1985 Memorial Cup — Simpson: ‘We played the best at the most important times all season long. I guess that makes us the best.’

The four-team Memorial Cup tournament is to open in Halifax on Friday with the host Mooseheads meeting the WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders. The Raiders are in the tournament for the first time since 1985. . . . With that in mind, here’s a look back at that 1985 tournament when the Raiders proved that they were the best. . . . Enjoy!


1985 MEMORIAL CUP

Prince Albert Raiders, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Verdun Junior Canadiens and Shawinigan Cataractes

at Shawiningan (Municipal Auditorium) and Drummondville (Marcel Dionne Arena)

   The Prince Albert Raiders, under general manager and head coach Terry Simpson, were a Canadian junior A hockey dynasty.

   When the early 1980s arrived they really didn’t have any more junior A worlds left to conquer. And so it was that the Raiders applied and were granted entrance into the PrinceAlbertWestern Hockey League.

   Who could have guessed that three seasons into their major junior existence the Raiders would be the WHL champions and into their first Memorial Cup tournament?

   But that is exactly what happened.

   It cost the Raiders $175,000 to get into the WHL. They paid $100,000 for the franchise and $75,000 for what remained of a players’ list that had belonged to the defunct Spokane Flyers.

   When the Flyers folded in the middle of the 1981-82 seasons, the remaining teams held a dispersal draft on Dec. 3, 1981, but were only allowed to select players from Spokane’s active roster.

   The Raiders then bought the list and got more than their money’s worth because they picked up three future stars — centre Dan Hodgson, right-winger Dave Pasin and defenceman Emanuel Viveiros.

   And then, on Dec. 3, 1984, the Raiders moved into first place in the East Division for the first time. It was now apparent that this had all the makings of a special season in Prince Albert.

   The Raiders had gone 16-55-1 as they finished last in an eight-team East Division in their first WHL season, 1982-83. The following season, they were 41-29-2 and fifth.

   In 1984-85, they went 58-11-3 as they put together the WHL’s best regular-season record. Their 119 points was the third-highest in WHL history; the 58 victories was No. 2 on the all-time list.

   The Raiders then tore through the playoff season.

   “The Calgary series was our easiest series and that’s a bit surprising,” Simpson said after the Raiders lost just one of 13 playoff games. “We expected they would be tougher. But the other two series were tougher than the final outcome would indicate.”

   Prince Albert laid waste to the Calgary Wranglers in four games, lost one game to Medicine Hat before ousting the Tigers in five games, and then swept the defending-champion Kamloops Blazers.

   “Winning the world championship was a thrill, but winning the WHL title is more satisfying,” said Simpson, who had coached Canada to a world junior gold medal earlier in the year.

   And Simpson felt his club was ready for the Memorial Cup.

   “I know we didn’t get into a long series or overtime games or anything like that,” he said, “but there was always pressure. I suppose you can say that if we would have had tougher series or longer series, then we might be better prepared for the Memorial Cup. That could be an arguable point, but I think we’re going to be OK.”

   Hodgson was the team leader offensively. He led the league with 112 regular-season assists and was second in the points race, his 182 points trailing only the 197 put up by Cliff Ronning of the New Westminster Bruins.

   Hodgson’s linemates, Pasin and Tony Grenier, made the most of their centre’s playmaking abilities. Pasin sniped 64 times and totalled 116 points; Grenier had 120 points, including 62 goals.

  Right-winger Ken Morrison was the team’s other big-time sniper. He had 108 points, 51 of them goals.

   Forwards Dale McFee and Steve Gotaas could kill penalties with the best of them.

   Hodgson kept it going in the playoffs, too, as he led the league in assists (26) and points (36) in only 13 games.

   Pasin and Grenier had 21 points each, with defenceman Dave Goertz totalling 18, including 14 assists.

   Aside from Viveiros and Goertz, the defence also featured Dave Manson, Neil Davey, Doug Hobson and Curtis Hunt.

   And the amicable Ken Baumgartner, who was listed as a defenceman but would play anywhere, kept the opposition honest.

   Roydon Gunn (3.42 GAA in 36 games) and Ward Komonosky (3.52 in 38 games) shared the goaltending. But Komonosky got the bulk of the playing time in the postseason, playing in 12 of 13 playoff games and going the distance in all five Memorial Cup games. 

   “Our club has matured a lot,” offered Simpson. “Some of the younger guys have come along to the point where they are contributors on a regular basis. We’re getting solid leadership from the older guys and our goaltending has been good.

   “Hopefully, we’ve come far enough along to give us a legitimate shot at the Memorial Cup.”

   For the second year in a row, there was a high-scoring Lemieux in the tournament, too.

   It wasn’t Mario, though. This time it was Claude, a right-winger with the QMJHL-champion Verdun Junior Canadiens, who also featured 16-year-old Jimmy Carson.

   The Junior Canadiens were coached by Jean Begin, who had made it to the Memorial Cup tournament the previous season as head coach of the Laval Voisins and Mario Lemieux.

   Claude Lemieux, 19 and not related to Mario, didn’t quite crack the top 10 but he was Verdun’s leading regular-season scorer with 124 points, including 58 goals. He missed 16 games as a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning world junior team earlier in the season. Ironically, that team was coached by Simpson.

   In the postseason, Lemieux had 40 points, including 23 goals, in only 14 games. He also carried with him the reputation as a volatile performer.

   “I have to have the players’ respect but I know that in order to get it they have to respect me,” he said of being his team’s captain. “They won’t if I’m always yelling at them.

   “The thing is that I’m never satisfied. If I get a goal, I want two. If I get two, I want three.”

   After being named team captain, Lemieux began to back off a bit in an attempt to avoid confrontational situations.

   “Sometimes,” he said, “it was hard to back away, but what made it easier to take was that in every playoff game I scored at least a goal.”

   Lemieux got lots of help up front from Carson, who totalled 116 points as a 16-year-old rookie. And utility forward Carl Vermette had come to the fore in the playoffs with 11 goals.

   In goal, Verdun relied on Yves Lavoie, a 19-year-old product of the Quebec college ranks. In the playoffs, he put together a 12-2 record with a 2.32 GAA.

   The leaders on defence were Jerome Carrier, who had been named to the Memorial Cup all-star team with Verdun in 1983; Ron Annear, a Prince Edward Island native and a Montreal Canadiens draft pick who had spent the previous season playing at a university in San Diego; and, Gerry Peach, whom general manager Eric Taylor said was picked up from the Toronto Marlboros “because they didn’t want him.”

   Verdun had gone 36-30-2 in the regular season, winning the Robert Lebel Division but having a poorer record than the top three teams in the Frank Dilio Division.

   The Junior Canadiens took out the Hull Olympiques in five games in the first round, then eliminated the Shawinigan Cataractes, at 48-19-1 the regular season’s best team, in five games in one semifinal series, outscoring them 28-10 in the process.

   And, in the final, Verdun swept the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, who at 41-23-4 had been No. 2 in the regular season. The Junior Canadiens scored 29 goals and surrendered only 11 in the championship final.

   The Cataractes, however, were in the Memorial Cup tournament as the host team.

   Marc Damphousse was the big gun up front. His 160 points left him three points shy of scoring champion Guy Rouleau of the Longueuil Chevaliers.

   But observers felt the key to Shawinigan was left-winger Sergio Momesso. A 6-foot-3, 185-pounder, he finished fourth in the scoring race with 143 points, including 58 goals.

