WHL scouts on move . . . Calgary scout has good day at Stampede . . . Raiders d-man signs Czech pro deal


MacBeth

F Zane Jones (Chilliwack/Victoria, Calgary, Everett, Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-15) signed a one-year contract with Visby/Roma (Sweden, Division 1). Last season, in 28 games with Sollentuna (Sweden, Division 1), he had a team-high 16 goals and five assists. . . . Currently, Jones is playing his second season with the Newcastle North Stars (Australia, AIHL). In 12 games, he has eight goals and seven assists. Jones has dual Canadian/Australian citizenship, so doesn’t count as an import in the AIHL. . . .

F Geordie Wudrick (Swift Current, Kelowna, 2005-11) signed a one-year contract with the Chiefs Leuven (Belgium, BeNe Liga). Last season, with the Berlin Blues (Germany, Regionalliga), he had 29 goals and 21 assists in 22 games. He led the Blues in goals and points. . . . Presently, Wudrick is playing for the Sydney Ice Dogs (Australia, AIHL). He has 11 goals and 23 assists in 15 games. He leads the Ice Dogs in assists and points, and is second in the league in assists and third in points. This is his fourth season in the AIHL. . . .

F Kyle Beach (Everett, Lethbridge, Spokane, 2005-10) signed a one-year contract with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had nine goals and 13 assists in 44 games. . . .

D Vojtěch Budík (Prince Albert, 2015-18) signed a one-year contract with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Prince Albert (WHL), he had 14 goals and 27 assists in 63 games. . . .

F Alexander Kuvayev (Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-12) has been traded by Spartak Moscow to Admiral Vladivostok (both Russia, KHL) for Vadim Pereskokov. Last season, with Khimik Voskresensk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), Kuvayev had 13 goals and 13 assists in 52 games.


ThisThat

They are the unsung heroes of the WHL — and all other junior and pro hockey teams — and a few of them are on the move.

This isn’t at all surprising, considering the changes in the player personnel/scouting whldepartments made by a handful of teams.

For starters, Dylan Franson has left the Prince George Cougars to join the scouting staff of the Everett Silvertips, who have brought in Alvin Backus as director of player personnel and Mike Fraser as head scout. Backus had been with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, while Fraser scouted for the Brandon Wheat Kings. Franson had been with the Cougars for two seasons.

Meanwhile, Matt Blair has left the Kamloops Blazers’ scouting staff. He had scouted for the Blazers for 11 seasons. The Blazers have a new general manager in Matt Bardsley, who had been with the Portland Winterhawks since 1999. However, they have yet to replace Matt Recchi, who was dropped as director of player personnel on May 10.

There also is speculation that Jamie Porter, who is vacating his post as the Swift Current Broncos’ director of hockey operations at month’s end, will surface with the Tri-City Americans. Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, has an opening after assistant GM Barclay Parneta signed on as GM with the Vancouver Giants.

As well, the buzz is that veteran scout Daryl Anning will be leaving the Broncos for the Vancouver Giants and what one source told me would be “an increased role.” Anning is the father of David Anning, the head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

If you are a scout making a move, or if you are aware of anyone switching teams, help me give these folks some recognition by emailing me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Still with the scouting fraternity, Chad Harden, who works for the Calgary Hitmen, is busy these days at the Calgary Stampede.

A pro chuckwagon driver when he’s not in the rinks, Harden won Heat 3 of the StampedeRangeland Derby at the Stampede on Saturday night.

Harden came off the No. 4 barrel and almost got the rail on Chanse Vigen of Wolseley, Sask., who was driving his father Mike’s team. Vigen got to the finish line first, by about a head, but took a five-second penalty because of a barrel infraction.

That left Harden, who won the 2009 Rangeland Derby, with the Heat 3 victory in the Kubota Dealers of Alberta rig. His time of 1:11.79 was the second-fastest of Day 2.

Harden, 47, is from Mulhurst Bay, Alta. He also has scouted for the Prince George Cougars and Kootenay Ice.


The Colorado Avalanche has signed Czech F Martin Kaut, the 16th overall selection in the NHL’s 2018 draft, to a three-year, two-way contract. The Brandon Wheat Kings hold Kaut’s WHL rights, but he is expected to open the season with the Colorado Eagles, the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate. . . . Kaut has played the past two seasons with HC Dynamo Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga, the country’s top pro league.


D Vojtech Budik won’t be back for a fourth season with the Prince Albert Raiders after signing a one-year deal with Pardubice of Czech Republic’s Extraliga. Had Budik, who is from Holice, Czech Republic, returned, he would have been a two-spotter as a 20-year-old and an import. . . . In 189 regular-season games with the Raiders, he had 18 goals and 65 assists. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2016 draft but wasn’t signed.


So . . . LeBron has joined the Los Angeles Lakers, and the way that columnist Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post sees it, LaVar Ball is about done with the that particular NBA team. Her superb column on this situation is right here.

Advertisements

Hitmen lose their head coach . . . Porter leaving Broncos . . . A team-by-team look at what’s been happening


MacBeth

F Mark Derlago (Brandon, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract with Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite), he had 18 goals and 33 assists in 54 games. He was second on the Panthers in goals, assists and points. . . . Derlago played for Esbjerg in 2014-15, when he finished third in league scoring. Mark Pederson (Medicine Hat, 1983-88) is Esbjerg’s GM and head coach. . . .

D Jesse Dudas (Lethbridge, Prince George, Swift Current, Regina, 2003-09) signed a one-year extension with MAC Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). Last season, he had five goals and 15 assists in 30 games with Budapest in Erste Bank Liga. The club is moving to Slovakia’s Extraliga for this season. . . .

D Dylan Yeo (Prince George, Calgary, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had 11 goals and 12 assists in 51 games. An alternate captain, he led DEL defencemen in goals.


ThisThat

There were two more — that we know of — departures from the front offices of WHL teams on Tuesday.

The Calgary Hitmen announced that head coach Dallas Ferguson has resigned after one season “due to family reasons.”

General manager Jeff Chynoweth is quoted in a news release saying: “Dallas approached Calgaryme last week, stating his wife is unable to continue to work her current job in Alaska while moving to Calgary as originally planned. As a father to two young girls he does not want to live apart from his family again this (season). We respect this decision, supporting that family comes first and wish Dallas all the best in the future.”

Ferguson joined the Hitmen last summer after 13 seasons with the U of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks, the last nine as head coach.

In his lone season in Calgary, the Hitmen, who were in rebuilding mode, went 24-37-11, finished fifth in the six-team Central Division and missed the playoffs.

Chynoweth, the former long-time GM of the Kootenay Ice, just completed his first season with the Hitmen, and now he’ll have to hire his second Calgary head coach.

When Chynoweth starts sorting through resumes, assistant coaches Jason LaBarbera, Trent Cassan and Joel Otto will get consideration.

“If one of these guys is the best candidate,” Chynoweth told Calgary freelancer Rita Mingo, who covered the story for Postmedia, “we’ll definitely look at him. In my past in Kootenay, we promoted a couple of assistant coaches.”

As for when a replacement might be named, Chynoweth told Mingo: “No timeline. I remember one year in Cranbrook, we didn’t hire someone until I think Aug. 6, three weeks before training camp. Ideally, the sooner the better for everyone involved. We’ve had a lot of resumes already and we’ll get more. It’s something that will play out, we’ll get lots of good candidates and we’ll definitely hire the right guy.”

Mingo’s story is right here.

Meanwhile, the Swift Current Broncos announced that Jamie Porter, their director of SCBroncoshockey operations, is leaving the organization “at the end of July.”

Porter had been with the Broncos since 2002 and had been the top dog in the scouting department since 2005.

