and Ron Robison, the WHL’s commissioner.

The CHL hopes to have a new president in place before the start of the 2019-20 season.


The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders have signed F Ty Mueller, 16, to a letter of intent for 2019-20. Mueller, from Cochrane, Alta., played this season with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons. As a 15-year-old, he put up 10 goals and 24 assists in 34 games. . . . He has committed to the U of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks for 2022-23. . . . The Prince George Cougars selected Mueller in the third round of the 2018 WHL bantam draft.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL’s conference finals both will go at least five games. . . .

The Edmonton Oil Kings won at home on Tuesday night, beating the Prince Albert Raiders, 5-1, to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference final. Game 4 will be played in Edmonton tonight, with Game 5 in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . .

In Spokane, the Chiefs beat the Vancouver Giants, 3-2 in OT, and now trail 2-1 in the Western Conference final. They’ll play again tonight in Spokane. with Game 5 scheduled for Langley, B.C., on Friday night.

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Vince Loschiavo scored two goals and set up another to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to EdmontonOilKingsa 5-1 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Edmonton tonight. . . . This was the Raiders’ worst loss of the season. They suffered 10 regulation-time losses in the regular season — four by one goal, three by two and three by three. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (6) opened the scoring as he got loose off the left wing and went in alone to score at 1:27. . . . D Conner McDonald (2) made it 2-0 at 9:48, scoring shortly after Raiders F Zack Hayes had hit a post at the other end. . . . Loschiavo (7) wired a shot from the left dot, on a PP, at 14:48 for a 3-0 lead. . . . Loschiavo’s linemates combined for five assists — F Trey Fix-Wolansky drew an assist on each of the first three goals, with F Quinn Benjafield in on two of them. . . . D Matthew Robertson (4) made it 4-0 when he scored through a screen from high in the slot at 18:54. . . . The Raiders’ goal came from F Sean Montgomery (8), on a PP, with 0.3 seconds left in the period. . . . Edmonton F Josh Williams (2) completed the scoring, on a PP, at 16:05 of the third period. . . . Edmonton was 2-5 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-3. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 28 saves. In these playoffs, he now is 7-3, 1.79, .927. . . . The Raiders got 34 stops from G Ian Scott.

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F Jake McGrew’s goal in OT gave the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the visiting SpokaneChiefsVancouver Giants. . . . Vancouver leads the Western Conference final, 2-1, with Game 4 in Spokane tonight. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Eli Zummack (4) gave Spokane a 1-0 lead when he scored off a rebound at 17:40 of the second period. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif (1) tied it when he broke in off the right wing and scored at 2:22 of the third period. . . . F Luke Toporowski (6) put Spokane out front 2-1 when he scored off the rush at 10:51. . . . The Giants forced OT when F Jared Dmytriw (7) scored on a PP at 17:01. He actually put the puck off a skate belonging to Chiefs D Filip Kral and into the net. . . . McGrew won it with his second goal of these playoffs, at 8:51 of extra time, taking a centring pass from D Bobby Russell and whacking home the winning goal. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Spokane was 0-1. . . . G Bailey Brkin blocked 27 shots for the Chiefs, while David Tendeck turned aside 35 at the other end. . . . Kral missed some time in the first period and into the second after taking a hit from Sourdif behind the Chiefs’ net. He returned in the second period and finished the game. . . . The Chiefs again were without F Luc Smith, 20, who hasn’t played since leaving Game 1 after suffering an apparent ankle injury early in the first period.


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Habscheid: It was open season on our goaltender. . . . Lauer: We need to do more of that. . . . Cozens helps Canada stay unbeaten


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F Todd Fiddler (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Spokane, Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2009-14) has signed a one-year contract with Neuilly-sur-Marne (France, Division 1). This season, with the Rosetown Red Wings (Allan Cup Hockey West), he had three goals and six assists in 10 games.


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OK. The WHL’s Eastern Conference final officially became a series after Game 2. The Edmonton Oil Kings tied the series, 1-1, with a 4-3 OT victory over the Raiders in Prince EdChynowethCupAlbert on Saturday night.

When the game was over, Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ veteran head coach, pointed out what he felt were some deficiencies in the work of referees Mike Langin and Steve Papp when it came to protecting his goaltender, Ian Scott, from on-rushing Oil Kings.

Brad Lauer, the Oil Kings’ first-year head coach, said his guys need to get to the Prince Albert crease even more than they did in Game 2.

“One thing that concerned me a little bit was it was open season on our goaltender,” Habscheid told reporters. “We depend on the officials to defend our goaltender, because we have no recourse anymore these days. He was getting bumped and stuck and ran all game. We expect them to take care of that and they didn’t. That was real disappointing.”

As for Lauer, he said:

“Their (defencemen) do a really good job getting into (you). They box you out early and they tie you up. We found it really tough in Game 1 to get in front of the net. . . . We had to find ways to get to him and make things difficult for him. We did it a couple times. Did we do it enough? I don’t think so. We need to do more of that and create that second or third opportunity. If we do that, we’ll be okay.”

Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com has a story right here.

