John Hudak, who was the spokesperson for the Green Bay Committee that attempted to help keep the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, won a seat on Cranbrook’s City Council in a by-election that was completed on Saturday. . . . Final preliminary results, as released by the City of Cranbrook, had Hudak with 1,115 votes (45.9 per cent of the vote), well ahead of Ron Miles, who was second at 518, and three other candidates. . . . The by-election was the result of Danielle Eaton having resigned in January. . . . A retired RCMP officer, Hudak was part of the Green Bay Committee, a group comprising mostly local businessmen who offered to sell sponsorships and season tickets in an attempt to benefit the Ice. However, the committee, which said it quickly sold $50,000 worth of sponsorships and tickets, disbanded when it realized that it wasn’t going to get any co-operation from the WHL team’s owners. . . . The Ice relocated to Winnipeg when its season ended.
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The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies won the QMJHL championship with a 4-0 victory over the host Halifax Mooseheads on Saturday. The Huskies won the series, 4-2. . . . Huskies G Samuel Harvey stopped 28 shots to earn the shutout. Harvey, who is in his fifth season with the Huskies, has 20 career shutouts — 15 in the regular season and five in the playoffs. He put up four of those playoff shutouts in these playoffs. . . . Both teams will appear in the Memorial Cup as the Mooseheads are the host team. . . . This is the 11th straight season in which the host team for the Memorial Cup hasn’t been able to win its league championship.
NOTES: The Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Giants arrived back in Prince Albert on Saturday afternoon and will resume the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup with Game 6 tonight (Sunday) at the Art Hauser Centre. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 3-2, and can win the second championship in franchise history — the first came in 1985 — with a victory tonight. . . . Should the Giants win tonight — and they won Game 5, 4-3, on Friday in Langley, B.C. — Game 7 would be played on Monday night in Prince Albert. . . .
Following the conclusion of Game 5 in Langley on Friday, fans in Prince Albert began lining up at the Art Hauser Centre at 11 p.m., with tickets for Games 6 and 7 going on sale Saturday morning. . . . Late Friday night, the Raiders advised fans via Twitter: “Tickets for Game 7 are non-refundable. If a Game 7 isn’t necessary, the tickets can be used as a voucher for any regular-season game in the 2019-20 season.” . . . Now I don’t know how much a ticket to Game 7 was selling for, but I have to think one of those tickets would be worth a whole lot more than one regular-season game. Wouldn’t it? . . .
If the Giants are to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup, they are going to have to do something that has been accomplished only once before in WHL history. . . . There have been 11 championship finals go to Game 7; the first 10 were won by the home team. The last final to need Game 7 was in 2014 when the Edmonton Oil Kings became the first team in WHL history to win Game 7 on the road. They beat the Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. . . .
Here is a look at the previous WHL championship series that have been decided in Game 7 . . .
1975 — The Saskatoon Blades actually won the first two games of what was an eight-point final — in other words, no OT — beating the New Westminster Bruins twice in legendary Queen’s Park Arena. The Bruins then won twice in Saskatoon, before the Blades won Game 5 at home. Back in New Westminster, the Bruins won, 4-1 and 7-2, to take the series, 8-6.
1976 — This also was an eight-point series featuring the Saskatoon Blades and New Westminster Bruins. The teams played to a 3-3 tie in Game 6 in New Westminster and the Bruins won Game 7, 3-1, the next night, winning the series, 9-5.
1981 — The Calgary Wranglers led the Victoria Cougars, 3-1, before the bottom fell out. The Cougars came back with 7-4 and 4-2 victories in Calgary, then won Game 7 at home, 4-2. This is the series that featured goaltenders Grant Fuhr (Victoria) and Mike Vernon (Calgary).
1984 — The Regina Pats won the middle three games at home to go ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, 3-2. The scene shifted to Kamloops where the Blazers won, 4-3 in OT and 4-2. In Game 6, the Pats were 12 seconds from winning the championship when Kamloops F Dean Evason tied the game. F Ryan Stewart later won it at 13;13 of OT.
1987 —The Medicine Hat Tigers and Portland Winterhawks played a 3-3-1 format and were all even going back to Alberta for Game 7 after the Tigers won Game 6, 4-3. Back home, the Tigers won Game 7, 6-2.
1992 — The Kamloops Blazers took a 3-1 lead over the Saskatoon Blades in a final that used a 3-3-1 format. The Blades won Games 5 and 6 (5-1 and 4-3) at home. The Blazers won it all by taking Game 7, 8-0, at home.
1993 — The Portland Winterhawks led the series, 3-2, over the Swift Current Broncos after a 3-1 victory in Game 5 in Oregon. The Broncos won Game 6, 7-5, in Portland, then went home and posted a 6-0 victory in Game 7.
1994 — For the third straight season, the WHL final went seven games, and for the second time in three seasons it featured the Kamloops Blazers and Saskatoon Blades. Using a 2-3-2 format, Kamloops won twice at home and then took Game 4 in Saskatoon for a 3-1 lead. The Blades tied it by winning 3-2 at home and 2-1 in Kamloops, but the Blazers took Game 7, 8-1, at home.
2007 — For the first time in 13 years, the WHL final went seven games. This time, it featured the Vancouver Giants and Medicine Hat Tigers. The Giants took a 3-2 series lead on the strength of three shutouts — 1-0, 4-0 and 3-0 — from G Tyson Sexsmith. But the Tigers went home for the last two games and won them both — 4-3 and 3-2 in double OT, the latter on a goal by F Brennan Bosch.
2012 — The Edmonton Oil Kings won Game 5, 4-3, at home to take a 3-2 lead over the Portland Winterhawks, who went home and won Game 6, 3-2, two nights later. The series shifted to Edmonton for Game 7 and the Oil Kings won, 4-1.
2014 — It was the Edmonton Oil Kings and Portland Winterhawks one more time. Portland won twice at home, then Edmonton did the same. The Oil Kings won Game 5, 3-2, in Portland, only to have the Winterhawks go into Edmonton and win Game 6, 6-5 in OT. The Oil Kings won the final with a 4-2 road victory in Game 7. The WHL’s first season was 1966-67. The Oil Kings are the only team in the league’s history to have won Game 7 of a championship series on the road.
(NOTE: Thanks to Dean (Scooter) Vrooman, the legendary former play-by-play voice of the Winterhawks, for laying the groundwork for all of this.)
Can someone explain to me why @HockeyCanada did not re-brand the National Jr Championship as the Centennial Cup Instead going with @HC_NJAC ? Tons of history and tradition with Centennial Cup and seems now would have been perfect time since @RBC pulled the pin on sponsorship.
An Ontario Superior Court judge in Hamilton ruled last month that documents related to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs and unauthorized contracts with players would be unsealed on Friday. They were, and TSN’s Rick Westhead has gone over those documents.
According to Westhead:
“The Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs agreed to unauthorized side contracts with the families of two players — one of whom is still in the OHL — and likely had similarly secret and unsanctioned deals with a number of European players, according to an investigation into the team’s recruiting practices.”
Westhead provides a lot of details in this piece, which is particularly damning because the OHL, as he puts it, “is embroiled in a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of current and former players demanding they be paid minimum wage.”
The IceDogs are owned by Denise and Bill Burke.
“In connection with that case, Denise Burke testified in a Nov. 14, 2015, affidavit that while her OHL team brought in an average of $2.7 million, it still lost money.
“Seven months before the IceDogs purportedly signed a secret deal with the (Liam) Ham family, Denise Burke said that it would be ‘catastrophic’ if the IceDogs had to pay players.”
