Friday in the WHL: Warriors romp; so do Broncos . . . Kubic big in Regina . . . Winterhawks roll on road

MacBeth

D Cam Barker (Medicine Hat, 2001-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Langnau (Switzerland, NL A) after obtaining his release from Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). He had two goals and eight assists in 37 games with Slovan this season. Slovan has seven games left in the regular season and was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs on Wednesday.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Michael Horon, 16, whose rights they acquired from the Everett Silvertips on Wednesday. From Lethbridge, Horon has nine goals and 13 assists in 24 games with the midget AAA Hurricanes. . . . The Hurricanes gave up a sixth-round pick in the 2019 WHL bantam draft for Horon. He was a ninth-round pick by Everett in the 2016 bantam draft.


F Kyle Bettens, 16, has committed to attending Bemidji State and playing hockey for the Beavers. This season, he has 23 goals and 28 assists in 32 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild. He also has three assists in one game with the MJHL’s Steinbach Pistons. . . . He is the younger brother of D Rylan Bettens of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Brandon selected Kyle in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.


The Red Deer Rebels have brought in F Zak Smith, 16, from the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives for the weekend. Smith, from Austin, Man., has eight goals and seven assists in 32 games with Neepawa. . . . The 6-foot-2 Smith is an undrafted list player.


When the Prince George Cougars traded D Jonas Harkins, 17, to the Regina Pats as part of PrinceGeorgea multi-player deal this week, you may have wondered how that all went down. Well, it seems that Cougars GM Todd Harkins, who happens to be Jonas’s father, was under pressure from his wife, Kirsten, and from Newport Sports at the time. In a revealing interview, Harkins, who is in the last year of a four-year contract, also talked about what it was like having sons on his team’s roster. Hint: It wasn’t easy. . . . There’s lots more from Hartley Miller right here.


Mike Sarada, an assistant coach with the bantam AA Estevan TS&M Bruins, was killed Monday when he got out of his car on Highway 39 north of Estevan and was struck by a big rig. Sarada, who lived in Midale, Sask., was driving to a Bruins’ practice when the accident occurred. . . . There’s more right here.


A hotel in Squamish, B.C., has filed a lawsuit asking for compensation for what it claims was more than $200,000 in damages caused by a hockey team in February 2016. Named in the lawsuit are the Abbotsford Minor Hockey Association, a team representative and 60 unidentified players and parents. According to a Canada Press story, “A notice of civil claim says water from a damaged line leaked into the hallway and down an elevator hoistway after an ice machine was allegedly kicked or pushed by one or more players, causing damages to the structure and contents of the hotel.” . . . There’s more on the story right here.


If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


If you enjoy stopping by here, and even if you don’t, feel free to make a donation to the cause by visiting my old site, taking note.ca, and clicking on the DONATE button. Thank you, in advance.


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Brett Howden returned to the Warriors’ lineup with three goals and two assists as they skated to an 8-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Warriors MooseJawWarriorsalso got three goals and two assists from F Jayden Halbgewachs. . . . The Warriors (35-6-3) have points in 10 straight (9-0-1). They continue to lead the overall standings by 10 points over Swift Current. . . . The Oil Kings (12-25-6) were coming off OT victories in Brandon and Regina. . . . Howden, in his first game since winning gold with Team Canada at the WJC in Buffalo, opened the scoring at 13:27 of the first period. . . . F Branden Klatt (2) made it 2-0 at 15:37, with Howden upping it to 3-0 at 16:21. . . . Halbgewachs scored his first of three 34 seconds into the second period. . . . Edmonton got its first goal from F Colton Kehler at 1:36. . . . Moose Jaw responded with the next three goals — from F Justin Almeida (26), Howden, who has 16 goals, and Halbgewachs. That goal was the 100th of Howden’s career. He has played 220 games, and also has 227 assists. . . . Kehler, who has 18 goals, scored again for Edmonton in the third period, before Halbgewachs completed his hat trick with his WHL-leading 47th goal at 4:38. He’s played 44 games. Last season, he finished with 50 goals in 71 games. . . . Halbgewachs now has 84 points, one fewer than teammate Brayden Burke, who leads the WHL scoring derby. Burke had one assist in this game. . . . Moose Jaw got three assists from F Ryan Peckford. . . . F Brett Kemp had two assists for Edmonton. . . . Moose Jaw was 0-2 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . G Adam Evanoff stopped 17 shots for the Warriors. . . . Edmonton starter Josch Dechaine was beaten five times on 12 shots in 24:35. Todd Scott came on in relief, making his Oil Kings debut by stopping 24 of 27 shots in 35:25. He had been acquired from the Vancouver Giants. . . . Howden and Halbgewachs each was plus-6. D Kale Clague, in his first game with the Warriors, had one assist and was plus-4. He came over from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Wednesday. . . . Announced attendance: 3,639.


At Prince Albert, the Raiders, who had guaranteed victory, dropped a 4-0 decision to the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Even with the loss the Raiders distributed vouchers to fans SCBroncosthat could be returned for free tickets to tonight’s game against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Broncos (30-10-3) have points in five straight (4-0-1). They are second in the overall standings. . . . The Raiders (15-19-8) have lost two in a row and are seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . G Stuart Skinner, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes this week, stopped 29 shots in his Broncos debut. He has four shutouts this season and 11 in his career. . . . F Glenn Gawdin had two goals and an assist for the Broncos. He opened the scoring at 8:03 of the first period and closed it out with his 34th goal at 17:26 of the third period. . . . F Kaden Elder (12) and D Colby Sissons (9) also scored. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen had one assist in his first game back after he scored Canada’s gold medal-winning goal at the WJC. . . . The Raiders got 21 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . Swift Current was 0-2 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 0-4. . . . Announced attendance: 1,916.


At Regina, G Ryan Kubic stopped a career-high 47 shots in his Pats debut to spark his ReginaPats100guys to a 3-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Kubic was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades at the trade deadline. . . . Regina (22-19-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, three points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Tigers (23-17-3) lead the Central Division by eight points over Lethbridge. . . . D Josh Mahura gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 12:03 of the first period. . . . The forwards tied it at 6:37 of the second period on F Mark Rassell’s 35th goal. . . . F Cam Hebig (31), who came over from the Blades with Kubic, scored at 3:48 of the third period and that goal stood up as the winner. . . . F Sam Steel (15) got the empty-netter at 19:53 of the third period. . . . Mahura and Bradley each had an assist. . . . The Tigers got 28 saves from G Jordan Hollett. . . . Announced attendance: 6,033.


At Brandon, G Logan Thompson stopped 28 shots to help the Wheat Kings to a 4-1 victory BrandonWKregularover the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Wheat Kings (28-12-2) have points in four straight (3-0-1). They are third in the overall standings, five points behind Swift Current. . . . The Hitmen (13-24-6) have lost three in a row. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from D Zach Wytinck (4), at 3:59, and F Caiden Daley (5), at 7:27. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (13) made it 3-0 at 6:03 of the third period. . . . Calgary F Vladislav Yeryomenko (9) scored Calgary’s goal, on a PP, at 8:28. . . . F Linden McCorrister (13) got Brandon’s last goal at 13:29. . . . Dailey and Wytinck added an assist each. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 36 shots for the Hitmen. . . . D Chase Hartje and F Luka Burzan made their Brandon debuts after being acquired from Moose Jaw. Burzan had an assist. . . . Calgary was 1-3 on the PP; Brandon was 0-6. . . . Announced attendance: 3,825.


At Red Deer, F Logan Barlage broke a 3-3 tie with two third-period goals as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Rebels, 6-4. . . . Lethbridge (19-19-3) has won two in a Lethbridgerow. It is second in the Central Division, two points ahead of Kootenay. . . . The Rebels (10-23-10) have lost 10 straight (0-5-5). . . . Barlage had one goal in 38 games with the Swift Current Broncos this season. The fourth-overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft, he was part of a multi-player swap on Tuesday. That night, Barlage scored the shootout winner as the Hurricanes beat the visiting Rebels, 5-4. . . . Last night, D Colin Paradis (2) gave Red Deer the lead 26 seconds into the game. . . . F Brad Morrison (14) tied it at 2:57. . . . The Rebels took a 3-1 lead before the period ended, on goals from F Grayson Pawlenchuk (14), at 16:27, and F Reese Johnson (16), at 17:48. . . . The Hurricanes tied it on two second-period PP goals, from F Jordy Bellerive (25), at 11:56, and F Taylor Ross (11), at 16:51. . . . Earlier in the day, Bellerive was name the Hurricanes’ new captain, taking over from Giorgio Estephan, who now is with the Broncos. . . . Barlage snapped the tie with goals at 8:54 and 12:02 of the third. . . . F Mason McCarty (21) got Red Deer to within a goal at 13:23, but F Dylan Cozens (13) got it back at 18:51. . . . Bellerive and Morrision also had two assists each, with Ross and Cozens each adding one. . . . Lethbridge was 2-5 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . F Kristian Reichel had two assists for Red Deer, with Pawlenchuk, McCarty and Paradis getting one each. . . . Red Deer F Brandon Hagel had one assist in his first game since Dec. 1. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 23 saves, two fewer than Riley Lamb of the Rebels. . . . Announced attendance: 4,179.