The terse three-paragraph news release from the Broncos concluded with: “There will be no further comments from the organization.”

That leads one to believe that, in this instance, perhaps parting won’t be such sweet sorrow.


With the Kamloops Blazers and Swift Current Broncos having introduced, or about to introduce, new head coaches this week, let’s take a team-by-team look at what has been happening . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

East Division

Brandon Wheat Kings — All is quiet on the WHL’s eastern front.

Moose Jaw Warriors — Things are quiet in Moose Jaw, too.

Prince Albert Raiders — Associate coach Dave Manson now is an assistant coach with the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. General manager Curtis Hunt and head coach Marc Habscheid will be looking for a replacement.

Regina Pats — There is speculation that general manager/head coach John Paddock will leave the bench, turning the head-coaching duties over to Dave Struch, the assistant GM and assistant coach. That move is expected to happen; it just hasn’t happened yet.

Saskatoon Blades — They have hired Mitch Love as head coach to replace Dean Brockman, who was fired when last season ended. Brockman had been with the Blades for four seasons, the last two as head coach. Love joins the Blades from the Everett Silvertips, where he was an assistant coach for seven seasons. . . . The Blades also hired Ryan Marsh as an assistant coach, to replace Bryce Thoma, who was dismissed shortly after Brockman. Marsh was fired by the Edmonton Oil Kings following the season. He had been there for four seasons.

Swift Current — The Broncos have hired Dean Brockman as their director of hockey operations and head coach, replacing Manny Viveiros, now an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Jamie Porter, who had been the director of hockey operations, will leave the organization at the end of July.

——

Central Division

Calgary Hitmen — Head coach Dallas Ferguson is leaving after one season, citing family reasons for his departure. Ferguson had taken over from Mark French, who spent three seasons with the Hitmen before leaving to become head coach of HC Fribourg-Gottéron in the Swiss National League.

Edmonton Oil Kings — They need a head coach, having fired Steve Hamilton, and an assistant after dismissing Ryan Marsh, who landed on his feet with the Saskatoon Blades. The Oil Kings also need a general manager after they and Randy Hansch chose to go in different directions. It has been speculated for almost two months that former WHLer Kirt Hill will be named director of hockey operations.

Kootenay Ice — Things have been quiet in Cranbrook, although the Ice did add Tyler MacDonald of Winnipeg to its scouting staff. According to the team website, he is the organization’s lone scout so it could be that more additions are soon to be made.

Lethbridge Hurricanes — The winds of change have left the Hurricanes alone.

Medicine Hat Tigers — They parted company with Carter Sears after one season as director of player personnel. Bobby Fox has moved from behind the bench as an assistant coach to replace Sears. Shaun Clouston, the GM and head coach, says he will hire an assistant coach if he finds a good fit.

Red Deer Rebels — The Rebels and Jeff Truitt, their veteran associate coach, went in separate directions after last season. Red Deer later hired Brad Flynn and Ryan Colville as assistant coaches, and is quietly looking for another assistant. Flynn had been the director of hockey operations and head coach for the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays. Most recently, Colville was the president, GM and head coach of the NAHL’s Cincinnati Thunder. . . . The Rebels also hired former WHL G Kraymer Barnstable as their goaltending coach after Taylor Dakers left for the Prince George Cougars.

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

B.C. Division

Kamloops Blazers — They moved out general manager Stu MacGregor, head coach Don Hay, assistant coach Mike Needham and Matt Recchi, the director of player personnel. . . . Matt Bardsley is the new GM, after being in the Portland Winterhawks’ front office since 1999. He has hired Serge Lajoie as head coach. Lajoie is fresh off three seasons as head coach of the U of Alberta Golden Bears — they won the Canadian university title last season. . . . Still to come — at least one assistant coach and a move atop the scouting department.

Kelowna Rockets — All quiet, although assistant coach Travis Crickard has been keeping busy in New Zealand, which is a long way from Flin Flon.

Prince George Cougars — The Cougars hired Mark Lamb as their general manager, replacing Todd Harkins, who was dismissed at season’s end. They also have added their first full-time goaltending coach, that being Taylor Dakers.

Vancouver Giants — Glen Hanlon left the club after two seasons as general manager, and that spot has been filled by Barclay Parneta, who had been the assistant GM with the Tri-City Americans. Parneta then dismissed head coach Jason McKee, who had been there for two seasons. There is speculation that former WHL D Michael Dyck could be the next head coach. . . . Dyck is a former WHL player and coach, who has worked with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Giants. He spent three seasons (2002-05) as an assistant coach with Vancouver and was Lethbridge’s head coach for four seasons (2005-09). Of late, he has been coaching minor hockey in Lethbridge. He was the head coach of the midget AAA Hurricanes last season.

Victoria Royals — Things are quiet on Vancouver Island.

——

U.S. Division

Everett Silvertips — They lost Bil La Forge, their director of player personnel, to the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hired him as general manager, so will be looking to fill that spot.

Portland Winterhawks — Matt Bardsley, who had been in the Portland front office since 1999, signed on with the Kamloops Blazers as general manager. He had been the Winterhawks’ since 1999.

Seattle Thunderbirds — Russ Farwell, the Thunderbirds’ general manager for 23 seasons, now is the vice president of hockey operations. Bil La Forge, who had been Everett’s director of player personnel, is the Thunderbirds’ new GM.

Spokane Chiefs — Things are quiet here, too.

Tri-City Americans — Bob Tory, the co-owner and general manager, needs to find an assistant GM to replace Barclay Parneta, now the GM with the Vancouver Giants. As well, head coach Mike Williamson is leaving after four seasons. Brian Pellerin, the associate coach for the past four seasons, may be the favourite to replace Williamson.


TheCoachingGame

Gilles Bouchard has left the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to join the Syracuse Crunch, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, as an assistant coach. Bouchard, 47, had been the Huskies’ general manager and head coach. . . . In Syracuse, he’ll work alongside head coach Benoit Groulx. . . . Bouchard also was the head coach of the Canadian U-18 entry for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is to be played in Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. Obviously, he will have to be replaced by Hockey Canada. . . . Mitch Love, the head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, and Ryan Oulahen, the head coach of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds, are the assistant coaches.


Tweetoftheday

Lamb signs on to shepherd Cougars . . . Anholt has updates on injured players . . . Deadmarsh back with Chiefs

MacBeth

F Tanner Eberle (Moose Jaw, 2010-15) signed a one-year contract with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite). Last season, with the Allen Americans (ECHL), he had two goals and an assist in 11 games. He also had 21 goals and 11 assists in 63 games with the Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL). He was second on Jacksonville in goals. . . .

D Harrison Ruopp (Prince Albert, 2009-13) signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had four goals and seven assists in 14 games with the Balgonie Bisons (Qu’Appelle Valley Senior). . . .

D Kendall McFaull (Moose Jaw, 2009-13) signed a one-year contract with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). Last season, with the U of Saskatchewan (Canada West), he had four goals and five assists in 27 games. He was the team captain. . . . McFaull was named to Canada West’s second all-star team, and won Canada West’s Student-Athlete Community Service Award, and the Dr. Randy Gregg Award (U Sports Student-Athlete Community Service).


