Gustafson will stay in Portland. . . . Blazers restart coaching search. . . . Warriors, Chiefs sign first-rounders

MacBeth

D Mathew Berry-Lamontagna (Prince Albert, 2010-12) has signed a one-year contract with HK Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with Simon Fraser U (BC Intercollegiate), he had four goals and 16 assists. He was named the BCIHL’s MVP and top defenseman, and a first-team all-star. . . .

D Cody Carlson (Medicine Hat, Regina, Prince George, 2006-12) has signed a one-year contract with UTE Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga), he had four goals and 28 assists in 49 games. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

D Vladimír Mihálik (Red Deer, Prince George, 2005-07) has signed a one-year contract extension with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had four goals and 10 assists in 49 games. . . .

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2013-16) signed a two-year contract extension with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). This season, with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL), he had two assists in 15 games. He also had two goals and five assists in 16 games with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga).


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The Kamloops Blazers held a development camp in the city over the weekend.

During the camp, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week asked general manager Matt Kamloops1Bardsley about the team’s search for a head coach to replace one-and-done Serge Lajoie.

Bardsley replied: “We are getting close, but we’re taking our time, double-checking, triple-checking, doing extra interviews with the individuals. We want to make sure we feel really good about it when we walk away from it.”

What Bardsley didn’t say is that the Blazers are pretty much back to Square 1.

Taking Note has been told that the Blazers offered their head-coaching position to Kyle Gustafson. In fact, the offer is believed to have been for four years.

Gustafson, however, withdrew his name from consideration and will be staying in Portland as the Winterhawks’ assistant general manager and associate coach. He has been on Portland’s coaching staff since 2004.

Bardsley, who is preparing for his second season as the Blazers’ general manager, left the Winterhawks to come to Kamloops. He had been with the Winterhawks since 1999, first as a scout and, in the end, as assistant GM. So he is quite familiar with Gustafson.

In fact, Taking Note was told last month, and it was reported in this space, that Gustafson was the leading candidate for the Blazers’ head-coaching job a year ago. However, ownership decided the new man would be Lajoie, who was coming off a national university championship with the Alberta Golden Bears.

With Gustafson out of the picture, where do the Blazers go now?

Malcolm Cameron, who has been in the coaching game since 1998 when he was an assistant coach at Acadia U, is believed to have interviewed with Bardsley. Cameron, 49, spent three seasons (2011-14) with the Regina Pats, the first two as an assistant coach, the last as head coach. He was the head coach of the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder for the past three seasons, until they let him go on April 10.

Cameron made earlier ECHL stops with the Columbia Inferno, Cincinnati Cyclones, Columbus Stars, Corpus Christi Rayz, Long Beach Ice Dogs, Texas Wildcatters, Florida Everglades and Elmira Jackals.

It could be that Jeff Truitt, who just completed his first season as an assistant coach with the WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders, also is in the picture. The Raiders announced contract extensions for general manager Curtis Hunt and head coach Marc Habscheid on Monday, but neither Truitt nor Dan Gendur, the other assistant, were mentioned.

Truitt also has WHL coaching experience with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kelowna Rockets and Red Deer Rebels. He was Kelowna’s head coach through three seasons (2004-07).

Then there’s Don Nachbaur, who is No. 3 on the WHL’s list of career head-coaching victories, has been out of the game since Nov. 4. He was in his second season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles, when he was dismissed when the team fired head coach John Stevens.

Nachbaur, if he is interested in coaching in the WHL again, might be a better fit in Prince George where the Cougars also need a head coach. Nachbaur, 60, was born in Kitimat, B.C., and was raised in Prince George. He is a member of the city’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Bardsley also is believed to have at least chatted with former Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk, who was near the end of his third season when he was fired in February.

You have to think the Blazers also will have at least inquired as to the availability of Kris Knoblauch and Manny Viveiros.

Knoblauch had been an assistant coach with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers for two seasons, but lost his job when they hired Alain Vigneault as head coach early in May. He has WHL coaching experience with Prince Albert and the Kootenay Ice, but really came to prominence in four-plus seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters.

The same fate befell Viveiros with the Edmonton Oilers when Dave Tippett signed on as head coach. Viveiros joined the Oilers after guiding the Swift Current Broncos to the WHL championship a year ago.

One thing seems certain, though — the person who ends up as the Blazers’ head coach will have Darryl Sydor as one of the assistant coaches. Sydor, who officially was named an assistant coach on Feb. 12, is one of the team’s five co-owners. Most observers feel that the day will come when Sydor will be the team’s head coach.


