Sign stealing in the WHL? Yes, it happened . . . Not watching The Twilight Zone here . . .

It wasn’t quite the Houston Astros, but it turns out that the Kamloops Blazers were involved in the sign-stealing racket in the spring of 1998.

They were in the early stages of a first-round playoff series with the Prince George Kamloops1Cougars when the accusations started flying.

It seems the Cougars were of the opinion that Garnet Stevenson, the Blazers’ backup goaltender, was spying on Prince George head coach Ed Dempsey and his line calls.

“As Dempsey called out the next line combination,” I wrote in the Regina Leader-Post on March 28, 1998, “the Cougars felt that Stevenson was taking it all in and getting that information to Kamloops head coach Marc Habscheid.

“So, for Game 4, the Cougars had enforcer Richard Peacock stand at the end of the bench PrinceGeorgenearest the Blazers’ bench. His job was to screen out Stevenson’s view of Dempsey.”

According to Jim Swanson, then the sports editor of the Prince George Citizen: “Peacock, who also helped by opening the gate for teammates, stood next to Stevenson, talking to him and reminding the goaltender the Cougars knew about the Kamloops spy job. Early in Game 4, Habscheid kept looking for Stevenson for a hint of what the Cougars were planning but he had nothing to report.”

The Blazers won Games 3 and 4 — 5-3 and 2-1 — to take a 3-1 series lead. Prince George then won two straight, 4-1 at home and 4-3 in OT on the road, to force a Game 7, which it won, 2-1, at home.

As for the sign-stealing accusations, Stevenson told me via email this week: “The story was 100 per cent true.”


We were watching an episode of Hogan’s Heroes (so sue me) on Tuesday night when a promo came on for The Twilight Zone. Hey, you know the music . . .

Dorothy: We’re not watching that!

Me: Why not?

Dorothy: Because we’re living in The Twilight Zone right now.

Me: Hard to argue with that kind of reasoning.


Quarantine


As had been anticipated, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club has cancelled Wimbledon for 2020. Not postponed. Cancelled. . . . The tournament first was held in 1877. Prior to this, only the First and Second World Wars had kept it off the tennis calendar. . . . It was to have been held from June 29 through July 12. . . . The 2021 tournament is scheduled for June 28 through July 11. . . . At the same time, the ATP and WTA announced that all of their events have been cancelled through July 13. So that takes care of the grass-court season. . . . With Wimbledon gone, the first major the season is scheduled to be the U.S. Open, which is to begin on Aug. 31. For now. . . .

The Queen’s Plate, which was to have run at Woodbine on June 27, is expected to be postponed indefinitely. . . . The race dates to 1860 and is the oldest continuously run stakes race in North America. . . .Earlier, Woodbine Entertainment postponed the start of its thoroughbred season, as well as the harness racing season at Mohawk Park. . . .

According to Golf Digest, the R&A is expected to announce today (Thursday) that it has cancelled the 2020 Open Championship (aka the British Open). The tournament was to begin on July 16 at Royal St. George’s Golf Club. . . . The Golf Digest story is right here. . . .


The NFL, meanwhile, is steaming towards the start of its 2020 season early in September. A schedule is to be released around May 9. . . . On a Tuesday conference call, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said: “All of our discussions, all of our focus, has been on a normal, traditional season, starting on time, playing in front of fans, in our regular stadiums and going through a full 16-game regular season and a full set of playoffs. That’s our focus.” . . . But as The Sports Curmudgeon points out, it was Dr. Anthony Fauci, who knows a thing or two about this pandemic, who noted: “We don’t set the timetable; the virus sets the timetable.” . . .



The Ottawa Senators have announced that four more people from their organization have tested positive for the coronavirus. They now have had seven people test positive, all of them having been part of the group that travelled to California and returned to Ottawa on a chartered flight on March 12. All told, five players and one staff member have tested positive, along with broadcaster Gord Wilson. According to the Senators, the five players and staff member all have recovered. . . . Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun has more right here.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, with the Thought of the Day, this one from A.J. Liebling: “A city with one newspaper, or with a morning and an evening paper under one ownership, is like a man with one eye, and often the eye is glass.”



Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet posted his weekly 31 Thoughts on Wednesday and, as usual, there is some neat stuff here. Especially good is the latter part of the piece where he pays tribute to a number of young players who weren’t able to complete their seasons, including WHLers Jadon Joseph and the Warm twins, Beck and Will. . . . It’s all right here.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have added Craig Carter to their staff as assistant general manager and director of player personnel. . . . Carter, who is from Langley, B.C., was the Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ director of hockey operations last season after spending two seasons as a scout with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.


Regular seasons all done for WHL, OHL, QMJHL . . . Will there be playoffs? . . . The waiting game continues . . .


The WHL announced on Wednesday that it has cancelled what remains of its regular season. When the WHL suspended play on March 12, the 22 teams had a total of 54 games remaining before the season was to wind up on March 22. . . . The 22-team WHL still is hoping to get its playoffs in “at a later date,” according to a statement. . . . The WHL’s final standings have been “determined by using win percentage” for its teams, reads a statement from the league. Actually, as TBird Tidbits pointed out in the above tweet, the standings were determined using points percentage. That’s how the Kamloops Blazers ended up ahead of Spokane, even though the Chiefs have one more point, and how the Vancouver Giants are ahead of Victoria, even thought the Royals finished with one more point. . . . No matter. The Portland Winterhawks finished atop the heap, so are the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy champions. . . . Even though the Everett Silvertips finished with one more regulation victory.

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About those playoffs. . . . Last season, the WHL began its playoffs on March 22. They played four rounds, all best-of-seven, and finished on May 13. . . . In total, they played 80 games in about seven weeks. . . . Let’s be honest. That’s not going to happen this time around. . . . You can bet that the WHL is tossing around all kinds of playoff options, likely incorporating best-of-three and best-of-five series. . . . But in the end it’s going to come down to how much time there will be for playoffs. It could be that in Washington state and B.C., for starters, games with more than 50 people on hand will be taboo until mid-May. . . . And don’t forget that the Memorial Cup is scheduled for Kelowna, May 21-31. That is highly unlikely to happen, so how far can it be pushed back? And what about Sportsnet, the CHL’s television partner? How much room will Sportsnet have on its schedule whenever the time comes? . . . And don’t forget that if the CHL is into playoffs, the NHL will be, too. So how does all that figure into this? . . . With all that is going on, and not going on, perhaps it’s best to take a day-to-day or even a week-to-week approach. Just to help maintain sanity. . . . OK? . . .