ThisThat

The Prince George Cougars introduced Mark Lamb as their new general manager on Tuesday morning. Lamb, 53, signed a four-year contract. He replaces Todd Harkins, PGCougars25whose contract wasn’t renewed after last season. Harkins had been the GM for four seasons. . . . Lamb, a native of Ponteix, Sask., spent seven seasons (2009-16) as the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . He left to join the NHL-Arizona Coyotes organization and spent 2016-17 as the head coach of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. However, he was dismissed after one season. . . . Lamb got into coaching as an assistant with the Edmonton Oilers in 2001-02, then spent six seasons as an assistant with the Dallas Stars. . . . Eric Brewer, one of the Cougars’ owners, was a defenceman with the Oilers when Lamb coached there. Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk was a defenceman with Dallas when Lamb was on its coaching staff. . . . According to the Prince George Citizen, Matvichuk is starting the last season of a three-year contract as the Cougars’ head coach, while associate coach Steve O’Rourke has two seasons left on a deal. Assistant coach Shawn Chambers’ contract expired on May 31 and there has been no word as to whether he has been extended. Last week, the Cougars hired Taylor Dakers as the organization’s first full-time goaltending coach.


Peter Anholt, the general manager of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, held a news conference on Tuesday to talk about the Friday night incident that left three hockey players in a Calgary hospital.

F Ryan Vandervlis, 20, remains in a medically induced coma and in critical condition, Lethbridgealthough he has been taken off dialysis. F Jordy Bellerive and F Matt Alfaro also are in Calgary’s Foothills Health Centre.

Vandervlis and Bellerive play for the Hurricanes; in fact, Bellerive is the captain. Alfaro, who played in the WHL with the Kootenay Ice and the Hurricanes, just completed his first season with the U of Calgary Dinos.

The three were injured when something went wrong with a fire that was being lit at the home of former Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong near Calgary.

Anholt began by reading a prepared statement that included:

“Alfaro and Bellerive sustained burns to their upper bodies and are continuing to make progress and steps towards full recovery. Vandervlis sustained burns to the front of his body and has continued to be in a medically induced coma. He, too, has shown signs of progress having been taken off dialysis (Monday), which again is a real positive step.”

Anholt also continued to discredit earlier reports that claimed the incident occurred during a bachelor party in honour of Wong.

“It has been reported that the campfire occurred during a bachelor party, these reports are inaccurate and totally false,” Anholt’s statement read. “The campfire incident occurred at the family home of former WHL player Tyler Wong along with nine of his friends prior to a planned day of golf and camping.”

Later, Anholt told the news conference that Wong is preparing for his wedding.

“Well, Tyler Wong is getting married and this happened before the wedding, so I guess you can say whatever you like as far as pre-wedding is concerned,” Anholt said. “We’re talking about nine awesome kids, men, good friends, and they were getting prepared to play some golf the next day and go camping. That’s what it was, done.”

Aaron Mahoney of lethbridgenewsNOW has more right here.


Adam Deadmarsh will be back for a second season as an assistant coach with the SpokaneChiefsSpokane Chiefs. Deadmarsh, 43, joined the Chiefs prior to last season and worked under head coach Dan Lambert. . . . Deadmarsh played 567 NHL games, split among the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings. Deadmarsh won a Stanley Cup with the 1995-96 Avalanche. . . . He also worked as an assistant coach with Colorado (2009-12). . . . Before going on to a pro career, Deadmarsh played four seasons (1991-95) with the WHL’s Portland Winter Hawks.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have placed G Josh Dechaine, who will turn 20 on Sept. 14, on waivers. The St. Albert, Alta., native got into 17 games with the Oil Kings in 2016-17 and 32 last season, when he was 12-14-5, 4.19, .867. . . . In 49 career regular-season games, he is 15-22-6, 4.26, .870.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Mekai Sanders, who was a ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Sanders, from Gig Harbor, Wash., played minor hockey with the Seattle Junior Hockey Association and Sno-King Hockey Association. . . . Last season, he played for the U-14 Detroit Compuware team, putting up six goals and 12 assists in 20 games.


The Kamloops  Blazers have signed F Matthew Seminoff, who was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From Coquitlam, B.C., he had 12 goals and 13 assists in 30 games with the Burnaby Winter Club Academy last season.


Dickson Liong’s writing used to end up on this blog, back in the days before he moved on to bigger and better things as The Sports Corporation’s director of communications. Now he has decided to leave TSC. . . . He writes about his decision right here.


Tweetoftheday

Will WHL team hire Parker? . . . BCHL has new commissioner . . . Rebels, Cougars sign goaltending coaches

MacBeth

F Tomáš Vincour (Edmonton, Vancouver, 2007-10) signed a one-week ‘introductory’ contract with Lukko Rauma (Finland, Liiga). Lukko has a one-week camp starting Monday (June 11) with practices, off-ice activities, and an inter-squad scrimmage. If both the team and Vincour are happy with each other after the camp, the contract rolls into a one-year deal. Last season, with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga), Vincour had 10 goals and 10 assists in 39 games. . . . Lukko has started doing this with new players. It gives each party a chance to feel each other out and for the new player to see what the team and city are like. Club management feels this process leads to a higher success rate for both the team and the player. . . .

D Justin Hamonic (Tri-City, 2011-15) signed a one-year contract with Angers (France, Ligue Magnus). Last season, with the Worcester Railers (ECHL), he had one goal and eight assists in 69 games. He also was pointless in one game while on loan to the Utica Comets (AHL). . . .  Angers’ head coach is Brennan Sonne (Everett, Red Deer, Edmonton, 2005-08; assistant coach Everett 2014-17). . . .

F Jack Walker (Victoria, 2012-17) signed a one-year contract with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, he was pointless in three games with the Iowa Wild (AHL), and had 11 goals and 18 assists in 40 games with the Rapid City Rush (ECHL). . . .

F Quinton Howden (Moose Jaw, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, in 56 games, he had 17 goals and 15 assists, averaging 18:43 TOI per game. He led his team in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) signed a one-year contract extension with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He started last season with UTE Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga), going pointless in two games, and was released on Sept. 28. He signed with Odense on Jan. 22, then had five goals and five assists in 10 games. . . .

F Evan Bloodoff (Kelowna, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract extension with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, in 38 games, he had 27 goals and 12 assists, then was selected as Fife’s forward of the year. . . .

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) signed a one-year contract with the Blackburn Hawks (England, National League). Last season, with Ertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan, Kazakh Vysshaya), he had five goals and eight assists in 28 games.


ThisThat

Yes, I have returned. It’s grad season, so Dorothy and I had a party to attend in Airdrie. Yes, it rained. (Is there anything more frustrating than the drive between Revelstoke and Golden?) Then it was on to Edmonton to spend some time with a transplant friend. It didn’t rain, at least not much, but it certainly was windy. And there was more rain on Thursday for the drive home through Jasper. If you’re wondering, the wildlife count was one deer (one kilometre from our home in Kamloops), two bighorn sheep (east of Jasper townsite), and one mama black bear with a cub (south of Valemount).

For kicks, we also kept track of the price of gas — one litre of regular — on the trek that began Saturday morning. Here’s what we found:

Saturday

Kamloops $1.37.9

Salmon Arm $1.43.9

Sicamous $1.43.9

Revelstoke $1.49.9

Golden $1.46.9

Canmore $1.26.9

Sunday

Airdrie $1.21.4

Tuesday

Edmonton $1.18.9

Thursday

Edmonton $1.32.9

Edson $1.30.3

Hinton $1.32.9

Valemount $1.39.9

Blue River $1.42.9

Clearwater $1.40.9

Kamloops $1.36.9

One other note of interest: We sure did see a lot of big rigs hauling pipe as we made our way back to Kamloops on the Yellowhead on Thursday. Don’t know what that means, but . . .


OK. Let’s clean out the notebook . . .

While I was away, the WHL released its 2018-19 exhibition schedule. It also held its annual meeting in Vancouver. That meeting wrapped up on Wednesday; the WHL issued a news release on Thursday. . . . The schedule and that news release are on the WHL’s website.