At Spokane, G Bailey Brkin made his Chiefs debut with 36 saves as they beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-2. . . . Spokane (22-18-3) had lost its previous three games. It holds SpokaneChiefsdown the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Prince George (16-20-7) is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . Brkin was acquired from the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday, although the Chiefs said at the time he was “expected to report to the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits.” . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto, in his return from a stint with the U.S. at the WJC, opened the scoring at 1:11 of the first period. . . . The Chiefs went ahead 3-0 on goals from F Jake McGrew, at 4:39,a nd F Riley Woods (19), at 9:27. . . . F Liam Ryan (1) got the visitors on the scoreboard at 14:10 and F Aaron Boyd (8) pulled them to within a goal, while shorthanded, at 0:26 of the second period. . . . But the Chiefs took back control with two second-period goals, from McGrew (8), on a PP, at 5:11, and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (24), while shorthanded, at 17:49. . . . F Ethan McIndoe (11) added a third-period goal for the Chiefs. . . . Anderson-Dolan added two assists to his goal, with Elynuik also getting two, and McIndoe and Yamamoto one each. . . . F Ilijah Colina had an assist for the Cougars in his first game since moving over from Portland. . . . Spokane was 1-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-7. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 22 shots for the Cougars. . . . Announced attendance: 4,354.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Portland Winterhawks, with all hands on deck, skated to a 5-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (25-13-3) has won three straight and is Portlandback atop the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Everett. . . . Tri-City (22-14-5) has lost two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Everett. . . . The Winterhawks welcomed back F Kieffer Bellows, D Henri Jokiharju and F Joachim Blichfeld, all of whom had played in the WJC. They also had D Dennis Cholowski in the lineup after the was acquired from the Prince George Cougars on Wednesday. As well, D Keoni Texeira, the captain, returned after last playing on Dec. 12. . . . The Americans had D Jake Bean in their lineup for the first time since getting him from the Calgary Hitmen, But the Americans are without D Juuso Valimaki, F Michael Rasmussen, F Morgan Geekie and F Kyle Olson, all of whom are injured. . . . The Winterhawks scored the game’s first five goals, three of them coming in the second period after a scoreless opening 20 minutes. . . . Bellows, who has 21 goals, scored twice, with F Alex Overhardt (10), Jokiharju (8) and F Lukus MacKenzie (1) adding one each. . . . MacKenzie was acquired Wednesday from the Red Deer Rebels. He had been scoreless in 30 games split between Red Deer and the Saskatoon Blades this season. . . . Tri-City got its goal from F Isaac Johnson (10) on a third-period PP. . . . D Matthew Quigley, F Skyler McKenzie and Blichfeld each had two assists for Portland, with Overhardt getting one. . . . Portland was 1-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 1-5. . . . G Cole Kehler stopped 28 shots for Portland. . . . Tri-City starter Beck Warm allowed three goals on 27 shots in 34:56. Patrick Dea finished up by stopping 11 of 13 shots in 25:04. . . . Announced attendance: 3,911.


At Victoria, F Dante Hannoun scored twice before the first period was three minutes old and the Royals went on to a 6-5 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Victoria (24-16-4) VictoriaRoyalsis third in the B.C. Division, two points behind Vancouver. . . . Kamloops (18-21-3) is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . Hannoun, who has 16 goals, scored at 1:21 and 2:32 of the first period. . . . F Jermaine Loewen got Kamloops started at 5:39. . . . F Igor Martynov (13) restored Victoria’s two-goal lead at 14:37. . . . The Blazers tied it on second-period goals from F Orrin Centazzo (7), at 4:13, and F Carson Denomie (6), at 10:36. . . . D Mitchell Prowse (2) gave Victoria a 4-3 lead 57 seconds into the third period, and F Jeff de Wit (6) scored, on a PP, at 2:30. . . . F Luc Smith (10) got Kamloops back to within a goal, on a PP, at 12:00, only to have F Tanner Kaspick (13) get it back at 19:16. . . . Loewen (17) added his second goal of the game, on another PP, at 19:40. . . . The Royals got two assists from F Matthew Phillips, with Kaspick adding one to his goal in his first game since moving over from the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Tyler Soy had one assist to set the Chilliwack/Victoria franchise record for career assists, with 152. He had shared the record with F Brandon Magee. . . . D Joe Gatenby had two assists for Kamloops, with Loewen and Smith adding one each. . . . Kamloops was 2-4 on the PP; Victoria was 2-5. . . . G Griffen Outhouse made 23 saves for Victoria, while Dylan Ferguson stopped 40 shots at the other end. . . . Victoria F Lane Zablocki left at 7:39 of the first period with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct. . . . D Luke Zazula was among the Blazers’ scratches. He was attending a family funeral, but should be back for tonight’s rematch. . . . Announced attendance: 4,790.


At Kent, Wash., the Kelowna Rockets scored four PP goals as they beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 6-2. . . . Kelowna (27-12-3) has won three in a row and now leads the B.C. KelownaRocketsDivision by three points over Vancovuer. . . . Seattle (20-15-6) had points in each of its previous nine games (7-0-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Rockets scored the game’s first five goals to lead 5-0 before the third period was half over. . . . They got first-period PP goals from F Carsen Twarynski and Jack Cowell (8), then added second-period scores from F Colum McGauley (2) and F Leif Mattson (12). . . . Twarynski (29) scored again in the third period, before F Dillon Hamaliuk (8) and D Austin Strand (14) scored for Seattle. . . . Mattson (13) got the empty-netter at 18:12 of the third period. Actually, he was awarded a goal after Strand threw his stick at the puck while trying to thwart a breakaway on the open net. . . . The Rockets got three assists from D Cal Foote, two from F Kyle Topping, and one from Mattson. . . . Hamaliuk added an assist to his goal. . . . Kelowna was 4-8 on the PP; Seattle was 0-5. . . . G James Porter Jr. earned the victory with 21 saves. . . . Liam Hughes stopped 37 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna F Dillon Dube (ill) didn’t play. . . . Announced attendance: 4,259.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Calgary at Regina, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Brandon 7:30 p.m.

Kootenay at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Portland, 6 p.m.

Kelowna vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.

Everett at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Prince George vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Advertisements

The numbers are in: Since Nov. 13 … 58 trades … 110 players … 77 bantam draft picks … 12 conditional picks

WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 58

PLAYERS: 110

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 77

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 12

THE DEADLINE: It came and went on Wednesday, Jan. 10.


Why did I start counting on Nov. 13? Because that’s the day when the trading season got serious; that is the day when the Regina Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, went out and got D Cale Fleury from the Kootenay Ice.


THE DEAL: The Portland Winterhawks acquired D Dennis Cholowski, 19, and G Ty Taylor, 18, from the Prince George Cougars for F Ilijah Colina, 17, F Connor Bowie, 16, Portlandfirst- and third-round picks in the 2020 WHL bantam draft, and second-rounders in 2018 and 2019.

THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Cholowski, in his first WHL season, had 13 goals and 26 assists in 37 games with the Cougars. Among WHL defencemen, he is second in goals and sixth in points. . . . The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Taylor is 16-3-3, 1.90, .929 in 22 games with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Last season, also with Vernon, he was 13-12-2, 2.96, .908. . . . Colina had four goals and 23 assists in 83 career games with Portland. This season, he had three goals and 12 assists in 37 games. . . . Bowie, 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, is playing for the NEBC Yukon Trackers in the Northern Alberta Midget AA Hockey League, where he has 20 goals and 15 assists in 18 games. He had a goal and four assists with Portland in the exhibition season.

THE INFO: Cholowski was the Cougars’ captain. From Langley, B.C., Cholowski was a first-round pick, 20th overall, by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2016 draft. He has PrinceGeorgesigned with the Red Wings. The Cougars selected him in the 10th round of the 2013 bantam draft. . . . The Winterhawks selected Taylor’s brother Trey in the ninth-round of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Neither Taylor has signed a WHL contract. . . . Colina, from Delta, B.C., was an eighth-round pick by Portland in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . Bowie, from Fort St. John, B.C., was a seventh-round pick by Portland in the 2016 bantam draft.

WHY: Cholowski, one of the WHL’s top defencemen, should be a perfect fit with the Winterhawks. As GM/head coach Mike Johnston put it in a news conference: “It’s always been our philosophy to have transitional defencemen on our back end and he fits in perfectly with out style of play.” . . . The Cougars, reloading after going all-in last season, have added a roster forward, a prospect and draft picks to the cupboard.


THE DEAL: The Moose Jaw Warriors acquired D Kale Clague, 19, from the Brandon Wheat Kings for F Luka Burzan, who turned 18 on Jan. 7, D Chase Hartje, who turned 18 MooseJawWarriorson Dec. 17, first-round selections in the WHL’s 2019 and 2021 bantam drafts, and a second-round pick in 2018.

THE NUMBERS: Clague, 6-foot-0 and 180 pounds, had 10 goals and 37 assists in 28 games with Brandon this season. His 47 points have him second among WHL defencemen. In 169 career games, he has 25 goals and 118 assists. In 40 playoff games, he has eight goals and 13 assists. He was part of Brandon’s 2015-16 championship roster. . . . Burzan, 6-foot-0 and 180 pounds, has six goals and 13 assists in 42 games this season. Last season, as a freshman, he had 14 goals and 13 assists in 27 games. . . . The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Hartje had four goals and 21 assists in 25 games with Bemidji, Minn., High School last season. He had 17 assists in 31 games with the Warriors.

THE INFO: Clague, from Lloydminster, Alta., is fresh of winning a gold medal with Team BrandonWKregularCanada at the WJC in Buffalo; he won silver with Team Canada at the previous year. The Wheat Kings selected him in the first round, sixth overall, of the 2013 bantam draft. Clague was picked by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the NHL’s 2016 draft and he has signed with them. . . . Moose Jaw selected Burzan, who is from Surrey, B.C., with the sixth overall pick of the 2015 bantam draft. In his draft season, he had 80 goals and 51 assists in 62 games with a bantam A1-T1 team at the North Shore Winter Club. . . . Hartje was listed by the Warriors. Last season, he also played in 16 games with Great Plains of a U.S. high school league and had two goals and four assists in nine games with the NAHL’s Bismarck Bobcats.

WHY: The Wheat Kings, third in the overall standings and third in the East Division, behind Moose Jaw and Swift Current, who were buying, decided the prices were too high so they sold. This deal, and the one below with Victoria, has allowed Brandon to feel positive about its future. . . . The Warriors, meanwhile, add one of the WHL’s top defencemen, something that allows it to keep pace with Swift Current and Regina, at least on paper.


THE DEAL: The Victoria Royals acquired F Tanner Kaspick, 19, and F Cameron MacDonald, 15, from the Brandon Wheat Kings for D Jonathon Lambos, who will turn 17 on Jan. 14, F Ty Thorpe, who will turn 16 on Jan. 27, and first-round picks in the WHL’s 2019 and 2021 bantam drafts.

THE NUMBERS: Kaspick had 11 goals and 25 assists in 35 games with the Wheat Kings VictoriaRoyalsthis season. Last season, he had 19 goals and 26 assists in 49 games with his hometown team. In 191 career games, he has 45 goals and 86 assists. . . . MacDonald has 22 goals and 14 assists in 20 games with the West Valley Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. The 5-foot-8, 160-pounder also has two assists in four games with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. . . .