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Next up for the WHL is the inaugural U.S. prospects draft that is scheduled for March 25, and is to be run from the league office in Calgary. It’s a two-round draft featuring 44 selections, if each team uses its two picks. . . . The 2020 WHL bantam draft is scheduled for Red Deer on May 7. . . .

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The OHL also cancelled its regular season on Wednesday, and announced that its 2020 draft will be held online on April 4. . . . The OHL’s regular season was to have ended on March 22. . . . Like the WHL and QMJHL, the OHL is monitoring the situation.“When it is safe and we may resume play, we will advise on the status of the 2020 playoffs,” a statement from the league reads. . . .

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The QMJHL, which cancelled the remainder of its regular season on Tuesday, has taken its annual entry draft online. It was to have been held on June 6 in Sherbrooke. It still will go ahead on June 6, but now it all will be online. . . . As well, the QMJHL has cancelled its annual session that was scheduled for June 3-5. It features “meetings between its members along with hockey and administrative staffs.” . . .


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The 16-team USHL announced on Wednesday that it has cancelled the remainder of its season. The league’s board of directors made a unanimous decision to end the season, including the playoffs. . . . The regular season, which was suspended on March 12, was to have ended on March 29. . . .


Sean Fitz-Gerald of The Athletic reported Wednesday that The Hockey News has laid off eight full-time employees. “The layoffs affected longtime editor-in-chief Jason Kay,” Fitz-Gerald reported, “senior editor Brian Costello, managing editor Edward Fraser, senior writers Ken Campbell, Ryan Kennedy and Matt Larkin, features editor Sam McCaig and art director Shea Berencsi. Two contract workers are still producing content for THN’s website.” . . . THN publisher and owner Graeme Roustan told Fitz-Gerald that all will be rehired in an instant if/when the NHL resumes play. . . .



Philip Rivers is taking his arm to the Indianapolis Colts for one year and something like US$25 million. I wonder who will pay the moving expenses to get his wife and their nine children to Indy? . . . Rivers, 38, told us all a while back that he wasn’t interested in returning to the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers with whom he had spent his entire career. . . .


There was good news from South Korea on Wednesday as its top basketball league, the KBL, which hasn’t played in four weeks, announced that it has games scheduled for month’s end. . . . In the beginning, games will be played without fans in attendance. . . . If you’re curious about all of this, Jonathan Givony of ESPN has more right here. . . .


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The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings announced the re-signing of assistant coach Jason Garneau, who spent eight seasons with the club a few years ago. . . . At the same time, assistant coach Colin Minardi, who joined the club in October, won’t be returning to the coaching staff. . . .


Cody Reynolds is the new head coach of the U-18 Red Deer Optimist Chiefs. He has spent the past seven seasons as associate coach with the Red Deer College Kings. . . .


Giants caught in Dante’s Inferno as Raiders even final series. . . . Teams now head for Langley. . . . AJHL will lose one team


MacBeth

D Dylan Busenius (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, 2008-14) has signed a one-year contract with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with the University of Calgary (USports, Canada West), he had two goals and 16 assists in 27 games. . . .

F Juraj Bezúch (Lethbridge, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Hradec Králove (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and four assists in 30 games. On loan to Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had two goals and two assists in four games. On loan to Dukla Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had one goal and two assists in seven regular-season games, then added five goals and two assists in 10 playoff games.


ThisThat

The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s are 14-0 in these playoffs after scoring a 4-3 victory over the ohlvisiting Guelph Storm in Game 2 of the championship final on Saturday afternoon. . . . Ottawa, which swept its way through the first three series, leads the final, 2-0. . . . However, the 67’s lost G Mikey DiPietro at 14:50 of the first period when he went down with an injured right leg after appearing to catch it on the goal post. After the game, he was using crutches and has his right foot and ankle in a boot. It’s believed that he suffered a high ankle sprain. . . . At that time, Ottawa was trailing, 2-0. G Cedrick Andree came on to replace DiPietro and stopped 26 shots to key the victory. . . . The series will continue on Monday with Game 3 in Guelph. Game 4 is to be played there on Wednesday. . . . DiPietro, 20, was a third-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has signed with them and, in fact, played one game with them this season.


In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies are 1-1, with Game 3 scheduled for Halifax on Monday night. The Mooseheads beat the host Huskies, 5-4 in double OT, on Friday. . . . Both teams already are assured berths in the Memorial Cup tournament because the Mooseheads are the host team. . . . On Friday, F Benoît-Olivier Groulx scored the winner, his second goal of the game, at 9:53 of the second OT period.


The BCHL-champion Prince George Spruce Kings won the Doyle Cup on Saturday night, beating the visiting Brooks Bandits, the AJHL champions, 4-2. . . . The Spruce Kings won the series, 4-2. . . . Both teams have berths in the national junior A championship tournament because Brooks is the host team. . . . The MJHL-champion Portage Terriers also will be there, having won the ANAVET Cup with a 7-3 victory over the host Battlefords North Stars on Thursday night. The Terriers won that series, 4-1. . . . The national tournament is to run from May 11 through May 19. . . . The Terriers already know that they will play in the 2020 tournament because they will be the host team.


The AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs are taking a leave of absence for the 2019-20 season. The CalgMustangsorganization revealed on Saturday that it had applied to the AJHL for the OK to move to Strathmore before a new season gets here. However, the AJHL denied the request and an appeal also was denied. . . . “Over the past two seasons our off-ice product has not equaled the success we had on the ice,” Mike Cartney, the Mustangs’ president, wrote in a letter. “Low ticket sales, decreasing advertising revenue and a lengthy playoff absence have left the franchise in a difficult position, financially. The board of the directors . . . (has) had lengthy discussions about all of our options and ultimately (has) voted in favour of taking a leave of absence from the AJHL for the upcoming 2019-20 season.” . . . The Mustangs were one of eight teams in the 16-team league’s South Division. This season, they finished fifth, at 29-22-9, then lost a best-of-five first-round playoff series to the Camrose Kodiaks, 3-2. . . . Ty Drader, who had been the Mustangs’ general manager and head coach, was named Friday as the head coach of the ACAC’s Calgary-based SAIT Trojans.