At that time, Denise Burke testified: “We knew that we wouldn’t become rich owning a team, but seeing as this is our only business, we have always hoped that we would at least be able to break even and at least make more money than we spend, otherwise sooner or later the ‘Bank of Burke’ will run dry.”
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The Regina Pats have acquired F Drew Englot, 16, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for a fourth-round selection in the 2022 WHL bantam draft. Englot, who is from Candiac, Sask., was picked by the Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 2017 bantam draft. . . . He has played the past two seasons withthe midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds, who have won back-to-back league titles. This season he had 21 goals and 20 assists in 43 regular-season games.
Two former WHL coaches were fired by the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers on Monday as they juggled their staff after the hiring of Alain Vigneault as head coach. . . . Kris Knoblauch and Rick Wilson both were dismissed. . . . Knoblauch, 40, had been with the Flyers for two seasons. He began his coaching career as an assistant with the Prince Albert Raiders in 2006-07. He then spent five seasons with the Kootenay Ice, the last two as head coach. He also spent four-plus seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters. . . . Wilson, 68, joined the Flyers this season, on Dec. 4. He has been an NHL coach, mostly as an assistant since 1988-89. He spent eight seasons (1980-88) on Prince Albert’s staff, the last two as head coach.
Dave Andrews will retire after spending one more season as the president and CEO of the American Hockey League. Andrews, a former head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Cougars, told the AHL’s board of governors on Monday that he is going to retire as of June 30, 2020. He is completing his 25th season as AHL president. . . . Andrews was the Cougars’ head coach for all of 1982-83 and part of 1983-84, when he was replaced by Les Calder. He later spent seven seasons as the director of hockey operations with the Nova Scotia/Cape Breton Oilers, then the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate.
The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s had their 14-game playoff winning streak come to an end on Monday as they were beaten 7-2 by the Storm in Guelph. The 67’s, who were outshot 36-20, lead the OHL championship series, 2-1. . . . They’ll play Game 4 in Guelph on Wednesday. . . . The 67’s had swept their first three series and then opened the final with two victories. . . . Ottawa G Mikey DiPietro, who suffered what is believed to have been a high ankle sprain in Game 2, wasn’t in uniform for this one. . . .
In the QMJHL, the visiting Rouyn-Noranda Huskies dumped the Halifax Mooseheads, 5-2, to take a 2-1 lead in the championship final. . . . They’ll play again tonight in Halifax. . . . Both teams will play in the Memorial Cup because the Mooseheads are the host team. The tournament is to run from May 17 through May 26.
Mike Reagan has signed a new contract as general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers. This deal will take him through the 2020-21 season. . . . Reagan has been with the Bombers for 12 seasons, winning at least 30 games in six of them. The Bombers have been in the playoffs in each of those 12 seasons. . . . There is a news release right here.
Cam Basarab is the new head coach of the Trail-based Kootenay Ice of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He started this season as an assistant coach with the junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He was moved up to head coach in November and then replaced on Jan. 23. . . . Basarab also was a video coach with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes for the previous two seasons. . . . Basarab takes over from Kris Boyce, the head coach for the past three seasons.
F Liam Stewart, who played four seasons (2011-15) with the Spokane Chiefs, has signed on with the SkyCity Stampede of the New Zealand Hockey League. Stewart, born in Great Britain, has a New Zealand passport through his mother, ex-model Rachel Hunter, so won’t be classified as an import. . . . The Stampede, which plays out of Queenstown, is to open the season on May 31 against the Dunedin Thunder. . . . He was to have played this season with the Sheffield Steelers of the Elite Ice Hockey League in Great Britain, but was sidelined by a concussion. . . . Stewart’s father is rock musician Rod Stewart.
NOTES: The WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup resumes tonight (Tuesday) with thePrince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Gains meeting at the Langley, B.C., Events Centre. . . . The series is tied, 1-1. . . . They’ll play again Wednesday and Friday in Langley. . . . The $64,000 question going into Game 3 is whether Prince Albert D Max Martin will play. He left Game 2 in the second period after falling awkwardly into the end boards and appearing to injure a shoulder. . . . Martin is key part of the Raiders’ back end. He had 41 points, including 35 assists, in 59 regular-season games, and has seven assists in 18 playoff games. . . . Here’s Darren Steinke of Stanks’ Sermon explaining the Raiders’ options: “If (Martin) doesn’t play that will likely shake up the Raiders normally locked-in defensive pairings of Martin with Sergei Sapego, captain Brayden Pachal with Zack Hayes, and Jeremy Masella with Kaiden Guhle.” . . . If Martin doesn’t dress, the Raiders likely will insert D Loeden Schaufler into what will be his fifth game of these playoffs.
Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a look right here at Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, who has learned to change with the times.
Hey @Sportsnet you have 5 friggin channels. You have THREE @CHLHockey finals going on right now and ZERO Canadian Nhl teams in playoffs. Stop showing the same one Nhl game on all 5 damn channels and show some of the best Jr hockey in the world. For the love of god PLEASE!!!!!!
Part II: More trades and odds and ends from the WHL’s bantam draft. . . .
The Portland Winterhawks appeared to clear up a logjam at the goaltender position, while the Victoria Royals have begun life after Griffen Outhouse. . . . The Winterhawks dealt G Shane Farkas, who is to turn 20 on Dec. 1, and a 2019 fifth-round bantam draft pick to the Royals for a fourth-round pick in 2019 and a conditional selection that could end up being in the fourth round in 2020. . . . The 2019 fourth-rounder that the Winterhawks acquired actually originated with them; it went to Victoria in a deal for D Jared Freadrich last summer. . . . The deal leaves Portland with five 20-year-olds on its roster, with F Lane Gilliss, F Jake Gricius, F Josh Paterson and D Matthew Quigley the others. . . .
Farkas, from Penticton, B.C., appeared in 84 games over three seasons with Portland. This season, he finished 30-12-6, 2.71, .906 in 50 regular-season appearances. . . . His departure leaves the Winterhawks’ depth chart with Joel Hofer, who will be 19 on July 30, and Dante Giannuzzi, who is to turn 17 on Sept. 3, at the top of the goaltending section. . . .
Outhouse, who was so outstanding in goal for the Royals, has completed his junior eligibility. Farkas and sophomore Brock Gould, 18, are one-two on the Royals’ depth chart, at least for now. . . . The Royals now have six 20-year-olds on their roster — Farkas, F D-Jay Jerome, Belarusian F Igor Martynov, F Tanner Sidaway, D Jameson Murray and D Jake Kustra.
The Swift Current Broncos have acquired D Wyatt Wilson from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Alex Thacker. . . . Wilson, from Swift Current, will turn 16 on Oct. 11. He was a sixth-round pick by Lethbridge in the 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had six goals and 17 assists in 36 games with the elite 15s at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . Thacker, 17, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. This season, he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 34 games as he captained the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers. He also had one assist in four games with the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines, and was pointless in two games with Swift Current. The Broncos had selected him in the sixth round of the 2017 bantam draft.
Lethbridge also made a deal with the Prince George Cougars, landing D Tyson Phare in exchange for F Fischer O’Brien. . . . Phare, 17, was the 18th-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft. From Maple Ridge, B.C., he was pointless in 14 games with the Cougars this season. He also had a goal and nine assists in eight games with the prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy, and was pointless in two games with the junior B Ridge Meadow Flames. . . . O’Brien, 16, is from Prince George. Lethbridge picked him in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. Fischer had two goals and five assists in 40 games with the Cariboo Cougars, who won the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League title. His brother, Brogan, played three seasons (2015-18) with the WHL’s Cougars and now is at Carleton U in Ottawa.