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The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders have signed general manager Curtis Hunt and PrinceAlberthead coach Marc Habscheid to what a news release says are “multi-year extensions.” . . . The news release adds: “Further terms of the contracts were not disclosed.” . . . Hunt took over as GM prior to the 2015-16 season and is the reigning WHL executive of the year. . . . Habscheid took over as the Raiders’ head coach during the 2014-15 season. The Raiders are 168-134-36 in his time as head coach. . . . This season, he became the eighth head coach in WHL history to get to 500 regular-season victories. . . . Habscheid was name the WHL’s coach of the year for 2018-19, the second time he has been so honoured.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed F Denton Mateychuk to a WHL contract. He was the 11th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . From Dominion City, Man., Mateychuk had 23 goals and 38 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Eastman Selects this season.

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The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Ben Thornton to a WHL contract. Thornton, from Abbotsford, B.C., was the 15th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Thornton played this season with the Abbotsford-based Yale Hockey Academy, scoring 13 goals and adding 32 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team.

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WHL 2019 FIRST-ROUNDERS

UNSIGNED:

1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth

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SIGNED:

2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker

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The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed D Aidan Brook to a WHL contract. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds selected Brook, who will turn 16 on July 30, in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. The Tigers acquired him on Jan. 4, along with a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a third-round pick in 2020, for F Henry Rybinski. . . . Brook played this season with the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy Elite 15s, putting up one goal and 25 assists in 36 games. . . . Brook, from Roblin, Man., is the younger brother to a pair of WHLers — D Josh Brook, who will turn 20 on June 17 and has played four seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors, and F Jakob Brook, 17, who just finished his freshman season with the Prince Albert Raiders.


Ryan Aasman, a former WHL defenceman, has signed on as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. . . . He has coaching experience as an assistant with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Aasman, 27, is from Medicine Hat. He played in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders, Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Medicine Hat Tigers and Edmonton Oil Kings before going on to spend four seasons (2013-17) at the U of Lethbridge.


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Mooseheads celebrate loss, advance to Memorial Cup final. . . . Huskies, Storm in semifinal. . . . Thunderbirds sign first pick

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F David Hruška (Red Deer, 1995-96) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sokolov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). This season, he had 12 goals and 14 assists in 35 games. . . . Sokolov played in 2. Liga this season and won promotion to 1. Liga. . . .

D Tamás Láday (Spokane, Medicine Hat, 2014-16) has signed a one-year contract with SC Csíkszereda Miercurea-Ciuc (Romania, Erste Liga). This season with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga), he had two assists in 24 games. He also had six goals and 15 assists in 33 games with Fehérvári Titánok Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Liga). . . . Láday is spending this summer playing for the West Auckland Admirals (New Zealand, NIHL). He has two assists in two games. The NIHL regular season started on May 18, ends on July 28, and playoffs end no later than Aug. 18. . . .

F Max Brandl (Prince Albert, Portland, 2007-09) has signed a two-year contract with Landshut (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2), he had five goals and 17 assists in 52 games. He was the team captain. . . .

F Colin Long (Kelowna, 2005-09) has signed a one-year contract with Lustenau (Austria, Alps HL). This season, with Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL), he had 12 goals and 24 assists in 39 games. He was second on the team in goals, assists and points.


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The Prince Albert Raiders arrived back home on Wednesday afternoon, where they were greeted by appreciative supporters.

In Halifax, the host Mooseheads lost the last game of the round-robin portion of the 2019MCMemorial Cup and they celebrated.

Seriously!

As one WHL observer wrote in a note to Taking Note: “The fact that Halifax celebrates like that after losing against a huge rival is another example of why the Memorial Cup is stupid.

“I’m sorry. I have all the respect in the world for that trophy and its history, but that tournament is just completely pointless and dumb.”

It’s hard to disagree with that kind of logic, especially after last night’s circus in Halifax.

The QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies scored with 54 seconds left in the third period to beat the Mooseheads, 4-3, last night.

The Huskies beat the Mooseheads in six games in the QMJHL’s championship final, meaning that Rouyn-Noranda has beaten Halifax in five of their past seven meetings.

But it’s the Mooseheads who have advanced to Sunday’s Memorial Cup final. The Huskies and the OHL-champion Guelph Storm will meet in Friday’s semifinal game. The Raiders went 0-3 and were eliminated on Tuesday.

Here is how Kyle Cicerella of The Canadian Press described the silliness:

“Any one of Halifax, Rouyn-Noranda or Guelph could have earned a berth in Sunday’s tournament final based on Wednesday’s outcome. All three clubs finished with 2-1 records, but the Mooseheads got the tiebreaker through a drawn-out mathematical formula.

“All Halifax needed to do to advance was win outright or lose by one goal up to 4-3. Rouyn-Noranda had to win 4-0, or by five or more goals to move on, while the Storm still had a chance if the game finished by any other score.”

Here’s Halifax head coach Eric Veilleux: “Knowing what everybody knows, obviously I hope I never have to go through that again. It’s really not easy.”