   “He’s a good man in the corners as well as being a good scorer,” offered head coach Ron Lapointe.

   The defence was anchored by Yves Beaudoin, who also was the quarterback on the power play.

   And in goal there was the starry Robert Desjardins, who was all of 5-foot-5 and 130 pounds.

   The Cataractes hadn’t played in 20 days when the tournament started.

   “We practised 13 of the 20 days and I find that our preparations have been very good,” Lapointe said. “Also it gave some players with minor ailments an opportunity to recover — and I have worked to make sure they are prepared mentally for the tournament.”

   With the time off, Lapointe had also been able to scout the fourth team in the tournament — the OHL-champion Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

   The Greyhounds had been on a mission since Aug. 31.

   “As I looked up to the rafters (in the Soo’s Memorial Gardens),” said Terry Crisp, the team’s head coach since 1979, “I saw a 1981 Leyden Division banner, a 1983 Emms Division banner and I’m thinking the only one missing is a 1985 OHL championship banner.”

   The Greyhounds, with Crisp and general manager Sam McMaster pulling the strings, filled the void with the first championship in their 13-year major junior history.

   They did it with a hard-fought 9-5 victory over the Peterborough Petes in the OHL’s nine-point final.

   “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and these kids have had to carry that pressure from Day 1,” explained Crisp.

   The Greyhounds, under Crisp, had been in five straight divisional finals and in the league championship series in three of the last five seasons.

   “We didn’t say that we might be there, or that we might be contenders,” Crisp said. “We said we were going after it. No other team was talking openly about a Memorial Cup. No other team put pressure on themselves like our team.”

   During the season, the Greyhounds set OHL records with 54 victories, 11 losses and 109 points in a 66-game schedule. They also put together a CHL record 33 straight home victories.

   In the playoffs, they lost only twice in 16 games; ironically, both losses occurred at home.

   Centre Wayne Groulx was second in the OHL’s scoring race with 144 points, including 59 goals. Right-winger Graeme Bonar led the team in goals, with 66.

The left-winger on their line was Bob Probert, who came over from the Hamilton Steelhawks in November and had 72 points in 44 games.

   Left-winger Derek King had 35 goals and was named the OHL’s rookie of the year.

   Just before the league’s trade deadline, McMaster picked up right-winger Wayne Presley from the Kitchener Rangers. The previous season, Presley had 63 goals in helping the Rangers to the Memorial Cup final.

   On defence, Jeff Beukeboom was a first-team all-star, while team captain Chris Felix led all OHL defencemen in points, with 101. 

   The goaltending was left in the hands of Scott Mosey and Marty Abrams. Together, they provided the Soo with the OHL’s best goaltending. Mosey had been acquired from the Guelph Platers, with Abrams coming over from the Toronto Marlboros.

   The Greyhounds opened the 67th chase for the Memorial Cup with a 4-3 victory over the Cataractes before 3,226 fans at Shawinigan on May 11.

   The Cataractes led this one 3-0 in the first period on goals by Mario Belanger, Damphousse and Dave Kasper.

   Steve Hollett, with his first of two goals, got the Greyhounds on the scoreboard at 1:52 of the first period. Bonar, at 16:03 of the second, and Chris Brant, 2:12 into the third, tied the game. Hollett then won it on a power play.

   The Cataractes bounced back the next day to beat Prince Albert 6-2 in front of 2,694 fans in Shawinigan.

   “I thought the difference tonight was that we played hockey for 60 minutes,” Lapointe said. “I thought our layoff after the playoffs would really affect us today, but we went with four lines and it seemed to give everybody a breather.”

   Left-winger Alain Bisson had a goal and two assists as the Cataractes posted the first victory for a QMJHL team in a Memorial Cup game since May 8, 1983, when Verdun beat the Lethbridge Broncos 4-3 in Portland. Quebec teams had gone 0-6 since then.

   Denis Paul, Kasper, Patrice Lefebvre, Damphousse and Belanger also scored for Shawinigan.

   Grenier scored both Prince Albert goals.

   The Cataractes also got a big effort from Desjardins, who stopped 22 shots. His teammates played through a scoreless first period, took a 3-1 lead after the second, and scored three more goals in the third.

   That same day in Drummondville, the Soo doubled Verdun 6-3 as King’s second goal, a power-play effort, broke a 3-3 tie at 5:47 of the third period.

Groulx upped it to 5-3 two minutes later and Tyler Larter iced it at 15:25 of the third.

   Brit Peer and Presley also scored for the Greyhounds.

   Francois Olivier, Carrier and Everett Sanipass replied for the Junior Canadiens.

   The Raiders got back on the winning track on May 13 as they got two goals from Goertz and skated to a 5-3 victory over Verdun before 2,613 fans in Drummondville. 

   “We were skating better tonight,” Simpson said, “and our intensity level was up.”

   Goertz added: “We had a team meeting and a good rest after the banquet this afternoon and everybody felt relaxed out there tonight.”

   Hodgson, who was named the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League’s player of the year at that banquet, picked up his third assist of the tournament on a power-play goal by Grenier that opened the scoring 4:34 into the game.

   Lavoie pulled a muscle in his right leg on that play and left the game at 8:18 of the first period, with Troy Crosby, who hadn’t played in the last 23 games, coming on to stop 34 shots.

   Viveiros and left-winger Dean Braham also scored for the Raiders.

   Verdun got two goals from Lemieux and one from Henri Marcoux.

   Komonosky, who had struggled in the opener, rebounded with a 22-save effort against Verdun.

   On May 14 in Drummondville, the Raiders handed the Greyhounds their first loss, winning 8-6 behind Dale McFee’s three goals and five assists from Hodgson. Attendance was 1,827.

   A victory would have given the Soo a spot in the final.

   Hodgson’s performance set an unofficial single-game record for assists and gave him eight helpers in three games.

   “Well, that’s great if I do (hold the record),” Hodgson said, “but I’ve got to start scoring some goals here.”

   Grenier scored twice, giving him a tournament-high five goals, as the Raiders broke open a 2-2 game with five second-period goals. Goertz, Pasin and Brad Bennett added one each for the westerners.

   The Soo scoring came from Presley, Felix, Beukeboom, Hollett, Groulx and Peer.

   “You forget that sometimes even in the smallest of oceans, a breeze can come up and tip your boat in a hurry,” Crisp said. “Tonight, a breeze came up and we only have ourselves to blame.”

   As for Hodgson, he loved the shootout.

   “We feel confident when we get into this type of game because we know we’ve got the guys who can score enough goals to pull us through,” he said.

   Komonosky was solid again, making 37 saves, while the Soo duo of Abrams and Mosey combined for 34 saves.

   The first berth in the final went to Shawinigan, thanks to a 5-1 victory over Verdun on May 15 in Drummondville.

   That eliminated Verdun and set up a semifinal game between the Soo and Prince Albert. Begin, the Junior Canadiens’ coach, now had an 0-6 record in back-to-back Memorial Cups. His Laval club had gone 0-3 a year earlier.

   Lapointe maintained his club’s victory wasn’t based on revenge. Verdun had beaten Shawinigan in five games in one QMJHL semifinal series.

   “There was no revenge factor,” Lapointe said. “The shortest road to the final was what we wanted and our minds were on that.”

   Desjardins, the game’s first star with a 23-save effort, said: “They got us in the semifinals, but we got them when it really counted.”