JUST NOTES: The Portland Winterhawks selected F Marek Hejduk in the ninth round. He played this season with the bantam AAA Colorado Thunderbirds, scoring seven goals and adding nine assists in 13 games. . . . Six picks later, the Everett Silvertips grabbed D David Hejduk, Marek’s twin brother. David had one goal and one assists in 13 games with the Thunderbirds. . . . They are the sons of former NHL F Milan Hejduk. . . .
In the 10th round, the Edmonton Oil Kings landed F Cade Littler of East Wenatchee, Wash. He played this season with the bantam AAA San Jose Jr. Sharks. His father, Bliss, is a long-time junior coach. He has been with the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild for seven seasons, the last six as general manager and head coach. . . .
In the fourth round, the Seattle Thunderbirds took F Connor Gourley of Calgary. He had 36 goals and 39 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. His brother Jarrod, who will turn 20 on June 29, was a third-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2014 bantam draft. A defenceman, he chose to go to Arizona State U where he just completed his first season with the Sun Devils. . . .
The Medicine Hat Tigers, picking 12th overall, took F Oasis Wiesblatt of Calgary. He had 19 goals and 36 assists in 28 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . His brother Orca, who will turn 19 on June 2, got into 12 games with the Calgary Hitmen this season, after playing 49 with them last season. He now is with the MJHL-champion Portage Terriers. . . . Another brother, 20-year-old Ocean, also is with the Terriers, while Ozzy, 17, is in his first season with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Google is your friend, so search out a story on the boys and their mother, who is deaf and a really wonderful story. . . .
The Hitmen selected F Mason Finley of Kelowna in the fifth round. His brother, Jack, just finished his freshman season with the Spokane Chiefs. Their father, Jeff, played three seasons (1984-87) with the Portland Winterhawks and now is in his 10th season as a scout with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, the last six as the team’s chief amateur scout. . . .
The Victoria Royals landed twin brothers who just happen to be from, yes, Victoria. . . . They took D Jason Spizawka with the 19th-overall selection then added his twin, Ryan, in the seventh round. . . . Both boys played at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C., this season. . . .
The Regina Pats picked D Layton Feist with the draft’s 17th-overall selection. From Dawson Creek, B.C., he is the younger brother of Pats D Tyson Feist. . . .
In the second round, the Prince Albert Raiders took D Graydon Gotaas, who is from Camrose, Alta., and played this season with the bantam AAA Sherwood Park, Alta., Flyers. . . . His uncle, Steve Gotaas, played four seasons (1983-87) with the Raiders. . . .
If you know of any other hockey bloodlines from the draft or have any tidbits you would like to share, email Taking Note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Kelly McCrimmon, who owns the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, will take over as general manager of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on Sept. 1. That means that McCrimmon, who has been the Golden Knights’ assistant GM, won’t be going to Edmonton, where the Oilers had an interest in him, or to the expansion franchise in Seattle, which also is believed to have bene interested in his services.
Meanwhile, McCrimmon also found out on Thursday that he will be part of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2019. . . . McCrimmon has served the Wheat Kings as a player, coach, general manager, owner and governor. . . . Going into the hall this year as players will be Bob Fitchner, Trevor Kidd, Marty Murray and Terry Yake, all of whom played for the Wheat Kings, along with Larry Bolonchuk and Susanna Yuen. . . . Builders to be inducted are McCrimmon and Barry Shenkarow. . . . Rob Haithwaite will go into the officials section, while the media wing will welcome Bob Holliday. . . . The 1957-58 St. Boniface Canadians, 1965-66 Flin Flon Warriors and 1972-73 St. Boniface Mohawks will be inducted in the team category. . . . Going into the veterans’ category will be Johnny Sheppard as a player and the 1929 Elmwood Millionaires. . . . The inductions will take place at Canad Inns Polo Park in Winnipeg on Oct. 5. . . . Bios of the inductees are available right here.
The BCHL’s Merritt Centennials made it official Thursday — they have signed Barry Wolff as their new general manager and head coach. Wolff, who spent this season as GM/head coach with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders, will replace Joe Martin, who now is the GM/head coach of the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . With Wolff behind the bench, the Stampeders lost the MJHL final to the Portage Terriers, dropping Game 7 in OT.
Eric Ditto has been the head coach of the junior B Delisle Chiefs of the Prairie Junior Hockey League for four seasons. Now he also is the general manager. The Chiefs won 38 games this season as they set a PJHL single-season record with 77 points in a 40-game schedule. Ditto takes over as GM from Ryan Marushak, who had been in that position for four seasons.
Find it funny that #Rogers who owns @Sportsnet is the sponsor of @TheWHL finals.But won’t carry the finals on their channels. I know ppl will say but the NHL is on.But seriously they are carrying the same game on all channels plus CBC is carrying the same game 7channels for 1 GM
F Andrej Kudrna (Vancouver, Red Deer, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract extension with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 11 goals and 14 assists in 52 games.
Tickets for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship are scheduled to go on sale on April 24. The tournament is to be held in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, opening on Dec. 26 and concluding on Jan. 5. . . . Ticket prices for the gold-medal game will start at €17.50 — on Friday, Cdn$1 equalled 0.66 Euro; it also equalled 17.07 Czech Koruna. . . . Games will be played in the Ostravar Arena, which has a capacity of 7,800, and the Week Arena in Trinec, with a capacity of 4,200. . . . Ticket prices are the same in both facilities. . . .
From a news release:
“Thanks to the unobstructed sightlines from all seats at both arenas, all tickets are available at a single price level for each game. Tickets for group-stage games are in three price categories — 290 CZK (€11.30), 240 CZK (€9.30) and 140 CZK (€5.40).
“For the same price of 290 CZK (€11.30), tickets to all four quarter-final games will be available in both cities: two in Ostrava and two in Trinec. The last two days of the tournament will take place in Ostrava — the semi-finals and medal games will be played in Ostravar Arena.
“Tickets for both semi-finals will be available for 290 CZK (€11.30), and then fans can watch the bronze-medal game for 350 CZK (€13.60) and the championship final for 450 CZK (€17.50). Tickets for games of the best-of-three relegation series that will also take place at Ostravar Arena will be sold for 90 CZK (€3.50).” . . . About 25 per cent of tickets have been blocked off for the IIHF, teams and media, and for technical purposes. . . .
Tickets will be available online at 2020.worldjuniors.hockey.
In Canadian dollars, a ticket to the gold-medal game will set you back about $26.
The 2019 tournament was held in Victoria and Vancouver. A ticket package for games in Victoria (14 games) started at $399 ($28.50 a game), with a Vancouver package (19 games) starting at $650 ($34.21 a game).
Ticket prices for the 2019 tournament were markedly lower than the 2018 tournament, which was held in Buffalo, and the 2017 event (Montreal/Toronto). Swaths of empty seats at those tournaments resulted in organizers rethinking ticket prices before the 2019 WJC.
(A tip of the Taking Note fedora to Matt Smith — “a long-time reader from Portland who has been living in Prague, Czech Republic, for the past five years” — for steering me to this information. Yes, he will be in attendance at the 2019 WJC “for its entirety.”)
