Tory, Stasiuk together, again . . . Blazers add assistant coach . . . Rebels sign Russian forward


MacBeth

F Layne Ulmer (Swift Current, 1997-2001) signed a one-year extension with the Cardiff Devils (Wales, UK Elite). Last season, he had 18 goals and 35 assists in 55 games. . . .

F Joel Broda (Tri-City, Moose Jaw, Calgary, 2004-10) signed a one-year contract with Dornbirn (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had 20 goals and 27 assists in 54 games. . . . Rick Nasheim (Spokane Flyers 1980-81, Regina, 1982-83) is the assistant coach for Dornbirn. . . . For the curious ones out there, the Spokane Flyers began WHL life as the original Flin Flon Bombers, a charter member of the league in 1966. The franchise transferred to Edmonton for the 1978-79 season as the second version of the Edmonton Oil Kings. The franchise lasted one season in Edmonton, then was sold and moved to Great Falls MT, as the Great Falls Americans. The Americans ceased operations in December 1979 after 28 games. The franchise was re-activated as the Spokane Flyers for the 1980-81 season. The Flyers lasted one season plus a bit, folding 26 games into their second season in December 1981. . . .

F Brodie Dupont (Calgary, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract with Dornbirn (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL), he had 21 goals and 47 assists in 68 games. The team captain, he led the Admirals in assists and points. He was pointless in one game while on loan to the Stockton Heat (AHL).


ThisThat

The Tri-City Americans have hired Roy Stasiuk as their head scout, filling the spot in tri-citytheir front office that was created when Barclay Parneta, who had been the assistant GM, left to join the Vancouver Giants as general manager. . . . Stasiuk, 55, is quite familiar with the WHL, having worked with the Prince Albert Raiders, Red Deer Rebels, Calgary Hitmen and Edmonton/Kootenay Ice. . . . He spent 10 seasons (1995-2005) as the Ice’s head scout. While with the Ice, Stasiuk worked with Bob Tory, the Americans’ co-owner and general manager. . . . Stasiuk also worked as the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ general manager for four seasons (2005-09) and scouted for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs (2009-15).


Dan Kordic, an assistant coach with the U of Alberta Golden Bears for the past two seasons, has signed on with the Kamloops Blazers as an assistant coach. . . . Serge Lajoie, the Golden Bears’ head coach for the past three seasons, joined the Blazers as their new head coach on June 25. . . . Kordic, 47, played four seasons (1987-91) with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers and won a Memorial Cup with them in 1988. He went on to a pro career that included 197 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Meanwhile, the Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans remain the only WHL teams without head coaches. Steve Hamilton, who was fired as head coach by the Edmonton Oil Kings on May 28, is believed to be in the mix in Calgary.


The Red Deer Rebels have signed Russian F Oleg Zaitsev, 17, who was selected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. . . . “He’s an elite level player, a stud,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ Red Deerowner, GM and head coach, told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. “Right now he’s the best Russian centre iceman in his age group. We’re very excited about adding him to our team. He’s signed a contract. He’s all in.” . . . Meachem reports that the Rebels likely will go with Russian D Alex Alexeyev, the Washington Capitals first-round pick in the NHL’s 2018 draft, and Zaitsev as their two imports. However, F Ivan Drozdov of Belarus, the Rebels’ other 2018 import draft pick, isn’t yet out of the picture.

Meanwhile, the Victoria Royals dropped F Jeff de Wit, 20, from their protected list and the Rebels have added him to their list. De Wit, who is from Red Deer, was a first-round selection by the Rebels in the 2013 bantam draft. Last season, he played with the Regina Pats, Kootenay Ice and Victoria.

Meachem’s complete story is right here.


Chris Beaudry, an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos last season, now is on the coaching staff of the Melville Millionaires. Beaudry wasn’t on the Broncos’ bus when it crashed on April 6. He was driving to that night’s playoff game in Nipawin and was about 20 minutes away when the accident occurred. . . . In Melville, Beaudry fills a vacancy created when Mark Chase left to join the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League as general manager and head coach.


Raelene and Russell Herold, and the estate of their son, Adam, who was killed in the crash of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus, have filed a statement of claim in Regina Court of Queen’s Bench. The lawsuit asks for an unspecified amount in damages, expenses, costs and interest, and names the driver of the big rig that was involved, along with the trucking company and the bus manufacturer. . . . Heather Polischuk of the Regina Leader-Post has more right here.


“At first,” writes Mike Aiken of drydennow.com, “it seems like he’s living the life of Riley. Joe Murphy works as a labourer, when he needs money, and he sleeps in a tent in a farmer’s field, when he needs shelter.

“During a short chat, he’ll talk about settling down a bit in an apartment. He says he now calls Kenora his home by the water, but finding affordable housing is next to impossible, not just because of the market.”

This would be the same Joe Murphy who was an NHL first-round draft pick and who played in the league for 15 seasons. Yes, his story now is about concussions.

Aiken’s complete story is right here.


John Branch of The New York Times has written a terrific essay that is headlined: Why the N.F.L. and the N.B.A. Are So Far Apart on Social Justice Stances. . . . This is a great look at the NFL and how it has reacted to its players social protests, and the NBA and how it backs its players and promotes its stars. . . . Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy this piece right here.