   Desjardins lost his bid for the first Memorial Cup shutout since 1982 when Frank DeSantis scored with 1:25 left to play.

   Momesso and Belanger had a goal and an assist each, with Lefebvre, Paul and Robert Page adding a goal each for the winners. Damphousse helped out with two assists.

   “We just didn’t seem to have the intensity in the playoffs that we had tonight,” Momesso said. “We had terrific goaltending and our penalty killing was great. And we got a lot of inspiration from the little men (Desjardins and Lefebvre).”

   The Raiders moved into the final by hammering the Greyhounds 8-3 on May 16 in Drummondville. Attendance was 2,758.

   “When you play a team twice in three nights and they not only beat you both times but score 16 goals in the process, you have to give them full credit,” Crisp said.

   The Prince Albert line of Hodgson, Grenier and Pasin totalled 13 points.

Hodgson had a goal and four assists, giving him a record-tying (Jeff Larmer, Kitchener, 1982) 12 assists in the tournament. Pasin had two goals and three assists, and Grenier had two goals for a tournament-leading seven.

   Gotaas, with two, and Braham also scored for the Raiders.

   Probert, Jean-Marc MacKenzie and Felix scored for the Soo.

   “I think our outstanding player tonight was Komonosky,” Simpson said. “I’m really happy for him because some of our critics wonder about our goaltending.”

   Komonosky stopped 37 shots as he enjoyed his best game of the tournament.

   The game was tied 1-1 late in the first period but the Raiders then scored the game’s next seven goals.

   “Our goaltending wasn’t up to snuff through the whole tournament,” said Crisp, who again used both goaltenders. “But what disappoints me most is that we couldn’t regroup and hold the fort — stem the tide — after they got ahead.

   “We just didn’t dig down and hold them until we could get a goal or two back.”

   This would be the first final since the round-robin format was adopted in 1974 in which Ontario wasn’t represented among the final two teams.

   “I would have loved to have gone on to the championship, but we can go home and say we got beat by a damn good hockey team,” Crisp said.

   As for the final, Crisp liked the Raiders.

   “It’s going to take one hell of a club to beat them, I’ll say that much,” he said.

   Hodgson, for one, was ready.

   “Right after that game (the 6-2 opening loss) we wanted to play Shawinigan again,” he said. “Now we’re going to show them on national television how the Prince Albert Raiders play hockey.”

   The Cataractes, the host team for this tournament, were in the final but playing 100 kilometres from home, their own rink having been deemed unfit for a TV game.

   The final was held in Drummondville on May 18, with the Raiders winning 6-1 in front of 3,865 noisy fans.

   Hodgson, who set a tournament record with 13 assists, pointed to a first-period fight as the turning point.

   “Sometimes you’ve just got to go in there and tune some of the boys in,” he said. “Baumgartner did that to their big tough guy and we just picked it up from there. I thought that was a big part of the game.”

   With the Raiders up 2-0, Baumgartner scored a unanimous decision over Steve Masse in a battle of 6-foot-1, 200-pound defencemen.

   It helped too that the Raiders scored just 15 seconds into the game — Braham got the goal — to quiet the crowd.

   Gotaas, with two, Pat Elynuik, Viveiros and Pasin also scored for the Raiders.

Belanger spoiled Komonosky’s bid for a shutout on a power play at 3:05 of the third period.

   “Everyone cuts (Komonosky) down all season and says the Raiders aren’t going to go anywhere because of their goaltending,” Hodgson said, “but the big guy slammed the door and kicked the lights out today.”

   Hodgson didn’t do too bad, either.

   He turned in one of the best performances in tournament history, setting a record for most assists (13) in a series and most assists in one game (5). His 15 points were one short of the record set by Kitchener’s Jeff Larmer in 1982.

   Hodgson was named the tournament’s most valuable player and was selected to the all-star team.

   “To end my junior career like this is such a big thrill,” Hodgson said. “This is probably the best hockey I’ve played all year and it was a good time to play it, I must admit.”

   Also named to the all-star team were Desjardins, Goertz and Beaudoin on defence, and wingers Grenier and Lefebvre.

   Komonosky, although he didn’t get selected to the all-star team, was named the top goaltender. Grenier was selected the most sportsmanlike player.

   “This is gratifying because this is a victory that an entire organization can celebrate,” Simpson said. “We played the best at the most important times all season long.

   “I guess that makes us the best.”

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High Noon for Hannoun, Raiders. . . . Mid-season acquisition scores OT winner. . . . Prince Albert rules WHL for first time since 1985


MacBeth

F Riley Holzapfel (Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, in 53 games, he had 19 goals and a team-leading 34 assists. . . .

F Spencer Edwards (Red Deer, Seattle, Moose Jaw, 2006-11) has signed a  one-year contract extension with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, he had nine goals and 17 assists in 44 games. . . .

D Tomáš Slovák (Kelowna, 2001-03) has signed a one-year contract extension with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had four assists in eight games. He started this season with Jegesmedvék Miscolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga), putting up one goal and three assists in 39 games. . . .

F Tomáš Hričina (Regina, 2008-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 49 games. . . .

F Oliver Jokeľ (Swift Current, 2008-09) has signed a one-year contract extension with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had three goals in 15 games. On loan to Humenné (Slovakia, 1. Liga), he had 12 goals and 14 assists in 31 games. . . .

F Keegan Dansereau (Calgary, Swift Current, 2003-09) has signed a one-year contract with Dunaújváros (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga), he had nine goals and 30 assists in 56 games. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

F Zach McPhee (Tri-City, Everett, Kootenay, 2010-14) has signed a one-year contract with Trollhättan (Sweden, Division 2). This season, with U of Regina (USports, Canada West), he had four goals and three assists in 27 games. . . .

F Rihards Bukarts (Brandon, Portland, 2013-16) has signed a one-year contract with Düsseldorf (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL), he had nine goals and 13 assists in 42 games. . . .

F Mike Aviani (Spokane, 2009-14) has signed a one-year contract with Nice (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga), he had four goals and seven assists in 23 games. He also had three goals and four assists in 15 games with the Herning Blue Fox (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). . . .

F Cain Franson (Vancouver, 2010-14) has signed a one-year contract with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with U of Calgary (USports, Canada West), he had six goals and seven assists in 15 games. . . .

D Craig Schira (Regina, Vancouver, 2003-09) has signed a two-year contract extension with Rögle Ängelholm (Sweden, SHL). This season, he was the team captain, and had two goals and 12 assists in 41 games.


ThisThat

It wasn’t the running of the bulls in Prince Albert, but . . .


The Prince Albert Raiders won the Ed Chynoweth Cup on Monday night, beating the PrinceAlbertvisiting Vancouver Giants, 3-2 in OT, in Game 7 of the WHL’s championship series. . . . It’s the second time in league history that the title has been won in an overtime period in Game 7. . . . F Noah Gregor, with two goals in regulation time, and F Dante Hannoun, with the winner in OT, scored for the Raiders. Both players are 20, meaning they are in their final seasons of junior hockey. . . . Both players were acquired from the Victoria Royals. . . . The Raiders acquired Hannoun, along with fourth- and eighth-round selections in the 2019 bantam draft, on Jan. 3, giving up F Kody McDonald, F Carson Miller and a third-round pick in the 2020 draft in the exchange. . . . Gregor, who has signed with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, was acquired on July 25 for “conditional compensation,” whatever that is. . . .