There are nine WHLers among the 23 players invited by Hockey Canada to attend a selection camp next week prior to the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. . . . That tournament will be held in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, from April 18 through April 28. . . . The 23 Canadian players will gather in Kisakallio, Finland, next week for a training camp prior to two pre-tournament games. The camp will run from Monday through Friday, with exhibition games set for April 14 (Belarus, in Umeå) and April 15 (Russia, in Örnsköldsvik). . . .
The camp roster features three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. . . . The WHLers invited to camp are G Taylor Gauthier, Prince George Cougars; G Dylan Garand, Kamloops Blazers; D Braden Schneider, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna Rockets; D Daemon Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors; F Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw; F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes; F Connor Zary, Kamloops; and F Peyton Krebs, Winnipeg Ice. . . . Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, is an assistant coach with the U18 team. . . . Canada hasn’t won this tournament since 2013.
The Spokane Chiefs have extended the contracts of three members of their hockey staff through the 2020-21 season. . . . Joseph Hurley, the team’s athletic trainer and conditioning coach, is finishing up his second season with the Chiefs. He also has worked with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and USA Ball Hockey. . . .Chris Baird, the assistant director of hockey operations, began with the Chiefs as a video co-ordinator in 2006-07. He has been in his present full-time position since August 2017. . . . Sports psychologist Jon Hammermeister has been an Eastern Washington U professor since 1999.
D Jared Freadrich of the Portland Winterhawks has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Freadrich, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 15 goals and 33 assists 67 games with Portland this season. . . . He also played with the Regina Pats, Red Deer Rebels and Victoria Royals during a WHL career in which he totalled 38 goals and 93 assists in 263 regular-season games.
D Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will spend the remainder of this season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Addison, who will turn 19 on Thursday, was a second-round pick by Pittsburgh in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign with them. . . . This season, his third with Lethbridge, he had 11 goals and 54 assists in 67 games. He added two goals and seven assists in seven playoff games.
D Aaron Hyman, who completed his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings. Hyman, who also played with the Calgary Hitmen, Seattle Thunderbirds and Regina Pats, had 16 goals and 66 assists in 232 career regular-season games. . . . This season, he had 10 goals and 40 assists in 68 games as he started with the Pats and finished with the Americans. . . . Hyman played in back-to-back Memorial Cup tournaments — with Seattle and then Regina.
G Joel Hofer of the Portland Winterhawks will finish his season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Hofer, 18, was a fourth-round pick by the Blues in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He started this season with the Swift Current Broncos, before being dealt to Portland. All told, he was 15-29-3, 3.72, .906.
Very proud to have been apart of the turn around over the past few years with the @Blazers_MML, disappointed to see it end like this after a successful season both team wise and individually with so many players moving onto to Jr. A and the WHL.
Chris Murray, a former NHL/WHL player, is the new head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Murray, 44, played three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, helping the team to Memorial Cup titles in 1991 and 1994. He went on to a pro career that included stints with the Montreal Canadiens, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. . . . A city firefighter in Kamloops these days, Murray just completed his fifth season as a part-time assistant coach with the WHL Blazers. He also was the head coach of the minor midget Blazers. That position will be filled by Crosby Dorais of Kamloops.
USA Hockey named 23 players — two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 13 forwards — to its U-17 team on Friday. These players, all born in 2003, are expected to join USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and compete as the national U-17 team. The NTDP is a two-year residency program based in Plymouth, Mich. . . . The roster includes two players whose WHL rights belong to the Portland Winterhawks, and one who was drafted by the Prince George Cougars. . . . D Ty Murchison of Corona, Calif., played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U-16 team. The Winterhawks selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with them, nor has he made an NCAA commitment. F Chaz Lucius of Grant, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2021-22. The Winterhawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. This season, Lucius had 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy in St. Paul, Minn. . . . Prince George selected D Aidan Hreschuk of Long Beach, Calif., in the fifth round of the 2018 bantam draft. He also played for the U16 Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Hreschuk has committed to Boston College for 2021-22. . . .
There are a couple of other players on USA Hockey’s U-17 team with WHL connections. . . .F Tyler Boucher of Scottsdale, Ariz., is the son of former Tri-City Americans G Brian Boucher (1994-97). . . . F Colby Saganiuk of Valencia, Pa., is the grandson of Rocky Saganiuk, who played with the Kamloops Chiefs and Lethbridge Broncos (1975-77) and was the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in 1995-96.
I haven't seen this mentioned. Saskatoon Blades HC Mitch Love was a defenceman when the Everett Silvertips beat Marc Habscheid's Kelowna Rockets in a 7th and deciding game in the Western Conference final in 2004. Habscheid now coaches the Prince Albert Raiders. #tidbit
NOTES: Two second-round series began on Friday night. . . . In Prince Albert, the Raiders got three goals from F Sean Montgomery and a goal and three helpers from F Brett Leason in beating the Saskatoon Blades, 6-1. They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday. The first three games of this series are being televised by Sportsnet. . . . In Langley, B.C., G Trent Miner recorded the shutout as the Vancouver Giants beat the Victoria Royals, 3-0. They’ll play again tonight in Langley. . . .
The other two series get going tonight, with the Edmonton Oil Kings — the Edmonton Oilers’ logo at centre ice in Rogers Place is gone — playing host to the Calgary Hitmen, and the Spokane Chiefs meeting the Silvertips in Everett.
The Prince Albert duo of F Brett Leason and F Sean Montgomery proved too much in the early going as the Raiders beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades in Game 1 of their second-round series. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Prince Albert on Sunday, then head to Saskatoon for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Montgomery and Leason were in on the Raiders’ first three goals. Montgomery scoring twice, with Leason getting a goal and two helpers. Montgomery later completed his first career WHL hat trick. . . . Montgomery (2) gave the home boys a 1-0 lead at 3:47 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon F Chase Wouters (2) tied it at 5:24. . . . Leason (3) broke the tie at 12:07, and Montgomery (3) upped the lead to 3-1 at 11:39 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 4-1 when F Parker Kelly (2) scored at 17:42. . . . Montgomery (4) completed his hat trick at 5:51 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Montgomery’s first hat trick came in his 362nd career game — 345 in the regular season and 17 playoff games. . . . It also was Prince Albert’s first three-goal playoff game since F Milan Kraft did it on March 30, 2000. On that night, Kraft scored the game’s last three goals, two of them via the PP, as the Raiders won, 3-2, in Swift Current. F Layne Ulmer had both Swift Current goals. That was Game 1 in a first-round series that the Broncos won, 4-2. . . . Kelly (3) gave the Raiders a 6-1 lead on a PP at 13:40, with Leason earning his third assist, and fourth point, of the night. . . . The Raiders were 2-6 on the PP; the Blades were 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 23 shots for Prince Albert. He is 5-0, 1.60, .925 in these playoffs. . . . Saskatoon G Nolan Maier was beaten five times on 36 shots in 47:04. Koen MacInnes came on in relief to make his WHL debut with the Blades trailing, 5-1. He gave up one goal on three shots. . . . G Dorrin Luding (undisclosed) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. MacInnes, 17, was dressed as Maier’s backup. MacInnes, from Burnaby, B.C., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He played this season for the Burnaby Winter Club’s prep team.