Derek Van Diest of Postmedia has a game story right here.

The series resumes with Games 3 and 4 in Edmonton on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.




The Western Conference final also will continue with games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights as the Vancouver Giants take a 2-0 lead over the Chiefs into Spokane. . . . The Chiefs have lost two games in a row for the first time since mid-February when they lost three in a row — 5-4 to the Giants in Langley, B.C., 7-5 to the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., and 4-3 in OT to the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . After those losses, Spokane closed out the regular season on a 10-2-0 run, then opened the playoffs by going 8-2 before losing twice to the Giants. . . .

A key in this series may well be the status of Spokane F Luc Smith, who left Game 1 early in the first period with an apparent ankle injury. Here’s Kevin Dudley of the Spokane Spokesman-Review after Game 2: “The Chiefs were without forward Luc Smith, who was hurt early in Game 1. (Spokane head coach Dan) Lambert said there is no update and they are waiting for Smith to see the team doctors. Smith was walking with a visible limp outside the Spokane dressing room.”


Team Canada ran its record to 3-0 at the IIHF U-18 World Championship by whipping CanadaBelarus, 11-1, on Sunday in Umea, Sweden. . . . F Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) led Canada with two goals and three assists, with F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice) adding a goal and an assist. F Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers) and D Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings) each scored once. F Daemon Hunt and F Brayden Tracey, both of the Moose Jaw Warriors, each had an assist. . . . G Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) stopped 41 shots in his first start of the tournament. . . . Belarus now is 2-1. . . . Canada is next scheduled to play on Tuesday against Czech Republic. . . .

In Sunday’s other Group A game, Czech Republic improved to 2-1 with a 4-2 victory over Finland (0-3). . . . In Group B, Team USA went to 3-0 with a 6-3 victory over Russia (2-1), and Sweden went to 2-1 with a 5-1 victory over Slovakia (0-3). . . .

On Monday, Switzerland (0-2) is to meet Belarus in a Group A game, while, in Group B, Latvia (0-2) will meet Slovakia (0-3).

The tournament, in Umea and Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, runs through April 28.


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NHL Central Scouting likes WHLers. . . . Former Pats sniper dead at 42. . . . BCHL coach of the year makes move


MacBeth

F Milan Bartovič (Brandon, Tri-City, 1999-2001) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). An alternate captain, he had 15 goals and 25 assists in 54 games this season. . . .

F Kris Foucault (Swift Current, Kootenay, Calgary, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). This season, with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL), he had five goals and two assists in seven gams. He missed most of the season after suffering a concussion. . . .

F Dustin Johner (Seattle, 1999-2004) announced his retirement via his Twitter account. This season, with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite), he had 23 goals and 23 assists in 58 games. . . .

F Jordan Knackstedt (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dresden (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 21 goals and 50 assists in 41 games. He led his team in assists and points. He was second in the league in assists and fourth in points.


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NHL Central Scouting issued its final rankings prior to the 2019 draft and three of the top whlfive-rated North American skaters are out of the WHL. . . . D Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants moved from No. 4 in the midseason rankings to No. 2. F Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades is at No. 3, and F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is ranked fifth. . . . F Jack Hughes of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program U-18 team is the top-ranked North American skater. . . . Central Scouting has seven NTDP skaters rated as potential first-round picks. . . . F Kaapo Kakko of TPS in Finland is atop the list of international skaters. . . . All told there are 50 WHLers in the final rankings. . . . The draft is scheduled for Rogers Arena in Vancouver, June 21 and 22. . . . There is more on the rankings right here.


F Riley Sutter of the Everett Silvertips has joined the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of Everettthe NHL’s Washington Capitals. Sutter, who will turn 20 on Oct. 25, was a third-round pick by the Capitals in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . This season, Sutter had 14 goals and 27 assists in 38 games. He missed 37 consecutive games with an undisclosed injury, before returning for Game 3 of a second-round series against the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs won that series in five games. . . . In 204 career regular-season WHL games, Sutter had 137 points, including 60 goals. . . . Hershey is scheduled to open the AHL playoffs on Friday. . . . If you’re wondering, Riley is a member of the famed hockey family. His father, Ron, is one of the Sutter twins and played 19 seasons in the NHL.


Three skaters from the WHL are on the roster for the Czech team that will play in the IIHF U-18 World Championship that is to begin on Thursday. . . . F Martin Lang of the Kamloops Blazers, F Matej Toman of the Prince George Cougars and D Simon Kubicek of the Seattle Thunderbirds are on the final roster that was revealed on Monday. . . . The tournament is to run through April 28 in the Swedish cities of Ornskoldsvik and Umea. . . .

Team Canada won its second pre-tournament game on Monday, beating Russia, 5-4, in Umea. Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), who had three assists in a 6-5 OT victory over Belarus on Sunday, scored twice, one on a penalty shot. F Peyton Krebs (WInnipeg Ice) had two assists. G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stopped 32 shots. . . . Team Canada is to open tournament play on Thursday against Finland.