Perhaps Halifax defenceman Patrick Kyte summed it all up with this: “Even though we didn’t win, we got the job done.”

(Cicerella’s game story is right here.)

Of course, this is the risk you run with any kind of round-robin situation, and the CHL’s four-team format, including a host team, isn’t going away anytime soon.

As the afore-quoted WHL observer put it: “(It’s a) cash grab in the second-ugliest form in junior hockey . . . the highest-ugliest form being World Juniors.”

Meanwhile, in Prince Albert, they will celebrate the Raiders’ season with a party at the Art Hauser Centre tonight. A good time will be had by all.


Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was in Prince Albert when the Raiders arrived on Wednesday. His blog post is right here.


By now you will be well aware that the last four WHL champions to play in the Memorial Cup tournament are a combined 0-12. The Brandon Wheat Kings (2016), Seattle whlThunderbirds (2017), Swift Current Broncos (2018) and the Raiders all failed to win even one game at the CHL’s championship tournament.

So, you’re wondering, what’s going on?

Here’s Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News: “Different years, different teams, different situations. Logically, this is just a screwy numbers thing, like the fact a Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993 (Montreal), or that a franchise with a predominantly blue jersey hasn’t won the Cup since 1994 (New York Rangers).”

In the overall scheme of things, there likely isn’t any rhyme or reason to it.

But the one thing I don’t feel can be discounted is the travel factor. Because of the WHL’s geography, the championship final is almost always going to feature some killer travel.

In 2016, it was Brandon and Seattle in the final. The next year, Seattle and the Regina Pats met in the final. A year ago, it was Swift Current and the Everett Silvertips. This season, it was the Raiders and the Vancouver Giants, and they went seven games. They played on a Friday in Langley, B.C., then finished the series in Prince Albert with games on Sunday and Monday. The Raiders travelled to Halifax — three time zones to the east — on the Wednesday and played their first game on Friday.

The travel almost invariably leads to injuries, and by the time a team leaves for the Memorial Cup it is banged up and emotionally drained. And, in a four-team round-robin, you are up against it if you lose that first game.

One WHL fan suggested to Taking Note that the WHL needs to “eliminate the killer travel schedule, which is possibly going to get worse for many Eastern Conference teams. And, of course, save $$$ for smaller Eastern Conference franchises.”

The only way the “killer travel schedule” is eliminated is for the WHL to revamp its regular-season schedule and keep teams playing only in their own conferences. That isn’t likely to happen.

One solution — and it’s only a pipe dream — would be to split the WHL into two leagues, with the B.C. and U.S. teams in one league, and the East and Central division teams in another. There wouldn’t be any interlocking play; these would be two separate leagues.

Each league would hold its playoffs, with the two winners meeting in a western final. Meanwhile, the OHL and QMJHL winners also would go into a best-of-seven final.

The Memorial Cup final, then, would go back to being a true East vs. West best-of-seven series.

Of course, that won’t ever happen because the present format — with a host team as part of a four-team round-robin — is great for the host city and it helps fill the coffers for the host league and its teams.

The present tournament format allows for a celebration of major junior hockey for 10 days every May. It’s time to accept it for what it is, and if the WHL champion never wins another game, so be it.

It could be that Guy Flaming (@TPS_Guy) hit the nail on the head earlier in the week when he tweeted: “It’s more impressive to me to outplay and outlast 15 other teams to win your own league. The Memorial Cup is like dessert after a great meal — not for everyone and it never replaces the meal.”


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The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Jordan Gustafson to a WHL contract. The SeattleThunderbirds selected him with the eighth-overall pick in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. . . . From Ardrossan, Alta., Gustafson had 31 goals and 39 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers this season. . . .

Gustafson is the third of the WHL’s 22 first-round selections from the May 2 bantam draft to sign contracts. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Caleb Reimer, the 18th selection, while the Prince Albert Raiders signed F Niall Crocker, who was taken with the 22nd pick.

Raiders finished at Memorial Cup. . . . Chiefs, Lambert sign extension. . . . Ex-Breakers winger, Wilson dies at 57

MacBeth

D Kristian Khenkel (Lethbridge, 2013-14) has signed a two-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). This season, with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL), he had four goals and 10 assists in 59 games.