G Trent Miner turned aside 15 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-0 victory over the Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll play Game 2 tonight in Langley. . . . Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for Victoria on Tuesday and Thursday. . . . F Davis Koch (2) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 13:44 of the first period, on a PP. . . . Koch, who had a goal and nine assists in the first round, now leads the WHL’s playoff points race, with 11. . . . The Giants went ahead 2-0 at 5:50 of the third period as F Jared Dmytriw (2) scored. . . . F Dawson Holt (2) made it 3-0 with an empty-netter at 18:12. . . . Dmytriw also had an assist, while D Bowen Byram had two. . . . Vancouver was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-3. . . . Miner, who turned 18 on Feb. 5, was 24-5-2, 1.98, .924, with three shutouts, in the regular season. In the playoffs, he is 3-1, 1.51, .938 as he shares time with David Tendeck. . . . The Royals got 25 saves from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Vancouver F Justin Sourdif played for the first time since he was injured late in Game 1 of a first-round series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . As expected, the Giants scratched F Aidan Barfoot. He was injured in Game 4 against Seattle. . . . F Kody McDonald (suspended) and F Kade Oliver (shoulder) were among Victoria’s scratches. Oliver’s season is over.
A year ago tonight, 29 families crawled into their beds not knowing that it would be their last night with their family member.
Hug yours while you can. Hold them close for an extra moment. We’d give anything for just one more moment with them.
So here’s the scoop on Craig Cunningham carving up the ice…the person who builds Craig’s prosthetic legs made this…he took the Tuuk carrier/blade and created a prosthetic skate! @pomooldtimers he’s playing on my wing next season okay? pic.twitter.com/f05fFPRJ0I
F Travis Ewanyk (Edmonton, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL). This season, he had two goals and five assists in 40 games. . . .
G Ville Kolppanen (Lethbridge, 2009-10) has signed a one-year-plus-option year contract with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga). This season, with Rögle Ängelholm (Sweden, SEL), he was 6-10-1, 2.30, .916 in 18 games as the backup to Just Pogge (Prince George, Calgary, 2003-06). . . .
F Richard Mueller (Brandon, Saskatoon, Calgary, 1998-2003) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). An alternate captain this season he had 26 goals and 25 assists in 52 games. He led the Huskies in goals, assists and points. Next season will be his 16th in Germany. . . .
D Jonathan Harty (Everett, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). This season, he had five goals and 13 assists in 52 games.
The Winnipeg Ice has acquired the WHL rights to F Carter Savoie, who turned 17 on Jan. 23, from the Regina Pats in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and conditional second- and third-round picks — the year or years undisclosed.
Those conditional picks will depend on if/when Savoie should sign with the Ice.
This has led to speculation that the Ice will select F Matt Savoie, Carter’s younger brother, with the first pick of the 2019 draft when it is held in Red Deer on May 2. The Ice also holds the ninth selection in the first round.
The Savoie brothers are from St. Albert, Alta., and both have committed to the U of Denver, Carter for the 2020-21 season and Matt, who turned 15 on Jan. 1, for 2021-22.
The Pats selected Carter in the ninth round of the 2017 bantam draft. He is playing with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders, having put up 31 goals and 42 assists in 58 regular-season games. The Crusaders are alive in the playoffs, and he has two goals and eight assists in 10 games.
Matt played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, scoring 31 goals and adding 40 assists in 31 games. In five playoff games, he had three goals and nine assists.
The Savoie family applied to Hockey Canada during the season in the hopes of gaining exceptional status for Matt, something that would allow him to spend 2019-20 on a WHL roster. Under present rules, a 15-year-old player is limited to five games — except under emergency conditions — while his club team’s season is alive. Although there has yet to be an official announcement from Hockey Canada, there have been reports that the family’s request has been denied.
Matt Cockell, the president and general manager of the Winnipeg Ice — formerly the Kootenay Ice — did a question-and-answer session with the Winnipeg Sun’s Ted Wyman the other day. . . . Patti Dawn Swansson, who blogs as The River City Renegade, spent a goodly number of years covering junior and pro hockey in Winnipeg so is quite familiar with the puck scene in the Manitoba capital. She responded to one of Cockell’s answers at her blog.
At one point, Cockell told Wyman: “At the end of the day, the passion for hockey is really what’s exciting about Winnipeg. When you look across Canada, there really isn’t another city that embraces hockey the way Winnipeg does. We really believe it’s the hockey capital of Canada.”
To which, Swansson wrote: “Whoa boy. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Good Ol’ Hometown has already let one NHL franchise get away (no, it wasn’t Gary Bettman’s fault) and two Western Hockey League outfits. Pegtown is the ‘hockey capital of Canada’ like Pierre’s boy Justin is a man of all the people. And that’s coming from someone born and raised in River City, someone who recalls seeing a lot of empty seats in the old barn on Maroons Road. Yes, I realize that Cockell is going to say all the right things in order to sell his freshly minted WHL franchise to the rabble, but I’m not sure that faux flattery is the way to go about it. Peggers are hockey wise, they aren’t rubes.”
Wyman’s complete 21 questions with Cockell is right here.
If you are/were an Ice fan, who lives in the Cranbrook area, you shouldn’t read this. It might be bad for your health, especially the part where Cockell responds to a question about “what do you say to the hockey fans of Cranbrook?”
Cockell’s response: “We’ve had a lot of dialogue with them. I lived there right through to our last game. What our message has been in dialogue is that everybody did everything they possibly could, including the business community in Cranbrook, the fans in that community and our ownership group. We did everything we could to see if there was a sustainable opportunity there. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to get there, but at the end of the day we made a decision and we tried to be as honest as we could. It’s hard and yet, we need to focus now on what we’re doing moving forward and that’s really exciting.”
Some of that will be news to the Green Bay Committee, won’t it?
Chances are that F Logan Barlage of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will miss a game or two when the 2019-20 season opens, thanks to the slashing major and game misconduct that he was hit with as Tuesday’s game with the visiting Calgary Hitmen came to a close. . . . Barlage slashed Calgary F Carson Focht, who scored twice in Calgary’s 4-2 victory in Game 7 of the first-round series. . . . If you watch the video in the tweet below, you also will see the Lethbridge right winger break the stick of the Calgary left winger with a slash.
With one second left in regulation, Lethbridge's Logan Barlage was given a 5 minute major and GM for his slash off the faceoff on Calgary's Carson Focht. pic.twitter.com/n57zf1nLpu
F Parker AuCoin, who played out his junior eligibility with the Tri-City Americans this season, has signed on with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. This season, he had 42 goals and 42 assists in 68 games with the Americans. . . . In 262 regular-season WHL games over four seasons, he has 88 goals and 92 assists. . . . From St. Albert, Alta., he was the 15th-overall pick in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft.
Dave Struch, the head coach of the Regina Pats, will be an assistant coach with the Canadian team that will compete in the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden, April 18 through 28. . . . Brett Gibson, the head coach at Queen’s U for 13 seasons, will be the U18 team’s head coach. . . . The other assistant coach will be Serge Aubin, who most recently was the head coach of the ZSC Lions in Switzerland’s NL A. . . . Adam Brown of the Kelowna Rockets will be the U18 team’s goaltending consultant.
Talk about a changing of the guard in the WHL. Only two teams that made last year's second round — Everett and Victoria — advanced this year. Brandon, Lethbridge, MJ, Swift, Tri and Portland either didn't make the playoffs or didn't win a series. Junior hockey, folks. #WHL
NOTES: The Victoria Royals will be without F Kody McDonald for the first four games of their second-round series with the Vancouver Giants. McDonald had been under an indefinite suspension after being hit with a match penalty for a stick-swinging incident during Game 4 of their first-round series against the Blazers in Kamloops on March 27. The WHL announced Wednesday that the suspension has been set at six games. He has four games remaining on it. . . .