I am hearing rumblings that Brent Parker, the former president, governor and general manager of the Regina Pats, would love to get back into the WHL in a front-office position. You would have to think that he might be a good fit for the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans or Vancouver Giants, teams that are looking to fill player personnel-related vacancies. . . . Parker has been keeping busy, at least in part, as the head scout in Western Canada for ISS Hockey. . . . You have to think that the man who had more to do than anyone else with remaking the Pats organization into one that is high on professionalism would be a good fit for any one of those teams.


The City of Kennewick will spend at least US$350,000 per year as it upgrades the 30-year-old Toyota Center, the home of the Tri-City Americans. Meanwhile, Tacoma City Council is investing at least US$30 million in renovations to the 35-year-old Tacoma Dome, which once was home to the now-Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Americans’ lease is set to expire in 2020. . . . You don’t suppose . . . nah!


The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Troy Mick, their president, parted company on June 8. According to a news release from the team, it was a mutual decision. Mick, 49, had been with the Silverbacks since taking over as head coach for the 2012-13 season. The team had signed Mick to a five-year extension on May 9, 2016. He was then the team’s president and general manager. The extension came shortly after the Silverbacks started the Steamboat Wranglers, a team that plays out of Steamboat Springs, Colo. They played in the Tier 3 junior A Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. However, that league folded earlier this month after three years. . . . The Wranglers, who won the 2017-18 RMJHL playoff title, have since been sold to a local group and have moved to the Tier 2 Western States Hockey League. . . . Mick played three seasons (1985-88) with the Portland Winter Hawks and one (1989-90) with the Regina Pats, totalling 466 points, including 204 goals, in 267 games. His pro career was ended by knee injuries. . . . He has coached in the WHL with the Winter Hawks, Tri-City Americans and Kamloops Blazers.


Congratulations to Phil Varney, the Seattle Thunderbirds’ athletic trainer. Check the times on the following two tweets!


The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Logan Bairos to a WHL contract. From Saskatoon, Kamloops1he was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he had 15 goals and 27 assists in 31 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Stallions. Bairos is expected to spend the 2018-19 season with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts. . . .The Blazers also have signed F Caedan Bankier, who was a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Surrey, B.C., he had 16 goals and 12 assists in 30 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. He will spend 2018-19 with the BWC’s midget prep team. . . . Kamloops now has signed its first three 2018 bantam draft selections. F Logan Stankoven, its first-round pick, also has signed.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Kurtis Smythe, 16, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on May 3 for a fourth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. Smythe was a second-round pick by the Blades in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Last season, the native of Cloverdale, B.C., had four goals and nine assists in 33 games with the Delta Hockey Academy midget prep team. He is expected to play with that midget team again in 2018-19.


D Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks has signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round, 29th overall, of the NHL’s 2017 draft. Jokiharju, who will turn 19 on June 17, is from Finland. He has played two seasons with Portland. . . . Last season, he had 12 goals and 59 assists in 63 games, and was named to the Western Conference’s second all-star team.



The Vancouver Giants have signed G Drew Sims to a WHL contract. Sims, from Tees, Alta., was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he was 13-0-1, 2.05, .916, with three shutouts, in 16 regular-season games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team. He helped his club to the playoff title by going 4-0, 1.00, .966, with one shutout.


The Red Deer Rebels have signed their first four selections from the WHL’s 2018 bantam Red Deerdraft. . . . F Jayden Grubbe, the seventh overall selection, had 29 goals and 37 assists with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . D Kyle Masters, the 16th overall pick, had seven goals and 17 assists in 29 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team. . . . D Trey Patterson, a second-round pick, had one goal and 24 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . F Josh Medernac, from Lloydminster, Alta., had 16 goals and 20 assists in 30 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team.

——

WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

——

The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


Roger Millions, a former radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, has chosen to leave Sportsnet to enter the world of politics. Millions, who was born in Deloraine, Man., spent 39 years in the sports broadcasting game. He had been with Sportsnet since 2002, mostly calling and covering the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Millions, 59, joined the staff at CFQC, an AM radio station in Saskatoon, and called Blades’ games for seven seasons.


Chris Hebb has succeeded John Grisdale as the commissioner of the junior A B.C. Hockey League. . . . Grisdale, who joined the BCHL in 2003, retired following the 2017-18 season. . . . Hebb has been president of Starting Five Media Consulting Ltd., and has worked at advising such organizations as Hockey Canada, Canada Soccer, the Oilers Entertainment Group and Curling Canada. . . . He also has worked for Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, as well as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. . . . Harrison Mooney of Postmedia has more right here.


TheCoachingGame

Mitch Love, who is preparing for his first season as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, has been named to the coaching staff of the U-18 Canadian team that will play in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. . . . Gilles Bouchard, the general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, will be the head coach. . . . The other assistant coach will be Ryan Oulahen, the head coach of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. . . . Love spent the past seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips.


The Red Deer Rebels have signed Kraymer Barnstable as their goaltending coach. The move came after they let Taylor Dakers out of his contract, a move that allowed him to join the Prince George Cougars as their goaltending coach. . . . Barnstable, 28, is from Kelowna. He played two seasons in the WHL — with th the Vancouver Giants in 2007-08 and with the Rebels in 2009-10. . . . Dakers, 31, is from Langley, B.C. He becomes the first full-time goaltending coach in the history of the Prince George franchise. Sean Murray was the goaltending coach on a part-time basis for the past two seasons. . . . Dakers spent five seasons on the Rebels’ coaching staff after being on staff with the Everett Silvertips for two. He played four seasons (2003-07) with the Kootenay Ice.


The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars have signed Brayden Klimosko as their new general manager and head coach. He takes over from Brandon Heck, who parted ways with the team after a semifinal loss to the Estevan Bruins. The North Stars were 43-14-2 during the regular season. . . . Klimosko was an assistant GM/assistant coach with the Humboldt Broncos for four seasons (2013-17). He also was the Broncos’ marketing manager. . . . Last season, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. . . . Klimosko is the North Stars’ third GM/head coach in as many seasons.


Greg Walters is the new head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. Walters, 47, had been the head coach of the OJHL’s Georgetown Raiders for the past eight seasons. He twice was named the OHL’s coach of the year, including in 2017 after the Raiders won their first championship. Prior to joining the Raiders, he spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. . . . In Oshawa, Walters replaces Bob Jones, who missed the 2017-18 season with what has been reported as a life-threatening illness. His contract was to expire during the off-season, and he left the club on April 25 when the two parties weren’t able to reach agreement on an extension. . . . Brian McNair of Oshawa This Week has more right here.


Doug Christiansen is the new general manager and head coach of the Manchester Monarchs, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He spent the previous four seasons with the USHL, as the director of player development and recruitment. Prior to that, he coached in the Elite Ice Hockey League for seven seasons. . . . With Manchester, Christiansen replaces Richard Seeley, who now is the GM of the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ AHL affiliate. Seeley, 39, spent three seasons as the Monarch’s head coach. He played three seasons (1996-99) in the WHL — three games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and 144 with the Prince Albert Raiders. He is from Powell River, B.C.


Tweetoftheday

Love has arrived in Saskatoon . . . Blazers’ co-owner leaves Blues . . . Ex-Winter Hawks forward dies at 52 . . . Americans say they’re staying put

MacBeth

F Emil Oksanen (Regina, 2017-18) signed a two-year contract with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). This season, as a 19-year-old, he had 16 goals and 32 assists in 58 games with Regina. . . . Oksanen played 18 games as a 16-year-old with the Espoo Blues U20 (Finland, A-Junior Liiga) for SaiPa head coach Tero Lehterä. Oksanen’s older brother attends university in Lappeenranta. . . .

D Nick Ross (Regina, Kamloops, Vancouver, 2004-09) signed a one-year contract with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had nine goals and 30 assists in 56 games. He led his team in assists and was fourth in the league. . . . Ross played three seasons with Innsbruck before moving to Zvolen. . . .