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Ex-WHL coach next up in Tucson . . . Pats’ defenceman to miss start of season . . . Reichel gets deal with Moose

MacBeth

F Chase Schaber (Calgary, Kamloops, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, he had 30 goals and 31 assists in 55 games. He led the Flyers in goals and was second in points. Fife’s head coach since 2005-06 is Todd Dutiaume (Brandon, Moose Jaw, 1991-94). . . .

D Brendan Mikkelson (Portland, Vancouver, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL). Last season, with Luleå (Sweden, SHL), he had 12 assists in 50 games. He was an alternate captain.


ThisThat

Jay Varady, a former coach with the Everett Silvertips, is the new head coach of the Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. Varady heads for Tucson after one season as head coach of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. . . . Kingston was 36-26-9 last season and reached the OHL’s Eastern Conference final, where they lost to the Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . According to a Coyotes’ news release, Varady signed a “multi-year contract.” . . . Varady, 40, is a native of Cahokia, Ill. He spent seven seasons (2003-10) in Everett, the first four as assistant coach and the last three as associate coach. . . . Varady is the Roadrunners’ third head coach in as many seasons. He takes over from Mike Van Ryn, who left after one season to join the NHL’s St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach. Van Ryn replaced Mark Lamb, who was dismissed after the 2016-17 season and now is preparing for his first season as general manager of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars.


D Brady Pouteau of the Regina Pats is expected to miss the beginning of the 2017-18 WHL season. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that Pouteau underwent shoulder surgery early in June. . . . The Pats are hopeful that Pouteau, 20, will return sometime in the second half of October. . . . He has four goals and 28 assists in 150 regular-season games. . . . Pouteau was a fourth-round selection by the Pats in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. He was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Jan. 5, 2017, then re-acquired at last season’s trade deadline.


Czech F Kristian Reichel, 20, is eligible to play a second season with the Red Deer Rebels, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be back in the WHL after signing a one-year contract with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Reichel signed the deal after attending the NHL-Winnipeg Jets’ development camp last week as a free agent. The Moose is the Jets’ AHL affiliate. . . . Last season, his first in the WHL, Reichel had 34 goals and 23 assists in 63 games. . . . He is the son of former NHL F Robert Reichel.


Bryant Perrier is out as general manager and head coach of the junior B North Okanagan Knights of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The team announced the move on its Facebook page Saturday night, saying “the Knights and Perrier have parted ways.” . . . Perrier spent three seasons with the Knights, who play out of Armstrong, B.C.


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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.


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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

Broncos, Silvertips to meet for WHL title . . . Estephan keys Swift Current win . . . Davis caps Everett’s amazing comeback

The Swift Current Broncos and Everett Silvertips will meet in the WHL’s championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. The best-of-seven series will be played in a 2-3-2 format, opening in Swift Current with games on Friday and Saturday nights. They’ll play in Everett on May 8, May 9 and, if necessary, May 11. If needed, Games 6 and 7 would be played in Swift Current on May 13 and May 14.

The Broncos haven’t been in the WHL final since 1993 when they got past the Portland Winter Hawks — yes, the nickname was two words back in the day — in seven games.

The Broncos beat the host Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5-1, on Monday night to win the best-SCBroncosof-seven Eastern Conference final, 4-2. . . . The Hurricanes went into the game with an 8-0 record at home in these playoffs. They also had scored at least five goals in seven of those victories. . . . The Broncos now are 5-5 on the road. . . . Last night, the Broncos erased a 1-0 deficit with three second-period goals in a span of 96 seconds. F Matteo Gennaro tied it 1-1 at 6:33; F Alexi Heponiemi made it 2-1 at 7:02 and F Beck Malenstyn upped it to 3-1 at 8:09. . . . Former Hurricanes captain Giorgio Estephan gave Lethbridge fans something to remember him by with a PP goal for a 4-1 lead at 2:12 of the third period. . . . Broncos G Stuart Skinner finished with 33 saves, 19 of them in the first period when his guys were outshot, 20-2.

In Kennewick, Wash., the Silvertips erased a 5-2 third-period deficit to beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-5 in OT. Everett won the Western Conference final, 4-2. . . . Everett last Everettreached the championship final in 2004, its first season in the WHL, when it was swept by the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . D Kevin Davis (3) won it with his second goal of the game, at 5:58 of OT. Davis, who turned 21 on March 14, was playing in his 401st game with the Silvertips — 347 regular-season games and 54 in the playoffs. Yes, he went into the game with two goals in his previous 53 playoff games. . . . Everett is 7-0 on the road in these playoffs. . . . Tri-City had trailed 2-1 before scoring four straight goals, the last one, by F Jordan Topping (4) at 8:52 of the third period. . . . F Connor Dewar (9) started the Everett comeback at 9:52. Davis (2) pulled his guys to within one at 13:53, and F Garrett Pilon (11) tied it at 14:29. . . . Pilon had left the game at 17:30 of the first period after taking a hit from behind from Tri-City F Michael Rasmussen. However, Pilon returned for the second period. . . . Tri-City D Juuso Valimaki, who had two goals in a 5-2 victory in Game 5 on Saturday, had four assists in Game 6 as he figured in each of his club’s first four scores. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 18 shots for Everett. . . . Tri-City G Patrick Dea made 31 saves, 18 of them in the first period when his guys were outshot 20-4. . . . Announced attendance was 3,033.