The WHL also announced that the indefinite suspension to F Sean Richards of the Seattle Thunderbirds has been set at eight games. He took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot in Game 4 of their first-round series on March 27. Richards, 20, missed the last two games of the series, so has six games remaining. He doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining. According to the WHL, Richards “will be required to serve the remaining six games of his suspension during the 2019-20 season should he continue his playing career.” . . .
Barfoot hasn’t played since being hit by Richards and isn’t expected back for the early part of the Giants’ second-round series. They open against the Victoria Royals with games in Langley, B.C., on Friday and Saturday. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Wednesday that Vancouver D Bowen Byram didn’t skate for a second straight day. “GM Barclay Parneta says it is minor illness” and that Byram is expected to practice today and play Friday. . . . Giants F Yannik Valenti also didn’t skate Wednesday. . . .
Sportsnet will televise the first three games of the second-round series between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades. . . . Games 1 and 2 are set for Friday (7 p.m. CST) and Sunday in Prince Albert (6 p.m. CST), with Game 3 in Saskatoon on Tuesday (7 p.m. CST). . . .
The Spokane Chiefs have added D Luke Gallagher, 18, to their roster as an AP. Gallagher, 18, had two assists in 22 games with the Chiefs earlier in the season. From Mead, Wash., he joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters in January, and recorded seven assists in 15 regular-season games and one in 12 playoff games.
F Matt Savoie, the No. 1 prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, announced via Twitter on Monday evening that he plans on attending the U of Denver and playing for the Pioneers, starting with the 2021-22 season.
Savoie and his family applied to Hockey Canada for exceptional status, a move that if granted would have allowed him to play full-time in the WHL as a 15-year-old in 2019-20. Under WHL rules, a 15-year-old is permitted to play only five games before his club team has its season come to an end.
Hockey Canada has yet to announce its decision, although Savoie’s decision might indicate a ruling is imminent.
Earlier this month, dubnetwork.ca, citing what it called “multiple WHL sources,” reported that Savoie had been denied exceptional status. However, dubnetwork.ca has yet to confirm that report with Hockey Canada or the Savoie family, and hasn’t followed up on its story.
Savoie turned 15 on Jan. 1. Had he been born one day earlier, he would have been selected in the 2018 bantam and would be eligible to play full-time in the WHL next season.
From St. Albert, Alta., he played this season with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team, totalling 31 goals and 40 assists in 31 games, and was named the CSSHL’s most valuable player.
Savoie’s brother, Carter, 17, also has committed to Denver. Carter played this season with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. It could be that the plan is for Matt to play in the AJHL, too, until he joins the Pioneers.
Of course, there is a lot of hockey to be played between then and now, and a whole lot can happen, including the changing of minds.
The WHL will hold its annual draft lottery on Wednesday to determine the order of selection for the draft that is scheduled for Red Deer on May 2. The six non-playoff teams will be in the lottery, with teams allowed to move up only two spots. Thus, the three teams with the poorest regular-season records are in the running for the first pick.
The Swift Current Broncos finished with the poorest record, following by the Winnipeg Ice and Regina Pats. However, the Prince George Cougars hold Swift Current’s pick from an earlier trade, and the Saskatoon Blades own Regina’s selection.
It’s worth noting, too, that two other top prospects announced NCAA commitments earlier this season.
D Mats Lindgren, son of the former NHLer of the same name, won’t turn 15 until Aug. 26 but already has said he will attend the U of Michigan and play for the Wolverines, starting in 2022-23. Lindgren is from North Vancouver, B.C., and had four goals and 22 assists in 27 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep A team.
F Connor Levis, who will turn 15 on Oct 5, also has committed to Michigan for 2022-23. Levis is from Vancouver. This season, he had 24 goals and 38 assists in 26 games withthe St. George’s School bantam prep team.
In this afternoon's tilt, the Titan also allowed 17 shots in the first while totalling 16 all game. It was the 26th time (of 204 regulation periods, 12.75%) this year they allowed more shots in one period than earned in a game. https://t.co/FjuS234mQW
There were, of course, four teams in the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament that took place in Regina. Of those four teams, only one will appear in this season’s playoffs. . . . The QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan won the 2018 Memorial Cup, beating the WHL’s Regina Pats, in the tournament as the host team, in the final. Also there were the WHL-champion Swift Current Broncos and the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs. . . . The Titan concluded its regular season on Saturday, finishing with an 8-54-6 record, including a 1-29-4 mark on home ice. . . . Regina wound up 19-45-4, while Swift Current, at 11-51-6, finished with the WHL’s poorest record. . . . Hamilton, at 29-34-5, finished eighth in the 10-team Eastern Conference and will meet the first-place Ottawa 67’s (49-12-5) in the first round of the OHL’s playoffs. . . . Obviously, the cost of winning a championship in major junior hockey can be a steep price to pay. So can being the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament.
With the playoffs about to start, it will be worth watching the status of F Mark Kastelic, the captain of the Calgary Hitmen.
Here’s Zach Laing of Postmedia, after the Hitmen lost, 3-1, to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday:
“With just under four minutes (left in the third period), Kastelic was tracking a loose puck near the Oil Kings bench when Edmonton left-winger Jake Neighbours finished a body-check resulting in Kastelic being slammed face first into the hard plexiglass stanchion.
“Wobbling to the bench, Kastelic had to be initially held up by teammates as he went directly to the locker room with Neighbours heading to the penalty box.”
Kastelic didn’t return to the game, but Laing reported seeing him walking around after the game “looking no worse for wear.”
Kastelic led the Hitmen in goals (47) and was tied with F James Malm for the lead in points, each with 77.
The Hitmen open the first round on Friday against the host Lethbridge Hurricanes.
F Trey Fechko of Eden Prairie, Minn., has committed to Arizona State U and says he will join the Sun Devils for the 2022-23 season. Fechko, who will turn 16 on Oct. 16, played this season for Holy Family Catholic High School, totalling 37 points, including 15 goals, in 24 games. . . . He was selected by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.
Trevor Weisgerber, a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, is the new head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . Weisgerber takes over from Ray Wareham, who has left the post after 17 seasons. . . . Weisgerber was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Warriors for two seasons (2010-12). . . . Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com has more right here.
"Dad, is that Jack Lambert riding the rollercoaster in full uniform?"
This is going to be a great day in Allan, Sask. That’s because the folks there are in the middle of their winter festival, and they will be taking time to rename the local arena in honour of the late Logan Schatz, who was the captain of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. The Allan and District Communiplex is to be renamed the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena. . . . Allan is located about 60 km southeast of Saskatoon. . . . Schatz, a native of Allan, was finishing up his fourth season with the Broncos when he was killed in the April 6 bus crash. . . . The dedication ceremony also will involved the unveiling of signage inside and outside the arena. Angie Rolheiser of northeastnow.com writes that the “signs were made by Humboldt Collegiate Institute industrial arts teacher Brian Hinz, who also taught Logan while he attended HCI.” . . . It is only fitting that there will be a hockey game in the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena tonight, with the Allan Senior Flames meeting the Kinistino Tigers in Game 2 of a Wheatland Hockey League playoff series. . . . Rolheiser’s story is right here.
There is an interesting conundrum in Kamloops where the Blazers ran out of goaltenders and had one on their bench Friday night whose WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips.
This all started on March 6 when Kamloops starter Dylan Ferguson, 20, was injured during a 5-0 loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants.