Lambos, 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, has two goals and 12 assists in 21 games with the Rink Hockey Academy’s prep team in Winnipeg. He played last season in the Omaha Lancers organization. . . . Thorpe has seven goals and eight assists in 18 games with the Rink Hockey Academy Prep team.

THE INFO: Kaspick was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2016 draft and he has signed with them. The Wheat Kings picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. He was part of the Brandon team that won the 2016 WHL title. . . . MacDonald, who is from Surrey, B.C., was picked by Brandon in the fifth round of the 2017 bantam draft. He has yet to sign a WHL contract. . . . Lambos, from Winnipeg, was a third-round pick by Victoria in the 2016 bantam draft. He hasn’t yet signed a WHL deal. . . . The 5-foot-11, 145-pound Thorpe, from Brandon, was a third-round pick by Victoria in the 2017 bantam draft. He also hasn’t yet signed a WHL contract.

WHY: As Royals president and GM Cam Hope said in a news release: “There are very few opportunities to acquire a player with Tanner’s skill, character and experience.” Kaspick will fit nicely into Victoria’s top six forwards. . . . Hope and Brandon GM Grant Armstrong also moved three prospects; keep in mind that Armstrong worked with the Royals before signing with Brandon prior to 2016-17. Armstrong also got two more first-round draft picks for his scouts to drool over, at least for now.


THE DEAL: The Lethbridge Hurricanes acquired F Keltie Jeri-Leon, 17, from the LethbridgeKamloops Blazers for a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Jeri-Leon had a goal and two assists in 21 games with the Blazers. Last season, he had two goals and an assist in 46 games with Tri-City. He was pointless in two games there this season.

THE INFO: The Blazers acquired Jeri-Leon, who is from West Kelowna, B.C., from the Tri-City Americans on Oct. 8 for a seventh-round bantam pick in 2018. . . . He turns 18 on Jan. 19. . . . The Americans selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 bantam draft.

WHY: Kamloops gets a draft pick for a player they acquired but was having trouble getting into their lineup. . . . Lethbridge adds a depth forward.


THE DEAL: The Everett Silvertips acquired F Spencer Gerth, 19, from the Victoria Royals Everettfor a seventh-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: This season, Gerth, an undrafted list player, had three goals and three assists in 43 games with the Royals. In 156 games split between Victoria and, yes, Everett, he has five goals and five assists.

THE INFO: Gerth, from Langley, is 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. The Royals acquired him from Everett on Nov. 22, 2016, for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft.

WHY: Gerth is an energy guy and that’s what the Silvertips wanted.


THE DEAL: The Everett Silvertips acquired F Bronson Sharp, who turned 18 on Dec. 29, from the Portland Winterhawks for a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Sharp had two goals and one assist in 38 games with Portland this season. In 84 career games, all with Portland, he has two goals and three assists. . . . He had 16 goals and 21 assists in 22 games with the Yale Hockey Academy prep team in the CSSHL in 2015-16.

THE INFO: From Mission, B.C., the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Sharp was listed by Portland.

WHY: Sharp will add more depth to Everett’s forward ranks.


THE DEAL: The Lethbridge Hurricanes acquired the WHL rights to F Michael Horon, 16, from the Everett Silvertips for a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Horon has nine goals and 13 assists in 24 games with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Last season, he had 77 points, including 38 goals, in 37 games with the minor midget Hurricanes.

THE INFO: From Lethbridge, Horon was a ninth-round pick by Everett in the 2016 bantam draft.

WHY: The Hurricanes have the opportunity to recruit a hometown lad into their organization.


THE DEAL: The Seattle Thunderbirds acquired F Jaxan Kaluski, 18, from the Moose Jaw SeattleWarriors for a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Kaluski had two goals and an assist in 22 games with the Warriors this season. He had one assist in 16 games last season.

THE INFO: Kaluski, from Lloydminster, Alta., was listed by the Warriors. He was limited to 16 games by a fractured ankle that required surgery.

WHY: Kaluski adds depth and energy to Seattle’s roster.


THE DEAL: The Regina Pats acquired D Aaron Hyman, 19, from the Seattle Thunderbirds ReginaPats100for F Owen Williams, 17, and a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Hyman had a goal and six assists in 26 games with Seattle. Last season, he had a goal and six assists in 20 playoff games. . . . The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Williams, a freshman, had one goal and six assists in 26 games with the Pats.

THE INFO: If he stays healthy, Hyman will get a chance to play in a second straight Memorial Cup tournament. He was on Seattle’s championship team last season. From Calgary, Hyman was selected by the Hitmen in the third round of the 2013 bantam draft. They traded him to Seattle on Dec. 27, 2016, for a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Williams, from Delta, B.C., was picked by Regina in the ninth round of the 2015 bantam draft.

WHY: The Pats wanted size and they got it in Hyman, who is 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds. He’ll play hard in his zone. . . . The Thunderbirds move him for a defenceman with some upside and an early draft pick.


THE DEAL: The Regina Pats acquired D Brady Pouteau, who turned 20 on Tuesday, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Poteau had a goal and 10 assists in 31 games with Lethbridge this season. In 122 career games, the first 61 with Regina, he has four goals and 26 assists.

THE INFO: Poteau, from Oak Bluff, Man., was selected by the Pats in the fourth round of the 2013 bantam draft. They traded him to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Jan. 5, 2017 for a seventh-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft.

WHY: The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Poteau brings more size and experience to Regina’s back end.


THE END

Three high-profile players kept off ice on eve of trade deadline . . . Giants keep winning on road . . . Ferguson carries Blazers to victory

A LITTLE OF THIS …

With the WHL’s trading deadline arriving this afternoon, a couple of veteran forwards and a high-profile defenceman were kept off the ice by their teams on Wednesday.

F Cam Hebig didn’t practise with the Blades in Saskatoon. GM Colin Priestner admitted whlthat four teams had inquired about Hebig and the Blades didn’t want to risk an injury in case something could be worked out. Hebig missed all of last season with an injury.

This season, Hebig, who is to turn 21 on Jan. 21, has 30 goals and 28 assists in 40 games. From Saskatoon, he has 193 points, 87 of them goals, in 238 career games, all with the Blades. They picked him in the third round of the 2012 WHL bantam draft.

If Hebig isn’t dealt, he is expected to play tonight against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

Meanwhile, in Brandon, F Davis Koch didn’t play as the Edmonton Oil Kings met the Wheat Kings. Koch, 19, is from Surrey, B.C. This season, he has 18 goals and 21 assists in 40 games.

In 224 regular-season games, he has 59 goals and 99 assists. The Oil Kings selected him in the second round of the 2013 bantam draft.

In Prince George, D Dennis Cholowski, the team captain, didn’t play for the Cougars as they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Vancouver Giants. After the game, Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk admitted that Cholowski, 19, was scratched in order to keep him healthy just in case.

Cholowski, a first-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2016 NHL draft, has signed an NHL deal. In his first WHL season, he has 13 goals and 26 assists in 37 games.


The Calgary Hitmen claimed D Egor Zamula off waivers from the Regina Pats on Tuesday. Zamula, 17, is from Chelyabinsk, Russia. A freshman, he had seven assists in 38 games with the Pats, who had to drop an import player after acquiring D Libor Hajek from the Saskatoon Blades on Monday. . . . The Hitmen had an opening for an import after they sent F Andrei Grishakov to the Victoria Royals for a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft on Jan. 4. . . . Calgary’s other import is sophomore D Vladislav Yeryomenko, 18, who is from Belarus.


The Everett Silvertips have returned two players — D Dylan Anderson and F Gage Goncalves — to the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . Anderson, 15, was pointless in one game with the Silvertips. He was a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Goncalves, a list player, also was pointless in one game with Everett.


Scoreboard

TUESDAY:

At Brandon, F Brett Kemp scored in OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Edmonton (11-24-6) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). It is 4-EdmontonOilKings3-3 in its last 10. . . . Brandon (27-12-2) had won its last two outings. The Wheat Kings are third in the overall standings, five points behind Swift Current. . . . F Ty Lewis (24) gave the Wheat Kings a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 16:03 of the first period. . . . D Jayden Platz (1) pulled the visitors even at 2:26 of the second period. . . . Brandon went back out front when F Baron Thompson (12) scored at 11:38 of the third period. . . . F Scott Atkinson (2) tied it for Edmonton at 14:53. . . . Kemp won it with his 10th goal at 2:06 of OT. . . . D Brayden Gorda had an assist and was plus-2 in his first game back with the Oil Kings. He returned to the Oil Kings last week after missing the first half of the season for personal reasons. . . . Brandon was 1-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . G Josh Dechaine earned the victory with 34 saves, 12 more than Brandon’s Dylan Myskiw. . . . Brandon D Kale Clague has yet to return to the lineup after playing for Canada at the WJC. . . . Announced attendance: 3,225.


At Lethbridge, F Logan Barlage, acquired earlier in the day in the rather large trade, scored in the sixth round of a shootout to give the Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the Red LethbridgeDeer Rebels. . . . The Hurricanes (18-19-3) had lost their previous two games. They moved into a second-place tie with Kootenay in the Central Division, eight points in arrears of Medicine Hat. . . . The Rebels (10-22-10) have lost nine in a row (0-4-5). . . . G Logan Flodell, who came over with Barlage in that swap with the Swift Current Broncos, got the victory with 29 saves through OT. He also stopped the last five Red Deer shooters in the shootout. . . . F Brad Morrison, acquired earlier from the Vancouver Giants, scored Lethbridge’s first two goals, both on the PP, at 6:26 and 17:53 of the first period. He’s got 13 goals. . . . In between, Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev (5) got his guys on the scoreboard. . . . F B Brendan Stafford (1) gave Lethbridge a 3-1 lead at 3:17 of the second period. . . . Red Deer took the lead on three second-period goals, two PP scores from Reese Johnson, who has 15 goals, at 7:16 and 8:52, and a goal from F Mason McCarty (20), at 10:19. . . . F Dylan Cozens (12) tied it again at 15:22. . . . The third period was scoreless. . . . Lethbridge got two assists from each of F Jordy Bellerive and F Taylor Ross, with Cozens adding one. . . . F Kristian Reichel and Alexeyev each had two assists for Red Deer, and McCarty had one. . . . Lethbridge was 2-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 2-4. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders allowed four goals on 27 shots through two periods. Riley Lamb came on for the third period and OT, stopping all 14 shots he faced. . . . Lethbridge acquired four players from Swift Current in the morning and all four played last night — Flodell, Barlage, D Matthew Stanley and F Owen Blocker. . . . F Jacob Boucher, a ninth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, made his WHL debut with the Hurricanes. He’s from St. Albert, Alta. . . . After the game, Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt played host to a town hall as he explained to fans the deal he made with the Swift Current Broncos earlier in the day. . . . Announced attendance: 2,696.