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The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders were eliminated from the 2019 Memorial Cup on Tuesday night when they dropped a 5-2 decision to the OHL-champion Guelph Storm. 2019MC. . . The Raiders lost all three of their round-robin games while being outscored 15-6. . . . The Storm (2-1) is guaranteed at least a spot in the semifinal game. . . . The round-robin portion of the four-team event concludes tonight (Wednesday) with the host Mooseheads (2-0) meeting the QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (1-1). The Huskies beat the Mooseheads, 4-2, in the QMJHL’s best-of-seven championship final. . . . Last night, the first period ended in a 2-2 draw, with Guelph scoring twice off the rush, and the Raiders getting two goals on redirections from in tight. . . . The Storm won it with a pair of second-period goals, from F Liam Hawel, at 1:21, on a PP, and F Nick Suzuki, at 5:02. . . . Suzuki, who also had an assist, put it away with another Suzuki goal at 6:42 of the third period. . . . The Storm got a goal and two assists from F Isaac Ratcliffe. . . . F Sean Montgomery, on a PP, and F Dante Hannoun had the Raiders’ goals. . . . The Raiders represented the WHL in the Memorial Cup for the second time in franchise history. In 1985, their third season in the WHL, they won the WHL title and the Memorial Cup. . . . Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com was in Halifax and his story is right here.

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JUST NOTES: The Raiders played 94 games this season — 68 in the regular season, 23 in the WHL playoffs and three in the Memorial Cup. It wasn’t until they got to the Memorial Cup that they lost three times in a row. . . .

WHL champions now have lost 13 straight Memorial Cup games. Prince Albert has joined the Swift Current Broncos (2018), Seattle Thunderbirds (2017) and Brandon Wheat Kings (2016) as WHL champs who have reached the Memorial Cup, only to go 0-3. The Kelowna Rockets lost the first game in that skid, falling 2-1 in OT to the Oshawa Generals in the final of the 2015 tournament. . . . What, if anything, is the reason for the recent struggles? If you have an opinion, email Taking Note at greggdrinnan@gmail.com and I’ll have some thoughts at some point this week. . . .

According to the online scoresheet, the Storm won 41 of the game’s 59 faceoffs last night. . . .

The Mooseheads can move to Sunday’s final with a victory over the Huskies tonight. If the Huskies win, the three remaining teams will each be 2-1 and the playoff seedings would be decided via the tiebreaker formula.

Here is that formula, direct from the 2019 Memorial Cup Media Guide:

“In the event three teams should tie for first place at the conclusion of the single round-robin series of games, the game each team played against the fourth place team shall be removed from their records. The tiebreaking formula shall be as follows: Add each team’s goals for with their goals against which sum you divide into such team’s goals for. The team with the highest percentage gains the higher ranking in the standings and an automatic berth as home team in the Memorial Cup championship game. The remaining two teams shall play in the semifinal game. The home team in the semifinal game will be the team that won the round-robin game between the two teams. . . .

“In the event that after using the above mathematical exercise all three teams should still remain tied for first place, the game each team played against the fourth team shall be added to their records. The same formula (as above) will be applied to finalize the rankings of the three teams.

“In the event that two teams still remain tied, the round-robin game between the two teams will determine their order of position.”

Got that? If not, just let tonight’s game play itself out and all will be decided then.

BTW, that Media Guide is available as a PDF right here.

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F Noah Gregor was the best of the Prince Albert Raiders in their three-game Memorial Cup appearance. They scored six goals in their three losses, and he was in on the first PrinceAlbertfive, scoring two of them.

He also figured in each of Prince Albert’s last three goals in the Raiders’ seven-game WHL championship series victory over the Vancouver Giants.

Gregor, a 20-year-old from Beaumont, Alta., also was one of their top players through the regular season and playoffs, after having been acquired from the Victoria Royals on July 25 for what, according to the WHL website, was “cond. VictoriaRoyalscompensation.”

Taking Note was told on Tuesday that those considerations were three-fold:

1. An eighth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft in exchange for Gregor’s rights;

2. A 2019 third-round selection based on Gregor playing in a certain number of regular-season games, which he did; and,

3. A 2020 fourth-round selection based on Gregor playing a certain number of playoff games, which he did.

The third-round pick originated with the Prince George Cougars, and turned out to be 48th overall. The Royals used it to take F Tanner Scott, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He played this season with the OHA Edmonton bantam prep team, putting up 18 goals and 25 assists in 29 games.

Gregor, a fourth-round pick by the San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s 2016 draft, had signed a pro deal prior to this season. At the time the Raiders acquired his rights, there was no guarantee that he would be back in the WHL; in fact, there was ample speculation that he would end up at least starting the season with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.

At the time of the deal, the Royals had already dealt D Jared Freadrich, 20, to the Portland Winterhawks, and Gregor was one of nine other 1998-born players on Victoria’s roster.

One of those players was F Dante Hannoun, who was moved to Prince Albert on Jan. 3, along with a pair of 2019 draft picks — in the fourth and eighth rounds. In exchange, the Royals got F Kody McDonald, who played out his eligibility this season; F Carson Miller, who turned 19 on Feb. 10; and a 2020 third-round selection.

That means the Royals hold Prince Albert’s third- and fourth-round selections in the 2020 bantam draft.