The Blazers immediately brought in Rayce Ramsay, who turned 18 on Jan. 3, from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos to back up Dylan Garand. In Ferguson’s absence Garand, a 16-year-old freshman from Victoria, made his fifth straight start last night as the Blazers lost, 5-4 in OT, to the visiting Prince George Cougars.
Ramsay was on the bench for the first four of those starts, but he couldn’t make it five because he had to return to Humboldt as the Broncos started a playoff series in Estevan against the Bruins last night. Ramsay made 29 saves as the Broncos opened with a 4-1 victory.
In the end, the Blazers were able to add G Danton Belluk to their roster as an emergency backup, getting him, with the WHL’s approval, on loan from the Silvertips. Under emergency conditions, Belluk will only be able to play should Garand be injured.
Belluk, 17, is from Lorette, Man. A 10th-round pick of the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft, he spent this season with the midget AAA Eastman Selects. Last season, he got into two games with the Silvertips.
Two WHL veteran forwards signed three-year entry-level NHL contracts on Friday.
Trey Fix-Wolansky, the captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings, signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2018 draft. Fix-Wolansky, 19, has 101 points, including 37 goals, in 63 games. He has single-season career highs in goals, assists and points. . . . From Edmonton, he has 244 points, including 151 assists, in 204 career regular-season WHL games over three seasons, all with the Oil Kings. . . . He wasn’t selected in the WHL bantam draft. . . .
Jake Elmer, an undrafted free agent, signed with the New York Rangers. He has 38 goals and 41 assists in 67 games. Elmer, who turned 20 on Dec. 31, is from Calgary. The Regina Pats selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . They dealt him to the Kootenay Ice and he later was moved to the Hurricanes. Last season, he finished with 18 goals and 19 assists in 70 games with Lethbridge. . . . In 203 career regular-season games, he has 63 goals and 69 assists.
If you have attended a WHL game or a show at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, you may have seen Freda and/or Howard Brown. Both of them have been heavily involved with the volunteers and security at the arena; Freda also looked after the media and scouts in the press box for a number of years. . . . Freda now is dealing with kidney disease — she started dialysis earlier this month — and is hoping that a transplant is in her future. Howard has proven to be a match, and he now is going through the testing process to see if he can be the donor. . . . With Thursday having been World Kidney Day, they told their story to CFJC-TV in Kamloops, and it’s all right here. There is a story here, as well as video.
The Trinity Western Spartans won their second straight BCIHL championship on Friday night, beating the Vancouver Island Mariners, 9-1, in Aldergrove, B.C., to sweep the best-of-three series. . . . The Spartans are the first team to successfully defend its BCIHL championship since the Castlegar, B.C.-based Selkirk College Saints won in 2014-15 and 2015-16. . . . TWU finished the regular season at 18-5-0, then went 4-0 in the playoffs. Over the past two seasons, the Spartans’ combined record is 47-8-1. . . . TWU has applied for admission to Canada West in time for the 2020-21 season. A decision is expected later this year.
A big milestone tomorrow: Head Equipment Manager Darren Granger will work his 2,000th NHL game. “Take a look at our roster. There were seven kids that weren’t even born when he started, and another four or five that were still in diapers,” Dana Bryson said. Congrats, Grange!
Darren Granger started in the hockey business as the assistant equipment manager with the Brandon Wheat Kings. That was about 25 years ago. He now has been in the NHL since 1992, first with the Vancouver Canucks as their assistant equipment manager. Since 2006, he has been the head equipment manager for the Los Angeles Kings. . . . Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times has more on Granger right here.
The Brandon Wheat Kings had their playoff hopes come to an end as they were beaten, 5-4, by the host Regina Pats. . . . Regina (19-45-3) had lost its previous seven games. . . . Brandon (30-29-8) has lost five in a row. The Wheat Kings are four points away from a playoff spot but have only one game remaining. . . . The same teams will play again tonight, this time in Brandon. . . . Regina is 4-2-1 in the season series; Brandon is 3-4-0. . . . The Pats won this one with three goals in the span of 1:31 in the third period. . . . Regina D Liam Schioler (5) tied the score, 3-3, at 9:13 of the third period. . . . D Brett Clayton (5) broke the tie at 9:47. . . . F Sergei Alkhimov (13) upped Regina’s lead to 5-3 at 10:44. . . . F Luka Burzan (40) got the Wheaties to within a goal at 11:40 but they weren’t able to get even. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney shot wide on a penalty shot at 15:43 of the third period. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (22) and Burzan had given Brandon a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (5), on a PP, and Alkhimov got Regina even in the second period, and Brandon D Braydyn Chizen (2) gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 1:12 of the third. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 34 shots for Regina. . . . The Wheat Kings got 39 stops from G Jiri Patera.
F Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored in OT to give the Prince George Cougars a 5-4 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (19-40-8) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (27-32-8) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is tied with the Kelowna Rockets for third place in the B.C. Division. If they are tied after tonight’s games, they will meet in a sudden-death play-in game in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . They Blazers and Cougars will play again tonight, this time in Prince George. . . . Kamloops is 6-0-2 in the season series; Prince George is 2-5-1. . . . The Cougars erased a 2-1 deficit with three goals in the first half of the third period. Mikhalchuk tied the game at 1:11; F Josh Curtis (13) gave the Cougars the lead at 6:51; and F Mike MacLean came out of the penalty to score his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway at 9:50. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (13) got Kamloops to within a goal, on a PP, at 13:39, and F Connor Zary (23) tied it from a scramble at 19:04 with G Dylan Garand on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Blazers held possession for most of the OT, but got a bit too fancy in the offensive zone and gave up a 2-on-1 with Mikhalchuk and Curtis going the other way. Mikhalchuk ended it with his 24th goal of the season. . . . D Rhett Rhinehart (5) scored Prince George’s first goal, with F Kobe Mohr (8) and F Ryley Appelt (5) giving Kamloops a 2-1 lead. . . . Mikhalchuk finished with two goals and two assists, while Curtis added two assists to his goal. . . . Zary also had three points, as he, too, had two helpers. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Garand stopped 24 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Blazers scratched D Joonas Sillanpää, their Finnish freshman, for a third straight game.
F Max Gerlach broke a 2-2 tie in the third period to give the Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Saskatoon (45-14-8) has won eight in a row, and 14 of 15. It also has won nine in a row on home ice. The Blades will finish second in the East Division. They open a first-round series against the Moose Jaw Warriors on March 22 in Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert (53-10-4) had won its previous three games. The Raiders will finish atop the Eastern Conference and meet the Red Deer Rebels, the second wild-card team, in the first round. . . . Season series: Prince Albert, 5-2-0; Saskatoon, 2-4-1. . . . These two teams will play tonight in Prince Albert. . . . F Parker Kelly (35) gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at 1:21 of the first period. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on goals from D Brandon Schuldhaus (8), at 5:44, and F Ryan Hughes (30), on a PP, at 0:37 of the second period. . . . F Noah Gregor (41) got the visitors into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 4:49 of the third period. . . . Gerlach won it with his 41st goal, on a PP, at 7:17. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 28 shots for the Blades. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott, who stopped 29 shots, went into the game riding three straight shutouts. His shutout streak ended at a franchise-record 185:44 when Schuldhaus scored. The Raiders’ previous record (128:32) had been set by G Craig Hordal in 1995-96. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . The Raiders’ scratches included F Dante Hannoun.