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EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL’s best-of-seven championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup is tied, 1-1, after the host Prince Albert Raiders beat the Vancouver Giants, 4-0, on Saturday night. . . . The Giants had won, 5-4, on Friday night. . . . The teams now will fly — on the same airplane — to Vancouver today for games at the Langley Events Centre on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights. . . . The Raiders are 13-5 in these playoffs; the Giants are 13-4. . . .

If you missed it late Friday night, there were a couple of scoring changes following the completion of the Giants’ 5-4 victory in Game 1. Vancouver D Bowen Byram was awarded two more assists, giving him four in the game. At the same time, F Owen Hardy, who had been credited with two assists, had one taken away.

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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders held the visiting Vancouver Giants to 15 shots en route to a 4-0 PrinceAlbertvictory in Game 2 of the WHL’s championship series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The series is 1-1 with the next three games in the Langley, B.C., Events Centre — Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders stopped all 15 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of these playoffs. That leads the CHL. . . . Prince Albert held a 27-10 edge in shots through two periods. . . . Raiders F Dante Hannoun (11), who is from Delta, B.C., opened the scoring when he beat the coverage to the front of the Vancouver net and was able to rap a pass in behind G David Tendeck at 10:17 of the first period. . . . Hannoun, 20, scored nine times through the first two rounds, then was blanked for six games in the third round. This was his second goal in two games in the final. . . . Hannoun, who faced the Giants often while he was with the Victoria Royals, also had two assists, and now has 56 points in 52 career games, regular-season and playoffs, against Vancouver. He has two goals and three assists in the first two games of this series. . . . The home boys went ahead 2-0 as D Sergei Sapego (3) scored off a pass from F Parker Kelly at 7:43 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (9) added to the lead with a PP goal at 10:39. . . . F Brett Leason (7) closed out the scoring with an empty-netter at 18:39. . . . The Giants had Tendeck on the bench for the extra attacker with four minutes still to play. . . . Tendeck finished with 30 saves. . . . Raiders F Parker Kelly had two assists for a second straight game. . . . The Raiders were 1-5 on the PP; the Giants were 0-2. . . . D Max Martin of Prince Albert left the game at 11:30 of the second period after falling awkwardly into the end boards. He immediately went to the dressing room and didn’t return. Head coach Marc Habscheid didn’t indicate whether Martin would travel to Vancouver, saying only that the veteran defenceman would be “re-evaluated” on Sunday. . . . The referees were Fraser Lawrence and Steve Papp, with Deion Foster and Chad Huseby on the lines.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has a game story right here.

Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW.com has a lead right here.

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


Tweetoftheday

Matt Savoie headed to Crusaders? . . . Tracey, Gauthier lead Canada past Finland. . . . WHL playoffs set to resume


MacBeth

F Chris Langkow (Spokane, Saskatoon, Everett, 2005-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with MAC Újbuda Budapest (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, he had 17 goals and 22 assists in 55 games. . . .

F Brayden Low (Portland, Everett, 2010-15) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with the Reading Royals (ECHL), he had 15 goals and 18 assists in 63 games. . . .

F Dylan Yeo (Prince George, Calgary, 2003-07) has signed a two-year contract with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL), he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 52 games. . . .

F Jordan Draper (Red Deer, 2007-08) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with Mulhouse (France, Ligue Magnus), he had 12 goals and nine assists in 42 games. . . .

F Jaedon Descheneau (Kootenay, 2011-16) has signed a two-year contract with Brynäs Gävle (Sweden, SHL). This season, with Düsseldorf (Germany, DEL), he had 19 goals and 32 assists in 52 games. He led the team in assists and was second in points.


ThisThat

It appears that the Savoie brothers, Carter and Matt, don’t have any plans of playing in the WHL. . . . Carter, 17, just finished his first season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park SherwoodParkCrusaders and plans on returning for 2019-20. He has committed to attending the U of Denver and playing for the Pioneers in 2020-21.

On Thursday, Tyler Yaremchuk (@tyleryaremchuk) tweeted: “Despite having his rights traded to Winnipeg, Carter Savoie WILL NOT be going to the WHL. He will stay with the Crusaders next season.” . . . A ninth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, his major junior were traded to the Winnipeg Ice on April 3 for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and two conditional selections. . . . At this point, the Ice holds the first and ninth picks in the 2019 draft.

Yaremchuk posted that tweet after having Kyle Chase, the Crusaders’ president of hockey operations and general manager, on his podcast — Inside The Cru.

Matt Savoie, who turned 15 on Jan. 1, is ranked by most, if not all, observers as the No. 1 prospect among players eligible for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft that is scheduled for Red Deer on May 2. . . . He has committed to the U of Denver for 2021-22. . . . He played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, and is expected to return there for 2019-20.

Savoie attended the Crusaders’ recent spring camp, which prompted Yaremchuk to ask Chase: “Is he that good?”

Chase’s response: “Yeah. Yeah, he is.”

Chase’s son, Greg, who played in the WHL and has played professionally for the past four seasons, watched Savoie for a bit before saying: “He’ll be in the NHL in four years.”

According to Kyle Chase, his son then asked “what a lot of us ask: How did he get that good so fast?”

Chase went on to describe Savoie: “He shoots bullets. He’s physical. He’s an elite skater. He’s tenacious. He’s on the puck. When you talk about those elite players . . . those guys are high-end and high-octane and high-energy. Matt’s got a little bit of Wendel Clark in him; when you take the puck from him he’s going to blow you up and take it back. He’s not just interested in lifting your stick. . . . He’s got a ton of courage and he’s got a ton of skill. . . . He’s head’s up . . . he’s unselfish.”

As for Sherwood Park’s plans, Chase said that “our intention is to affiliate him. We spoke to the family and to Matt. We want him affiliated . . . and play a minimum of 10 games as an affiliate with us next (season). The family has been very receptive . . . and Matt’s on board. We’re excited to have him around the organization.”

The complete podcast, which runs about 20 minutes, is right here.


