Blades answer Farren’s request . . . Gulka leaves Spokane . . . Blazers looking for cheerleaders


ThisThat

Michael Farren made a wish on Monday; it was granted on Thursday.

Farren, 18, was traded by the Saskatoon Blades to the Kelowna Rockets for a third-round KelownaRocketsselection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft.

Colin Priestner, the Blades’ general manager, said that Farren left the team on Monday and asked to be dealt.

“Michael texted me . . . to let me know he wasn’t satisfied with his role on the team and would be flying home to await a trade,” Priestner said in a news release. “We are disappointed in Michael’s decision, but this draft pick is an asset that allows to us to improve our team if needed in the future.”

Farren, from Surrey, B.C., was added to the Blades’ protected list in 2015 and signed a WHL contract at 16, following his first training camp. In 133 career regular-season games, he has 20 goals and 37 assists. This season, he had one goal and four assists in eight games.

The Rockets, at 1-8-0, are off to the poorest start in franchise history. They have scored only 21 goals in nine games, so are hoping that Farren will be able to provide a boost for their offence.

Kelowna will go home-and-home with the Tri-City Americans this weekend, playing tonight in Kennewick, Wash., and in the Little Apple on Saturday.

The Blades (6-2-0) are at home to the Red Deer Rebels tonight and the Prince Albert Raiders on Sunday afternoon.


F Sean Gulka, 18, has left the Spokane Chiefs and his rights have reverted to the Victoria SpokaneChiefsRoyals. . . . The Chiefs acquired Gulka from the Royals on Nov. 22, 2017, giving up, according to the WHL website, a sixth-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. According to a Chiefs’ news release, Gulka’s rights have been returned to the Royals “as per the conditions of the trade agreement.” . . . Gulka, from Langley, B.C., had one assist in four games with the Chiefs last this. This season, he had played in four games, recording one assist. . . . The Royals selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.


In an attempt to add some excitement to the atmosphere in their home arena, the Sandman Centre, the Kamloops Blazers are in the process of building a cheerleader squad. . . . “We’re just trying to find new ways to liven up the energy in the building,” David Hole, the Blazers’ new ticketing and promotions co-ordinator, told Eric Thompson of kamloopsmatters.com. “The Edmonton Oilers do it, granted theirs is a bit different and they’ve been doing it for a lot longer, but it’s just more to get a new aspect of energy in the building, get the people more excited and build more of an atmosphere.” . . . Hole is looking for about a dozen participants, each of whom must be at least 14 years of age. . . . If all goes according to plan, the cheerleaders would be used as part of larger promotions, or about eight games this season. . . . Thompson’s complete story is right here. . . . Might I be so bold as to suggest a trumpet player? If it was good enough for the Montreal Forum . . .


D Ryan Pouliot, who chose not to report to the Vancouver Giants after being claimed on waivers last week, has joined the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. Pouliot, 20, was waived by the Swift Current Broncos. He had been pointless in three games. . . . Pouliot had played the previous two-plus seasons with the Kootenay Ice, recording three goals and 25 assists in 155 games. . . . Pouliot was in the Kings’ lineup Thursday night as they beat the host Prince George Spruce Kings, 5-2. . . . Tyler Kuntz, a former Vancouver assistant coach, is Powell River’s head coach.



Chris Beaudry has left his position as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . Beaudry, who was an assistant coach with the Humboldt Broncos last season, cited personal reasons in stepping down, but will help the Millionaires in an advisory capacity. . . . Beaudry wasn’t on the Broncos’ bus when it crashed on April 6; as he often did, he was in his own vehicle driving to that night’s scheduled game in Nipawin. . . . Kyle Adams, who has worked with the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder and the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, has moved into the spot vacated by Beaudry.


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Scattershooting: When .500 isn’t .500 . . . Does Johnston have eyes on record? . . . BCHL team makes coaching change

Scattershooting

I’m sorry, but he’s right. When a WHL team is 23-23-3 or 20-20-9 it doesn’t have a .500 record. Because of the availability of loser points, it has a .500 point percentage, but it doesn’t have a winning record. In order for that to happen, a team has to have won at least as many games as it has lost. That isn’t the case in either of those situations.


“Is no competition safe from the scourge of doping these days?” asks Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, before adding: “A dozen contestants — because of Botox injections to their lips and faces to enhance their looks — were disqualified from a Saudi Arabian beauty contest. For camels.”


A tip of the Taking Note hat to Terry Koshan of Postmedia, for this bit from Thursday’s Top Prospects Game in Guelph, Ont.:

“Fitting that after Don Cherry trotted out his tired view on European players in the CHL his club’s first goal was scored by Russian forward Egor Sokolov, who plays for Cape Breton of the QMJHL. During a scrum with reporters in the morning, Cherry beat his personal dead horse, saying Europeans shouldn’t be in the Canadian Hockey League. If there’s a good reason for keeping Cherry’s involvement in the prospects game, what exactly is it?”