As for the first time that Game 7 was decided in OT, it happened in 2007 and, yes, it involved the Giants. Vancouver had taken a 3-2 lead in the series with the Medicine Hat Tigers as G Tyson Sexsmith put up three shutouts — 1-0, 4-0 and 3-0. . . . The last two games were played in Medicine Hat. The Tigers won Game 6, 4-3, then took Game 7, 3-2, when F Brennan Bosch scored at 7:26 of the second OT period. . . . The Giants were the host team for the 2007 Memorial Cup and — wouldn’t you know it — they beat the Tigers, 3-1, in the final.


The Prince Albert Raiders, who won the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions on CHLMonday night, will open the Memorial Cup on Friday night in Halifax.

The Raiders will meet the host Mooseheads, who lost the QMJHL final in six games to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

The Huskies will play their first Memorial Cup game on Saturday against the OHL-champion Guelph Storm. Guelph took out the Ottawa 67’s in six games in the OHL final.

The Mooseheads and Storm will meet on Sunday, with the Huskies and Raiders playing on Monday.

The Storm and Raiders are scheduled to play on May 21, with the round-robin concluding on May 22 with the Mooseheads meeting the Huskies.

If a tiebreaker is necessary, it will be played on May 23, and the semifinal is scheduled for May 24.

The tournament wraps up with the championship game on May 26.

The WHL has won the Memorial Cup once in the past 10 tournaments. That was in 2014 when the Edmonton Oil Kings won the championship. Prior to that, the WHL had won five the previous eight tournaments.


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EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The Prince Albert Raiders have won their first WHL championship since 1985 when, in just their third season in the league, they went on to win the Memorial Cup under head coach Terry Simpson. . . . Curtis Hunt, the Raiders’ general manager, was a defenceman on that championship team. . . .

This was the third straight season in which the Ed Chynoweth Cup was won in Saskatchewan. Two seasons ago, the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Regina Pats in six games, winning Game 6 in Regina. Last season, the Swift Current Broncos won it at home, beating the visiting Everett Silvertips in Game 6. . . . This is the second season in a row that the champion of the 22-team WHL is a community-owned team. There are four of those in the WHL, the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Moose Jaw Warriors being the other two. . . .

The captains of the Raiders and Giants both are from Saskatchewan and were teammates with the Victoria Royals. Raiders D Brayden Pachal, 19, is from Estevan. He was a freshman with the Royals in 2015-16, then was dealt to the Raiders the next season. Giants F Jared Dmytriw, 20, is from Craven. He was with the Royals for two full seasons (2014-16) before being dealt to the Red Deer Rebels and then to Vancouver last season. . . .

Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, now has posted 74 WHL playoff victories during his career behind the bench. That is seventh in WHL history, behind Don Hay (108), Ken Hodge (101), Ernie McLean (87), Kelly McCrimmon and Pat Ginnell (80), and Brent Sutter (79). . . . During the regular season, Habscheid became the eighth WHL head coach to get to 500 victories. . . . Habscheid now has won two titles as a head coach; he also won with the 2002-03 Kelowna Rockets. . . .

The Raiders, who were 28-4-2 at home in the regular season, finished the playoffs at 9-3. . . . The Giants, who were 22-9-3 on the road in the regular season, were 7-4 in the playoffs. . . .

Bowen Byram of the Giants became the first defenceman in WHL history to win the playoff scoring race. He finished with 26 points, one more than F Brett Leason of the Raiders. Prince Albert forwards Dante Hannoun and Noah Gregor, who combined on the winning goal in OT of Game 7, each had 24. . . . Hannoun led in goals (14), one more than Gregor, while Byram was tops in assists (18), two more than teammate Davis Koch. . . .

Hannoun had five goals and four assists in the seven-game final. After three games, he had three goals and four assists. So the Giants held him to two goals over the final four games, but he still was able to score the biggest goal of the season. . . .

This was the 12th time that the WHL championship has been decided in Game 7, and the road team has only won one of those games. That was in 2014 when the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Winterhawks, 4-2, in Portland to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

——

MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Dante Hannoun’s OT goal gave the Prince Albert Raiders a 3-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants in Game 7 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Raiders, PrinceAlbertwho hadn’t lost three straight games all season, had led the series 3-1 before dropping two straight games. . . . Hannoun, a mid-season acquisition from the Victoria Royals, won it with 1:35 left in the first OT period. F Noah Gregor, who had the Raiders’ two goals in regulation, had the puck on the left side and sent a terrific pass to Hannoun, who was open off the right side of the Vancouver net. He didn’t miss the open side. . . . Vancouver F Milos Roman, who had gone 12 games without a goal, opened the scoring at 4:45 of the second period. D Bowen Byram skated down the left side of the offensive zone and hit Roman with a great pass for Roman’s third goal of the playoffs. . . . Gregor (12) pulled the Raiders even at 14:57, beating G David Tendeck through a screen from the slot. . . . Gregor (13) gave the Raiders a 2-1 lead at 4:25 of the third period, scoring from the left side. . . . F Parker Kelly drew an assist on each of Gregor’s goals. Kelly had five two-point games in the final — twice scoring two goals and three times setting up a pair. . . . Roman got the Giants back even at 8:30, scoring on a rebound while on the PP. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason was penalized for delay of game — the dreaded puck-over-glass penalty — at 14:27 of OT, but the Raiders were able to kill it off. That set the stage for Hannoun. . . . The Raiders got 24 saves from G Ian Scott. He led all playoff goaltenders in victories (16), GAA (1.96), save percentage (.925) and shutouts (5). He was named the playoff MVP. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 37 shots for Vancouver. He finished the playoffs at 11-5, 2.38, .918. . . . The Giants were 1-4 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-1. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Jeff Ingram, with Chad Huseby and Tarrington Wyonzek on the lines.


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Giants force Game 7 in WHL final. . . . Ed Chynoweth Cup to be awarded tonight. . . . Guelph Storm advances to Memorial Cup

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An airtanker unloads retardant on a fire about 25 km east of downtown Kamloops on Sunday afternoon.

The calendar reads May 12, but the thermometer shows that the temperature already is above 30 C. Records already are being set in the Pacific Northwest, along the West Coast of B.C., and into the province’s Interior.

That, of course, means that fire season is upon us, despite the fact that we have yet seen even one bolt of lightning. To date, every mention I have seen of a fire this season has referred to “human-caused.”

There already have been a number of relatively small fires, but the first big one involving evacuation orders started on Saturday near Fraser Lake, which is west of Prince George.

On Sunday, the fire pictured above — it is the Buse Creek fire — broke out about 25 km east of downtown Kamloops, on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway. By 1:30 p.m., they were working it with two airtankers. By 5:30 p.m., the tankers were gone and a pair of helicopters were filling up in the South Thompson River and going back and forth, dropping water on the fire.

As evening fell, the fire was still considered to be out of control, and appeared to be moving slowly in a southerly direction. Ground crews were scheduled to work it through the night.

The forecast calls for a 30 per cent of showers tonight and Monday, and more rain on Tuesday. Here’s hoping it doesn’t change.