Joe Martin, the BCHL’s coach of the year for this season, has left the Merritt Centennials AlberniValleyto sign on as the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ general manager and head coach. Martin, 38, spent four seasons as the Centennials’ general manager and head coach. This season, the Centennials were 36-15-4-3 and finished second in the Interior Division. They lost a first-round series, 4-1, to the Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Martin had been with Merritt since signing on as an assistant coach prior to the 2011-12 season. . . . In Alberta Valley, Martin replaces Matt Hughes, who, according to the Bulldogs, “resigned his position from the club by mutual agreement” late in March. . . . Taking Note actually was told by a reliable source on April 4 that “Joe Martin is going to Alberni Valley.” On Friday, that same source told Taking Note: “It’s happening. Joe Martin to Alberni Valley.” . . . That same day, when Bulldogs business manager David Michaud was asked about Martin, his response was: “Joe Martin is under contract with the Merritt Centennials. If you want to write gossip about a man who just gave birth to a newborn have at it. Get better sources or call me.” . . . If Martin was under contract to Merritt on Friday and my source was feeding me gossip, it would seem that the deal between him and the Bulldogs got done in a hurry.


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2020 WJC gold-medal game for less than $27? . . . Nine WHLers to U17 camp. . . . Raiders, Giants draw first blood


MacBeth

F Andrej Kudrna (Vancouver, Red Deer, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 52 games.


ThisThat

Tickets for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship are scheduled to go on sale on 2020WJCApril 24. The tournament is to be held in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, opening on Dec. 26 and concluding on Jan. 5. . . . Ticket prices for the gold-medal game will start at €17.50 — on Friday, Cdn$1 equalled 0.66 Euro; it also equalled 17.07 Czech Koruna. . . . Games will be played in the Ostravar Arena, which has a capacity of 7,800, and the Week Arena in Trinec, with a capacity of 4,200. . . . Ticket prices are the same in both facilities. . . .

From a news release:

“Thanks to the unobstructed sightlines from all seats at both arenas, all tickets are available at a single price level for each game. Tickets for group-stage games are in three price categories — 290 CZK (€11.30), 240 CZK (€9.30) and 140 CZK (€5.40).

“For the same price of 290 CZK (€11.30), tickets to all four quarter-final games will be available in both cities: two in Ostrava and two in Trinec. The last two days of the tournament will take place in Ostrava — the semi-finals and medal games will be played in Ostravar Arena.

“Tickets for both semi-finals will be available for 290 CZK (€11.30), and then fans can watch the bronze-medal game for 350 CZK (€13.60) and the championship final for 450 CZK (€17.50). Tickets for games of the best-of-three relegation series that will also take place at Ostravar Arena will be sold for 90 CZK (€3.50).” . . . About 25 per cent of tickets have been blocked off for the IIHF, teams and media, and for technical purposes. . . .

Tickets will be available online at 2020.worldjuniors.hockey.

In Canadian dollars, a ticket to the gold-medal game will set you back about $26.

The 2019 tournament was held in Victoria and Vancouver. A ticket package for games in Victoria (14 games) started at $399 ($28.50 a game), with a Vancouver package (19 games) starting at $650 ($34.21 a game).

Ticket prices for the 2019 tournament were markedly lower than the 2018 tournament, which was held in Buffalo, and the 2017 event (Montreal/Toronto). Swaths of empty seats at those tournaments resulted in organizers rethinking ticket prices before the 2019 WJC.

(A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Matt Smith — “a long-time reader from Portland who has been living in Prague, Czech Republic, for the past five years” — for steering me to this information. Yes, he will be in attendance at the 2019 WJC “for its entirety.”)


There are nine WHLers among the 23 players invited by Hockey Canada to attend a Canadaselection camp next week prior to the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. . . . That tournament will be held in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, from April 18 through April 28. . . . The 23 Canadian players will gather in Kisakallio, Finland, next week for a training camp prior to two pre-tournament games. The camp will run from Monday through Friday, with exhibition games set for April 14 (Belarus, in Umeå) and April 15 (Russia, in Örnsköldsvik). . . .

The camp roster features three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. . . . The WHLers invited to camp are G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George Cougars; G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers; D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna Rockets; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; F Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw; F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes; F Connor Zary, Kamloops; and F Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg Ice. . . . Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, is an assistant coach with the U18 team. . . . Canada hasn’t won this tournament since 2013.

The training camp roster is right here.


The Spokane Chiefs have extended the contracts of three members of their hockey staff through the 2020-21 season. . . . Joseph Hurley, the team’s athletic trainer and conditioning coach, is finishing up his second season with the Chiefs. He also has worked with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and USA Ball Hockey. . . .  Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, began with the Chiefs as a video co-ordinator in 2006-07. He has been in his present full-time position since August 2017. . . . Sports psychologist Jon Hammermeister has been an Eastern Washington U professor since 1999.


D Jared Freadrich of the Portland Winterhawks has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Freadrich, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 15 goals and 33 assists 67 games with Portland this season. . . . He also played with the Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels and Victoria Royals during a WHL career in which he totalled 38 goals and 93 assists in 263 regular-season games.


D Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will spend the remainder of this season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Addison, who will turn 19 on Thursday, was a second-round pick by Pittsburgh in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign with them. . . . This season, his third with Lethbridge, he had 11 goals and 54 assists in 67 games. He added two goals and seven assists in seven playoff games.


D Aaron Hyman, who completed his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. Hyman, who also played with the Calgary Hitmen, Seattle Thunderbirds and Regina Pats, had 16 goals and 66 assists in 232 career regular-season games. . . . This season, he had 10 goals and 40 assists in 68 games as he started with the Pats and finished with the Americans. . . . Hyman played in back-to-back Memorial Cup tournaments — with Seattle and then Regina.


G Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks will finish his season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Hofer, 18, was a fourth-round pick by the Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He started this season with the Swift Current Broncos, before being dealt to Portland. All told, he was 15-29-3, 3.72, .906.


Chris Murray, a former NHL/WHL player, is the new head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Murray, 44, played three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, helping the team to Memorial Cup titles in 1991 and 1994. He went on to a pro career that included stints with the Montreal Canadiens, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. . . . A city firefighter in Kamloops these days, Murray just completed his fifth season as a part-time assistant coach with the WHL Blazers. He also was the head coach of the minor midget Blazers. That position will be filled by Crosby Dorais of Kamloops.


USA Hockey named 23 players — two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 13 forwards — USAhockeyto its U-17 team on Friday. These players, all born in 2003, are expected to join USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and compete as the national U-17 team. The NTDP is a two-year residency program based in Plymouth, Mich. . . . The roster includes two players whose WHL rights belong to the Portland Winterhawks, and one who was drafted by the Prince George Cougars. . . . D Ty Murchison of Corona, Calif., played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U-16 team. The Winterhawks selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with them, nor has he made an NCAA commitment. F Chaz Lucius of Grant, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2021-22. The Winterhawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, Lucius had 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy in St. Paul, Minn. . . . Prince George selected D Aidan Hreschuk of Long Beach, Calif., in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. He also played for the U16 Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Hreschuk has committed to Boston College for 2021-22. . . .

There are a couple of other players on USA Hockey’s U-17 team with WHL connections. . . .  F Tyler Boucher of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the son of former Tri-City Americans G Brian Boucher (1994-97). . . . F Colby Saganiuk of Valencia, Pa., is the grandson of Rocky Saganiuk, who played with the Kamloops Chiefs and Lethbridge Broncos (1975-77) and was the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 1995-96.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: Two second-round series began on Friday night. . . . In Prince Albert, the Raiders got three goals from F Sean Montgomery and a goal and three helpers from F Brett Leason in beating the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday. The first three games of this series are being televised by Sportsnet. . . . In Langley, B.C., G Trent Miner recorded the shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 3-0. They’ll play again tonight in Langley. . . .

The other two series get going tonight, with the Edmonton Oil Kings — the Edmonton Oilers’ logo at centre ice in Rogers Place is gone — playing host to the Calgary Hitmen, and the Spokane Chiefs meeting the Silvertips in Everett.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert duo of F Brett Leason and F Sean Montgomery proved too much in the PrinceAlbertearly going as the Raiders beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades in Game 1 of their second-round series. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday, then head to Saskatoon for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Montgomery and Leason were in on the Raiders’ first three goals. Montgomery scoring twice, with Leason getting a goal and two helpers. Montgomery later completed his first career WHL hat trick. . . . Montgomery (2) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 3:47 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters (2) tied it at 5:24. . . . Leason (3) broke the tie at 12:07, and Montgomery (3) upped the lead to 3-1 at 11:39 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 4-1 when F Parker Kelly (2) scored at 17:42. . . . Montgomery (4) completed his hat trick at 5:51 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Montgomery’s first hat trick came in his 362nd career game — 345 in the regular season and 17 playoff games. . . . It also was Prince Albert’s first three-goal playoff game since F Milan Kraft did it on March 30, 2000. On that night, Kraft scored the game’s last three goals, two of them via the PP, as the Raiders won, 3-2, in Swift Current. F Layne Ulmer had both Swift Current goals. That was Game 1 in a first-round series that the Broncos won, 4-2. . . . Kelly (3) gave the Raiders a 6-1 lead on a PP at 13:40, with Leason earning his third assist, and fourth point, of the night. . . . The Raiders were 2-6 on the PP; the Blades were 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 23 shots for Prince Albert. He is 5-0, 1.60, .925 in these playoffs. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier was beaten five times on 36 shots in 47:04. Koen MacInnes came on in relief to make his WHL debut with the Blades trailing, 5-1. He gave up one goal on three shots. . . . G Dorrin Luding (undisclosed) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. MacInnes, 17, was dressed as Maier’s backup. MacInnes, from Burnaby, B.C., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He played this season for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.