Gregor had 43 goals and 45 assists in 88 regular-season games, then added 13 goals and 11 assists in 24 playoff games.

Hannoun added 10 goals and 21 assists in 28 regular-season games with the Raiders. In the playoffs, he had 14 goals and 10 assists in 23 games, including the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants in Game 7 of the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup.


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The Spokane Chiefs announced Tuesday that they have signed head coach Dan Lambert SpokaneChiefsto a contract extension. . . . The Chiefs’ news release didn’t provide the length of the extension. However, Karthik Venkataraman of KREM-TV in Spokane reported: “The Chiefs have not disclosed details of the extension. However, previous extensions have been two years with a club option for a third year.” . . . Lambert has completed two seasons as the Chiefs’ head coach, going 81-46-13 in the process. The Chiefs reached the Western Conference final this season, where they were beaten by the Vancouver Giants. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Lambert spent one season as head coach of the Rochester Americans, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. He also was an assistant coach with the Sabres for one season. . . . Prior to that, he spent five seasons (2009-14) as an assistant coach with the Kelowna Rockets, and one season as their head coach. . . . Lambert will be the head coach Team Canada at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August.


Mitch Wilson, who played two seasons (1980-82) with the WHL’s Seattle Breakers, died SeaBrealerson Saturday at his home in Brinnon, Wash. The native of Kelowna was 57. He had battled ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) for a number of years. . . . “Thank you to everyone for your support through this difficult time,” his family posted on his Facebook page. “Mitch fought this battle the best he knew how and did so with courage.” . . . A rugged right winger, Wilson spent two seasons with the B.C. Junior Hockey League’s Kelowna Buckaroos before joining the Breakers. . . . In 1980-81, he had eight goals, 23 assists and 253 penalty minutes in 64 games. The next season, he finished with 18 goals, 17 assists and 436 penalty minutes in 60 games. . . .  He went on to a pro career that included 26 NHL games — nine with the New Jersey Devils and 17 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had two goals, three assists and 104 PMs in those 26 games.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Caleb Reimer to a WHL contract. The Oil Kings selected him 18th overall in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Reimer, who will turn 15 on Oct. 9, is from Surrey, B.C., and played this season with the bantam prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy. He put up 18 goals and 27 assists in 30 games.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Braeden Lewis to a WHL contract. The Broncos selected him in the sixth round of the 2018 bantam draft. Lewis, from Virden, Man., turned 16 on Tuesday. . . . He played this season with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars, scoring 10 goals and adding 20 assists in 45 games.


Lee Stone is back with the junior B Campbell River Storm, as the Vancouver Island Hockey League team’s general manager and head coach. . . . Stone left the Storm earlier this season and joined the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach. At the time, the Storm announced that it and Stone had “mutually agreed to part ways.” . . . Cam Basarab, an assistant coach, took over as head coach, with assistant coach Bill Brett stepping in as GM. . . . In his time with the Storm, the club has totalled 254 victories, 71 losses,18 OTL and nine ties. According to the Storm, “His clubs have captured three league championships, a Cyclone Taylor Cup and a Keystone Cup.” . . . He also served as chairperson on Campbell River’s 2019 Cyclone Taylor Cup organizing committee. . . . The Storm also announced that Travis McMillan has signed on as assistant GM and associate coach. He had been the head coach of the Cochrane, Alta., Generals of the Heritage Junior B Hockey League.


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Huskies dump Raiders at Memorial Cup. . . . WHL champs have lost 12 straight. . . . Must-win situation on Tuesday


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F Killian Hutt (Portland, Regina, Swift Current, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Herford (Germany, Regionalliga). This season, in 32 games, he put up 49 goals and 83 assists. He led the league in assists and points. . . .

D Dan Gibb (Prince George, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he had two goals and 12 assists in 43 games. . . .

D Ryan Button (Prince Albert, Seattle, 2007-11) has signed a two-year contract with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Red Bull Munich (Germany, DEL), he had three goals and 14 assists in 48 games. He is a dual German-Canadian citizen.


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F Tyler Hinam’s second goal of the game, at 15:28 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie and sent the QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on their way to a 6-3 victory over the 2019MCWHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders at the Memorial Cup tournament in Halifax. . . . The Raiders (0-2) are to play the OHL-champion Guelph Storm (1-1) tonight. A loss would eliminate the WHL champs. . . . The Raiders haven’t lost three straight games this season. . . . The host Mooseheads (2-0) and the Huskies (1-1) conclude the round-robin portion of the tournament on Wednesday. . . . With the score 3-3, Huskies D Noah Dobson seized a neutral zone turnover and took the puck down the right side and go it to the net, from where Hinam, who is from Cole Harbour, N.S., beat G Ian Scott. . . . F Peter Abbandonato added insurance at 16:53, and Dobson got the empty-netter at 18:19. . . . F Noah Gregor, perhaps the best player on the ice, had a goal and two assists for the Raiders. . . . F Cole Fonstad and D Brayden Pachal added a goal each for the Raiders. . . . The Huskies were 1-3 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-3. . . . Each team hit three or four posts in a game that featured a lot of scoring chances. . . . Huskies G Sam Harvey blocked 30 shots, three more than Scott.