At Kamloops, G Dylan Ferguson stopped 47 shots to lead the Blazers to a 2-1 victory over Kamloops1the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Kamloops (18-20-3) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is six points behind Spokane, which holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Spokane (21-17-3) has lost two in a row. . . . The Blazers got first-period goals from F Quinn Benjafield (12), at 2:49, and F Luc Smith (9), at 19:09. . . . F Riley Woods (18) got the Chiefs to within a goal at 1:10 of the third period. . . . D Joe Gatenby had two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Orrin Centazzo, acquired Sunday from Everett, had an assist in his Kamloops debut. D Montana Onyebuchi, who also came over in that deal, sat out with the flu. . . . Kamloops was 0-3 on the PP; Spokane was 0-7. . . . G Donovan Buskey stopped 26 shots for the Chiefs. . . . Spokane F Kailer Yamamoto, who played for the U.S. at the WJC, sat out, and he won’t play tonight in Kelowna against the Rockets, either. . . . Announced attendance: 3,289.


At Prince George, the Vancouver Giants ran their road winning streak to seven games with a 5-1 victory over the Cougars. . . . Vancouver (24-14-5) is 6-0-1 in its past seven Vancouvergames. The victory lifted the Giants into a tie with Kelowna for the Western Conference lead. However, Kelowna has three games in hand. . . . Prince George (15-19-7) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). . . . Vancouver took a 3-0 first-period lead on goals from F Dawson Holt (7), at 7:27, F James Malm (16), at 9:00, and D Matt Barberis (4), on a PP, at 16:04. . . . The Cougars’ goal came from F Jared Bethune (14), at 16:17. . . . D Kaleb Bulych (1) added more insurance for the Giants at 2:21 of the second period and F Jared Dmytriw (12) finished the scoring at 12:04. . . . The third period was scoreless. . . . Malm and Holt added two assists each. . . . Vancouver was 1-2 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . G David Tendeck made 21 saves for the Giants. . . . Cougars starter Tavin Grant allowed five goals on 21 shots in 32:04. Taylor Gauthier finished up by stopping all 10 shots he faced in 27:56. . . . D Brennan Riddle made his Vancouver debut after being acquired Monday from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Cougars had recent acquisitions D Austin Crossley and F Ethan Browne in the lineup for the first time. . . . The same teams will meet in Prince George again tonight. . . . Announced attendance: 2,477.


At Kent, Wash., F Ryan Hughes scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (24-13-3) has won Portlandtwo in a row and is back on top of the U.S. Division, one point ahead of Everett with two games in hand. . . . Seattle (20-14-6) has points in nine straight games (7-0-2) and holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. Seattle also is three points behind third-place Tri-City in the U.S. Division. . . . Portland had taken a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Skyler McKenzie (29), who was playing in his 250th game, at 1:31 and F Alex Overheard (9) at 19:58. . . . Seattle got second-period goals from F Sami Moilanen (17), at 0:57, and D Reece Harsch (9), on a PP, at 11:48. Hirsch left the game after two periods with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Thunderbirds were 1-5 on the PP; the Winterhawks weren’t given even one opportunity. . . . G Cole Kehler blocked 33 shots for Portland, seven more than Seattle’s Liam Hughes. . . . Seattle F Donovan Neuls, in his fourth full season there, had an assist to give him 42 points this season. He now has 29 assists, two more than he had last season, and 42 points, also a career high after he had 41 in 2016-17. . . . The Winterhawks are without three regulars who played in the WJC — F Kieffer Bellows (U.S.), D Henri Jokiharju (Finland) and F Joachim Blichfeld (Denmark). Blichfeld was injured in a late tournament game and he hasn’t yet been checked out by Portland’s medical staff. . . . Announced attendance: 5,020.


WEDNESDAY (all times local):

Calgary at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Regina, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Spokane at Kelowna 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Monday’s WHL deals: Pats, Blades make big trade . . . Ice adds, subtracts goaltender . . . Portland acquires some muscle . . . Kelowna rolls dice

WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 37

PLAYERS: 67

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 45

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 5

THE DEADLINE: Wednesday, Jan. 10 (2 p.m. PT, 3 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. CT)


THE DEAL: The Regina Pats acquire D Libor Hajek, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades for D Dawson Davidson, 19, F Tristen Robins, 16, and a first-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Interestingly, the Blades and Pats are tied for the Eastern Conference’s ReginaPats100two wild-card spots. They are 10 points behind third-place Brandon in the East Division and seven points ahead of Prince Albert in the wild-card chase. . . . The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Hajek has eight goals and 17 assists in 33 games with the Blades this season. In 167 games, all with the Blades, he has 15 goals and 62 assists. . . . Davidson, 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, has nine goals and 28 assists in 83 games with Regina after being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers. In 207 career WHL games, he has 100 points, including 21 goals. This season, he has seven goals and 20 assists in 43 games. . . . Robins plays at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, where he has 10 goals and 12 assists in 17 games for the midget prep team in the CSSHL.

THE INFO: The Pats and Blades next play each other on Jan. 20 in Saskatoon. . . . Hajek, an alternate captain with the Blades, played well for his native Czech Republic in the SaskatoonWorld Junior Championship in Buffalo. He had a goal and seven assists in seven games as the Czechs placed fourth. He was a second-round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL’s 2016 draft and has signed an NHL contract. . . . The Pats acquired Davidson, who is from Moosomin, Sask., from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 27, 2016. Kamloops had picked him in the third round of the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Robins is the son of former WHL G Trevor Robins, who played three seasons (1989-92) with the Blades and one (1992-93) with Brandon. Tristen was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . The acquisition of Hajek left Regina with three imports, one over the limit, so it placed Russian D Egor Zamula, 17, on waivers. He has seven assists in 38 games as a freshman. . . . Finnish F Emil Oksanen, 19, is Regina’s other import.

WHY: The Pats are of the opinion that they needed another top-end defenceman, even after acquiring Cale Fleury from the Kootenay Ice on Nov. 13. They are hoping Hajek fills that role. . . . The Blades add a solid defenceman who may return as a 20-year-old and a prospect who scored 51 goals in bantam AAA last season in Winnipeg. Saskatoon also gets a first-round draft pick in 2019, the draft that follows the Pats’ Memorial Cup-hosting season. As Blades GM Colin Priestner put it in a news release: “If history is an indicator, Regina’s first-round pick next year has a serious chance of being a lottery pick as Memorial Cup host teams often go through a tough phase. So to have that first pick next year . . . we feel that gives us a good chance at selecting a star player.”


THE DEAL: The Kootenay Ice acquired G Matt Berlin, 19, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Berlin made 24 appearances with the Thunderbirds this season, going Kootenaynew12-7-3, 3.40, .893, with one shutout. . . . Last season, Berlin was 7-2-2, 2.82, .902 in helping the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . In 44 career appearances, seven with Spokane and 37 with Seattle, Berlin is 20-10-7, 3.33, .891.

THE INFO: Berlin joins Duncan McGovern, 17, as the Ice’s goaltenders. . . . Berlin was a seventh-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Seattle is left with three goaltenders on its roster, in Liam Hughes, 18, who has made four straight starts, Dorrin Luding, 18, and Carl Stankowski, 17. However, Stankowski has yet to play this season due to hip problems. . . . The Thunderbirds had been without a fifth-round pick, having dealt their 2018 and 2019 fifth-rounders to the Ice for F Noah Philp on Sept. 11.

WHY: Seattle is able to get a draft pick for a player who likely wouldn’t be on its roster next season. . . . The Ice, meanwhile, continues its search for a goaltender. Since May 24, Ice general manager Matt Cockell has traded for five goaltenders — Mario Petit (Everett), Bailey Brkin (Swift Current), Kurtis Chapman (Regina), McGovern (Medicine Hat) and Berlin.


THE DEAL: The Spokane Chiefs acquired G Bailey Brkin, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for an eight-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: In 23 appearances with the Ice, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Brkin, a SpokaneChiefsfreshman, was 7-12-2, 4.51, .874.

THE INFO: The native of Sherwood Park, Alta., played last season with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs (45 games, 5.19, .890). . . . He won’t be joining the Chiefs, at least not right away; instead, he will play for the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. . . . Brkin was a list player with the Swift Current Broncos, who dealt him to Kootenay earlier this season.

WHY: With Brkin having some WHL experience, the Chiefs added some depth to the organization’s goaltending. They also have Dawson Weatherill (12-9-3, 3.23, .888) and Donovan Buskey (8-6-0, 3.51, .874) on their roster. On Monday, they brought back Arnold Campbell, 15, and he is expected to be in Kamloops on Tuesday when the Chiefs meet the Blazers. Arnold was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Arnold, from Nanaimo, B.C., plays at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . You are free to specualte if Weatherill or Buskey is injured, or if another move is in the works.


THE DEAL: The Portland Winterhawks acquired F Lukus MacKenzie, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels for a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: This season, in 30 games — 13 with the Saskatoon Blades and 17 with PortlandRed Deer — the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has eight assists. In 138 career games, he has eight goals and 20 assists.

THE INFO: The Rebels dropped the Calgarian from their roster on Thursday and he joined the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. He was pointless in one game with the Oilers. . . . Saskatoon selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.

WHY: The Winterhawks obviously wanted to add some toughness to their lineup because MacKenzie was one of the Eastern Conference’s toughest players when he was on a roster. . . . He has 163 penalty minutes in his WHL career, but don’t forget that the WHL chooses not to include some penalties, such as misconducts and game misconducts, in its penalty totals.


THE DEAL: The Vancouver Giants acquired D Brennan Riddle, 20, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Brad Morrison, who turned 21 on Jan. 4.