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The Guelph Storm won the OHL championship on Sunday, dumping the visiting Ottawa GuelphStorm67’s, 8-3, to win the series, 4-2. . . . This is the fourth time the Storm has won the J. Ross Robertson Cup. . . . The 67’s had gone into the series with a 12-0 record in these playoffs and had won the first two games. . . . The Storm trailed, 2-0, after one period, then scored five times in the second period to take control. . . . Guelph got two goals and two assists from each of F Isaac Ratcliffe, the team captain, and D Dmitri Samorkov. . . . F Nick Suzuki of the Storm was the playoff MVP. He led all scorers with a franchise record 42 points, including 16 goals, in 24 games. . . . The Storm has had quite a run. It is the only team in OHL history to have trailed three series, 2-0, and come back to win them all. . . . Guelph trailed the London Knights, 3-0, in the first round before coming back to win the series. Then, in a semifinal, the Storm was down 3-1 to the Saginaw Spirit before winning the last three games. . . . The Storm will be in the Memorial Cup for the sixth time. . . .

The QMJHL will be represented at the Memorial Cup by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who won the championship on Saturday, and the host Halifax Mooseheads. The Huskies beat the Mooseheads, 4-2 in the championship series. . . . The Memorial Cup is to run from Friday through May 26.


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EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup will be decided tonight (Monday) when the Vancouver Giants and the host Prince Albert Raiders meet in the Art Hauser Centre. . . . The Giants forced Game 7 with a 4-2 victory over the host Raiders on Sunday night. . . . The road team now is 7-0 in Game 6s in these playoffs. . . .

This will be the 12th time in WHL history, and the first time since 2014, that Game 7 has been needed to decide the WHL championship. In 2014, the Edmonton Oil Kings became the first team to win a final series Game 7 on the road when they beat the Winterhawks, 4-2, in Portland. . . . However, that series was 2-2 after four games. . . . ICYMI: I took a look in a post here on Saturday night at the first 11 championship series to go seven games. . . .

In WHL history, teams have come from behind 3-1 deficits to win series on 13 occasions. Two of those were teams that trailed 3-0 — the 1996 Spokane Chiefs, in a first-round series with the Portland Winterhawks, and the 2013 Kelowna Rockets, in the Western Conference final against the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . .

However, only one team — the Jack Shupe-coached Victoria Cougars — has managed to erase a 3-1 deficit in the championship series and then win Game 7. The Cougars fell behind the Calgary Wranglers in 1981, before winning the last three games of the series. . . . They opened with three games in Victoria — Calgary won the opener, 3-2; Victoria tied it, 5-1; then Calgary posted an 8-6 victory to go home with a 2-1 edge. The Wranglers then went ahead, 3-1, with a 6-5 victory. The Cougars then rolled to three victories in as many nights — 7-4 on April 29 and 4-2 the next night, both in Calgary, and 4-2 in Victoria on May 1. . . . This was the first time in WHL history that a team had won a best-seven-series in any round after trailing 3-1. . . .

To sum it up: The Giants are trying to become the 14th team in WHL history to erase a 3-1 deficit in the final series and win the championship. They also are trying to become only the second team in WHL history to win Game 7 of the championship series on the road. . . . You can bet that Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck will let his guys know that history awaits!

The Raiders, meanwhile, haven’t lost three games in a row this season, and now are hoping to follow the example set by the 1992 and 1994 Kamloops Blazers. In both seasons, the Blazers met the Saskatoon Blades in the championship series. In each instance, Kamloops took a 3-1 lead and then found itself playing Game 7. In 1992, the Blazers won the title with an 8-0 victory at home. In 1994, the Blazers beat the Blades, 8-1, in Game 7 in Kamloops.

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G David Tendeck stopped 36 shots and F Davis Koch scored twice as the Vancouver VancouverGiants skated to a 4-2 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is tied, 3-3, with the winner of tonight’s Game 7 going home with the big bauble. . . . The Giants last won the title in 2006; the Raiders haven’t won it since 1985. . . . Vancouver, down 3-1 in the series, had won Game 5, 4-3, in Langley, B.C., on Friday night. . . . Last night, F Parker Kelly (7) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the first period when he put his own rebound in behind Tendeck. Kelly had scored 41 seconds into Game 3, which the Raiders went on to win, 8-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . Koch (4) pulled the Giants even at 6:58, getting a nifty backhand shot past Raiders G Ian Scott. . . . Vancouver went ahead 2-1 at 15:17 when F Owen Hardy scored his fifth goal of the playoffs. . . . Kelly (8) pulled the Raiders even with 32.2 seconds left in the period, taking a pass from F Aliaksei Protas and scoring. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Giants went ahead 3-2 at 3:40 of the third as F Jared Dmytriw, their captain, scored his ninth goal, coming free in front of Scott and putting in a rebound off a shot by F Lukas Svejkovsky. . . . Dmytriw had the primary assist on Hardy’s goal, too. . . . The Raiders had a glorious chance to pull even when Vancouver F Jadon Joseph went off for tripping at 11:30. However, Tendeck closed the door and Prince Albert was penalized for too many men at 13:23. The Giants weren’t able to score on their PP, either. . . . Koch (5) put it away with an empty-netter with 14.2 seconds left to play. . . . Each team finished 0-2 on the PP. . . . The Raiders had a 38-27 edge in shots, including 16-10 in the first period and 11-7 in the third. . . . Scott finished with 23 saves. . . . The referees were Mike Campbell and Steve Papp, with Sean Dufour and Michael Roberts on the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.

Lucas Punkari of the Prince Albert Daily Herald has a gamer right here.


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Giants, Raiders head back to P.A. . . . Game 6 scheduled for Sunday. . . . Guelph one win from title in OHL


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The Guelph Storm won its third straight game on Friday night, beating the host Ottawa ohl67’s, 4-3, to take a 3-2 lead in the OHL’s championship series. . . . They’ll play Game 6 in Guelph on Sunday. . . . Last night, the Storm got a goal and an assist from F Alexey Toropchenko, who has seven goals in his past four games. He has 13 goals in these playoffs. . . . F Tye Felhaber scored twice for Ottawa. He now leads the OHL playoffs, with 17 goals. . . . The 67’s opened the playoffs with 14 straight victories, but now have lost three in a row — for the first time this season — and are facing elimination on Sunday.



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The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio have extended their broadcast agreement through the 2019-20 season. . . . The Cougars’ games, home and away, will again be heard on 94.3 The GOAT. . . . Fraser Rodgers will be back for his third season as the play-by-play voice. . . . Hartley Miller, The GOAT’s sports director, will be the analyst for a seventh straight season.


Sean Murray, a goaltending coach who has worked with the Portland Winterhawks, TrailVancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars, has signed on with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . . Murray, a coach for more than 20 years, spent five seasons (2006-11) with the Giants, and was part of their Memorial Cup title in 2007. . . . He also pent three-plus seasons with the Winterhawks and two working with the Cougars. . . . The Smoke Eaters also have hired Jeff Urekar, who had been the head coach of the major midget North East Chiefs, as assistant GM.


The AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons announced Friday that they have “parted ways” OilBaronswith Tom Keca, who had been their general manager and head coach through four seasons. . . . In a news release, David Fitzgerald, the organization’s president, said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to agree on terms with Tom to extend his contract beyond this season. In light of this, we decided that it was best for the organization to move in a different direction next season.” . . . Before taking over as GM/head coach, Keca had been an assistant coach with the Oil Barons for four-plus seasons. He also spent five seasons (2000-05) on the staff as an assistant before taking over as head coach of the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Dave Dupas has stepped in as general manager and head coach “until further notice.” . . . Dupas has been an assistant coach with Fort McMurray for the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings for four seasons. . . . This season, the Oil Barons went 32-19-9 to finish fourth in the Viterra AJHL North. They beat the Grande Prairie Storm, 3-1, in a best-of-five first-round series, then lost a best-of-seven affair to the Sherwood Park Crusaders, 4-2.