The OHL announced Monday that it had suspended F Givani Smith of the Kitchener Rangers for two games after he made an “inappropriate gesture” at the end of Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the visiting Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. . . . Kitchener won the game in OT to tie the best-of-seven series, 3-3. Smith had a goal and two assists in the victory. . . . The teams played Game 7 on Monday night in the Soo, with the Greyhounds winning, 4-3 in double OT, to advance to the championship final against the Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . Smith, who turned 20 on Feb. 27, sat out last night. He was a second-round selection by the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . The OHL final is scheduled to open Thursday in the Soo.


With Ian Herbers officially having returned to his post as head coach with the U of Alberta Golden Bears, it means that Serge Lajoie is looking for work. Herbers spent the last three years on sabbatical as he worked as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. With him gone, Lajoie took over as the Golden Bears’ head coach and won the 2018 USports championship. . . . It’s an open secret that Lajoie has talked with the Saskatoon Blades about their head-coaching vacancy. The Blades are looking to replace Dean Brockman, who was fired at season’s end. . . . Jason Hills of Postmedia reports that Lajoie also has talked with the Red Deer Rebels, who have an opening after they and associate coach Jeff Truitt chose to part company.


Erik Largen is the new head coach at the U of Alaska-Fairbanks. Largen, 31, spent the previous two seasons with the Nanooks as an assistant coach. He now is the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I hockey ranks. . . . Largen takes over from Lance West, who had been the interim head coach for the 2017-18 season after Dallas Ferguson left to take over as head coach of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. . . . College Hockey News has more on this story right here.


MacBeth

D Mitch Versteeg (Lethbridge, 2006-09) signed a one-year extension with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had three goals and seven assists in 49 games. . . .

F Jesse Mychan (Everett, Tri-City, 2011-13) signed a one-year contract with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had two assists in five games with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), and 14 goals and 11 assists in 43 games with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL). . . .

D Jim Vandermeer (Red Deer, 1997-2001) signed a one-year contract extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). As a player/assistant coach, he had seven goals and 16 assists in 33 games this season. . . .

F Spencer Edwards (Red Deer, Seattle, Moose Jaw, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, he had 20 goals and 22 assists in 44 games with Bordeaux (France, Ligue Magnus).


Tweetoftheday

Warriors, Raiders set for first round . . . Ronning gets No. 60 in win . . . Rockets win seventh B.C. Division flag

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The 2019 World men’s curling championship will be played at the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge, running from March 30 through April 7. That means that the Lethbridge Hurricanes will have to take their show somewhere else should they be in the playoffs at that time. . . . The World women’s curling championship was played in the same facility in 2012. The Hurricanes co-operated that spring by not making the playoffs.


Two goaltenders with ties to the WHL will be inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame this year. Grant Fuhr and Mike Vernon are among the class of 2018 that officially will be inducted on July 22 in Canmore. . . . Fuhr, who won five Stanley Cups with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, played for the Victoria Cougars (1979-81). Vernon, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, once each with the Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings, played for the Calgary Wranglers (1980-83). Vernon also was with the Portland Winterhawks as they won the 1983 Memorial Cup. A roster addition, he ended up as the tournament MVP. . . . Also to be inducted are broadcaster Ron MacLean and long-time hockey coach Wally Kozak, who spent one season (1986-87) as the Wranglers’ head coach.