THE NUMBERS: Riddle has a goal and five assists in 37 games this season. In 216 career Lethbridgegames, he has five goals and 29 assists. . . . This season, Morrison has 11 goals and 24 assists in 42 games with the Giants. In 302 career regular-season games, split between Vancouver and the Prince George Cougars, he has 96 goals and 127 assists.

THE INFO: Lethbridge acquired Riddle, who is from Balgonie, Sask., from the Prince Albert Raiders early last season. This season, Riddle was an alternate captain in Lethbridge. The Calgary Hitmen selected him in the first round of the 2012 bantam draft. VancouverHe never played for the Hitmen, who dealt him to Lethbridge on Jan. 7, 2014. . . . Morrison was selected by the Prince George Cougars with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 bantam draft. He is from Prince George. The Giants acquired him from the Cougars on June 2. The New York Rangers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2015 draft, but he was never signed. Prior to this NHL season, he was in the Calgary Flames’ rookie camp.

WHY: It isn’t often that WHL teams are involved in a straight-up swap of two 20-year-olds, but that’s the case here. After three seasons out of the playoffs, Vancouver finds itself in contention for top spot in the Western Conference and wants to tighten up defensively. . . . The Hurricanes want more offence and should get that from Morrison and linemates. Morrison is a tremendous playmaker.


THE DEAL: The Calgary Hitmen acquired G Nick Sanders, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-2 Sanders was 8-13-5, 3.91, .888 in 38 appearances over two Calgaryseasons with the Raiders. He got into four games with the Raiders this season (0-1-1, 4.89, .854) before being dropped from their roster. He has been with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats (6-5-2, 2.95, .915). . . . In 67 career games, split between the Raiders and Tri-City Americans, he is 19-22-6, 3.61, .890.

THE INFO: The Raiders acquired Sanders, who is from Calgary, from Tri-City on Oct. 13, 2016. . . . Bothered by hip issues, Sanders had offseason surgery and was late starting training camp with the Raiders. . . . He was selected by the Americans in the sixth round of the 2013 bantam draft.

WHY: The Hitmen have started a major rebuilding program, so are looking for competition at all positions. They are hoping Sanders can provide that among the goaltenders this season, and then compete for a 20-year-old spot prior to next season. . . . Also on the Calgary roster are Nick Schneider, 20, and Matthew Armitage, 18. Schneider is the starter, at 13-16-6, 3.51, .888. Armitage, a freshman, is 0-6-0, 3.70, .878.


THE DEAL: The Kelowna Rockets acquired F Ryan Bowen, 19, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for an eight-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: This season, Bowen had one goal and five assists in 13 games with the KelownaRocketsHurricanes. In 143 career games, between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge, he has 21 goals and 36 assists.

THE INFO: Bowen was on Lethbridge’s suspended list after refusing an earlier trade to an unnamed team. From Chilliwack, he now is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, although he has yet to play a game with them. . . . Bowen was a fifth-round pick by Moose Jaw in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . His younger brother, Ethan, a forward, was a second-round pick by Kelowna in the 2017 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with the Rockets, choosing instead to commit to the U of North Dakota for 2020-21.

WHY: The Rockets rolled the dice, giving up a late draft pick in the hopes that they will be able to convince Ryan to join them. Of course, should that happen, it might allow them to get a foot in the door in terms of trying to get Ethan signed. . . . “We’re working to see if we can get (Ryan) here, but it looks like he may play junior A this (season),” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and GM, said in a news release. “But he’s a prospect that we will certainly have as an affiliate player and we’ll try to get him in eventually.”

Americans’ Valimaki on shelf . . . Winning debut for McDonald in P.A. . . . No stopping Blades or Giants

MacBeth

F Chase Witala (Prince George, 2010-16) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had three goals and seven assists with the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL), and was pointless in five games with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL).


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Tri-City Americans, already without F Michael Rasmussen for up to eight weeks, are going to have to play without D Juuso Valimaki for the next while.

Valimaki has been with the Finnish national junior team at the World Junior TriCity30Championship in Buffalo.

The 19-year-old Valimaki is in his third season with the Americans. The Calgary Flames selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2017 draft.

Wes Gilbertson, who covers the Flames for Postmedia, tweeted Saturday evening that Valimaki “was playing through injury” at the WJC.

Valimaki went from Buffalo to Calgary where he was examined by the Flames’ medical staff. According to Gilbertson, any injury isn’t major, but is enough to keep Valimaki on the shelf for “likely . . . a couple of weeks.”

Valimaki has five goals and 15 assists in 19 games with Tri-City, but missed five games between Nov. 18 and Dec. 8 with an undisclosed injury. He returned to play three games and then left to join Finland’s national junior team.

Of course, when Valimaki does return, he will get to skate with D Jake Bean, one of the WHL’s top players, who was acquired from the Calgary Hitmen last night.

Rasmussen, meanwhile, had surgery before Christmas to repair a damaged wrist. A first-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2017 draft, he has 31 points, including 16 goals, in 22 games this season. However, he didn’t play between Nov. 18 and Dec. 2, then came back to play five games. He last played on Dec. 16.


The Prince Albert Raiders got down to three 20-year-olds on Saturday by releasing F Devon Skoleski. The move became necessary after the Raiders acquired F Regan Nagy, 20, from the Victoria Royals earlier in the week. . . . From St. Adolphe, Man., Skoleski had eight goals and nine assists in 38 games this season, his third in the WHL. He played the previous two seasons with the Everett Silvertips. In 169 regular-season games, he has 31 goals and 39 assists. . . . The move leaves the Raiders with Nagy, F Curtis Miske and F Jordy Stallard as their 20-year-old players.


The Kootenay Ice has signed D Benjamin Zloty, who was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Calgary, he has three goals and six assists in 11 games with the midget AAA Calgary Royals this season. . . . The Ice now has signed seven of the 10 players it selected in the 2017 bantam draft.


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Prince Albert, F Kody McDonald, acquired in a trade earlier in the day, scored in OT to give the Raiders a 2-1 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Raiders (15-17-8) have PrinceAlbertpoints in three straight (2-0-1). They now are five points out of a wild-card playoff spot. . . . The Rebels (10-21-9) have lost seven straight (0-3-4). . . . The Raiders had D Vojtech Budik back after his stint with Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship and he opened the scoring with his third goal of the season, 48 seconds into the second period. . . . That goal came after a first period in which the home side held a 17-0 edge in shots. . . . F Reese Johnson (13) pulled the Rebels even at 19:33 of the second. . . . McDonald won it at 1:08 of extra time with his 20th goal of the season. . . . Budik earned an assist on the winner. . . . Prince Albert was 0-2 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . G Curtis Meger earned the victory with 18 saves. . . . Red Deer got 33 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . Both teams will make it three games in fewer than 48 hours today as they hit the road — the Rebels will play in Swift Current, while the Raiders are in Regina. . . . Announced attendance: 1,901.


At Swift Current, the Broncos broke a 2-2 tie with two third-period goals and beat the Regina Pats, 4-2. . . . Swift Current (28-10-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). The SCBroncosBroncos are second in the overall standings, 10 points behind Moose Jaw and six ahead of Brandon. . . . Regina (20-19-3) had won its previous four games. The Pats hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, five points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . The Broncos took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Kaden Elder, at 9:34, and F Matteo Gennaro, at 11:42. . . . Regina tied it in the second period as F Bryan Lockner (6) scored, on a PP, at 4:41 and F Nick Henry (7) counted at 18:46. . . . Gennaro (26) broke the tie at 15:15 of the third period and Elder (11) added insurance at 18:31. . . . D Josh Mahura had two assists for the Pats. . . . Regina was 1-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-3. . . . The Broncos got 33 saves from G Logan Flodell. . . . Regina starter Tyler Brown allowed two goals on 11 shots in 11:45 before being relieved by Jacob Wassermann, who made his WHL debut by stopping 15 of 17 shots in 48:15. Wassermann, who plays for the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, is on the Pats’ roster while G Max Paddock is sidelined. . . . F Austin Pratt, acquired earlier in the day from Red Deer, was in the Pats’ lineup. However, F Jesse Gabrielle and D Jonas Harkins, who came over to Regina from Prince George on Friday, didn’t play. . . . D Artyom Minulin played for the Broncos after returning from the World Junior Championship where he played for Russia. . . . Announced attendance: 2,284.


At Saskatoon, the Blades ran their winning streak to seven games with a 4-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Blades (21-17-3) now have won 10 of their past 11 games. They Saskatoonare in the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of Regina. . . . The Ice (18-21-3) has lost five in a row, going 0-4-1 as it played five games in six nights. This also was its eight game in 11 nights since the end of the Christmas break. Kootenay remains second in the Central Division, two points ahead of Lethbridge. . . . F Gage Ramsay, who went into the game with two goals this season, got his guys off to a quick start by scoring twice in the first period, at 3:07 and 12:46. . . . F Josh Paterson (20) made it 3-0 at 17:13. . . . Saskatoon F Cam Hebig (30) upped the lead to 4-0 at 8:33 of the third period. . . . The Ice got two late third-period goals from F Keenan Taphorn (4), at 15:48, and F Brett Davis (11), at 18:44. . . . Ramsay added an assist to his two goals, while Hebig had two helpers. . . . D Zachary Patrick had two assists for the Ice. . . . Kootenay was 0-1 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-2. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier stopped 27 shots. He’s got 10 victories in his past 10 starts. . . . Kootenay starter Bailey Brkin was beaten three times on 17 shots in the first period. Duncan McGovern finished up by stopping 14 of 15 shots in 38:51. . . . This was the first meeting of four between these teams this season. . . . D Libor Hajek, who played so well for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship, was back in the Blades’ lineup. . . . The Blades will make it three games in fewer than 48 hours when they meet the Wheat Kings in Brandon today. The Wheat Kings were idle last night. . . . Announced attendance: 3,241.