D Mario Grman (Red Deer, Kootenay, 2014-16) signed a one-year contract with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). This season, with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had one goal and four assists in 44 games. . . .

D Daine Todd (Medicine Hat, 2003-08) signed a one-year contract with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL). This season, with Örebro (Sweden, SHL), he had one goal and eight assists in 40 games. . . .

F Dane Byers (Prince Albert, 2001-06) signed a one-year contract extension with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). An alternate captain, the had 24 goals and 46 assists in 55 games.


Scattershooting

As expected, the Saskatoon Blades introduced Mitch Love as their new head on Wednesday afternoon. A rugged defenceman in his playing days, Love has spent the past seven seasons on the Everett Silvertips’ coaching staff. . . . Tyler Wawryk, the Blades’ manager of communications, has more on Love right here.

——

If you were wondering, Mitch Love, the Saskatoon Blades’ new head coach, signed a four-Saskatoonyear contract, with the club holding an option on a fifth season. . . . Ryan Keller, an assistant coach through two seasons, remains on staff, while the Blades are expected to add an assistant to replace Bryce Thoma, who was fired, along with head coach Dean Brockman, at season’s end. . . . Long-time assistant Jerome Engele also remains on the coaching staff. We can only hope he is gearing up for another season of those tweets in which he rates the post-game meals when on the road.


With Mitch Love off the market, you have to wonder when a WHL team will reach into the Portland Winterhawks’ front office and sign Kyle Gustafson as their head coach. He has been on the Portland coaching staff for 14 seasons now, the last three as associate coach. . . . You have to think the Kamloops Blazers could do a whole lot worse than to sign Matt Bardsley, Portland’s assistant general manager, as general manager and Gustafson as head coach.


The other day, all in good fun, I mused in this space that perhaps the Kamloops Blazers Kamloops1might want to bring back Bob Brown as general manager and Ken Hitchcock as head coach. . . . After all, Brown’s scouting contract with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers is soon to expire, while Hitchcock has moved into an advisory role with the Dallas Stars. . . . Well, it seems that a reader of this blog ran into Hitchcock on a golf course in Summerland, B.C., that afternoon. “I mentioned to him that I just read a rumour that he might return to Kamloops as coach,” the reader tells Taking Note in an email. “He laughed and said the only thing he would be returning for was to play golf at Rivershore . . . and he laughed some more.” . . . Great to hear that Hitch is in such good humour.


So . . . Kim Kardashian met with President Trump in the White House on Wednesday to discuss prison reform. OK, America, I can hardly wait to get out of bed today to find out how you top that one.


Darryl Sydor, who owns a chunk of the Kamloops Blazers, has left the St. Louis Blues after one season as an assistant coach, the NHL team announced on Wednesday. According to a news release, Sydor “has stepped down in order to spend more time with his family.” . . . Sydor, who retired as a player after the 2009-10 season, has been in the coaching game for the past eight seasons, five of them with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. . . . The Blues also announced that they have added Mike Van Ryn as an assistant coach. A former NHL defenceman, he spent this season as head coach of the Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes.


The Tri-City Americans issued a news release on Wednesday, stating that they “are tri-citycommitted to the future of hockey in the Tri-Cities, as we work to improve the facility and fan experience for the 2018-19 season.” . . . According to the Americans, the WHL, Toyota Center and the City of Kennewick “have devised a three-year plan to address the WHL’s concerns” with the state of the facility that has been the Americans’ home arena for 30 years. . . . The news release, which is right here, doesn’t include any details as to what improvements are in the works.


Ray Podloski, who played for the WHL’s Portland Winter Hawks, died on Monday, a few Portlanddays after suffering a heart attack. He was 52. . . . An Edmonton native, Podloski played three seasons (1983-86) with the Winter Hawks. . . . He spent 1982-83 with the AJHL’s Red Deer Rustlers, but got into two regular-season games with Portland. He also played in one game in the Memorial Cup, as the Winter Hawks won the championship. . . . H also played for Portland in the 1986 Memorial Cup, putting up two goals and five assists in four games. . . . After three seasons of pro hockey in North America, he went on to spend 15 seasons playing in Europe, retiring after the 2004-05 season. . . . Earlier, Podloski obtained his Austrian citizenship and played for that country in the 1999 IIHF World Championship. . . . He owned and operated Podloski Hockey Training in Edmonton where one of his clients was F Sam Steel, the captain of the WHL’s Regina Pats. Podloski also was the head coach with the St. Edmund Hockey Academy in Edmonton.


The Vegas Golden Knights are three victories away from winning the Stanley Cup in their first NHL season. However, assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon knows he can’t afford to think about that. Still, he knows how much his late brother, Brad, would be proud of him for the role he has played in the Golden Knight’s inaugural season. . . . Arash Markazi of ESPN has more on the McCrimmon brothers right here.


The Prince George Cougars are preparing for their 25th season in the northern B.C. city. PGCougars25Yes, it really has been 25 years since they made the move from Victoria. . . . With that in mind, they have unveiled their 25th anniversary logo. . . . According to a news release, the logo “features the Cougars’ logo over the number 25, with a banner across the front. The years 1994 and 2019 inside the banner reflect the years the organization has been operating in Prince George.” . . . You can bet the Cougars’ home schedule will be loaded with celebratory promotions.


The SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings have signed Jeff Schaeffer as assistant general manager and assistant coach. Schaeffer, who is from Weyburn, has spent the past four seasons scouting for the Red Wings. . . . The Red Wings also announced that assistant coach Brock Appleyard has left the team “to pursue other opportunities.”


Tweetoftheday

Silvertips keep title hopes alive . . . WHL final headed back to Swift Current . . . Humboldt Broncos will be back on ice in 2018-19

MacBeth

D Lukáš Bohunický (Kootenay, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract extension with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had three assists in 56 games. . . .

D Jesse Craige (Lethbridge, Chilliwack, 2004-10) signed a two-year contract extension with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). The team captain, he had 11 goals and 52 assists in 56 games. He was named to the UK Elite League’s first all-star team. He led defencemen in assists and points, and was second overall in assists in the entire league. . . .

G Kevin Nastiuk (Medicine Hat, 2001-05) signed a one-year contract extension with the Coventry Blaze (England, UK Elite). In 56 games, he was 3.12 and .900. He was named Coventry’s player of the year by his teammates. Nastiuk is studying at Coventry Business School while playing for the Blaze.


ThisThat

The WHL’s championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup will be decided in Swift Current. The host Everett Silvertips beat the Broncos, 6-3, on Friday night, leaving Swift EdChynowethCupCurrent with a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. . . . They’ll play Game 6 on Sunday night, with Game 7, if needed, scheduled for Monday. . . . The Memorial Cup begins Friday (May 18) in Regina. . . . Last night, Everett took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Wyatte Wylie (2), on a PP, at 6:19, and F Matt Fonteyne (9), at 16:07. . . . F Glenn Gawdin, who scored three times in the Broncos’ 3-2 OT victory in Game 4, pulled his guys even by scoring, on a PP, at 17:50 of the first and at 6:37 of the second period. He’s got 14 goals. . . . F Sean Richards (4) gave the Silvertips a 3-2 lead at 4:48 of the third period, with F Riley Sutter (9) upping it to 4-2 at 6:09. Sutter also had two assists. . . . D Noah King pulled the Broncos to within one  when he scored his first WHL goal at 12:51. . . . Everett hung on, though, and put it away with a pair of empty-netters from F Connor Dewar, who now has 12 goals. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 21 shots to earn the victory over Stuart Skinner, who made 34 saves. . . . Both teams were 1-3 on the PP. . . . The referees were Jeff Ingram and Reagan Vetter. . . . Announced attendance: 6,628.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed F Zack Stringer, who was the eighth overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Stringer, from Lethbridge, had 30 points, including 17 goals, with the midget AAA Hurricanes despite playing with them as an underage. He added 16 points, 11 of them goals, in 10 playoff games, then had seven goals and three assists at the Telus Cup national championship tournament.