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

WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, F Jesse Gabrielle scored the lone goal of a shootout to give the Pats a 3-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Regina (39-25-6) has won six in a row. The Pats ReginaPats100are third in the East Division, three points ahead of Brandon with each having two games remaining. . . . Prince Albert (32-25-13) has points in 11 straight (9-0-2). The loss means the Raiders will finish in the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot and will meet the Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round of playoffs. . . . Regina was 8-0-0 in the season series; Prince Albert was 0-4-4. . . . F Jordy Stallard (44) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 11:16 of the first period. . . . Regina tied it at 4:51 of the second period as F Sam Steel got No. 32. . . . The Raiders went ahead 2-1 at 11:24 on F Regan Nagy’s 25th goal. . . . Regina F Cam Hebig (41) tied it, shorthanded, at 11:51. . . . Gabrielle, the shootout’s second shooter, scored the only goal of the skills competition. . . . Prince Albert was 0-3 on the PP; Regina was 0-4. . . . The Pats got 31 saves from G Max Paddock, who continues to be the starter with Ryan Kubic injured. On the season, Paddock is 18-7-2, 2.94, .902. . . . The Raiders got 33 stops from G Curtis Meger. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Swift Current, F Max Gerlach scored twice, giving him three straight 30-goal seasons, as the Saskatoon Blades dumped the Broncos, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (33-33-4) had lost it Saskatoonprevious three games (0-2-1) as it fell out of playoff contention. . . . Swift Current (47-17-6) has lost three in a row (0-3-0). It will finish second in the East Division and meet either Regina or Brandon in the first round. . . . Saskatoon went 4-3-1 in the season series; Swift Current was 4-4-0. . . . F Kirby Dach, who also had three assists, got the Blades started as he scored his seventh goal at 19:45 of the first period. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (37) made it 2-0 at 4:47 of the second period. . . . The home side tied it on second-period goals from F Kaden Elder (17), at 5:32, and F Matteo Gennaro (41), on a PP, at 12:38. . . . F Michael Farren (11) broke the tie, on a PP, at 19:51. . . . Gerlach, who has 31 goals, scored twice in the third period, at 1:14 and 7:02, the latter on a PP. . . . Gerlach had 30 goals as a freshman in 2015-16 with Medicine Hat, then added 34 goals last season. This season, he had 16 goals in 35 games when Medicine Hat dealt him to Saskatoon. He has 15 goals in 28 games with the Blades. . . . D Dawson Davidson drew two assists for Saskatoon, with Gerlach getting one. . . . Saskatoon was 2-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-3. . . . G Tyler Brown stopped 42 shots for the Blades. At the other end, G Stuart Skinner made 22 saves. . . . The Broncos were without F Glenn Gawdin, who now has missed three games with an illness; F Tyler Steenbergen, who took a nasty hit from Moose Jaw F Barrett Sheen on Saturday; and F Tanner Nagel, who sat out the first game of a three-game suspension. . . . D Zach Ashton, 16, made his WHL debut with the Blades. A third-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft, he played the past two seasons with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Calgary, the Hitmen scored three shootout goals to beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-2. . . . Calgary (23-36-11) has won four in a row (3-0-1) and moved into a tie with the Ice for Calgary10th spot in the Eastern Conference. . . . Kootenay (25-38-7) has lost 11 in a row (0-7-4). . . . Kootenay won the season series, 5-1-1; Calgary finished 2-3-2. . . . The Ice got out to a 1-0 lead as F Brett Davis (25) scored at 10:13 of the first period. . . . Calgary took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Mark Kastelic (21), at 1:17, and F Riley Stotts (18), at 2:41. . . . Kootenay F Alec Baer (28) tied it, on a PP, at 2:37 of the third period. . . . D Martin Bodak had two assists for the Ice. . . . F Jake Kryski, Stotts and F Jakob Stukel scored shootout goals for Calgary, with Davis the lone Ice shooter to score. . . . Kootenay was 1-2 on the PP; Calgary was 0-1. . . . Matthew Armitage stopped 25 shots for the Hitmen. . . . G Jesse Makaj made his first career start for the Ice, and made 29 saves. He was a second-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. This season, he played for the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. . . . Announced attendance: 6,849.


At Red Deer, F Kristian Reichel scored twice and added two assists to help the Rebels to a 5-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . This was a meeting of two teams that will Red Deerclash in the first round of the playoffs. The only thing left to decide is who has home-ice advantage. . . . Red Deer (27-30-13) is third in the Central Division, three points behind Lethbridge (32-32-6), which has lost seven in a row. Each team has two games left to play. . . . Lethbridge went 4-2-0 in the season series; Red Deer was 2-2-2. . . . Reichel opened the scoring at 12:45 of the first period, with F Josh Tarzwell (10) making it 2-0, on a PP, at 1:04 of the second period. . . . Lethbridge F Zane Franklin (14) cut into the lead, on a PP, at 5:52. . . . The Rebels got the next two goals, from Reichel (34), on a PP, at 14:33, and F Brandon Hagel (18), at 3:37 of the third. . . . F Jake Elmer (18) got the visitors to within two at 6:40. . . . F Reese Johnson (23) scored Red Deer’s final goal, at 16:07. . . . Red Deer got two assists from F Mason McCarty, with Hagel and Tarzwell each getting one. . . . Red Deer was 2-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-2. . . . G Riley Lamb earned the victory with 32 stops, 12 more than Reece Klassen of the Hurricanes. . . . D Tate Olson and F Dylan Cozens were among Lethbridge’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,858.

At Kamloops, F Ty Ronning scored his 60th goal of the season as his Vancouver Giants skated to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Vancouver (36-25-9) is third in the B.C. VancouverDivision, three points behind Victoria with each team having two games remaining. . . . Kamloops (29-36-5) has lost four straight. . . . Vancouver won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (35) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 11:51, but it wouldn’t score again. . . . F Davis Koch (22) got the Giants even, at 15:13, and Ronning got No. 60 at 1:13 of the second period. That turned into his ninth game-winner of the season, tying him for the team lead with F James Malm. . . . F Milos Roman (9) scored on a PP at 4:00 to stretch Vancouver’s lead to 3-1. . . . Roman hadn’t scored since Dec. 1, but this was only his ninth game since then, thanks to playing for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship and an ankle injury. . . . F Tyler Benson (27) got the empty-netter at 19:46. . . . Malm finished with two assists, with Benson and Koch adding one apiece. . . . Vancouver was 1-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Trent Miner was shaky on the Blazers’ lone goal, but finished with 39 saves in a strong outing. He was named the game’s first star. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Giants are without G David Tendeck, who may not play again until the playoffs begin. . . . Also among the Giants’ scratches were D Dylan Plouffe and D Matt Barberis. . . . Bill Wilms, the analyst on Giants’ radio broadcasts, worked his 2,000 WHL game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,050. . . . This was the 10th time the announced attendance in Kamloops has been at least 4,000. The Blazers are 1-8-2 in those games.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored five times in the third period to beat the Prince George Cougars, 6-3. . . . Kelowna (41-22-7) has points in four straight (3-0-1). With the victory, it KelownaRocketswrapped up the seventh B.C. Division title in franchise history. . . . Prince George (23-38-9) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Kelowna won the season series, 6-2-0; Prince George was 2-4-2. . . . F Aaron Boyd (14) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 13:30 of the first period. . . . Kelowna F Nolan Foote (13), who had missed 17 games with an undisclosed injury, tied it at 17:07. . . . F Brogan O’Brien (15) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 17:45 of the second period and they took that into the third period. . . . The Rockets tied it at 0:23 as D Kaedan Korczak scored his fourth goal. . . . D Cal Foote snapped the tie at 6:08, and F Dillon Dube (35) upped it to 4-2 at 14:00. . . . Foote (19) added a second goal at 14:29, and D Braydyn Chizen (6) counted at 16:27. . . . D Ryan Schoettler (8) scored for the Cougars at 17:56, on a PP. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of F Kole Lind and F Leif Mattson, with Nolan Foote, Cal Foote and Dube getting one apiece. . . . O’Brien added an assist for the Cougars. . . . Prince George was 1-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-8. . . . The Cougars took 62 of the game’s 114 penalty minutes. . . . Kelowna G James Porter stopped 15 shots. . . . The Cougars got 44 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . The Cougars had two players ejected at 8:41 of the third period. D Joel Lakusta took a headshot major and game misconduct, while D Cam MacPhee was hit with a match penalty for attempt to injure. . . . At one point early in the third period, according to the Prince George Citizen, Prince George Richard Matvichuk let referees Mark Pearce and Colin Watt know his feelings by waving a white towel. . . . Prior to the game, Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Rockets, tweeted: “My good friend Bob Tory, GM of the Americans, is in the house to do some pre-scouting on a possible opening round matchup.” . . . Announced attendance: 4,561.