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NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is headed back to the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. . . . The Vancouver Giants beat the Raiders, 4-3, on Friday night in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders now hold a 3-2 lead in the series. . . . The two teams will climb on to the same plane today and fly to Prince Albert where Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday. . . . A seventh game, if needed, would be played on Monday. . . .

Prior to Game 5, Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Steve Ewen of Postmedia: “The one thing I know for sure is that you don’t give games away. You have a chance like this, you play this like it’s Game 7. “You want to end it as quick as possible. (Friday) is our Game 7.” . . .

After Game 5, Habscheid told reporters: “If someone had told me at the start of the (season) that we’d have two games at home to try and win the league title, we’d take it.” . . .

This is the third straight WHL final to go six games. . . . Two seasons ago, the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the host Regina Pats, 4-3 in OT, to win that series, 4-2. . . . Last season, it was the Swift Current Broncos winning Game 6, 3-0 over the visiting Everett Silvertips, to take that series, 4-2. . . .

On Friday, at 8:15 p.m. PT, with Game 5 between Vancouver and Prince Albert in the first intermission, Rogers Sportsnet had Plays of the Month on four channels, MLB’s Best on one channel and Highlights of the Night on another. Just sayin’ . . . No, Game 6 of the OHL’s championship final wasn’t on any of the channels earlier in the evening either.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Vancouver Giants erased a 2-1 deficit with three-second period goals en route to a 4-Vancouver3 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Raiders lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-2, with Game 6 to be played in Prince Albert on Sunday. . . . Game 7, if necessary, would be played on Monday. . . . Last night, the Giants got the game’s first goal, at 7:42 of the first period, when F Brayden Watts (7) deposited a rebound off a shot by F Tristen Nielsen into an empty side. . . . The team scoring first now is 5-0 in this series. . . . The Raiders tied it at 10:44 as F Aliaksei Protas (12) scored from the slot off a rebound from a shot by F Sean Montgomery. . . . The teams then combined for five goals in the second period. . . . The visitors took their only lead at 2:45, just nine seconds after killing off a penalty. F Dante Hannoun came free in front of the Giants’ net and beat G David Tendeck for his WHL-leading 13th goal of these playoffs. . . . Vancouver tied it 50 seconds later as D Bowen Byram (8) skated into the left side of the slot and beat G Ian Scott for his first goal of the series. . . . F Davis Koch (3) put the home boys back out front, putting home a rebound at 9:24. He had gone 12 games without a goal. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (6) upped Vancouver’s lead to 4-2 at 11:13 with a shot from the top of the left circle off a play by F Dawson Holt, who gained possession of the puck with some good work along the boards and then threw out a terrific pass. . . . The Raiders got back to within a goal at 15:54 as F Noah Gregor (11) got a backhand shot through Tendeck after the Giants failed to clear their zone. . . . F Jadon Joseph had two assists for Giants, while Byram added an assist to his goal, as did Watts. . . . The Raiders got two assists from F Brett Leason. . . . Leason and Byram remain tied for the playoff points lead, each with 25, two ahead of Hannoun. . . . Tendeck finished with 37 saves, including 16 in the third period as he helped keep the Raiders off the scoreboard. . . . Scott stopped 26 shots. . . . The Giants were 0-1 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-2. . . . The Raiders had D Max Martin back in the lineup after he missed Games 3 and 4. He was injured in the second period of Game 2 after crashing awkwardly into the end boards. With Martin back in, D Loeden Schaufler came out. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Fraser Lawrence, with Ron Dietterle and Brett Mackey working the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.


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Graham fighting to get back in booth. . . . Ice unveils plans for its temporary home. . . . Raiders can close out WHL final tonight

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D Martin Bodák (Kootenay, 2017-19) has signed a one-year contract with Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Kootenay, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 58 games. . . .

D Brent Regner (Vancouver, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract extension with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had 11 goals and 23 assists in 44 games.


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As he had for more than 650 Edmonton Oil Kings games, Corey Graham was calling the play on March 18, 2018. That was the Oil Kings’ final game of the 2017-18 season because they missed the playoffs. . . . That also was Graham’s last game to date. What happened? . . .

Jason Gregor has the story right here . . .

“I met Corey and his wife Nicole in their new home last month. Corey greeted me at the front door of their newly renovated bungalow. Freshly painted walls and three gorgeous white pillars showcased a welcoming open area for the kitchen and living room.

“Instead of calling Oil Kings games, Corey has been battling to stand up. Literally.

“He moved his wheelchair close to the couch and we talked about the events of the previous 10 months.”


While they were preparing to move from Cranbrook, B.C., to Winnipeg, the owners of the wpgiceteam that now is the Winnipeg Ice had said they would spend $400,000 on dressing up Wayne Fleming Arena, the 38-year-old arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba. On Thursday, Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, announced that figure will be closer to $1.2 million. . . . As Paul Friesen wrote in the Winnipeg Sun: “You can buy a lot of lipstick for $1.2 million.” . . . That will allow them, Cockell said, to increase the arena’s capacity by 200, to 1,600, and to add such things as a new clock with video boards, as well as new glass and netting. . . . The Ice has said it will spend two seasons playing in the Wayne Fleming Arena as it awaits construction of a new facility. That new arena is to be built in the Rural Municipality of Macdonald, but a shovel has yet to be put in the ground because some rezoning apparently has yet to be done. . . . Friesen’s complete piece is right here.


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The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies scored a pair of empty-net goals to finish off a 6-3 victory over the visiting Halifax Mooseheads in Game 5 of the QMJHL’s championship final on Thursday night. . . . The Huskies lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 in Halifax on Saturday. . . . Halifax is the host team for the Memorial Cup so both teams will be playing in the tournament regardless of who wins this series. . . .

The OHL championship series is scheduled to resume tonight in Ottawa with the 67’s and Guelph Storm tied, 2-2. Ottawa won the first two games; Guelph followed by holding serve on home ice. . . . Game 6 is to be played in Guelph on Sunday.



Ken Campbell of The Hockey News pretty much summed up the NHL playoffs with this:

“A blown major penalty that leads to four power-play goals in a crucial game can’t be reviewed, but a play where a guy’s DNA is on the wrong side of the blueline can.”

He’s right, and his entire piece is right here.


Men’s and women’s hockey teams from Trinity Western U in Langley, B.C., and MacEwan U in Edmonton will begin play in Canada West, one of U Sports’ top conferences, in 2020-21. . . . The applications were accepted on Thursday as Canada West’s annual general meeting wrapped up in Whistler, B.C. . . . The TWU Spartans men’s team is coming off back-to-back championship seasons in the B.C. International Hockey League. The women’s team plays in the South Coast Women’s Hockey League. . . . Both of MacEwan’s teams, the Griffins, play in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference where both teams have won three straight championships.