F Brayden Tracey of the Moose Jaw Warriors scored twice as Team Canada erased a 3-0 Canadasecond-period deficit and went on a 5-3 victory over Finland in its opening game at the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Umea, Sweden. . . . Tracey tied the score at 3:57 of the third period, on a PP, as he finished off a 2-on-1 with F Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice). . . . Tracey scored what stood as the winner at 14:31, with F Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers) getting the lone assist. . . . Krebs iced it with an empty-netter. . . . G Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars) stopped 39 shots. He was terrific in the first period in holding the Finns to two goals on 20 shots. . . . Canada is scheduled to play Switzerland today. . . . The tournament runs through April 28. . . . Team Canada added G Nolan Maier (Saskatoon Blades) to its roster earlier in the week. However, F Kirby Dach of the Blades had to turn down an invitation due to an undisclosed injury suffered in Game 5 of a second-round series with the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . In other opening-day games, Russia beat Slovakia, 6-3; Team USA dropped Sweden, 6-1; and Belarus beat Czech Republic, 4-3.


The WHL’s two games in the 2019 CIBC Canada-Russia Series will be played in Saskatoon and Prince Albert. . . . The six-game series that also features two games against the OHL and QMJHL, is to be played Nov. 4-14. . . . For the first time since 2013, the series will begin in the QMJHL (Saint John, Nov. 4; Moncton, Nov. 5), then move to the OHL (Kitchener, Nov. 7; London, Nov. 11). . . . The series-ending games will be played in Saskatoon on Nov. 13 and Prince Albert on Nov. 14. . . . There is a news release on the series right here.


The Prince George Spruce Kings won the franchise’s first BCHL championship — the Fred SpruceKingsPage Cup — on Wednesday night, beating the Vipers 3-1 in Vernon to sweep the championship series in four games. . . . That ended a remarkable playoff run for the Spruce Kings, who went 16-1, the best post-season record in BCHL history. . . . F Ben Poisson, the Spruce Kings’ captain, gave the visitors a 2-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:14 of the second period. That goal, his 13th of the playoffs, stood up as his second game-winner in as many nights. Poisson had scored the OT winner in a 4-3 victory in Vernon on Tuesday night. . . . With the victory, the Spruce Kings, who entered the BCHL for the 1996-97 season, also clinched a berth in the National Junior A Championship, which is to be played in Brooks, Alta. Before that, the Spruce Kings will meet the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits for the Doyle Cup. . . . That series is to open in Brooks on April 26.

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In the MJHL, the Portage Terriers beat the host Swan Valley Stampeders, 5-2, on Thursday night, tying the championship final, 3-3. . . . They’ll play Game 7 in Portage la Prairie on Monday. . . . Last night, the Terriers held a 50-26 edge in shots. . . . F Jay Buchholz, an 18-year-old from Fargo, N.D., had two goals for the winners, who trailed 2-1 with fewer than eight minutes to play in the third period. . . .

In the SJHL, the championship final between the Battlefords North Stars and Melfort Mustangs is to resume tonight. The North Stars, with a 3-1 lead, will play host to Game 5. . . . A sixth game, if needed would be played Sunday in Melfort.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The WHL playoffs resume tonight as the conference finals get rolling with games in Prince Albert and Langley, B.C. . . . Each of the four teams still alive is 8-2 in these playoffs. . . . WHL fans have to be thinking it would be nice to see a couple of long series. The first round, with a maximum of 56 games, played out in 43, with three of the eight series going six games and one going the distance. . . . The second round, however, was finished in 19 games as the winners went 16-3. . . . F Dante Hannoun of the Prince Albert Raiders and F Davis Koch of the Vancouver Giants lead the scoring race, each with 14 points, one more than Vancouver D Bowen Byram. . . . Hannoun is tops in goals (9) and Koch leads in assists (12). . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders and G Bailey Brkin of the Spokane Chiefs each has eight victories. Scott has the best GAA, at 1.81, while Brkin is tops in save percentage (.931). . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders, who finished atop the overall standings (54-10-4), will entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton topped the Central Division (42-18-8). . . . In the regular season, the Raiders won the season series, 3-1-0; the Oil Kings were 1-2-1. . . . They have met twice since the trade deadline, with the Oil Kings winning, 6-3, in Prince Albert on Feb. 1, and the Raiders winning, 5-1, in Edmonton three days later. . . . In the four games, Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky had five goals and two assists, while D Conner McDonald had three goals and three assists. . . . G Todd Scott of Edmonton went the distance in three of the games, going 1-1-1, 4.62, .883. G Dylan Myskiw, who has had the hot hand in the playoffs, was 0-1-0, 5.04, .853. . . . F Noah Gregor led the Raiders, with two goals and six assists in the four games. F Cole Fonstad, who missed the last two games of the Raiders’ second-round series, had four goals and three assists, while F Brett Leason had a goal and six assists in three games. . . . G Ian Scott of the Raiders was 2-1-0, 3.27, .897. . . . The Raiders will be without F Justin Nachbaur tonight as he completes a two-game suspension.

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In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants will be trying to prove that they are the WHL’s “top team” as they play host to the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Giants finished atop the Western Conference, at 48-15-5. . . . The Chiefs were second in the U.S. Division, at 40-21-7. . . . According to Steve Ewen of Postmedia, the Giants have seized on a couple of quotes from a Kevin Dudley story in the Spokane Spokesman-Review and are using them as a rallying point. . . . After the Chiefs had eliminated the Everett Silvertips, who had finished on top of the U.S. Division, at 47-16-5, head coach Dan Lambert made reference to having ousted “the top team in the league.” . . . At the same time, Spokane G Bailey Brkin told Dudley: “We just took down the top team in the league, without even a Game 6 or 7.” . . . Yes, the Giants took note. “It bothers you to a certain extent,” D Dylan Plouffe told Ewen. “We’re just going to use it for motivation. That’s really all.” . . .

The Giants went 3-1-0 in the season series; the Chiefs were 1-2-1. . . . They have played each other three times since the trade deadline. The Giants won 6-4 in Spokane on Jan. 18 and 5-4 at home on Feb. 15. The Chiefs won 4-1 in Spokane on March 8. . . . Chiefs F Riley Woods had a goal and five assists in six games, while F Luc Smith, in three games, had four goals. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw led his side with three goals and two assists in four games. F Davis Koch and F Milos Roman each had a goal and three assists. D Bowen Byram had a goal and two assists in the four games. . . . Brkin, who might be the playoff MVP to this point, was 1-1-0, 3.03, .915 against the Giants. . . . The Giants used both goaltenders — David Tendeck was 2-0-0, 3.88, .843; Trent Miner was 1-1-0, 4.13, .833.