At Edmonton, F Jayden Halbgewachs, the WHL’s top sniper, scored twice to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 7-2 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Moose Jaw (33-6-3) has points MooseJawWarriorsin eight straight (7-0-1) and is 10 points clear atop the overall standings. . . . The Oil Kings (10-24-6) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Warriors jumped out front 2-0 on first-period goals form F Tanner Jeannot (31) and Halbgewachs, at 5:05 and 10:32. . . . Edmonton tied it before the period ended on PP goals from F Davis Koch (18) and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (17). . . . The Warriors scored the game’s last five goals. . . . F Luka Burzan (6) broke the tie at 12:00 of the second period, and F Justin Almeida added insurance at 17:18. . . . Almeida (24) scored again at 2:14, Halbgewachs (44) got his second of the game, while shorthanded, at 14:25, and F Tate Popple (4) finished the scoring at 17:32. . . . F Brayden Burke, who leads the WHL points race, had three assists. . . . Fix-Wolansky and Koch each had an assist for Edmonton. . . . The Oil Kings were 2-7 on the PP; the Warriors were 1-4. . . . The Warriors got 16 saves from G Brody Willms, while Edmonton’s Josh Dechaine stopped 25 shots. . . . Moose Jaw lost D Matthew Benson to a headshot major and game misconduct at 3:23 of the third period. . . . The Oil Kings were without F Colton Kehler, who served a one-game suspension after a slew-footing incident in Medicine Hat on Friday night. . . . Announced attendance: 7,375.


At Lethbridge, F Andrew Fyten scored Calgary’s first two goals and the Hitmen went on to a 6-1 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Calgary (13-21-6) has won four straight from CalgaryLethbridge and leads the season series, 4-2-0. Calgary is fourth in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . Lethbridge (17-19-3) has lost two in a row. It is 2-3-1 in the series with Calgary. The Hurricanes are third in the division, two points behind Kootenay with three games in hand. . . . Fyten gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 5:38 of the first period. . . . Lethbridge F Jordy Bellerive (24) tied it at 15:05 with his seventh goal in six games. . . . Fyten (6) put the Hitmen back out front at 17:34. . . . The visitors took control with three second-period goals, from F Luke Coleman (8), at 1:34; D Jameson Murray (1), at 6:34; and F Riley Stotts (9), at 8:53. . . . F Cael Zimmerman (4) closed out the scoring, on a PP, at 19:19 of the third period. . . . James and F Jake Kryski each had two assists for Calgary, with Coleman and Stotts each adding one. . . . The Hitmen were 1-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 0-3. . . . Calgary G Nick Schneider stopped 37 shots. . . . The Hurricanes started G Stuart Skinner, who allowed five goals on 17 shots in 28:53. . . . Reece Klassen played the final 31:07, stopping 16 of 17 shots. . . . Calgary F Jakob Stukel came up short on a second-period penalty shot. . . . The Hitmen will play their third game of the weekend today when they entertain the Kelowna Rockets, who didn’t play last night. . . . Announced attendance: 3,773.


At Medicine Hat, the Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Tigers, 5-3. . . . Vancouver (23-14-5) has points in six straight (5-0-1) and has won six straight road Vancouvergames. The Giants, who have missed the playoffs each of the previous three seasons, are tied with Kelowna for first place in the B.C. Division. . . . Medicine Hat (22-16-3) had been 3-0-1 in its previous four games. It leads the Central Division by eight points over Kootenay. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (11) scored a shorthanded goal at 2:08 of the first period to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. . . . F Dawson Holt pulled the visitors even at 6:51. . . . The Tigers went back out front when F Ryan Chyzowski (14) scored, on a PP, at 2:53 of the second period. . . . Vancouver pulled even again just 55 seconds later when F Brad Morrison (11) scored. . . . The Giants took their first lead at 8:27 as F Brayden Watts (12) scored while shorthanded. . . . Medicine Hat tied it at 9:53 when F Gary Haden (10) scored while on the PP. . . . The Giants won it with two third-period goals. . . . F Ty Ronning (36) broke the tie, on a PP, at 5:38, and Holt (6) provided insurance with his second goal of the game at 11:36. . . . Morrison and Watts had an assist each for Vancouver. . . . Chyzowski added an assist to his goal, too. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-7 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-4. . . . G Todd Scott stopped 23 shots for the Giants, two fewer than Medicine Hat’s Jordan Hollett. . . . F Ryan Jevne of the Tigers completed a three-game suspension by sitting out this one. . . . Announced attendance: 3,353.


At Kamloops, the Victoria Royals erased a 3-0 first-period deficit and beat the Blazers, 5-4 in OT. . . . Victoria (23-15-4) has won two in a row and is third in the B.C. Division, one VictoriaRoyalspoint behind Kelowna and Vancouver. . . . Kamloops (17-19-3) now is eights points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Blazers got first-period goals from F Nick Chyzowski (13), at 0:51; F Garrett Pilon (18), who ended a six-game drought, at 4:44; and F Travis Walton, with his first goal in his 21st game, at 19:08. . . . F Tyler Soy (18) got Victoria on the scoreboard at 14:52 of the second period, but D Joe Gatenby (9) got it back for Kamloops just 1:07 later. . . . The Royals got to within two goals at 16:52 as F Dino Kambeitz scored his ninth goal. . . . D Jared Freadrich (9) made it 4-3, on a Victoria PP, at 10:12, and F Matthew Phillips (30), who was the game’s best player and also had two assists, tied it at 14:36. . . . The game ended on the first shot of OT at 0:23. Soy won a puck battle deep in the Royals’ zone, and rifled the puck up ice to send Phillips and D Chaz Reddekopp in 2-on-1. Phillips made the pass to give Reddekopp a look at an open net and he didn’t miss for his fifth goal of the season. . . . Soy and Reddekopp also had an assist each. . . . The Blazers got two assists from D Nolan Kneen and one each from Pilon and Gatenby. . . . Victoria was 1-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 32 shots to record the victory over Dylan Ferguson, who made 30 saves. . . . The Blazers had F Justin Sigrist back after his time with Switzerland at the World Junior Championship. . . . F Jeff de Wit, who finished Friday’s 5-0 victory over visiting Everett, was among Victoria’s scratches. . . . The Royals left immediately after the game for Everett where they are scheduled to play the Silvertips today. . . . Announced attendance: 4,740.


At Prince George, F Parker AuCoin scored two third-period goals to force OT then got the only goal of a shootout as the Tri-City Americans, who had trailed 4-1, came back to beat TriCity30the Cougars, 6-5. . . . Tri-City (21-12-5) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett. . . . Prince George (15-18-7) has points in four straight (2-0-2) and is tied with Kamloops, eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . F Jared Bethune, who had scored three times in the Cougars’ 4-3 victory on Friday night, got his 13th goal at 7:32 of the first period for a 1-0 lead. . . . F Aaron Boyd (7) made it 2-0 at 8:51. . . . F Sasha Mutala (5) cut into the deficit, on a PP, at 16:40. . . . The Cougars went ahead 4-0 with a pair of second-period PP goals just 1:31 apart — F Jackson Leppard (9) scored at 11:24 and D Dennis Cholowski (13) followed up at 12:55. . . . The Americans got to within a goal by scoring twice before the period ended, as F Jordan Topping (20) scored at 13:11 and F Max James got his sixth goal at 15:55. . . . The Cougars went ahead 5-3 at 3:30 of the third period when F Max Kryski got the third goal of his freshman season. . . . The Americans tied it on a pair of AuCoin PP goals, at 10:41 and 12:16. He’s got 10 goals. . . . AuCoin, the shootout’s first shooter, scored and his goal held up as the winner. . . . The Americans got two assists from each of D Mitchell Brown and Topping, with James getting one. . . . Leppard and D Joel Lakusta had two assists apiece for the Cougars, with Cholowski and Bethune adding one each. . . . Lakusta, who went into his third season with three goals and 16 assists in 104 games, has four goals and 16 helpers in 40 games this season. He has recorded six assists in his past four games. . . . Tri-City was 3-5 on the PP; Prince George was 2-4. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 38 shots for the Americans, and that included a save on F Josh Curtis on a penalty shot at 1:19 of OT. . . . The Cougars got 34 saves from G Tavin Grant. . . . Newly acquired F Kjell Kjemhus, who came over from Regina, and D Rhett Rhinehart (Prince Albert) made their Prince George debuts. . . . The Americans were fined $250 on Saturday for a “warm-up violation” prior to Friday’s game. . . . Tri-City will complete a three-game weekend today in Kamloops. . . . Announced attendance: 2,841.


At Everett, F Jake Gricius scored at 19:21 of the third period to give the Portland Winterhawks a 4-3 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Portland (23-13-3) had lost its previous Portlandthree games (0-1-2). The victory lifted it past Everett and into first place in the U.S. Division. . . . Everett (23-16-2) has lost two straight. . . . Portland scored the game’s first three goals. . . . Gricius opened the scoring at 17:41 of the first period, and F Ryan Hughes (6) made it 2-0 just 17 seconds later. . . . F Ilijah Colina (3) upped the lead to 3-0, on a PP, at 1:39 of the second period. . . . Everett tied it with the next three goals, all via the PP. . . . F Wyatte Wylie (3) made it 3-1 at 8:11 of the second period. . . . F Matt Fonteyne made it a one-goal game, at 9:49, then tied it with his 20th goal, at 7:59 of the third period. . . . The teams appeared headed to OT when Gricius won it with his ninth goal of the season. . . . F Mason Mannek had two assists for the Winterhawks. . . . Everett got two assists from each of D Kevin Davis and F Patrick Bajkov. . . . Everett was 3-5 on the PP; Portland was 1-2. . . . G Cole Kehler stopped 36 shots for the Winterhawks, two more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . The Silvertips brought in D Dylan Anderson from the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, but he wasn’t in the lineup. Anderson, 15, was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Announced attendance: 7,019.


At Kent, Wash., F Donovan Neuls scored twice and added an assist as the Seattle Thunderbirds dumped the Spokane Chiefs, 4-1. . . . Seattle (20-14-5) has points in eight Seattlestraight (7-0-1). . . . Spokane (21-16-3) is tied with Seattle for fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind Tri-City. Seattle and Spokane hold down the Western Conference’s two wild-card spots. . . . Neuls opened the scoring at 18:10 of the first period. . . . Seattle D Jarret Tyska (6) made it 2-0 at 6:36 of the second period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (22) scored for Spokane at 12:44 of the second period. . . . Neuls (13) restored the two-goal lead, on a PP, at 16:05. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman (7) stretched the lead, on another PP, at 5:54 of the third period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak and D Turner Ottenbreit each had two assists for the winners. . . . Andrusiak, 19, went into this season with six goals and five assists in 67 games. This season, he has 18 goals and 20 assists in 39 games. . . . Seattle was 2-5 on the PP; Spokane was 0-6. . . . G Liam Hughes earned the victory with 39 saves, 10 more than Spokane’s Dawson Weatherill. . . . Announced attendance: 5,180.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Saskatoon at Brandon, 4 p.m.