Brad Elliott Schlossman covers the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks and NCAA hockey for the Grand Forks Herald. He regularly writes a feature that he calls The Daily Skate, and it’s a really good read. . . . On Thursday, he wrote, among other things, about the number of standalone diving calls this season in NCAA Division I hockey. . . . He also had some info on college teams moving the starting times for Saturday games up to 6 p.m. Minnesota State U-Mankato is one of those teams. Here’s what Kevin Buisman, the athletic director, told Schlossman: “This is a strategy that has been effective in other markets and after consulting players, coaches, fans, event staff and other program supporters, we decided to move forward with immediate implementation. I think this change will be particularly appealing to families with younger children and this is a demographic we need to grow as they represent the future fan base of Maverick hockey.” . . . Schlossman’s complete piece is right here.


Rikard Grönborg is one of the hot names in the coaching community these days. Grönborg, the head coach of the Swedish national team, spent one season (2004-05) as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs. These days, it was thought that he was high on the Buffalo Sabres’ list of prospective head coaches. However, his day in the NHL is going to have to wait as he has signed a two-year deal with the ZSC Lions of the Swiss National League.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup could conclude tonight as the Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Giants meet in Game 5 in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders, who have posted 4-0 and 1-0 shutouts in two of the past three games, hold a 3-1 lead. In between the shutouts, they beat the Giants, 8-2. . . . Should the Giants win tonight, Game 6 would be played in Prince Albert on Sunday. A seventh game, if needed, would be played on Monday.


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Scott, Leason lead Raiders to win. . . . P.A. can wrap up WHL title Friday. . . . All quiet on the Cranbrook front


MacBeth

D Taylor Aronson (Portland, 2009-11) has signed a one-year contract with Cologne (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had one goal and 14 assists in 43 games. . . .

F Jason Bast (Moose Jaw, 2005-10) has signed a one-year contract with Cologne (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 50 games. . . .

F Brody Sutter (Saskatoon, Lethbridge, 2008-12) has signed a one-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). This season, with Sport Vaasa (Finland, Liiga), he had nine goals and 12 assists in 45 games. . . .

F Semyon Krasheninnikov (Tri-City, 2014-15) has signed a one-year contract with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Zvezda Moscow (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he was pointless in one game, and had eight assists in 30 games with Tambov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga).


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With their WHL franchise having packed up and moved to Winnipeg, hockey fans in Cranbrook, B.C., are wondering: What’s next? Well, as Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Townsman points out, we’re already into May and there isn’t another team in town, so it is likely too late for the 2019-20 season. In this piece right here, Crawley also wonders what’s happening on negotiations between the WHL franchise’s owners and the City of Cranbrook on a lease that is to run through 2022-23.


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In the OHL, F Alexey Toropchenko scored two goals for a third straight game in leading the host Guelph Storm to a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa 67’s on Wednesday night. The best-of-seven championship final is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Ottawa on Friday night. Game 6 is to be played in Guelph on Sunday afternoon. . . . Ottawa won the first two games of the final, at which point the 67’s were 14-0 in these playoffs. . . .

In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies also are tied, 2-2. They’ll play Game 5 in Rouyn-Noranda tonight, with Game 6 in Halifax on Saturday afternoon. . . . Both teams will appear in the Memorial Cup because Halifax is the host team. The four-team tournament is to run from May 17-26.


The AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm has signed head coach Matt Keillor to a two-year extension that will run through the 2020-21 season. Keillor has been with the Storm since the middle of the 2015-16 season. He had been coaching the midget AAA Storm when the AJHL club chose to fire head coach Kevin Higo in December. . . . This season, the Storm finished 30-26-4 before losing a best-of-five first-round playoff series, 3-1, to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.


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NOTES: It is often dangerous to take the WHL’s online summaries as gospel immediately after games end, even once the word FINAL appears at the top. Such was the case on Tuesday following the Prince Albert Raiders’ 8-2 victory over the host Vancouver Giants in Game 3 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . At some point following the game, F Brett Leason of the Raiders was credited with another assist, leaving him with two goals and two assists. . . . Raiders F Parker Kelly had an assist taken away, so he finished with two goals. . . . Raiders forwards Dante Hannoun and Noah Gregor each lost an assist, so wound up with a goal and an assist apiece. . . . When the changes were applied, Vancouver D Bowen Byram was left alone atop the scoring race, with 23 points, one ahead of Hannoun and Leason. . . .

That brings us to Game 4, which was played last night in Langley, B.C. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders, who scored seven goals in the first period of Game 3 one night earlier, didn’t score until the third period of Game 4, but that was enough for a 1-0 victory over the Giants. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Langley on Friday, with the Raiders having their first crack at winning their first championship since 1985. . . .

When was the last 1-0 game in a WHL final? Last spring, G Stuart Skinner and the Swift Current Broncos beat the host Everett Silvertips, 1-0, on May 9. Skinner stopped 32 shots and D Colby Sissons scored the game’s only goal, on a PP, at 14:35 of the second period as the Broncos took a 3-1 lead in the series. . . . Everett came back to win Game 5, 6-3, on home ice two nights later, but Skinner put up another shutout, his sixth of those playoffs, as the Broncos won, 3-0, on May 13 to take the series, 4-2. . . .

Last night, Leason scored the game’s only goal, so he now has 23 points, tying him with Byram for the playoff scoring lead. Hannoun remains one point back, while two other Prince Albert forwards — Aliaksei Protas and Noah Gregor — are three back.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott stopped 36 shots to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 1-0 victory over the PrinceAlbertVancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders now lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-1, and get their first chance to wrap it up on Friday in Langley. . . . This was Scott’s fifth shutout of these playoffs, one shy of the WHL’s single-season record that is shared by Dustin Slade (Vancouver, 2006, 18 games) and Stuart Skinner, who did it in 26 games with the Swift Current Broncos a year ago. . . . Scott blanked the Giants, 4-0, in Game 2 on Saturday in Prince Albert. . . . The Raiders have outscored the Giants, 13-2, over the past three games. . . . F Brett Leason scored the game’s lone goal, going in alone to beat Vancouver G David Tendeck at 4:21 of the third period. . . . Just moments earlier, the Giants had hit a post behind Scott. . . . Vancouver had two earlier breakaways — F Davis Koch late in the first period and F Milos Roman early in the second period — but couldn’t solve Scott. . . . D Sergei Sapego had a breakaway for the Raiders late in the second period but wasn’t able to score. . . . Tendeck finished with 25 saves. . . . Prince Albert was 0-2 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-1. . . . The Giants held a 15-9 edge in first-period shots and 11-5 in the third. . . . The Raiders scratched D Max Martin for a second straight game. Unlike Tuesday night, Martin didn’t take the pregame warmup before being scratch from Game 4. . . . The referees were Jeff Ingram and Mark Pearce. Nick Bilko and Brett Mackey worked the lines.


Tweetoftheday

Raiders put Giants behind 8-ball. . . . P.A. scores seven in first period. . . . Winds of change blowing in Brandon

MacBeth

F Yegor Babenko (Lethbridge, 2015-17) has been traded by Severstal Cherepovets to Traktor Chelyabinsk (both Russia, KHL) for monetary compensation. This season, with Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games. He also was pointless in three games with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL), and had two goals three assists in 15 games with Severstal Cherepovets. . . .

F Liam Stewart (Spokane, 2011-15) has signed a one-season contract with the Southern Stampede Queenstown (New Zealand, NZIHL). Last season,  with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite), he had 12 goals and 11 assists in 35 games. He didn’t play this season after suffering a concussion. . . . Stewart holds dual UK/New Zealand citizenship and is considered a local player in New Zealand. However, in the UK, he is considered an import because he played his minor hockey in the U.S.