At Spokane, the Seattle Thunderbirds broke a 3-3 tie with three second-period goals to beat the Chiefs, 6-3. . . . Seattle (33-26-10) holds down the Western Conference’s second Seattlewild-card spot, five points behind Tri-City with three games to play. . . . Spokane (39-24-6) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). . . . The Spokane loss means that Portland, which is second in the U.S. Division, has clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. . . . Seattle went 5-2-1 in the season series; Spokane was 3-5-0. . . . Spokane jumped out to a 1-0 lead when F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored at 3:30 of the first period. . . . Seattle scored three times before the period ended. F Sami Moilanen, who has 21 goals, scored twice, at 8:59 and 12:19, and F Samuel Huo (2) found the range at 13:38. . . . The Chiefs climbed into a 3-3 tie on PP goals from F Hudson Elynuik (31), at 19:50, and Anderson-Dolan (39), at 2:04 of the second period. . . . Seattle D Jake Lee (4) broke the tie at 3:29, and F Matthew Wedman (17) made it 5-3 at 13:15. Seattle got its last goal from F Zack Andrusiak (34) at 15:20. . . . F Nolan Volcan had two assists for Seattle, with Moilanen and Andrusiak adding one each. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from each of F Kailer Yamamoto and F Ethan McIndoe. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Seattle was 0-1. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes stopped 37 shots. . . . Spokane starter Dawson Weatherill allowed four goals on 12 shots in 23:29 before Bailey Brkin came on to finish up, giving up two goals on 17 shots in 36:31. Brkin was added to the Chiefs’ roster this week after playing with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Announced attendance: 4,734.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m.

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

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

Kelowna vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Victoria at Everett, 7:35 p.m.


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

Warriors win battle of East titans . . . Rebels are in; Ice is out . . . Raiders’ run reaches nine

MacBeth

F Geordie Wudrick (Swift Current, Kelowna, 2005-11) has signed a one-season contract with the Sydney Ice Dogs (Australia, AIHL). This season, he played for the Berlin Blues (Germany, Regionalliga Ost). In eight games, he had a team-high 12 goals, along with seven assists. The AIHL regular season starts on April 21. . . . Wudrick holds the single-season points record in AIHL with 91 and the single-season goal record (44) in 28 games. He set those in 2015 with the Newcastle North Stars. Wudrick played the last two AIHL seasons with CBR Brave Canberra.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Victoria Royals had their Organ Donor Awareness Night on Friday when they entertained the Prince George Cougars.

You can bet it was a special night for the Soy family.

Tyler, of course, is 20 and in his final season with the Royals. His mother, Sandy, had a VictoriaRoyalskidney transplant in November 2010 after suffering complete kidney failure due to complications from lupus in 2004. She spent six years doing peritoneal dialysis, hooking up to a machine called a cycler every night and using it to do a fluid exchange to get the toxins out of her body.

When you do PD, you get a truckload of supplies every four weeks, all of which must be stored in your home.

Five years ago, Sandy’s husband, Michael, told me: “We became used to the routine . . . Tyler had to grow up very fast . . . as he carried boxes, re-filled supplies and watched every night as his mom connected to a machine that kept her alive . . .“

In the end, Sandy received a kidney through what was then the Living Donor Paired Exchange registry — it now is the Kidney Paired Donation program. In that process, Michael donated a kidney to an anonymous recipient, with Sandy getting a kidney from an anonymous donor.

“It showed me how strong they are,” Tyler told me of his parents after a game in Kamloops in January 2013. “For my dad to give up one of his kidneys so my mom could get one is really special.”

You likely are aware that my wife, Dorothy, underwent a kidney transplant, too. That was on Sept. 23, 2013. It came through the Living Donor Exchange registry, too, after she had spent four years on peritoneal dialysis.

In the middle of all this, we reached out to Sandy and she was a big help as we travelled down a similar road to the one with which she was so familiar.