Red Deer at Swift Current, 4 p.m.

Prince Albert at Regina, 4 p.m.

Kelowna at Calgary 4 p.m.

Victoria at Everett, 4:05 p.m.

Tri-City at Kamloops, 5 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Blichfeld leaves WJC game on stretcher . . . Organizers declare WJC a success . . . Royals add import from Hitmen, make deal with Raiders

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Portland Winterhawks boarded their bus Thursday afternoon and headed for Spokane where they will play the Chiefs tonight.

But you can bet the Winterhawks’ thoughts weren’t on the road in front of them. Rather, Portlandthey will have been wondering about the condition of F Joachim Blichfeld, a teammate who was stretchered off the ice midway through the second period of a relegation-round game at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo earlier in the day.

Blichfeld hit his head on the boards after taking a high hit from behind from D Dmitri Deryabin of Belarus, who was assessed a match penalty on the play.

Blichfeld did flash a thumbs-up signal as he was carried from the ice surface. He was taken to hospital for further examination.

Blichfeld, 19, is from Frederikshavn, Denmark. He was selected by San Jose in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2016 draft and signed with the Sharks on on Dec. 28 while in Buffalo.

In Game 1 of the best-of-three relegation series on Wednesday, Blichfeld had two goals and an assist as Denmark won the opener, 5-4.

On Thursday, Blichfeld had two primary assists as Denmark opened up a 2-0 lead. Belarus came back to tie it before Denmark won it, 3-2, in a shootout. The victory means Denmark stays in the top group for the 2019 WJC, with Belarus sliding back to Division 1A. (If you’re wondering, Kazakhstan won promotion to the big group, so will be in Victoria/Vancouver for the next tournament.)

This season with Portland, Blichfeld has 13 goals and 17 assists in 26 games. He missed a handful of games early in October with what is believed to have been a concussion.

This latest injury, then, depending on the diagnosis, might be his second brain injury of the season, meaning the Winterhawks will be extra careful with a player who is key part of their roster.


Officials from the IIHF and organizers of the 2018 World Junior Championship held a Buffalostate-of-the-event news conference in Buffalo on Thursday afternoon. Michael Traikos of the National Post was there and, as he wrote, “With noses growing, they called it a success.” . . . During the news conference, Traikos continued, “Organizers bragged that more than 200,000 tickets had been sold, ignoring that a quarter-final between the U.S. and Russia on Tuesday night had only 6,242 fans in a building that seats more than 19,000. They highlighted the record-setting crowd that braved the snow to watch an outdoor game that ‘was a little bit of magic,’  but then blamed the same weather for driving away fans at the other indoor games. . . . His complete column is right here.

Ken Campbell of The Hockey News also was at the news conference, and his take is right here.

Interestingly, Campbell reported that Rene Fasel, the IIHF president, said that 50 per cent of the tickets already have been sold for the 2019 WJC that is to be held in Victoria and Vancouver.

That, Campbell wrote, “is quite a feat considering the 18-game pack (and one pre-tournament game) for Vancouver ranges in price from $650 ($34 per game) to $2,250 ($118 per game).”

Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, told Vancouver sportscaster Rick Dhaliwal of NEWS 1130 and Sportsnet 650 on Dec. 28 that tickets are “well over 60 per cent sold.”


The Portland Winterhawks lost F Lane Gilliss to an undisclosed injury on Sunday during a 4-3 shootout loss to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. As a result, they have brought back F Jaydon Dureau from the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians. He had been with the Winterhawks but was returned to the Pat Canadians following the Christmas break. The Pat Canadians won the Mac’s tournament in Calgary on Monday. Dureau had two goals and two assists in the championship game, a 4-0 victory over the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs. . . . Dureau, 16, was an eighth-round pick by Portland in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, he has 56 points, including 27 goals, in 26 games with the Pat Canadians. . . . Portland also returned D Nick Cicek to junior A, in his case to the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues, but quickly brought him back when D Keoni Texeira went down with an undisclosed injury.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have brought in F Jake Neighbours for a look-see. From Airdrie, Alta., Neighbours was the fourth overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. He made his WHL debut with the Oil Kings earlier this season. . . . In 23 games with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes, Neighbours has 17 goals and 25 assists. . . . If you’re interested in the return of D Brayden Gorda to the Oil Kings, there is more right here.


The Red Deer Rebels have dropped F Lukus MacKenzie, 18, from their roster and he is expected to join the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . MacKenzie had four assists in 17 games with the Rebels after being acquired from the Saskatoon Blades, with whom he had four assists in 13 games. . . . From Calgary, MacKenzie was a third-round pick by the Blades in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . In 138 games, he has eight goals and 28 assists.


WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 20

PLAYERS: 35

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 21

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 4


THE DEAL: The Victoria Royals acquired F Andrei Grishakov, 18, from the Calgary Hitmen for a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Grishakov, from Chelyabinsk, Russia, has 22 goals and 39 assists in 107 VictoriaRoyalsgames with the Hitmen. This season, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has 11 goals and 15 assists in 37 games. . . . The Hitmen selected him in the CHL import draft after he put up 21 goals and 24 assists in 32 games with Traktor Chelyabinski’s U-17 team in 2015-16. He also played four games with the U-18 side that season, recording four goals and five assists.

THE INFO: Grishakov should be in Victoria’s lineup tonight (Friday) against the visiting Everett Silvertips. If he doesn’t play then, he will get another opportunity on Saturday when the Royals visit Kamloops. Yes, it’s a quick turn-around for Victoria.

WHY: The Royals have had room for an import since F Yan Khomenko returned to Russia and signed with Ak Bars Kazan, a KHL team. He is pointless in three games with Irbis Kazan, a junior team. . . . The Royals are hoping that putting Grishakov into their top six will ignite his offence. . . . Grishakov joins F Igor Martynov, who turns 19 on Jan. 19, as the Royals’ import players. Martynov is from Belarus and has been representing his country at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo. . . . The Hitmen, who aren’t likely to make the playoffs, have been in sell mode since Nov. 25 when they dealt top-flight forwards Matteo Gennaro and Beck Malenstyn to the Swift Current Broncos. Now it’s all about freeing up ice time for younger players.


THE DEAL: The Victoria Royals have acquired F D-Jay Jerome, 18, from the Prince Albert Raiders for D Jeremy Masella, 18.

THE NUMBERS: From Lethbridge, Jerome has one assist in 31 games with the Raiders. PrinceAlbertHe split last season between the Red Deer Rebels and the Raiders, recording eight goals and eight assists in 55 games. . . . Masella had three goals and four assists in 35 games with the Royals. In 63 career games, all with Victoria, he has three goals and five assists.

THE INFO: Red Deer placed the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Jerome on their protected list in 2016. The Rebels dealt him to Prince Albert on Dec. 28, 2016, along with a 2017 third-round bantam draft pick, for F Austin Glover. . . . The 6-foot-5, 214-pound Masella is from Phoenix. He had been on Victoria’s protected list since 2015. . . . This is the second deal between these teams this week. On Tuesday, the Royals dealt F Regan Nagy, 20, to the Raiders for the rights to F Hunter Strand, 15, sixth- and 10th-round picks in the 2018 bantam draft and a third-rounder in 2019. . . . Cam Hope, the Royals’ general manager, has made seven trades since Dec. 1.

WHY: For starters, both players get fresh starts and a chance to earn more ice time with new teams. . . . The Royals had been carrying eight defencemen so it seemed that someone would go before the Jan. 10 trade deadline. Victoria also adds another bigger forward as it continues to alter the size of its forward ranks. . . . The Raiders add size to their back end. Their roster shows nine defencemen, but Sergei Sapego is injured, Vojtech Budik is at the WJC in Buffalo, and Kaiden Guhle, the first overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, is only 15 so will have to go back to his club team at some point.


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Kootenay at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Tri-City at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Everett at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Portland loses Glass in victory . . . Lind feasts on Blazers, again . . . Giants bounce back to beat Silvertips

Scattershooting

Heavy snow. In Buffalo. On Dec. 29. Who’da thunk it?



The outdoor game drew 44,592 fans to New Era Field in Buffalo, a record for a World Junior Championship game. The previous record (20,380) was set in Ottawa at the tournament final between Canada and Sweden. . . . But does record attendance mean the game was a success? . . . I don’t think so, but it does mean that there will be more of these monsters.


Considering that this is the WORLD Junior Championship, the game was an embarrassment and shot holes through the event’s integrity. It wasn’t fair to the players; it absolutely wasn’t fair. Some of the highest-skilled junior hockey players in the world were reduced to playing chip-and-chase and that’s too bad. Here’s hoping that if they meet again in Buffalo, the tournament organizers don’t get greedy and move that game outside, too.



Dennis Beyak, the radio voice of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, has been calling the play on some of the ‘lesser’ WJC games in Buffalo. It’s long past time that TSN gave him some serious national attention.


You are a real hockey fan if you know which WHL team once employed Beyak as its general manager.



If you are up for some major junior hockey, with two teams playing indoors, the Moose Jaw Warriors and the host Brandon Wheat Kings will be on Sportsnet this afternoon. Game time in Brandon is 2:30 p.m., which is 12:30 p.m. in Kamloops. . . . The Warriors (28-6-3) are atop the WHL’s overall standings; the Wheat Kings (25-9-1) are third, eight points back. Moose Jaw is 8-1-1 in its past 10 games; Brandon is 8-2-0.


Here for your reading pleasure is a Mike Royko column from Aug. 15, 1985. Royko, a legendary columnist with the Chicago Tribune, had written a column in which he skewered Frank Sinatra. The response? Sinatra wrote a letter to Royko, who responded with this piece right here. Enjoy!


MacBeth

F Richard Rapáč (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2006-07) has been assigned on loan by Poprad to Liptovský Mikuláš (both Slovakia, Extraliga) for the rest of the season. He had one goal and one assist in 11 games with Poprad.


Royals lose sniper to wrist injury

The Victoria Royals will be without F Noah Gregor for up to five weeks after he suffered a broken wrist in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night.