G Trent Miner turned aside 15 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-0 victory over Vancouverthe Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Langley. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Victoria on Tuesday and Thursday. . . . F Davis Koch (2) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 13:44 of the first period, on a PP. . . . Koch, who had a goal and nine assists in the first round, now leads the WHL’s playoff points race, with 11. . . . The Giants went ahead 2-0 at 5:50 of the third period as F Jared Dmytriw (2) scored. . . . F Dawson Holt (2) made it 3-0 with an empty-netter at 18:12. . . . Dmytriw also had an assist, while D Bowen Byram had two. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . Miner, who turned 18 on Feb. 5, was 24-5-2, 1.98, .924, with three shutouts, in the regular season. In the playoffs, he is 3-1, 1.51, .938 as he shares time with David Tendeck. . . . The Royals got 25 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif played for the first time since he was injured late in Game 1 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . As expected, the Giants scratched F Aidan Barfoot. He was injured in Game 4 against Seattle. . . . F Kody McDonald (suspended) and F Kade Oliver (shoulder) were among Victoria’s scratches. Oliver’s season is over.


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Blades win first playoff game since 2011. . . . Addison gets OT goal for Lethbridge. . . . Record night for Outhouse in Victoria

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While 16 teams were preparing to being the WHL playoffs this weekend, the Kootenay Ice were on the move.

Yes, the movers were at Western Financial Place on Friday morning, cleaning out the team’s office and its retail space. The franchise has left Cranbrook, B.C., and now is the Winnipeg Ice.

Meanwhile, the WHL office hit Ice F Peyton Krebs with a one-game suspension after he was hit with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in Sunday’s 5-4 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels.

Because that was the Ice’s final game of this season, Krebs will serve that suspension next season, meaning he will miss the team’s first regular-season game as the Winnipeg Ice.


It turns out that Todd Harkins is not going to the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.

As my once reliable source texted on Friday: “I guess my source was wrong about Harkins.”

Yeah, I guess he was. I apologize to anyone who may have been impacted by what was written here earlier in the week. Seriously. Something like this is my worst nightmare.

St. George’s School, which is based in Vancouver, announced Friday that Harkins has been named its Head of Hockey as of April 1.

From the news release:

“Todd has an extensive background as a player, coach and general manager. He brings a wealth of both on- and off-ice experiences as well as a passion for working with student-athletes. Todd played professionally from 1990–2001 and represented the USA at the World Championships in 1992, 1995 and 1998. He has coached multiple minor hockey teams including — most recently — the bantam varsity team at the West Van Hockey Academy. Todd also was the general manager (four years) and head scout/director of player personnel (one year)” with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars.


EdChynowethCup

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

NOTES: Seven of the WHL’s first-round series began on Friday, with only the Medicine Hat Tigers and Edmonton Oil Kings not playing. They will get started tonight in Edmonton. . . . The other seven series all will resume tonight. . . . Last night, the Saskatoon Blades won a playoff game for the first time since April 3, 2011, when they beat the Raiders, 2-1 in OT, in Prince Albert. F Matej Stransky scored the winner, at 4:24 of OT. . . . Two players — D Jake Lee of the Seattle Thunderbirds and D John Ludvig of the Portland Winterhawks — took majors and game misconducts last night, so may find themselves suspended before tonight’s schedule gets started. . . . G Griffen Outhouse of the Victoria Royals set one franchise record and tied another in a 4-0 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers, who were without F Connor Zary. . . . Read on. . . .

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G Ian Scott turned aside 21 shots to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 3-0 victory over PrinceAlbertthe visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for tonight in Prince Albert. . . . Scott has put up four shutouts over his last six starts. He finished the regular season with eight shutouts; this was his first of the playoffs. . . . F Dante Hannoun (1) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 19:28 of the first period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (1) upped it to 2-0 at 8:49 of the second period, and F Sean Montgomery (1) made it 3-0 at 16:53. . . . G Ethan Anders stopped 25 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels are without D Alex Alexeyev (knee), who won’t play in this series.


F Chase Wouters scored the first OT goal of these playoffs, giving the Saskatoon Blades a Saskatoon3-2 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . They’ll play the second game tonight in Saskatoon. . . . This was the first playoff game in Saskatoon since the spring of 2013, and the announced attendance was 5,193. . . . The Warriors led this one 2-0 on goals by F Kaeden Taphorn (1), at 3:03 of the second period, and F Eric Alarie (1), at 4:34. . . . Alarie, in the Moose Jaw lineup because F Brayden Tracey was scratched, scored his first WHL goal. Alarie, who turned 16 on Jan. 27, is from Winnipeg. A first-round pick, 22nd overall, in the 2018 bantam draft, he was pointless in two regular-season games with the Warriors. He played with the prep team at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, putting up 17 goals and 29 assists in 27 games. . . . F Max Gerlach (1) got the Blades to within a goal, on a PP, at 7:21 of the second period, and F Riley McKay (1) tied it at 11:48 of the third. . . . Wouters (1) won it at 3:23 of OT. . . . Saskatoon held a 38-23 edge in shots, including 14-6 in the second period, 10-2 in the third, and 3-1 in OT. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 21 shots for Saskatoon, 14 fewer than Moose Jaw’s Brodan Salmond. . . . Tracey, the WHL’s highest-scoring freshman, was among Moose Jaw’s scratches. Tracey, who finished with 81 points, including 36 goals, in 66 games, sat out Moose Jaw’s last two regular-season games. . . . The WHL didn’t issue any suspensions from a game-ending brouhaha involving the Swift Current Broncos and host Warriors on Saturday, so Moose Jaw had F Tristin Langan and D Josh Brook in the lineup.


