The Lethbridge Hurricanes were involved in two trades on Thursday, both of them the result of adding G Bryan Thomson, 20, to their roster from the injured list. With WHL teams limited to three 20-year-olds, bringing back Thomson meant another move was in order.
So . . . the Hurricanes dealt F Alex Thacker, 20, to the Victoria Royals for a fourth-round selection in the 2026 WHL draft. . . . Thacker, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., was one of Lethbridge’s alternate captains. . . . He was taken by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2017 draft and later was traded to Lethbridge in a deal that included D Wyatt Wilson, who now is with the Royals. . . . In 164 regular-season games with Lethbridge, Thacker had 22 goals and 91 assists. Last season, he put up 14 goals and 50 assists in 68 games. This season, in 16 games, he has a goal and six assists. . . . Thacker’s departure leaves the Hurricanes with three 20-year-olds — Thomson, F Jett Jones and F Cole Shepard. . . .
The Royals now have four 20s on their roster — Thacker, F Caleb Willms, F Riley Gannon and F Jake Poole — so there will be another move coming here before long. . . .
Lethbridge also traded G Jared Picklyk, 19, to the Tri-City Americans for a sixth-round pick in the 2024 draft. The Hurricanes had selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 WHL draft. From Kelowna, he was 14-14-2, 3.25, .879 in 38 regular-season games with Lethbridge. This season, he is 4-5-0, 3.50, .877. . . .
The Hurricanes are left with two goaltenders on their roster — Thomson and freshman Harrison Meneghin, 18. Thomson has made 93 regular-season appearances over four seasons with the Hurricanes. He underwent off-season surgery to repair an undisclosed injury and has yet to play this season. . . .
The Americans acquired Picklyk to provide goaltending depth because starter Tomas Suchanek is soon to join the Czechia team that will compete at the 2023 World Junior Championship.
“As a result,” Americans general manager Bob Tory said in a news release, “we needed to add another goaltender. For the short term, we will carry three goaltenders. Jared is an experienced WHL goaltender who will provide depth to our team.”
The Americans’ other goaltender is sophomore Nick Avakyan, 18, a native of Glendale, Calif., who is 0-4-0, 5.74, .825 this season.
Yes, the Seattle Thunderbirds made another trade on Thursday, their second in two days and third since Oct. 25. . . . In the latest deal, Seattle acquired F Ty Hurley, 18, and a seventh-round selection in the 2025 WHL draft from the Swift Current Broncos for fifth-round picks in 2023 and 2025. . . .
Pay attention here because this gets complicated. . . . On Dec. 27, the Broncos acquired D Eric Van Impe and a seventh-rounder in 2025 from Seattle for D Chase Lacombe and a 2025 fifth-rounder. . . . Those two draft picks are the same ones involved in Thursday’s exchange. So . . . the seventh goes back to Seattle and the fifth is returned to Swift Current. . . . Got that? . . .
From Sherwood Park, Alta., Hurley is in his second WHL season after the Broncos took him in the fourth round of the 2019 WHL draft. He has one assist in 16 games this season, after recording a goal and two assists in 31 games last season. . . .
The Broncos also released D Rayan Bettahar on Thursday. From Rodgau, Germany, he was in his second season with them after being selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. In 77 games, Bettahar, 18, had one goal and 15 assists. This season, he had one assist in 14 games. . . .
That move leaves the Broncos without any import players on their roster.
Yes, this once was a junior hockey palace. Stop and think for a moment about the 1986-87 and 1987-88 WHL seasons when Joe Sakic was with the Swift Current Broncos, Mike Modano sparked the Prince Albert Raiders and Theo Fleury led the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Oh boy, were there some shows put on in the Crushed Can! . . . And we won’t even get into the stuff that went on between the Warriors and the Regina Pats and the fans. . . . Yes, those were the days!
THURSDAY IN THE WHL:
F Matt Savoie picked up six points in leading the Winnipeg Ice to a 9-5 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . The Ice (19-1-0) has won 14 in a row. . . . Regina (9-10-2) has lost two in a row. . . . They’ll play in Winnipeg again on Saturday. . . . Savoie (9) enjoyed his first career three-goal game and also had three assists. . . . This game actually was tied, 4-4, going into the third period. . . . Savoie broke the tie at 2:58 and the Ice put it away with three more goals in 1:28. . . . The Ice got two goals and two assists from F Owen Pederson (12), a goal and three assists from F Connor McClennon (15), and F Zach Benson (11) added a goal and two assists. . . . F Connor Bedard had a goal and two assists for the Pats, the goal coming 10 seconds into the game. He leads the WHL in goals (19), assists (27) and points (26). He also is riding a 20-game point streak. He was blanked in the season-opener and has at least one point in every game since then. . . . Winnipeg G Mason Beaupit stopped 21 shots in his first appearance since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs on Nov. 10.
The No. 3 U of Michigan Wolverines men’s hockey team has been hit hard by some kind of virus that left it so short-staffed that its third-string goaltender, Tyler Shea, was used as a forward in a 5-2 home-ice loss to the No. 2 Minnesota Gophers on Thursday night. . . . The Wolverines were without six players, all of whom are ill. . . . Among the players to have been stricken is junior D Steven Holtz, who was admitted a hospital’s intensive care unit earlier this week. His mother, Sylvia Jacobs-Holtz, posted on Facebook that her son was on a ventilator after being admitted with “a virus and complications.”
The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have fired Arnie Caplan, their head coach and general manager. He was in his second season with the Rebels, having been hired on Sept. 17, 2021. . . . Assistant coach Nick Headrick has taken over as the head coach. . . . The Rebels are 5-12-1 this season, after finishing 16-24-2 last season.
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