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Here’s how Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com explained the situation in Halifax: “If the Raiders beat the Storm on Tuesday and the Huskies (1-1) defeat the Halifax Mooseheads (2-0) on Wednesday, then the Raiders and Storm would play a tiebreaker on Thursday. But if the Raiders defeat the Storm and the Mooseheads beat the Huskies, then there would be a three-way tiebreaking scenario between the Storm, Raiders and Huskies who would all have records of 1-2. A Raiders loss would be the end to their tournament.”

D’Andrea’s complete story is right here.

——

JUST NOTES: When the CHL regular-season ended, Rouyn-Noranda was 59-8-1 and ranked No. 1, with the Raiders at 54-10-4 and in the No. 2 slot. . . . WHL champions now have lost 12 straight games at the Memorial Cup. It all started when the Kelowna Rockets were beaten, 2-1 in OT, by the Oshawa Generals in the 2015 final. . . . In 2016, the Brandon Wheat Kings went 0-3, while the host Red Deer Rebels were going 2-2. In 2017, the Seattle Thunderbirds went 0-3 in Windsor, Ont. In 2018, the Swift Current Broncos went 0-3 in Regina, while the host Pats were 3-2.  The Raiders now are 0-2. . . . Add up the records of the WHL champions and you get 0-12. . . . The WHL champs have been outscored 58-22 in those losses. . . . OHL teams have won five of the past 10 tournaments, with QMJHL teams winning four times and the WHL once (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2014). . . . The Raiders are 0-7 on the PP through two games. . . . Mario Poulliot, Rouyn-Noranda’s general manager and head coach, was with the Memorial Cup-winning Acadie-Bathurst Titan in Regina a year ago. Huskies D Noah Dobson also was with the Titan. The Huskies acquired Dobson early this season.


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The MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues are looking for a head coach after announcing on Monday that they and head coach Billy Keane “have agreed to part ways.” . . . Keane had been an assistant coach with the Blues for six seasons (2010-16) when he took over as head coach prior to the 2016-17 season. He was the general manager and head coach each of the past two seasons. . . . Keane, who is from Winnipeg, is a brother to former WHL/NHL F Mike Keane. . . . The Blues were purchased in April by 50 Below Sports and Entertainment, the owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. On May 14, Taras McEwen, the Ice’s manager of scouting and hockey operations, was named the Blues’ GM. . . . At that time, Keane told Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press that “I’m definitely interested” in staying on as head coach.


Todd Watson, a former OHL coach, is the new head coach of the NAHL’s Odessa Jackalopes. . . . Watson, 52, was an assistant GM/assistant coach with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers for two seasons (2005-07) and the head coach of the Saginaw Spirit for three-plus seasons (2007-11). He was the Spirit’s general manager for the last two-plus seasons of his stint there.


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Halifax quiets Raiders in tourney opener. . . . P.A. off until Monday. . . . New coaches at St. George’s, AJHL


MacBeth

D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) has signed a two-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). This season, with Kölner Haie Cologne (Germany, DEL), he had four goals and six assists in 48 games.


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The Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup tournament, opened 2019MCwith a 4-1 victory over the WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night. . . . The Mooseheads got a goal and an assist from F Samuel Asselin, with linemate Maxim Trépanier drawing three assists. . . . The Mooseheads took a 2-0 first-period lead as Asselin scored once, at 10:49, and set up the other by F Xavier Parent, at 18:44. . . . The game’s first goal came as referee Mario Maillet inadvertently set a pick on Raiders D Zack Hayes, allowing F Raphael Lavoie a passing lane to get the puck to Asselin at the crease. . . . Asselin spent last season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, so was part of the team that won last season’s Memorial Cup in Regina. He had five goals in four games in that tournament. Traded to the Mooseheads, he led the QMJHL with 48 goals this season. . . . The Raiders were 0-3 on the PP in the first period. . . . F Noah Gregor got Prince Albert to within a goal, at 10:46 of the second period. . . . The Mooseheads got a PP goal from D Jake Ryczek, at 15:52, for a 3-1 lead, then iced it at 18:07 of the third period as F Antoine Morand got an empty-netter. . . . Halifax was 1-6 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-4. . . . G Alexis Gravel stopped 23 shots to record the victory over Ian Scott, who turned aside 33. . . . The Raiders were outshot, 37-24, including 15-4 in the third period. . . . Prince Albert expended a lot of energy and emotion in winning a seven-game series from the Vancouver Giants — the Raiders won Game 7, 3-2 in OT, on Monday night — and then travelled to Halifax on Wednesday. All of that combined with a three-hour time change may have taken a lot out of the Raiders’ legs. They now have a couple of days off and that surely can’t hurt. . . . The OHL-champion Guelph Storm are to meet the QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies tonight, with Halifax playing Guelph on Sunday. The Raiders are off until Monday when they are to face the Huskies.