The Humboldt Broncos made it official on Friday — they will ice a team for the SJHL’s 2018-19 season. Darcy Haugan, their general manager and head coach, was one of the 16 people who died when the team’s bus was involved in a crash on April 6. The Broncos posted the GM/head coach position yesterday. . . . The team will hold a player camp in Saskatoon, May 25-27, that will be by invitation only and will be closed to the public and media. . . . Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more right here.


Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix spent some time with Kaleb Dahlgren, a survivor of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash, the other day. Dahlgren has been at home since April 27, and these days he’s looking back but mostly ahead. . . . Mitchell’s piece is right here.

On Friday, it was revealed that Dahlgren plans to attend York U in Toronto and play for the Lions. Mark Cross, the Humboldt assistant coach who was one of 16 people who died because of the bus crash, also attended York. “My goal,” Dahlgren, 20, tweeted, “is to attend York in the fall of this year. However, the school has assured me I can begin whenever my body is ready.”


Dave Hunchak, who has coached in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Kamloops Blazers, also worked with the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers and has been inducted into the SJHL Hall of Fame. He also has had issues with mental wellness and depression and all that goes with it. So when he was asked to go to Humboldt and help out following the Broncos’ bus crash on April 6, he didn’t hesitate. . . . Allan Maki of The Globe and Mail has more right here.


The Humboldt Broncos and the SJHL may be on the verge of lawyering up as they scrap for control of the #HumboldtStrong hashtag that has shown up on t-shirts and other merchandise following the April 6 bus crash. Geoff Lee of CBC News reports that the SJHL has applied for the trademark, but the Broncos want it. . . . That piece is right here.


The Prince George Cougars are in the midst of a shakeup, there having been a change at the top of the ownership group and, of course, general manager Todd Harkins lost his job. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen examines all of that right here, and also talks with John Pateman, the organization’s new president, about the past, present and future.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Dylan Guenther and D Keagan Slaney, their two EdmontonOilKingsfirst-round selections in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Guenther, from Edmonton, was the first overall selection; Slaney, from Airdrie, Alta., was taken with the 20th pick. . . . Guenther had 56 goals and 47 assists in 30 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team. . . . Slaney had 13 goals and 23 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Airdrie Xtreme.


F Morgan Geekie of the Tri-City Americans has signed a three-year entry-level contract TriCity30with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . Geekie had 30 goals and 54 assists in 68 regular-season games in 2017-18. He added 17 goals and 10 assists in 14 playoff games. . . . He was a third-round selection in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . .  The team revealed that “the deal will pay Geekie US$650,000 in 2018-19 and $700,000 in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He will be paid $70,000 per season on the AHL level and receives a signing bonus of $240,000.” . . . Geekie is eligible to return to junior hockey in 2018-19 as a 20-year-old, but as a signed player he is almost certain to start his pro career.


Simon Ferguson is the new head coach of the major midget Okanagan Rockets, who play in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He takes over from Eric Blais, who will coach the Okanagan-Central Zone bantam AAA team next season. . . . Ferguson also was the Rockets’ head coach in 2014-15. He spent this season coaching at the Banff Hockey Academy. . . . Ferguson played five seasons in the WHL (1999-2004) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Kelowna Rockets. He was acquired by Kelowna during 2002-03 and helped the Rockets win the 2004 Memorial Cup.

Eastern Conference matchups set . . . Halbgewachs reaches 70 in loss . . . Glass latest to get to 100 points

MacBeth

D Renat Mamashev (Moose Jaw, 2000-01), D Shaone Morrisonn (Kamloops, 1999-2002) and three other players with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL) have had their contracts terminated and have been declared unrestricted free agents by the KHL. In announcing the terminations, the KHL said: “The basis for the decision was the debt of the hockey club ‘Admiral’ to the players on wages for more than two months.” . . . Morrisonn had one goal and six assists in 29 games with Admiral. This season, with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL), Mamashev had two goals and one assist in 18 games. With Sarov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had two goals and 11 assists in nine games. He signed with Admiral on Nov. 24, and had one goal and three assists in 19 games. . . . If you were wondering about Admiral’s salary levels, the total players’ salaries for this season was US$6.4 million plus US$1.6 million in bonus money. That total of US$8.0 million is the third-lowest in the KHL. . . . The top paying team in the KHL was SKA St. Petersburg at US$39.3 million in salaries and US$6.0 million in bonuses, for a total of US$45.3 million. . . . The lowest-paying team was Dinamo Riga at US$5.1 million in salaries and US$600,000 in bonuses, for a total of US$5.7 million.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

So . . . what’s left to be decided as the WHL regular season heads into its final two days?

Not much.

Let’s start with the Eastern Conference, where the playoff matchups all have been decided.

The Moose Jaw Warriors will lead the WHL in victories. They have clinched the Scotty whlMunro Memorial Trophy as regular-season champions, meaning they also won the Eastern Conference and East Division pennants. They will meet the Prince Albert Raiders in the first round of the playoffs with that series opening Friday night in Moose Jaw. . . . The Raiders will finish in the conference’s second wild-card spot.

The Swift Current Broncos will finish second in the overall standings, the Eastern Conference and the East Division. They will open the playoffs at home against the third-place Regina Pats, who will be host team in the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament. The Pats beat the visiting Broncos, 3-2 in OT, in a penalty-filled game on Friday night. They will meet again tonight, this time in Swift Current, before opening that first-round series in Regina on Friday.

The Medicine Hat Tigers, who won their second straight Central Division pennant, will face the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round. The Wheat Kings will finish in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot. That series is to open Friday in Medicine Hat. The Wheat Kings will play their home games in Dauphin, Man., because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair will be in their home arena. Last season, the Tigers swept the Wheat Kings from a first-round series.

The other Eastern Conference series will have the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who will finish second in the Central Division, face the third-place Red Deer Rebels. They will open in Lethbridge on Friday.

As for the Saskatoon Blades, Kootenay Ice, Calgary Hitmen and Edmonton Oil Kings, well, they’ll have to buy tickets to watch playoff hockey.

——

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference . . .

The combatants in one series, that involving the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants, now are known.

But that’s it.

The Everett Silvertips lead the conference with 97 points, four more than the Portland Winterhawks. Everett will wrap up its season in Victoria tonight. The Winterhawks are at home to Seattle tonight, then will entertain Spokane on Sunday.

The first tiebreaker is regular-season victories — Everett has 46, with Portland at 44. The second tiebreaker is points in games between the teams and if it comes down to that the Winterhawks have the edge, 11-10. Portland is 5-4-1; Everett is 5-5-0.

The second-place finisher will meet the Spokane Chiefs or Tri-City Americans. The third-place Chiefs hold a one-point edge over the Americans. They will meet tonight in Kennewick, Wash. On Sunday, the Chiefs visit Portland, while the Americans entertain the Seattle Thunderbirds, who are locked into the conference’s second wild-card spot.

The Kelowna Rockets will finish atop the B.C. Division for the seventh time in franchise history. They will meet Spokane or Tri-City, whichever team finishes in the conference’s first wild-card spot.

The second-place Royals and third-place Giants will open their first-round series in Victoria on Friday.

The conference’s other two teams, the Kamloops Blazers and Prince George Cougars, will wrap up their seasons in the northern city tonight. They are in next-season country.