Her day was made that much more special when Tyler scored the tying goal at 17:03 of the third period before the Royals won the game in overtime.

You can see more right here.

I hope that stories like this will help you understand why the involvement of the WHL and its 17 Canadian teams — along with RE/MAX — in this Organ Donor Awareness promotion is so important to so many people.


Look, I love to read. I always seem to have four or five books on the go, and often think there aren’t enough hours in the day to allow me to read as much as I would like to do. Yes, the need for sleep often gets in the way, too. . . . I’m also a baseball fan, and happen to think that Ichiro Suzuki is one of the most-intriguing personalities to have appeared in MLB over the past few years. . . . On Saturday, thanks to Twitter, I came upon a simply brilliant essay on Ichiro, who “is haunted by the life he can’t escape.”  It was written by Wright Thompson and it’s right here. My, but this is so good!


Once you have read the piece on Ichiro, pour another cup of Sunday morning coffee and dig into this essay right here. Written by Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail, it is headlined ‘When NHL rinks outlast their usefulness’, and deals with the situations surrounding the NHL’s Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators and their home arenas.


Allistair Chapman, 25, is “a Calgary man accused of running a prolific multimillion-dollar, city-based international drug cartel — one investigators believe linked to both Mexican narcotics rings and a brazen 2017 double homicide,” reports Bryan Passifiume of Postmedia. . . . Chapman also is a former junior hockey player who was selected by the Swift Current Broncos in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2007 bantam draft. He never played in the WHL, topping out with a couple of stints in the AJHL. . . . Passifiume’s complete story 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

SATURDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Branden Klatt scored twice to help the Warriors to a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw (50-15-3) leads the overall standings by three points MooseJawWarriorsover the Broncos. . . . Swift Current (47-16-6) has lost two in a row and has three games remaining. . . . The Warriors went 4-2-2 in the season series; the Broncos were 4-4-0. . . . The Warriors have won 50 games for the first time in franchise history. The previous record of 45 victories was set in 2011-12, when they finished atop the East Division and then bowed out in the conference final. . . . Klatt, who is from Moose Jaw, went into the game with 11 goals in 179 regular-season WHL games. This season, he now has five goals and eight assists in 65 games. . . . Klatt opened the scoring at 5:00 of the first period and F Jayden Halbgewachs made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:20. He has a WHL-high 67 goals. . . . F Justin Almeida (41), who also had two assists, gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead at 7:36 of the second period. . . . F Kaden Elder (16) got Swift Current’s first goal at 2:02 of the third period. . . . Klatt got that one back at 11:03. . . . The Broncos’ second goal came from F Beck Malenstyn (16), on a PP, at 17:53. . . . F Tristin Langan had two assists for the Warriors. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi had two assists for the Broncos. . . . Swift Current was 1-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-8. . . . The Warriors got 21 saves from G Brody Willms. . . . G Stuart Skinner started for the Broncos and was beaten three times on 21 shots in 27:36. Joel Hofer finished up by stopping 17 of 18 shots in 31:00. . . . The Warriors took 57 of the game’s 107 penalty minutes. . . . Moose Jaw F Barrett Sheen was tossed with a charging major and game misconduct at 4:59 of the third period. . . . The Broncos lost F Giorgio Estephan for a few shifts after he was struck in the ice by an errant puck in the first period. . . . Also in that first period, the Warriors lost D Brandon Schuldaus and D Dmitri Zaitsev to undisclosed injuries. . . . The Warriors were without F Brayden Burke for a third straight game. . . . Swift Current F Glenn Gawdin, the WHL’s leading scorer, is ill and missed his second game in as many nights, as did freshman D Jacson Alexander. . . . Gawdin has 124 points, two more than Halbgewachs and seven more than Heponiemi. Burke is fourth, with 113. . . . Announced attendance: 4,765.


At Prince Albert, D Brayden Pachal scored in OT to give the Raiders their ninth straight victory, this one 4-3 over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Prince Albert (32-25-11) holds down the PrinceAlbertEastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, seven points ahead of Saskatoon, which has four games remaining. . . . Calgary (21-36-11) is 1-0-1 in its past two games. It had won 5-4 in OT in Saskatoon on Friday night. . . . The Hitmen took a 1-0 lead at 13:46 of the first period as F Mark Kastelic scored. . . . The Raiders tied it at 1:27 of the second period as F Jordy Stallard scored No. 43. . . . F Carson Focht (13) gave the Hitmen a 2-1 lead at 16:13. . . . The Raiders went out front 3-2 on third-period goals from D Vojtech Budik (14), on a PP, at 5:51, and F Cutis Miske (26), at 6:38. Miske also had two assists. . . . Kastelic forced OT with his 20th goal, on a PP, at 9:02. . . . Pachal won it at 4:09 of OT when he scored his seventh goal of the season. . . . Stallard also had two assists, as he finished the night with 201 regular-season points in 234 games. This season, he has 43 goals and 46 assists in 68 games. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from F Tristen Nielsen. . . . Each team was 1-3 on the PP. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 20 saves. . . . Calgary G Matthew Armitage was busier, with 40 saves. The Raiders held a 26-2 edge in shots in the third period. . . . Prince Albert’s franchise record for longest winning streak is 15 games, from 1985-86. . . . Announced attendance: 2,326.