Tweetoftheday

Hope, Price are liking status quo in Victoria. . . . They’ve got Raiders Fever in P.A. . . . Bandits wrap up AJHL title


MacBeth

F Adam Kambeitz (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Seattle, 2008-13) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he had four goals and nine assists in 44 games. The AIHL opens its 2019 regular season on Saturday. . . .

F Zach Hamill (Everett, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 10 goals and 29 assists in 34 games.


ThisThat

In the world of hockey, you learn never to say never. But it certainly doesn’t sound as though there will be a coaching change with the Victoria Royals.

The Royals went 34-30-4 to finish second in the B.C. Division this season, 29 points behind VictoriaRoyalsthe Vancouver Giants (48-15-5). The Royals ousted the Kamloops Blazers from a first-round series that last six games and then got swept by the Giants.

Dan Price completed his third season with the Royals, his second as head coach since taking over after Dave Lowry signed on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.

Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, liked what he saw this season.

“In my time in hockey,” Hope told CHEK News earlier this week, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some terrific coaches, guys who are head coaches in the National Hockey League right now in the playoffs . . . I can tell you that there isn’t a coaching staff that works harder, prepares more, is more intelligent in the way they do it and get their players to buy in more than this coaching staff. It’s remarkable what Dan Price, J.F. (Best) and Doug Bodger have done. It’s remarkable.”

Best and Bodger are the Royals’ assistant coaches.

Price, for his part, told CHEK News that he isn’t wanting to move.

“I would love to be here for as long as Cam and (owner) Graham (Lee) would like to have me,” Price said. “It is one of the best jobs if not the best job in hockey. I am grateful every day. . . . I love it here. I don’t want to go anywhere.”


JUST NOTES: The Eastern Conference final between the Prince Albert Raiders and Edmonton Oil Kings is scheduled to begin with Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday nights in the Saskatchewan city. Single-game tickets went on sale in Prince Albert on Tuesday at 9 a.m. People started lining up as early as 5:30 a.m. . . . In the OHL, the Guelph Storm scored the game’s last five goals to beat the Knights, 6-3, in London in Game 7 of a second-round series. The Storm is the fifth team in OHL history to lost the first three games of a series, then win the next four. The Storm is the first team to do that against a No. 1 seed.


The QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have fired Marc-Andre Dumont, who had qmjhlbeen general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Brent Hughes. Dumont had been in that position since December 2012. . . . This season, the Screaming Eagles went 40-22-6 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, where they lost in five games to the Rimouski Oceanic. . . . “We made a commitment to evaluate the team back when I became president almost a year ago and under new ownership we also made the commitment that we would evaluate the team,” Gerard Shaw, the organization’s president, told Jeremy Fraser of the Cape Breton Post. “We felt that we wanted to go in a new direction, so we decided the time was right to make a change and to take a new direction.”


USA Hockey has named Scott Sandelin the head coach of its national junior team. USAhockeySandelin just completed his 19th season as the head coach of the U of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, who have won two straight NCAA championships. . . . Sandelin was the head coach of the national junior team in 2005 and was an assistant coach in 2012 and 2019. . . . The IIHF’s 2020 World Junior Championship is scheduled to run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.


The Brooks Bandits won their fifth AJHL championship in 10 seasons on Tuesday night, beating the Spruce Grove Saints, 2-0, to win the series, 4-0. . . . G Pierce Charleson, a 19-year-old freshman from Aurora, Ont., stopped 22 shots to earn the shutout. . . . The goals came from F William Lemay of Marieville, Que., who is committed to the U of Vermont, and F Jakob Lee of Owen Sound, Ont., who will attend Canisius College. Lemay and Lee both are in their first AJHL seasons. . . .

In the MJHL, F Bradly Goethals scored at 1:46 of the third OT period to give the Swan Valley Stampeders a 4-3 victory over the Portage Terriers. The Stampeders hold a 3-2 lead in the championships series, with Game 6 in Swan River on Thursday. . . . Goethals, from Île-des-Chênes, Man., has played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swan Valley also got goals from F Brian Harris, who has played 54 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings, F Kasyn Kruse of Luverne, Minn., and F Matthew Osadick of Grande Pointe, Man., who is ticketed for the U of Maine. . . .

In the BCHL, F Ben Poisson scored at 12:07 of OT to give the Prince George Spruce Kings a 4-3 victory over the Vipers in Vernon. . . . The Spruce Kings hold a 3-0 lead and get their first chance to wrap it up tonight in Vernon. . . . Poisson’s brother, Nick, drew the lone assist on the winner.


Garry Childerhose is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. He replaced Clayton Jardine, who, according to a news release, “has stepped aside to pursue other career opportunities.” . . . Jardine just completed his first season as the Klippers’ GM/head coach, and he was named the SJHL’s coach of the year. The Clippers finished 36-16-6 in the regular season, placing second in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division. They lost a first-round playoff series to the Melfort Mustangs in five games. . . . Childerhose has been the Flin Flon Bombers’ assistant GM/assistant coach for the past five seasons.


The MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals have chosen not to renew the contract of Troy Leslie, who had been with the organization for seven seasons. . . . From a news release: “Troy helped lead the team to six straight playoff appearances and a league championship final, and helped develop many players to the next level of hockey and careers beyond the game.” . . . This season, Virden finished 31-21-8, good for fifth place in the 11-team league. The Oil Capitals were 4-6 in the playoffs, beating the Selkirk Steelers in six games, then losing in four to the Portage Terriers.


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All quiet on the Kootenay front . . . Raiders roll to another victory . . . ‘Tips win battle of U.S. Division leaders


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D Jonathon Blum (Vancouver, 2005-09) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, as an alternate captain with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), he had one goal and 10 assists in 43 games. He also had three assists in 10 games with Sochi (Russia, KHL). . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) has been released by mutual agreement by Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). He had two goals and two assists in 25 games. . . .

F Marek Tvrdoň (Vancouver, Kelowna, 2010-14) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). He had been released by Klagenfurt II (Austria, Alps HL) after the end of a tryout contract on Nov. 11. He had three goals and three assists in six games. . . . Tvrdoň started the season with Saryarka Karaganda (Kazakhstan, Russia Vysshaya Liga), scoring once in four games.