It is almost 23 years since Ed O’Bannon led the UCLA Bruins to the NCAA Division I men’s national basketball title. After helping the Bruins beat Arkansas in the final, he would go on to a pro career, then spent five years involved in a lawsuit against the NCAA, one that asked for student-athletes to be able to control the use of their likenesses in such things as video games. . . . If you haven’t yet read O’Bannon’s book — Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA — you should consider giving it a look. . . . In the meantime, William C. Rhoden talks with O’Bannon and the result is right here.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Stelio Mattheos scored in OT to give the Brandon Wheat Kings a 6-5 victory the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw (52-15-4) had won three in a row. . . . Brandon (39-27-BrandonWKregular5) has won two straight. . . . Moose Jaw is 5-2-0 in the season series; Brandon is 2-5-0. They will play again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . F Linden McCorrister (20) put Brandon in front 1-0 at 2:15 of the first period, only to have F Tristyn DeRoose (4) tie it at 3:13. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Caiden Daley (7), at 7:24, and Mattheos, at 15:42. . . . The Warriors tied it on two PP goals from F Jayden Halbgewachs. He got No. 69 at 17:42 of the first and No. 70 at 9:35 of the second period. He is the first WHLer to score 70 goals in a season since F Pavel Brendl of the Calgary Hitmen in 1998-99. Halbgewachs now shares the Warriors’ single-season record with F Blair Atcheynum, who got to 70 in 1988-89. Halbgewachs leads the WHL points derby with 128, three more than Swift Current F Glenn Gawdin. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (19) gave Brandon a 4-3 lead at 14:31. . . . The Warriors pulled even at 1:29 of the third period as F Tanner Jeannot (38) scored. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (18) gave the Wheat Kings a 5-4 lead, on a PP, at 9:25. . . . The Warriors forced OT when F Justin Almeida (43) scored at 19:59. . . . Mattheos won it with his 43rd goal at 1:17 of OT. . . . Daley also had two assists for Brandon — he actually had all three points in the first period. . . . Brandon also got two assists from F Luka Burzan, with Mattheos, Reinhardt and McCorrister getting one each. . . . F Brett Howden drew four assists for Moose Jaw, with Halbgewachs and Almeida getting one each. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-5 on the PP; Brandon was 1-2. . . . G Dylan Myskiw made his fourth straight start for Brandon and stopped 26 shots. . . . G Brody Willms stopped 26 shots for the Warriors. . . . The Warriors were without F Brayden Burke for a sixth straight game, while D Brandon Schuldaus and D Dmitri Zaitsev missed their third consecutive games, and D Kale Clague also was scratched. F Barrett Sheen served Game 3 of a four-game suspension. . . . G Logan Thompson again was among Brandon’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,817.


At Regina, F Nick Henry’s OT goal gave the Pats a 3-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in a penalty-filled game. . . . Regina (40-25-6) has won seven in a row. . . . Swift ReginaPats100Current (47-18-6) has lost four straight. . . . The Broncos hold a 4-1-0 edge in the season series, with the teams meeting again tonight, this time in Swift Current. . . . They then will begin preparing to meet in a first-round playoff series, with the Broncos holding home-ice advantage. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (42) gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:33 of the second period. . . . The Pats took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Sam Steel (33), on a PP, at 5:12, and F Jared Legien (22), at 14:06. . . . D Artyom Minulin (13) got the Broncos into a 2-=2 tie, on a PP, at 12:58 of the third period. . . . The Pats got two assists from F Matt Bradley. . . . Minulin and Gawdin also had an assist each for the visitors. . . . Swift Current was 2-8 on the PP; Regina was 1-4. . . . Swift Current took 61 of the game’s 119 penalty minutes. . . . The Pats got 31 saves from G Max Paddock, while the Broncos’ Joel Hofer turned aside 29. . . . G Ryan Kubic was back on the Pats’ bench, backing up Paddock. . . . F Cam Hebig and F Koby Morrisseau were among Regina’s scratches. . . . Regina’s lineup sheet listed veteran WHL G Kyle Dumba as an AP. . . . Swift Current had F Glenn Gawdin back after he missed three games with an illness, while F Tyler Steenbergen was back after a one-game absence. . . . Gawdin picked up one assist to run his point streak to 27 games. Teammate Aleksi Heponiemi had the league’s longest streak this season when he went 28 games. . . . Swift Current F Andrew Fyten took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina D Libor Hajek, who wasn’t injured on the play. . . . Broncos F Tanner Nagel didn’t play as he served the second game of a three-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Prince Albert, the Saskatoon Blades scored two third-period goals to beat the Raiders, 2-1. . . . Saskatoon (34-33-4) has won two in a row. . . . The Raiders (32-26-13) had points in Saskatooneach of their previous 11 games (9-0-2). . . . With the teams to play in Saskatoon tonight, the Blades are 5-1-1 in the season series; the Raiders are 2-5-0. . . . F Parker Kelly (29) gave the home team a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 19:31 of the first period. . . . The Blades tied it at 14:37 of the third period as F Max Gerlach scored No. 32 on a PP. . . . F Chase Wouters (18) won it with a PP goal at 18:19. . . . Saskatoon was 2-5 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-5. . . . G Tyler Brown earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 20 shots for the Raiders. . . . D Zack Hayes of the Raiders was a healthy scratch as he missed his first game this season. They continue to play without F Brett Leason (undisclosed injury). . . . Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, felt the Blades’ play left a bit to be desired. “They came out and they were chippy all game. Play hard, but don’t play stupid — that was stupid,” Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of of paNOW.“I mean, they were out there, they got nothing to play for. Play hard but play with class, too.” . . . That story is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 3,033.


At Red Deer, F Gillian Kohler scored twice to help the Kootenay Ice to a 6-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . Kootenay (26-38-7) had lost its previous 11 games (0-7-4). . . . Red Deer (27-Kootenaynew31-13) had won its past three games. . . . Kootenay is 4-1-1 in the season series; Red Deer is 2-3-1. They’ll complete it tonight in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Red Deer’s loss means it will finish third in the Central Division and open the playoffs in Lethbridge with the Hurricanes holding home-ice advantage. . . . The Ice grabbed a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Alex Baer (29), at 5:29, and F Colton Kroeker (15), on a PP, at 19:59. . . . F Brandon Cutler (6) got the Rebels on the scoreboard, at 12:06 of the second period. . . . Kohler restored the two-goal lead at 13:02. . . . F Mason McCarty (38) pulled the Rebels back to within a goal at 14:34. . . . The Ice responded with the game’s last three goals, from F Keenan Taphorn (7), on a PP, at 17:37; Kohler (8), on a PP, at 9:07 of the third period; and F Peyton Krebs (17), into an empty net, at 13:22. . . . D Martin Bodak and F Brett Davis each had three assists for the winners, with F Colton Veloso getting one, and Kroeker, Krebs and Kohler adding one apiece. . . . Kootenay was 3-5 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . The Ice got 26 stops from G Matt Berlin. . . . G Riley Lamb surrendered five goals on 36 shots in 56:25 for Red Deer. Ethan Anders stopped the two shots he faced in 3:18. . . . Announced attendance: 5,205.