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Jason Becker, a former WHL player and coach, is leaving the BCHL’s Penticton Vees to coach at St. George’s School in Vancouver. Becker, who had been an assistant coach with the Vees for three seasons, will be the head coach of the midget prep team at St. George’s. . . . Before joining the Vees, Becker had coached for two seasons at the Okanagan Hockey Academy and did a four-season stint as an assistant with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. As a defenceman, he played with the Saskatoon Blades, Red Deer Rebels, Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos (1990-95), then spent five seasons with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. . . . The Vees immediately announced that former captain Patrick Sexton has been hired as the new assistant coach. Sexton played two seasons with the Vees before going on to the U of Wisconsin. He was the Vees’ captain when they won the BCHL’s 2014-15 championship. . . . Naeem Bardal will be Becker’s assistant coach at St. George’s. . . .

St. George’s also announced that Jamie Jackson, who had been an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, will be the head coach of the school’s Elite 15 team. Jackson also spent four seasons as head coach of the major midget Vancouver-North East Chiefs, and was the general manager and head coach of the junior B Port Moody Panthers (2011-14). . . . Mike Nardi will be Jackson’s assistant coach. . . .

Todd Harkins, a former GM of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, will be the head coach of the bantam prep team. Harkins is St. George’s head of hockey. His son, Nicklas, will be the assistant coach. . . .

Stan Sibert returns as the head coach of the bantam varsity team, with Cole Todd his assistant.


Dave Dupas is the new general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. He has been an assistant coach in Fort McMurray for three seasons, after four-plus seasons as head coach of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . Dupas had been named the interim GM/head coach a week earlier when the Oil Barons announced that Tom Keca wouldn’t be returning.


The AJHL’s Camrose Kodiak have signed Clayton Jardine as their new head coach. He replaces Boris Rybalka, who stays on as general manager and also will be associate coach. . . . Rybalka had been the head coach since 2001, and an assistant coach before that. . . . Jardine played with the Kodiaks and was the team captain when they won two AJHL titles. . . . This season, Jardine was the SJHL’s coach of the year with the Kindersley Klippers. He also was the GM. From Lacombe, Alta., Jardine was an assistant coach with New England College, an NCAA Division III school, for two seasons before joining the Klippers. . . . Jardine had resigned from the Klippers in April, and was replaced by Garry Childerhose, who had been an assistant GM/assistant coach with the Flin Flon Bombers.


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Lawsuit info for players on WHL site. . . . Oil Kings get forward from Americans. . . . Raiders set to open Memorial Cup tonight


MacBeth

D Mathew Berry-Lamontagna (Prince Albert, 2010-12) has signed a one-year contract with HK Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with Simon Fraser University (BC Intercollegiate), he had four goals and 16 assists in 24 games. He was named the BCIHL’s MVP and top defenceman, and was a first team all-star. . . .

D Shaun Heshka (Everett, 2003-06) had his contract option year exercised by Kärpät Oulu (Finland, Liiga). This season, he had eight goals and 20 assists in 52 games. . . .

F Mikhail Fisenko (Vancouver, Calgary, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). This season, with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL), he had four goals and four assists in 53 games. . . .

D Tamás Láday (Spokane, Medicine Hat, 2014-16) has signed a one-season contract with the West Auckland Admirals (New Zealand, NIHL). This season, with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga), he had two assists in 24 games, and six goals and 15 assists in 33 games with Fehérvári Titánok Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Liga). . . .

F Troy Bourke (Prince George, 2009-14) has signed a one-year contract with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL), he had one goal and five assists. In 30 games with the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL), he had 11 goals and 34 assists. He led Orlando in assists and was second in points. . . .


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The WHL’s website has a new section. If you visit the website and click on the tab titled whlTHE WHL, you will note that the top item is WHL Class Action Lawsuit.

Included therein is a Notice of Certification and an Opt-Out Form.

Of course, this all has to do with the class-action lawsuit that has been filed against the CHL, including the WHL, as the notice on the website reads, “alleging that the class members are employees of their clubs and/or of the WHL and CHL, and are therefore entitled to employment benefits including minimum wage and overtime pay.”

The information on the website is aimed at players who were or are with teams located in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba or Saskatchewan during time periods that are specified in the posted information.