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The Brandon Wheat Kings revealed on Tuesday that they won’t be renewing the contract BrandonWKregularof Grant Armstrong, who had been their general manager through three seasons. . . . Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner, said in a news release that Armstrong “was responsible for many of the moves that will serve us well in the future. At the same time, I also felt a change was necessary as we look to return to a higher level as an organization.” . . . McCrimmon is the assistant GM with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. He will be taking over as the Golden Knights’ GM on Sept 1. . . . Armstrong signed as Brandon’s general manager to take over from McCrimmon when he signed with Vegas. . . . The Wheat Kings were 102-87-23 with Armstrong as the general manager. This season, they finished 31-29-8, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013. . . . Before joining Brandon, Armstrong was with the Victoria Royals for four seasons as director of player personnel and assistant GM. Prior to that, he worked with the Portland Winterhawks for five seasons, the last four as head scout. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here. . . .

With a new general manager to be hired at some point, you are free to wonder about the future of head coach David Anning and assistant coach Don MacGillivray. After three seasons, their contracts are up, too. . . . The news release on Armstrong’s departure doesn’t mention the coaching staff.


The Tri-City Americans announced Tuesday that they have renewed the contracts of goaltending coaches Eli Wilson and Liam McOnie “through the 2021 season.” . . . Wilson and McOnie have worked with the Americans since the 2017-18 season. They also run goaltending camps through Eli Wilson Goaltending.


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The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have hired Jason McKee as general manager and head coach, Vernonreplacing Mark Ferner, who got the team into the BCHL final this season, his fifth season in his second stint with the organization. . . . Ferner, 53, was the Vipers’ head coach for four seasons (2007-11), getting them into three national finals and winning two of them, before spending time on the coaching staffs of the Everett Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers. This time, he had been the Vipers’ director of hockey operations and head coach since early in the 2014-15 season. . . . This season, the Vipers went 26-21-11 to finish fourth in the seven-team Interior Division. They reach the championship final where they were swept by the Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . McKee, 40, was the head coach of the Vancouver Giants for two seasons (2016-18). Prior to that, he was with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints for 10 seasons, the last six as general manager and head coach. . . . Brothers John and Tom Glen purchased the Vipers in September from Libby Wray, whose husband, Dr. Duncan Wray, had owned the franchise from 1992 through his death on Jan. 11, 2018. . . . John Glen was quite involved with the Saints, although not at the ownership level. He also is a former scout with the Giants.


If you’re a junior hockey fan you should be following Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) on Twitter. He always has up-to-date information on players moving from the WHL to the Canadian university scene, including F Kody McDonald, who played out his eligibility with the Victoria Royals this season and will be playing for the Carleton Ravens of Ottawa next season. Findlay also reports that Josh Curtis, who was a 20-year-old with the Prince George Cougars, will be joining the Queen’s U Gaels, who play out of Kingston, Ont. Findlay also has F Ryan Jevne (Medicine Hat Tigers) going to the U of Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton, F Nolan Yaremko (Tri-City Americans) off to the Calgary-based Mount Royal Cougars, and F Ryan Vandervlis (Lethbridge Hurricanes), F Mike MacLean (Prince George) and F Jeff de Wit (Red Deer Rebels) all joining the Montreal-based Concordia Stingers.


The Halifax Mooseheads broke a 1-1 tie with two second-period goals and then added two more in the third, en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL’s championship final on Tuesday night. . . . The series now is tied, 2-2, with Game 5 in Rouyn-Noranda on Thursday night, and Game 6 back in Halifax on Saturday afternoon. A seventh game would be played in Rouyn-Noranda on Monday. . . . Both teams already know they will play in the Memorial Cup because Halifax is the host team. . . .

In the OHL, the Ottawa 67’s will meet the Storm in Guelph in Game 4 tonight (Wednesday). The 67’s hold a 2-1 lead after dropping a 7-2 decision to the host Storm on Monday night. That was the first loss of these playoffs for the 67’s, who now are 14-1.


Rich Pilon, who was named the head coach of the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings on April 29, now is the team’s general manager, as well. The Red Wings announced Tuesday that Pilon will add the GM’s duties, taking over from Tanner McCall, who had been the GM and head scout. . . . McCall, who also scouts for the Moose Jaw Warriors, had been with the Red Wings for five seasons, the last three as general manager and head scout.


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NOTES: Well, who saw that one coming? The Prince Albert Raiders went into Langley, B.C., and humbled the Vancouver Giants, handing them an 8-2 loss in Game 3 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. Game 5 is set for Friday night in Langley. . . . Last night’s decision means that if the Giants are to win the series, they will have to do it in Prince Albert. Games 6 and 7, if one or both are needed, would be played there on Sunday and Monday. . . .

In Game 3, the Raiders took control with seven goals in the first period. . . . The WHL record for most goals in one period of a playoff game is nine and belongs to the Saskatoon Blades (March 30, 1986, second period of a 12-5 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors). . . .

Oh the games people play now/Every night and every day now. . . . According to the lineup sheet circulated prior to the game, Raiders D Max Martin would play, with D Loeden Schaufler and F Jakob Brook listed with question marks beside their names. That would seem to have indicated that one of those two would play and the other would sit. . . . Martin didn’t finish Game 2 after suffering an apparent shoulder injury when he went awkwardly into the boards in the second period. Last night, he took the pregame warmup and then was scratched. Schaufler and Brook both were dressed and on the Prince Albert bench. . . .

F Dante Hannoun of the Raiders had a goal and two assists in Game 3. He leads the WHL playoffs with 12 goals. His 23 points have him tied with Vancouver D Bowen Byram for the scoring lead. Byram had one assist in Game 3. . . .

According to tweets from Steve Ewen, there were a number of NHL luminaries in the crowd, among them Scotty Bowman (Chicago Blackhawks), and Rob Blake and Todd McLellan (Los Angeles Kings).

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored 41 seconds into the first period and made it 2-0 at 2:27 PrinceAlbertas they went on to an 8-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Raiders lead the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 2-1, with Game 4 in Langley tonight. . . . Prince Albert had won Game 2, 4-0, so has outscored Vancouver, 12-2, over the last two games. . . . The visitors led 4-0 at 6:33 of the first period, 6-0 at 16:30 and 7-0 going into the second period. . . . The Giants took the game’s first four minor penalties, all of them in the opening 6:33. The Raiders responded with three PP goals. . . . F Parker Kelly (5,6) and F Brett Leason (8,9) each scored twice and added an assist for the victors, with F Dante Hannoun (12) scoring once and adding two assists. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (5), F Cole Fonstad (2) and F Noah Gregor (10) added a goal each. . . . D Sergei Sapego, F Aliaksei Protas and F Sean Montgomery added two assists each for the Raiders. . . . F Brayden Watts (6) and F Yannik Valenti (3) scored PP goals for the Giants after they had fallen behind 8-0. . . . Prince Albert was 4-8 on the PP; Vancouver was 2-8. . . . G Ian Scott blocked 27 shots for the Raiders. . . . Vancouver starter David Tendeck gave up three goals on 13 shots. He allowed two goals on four shots in 2:27, then was relieved by Trent Miner for the remainder of the first period. Miner allowed five goals on 14 shots. Tendeck returned for the final two periods and stopped eight of nine shots. . . . The referees were Mike Campbell and Chris Crich, with Ron Dietterle and Michael Roberts the linesmen.


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