At Lethbridge, the Medicine Hat Tigers scored two goals late in the third period and beat the Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . Medicine Hat (36-27-8) had lost its previous two games. . . . Tigers Logo OfficialLethbridge (32-33-6) has dropped eight in a row. . . . Despite the loss, the Hurricanes clinched second in the Central Division and will have home-ice advantage in a first-round series with Red Deer. . . . Each team is 3-3-0 in the season series. They’ll finish it tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . D Calen Addison (11) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 4:26 of the second period. . . . Medicine Hat tied it at 12:13 as F Josh Williams (11) scored. . . . F Bryan Lockner (14) gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead 16 seconds into the third period. . . . F Jordy Bellerive (45) tied it at 11:41. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (21) broke the tie for the Tigers at 17:23, and F Tyler Preziuso (15) got the empty-netter at 18:38. . . . D Cole Clayton had two assists for the winners, with Preziuso and Chyzowski each getting one. . . . Addison added an assist for Lethbridge. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-3 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-6. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 28 shots for Medicine Hat. . . . The Hurricanes got 35 saves from G Logan Flodell. . . . F Mark Rassell was among Medicine Hat’s scratches, ending a stretch of 208 straight games. . . . D Linus Nassen (ill) also was among the Tigers’ scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 5,203.


At Portland, G Cody Glass scored three times and added two assists to lead the Winterhawks to an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Portland (44-21-5) has Portlandwon two in a row. . . . Seattle (33-27-10) will finish in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Winterhawks lead the season series 8-0-3; the Thunderbirds are 3-7-1. They will conclude the series in Kent, Wash., tonight. . . . F Nolan Volcan gave Seattle a 1-0 lead with his 32nd goal at 17:44 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks took control with four second-period goals. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (11) got it started at 4:46, and Glass, on a PP, gave Portland the lead at 10:01. . . . F Keiffer Bellows scored his 40th goal at 13:21, and Glass made it 4-1 at 16:14. . . . Portland F Skyler McKenzie (46) upped the lead to 5-1 at 3:47 of the third period. That was his 100th career goal. . . . Seattle F Sami Moilanen (22) scored at 9:18, but Portland added three more — from F Reece Newkirk (8), D Brendan De Jong (6) and Glass. . . . F Samuel Huo (3) got Seattle’s final goal. . . . Glass now has 100 points, including 37 goals, in 62 games. . . . D Clay Hanus, F Ryan Hughes and Bellows each had two assists for Portland, with Jokiharju and McKenzie adding one apiece. . . . Portland was 1-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-5. . . . G Cole Kehler earned the victory with 24 saves. . . . Seattle starter Liam Hughes stopped 34 of 41 shots in 53:06, with Dorrin Luding coming on to stop one of two shots in 6:54. . . . Announced attendance: 9,676.


At Kamloops, G Isaiah DiLaura blocked 51 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 4-2 victory over the Blazers. . . . Prince George (24-38-9) had lost its previous six games (0-5-PrinceGeorge1). . . . Kamloops (29-37-5) has lost five in a row. . . . The Blazers hold a 5-3-1 edge in the season series; the Cougars are 4-5-0. They’ll wrap it up tonight in Prince George. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (36) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:49 of the first period. . . . The Cougars promptly scored three times on their first five shots. . . . F Max Kryski tied the score, on a PP, at 7:43, and D Rhett Rhinehart (3) gave the visitors the lead, at 11:28. . . . Kryski (8) upped the lead to 3-1 at 14:45, and D Austin Crossley (4) made it 4-1 at 9:07 of the second period. . . . F Connor Zary (9) scored the Blazers’ other goal, at 10:50 of the third period. . . . F Ilijah Colina had two assists for Prince George, as did F Jared Bethune. . . . Loewen added an assist to his goal for Kamloops. . . . Prince George was 1-1 on the PP; Kamloops was 1-5. . . . DiLaura played 58:40, missing 1:20 in the first period after the blade fell out of his right skate. Taylor Gauthier came off the bench to stop the only shot he faced in 1:20. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson stopped 25 shots. . . . The Blazers again scratched D Luke Zazula and D Montana Onyebuchi. . . . The Cougars were without D Cam MacPhee, who served a one-game suspension, and D Joel Lakusta, who sat out the first game of a three-game sentence. . . . F Nick Chyzowski, the Blazers’ captain, played in his 342nd regular-season game, passing F C.J. Stretch and moving into second place on the franchise’s career list, behind only F Brendan Ranford (348). . . . Announced attendance: 4,253. . . . The Blazers finished 1-9-2 in home games when the announced attendance was greater than 4,000.


At Spokane, the Tri-City Americans ran their winning streak to five as they beat the Chiefs, 2-1. . . . Tri-City (37-24-9) is fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Chiefs. TriCity30. . . Spokane (39-25-6) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Chiefs lead the season series 6-3-2, with the Americans at 5-2-4. Each team has 14 points, so maybe the season series is tied? They will finish the series tonight in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (30) put the visitors ahead, on a PP, at 8:40 of the second period. . . . D Juuso Valimaki (14) upped it to 2-0 just 54 seconds into the third period. . . . Spokane F Eli Zummack (15) got his guys to within a goal, on a PP, at 8:44. . . . Rasmussen and Valimaki had one assist each. . . . The Americans were 1-4 on the PP; the Chiefs were 1-5. . . . G Patrick Dea got the victory with 36 saves, eight more than Spokane’s Bailey Brkin. . . . F Kailer Yamamoto was among Spokane’s scratches. The Chiefs continue to play without F Zach Fischer. . . . . . . Announced attendance: 8,934.


At Langley, B.C., F Carsen Twarynski scored the game’s first two goals to help the Kelowna Rockets to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Kelowna (42-22-7) has KelownaRocketspoint in five straight games (4-0-1). . . . Vancouver (36-26-9) will finish third in the B.C. Division, and will open a first-round series in Victoria on Friday. . . . The Rockets hold a 4-2-1 edge in the season series; the Giants are 3-3-1. The teams will meet again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . . Twarynski, who has 45 goals, scored a shorthanded goal at 10:40 of the first period, then made it 2-0, on a PP, at 13:14. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn (6) upped it to 3-0 at 18:31. . . . F Ty Ronning got the Giants to within two goals with No. 61 at 8:40 of the second period. . . . The Rockets went ahead 4-1 at 10:28 of the third period as F Kyle Topping got his 20th goal. . . . F Brayden Watts (17) scored for Vancouver at 17:38. . . . Topping got the empty-netter, at 18:35. . . . Kelowna was 1-5 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-7. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 37 shots for Kelowna, 16 more than Vancouver’s Trent Miner. . . . F Kole Lind, F Cal Foote, D Nolan Foote and F Dillon Dube were among Kelowna’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 4,624.


At Everett, F Luke Ormsby got the winner in the third period as the Silvertips beat the Victoria Royals, 3-2. . . . Everett (46-20-5) had lost its previous two games. . . . Victoria (39-Everett26-6) had won its previous two games. . . . The Royals did clinch second in the B.C. Division when Vancouver dropped a 5-2 decision to visiting Kelowna. Vancouver will visit Victoria in a first-round opener on Friday. . . . Everett D Wyatte Wylie (6) scored the game’s first goal, at 9:34 of the first period. . . . Victoria F Dante Hannoun (25) tied it at 18:33. . . . Everett went ahead again at 14:36 of the second period as F Garrett Pilon (34) scored a PP goal. . . . Victoria tied it again, this time on F Noah Gregor’s 29th goal, at 2:48 of the third period. . . . Ormsby’s second goal of the season, at 4:50, stood up as the winner. . . . D Ondrej Vala had two assists for Everett. . . . F Patrick Bajkov of the Silvertips drew an assist on Pilon’s goal to tie F Zach Hamill’s franchise record for career assists (175). . . . Everett was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-4. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 20 shots for the Silvertips. . . . The Royals got 41 stops from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Victoria F Lane Zablocki left at 1:39 of the first period with a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit on F Martin Fasko-Rudas. . . . Announced attendance: 8,377.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Regina at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Edmonton, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Kootenay, 7 p.m.

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

Kamloops at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

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

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

Everett at Victoria 7:05 p.m.

——

SUNDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Spokane at Portland, 5 p.m.

Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m

END OF REGULAR SEASON


TWEET OF THE DAY