F Jake Leschyshyn scored three times to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-3 victory over the host Red Deer Rebels. . . . Lethbridge (39-18-10) has won seven in a row. It is tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for top spot in the Central Division. The Oil Kings will go home-and-home with the Calgary Hitmen this afternoon and Sunday afternoon. The Hurricanes will meet the Tigers in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Red Deer (33-28-6) has lost three straight. Despite the loss, the Rebels clinched the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot when the Brandon Wheat Kings lost. Red Deer will meet the conference-champion Prince Albert Raiders in the first round. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 4-1-1; Red Deer was 2-3-1. . . . F Dylan Cozens (34) and Leschyshyn, on a PP, gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead with goals 30 seconds apart in the first period. . . . The Rebels tied it on two goals from F Reese Johnson, at 9:13 of the first period and 5:18 of the second. . . . Leschyshyn put the Hurricanes back out front at 12:58. . . . Johnson completed his third hat trick of the season by scoring his 27th goal at 13:41. . . . Leschyshyn’s 40th goal, at 4:15 of the third period, stood up as the winner. He’s got three career hat tricks; this was his first with Lethbridge, which acquired him from the Regina Pats this season. . . . G Carl Tetachuk earned the victory with 27 saves, two fewer than Red Deer’s Ethan Anders.
The Moose Jaw Warriors set a franchise record for most road victories in a season with a 6-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Currrent. . . . Moose Jaw (39-20-8) has won two in a row. It will finish third in the East Division and meet the Saskatoon Blades in a first-round playoff series. . . . The Warriors won 24 road games this season, one more than last season’s team. . . . Swift Current (11-50-6) will travel to Moose Jaw tonight. . . . Season series: Moose Jaw, 4-0-1; Swift Current, 1-3-1. . . . The Warriors got two goals and two assists from F Justin Almeida, who now has 108 points, including 76 assists. Almeida, who has had 12 career games with at least four points, leads the WHL in assists and is third in points, four points behind Portland Winterhawks F Joachim Blichfeld and two behind teammate Tristin Langan, who had one assist. . . . The Warriors also got goals from F Carson Denomie (7), F Keenan Taphorn (15), F Daniil Stepanov (8) and D Josh Brook (16). . . . Almeida and Stepanov each scored while shorthanded. . . . F Brayden Tracey was among Moose Jaw’s scratches.
F Ryan Jevne scored once and added two assists to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook. . . . Medicine Hat (35-26-6) has won three in a row. With the victory, it clinched the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. The Tigers will play the Central Division champion, either the Edmonton Oil Kings or Lethbridge Hurricanes, in the first round. . . . Kootenay (12-45-10) has lost six in a row. . . . The Tigers won the season series, 5-1-0; the Ice was 1-4-1. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (21), Jevne (31) and F Ryan Chyzowski (27), on a PP, gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first period. . . . D Linus Nassen (7) made it 4-0 at 12:58 of the second. . . . D Marco Creta (4) and F Holden Kodak (2) scored for the Ice in the third period, before F Brett Kemp (32) got an empty-netter for Medicine Hat. . . . Ice G Jesse Makaj stopped 51 shots, 22 more than the Tigers’ Mads Sogaard. . . . Kootenay F Austin Schellenberg left in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. . . . The Ice brought in D Anson McMaster, 16, for the final two games of the season. A second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, he had been with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. . . . The Ice has one home game remaining, Sunday afternoon against the Red Deer Rebels, and its stay in Cranbrook will be over. The franchise is relocating to Winnipeg.
It was a sad moment arriving at Western financial place in Cranbrook today. The Tigers and the Ice meet for the final time Friday night in the iconic building, the home of the ice for over 20 years. Very sad indeed. pic.twitter.com/59tPVCv0L6
The Victoria Royals got 35 saves from G Griffen Outhouse and two shootout goals to beat the visiting Everett Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Victoria (34-29-4) had lost its previous four games. It will finish second in the B.C. Division and meet with the Kamloops Blazers or Kelowna Rockets in the first round. . . . Everett (46-16-5) has lost three in a row (0-4-1). It will finish atop the U.S. Division, and will see the Tri-City Americans in the first round. . . . Victoria is 2-1-0 in the season series; Everett is 1-1-1. . . . These two teams will meet again tonight in Everett. . . . Last night, F Connor Dewar (36) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the first period, only to have Victoria F Brandon Cutler tie it 17 seconds later. . . . Everett went ahead 2-1 as F Martin Fasko-Rudas (12) scored at 8:59 of the second period. . . . Cutler tied it with his 14th goal of the season, just 57 seconds later. . . . Victoria got shootout goals from D Ralph Jarratt and F Igor Martynov, with F Bryce Kindopp the only Everett shooter to score. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 28 shots for the Silvertips. . . . F Lucas Cullen, 19, who spent his season with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, made his Everett debut. . . . The Royals scratched D Mitchell Prowse, D Jameson Murray, D Matt Smith, F Tyus Gent, F Kody McDonald, D Jake Kustra and F Kaid Oliver. . . . They had 16 skaters dressed, including two APs — D Kaden Reinders and D Noah Lamb.
F Jake McGrew enjoyed his third career hat trick to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Spokane (39-21-7) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, one point behind the Portland Winterhawks. The Chiefs have one game remaining. The Winterhawks will play the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight and again Sunday. . . . Portland and Spokane will be first-round opponents. . . . Tri-City (34-27-6) has lost four straight (0-2-2). It will be the Western Conference’s first wild-card team and will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . Season series: Tri-City, 6-4-1; Spokane, 5-5-1. . . . The Chiefs and Americans will play again tonight, this time in Spokane. . . . McGrew, on a PP, and D Roman Kalinichenko (2) gave the Chiefs an early 2-0 lead. . . . F Parker AuCoin, who scored 21 goals last season, got his 42nd of this season for the Americans at 13:34 of the opening period. He also had two assists in this one. . . . McGrew added his second goal at 19:15. . . . Chiefs F Luke Toporowski gave his guys a 3-2 lead at 13:18 of the second period. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (21) tied it, on a PP, at 2:35 of the third. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral (10) broke the tie at 18:12, and McGrew completed his hat trick by scoring his 30th goal into an empty net at 19:03. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Reece Klassen, while Tri-City’s Talyn Boyko blocked 39 shots. . . . The Chiefs scratched F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, F Riley Woods, D Ty Smith and F Eli Zummack. F Bear Hughes, who played this season with the junior B Spokane Braves, made his WHL debut.
D Dylan Plouffe scored a late PP goal to give the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (48-15-4) has won three in a row. With the victory, the Giants clinched first place in the Western Conference and will meet the Seattle Thunderbirds in the first round. . . . Kelowna (27-32-8) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It is tied for third with the Kamloops Blazers in the B.C. Division. Each team has one game remaining — the Rockets will entertain the Giants tonight, while the Blazers are playing the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Should the Blazers and Rockets end up tied for third place, a sudden-death play-in game will be held in Kamloops on Tuesday night. . . . Vancouver is 7-0-1 in the season series with Kelowna, which is 1-7-0. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 3:36 of the second period. . . . Kelowna F Kyle Crosby (7) tied it at 11:01. . . . Plouffe won it with his eighth goal of the season, at 16:50 of the third period. . . . The Giants got 17 stops from G Trent Miner. . . . Kelowna G Roman Basran stopped 29 shots. . . . Vancouver was 1-1 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-1. . . . The Rockets continue to play without D Lassi Thomson (concussion).
Babcock, before taking questions: "I had six friends, one of my teammates from England here this week. They saw two Marlie losses, two Leaf losses. Partway through the game tonight I sent security to get them and get them out of the building." #Leafs