At Saskatoon, the Brandon Wheat Kings clinched a playoff spot with a 4-2 victory over the Blades. . . . Brandon (37-26-5) has won three in a row. It is fourth in the East Division, BrandonWKregularthree points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings also hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . Brandon will play its first-round home games in Dauphin, Man., because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair will be in Westoba Place at the same time. . . . Saskatoon (32-32-4) is seven points from a playoff spot with four games to play. . . . Brandon leads the season series, 5-2-0; the Blades are 2-5-0. . . . Last night, the Wheat Kings got the game’s first two goals, from F Stelio Mattheos (41), at 19:13 of the first period and F Linden McCorrister (18), at 9:38 of the second. . . . F Michael Farren (10) got the Blades to within a goal at 12:58. . . . Brandon F Luka Burzan (13) restored the two-goal lead at 15:27. . . . F Josh Paterson’s 31st goal, on a PP, left Saskatoon trailing by one at 6:47 of the third period. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (18) got the empty-netter for Brandon at 19:42. . . . McCorrister and Reinhardt each had an assist. . . . Saskatoon was 1-5 on the PP; Brandon was 0-4. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 29 shots for the Wheat Kings. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 12 shots for the Blades in his ninth straight start. . . . G Logan Thompson was among Brandon’s scratches. He left Friday’s 6-3 victory over visiting Swift Current after two periods because of an apparent leg injury. . . . The Wheat Kings had Ethan Kruger, 16, backing up Myskiw. He was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Kruger, from Sherwood Park, Alta., played this season with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. . . . Announced attendance: 5,826.


At Lethbridge, the Regina Pats opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Regina (38-25-6) has won five in a row. It is third in the East Division, ReginaPats100three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Lethbridge (32-30-6) has lost five straight. It is second in the Central Division, eight points behind Medicine Hat and five ahead of Red Deer. . . . F Koby Morrisseau (6) opened the scoring at 3:29 of the first period, with F Jesse Gabrielle (13) making it 2-0, on a PP, at 8:48. . . . F Nick Henry (13) scored at 1:20 of the second, and F Robbie Holmes (16) made it 4-0 at 9:55. . . . The Hurricanes got to within a goal as F Brad Morrison scored at 14:35 of the second; D Calen Addison (10) counted two minutes later; and Morrison added another, his 27th, at 17:18 of the third. . . . Regina F Sam Steel (31) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:04. . . . Gabrielle added two assists to his goal. . . . D Igor Merezhko had two assists for Lethbridge. . . . Regina was 1-2 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . There weren’t any penalties issued after the first period. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 27 shots for Regina. . . . Lethbridge got 38 stops from G Reece Klassen. . . . Regina went 7-1-0 on an eight-game road trip. The Pats were away from home because the Tim Hortons Brier (the Canadian men’s curling championship) is being contested in the Brandt Centre. . . . Announced attendance: 4,234.


At Red Deer, F Brandon Hagel scored three times to lead the Rebels to a 5-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Red Deer (26-30-13) clinched a playoff spot in the Central Red DeerDivision, meaning the idle Kootenay Ice (25-38-5) was eliminated. . . . “You look back to Jan. 24, we were 12 points out of a playoff spot and to accomplish what we accomplished says a lot about the kids inside the room,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ general manager and head coach, told Greg Meachem of redddeerrebels.com. “It was about just staying with it and believing as a group that we can have some success if we play the game the right way.” . . . Medicine Hat (35-26-8) continues to lead the Central Division, by eight points over Lethbridge. . . . The Rebels, with three games left, are five points behind the Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer went 3-2-1 in the season series; Medicine Hat was 3-3-0. . . . D Kristians Rubins (7) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:37 of the first period. . . . Hagel tied it at 6:05. . . . The Tigers went ahead 2-1 at 3:42 of the second period on F Bryan Lockner’s 13th goal. . . . The Rebels scored the game’s last four goals, all in the third period. . . . F Kristian Reichel tied the score at 2:39, and Hagel gave his guys the lead, on a PP, at 15:50. . . . Reichel, who has 32 goals, scored on another PP, at 19:08, and Hagel who has 17 goals, completed his hat trick into an empty net, at 19:21. . . . F Mason McCarty had two assists for the Rebels, with Hagel adding one for a four-point night. . . . Red Deer was 2-3 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-4. . . . G Ethan Anders earned the victory with 34 saves, seven more than Medicine Hat’s Michael Bullion. . . . D Joel Craven, who returned to Medicine Hat’s lineup on Friday after being out since Jan. 27, was scratched from this one. . . . During the game the Rebels revealed that “we raised $22,000 in support of @kidneycanada organizations through tonight’s jersey auction.” . . . Announced attendance: 6,100. . . . Meachem’s story is right here.