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As readers stopped by here late Tuesday night and on through Wednesday, they learned that the Green Bay Committee had shut it down in Cranbrook, B.C., having started to whlbelieve that the Kootenay Ice, the WHL franchise its members had been working to save, is in its final season there.

The committee had been selling tickets and raising money through sponsorships for the Ice in the hopes of keeping the team in the 4,264-seat Western Financial Place.

With all signs pointing to a departure at season’s end, readers started to suggest possible landing spots, other than Winnipeg. Among those mentioned, in no particular order, were New Westminster, Billings, Chilliwack, Anchorage, Wenatchee, Penticton and Vernon.

None of those will be a destination, of course, as it seems the Ice is destined to end up in Winnipeg playing out of the East Division, while the Swift Current Broncos would slide back into the Central Division.

When that happens, Cranbrook will be home to an arena that meets WHL standards — including new lighting, boards and glass, and with plans for a new scoreboard with video boards to be installed in time for 2019-20.

Perhaps the one thing missing would be a team.

But there already are people in Cranbrook who are wondering if there might be another WHL team interested in relocating.

For starters, you can forget about the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Swift Current Broncos. These are the four remaining community-owned franchises and they aren’t going anywhere.

But . . .

New owners took over the Prince George Cougars in time for the 2014-15 season and admit that they have been bleeding money. This season, the announced average attendance in Prince George is 2,521 through 11 games. Last season, the final figure was 3,024.

Might the Cougars’ ownership be interested in at least kicking some tires?

Meanwhile, the Tri-City Americans averaged 3,053 fans for seven playoff games last spring after a regular season in which that figure was 3,649. But the Toyota Center, which opened in 1988, needs help

A year ago, the Tri-City Herald published a story that centred on the needed improvements and included this:

“Neither (WHL commissioner Ron) Robison nor (Americans general manager Bob) Tory suggested the Americans might leave Kennewick. But they didn’t deny the possibility either.

“Tory said team expenses have doubled under current ownership while revenue has been flat.

“ ‘There comes a time when that doesn’t make sense any more,’ Tory said.”

Voters in Kennewick, Wash., have twice rejected a sales tax that would have had money directed to Toyota Center improvements.

A year ago, there really wasn’t another option for teams like the Cougars or Americans. That changes if/when the Ice heads for the Manitoba capital.

Interestingly, Tory is quite familiar with Cranbrook, having worked as Kootenay’s general manager for two seasons (1998-2000).


All was quiet on the Kootenay Ice front on Wednesday, the day after a local committee that was working towards ensuring that the WHL franchise stays in Cranbrook, B.C., chose to cease operations.

In a letter to Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, as well as one of its Kootenaynewtwo owners, the Green Bay Committee cited a lack of support from the Ice’s owners, Greg Fettes and Cockell, in its decision.

Fettes and Cockell, both with ties to Winnipeg, purchased the franchise prior to last season. This season has been loaded with speculation that the franchise will be relocated to Winnipeg before another season arrives.

Of late, however, there has only been silence from the Ice.

“The silence is deafening,” John Hudak, the committee’s marketing director, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. “I can’t speak for the owners of the team, I’m not a mind-reader and I don’t know what they are planning on doing, but it’s just highly unusual that people who have been in town for a very short period of time are not making that comment. If they have attendance problems (and) then they aren’t making any comments here to us and (aren’t) willing to engage with us . . . It’s disturbing.”

Hudak’s committee had invited Cockell to attend meetings. Hudak told Taking Note on Wednesday that Cockell’s refusal to attend “surprised” the committee.

Hudak said there was a “representative of the Ice, but not a decision-maker” at the committee’s first meeting on Oct. 25.

Hudak told Global News-Winnipeg on Wednesday that the Ice’s lack of engagement is “probably the single biggest thing that has impacted our ability to lock up some ticket sales.

“Why should we support this if these people aren’t going to remain in the community.

“(We) haven’t heard from the Ice ownership if it will remain . . . their silence on the subject has become deafening.”

Global News reported that “Fettes has also partnered with Brad Rice, who opened Winnipeg’s The Rink Training Facility in 2009, and is building a new facility south of the city. Sources have told Global News a new 5,000-seat arena is planned to be developed on the site to accommodate the WHL team.”

In September, Fettes told Global: “As a fan, parent, and owner, I am passionate about hockey development in Winnipeg and across Canada. Because of this passion, I am involved with The Rink Player Development and their new facility at McGillivray and Loudon, including their expansion and development in the surrounding area.”

Kootenay’s next home game is scheduled for Friday night when the Calgary Hitmen are in town. Jeff Chynoweth is Calgary’s general manager. Fettes and Cockell purchased the Ice from Chynoweth, his brother, Dean, and their mother, Linda.


The B.C. Sports Hall of Fame revealed Wednesday that Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, will received the 2019 W.A.C. Bennett Award for contribution to sport in the province. . . . The award will be presented during the Hall of Fame’s induction gala on May 23 in Vancouver. . . . Toigo has owned the Giants since purchasing an expansion franchise that began play in the 2000-01 season. He has been instrumental in having the 2006 and 2019 World Junior Championships played in Vancouver, as well as the 2007 Memorial Cup. . . . Toigo already is in the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame and the Delta, B.C., Sports Hall of Fame.


G Gavin McHale, who made 45 WHL appearances over two seasons (2004-06), got to watch an NHL game while wearing the uniform of the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. With starter Braden Holtby a late scratch due to an undisclosed injury that is believed to be minor, the Capitals started Pheonix Copley against the host Winnipeg Jets and brought in McHale, a 31-year-old from Winnipeg, as the emergency backup. . . . The Jets won the game, 3-1. . . . McHale, who made 33 appearances with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 12 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, is the goaltender coach for the women’s hockey team at the U of Manitoba. . . . The 6-foot-7 McHale had been in the backup role once before. In February, he spent the third period on the Colorado Avalanche’s bench in support of Semyon Varlamov, who went in to replace the injured Jonathan Bernier.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Alex Evin, their director of player personnel and associate coach, to a two-year extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. . . . Evin is in his second season with the Spruce Kings. . . . Adam Maglio, the Spruce Kings’ head coach, also is signed through 2020-21, as is general manager Mike Hawes.