Gregor, who was acquired earlier in the month from the Moose Jaw Warriors, didn’t play in the host Royals’ 7-1 victory over the Cougars on Thursday night.

The Royals got Gregor, 19, and an eighth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft for F Ryan Peckford and a fourth-round pick in 2018.

This season, Gregor has two goals and an assist in four games with the Royals, after putting up 14 goals and 22 assists in 30 games with the Warriors.

The Royals did get F Dante Hannoun back on Wednesday after he was out since Dec. 2 with mononucleosis. He had two assists in each of the two games with Prince George. Hannoun has 13 goals and 28 assists in 33 games.

The Royals already were without F Regan Nagy, 20, who had 18 goals and six assists in 26 games when he suffered a broken finger. He has missed 10 games since last playing on Nov. 28. He also missed the two games prior to Nov. 28. Nagy isn’t likely to return for another couple of weeks.

It appears that Nagy won’t be back before the passing of the Jan. 10 deadline. The Royals have three other 20-year-olds on their roster — D Chaz Reddekopp, F Tyler Soy and D Kade Jensen, who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Dec. 1 for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

It will be interesting to see what Victoria general manager Cam Hope does with his 20s between now and Nagy’s return.

Of course, with the departure of F Wyatt Sloboshan, the Regina Pats do have an opening for a 20-year-old, and Nagy is from Ogema, Sask. Ogema is located about 115 km south of Regina.


The Kootenay Ice has brought in F Jakin Smallwood, who turns 17 on Monday, from the midget AAA Leduc, Alta., Oil Kings. From Leduc, he has 11 goals and 15 assists in 23 games with the Oil Kings. . . . A fifth-round selection by Moose Jaw in the 2016 bantam draft, the Ice acquired him from the Warriors on Dec. 11, along with a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 draft for F Vince Loschiavo, 19.


A tip of the cap to the legendary Fred Sasakamoose, who has been named a Member of the Order of Canada. A native of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Sask., he lives in the nearby community of Sandy Lake. He was the first Indigenous player in the NHL when he got into 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54. . . . Sasakamoose told CBC: “It’s unbelievable. I thought getting to the NHL was to make it to the highest level of my life. But to reach the age of 84, and you receive the honours of Canada. That is one of the top awards that I will receive and remember for the rest of my life.” . . . These days, he works with young people who are fighting addictions. . . . Sasakamoose was saluted prior to last night’s game between the Blackhawks and the Oilers in Edmonton. . . . If you ever have an opportunity to hear Sasakamoose tell his story, don’t miss it.


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes broke a 3-3 tie with two third-period goals en route to a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Hurricanes (16-17-2) are third in the Central LethbridgeDivision, six points behind Medicine Hat and four in arrears of Kootenay. . . . The Tigers (19-15-2) had won their previous two games, including a 4-2 victory over the visiting Hurricanes on Wednesday. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead on goals from D Igor Merezhko (3), at 14:35 of the first period, and F Dylan Cozens (11), on a PP, at 1:21 of the second. . . . F Jaeger White (5) halved the lead at 4:33. . . . F Giorgio Estephan (16) restored Lethbridge’s two-goal lead at 6:23. . . . The Tigers pulled even on goals from D David Quenneville (15), at 10:45 of the second period and F Ryan Chyzowski (12), on a PP, at 4:56 of the third. . . . The Hurricanes went back out front at 9:37 as F Jordy Bellerive (19) came out of the penalty box to score. . . . F Zane Franklin (11) provided some insurance at 12:49 and it turned into the game-winner when Tigers F Mark Rassell (29) found the range at 15:45. . . . D Calen Addison had two assists for Lethbridge, with Estephan, Bellerive and Franklin getting one each. . . . Quenneville and F James Hamblin each recorded two assists for the Tigers and Rassell had one. . . . Lethbridge was 1-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-4. . . . G Reece Klassen earned the victory with 37 saves. . . . The Hurricanes scratched G Stuart Skinner (ill) for a second straight game since the Christmas break. . . . With Skinner out, Bryan Thomson backed up after being brought in from the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos of Wlcox, Sask. . . . The Tigers got 28 stops from G Jordan Hollett. . . . Medicine Hat GM/head coach Shaun Clouston remains tied with Willie Desjardins for the most career regular-season victories (323) in franchise history. . . . Announced attendance: 4,313.


At Kamloops, F Kole Lind scored all of the game’s goals, leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 3-0 victory over the Blazers. . . . The Rockets (22-11-3) have won four in a row and now KelownaRocketslead the Western Conference by one point over Everett. . . . The Blazers (16-18-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1) and have been shut out twice in a row at home. The Kootenay Ice posted a 4-0 victory on Dec. 3. . . . Kamloops is three points out of a wild-card playoff spot. . . . These teams also met Wednesday in Kelowna, with the Rockets winning 2-1 in a shootout. . . . In four games since being deemed not good enough to play for Canada’s national junior team, Lind has put up seven goals and four assists. He has two hat tricks and one four-assist game in that stretch. . . . In four games against Kamloops this season, Lind has seven goals and five assists. . . . The Rockets lead the season series, 4-0-0; the Blazers are 0-3-1. . . . Lind, who now has 20 goals, opened the scoring, on a PP, at 12:34 of the first period. . . . Lind made it 2-0, on another PP, at 11:26 of the second period, and he made it 3-0 2:07 later. . . . F Nolan Foote drew assists on each of the first two goals. . . . Kelowna was 2-8 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G James Porter Jr. stopped 28 shots for Kelowna as he recorded his second shutout of his freshman season. He has shutouts in two his last three starts. . . . With Brodan Salmond injured, Porter Jr. has taken over as the Rockets’ starter. This season, he is 14-5-2, 3.22, .904. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for the Blazers. . . . Announced attendance: 4,310.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Skyler McKenzie’s goal at 2:45 of OT gave the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (22-12-1) had lost its Portlandprevious three games, including a 6-3 setback at the hands of the visiting Americans on Wednesday. The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett. Portland holds three games in hand. . . . Tri-City (19-10-4) had won its previous four games. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . After two scoreless periods, F Parker AuCoin (7) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:36 of the third. . . . Portland F Ty Kolle (4) tied it at 8:24. . . . The Americans went ahead again as F Jordan Topping (17) scored, on a PP, at 13:58. . . . The Winterhawks forced OT with G Shane Farkas on the bench as F Mason Mannek (5) counted at 19:00. . . . McKenzie won it with his team-leading 24th goal. . . .  F Alex Overhardt had two assists for Portland. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Portland was 0-5. . . . The Winterhawks got 39 saves from Farkas. That included stopping F Morgan Geekie on a penalty shot at 19:37 of the second period. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 36 shots for the Americans. . . . The Winterhawks lost F Cody Glass, who leads them in assists (32) and points (54), in the dying seconds of the second period. He left after appearing to take a slash to his right leg from Tri-City D Dylan Coghlan. After the game, Glass had a brace on his right knee and he was to return to Portland, while the team went on to Kent, Wash., for a game tonight against Seattle. . . . D John Ludvig of the Winterhawks left for repairs after being struck by a puck while on the bench during the second period. . . . D Keoni Texeira was among Portland’s scratches. . . . With Texeira down, D Nick Cicek was in the lineup for his second WHL game. He had been returned to the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . Tri-City was without F Michael Rasmussen, who is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 4,240.


At Kent, Wash., D Turner Ottenbreit broke a 4-4 tie at 11:49 of the third period as the Seattle Thunderbirds overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-4. . . . The SeattleThunderbirds (16-14-5) have points in four straight games (3-0-1). They are fifth in the U.S. Division, four points behind Spokane, but hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Chiefs (19-14-3) had beaten the visiting Thunderbirds, 5-4 in OT, on Wednesday. . . . Last night, Seattle took a 1-0 lead when F Nolan Volcan (15) scored at 11:21 of the first period, giving him nine points over four games. . . . The teams combined for five second-period goals, four of them by the Chiefs. . . . F Riley Woods pulled Spokane even, at 2:08. . . . The game remained tied until there were four goals in a span of 1:51 late in the period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (18) put the Chiefs out front at 17:34. . . . F Noah Philp (8) got Seattle back into a tie at 18:01. . . . Spokane then took a two-goal lead as Woods (16) scored, at 18:23, and F Eli Zummack (9) counted at 19:25. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it on third-period goals from F Nikita Malukhin (3), at 1:41, and F Zack Andrusiak (18), at 9:54. . . . Ottenbreit won it with his fifth goal this season. It was the second game-winner of his 248-game career. . . . F Donovan Neuls and F Dillon Hamaliuk each had two assists for the winners, with Philp getting one. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from Anderson-Dolan and one from Woods. . . . The teams combined for 70 penalty minutes, but there were only three PP opportunities. Seattle was 0-2; Spokane was 0-1. . . . G Matt Berlin record the victory with 29 saves, eight more than Spokane’s Donovan Buskey. . . . Announced attendance: 4,441.


At Everett, the Vancouver Giants, beaten 11-0 by visiting Everett two nights earlier, bounced back to beat the Silvertips, 2-1. . . . The Giants (19-14-4) now have won more Everettgames than they have lost. They are third in the B.C. Division, three points back of Victoria. . . . The Silvertips (22-14-2) had won their previous three games and 11 of 12. They had set a single-game franchise record for goals scored in Wednesday’s victory. . . . Everett is second in the Western Conference, one point behind Kelowna and one ahead of Portland and Victoria. . . . Last night, F Matt Fonteyne (18) provided Everett with a 1-0 lead 51 seconds into the second period. . . . F Dawson Holt (4) tied it at 6:43 and F Tyler Benson (14) scored what proved to be the winner at 13:19. . . . Vancouver was 0-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-3. . . . G David Tendeck continued his fine play with 34 saves for Vancouver. . . . Everett got 23 stops from G Dustin Wolf. . . . Announced attendance: 5,525.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 2:30 p.m.

Lethbridge at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Prince George at Vancouver, 7 p.m.

Kamloops at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.

Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.


Tweet of the day


If you enter your email address over there on the right you will be notified each time I post something new on this site.

I haven’t yet been able to get a DONATE button posted here. But if you care to help the cause, please visit the old site (takingnote.ca), click on the DONATE button and do it there. Thank you.