D Calen Addison’s OT goal gave the host Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the LethbridgeCalgary Hitmen. . . . Game 2 is to be played tonight in Lethbridge. . . . F Mark Kastelic, who had left Calgary’s final regular-season game on Sunday after taking a hard hit into a stanchion, gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 14:36 of the first period. . . . F Nick Henry (1) tied it for Lethbridge at 1:35 of the second period. . . . D Devan Klassen (1) put Calgary back out front at 3:33. . . . Lethbridge tied it when F Dylan Cozens (1) scored at 11:24 of the second period. . . . The teams played through a scoreless third period. . . . The Hurricanes got 31 saves from G Carl Tetachuk. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton blocked 30 shots.


The Vancouver Giants opened the second period with two goals 23 seconds apart, then Vancouverscored twice more before the period ended, as they skated to a 7-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Langley, B.C. . . . Game 2 is set for tonight in Langley. . . . D Dylan Plouffe led the Giants with two goals and an assist. . . . F Milos Roman (1), on a PP, at 1:20 of the second, and F Lukas Svejkovsky (1), at 1:43, got the Giants started. . . . F Jadon Joseph (1), shorthanded, made it 3-0 at 6:47, and Plouffe got the 4-0 goal at 16:57. . . . Seattle got its goal from F Andrej Kukuca (1), at 19:57. . . . The Giants added third-period goals from F Dawson Holt (1), Plouffe, on a PP, and D Bowen Byram (1). . . . Vancouver was 2-7 on the PP; Seattle was 0-7. . . . The Giants got 27 saves from G Trent Miner. . . . Seattle starter Roddy Ross surrendered six goals on 31 shots. Cole Schwebius came on in relief to stop eight on nine shots in 15:27. . . . Seattle D Jake Lee was hit with a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 19:54 of the third period.


G Griffen Outhouse set one franchise record and tied another as he lead the Victoria VictoriaRoyalsRoyals to a 4-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . They’ll go again tonight in Victoria in Game 2. . . . Outhouse, who stopped 28 shots in earning his first playoff shutout, tied the record for most career playoff victories that had been held by Coleman Vollrath (2012-16). It was Outhouse’s 21st playoff appearance, breaking Vollrath’s record of 20. . . . This was Victoria’s first shutout this season. . . . F Sean Gulka (1) opened the scoring at 6:23 of the first period, and F Carson Miller (1) made it 2-0 at 9:51 of the second period. . . . F Dino Kambeitz scored Victoria’s last two goals, at 13:17 of the second, and an empty-netter at 16:23 of the third. . . . Kamloops got 33 saves from G Dylan Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson, who was injured during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants on March 6, backed up Garand. Ferguson hadn’t dressed for the Blazers’ past seven games. . . . The Blazers had been 5-0-1 in their previous six games, including Tuesday’s 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets in a tiebreaker game that qualified them for the playoffs. . . . The Blazers scratched F Connor Zary (undisclosed). He was the team’s second-leading scorer with 67 points, including a team-leading 43 assists, in 63 games. He finished the regular season with nine points, including five goals, in his last four games, then added a goal and an assist in Tuesday’s tiebreaker victory. . . . The Royals had F Kody McDonald back in the lineup, but D Matt Smith, D Jameson Murray and D Jake Kustra were missing. F Kade Oliver (shoulder) won’t play again this season.


The host Spokane Chiefs scored three PP goals in the second period en route to a 5-2 SpokaneChiefsvictory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for tonight in Spokane. . . . The Chiefs erased a 1-0 first-period deficit by scoring the game’s next five goals. . . . Spokane went 3-5 on the PP; Portland was 2-8. . . . F Jake Gricius (1) gave Portland a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 11:20 of the first period. . . . Spokane took a 3-1 lead on three second-period PP goals, from F Adam Beckman (1), at 3:08; F Riley Woods (1), at 12:02; and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (1), at 17:56. . . . F Kaden Hanas, who had three assists in 21 regular-season games, gave the Chiefs a 4-1 lead with his first WHL goal at 3:34 of the third period. . . . F Ethan McIndoe (1) upped it to 5-1 at 4:23. . . . Portland’s last goal, at 19:03, came from F Joachim Blichfeld (1). . . . The Chiefs got a solid game from G Bailey Brkin, who stopped 34 shots, 17 more than Portland’s Joel Hofer. . . . The Winterhawks lost D John Ludvig to a headshot major and game misconduct with 17.6 seconds left in the first period. F Ethan McIndoe of the Chiefs left the game after the hit, but returned early in the second period. . . . The Chiefs also lost D Nolan Reid after he was struck in the face by a stick during the first period. . . . Portland F Cody Glass (knee) didn’t make trip to Spokane. He hasn’t played since Feb. 23. . . . F Jake McGrew was among Spokane’s scratches. He had 54 points, 31 of them goals, in 61 regular-season games. McGrew had a goal and an assist in Spokane’s 10-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Saturday. . . .