At Portland, G Patrick Dea stopped 38 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 6-2 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Tri-City (34-24-9) has won two straight. It is fourth in the U.S. TriCity30Division, six points behind Spokane. The Americans hold the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, three points ahead of Seattle with each team having five games remaining. . . . Portland (42-21-5) had points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, six points behind Everett. . . . Portland went 7-3-0 in the season series; Tri-City was 3-6-1. . . . Tri-City got out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Michael Rasmussen, on a PP, at 15:00, and D Juuso Valimaki (13), at 18:26. . . . Portland F Alex Overheard (15) but into the lead 27 seconds into the second period, but the Americans got the next three goals. . . . F Isaac Johnson got his 17th at 7:39. . . . Rasmussen (27) got another PP goal at 1:40 of the third period, and former Winterhawks F Brett Clayton (4) scored at 4:55. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (24) got Portland’s second goal at 10:27. . . . F Riley Sawchuk (13) scored Tri-City’s final goal at 17:17, into an empty net. . . . Tri-City got three assists from F Morgan Geekie and two each from F Sasha Mutala, for his first three-point game, and Valimaki. . . . Overhardt added an assist to his goal. . . . Tri-City was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 0-2. . . . Dea got off to a great start with 18 saves in the first period. . . . Portland starter Shane Farkas surrendered five goals on 23 shots in 44:55. Cole Kehler came on to stop all five shots he faced in 14:35. . . . Prior to the game, the Winterhawks the 1998 Memorial Cup-winning team, and inducted D Andrew Ference, F Marian Hossa, F Brenden Morrow and F Todd Robinson into their Hall of Fame. . . . Announced attendance: 8,463.


At Kelowna, G James Porter stopped 18 shots to help the Rockets to a 4-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (40-22-7) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It leads the KelownaRocketsB.C. Division, by five points over Victoria. . . . Kamloops (29-35-5) has lost three in a row. It was eliminated from the playoff chase when it lost, 4-2, to the visiting Rockets on Friday. . . . The Rockets have won 40 games for a sixth straight season. . . . Kelowna went 8-0-0 in the season series; Kamloops was 0-7-1. . . . F Leif Mattson gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 13:28 of the first period. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn (5) upped that to 2-0 at 14:30. . . . Mattson’s 23rd goal, shorthanded, made it 3-0 at 9:46 of the third period, and F Dillon Dube (34) rounded out the scoring at 11:05. . . . Dube and Ballhorn also had an assist each. . . . Kelowna was 0-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-7. . . . Porter, a freshman from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, has three shutouts this season. . . . The Blazers got 27 saves from G Max Palaga. Kelowna F Liam Kindree wasn’t able to beat Palaga on a second-period penalty shot. . . . The Blazers scratched G Dylan Ferguson, who appeared to injury his right hip in a goal-mouth collision at 14:22 of the second period on Friday night. He stayed in and was able to finish the game, but there were times when he appeared to be favouring his right side. . . . Announced attendance: 5,607.


At Kent, Wash., F Bryce Kindopp scored twice to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (45-18-5) has won four in a row. It leads Everettthe Western Conference, by six points over Portland. . . . Seattle (32-26-10) had won its previous two games. It holds the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Tri-City. . . . Everett went 6-2-2 in the season series; Seattle was 4-4-2. . . . Everett got first-period goals from F Matt Fonteyne (33), on a PP, at 3:41, and Kindopp, at 13:38, to go up 2-0. . . . F Nolan Volcan (31) scored for Seattle, on a PP, at 11:03 of the second period. . . . Kindopp (22) gave Everett a two-goal lead at 15:02 of the third period. . . . Seattle D Austin Strand (24) made it a one-goal game at 17:56. . . . F Donovan Neuls had two assists for Seattle. . . . Everett F Patrick Bajkov drew an assist on Fonteyne’s goal. Bajkov now has 93 points, tying him with F Zach Hamill (2006-07) and F Josh Winquist (2013-14) for the franchise’s single-season record. . . . Each team was 1-2 on the PP. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 33 shots for Everett. He is 28-4-4, 1.54, .950 this season. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes turned aside 34 shots. . . . Everett D Ondrej Vala was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on Seattle F Zack Andrusiak at 19:29 of the second period. Andrusiak returned to the game in the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 6,039.


At Spokane, F Dawson Holt scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Vancouver Giants a 6-5 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Vancouver (35-24-9) is third in the B.C. Division, Vancouverthree points behind Victoria. . . . Spokane (39-23-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead at 11:43 of the first period on a goal by F Jake McGrew (17). . . . Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot (5) tied it at 12:16. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (37) put the Chiefs back in front, on a PP, at 16:28. . . . The Giants tied it when F Tyler Benson scored at 12:27 of the second period. . . . But the Chiefs went back out front at 15:14 when F Hudson Elynuik scored No. 30. . . . F Riley Woods gave Spokane a two-goal lead, on a PP, at 4:58 of the third period. . . . Holt (12) pulled the Giants back to within a goal, at 4-3, on a PP, at 11:31, only to have Woods (24) restore the two-goal margin at 12:43. . . . The Giants then got two PP goals to force OT. F Tyler Popowich (8) scored at 14:26, and Benson (26) followed at 17:39. . . . Holt won it with a second-round goal in the shootout. . . . Vancouver was 3-5 on the PP; Spokane was 2-6. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 29 shots for the Giants. . . . The Chiefs got 24 stops from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . Vancouver F Ty Ronning left the game with a clipping major and game misconduct for a hit on Spokane F Ethan McIndoe at 2:42 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs continue to play without injured F Zach Fischer. . . . The Giants scratched F Milos Roman, who had played Friday night in a 6-3 loss to the host Tri-City Americans for the first time since Jan. 9. He had been out with an ankle injury. . . . Announced attendance: 10,508.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Moose Jaw, 4 p.m.

Prince George at Victoria, 2:05 p.m.

Kootenay at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

Everett at Portland, 5 p.m.

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


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