The notice reads: “If you fall within one or more of these definitions, you will be included in the class action unless you choose to opt out of the class action by following the steps listed below.”

Players have until July 14 to make a decision.

In other words, if you are or were a WHL player, you need to visit the WHL website and take a look right here.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have acquired F Riley Sawchuk, 20, from the Tri-City Americans EdmontonOilKingsfor a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft. . . . This season, Sawchuk, who is from Prince Albert, had 20 goals and 33 assists in 67 games. In 195 regular-season games, all with the Americans, he had 37 goals and 47 assists. . . . The Americans selected Sawchuk in the sixth round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . . Sawchuk’s departure leaves the Americans with five 1999-born players on their roster — F Krystof Hrabik, who is from Czech Republic, F Kyle Olson, D Riley Bruce, D Dom Schmiemann, and G Beck Warm. . . . The Oil Kings may lose their top three scorers from this season — F Quinn Benjafield and F Vince Loschiavo have completed their junior eligibility, while F Trey Fix-Wolansky, 20, has signed with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Sawchuk joins F Zach Russell, D Will Warm, D Parker Gavlas, D Conner McDonald and G Dylan Myskiw as potential 20-year-olds on Edmonton’s roster.


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The Memorial Cup opens in Halifax today (Friday) with the WHL-champion Prince Albert PrinceAlbertRaiders meeting the host Mooseheads. . . . The Raiders will be trying to snap a 10-game losing streak by WHL champions that goes back to 2015 when the Kelowna Rockets beat the host Quebec Remparts, 9-3, in the semifinal on May 29. The Oshawa Generals beat the Rockets, 2-1 in OT, in the final two days later to start the WHL’s lengthy skid. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings went 0-3 in 2016, followed by the Seattle Thunderbirds (0-3, 2017) and Swift Current Broncos (0-3, 2018). . . . Raiders assistant coach Jeff Truitt is behind the bench for a sixth time at the Memorial Cup. He was there with the 1997 Lethbridge Hurricanes, the 2003, 2004 and 2005 Kelowna Rockets, and the 2016 Red Deer Rebels. He was the head coach of the 2005 Rockets; in the other instances, he was an assistant coach. . . . There is speculation that the Kamloops Blazers, looking for a coach to replace Serge Lajoie, want to chat with Truitt once the tournament is over. . . .
If you haven’t seen this piece right here by Jason Gregor, do yourself a favour and give it a read. He was in the stands for Game 7 on Monday in Prince Albert. A radio guy in Edmonton, Jason doesn’t often get to be a fan. But he was on this night because he had a nephew in the game. Oh, and Noah Gregor scored twice and set up the OT winner.


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed F Niall Crocker, who was a first-round pick, 22nd overall, in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Crocker, from Delta., B.C., will turn 15 on July 31. He had 18 goals and 27 assists in 30 games with the Delta Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team.


The Everett Silvertips have signed G Keegan Karki, 19, who is a native of Sartell, Minn. According to eliteprospects.com, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Karki played only five games this season — three with the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays and two with the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. . . . Karki had committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks more than three years ago, but later was decommitted. He also had a stint with the U.S. National Development Team Program.


Gary Samis, who had been the corporate sales manager with the Prince George Cougars, has died. Samis was 67 when he died in St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. . . . Hartley Miller has more right here.


Curtis Brolund has been named the head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Manitoba AAA U-18 Hockey League. The league previously was known as the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . Brolund, who played two seasons with the team, has been an assistant coach with the Wheat Kings for eight seasons. . . . Brolund takes over from Ken Schneider, who stepped in on an interim basis after head coach Chris Johnston was fired early in January.


Dennis Kubat is the new head coach of the Tisdale Trojans of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . Kubat was an assistant coach with the Trojans this season. . . . Kubat, 31, is from Outlook, Sask. . . . The Trojans also have named Cole Simpson as general manager. Simpson, 33, is from Tisdale. A defenceman in his playing days, he played four seasons (2004-07) in the WHL, splitting time with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Moose Jaw Warriors and Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Trojans chose not to renew the contract of Darrell Mann, who had been their GM and head coach, after their season ended.


The Kamloops Minor Hockey Association has hired Aaron Keller has its technical director and coach co-ordinator. . . . According to a news release, Keller’s “focus will be the development of KMHA’s players through the development of its coaches.” . . . Keller played in the KMHA before spending four seasons (1992-96) with the Kamloops Blazers and helping them win two Memorial Cup titles. He later spent 17 seasons playing professionally in Japan. Since returning from Japan, he has helped the Blazers’ coaching staff. . . . As well, the KMHA has added Lucas Gore as its goaltending coach. Gore, from Kamloops, played three seasons (2008-11) with the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins.


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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.”