Headline in The New York Times the other day: “Russia is barred from Winter Olympics. Russia is sending 169 athletes to Winter Olympics.


After the Oakland Raiders hired Jon Gruden as their head coach, Jeff Gordon of STLtoday.com pointed out: “The franchise added a questionable haircut to the worst haircut in pro sports.”


This is one of the biggest weeks of the year for the WHL’s board of governors and other pooh-bahs. Why? Because they always spend Super Bowl weekend meeting (?) in Los Vegas. . . . Hey, it beats (pick one of 21 cities — Victoria is exempted) in winter.


Due to slumping sales, the folks who bring us Diet Coke apparently are planning changes to the product’s look and to the marketing strategy.

“Maybe,” notes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “the biggest problem is Trump making Americans think the beverage causes dementia.”


New eating game when watching a CHL game on Sportsnet: Eat a hot dog every time you hear these three words together — Mastercard Memorial Cup. . . . Warning: Have plenty of TUMS handy.


Pitchers and catchers report in a couple of weeks, and Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will be together in pinstripes shortly afterwards. As Greg Cote of the Miami Herald reports,“In the Bronx, Yankees fans are partying like it’s 1927.”


When Brian Kilrea retired from coaching, he had won 1,193 regular-season games with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. Think about that for a moment. . . . A coach would have to win 50 games in 23 straight seasons just to get close.


From Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: “Interesting to hear Ken Hitchcock and Mike Babcock being so complimentary to each other when the Leafs were in Dallas. When the Olympics ended four years ago in Sochi, Babcock, the head coach, and Hitchcock, the assistant, weren’t getting along. In fact, there was so much tension around Team Canada, which romped to gold, that just after the celebration on the ice, Steve Yzerman announced that he would never be a general manager again.”



MacBeth

F John Dahlström (Medicine Hat, 2016-17) has been assigned on loan by Almtuna Uppsala (Sweden, Allsvenskan) to Oskarshamn (Sweden, Allsvenskan) for the rest of the season. As part of the loan agreement, Dahlström won’t play when Oskarshamn plays Almtuna on Feb. 10. This season with Almtuna, he had three goals and four assists in 28 games. He also had one goal in two games while on loan to Wings Arlanda (Sweden, Division 1), and one goal and one assist in three games while on loan to Hudiksvall (Sweden, Division 1). Dahlström remains under contract to Almtuna through next season. . . .

F Antonín Honejsek (Moose Jaw, 2009-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He has 14 goals and 11 assists in 41 games. . . .

F Milan Bartovič (Brandon, Tri-City, 1999-2001) had his loan assignment by Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga) extended through the end of this season. He had one goal and one assists in 19 games with Liberec. In 15 games with Vítkovice, he has four assists.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Mike Johnston got his 300th regular-season WHL coaching victory on Sunday when his Portland Winterhawks beat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 4-2.

PortlandJohnston is the 23rd coach in WHL history to get to 300.

On Saturday night, his Winterhawks lost 4-2 in Kamloops as Blazers’ head coach Don Hay put up victory No. 743 and set a WHL career record in the process. Ken Hodge, who retired after 1992-93 as the head coach in Portland, had held the previous record.

So, Mike, how about 743?

“It’s hard to imagine winning that many games,” Johnston told Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune. “I’ve known Don for a long time. And with Hodgie — what an accomplishment for both of them. You have to throw a few 50-win seasons in or you’re not going to get to those numbers.”

Eggers has more right here.

——

Westman Communications Group Place, the home of the Brandon Wheat Kings is soon to BrandonWKregularhave a new name. The 10-year deal between the Keystone Centre and the Westman Communications Group has reached its end and Westman has to walk away. . . . Among other things, Westman owns Brandon radio stations QCountry 91.5 FM and 880AM and is in its 27th season of owning broadcast rights to the Wheat Kings. . . . The Keystone Centre apparently has a new naming rights deal done and an announcement is to be made in the near future. . . . There is no word as too how much these naming rights go for, but USC just got a cool US$69 million from United Airlines for the naming rights to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.


TheCoachingGame

The BCHL’s Powell River Kings have fired Kent Lewis, their general manager and head PRKingscoach. . . . Assistant coach Brock Sawyer was named interim head coach, with assistant coach Kyle Bodie remaining on the staff. . . . “(The board of directors) just felt this course of action was in the best interests of the Powell River Kings moving forward,” Rob Villani, the team president, said in a news release. “It was an incredibly difficult decision.” . . . Lewis had been with the Kings for about 25 years. He started as an assistant coach, moved up to head coach, and then GM/head coach. . . . The Kings are 23-15-4-5 (that’s four ties) and is second in the Island Division, two points behind the Victoria Grizzlies. The Kings are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, including three straight losses.


Scoreboard

MONDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Red Deer at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

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


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