F Martin Fasko-Rudas and F Max Patterson each had a goal and two assists to lead the Everetthost Everett Silvertips to a 6-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Game 2 is scheduled for tonight in Everett. . . . The Silvertips held a 33-9 edge in shots after two periods but only were leading 1-0 on the first of F Connor Dewar’s two goals, at 17:44 of the first period. . . . Dewar made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 6:54 of the third period, and Patterson increased that to 3-0 at 12:34. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (1) scored for Tri-City at 13:30. . . . Everett put it away with goals from F Zack Andrusiak (1), into an empty net, at 17:40; F Lucas Cullen (1), at 18:39; and Fasko-Rudas (1), on a PP, at 19:49. . . . Everett got three assists from D Jake Christiansen. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 21 shots for Everett, while Tri-City’s Beck Warm blocked 42. . . . Don Nachbaur, the third-winningest coach in WHL regular-season history, has joined Americans’ play-by-play voice Craig West to provide analysis during this series. Nachbaur put up 692 regular-season victories in stints with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Tri-City and the Spokane Chiefs.


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MJHL looking at Grand Forks, N.D. . . . Leschyshyn, Henry spark ‘Canes . . . Silvertips now have points in 16 straight


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Brad E. Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald has reported that the MJHL is taking a serious look at putting an expansion franchise in the North Dakota city in time for the 2019-20 season. . . . “The Winnipeg-based junior league has drawn up a memorandum of understanding and a final proposal for a Grand Forks group, outlining what needs to be done to for the city to have an expansion team in place by the fall of 2019,” writes Schlossman in a story that is right here. . . . While the league’s office is in Winnipeg, the Manitoba capital is home to just one of its 11 teams — the Winnipeg Blues. With the impending move of the WHL’s Koogtenay Ice to Winnipeg, you wonder how much concern there is inside the MJHL over the future of the Blues.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Saturday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 15.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 24.

Conditional draft picks: 9.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


WHL players at the World Junior Championship:

Brandon — G Jiri Patera (Czech Republic).

Medicine Hat — G Mads Sogaard (Denmark).

Moose Jaw — D Josh Brook (Canada).

Portland — F Cody Glass (Canada).

Prince Albert — G Ian Scott, F Brett Leason (Canada).

Red Deer — D Alex Alexeyev (Russia).

Seattle — F Andrej Kukuca (Slovakia).

Spokane — F Jared Anderson-Dolan, D Ty Smith (Canada); D Filip Kral (Czech Republic).

Tri-City — F Krystof Hrabik (Czech Republic).

Vancouver — F Milos Roman (Slovakia).

Victoria — F Phillip Schultz (Denmark).

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ryan Chyzowski broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and also had two assists as the host Tigers Logo OfficialMedicine Hat Tigers skated to a 4-2 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Medicine Hat (19-15-3) has won two in a row. . . . Victoria (17-14-1) had won its previous four games. It now is 1-1-0 on a six-game Central Division trek. . . . F James Hamblin had his second straight two-goal game for the Tigers. He has 21 goals, giving him his third straight 20-goal season. . . . Hamblin opened the scoring at 6:52 of the first period. . . . F Ty Yoder tied it for Victoria at 8:24 of the second. . . . Hamblin scored on a PP, at 13:01, for a 2-1 lead, only to have Yoder (4) tie it at 1:51 of the third. Yoder, a 16-year-old from Tofield, Alta., went into the game with two goals in 27 games, 26 of them this season. . . . Chyzowski (13) broke the tie at 5:14, and F Ryan Jevne (18) got the empty-netter at 19:42. . . . G Garin Bjorklund, a 16-year-old from Calgary, made his WHL debut for the Tigers, earning the victory with 21 stops. The Tigers selected him 21st overall in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. The Tigers brought him in from the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes with starter Mads Sogaard at the WJC with Denmark. . . . D Carson Golder, 16, made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Terrace, B.C., he plays for the Pursuit of Excellence Academy prep team in Kelowna.


F Cam Hausinger scored the only goal of a shootout to give the host Red Deer Rebels a 2-1 Red Deervictory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Red Deer (21-11-2) has lost its previous two games. . . . Edmonton (19-12-7) has points in five straight (3-0-2) and remains first in the Central Division, one point ahead of Red Deer and the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Oil Kings are 2-1-1 in the season series. These teams hadn’t met since Oct. 19. They will play again today, this time in Edmonton. . . . F Jeff de Wit interrupted a scoreless game with his 20th goal, giving Red Deer a 1-0 lead at 12:12 of the third period. . . . D Conner McDonald (8) got Edmonton into a tie at 17:44. . . . With Edmonton up first in the shootout, the first seven shooters came up short before Hausinger won it. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 38 shots.