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WEDNESDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ian Scott blocked 43 shots to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to their 11th straight PrinceAlbertvictory, this time beating the Medicine Hat Tigers, 2-0. . . . The Raiders (18-1-0) now lead the overall standings by six points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Tigers (9-10-3) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Scott even took a shot at an empty-net goal, only to have the scoreboard in the Art Hauser Centre get in the way. “He thought he was Marty Brodeur at the end there with the shot,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com. “I thought it had a pretty good chance. He got some good weight on it and she was going. But then the clock obviously got in the way. That was the end of that.” . . . F Brett Leason (18) scored the game’s first goal, while shorthanded, at 8:58 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (9) added insurance at 11:16 of the third. . . . Leason has at least one point in all 19 Prince Albert games this season. He and F Stelio Mattheos of the Brandon Wheat Kings are tied for the WHL lead in goals. . . . Scott has three shutouts this season and six in his career. On the season, he is 15-1-0, 1.50, .946. . . . BTW, the Raiders now have scored 11 times while shorthanded; their WHL-leading penalty-killers have surrendered only seven goals. . . . D’Andrea’s story is right here.

G Beck Warm turned aside 24 shots to help the Tri-City Americans to a 3-0 victory over tri-citythe Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Americans now are 12-6-0. This was Game 9 of an 11-game road trip on which they are 7-2-0, including 2-2-0 in the East Division. . . . The Broncos (4-16-2) have lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . Warm had one shutout this season and two in his career. . . . F Kyle Olson (4) opened the scoring at 4:20 of the first period, with F Krystof Hrabik (5) made it 2-0 at 19:15. . . . F Isaac Johnson scored his seventh goal into an empty net at 19:56 of the third period. . . . The Broncos remain without D Matthew Stanley, while F Eric Houk now has missed two games since being injured in a fight with F Carter Massier during a 2-0 loss to the Pats in Regina on Saturday.


F Josh Maser scored the winner in OT and also had two assists to lead the Prince George PrinceGeorgeCougars to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (9-8-3) has won two in a row. . . . Kelowna (8-12-1) has lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . F Matej Toman (3) gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 10:05 of the second period. . . . Kelowna took a 3-2 lead on third-period goals from F Lane Zablocki (2), at 0:55, and F Kyle Topping (9), shorthanded, at 12:07. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (4) pulled the Cougars even at 19:43. . . . Maser won it with his sixth goal of the season with six seconds left in extra time.


F Riley Sutter’s shootout goal gave the host Everett Silvertips a 3-2 victory over the EverettPortland Winterhawks. . . . The Silvertips (15-6-0) have won five straight. . . . The Winterhawks (12-6-2) had their five-game winning streak snapped. . . . Everett leads the U.S. Division, by four points over Portland, which holds a game in hand. . . . The Silvertips led this one 2-0 in the first period on PP goals from F Connor Dewar (16), at 2:27, and F Bryce Kindopp (8), at 12:25. . . . The Winterhawks got third-period goals from F Reece Newkirk (13), at 3:14, and F Ryan Hughes (7), at 3:55. . . . Dewar and Portland F Joachim Blichfeld each scored in the first round of the shootout. Sutter, the first shooter in the third round, got the winner. . . . The Silvertips got 39 saves from G Dustin Wolf, while Portland’s Shane Farkas blocked 41.


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Bronco$ cash in on championship season . . . Winter Hawks get back star player . . . Pats add goalie from Royals


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The Swift Current Broncos, the reigning WHL champions, informed their annual general meeting on Tuesday that they had made a profit of $561,500 for the 2017-18 season.

According to a news release, it was the “largest (profit) in franchise history.”

(Andrew McCormack of swiftcurrentonline.com reports that the 1992-93 Broncos, who also won the WHL title, reported a profit of $567,000.)

“It was a tremendous season,” Trent McCleary, a former Broncos player who now is chairman of the board of directors, told the AGM. “We did a great job in all areas.

“Some of the highlights from last season were truly memorable and something that can never be taken away from this franchise.”

The Broncos’ average attendance in the 2017-18 regular season was 2,550, an increase of 544 from the previous season. They sold out 11 regular-season games and all 13 home playoff games.

The Broncos are one of four community-owned WHL teams and the last one to hold its annual general meeting.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who lost the Eastern Conference final to the Broncos, reported a profit of $422,443 after paying $167,000 to the City of Lethbridge to help cover the cost of arena improvements.

The Moose Jaw Warriors made $704,182 and have $1,157,466 in the bank, after putting $233,648 towards new boards and glass at Mosaic Place.

The Prince Albert Raiders, who lost a first-round series to the Warriors, reported a loss of $163,430 for 2017-18.


When Tuesday ended, the Swift Current Broncos had six 20-year-olds on their roster, that after adding D Matthew Stanley. The Broncos had included Stanley in last season’s monster deadline deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge placed Stanley on 20-year-old waivers and the Broncos claimed him. . . . In Swift Current, Stanley joins F Kaden Elder, F Tanner Nagel, F Andrew Fyten, D Artyom Minulin and D Ryan Pouliot as the 20s who are scrapping for one of three spots. . . . Minulin, a Russian veteran, is injured so could go on the injured list, a move that would buy the Broncos some time on him. They still would have to cut two of the other five over the next two weeks. . . . The Broncos have two other import players, both freshman forwards from Finland, on their roster — Roope Pynnonen, 17, and Joona Kiviniemi, who will turn 17 on Dec. 17. . . .

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have three 20s left on their roster — D Igor Merezhko, F Jake Elmer and F Taylor Ross. However, Merezhko is an import, so should they keep him they will have to release one of their two freshman imports, either Swiss G Akira Schmid, 18, who had been in camp with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, or D Danila Palivko, who is from Belarus. Pavilko is to turn 17 on Nov. 30. . . .

Schmid, a fifth-round pick by the Devils in the NHL’s 2018 draft, joins Reece Klassen, 19, and freshman Carl Tetachuk, 17, as the goaltenders on Lethbridge’s roster.



The Portland Winterhawks added a major cog to their offence on Tuesday when the PortlandNHL’s Vegas Golden Knights returned F Cody Glass, 19, to the WHL team. . . . Glass, from Winnipeg, put up 102 points, including 37 goals, in 64 games last season. In three seasons with the Winterhawks, he has 223 points, 79 of them goals, in 201 games. . . . Glass will provide a huge boost to a Portland offence that is without F Ryan Hughes. He will sit for at least a month with a leg injury; at present, he is getting around with the help of a walking boot. Hughes had 17 goals and 24 assists in 46 games last season, his third in Portland, during which he missed time with a broken leg that required surgery. . . . The Golden Knights selected Glass with the sixth overall pick in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . .

Meanwhile, the Winterhawks have solved their import and 20-year-old situations by releasing freshman F Dean Schwenninger, who is from Switzerland, and F Conor MacEachern. . . . Both moves became necessary after the NHL’s San Jose Sharks returned Danish F Joachim Blichfeld, 20, to Portland. . . . The Winterhawks’ second import is freshman F Michal Kvasnica, 18, who is from Ostrava, Czech Republic. . . . The remaining 20s are Blichfeld, D Brendan De Jong and F Jared Freadrich. . . .

The Winterhawks also released D Ryan Miley, 18, who played one game with them last season. He is expected to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have decided to go with veteran Jordan Hollett and freshman import Mads Sogaard as their two goaltenders. . . . . On Tuesday, the Tigers released G Garin Bjorklund, 16, who is expected to join the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. Bjorklund was a first-round pick by the Tigers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . Hollett, 19, was a sixth-round selection by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Sogaard, who turns 18 on Dec. 13, is from Aalborg, Denmark.


The Regina Pats have acquired G Dean McNabb, 18, from the Victoria Royals for a Patsconditional fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . The Royals also got a ninth-round pick in the 2019 draft in the deal. . . . McNabb, from Davidson, Sask., has been in one game this season, stopping the three shots he faced in relief. Last season, as a freshman, he was 4-10-0, 4.52, .870. . . . McNabb, the younger brother of D Brayden McNabb of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, was a third round pick by Victoria in the 2015 bantam draft after playing two seasons with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . . In Regina, McNabb presumably will back up starter Max Paddock, an 18-year-old sophomore from Brandon. However, Matthew Pesenti, 17, also is on the Pats’ roster. Pesenti backed up Paddock as the Pats dropped two games to the Prince Albert Raiders on the weekend. . . . Kyle Dumba, 20, had been on the Pats’ roster but his name disappeared sometime on Tuesday. . . .

In Victoria, McNabb’s departure leaves the Royals with veteran Griffen Outhouse, 20, and freshman Brock Gould, a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder from Colorado Springs who was an eighth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. Gould will turn 17 on Dec. 11.


F Gunnar Wegleitner, who has played 112 regular-season WHL games, has joined the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers after they acquired his junior A rights from the NOJHL’s Kirkland Lake Gold Miners. . . . Wegleitner, 20, is from Vancouver. He had 10 goals and nine assists in 57 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings last season. In 2016-17, he played with the Victoria Royals and Kirkland Lake. . . . He also has played with the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Wheat Kings dealt him to the Kootenay Ice over the summer. The Ice released him during training camp.


The Kamloops Blazers got down to two goaltenders on Monday by releasing Max Palaga, 18, and Rayce Ramsay, 17. Palaga, who backed up with the Blazers last season, is from Kamloops and is expected to join the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. Ramsay, from Saskatoon, will join the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . The moves leave the Blazers with veteran Dylan Ferguson, 20, and freshman Dylan Garand, 16, who is from Victoria and was a third-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . The highly touted Garand got into three games as a 16-year-old last season, going 1-2-0, 3.14, .905.


The Seattle Thunderbirds got down to two goaltenders by releasing Eric Ward, a 17-year-old from Edmonton. He played last season with the midget AAA CAC Edmonton Canadians. . . . The move left the Thunderbirds with veteran Liam Hughes, 19, as their starter, and freshman Cole Schwebius, 17, as the backup. Schwebius, from Kelowna, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft.


D Alex Alexeyev of the Red Deer Rebels has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Washington Capitals, who selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder from St. Petersburg, Russia, is to turn 19 on Nov. 15. . . . Alexeyev is back for a third season with the Rebels and, in fact, scored a goal in each of Red Deer’s first two games.


The Tri-City Americans have four 20-year-olds on their roster after releasing D Dan Gatenby. The Americans had acquired him from the Kamloops Blazers for a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . He is the younger brother of D Joe Gatenby, who played for the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops, and now is at the U of New Brunswick. . . . The Americans will have to move out one of F Parker AuCoin, D Anthony Bishop, F Brett Clayton or F Nolan Yaremko to get down to the maximum of three 20s.


It seems that the Edmonton Oil Kings didn’t have any choice but to acquire another EdmontonOilKingsgoaltender, thus the deal with the Brandon Wheat Kings for Dylan Myskiw, 19. . . . Myskiw and Boston Bilous, 17, are the Oil Kings’ two active goaltenders at the moment. . . . They also have veteran Todd Scott, 18, on the roster, but he is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. . . . Edmonton also had Sebastian Cossa, who turns 16 on Nov. 21, in camp and he remains on their roster, but he, too, is injured and out for up to six weeks. . . . Myskiw got off to a good start with Edmonton, stopping 28 shots as the Oil Kings beat the host Red Deer Rebels on Saturday. The Oil Kings are back in action tonight against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Derek Van Diest of Postmedia has more on Edmonton’s goaltenders right here.


The WHL’s latest roster report is right here.



Dave Matsos, the head coach of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, collapsed at his team’s bench with 19.8 seconds left in the third period of game in Barrie against the Colts on Saturday night. Matsos, 44, is in his first season as the Bulldog’s head coach; Hamilton won the game, 4-2, to present him with his first head-coaching victory with the team. . . . He was taken to hospital for tests, then was released on Monday. . . . Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator has more right here. . . . The Bulldogs are off until Saturday when they are to meet the Petes in Peterborough.


The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings and head coach Adam Maglio have signed a contract extension that runs through the 2020-21 season. He is in his fourth season with the team, his second as head coach. Last season, the Spruce Kings reached the BCHL final where they lost in five games to the Wenatchee Wild. . . . Maglio, 32, is from Nelson, B.C.


The SJHL is encouraging its players to wear seatbelts if they are available on any bus on which they are riding. This comes, of course, after the April 6 crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus in which 16 people died. . . . However, it seems that this will be a tough sell, especially for trips of any duration. . . . Jennifer Quesnel of CBC News has more on the story right here.


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