F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry, both of whom were acquired from the Regina Pats Lethbridgeon Nov. 29, combined for 10 points as the Lethbridge Hurricanes doubled the Kootenay Ice, 8-4, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Lethbridge (19-10-6) scored eight goals for the fourth time this season. . . . Kootenay (8-24-6) has lost three in a row. . . . Leschyshyn finished with three goals and two assists, for his first career five-point outing. He’s got 24 goals. . . . Henry had a goal, his 17th, and four assists, for his first career five-point game, and F Jordy Bellerive helped out with four assists. . . . The Ice held a 2-1 lead with three minutes left in the first period but surrendered three goals in the final three minutes and the Hurricanes went from there. . . . D Calen Addison had a goal, his sixth, and two assists for Lethbridge, with F Dylan Cozens scoring twice, giving him 20. . . . The Ice got a goal, his 14th, and two assists from F Jaeger White and three assists from F Peyton Krebs. . . . Krebs left the game late in the third period after taking a hit from F Koltrane Wilson. . . . G Bryan Thomson made his WHL as he started for the Hurricanes and made 33 stops. A 16-year-old from Moose Jaw, Thomson plays for the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds. He was a second-round pick by Lethbridge in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Hurricanes scratched G Carl Tetachuk, a 17-year-old freshman, with an undisclosed injury, and had sophomore Reece Klassen, who was feeling ill, backing up Thomson. . . . Kootenay F Brad Ginnell took a headshot major and game misconduct at 18:44 of the second period for a hit on Bellerive, who wasn’t injured on the play.


The host Kelowna Rockets scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Kamloops KelownaRocketsBlazers, 2-1. . . . Kelowna (17-17-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Blazers (13-17-3) had beaten the visiting Rockets, 3-2 in OT, on Friday night. . . . Last night, D Luke Zazula (3) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 12:19 of the second period. . . . Kelowna tied it at 19:32 of the second period when F Nolan Foote (19) scored. . . . F Kyle Topping (14) snapped the tie with his 14th goal, at 10:08 of the third period. . . . D Dalton Gally assisted on both Kelowna goals. . . . The Rockets got 33 saves from G Roman Basran, while the Blazers’ Dylan Ferguson blocked 31 shots. . . . Kamloops was without D Joonas Sillanpää. The Finnish freshman was injured while blocking a shot on Friday.


The Portland Winterhawks blew a 3-0 lead before bouncing back to beat the Seattle PortlandThunderbirds, 8-6, in Kent, Wash. . . . Portland (20-11-5) has points in five straight (2-0-3). . . . Seattle (11-18-4) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . After opening up a 3-0 first-period lead, the Winterhawks were outscored 5-2 in the second as the teams went to the third period tied, 5-5. . . . D Clay Hanus (3) gave the Winterhawks a 6-5 lead at 1:25 of the third, with F Ryan Hughes (16) upping it to 7-5 at 5:24. . . . F Zack Andrusiak’s fourth goal of the game, at 19:31, got Seattle to within a goal before F Lane Gilliss (7) iced it for Portland with an empty-netter at 19:39. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points (69), had a goal, his 32nd, and three assists for Portland. Hughes finished with two goals and an assist, and Gilliss scored twice. . . . Andrusiak, with 25 goals, now has three hat tricks this season and five in his career. . . . Seattle won 43 of 70 faceoffs. . . . F Noah Philp scored his 11th goal and added three assists for Seattle, with D Jarret Tyszka getting three assists. . . . Portland was without two veteran defencemen — Brendan De Jong, who is in concussion protocol after taking a hit on Friday night, and John Ludvig, who was suspended for two games after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct on Friday. . . . The Winterhawks also lost D Matthew Quigley to a kneeing major and game misconduct at 3:30 of the second period.


F Jake McGrew scored with 3.2 seconds left in the third period to give the Spokane Chiefs SpokaneChiefsa 2-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane now is 20-12-4. . . . The Americans (18-13-2) had won their previous four games, each of them in OT. . . . D Dom Schmiemann (2) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 15:33 of the first period. . . . F Luke Toporowski (11) pulled Spokane even, on a PP, at 14:35 of the second. . . . McGrew, who drew the primary assist on Toporowski’s goal, won it with his 12th of the season. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 33 shots for the Americans, who were outshot 35-19. . . . With G Dawson Weatherill day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, the Chiefs have Campbell Arnold of the junior B Spokane Braves backing up Bailey Brkin. Arnold was a second-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft.


The Everett Silvertips have points in 16 straight games after beating the visiting Prince EverettGeorge Cougars, 6-1. . . . Everett (29-7-2) is 14-0-2 in its past 16 outings. . . . Prince George (12-20-3) had won its previous game; it now is 1-6-0 on an 11-game road swing that continues tonight in Kamloops. . . . The Silvertips took control early, scoring three first-period goals and going ahead 4-0 when F Martin Fasko-Rudas (11) scored his second of the game 21 seconds into the second period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (8) also scored twice for Everett, with D Artyom Minulin recording three assists. . . . G Max Palaga earned the victory with 24 saves in his first start since he blanked the visiting Kootenay Ice, 3-0, on Dec. 1. Dustin Wolf had made seven straight starts. . . . Palaga lost his shutout bid when D Ryan Schoettler (4) scored, on a PP, at 13:23 of the second period.


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